So for some days now, pictures of Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports dressed in a traditional tarok attire (or maybe the best expression will be “NOT dressed in a traditional tarok attire), has been trending all over social media and those people who know how I love to drag the man have been tagging me and asking my opinion.
Well, Da-lung and short of my opinion on the matter is this:
Even though it is, has and always will be my personal opinion that the six months spended on selecting “Barrister” Dalung to represent Nigeria in any capacity whatsoever, are the most uselessly wasted six months in the history of Nigeria; and that the fact that he even made the cut is one of the biggest indicators of how deeply flawed Buhari’s “competence and merit” meter is; he gets a ten over ten from me on this one.
Before you forget, this man is a Minister of Youth and Sports. The event he attended is akin to what we may best call a local youth and sports cultural event for his community. Charity they say, begins at home.
It is also interesting to see the people who all think that Dalung is a disgrace to Nigeria for choosing to respect his culture and tradition irrespective of his privileged position; throw these stones from the rather doubtful comfort of their glass houses. Most of them, are ndi “mama mu siri mu na mu bu onye Igbo” (please feel free to insert the Huasa, Yoruba, Berom, Gwari, Ibibio, etc version of that statement).
Loosely translated to “my mother told me that I am *insert tribe here*.
People who have no knowledge of their language and culture and rely on dem say dem say to guess which part of Nigeria they are from, and speak a curious mix of English and whatever else their ethnic tongues are. Most are at the forefront of the abolishment of anything they do not understand, they have been so pentecostalised that they believe that anything that is not their church’s deliverance service plus including chopping of holy communion every Sunday, is a demonic ritual that must be done away with.
From my point of view, it is commendable that Dalung is promoting and participating in the culture of his people; and who knows, there may be a “world cup” in whatever it was they were doing there prancing around with their one packs, shortie shorts and holding sticks in their hands. If na from that event Nigeria go see world cup take dey hang shoulder, then make e be abeg. At all at all, na him bad pass.
Seriously though, a lot of people from Abiriba, Bende and those towns around that axis, went home for the Christmas ceremonies and part of the things they looked forward to celebrating and/or participating in; were a variety of “coming of age” festivals and age grade ceremonies. It is safe to suffice (and surmise from some of the pictures that have since been coming out from the events), that people dressed in a lot of weird stuff and did a lot of weird things that were unique to their culture, as part of the rites of passage.
It is a beautiful thing.
I have a friend who is a barrister of good repute. He is also an Ohafia man, them of the man-breast-vibrating “war dance” fame. It has never ceased to intrigue me to see this dapper young man dress up in a bante, smear some war paint across his face and chest, bear the ceremonial head dress for the event, and then proceed to trek all around his village with his peers, twinkling his boobs at anybody who cared to look.
It is a beautiful thing.
If you do not have a culture or tradition that your people have still preserved till today, especially one that brings back memories of the way things used to be in terms of the outfits/costumes worn to those occasions; the music which is straight from the roots of your being; and any other trado-cultural things that happen on that day; then you honestly do not know what you are missing.
Not all the time “woke” “woke” on social media; some of the time, try to be wide awake and observe the events happening around you. Ask questions about your cultures and traditions and try to appreciate why things are done the way they are done.
Do not rely on Nollywood and your half-crazed, shrine-burning pastorpreneurs for interpretation of the cultures and events that happen in our villages.
This is why your pastors will lead you to go and burn down shrines, altars and other cultural artifacts in your village; then construct his own altar out of wood or plexiglass, tell you that God resides in there, then you go and bow down to this contraption every time you go to your church, “tapping anointing” the source of which you are not sure.
Get in touch with your roots, you no go die.
Not all the time on social media shouting, “abolish bride price, abolish wedding traditions”; then one sharp young guy will use one engagement ring to engage eight of you in the presence of a few of his irresponsible friends and your own close knit community of wokists. Then when you eventually discover that no parents/tradition was involved because the young man didn’t want to marry; he just wanted to chop and clean mouth stress free because you are in “fiancée mode”, you start wailing uncontrollably because unfortunately, “onye e riri e ri, e rigo ya”.
You do not need to white-wash your culture to make it acceptable; neither do you need to kill it in order to make yourself acceptable to anybody.
Virtually everything we do and subscribe to today, is a version of Western culture, kept alive through the colonization of the resources and minds of the black man. While we help people whom we have already persuaded, begged or even fought to get them to leave us alone preserve their cultures; we sadly let the ways of our people fade away because we want to belong.
Da-lung and short of this matter?
Kudos to “Barrister” Dalung for respecting and observing the cultures of his people – that is about the ONLY thing I can say with all certainty that he has gotten right in the past three and a half years.
We have spended too much time on this matter biko, Da-lung make sure you bring back the World Cup from that tarok hunting festival o. Make we take that one dey hold body since the original world cup dey hard you to coordinate.
At all at all, na him bad pass.
PS: You want to know why I always put the Barrister in quotation marks? Because I suspect it is a chieftancy title or honorary title or something funny like that. Even if you show me Dalung’s transcripts from law school, I no go ever believe say that man go law school ma nya foduzia being “the law the law”. Something is off, but no be for my mouth una go hear am.