Nigeria is a special country where things found only in fairytales happen. Imagine just anything, no matter how unbelievable or unthinkable it may appear, don’t be surprised if you are told that it has happened or is presently happening in Nigeria.
Our country is a home of oddities and absurdities. Strange stories that are mostly found in storybooks created to cause amusement or disgust are our reality. So don’t be surprised if you find stories or incidents which you may find unbelievable and odd, being attended to by Nigerians nonchalantly. Fact is that, such incident could possibly not be the worst or most ridiculous incident they have witnessed. So you may be forgiven if you considered their actions as surprising. However, to an average Nigerian, what you consider strange is just a normal phenomenon, a phenomenon whose likes they had witnessed many times enough to make it look normal.
So the surprising dysphoria with which the world welcomed the news of the member of Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) staff that claimed the 36 million naira in her care that went missing was swallowed by a python is understandable. But to Nigerians, it is just another cock and bull stories always associated with corruption cases.
It is in this Nigeria that a former governor who allegedly spent 78 million naira to create a website was asked to shed light on the accusation when he was being screened for a ministerial position and his response was simply: ‘May our loyalties never be tested’. Strange isn’t it? Well to us Nigerians, it is so normal.
It is here in Nigeria that a Secretary to the Government of the Federation claimed to use 270 million naira to clear grass at internally displaced persons camps. Yes, you heard me well, just to cut grass. You may ask, how much will it then cost to clear a forest.
You may find it hard to believe but the record is there to clear your doubt. Long before Bobrisky, the Nigerian popular dress crosser, we had a Nigerian governor who dressed up as a woman to escape charges of laundering £1.8m in Britain. He came back to Nigeria and was received by his people as a hero. Strange? Well, not strange here.
While we were still disturbed about the money eating snake a Senator of our dear Republic hit us with the news that the chairman Northern Senators Forum has been removed because about N70 million belonging to the group was claimed to have been carted away by monkeys in his farm house. Strange? To us it is just another story.
You would remember that rodents stopped our President from using his office after he came back from his medical trip from United Kingdom that lasted over hundred days. We were informed that rodents had taken over his office and they would need to wage war against them. Only God knows how many millions of naira that was used to prosecute the war. You may begin to wonder if Nigeria has now been taken over by animals.
And just yesterday, 03 March 2018, the President of the country, the Senate President, 22 state governors, 11 ministers and several other government officials went to Kano to attend the wedding ceremony of two governors’ children. This happened when the President has not visited Dapchi, Yobe State, where over 100 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram members.
I believe with the different hard to believe stories I have recounted above, your bewilderment will be mitigated when you see the insensitive and primitive manner the president of the country himself handled the case of the kidnapped schoolgirls. Where could this strange things happen without causing uproar if not Nigeria. We know that was not the strangest act we had seen or will possibly see from the President.
Welcome to Nigeria, a land where strange happenings are normal phenomenon.
So, the narrative of the young lady that claimed that a snake swallowed 36 million naira is not stranger than the other weird stories we have heard on how millions of public funds disappeared.
However, some believe the lady was trying to play the religious card only that she didn’t play it well. She knew Nigeria is a religious country where you can find a church and a mosque on every street no matter how short the street is. She knew Nigeria is the country where people claim to love God and pretend to be pious yet corruption and other immoral acts blossom. She knew if there is anything Nigerians believe without questioning, it must be religious.
So our lady must have been familiar with the story of the talking snake in the Bible that gave Eve apple from the forbidden tree to eat.
Our lady must have been familiar with Balaam’s talking donkey. The first donkey to start animal rights agitation. That was long before human race started fighting on their behalf.
Most importantly, some people believe our lady must have been inspired by the biblical story of the big fish that swallowed Jonah for three days and later vomited him on a dry land.
She knew that in Nigeria, people regard such stories as sacred and believe they are not just stories but what actually happened since they can be found in the Bible. So she thought if Nigerians could believe such stories and treat them as sacred then it wouldn’t be hard for them to believe her story of a snake swallowing millions of naira.
So While others in other sane countries of the world may be surprised about the ridiculous story of the lady, we are concerned about her presentation, the effort she put in and better way she would have presented her story to be more acceptable here.
Welcome to Nigeria, a land too strange for anything to be strange.