A few days ago, I was browsing through the internet to see what was trending. And just like an abrupt sneeze, I was quickly made uncomfortable by the surprise that greeted me in one of the headlines (not so surprising in Nigeria anyway). It reads;
“Gorilla swallowed N6.8 million, says Kano zoo account officer”.
In an attempt to avoid reading early morning nonsense, I quickly scrolled through, feeling embarrassed for my country. But I kept seeing more headlines, and even tweets about it. So I decided to hold my chest and read.
An official from Kano zoo’s finance department told Kano-based Freedom Radio in an interview, that a gorilla sneaked into the office, stole money, and then swallowed it. WHAT?
I knew I wasn’t reading a fictional story book. But this is Nigeria, anything goes.
My people, na so we go dey? I am afraid to go to the Kano o. Is it not the same Kano that Gandollar, Abdullahi Ganduje is governor for? The way things turn up missing in that Kano ehn? I know I can’t step foot in that Kano because magical agbadas and money-eating gorillas will just vanish me.
Whenever I read international news, and see how other countries are working to proffer solutions to global warming, improve their economies, introduce new technologies, artificial intelligence, and many other things that progressive nations do.
Hoping to see some signs of progress in my own country, I will open a national daily and hear about money-hungry gorillas. I am always disappointed at the sight of regressive headlines such as the one being discussed.
How do I explain to my American friend that a gorilla swallowed millions of naira in my country? How do I tell my Moroccan friend that while they are progressing on all sides, we are still monkeying around with zoo animals? That in Nigeria, our gorillas don’t eat bananas but billions? That not only are we mad enough to conceive of such foolishness, our leaders are actually brazen enough to release it as their official response to missing money? How do I tell my Facebook friends and my Instagram followers that we are all mad in the Giant of Africa?
And as ridiculous as this headline is, it’s not the first time we’re hearing of such in the news. Sometime last year, an official of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Benue state claimed that a ‘spiritual snake’ found its way into the organisation’s office in Makurdi, and ate N36 million cash.
We’re now officially a joke; a laughing stock to the rest of the world. And with the viral potential of the internet, it is sure that the whole world is also reading these things about us – even my American friend that I didn’t want to tell.
Our leaders making it so difficult to even talk in public. Whenever I join in a conversation on Facebook pages of international news organisations such as BBC, I notice how my opinions or comments are quickly downplayed the moment people realise I’m from Nigeria. With headlines such as these, who would blame them?
Well! Today’s own has passed. Gorilla, abi? We have heard. I just hope we don’t wake up tomorrow morning to read more ‘interesting’ and mind-boggling stories about our country. We are yet to recover from this one.
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