By Andrew Agbese
Everything revolves around government in Nigeria, so most people are careful not to say things that might hurt or be interpreted as offensive to their friends, relations or associates who are in government.
This explains why those in government usually play God; it is because people worship them and nobody dares tell them the truth.
And this is the season that those in government would be looking out for their enemies just to reduce the number of hangers-on.
An enemy in this case can be anybody, not minding the long years of friendship or the goodwill that existed. A person can be so termed who inserts a punctuation mark to his comment that looks like the symbol of an opposition party when the phone is held upside down.
Sycophants and favour seekers are usually the first to call the person in government to say, ‘ have you seen the punctuation mark your friend used in his last paragraph? Go to Facebook and turn your phone upside down and you will get the message.”
As he is dropping that call, another one would come in and before you can say, Ogbeche! dozens of other favour seekers would have also called to express their loyalty in like manner.
From that moment, you are black listed and the person in government no longer picks your calls.
So people who have reasons to relate with people in government become passive observers, no matter how they feel about an issue.
They’re hurt inside, they want to express their feelings about an issue, but they end up only whispering such to their wives around 3 am with the strict warning that she must tell any other person.
When they go out and they issue comes up, they smile and uttter things like hmmm, hmmm, without saying anything.
They would however call the few that had the courage to post anything considered critical of the government to say, “you’ve just spoken my mind, you’re doing a great job, but you know I can’t say anything now because my wife works in the kitchen of the office of the local government chairman!”
There are some of them who by nature cannot keep quite when they feel strong about an issue.
These are the ones that made me want to compile a lexicon of abstract words and phrases Nigerians use on Facebook.
These are the one that come on FB and post things like ‘ God is watching’ without relating it to any issue and retire into their shells to watch people’s reactions.
When they do that, you can be sure they are not referring to the sermon by the preacher, they are making a political statement but are being careful so that when they meet the nephew to the local government chairman at the market place, they can walk up to him and say ‘we are together’ and by that hailing, get some favours or few naira notes from the young lad.
Their defense when you confront them is the usual line ‘Everybody cannot be as fearless as Faruk Kperogi.’
So when you see posts like, Truth shall prevail’ or ‘the die is cast’ or even just, ‘Nemesis’ do not panic, I have decoded the meaning and I’ve made a few available here.
When you see a Facebook post that says ‘At last!’ and the post came on or few days after June 12, 2018, from somebody who has something to do with Plateau State, do not be deceived, the person is not talking about the honour done to Abiola. If it was Abiola he was referring to, he would have added the name because ‘nothing spoil.’
The person is definitely talking about the Dariye prison sentence and he is happy about it but is not sure if the former governor’s associates who are in government would like it, so he kills two birds with a stone by saying his mind without hurting anybody and retaining the friendship of those in government.
If you see a post saying, “They will not say anything now’ from a Benue or Zamfara indigene, know ye brethren, that the person is not referring to his in-laws who have promised to give him land in their village to build a kiosk, he is referring to the killings by suspected herdsmen, but does not want the minister for defense to see it so that his son’s admission to the military school will not be jeopardized.
If on the other hand you see something like “They’ve not changed” coming from Rivers State, know ye brethren that the person is referring to the capture of the 23 local governments in the state by the PDP in the just concluded local government elections but does not want Governor Wike to interpret it as confrontational and terminate the contract to supply insecticide to the state-owned primary school, so he decides to use the code.
I will from time to time return to educate us on more politically correct words and phrases used by my compatriots on Facebook, just stay tuned.