“Viola, be a woman of your words”, my mother scolded me. “If you know you do not plan to take any disciplinary action against this girl, stop announcing it and threatening her if not, she will learn not to take you serious”.
That was my mother chiding me during the early days of struggling to raise my daughter. She would watch my daughter push my boundaries several times and me trying to regain control of the situation, would scold: “If you don’t leave that thing alone now, I will smack you.”
My daughter would smile a cheeky smile and still hold the thing wey she hol kakaraka.
Smack, I no go smack. Beat, I no go beat. I would just walk up to her or snatch the thing out of her hand or make some equally lame move that would elicit a giggle from her, and that would be the end of the matter as we knew it.
My mum being “old school” and probably seeing beyond what I could see couldn’t understand this my own style of parenting and kept insisting that I needed to enforce these boundaries and follow up my words with actions or else, stop setting standards I did not intend to enforce. According to her, the child would just know that I am not a serious mummy and continue to do as she wishes – las, las after yelling, I will go and drink small ice water and calm the heck down.
Over a decade later, I think my mother was probably right.
All my African Mama moves are totally lost on my daughter, she treats all my threats to bamboozle her with one double marasotta; as a mere comedic suggestion and refuses to take any of them serious. Matter of fact, a typical boundary setting conversation would go something like:
“Why are you touching that thing? If you touch it again, I will give you one slap that the force of the slap ehn, you will just somersault from Kotonkarfe and find yourself in Kolkotta”.
Her response? She will start giggling like someone under the serious influence of gaseous nitrous oxide.
“Kwikwikwikwikwiiiiii. Mummy, how is it even possible to slap someone and the person will somersault?” Me: Wait until you chop the slap first, your eyes will just clear. Her: Where self is Kotonkarfe? Me: When the force of the slap carries you there, you will know.
Her: And then the same slap will carry me from this your so-called Kotonkarfe all the way to Kolkotta?
Me: Dey there and be laughing first, you will not know when the slap will carry you.
Her: Kwikwikwikwikwiiiiiii, mummy you are sooooooooo funny.
So, while she would leave whatever it is I asked her to leave alone for fear of a free visa to Kolkotta via one custom made Amadioha slap, I doubt she took any of that serious. It was more a case of, make I just respect this woman because she be my mama if not, no be only Kolkotta, na Kaura Namoda the journey go end.
Something like that.
So while she doesn’t take my threats of pounding sense into her serious and continues to rub shoulders with me anyhow she likes (chaiiiiiii, chews middle finger), there is a sense of understanding that the institution of “Mama” is not one to be taken lightly, and must be respected anyhow anyhow.
I had this thought winding through my mind as I watched the Senate futilely attempt to summon the IGP, a wry smile on my lips.
It would have been easy to remind the IGP, himself a head of a Nigerian institution, that institutions were in themselves sacrosanct and you did not need to have any respect for the individuals who occupied that institution and can show your personal disdain to them as individuals; but the premier way to provoke respect from a watching populace, was to stimulate that respect yourself; by respecting institutions.
The same police that turned Dino Melaye into a hybrid of Superman and Johnny Bravo for according to them “resisting arrest”; is the same police that is blatantly “resisting summons” by the Senate – an institution of the FGN which the IG is a staff of.
I would have told the IGP to respect the institution and go and answer the summons and advise his supporters club to be careful of the monster they are breeding, it might turn around to nip them on the ankle when they least expect it but hey; I confess that it must be extremely hard to unbundle the band of brigands occupying the Nigerian Senate, from the institution itself.
Abi no be for this Senate a whoooooooole honourable senator tiff mace? A toh, it seems like it would be even easier to single out one or two members of the Senate for individual respect than it would be to even muster up a shred of regard for that thoroughly bastardised institution.
And by the way, wetin concern us the common man inside two elephant roforofo? If a police man summons me, Ordinary Viola, and I refuse; na that day I go travel to see my ancestors. If senate summon me and I refuse nko? Same treatment.
So the wise course of action seems to be to sit with a huge vat of popcorn, and swivel your head rapidly from left to right as:
Senate summons IGP
IGP snubs senate
Senate cautions IGP
IGP replies Senate
Senate replies IGP the reply that he replied them
IGP replies Senate the reply that he replied to the reply that he replied them
Senate replies IGP the reply that he replied to the reply that they replied to the reply that he replied them…
Shameless people. My popcorn never finish jare. Matter of fact, I even ordered for more. Let the drama kontinu after all, na our money una take dey act all this drama.
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