Today’s title is a bad pun; used in mocking deference to our current social trauma. You see, folks here love us some noise-making activity: weddings, funerals, protests. And, what with the rainy season and the gloomy dreariness of the political landscape and the entertainment industry, we’re quite ripe for some serious noise-making.
Luckily, the legislature gave us one that’s as morally provoking as an episode of Big Brother Africa. You know the gist already, but let’s rehash it briefly. Sometime last week, the Senate decided to try their hands at a good deed. Maybe it was the Ramadan season and they were feeling especially pious, or maybe the air-conditioning was bad, but somehow they got off their fat asses and voted to delete a provision from the Constitution with the undeclared intention of saving young girls from being hustled into early marriages. Except that they did not consider Yerima whom, as a kid, all the little girls used to laugh at and call names.
And so the devil was waiting in the details, Yerima, our infamous monster, wasted no time in being dickish about the first vote; like a petulant child, he harangued the tired legislators into a brain-freeze, and before you could shout “ChildNotBride!” he had cowed the Senate into a re-vote where he managed to scuttle the original idea. Their attempt at living a righteous life suitably thwarted, the Senators took the matter as a sign from God, and moved on to the more pressing and less-controversial matters of financial allocations and self remunerations.
However, some of us idle folks would not be so easily persuaded by this drama, and soon the catapults were unslung, and a barrage of accusatory and reformative missives were directed at Abuja. Loud and clear, the noise began. Across the country. Folks poured out to sign petitions—both clear and unclear—in a bid to put a lid on the mess being boiled by the Senate. The social media had its day, and frantic energy fizzled in the tweets. World War Three was all set for a launch date and somewhere, a senator cursed the day they decided to amend the goddamn Constitution in the first place.
Now we’re not here to rain on the protesting parade. Not at all. In fact, we dig all of this. It’s all very healthy and inspiring. You see, few things improve the mind like a little protest now and then. But with one condition: if you gotta protest, then don’t fuck around—figuratively and literally. You see, Nigeria has been a great place for fucking around—and that becomes quite boring after a few decades. The government knows the fucking around cycle too well and it takes advantage of it too often. The cycle is like this: first comes the blunder, next comes the hoopla, and then afterwards, yesterday’s hot topic becomes “stale gist”, and life moves on.
Here’s the question: how long can you sustain your current enthusiasm before your attention is captivated by the next trending topic? Sure, there’s a new bride in town, but don’t mistake the wedding for the marriage. Do not confuse novelty with passion, and restlessness with activism. Sometimes, what gets the noise going is merely the general infatuation for the new bride, but the fight has to go on even after the noise quietens. And here’s the lesson for today: if you must have a bride: marry her—don’t just wed her; if you must protest a government policy: fight it to the end—don’t just make some temporary noise.
Oh, one more thing: #ChildNotBride!