I grew up in Nigeria. My dad often advised with the popular aphorism ‘do not air your dirty linen in public’. In fact, after using the borrowed words from the Europeans, he often added, it was not the culture of our people to do so.
Nevertheless, growing up in Nigeria showed otherwise. For those who have been blessed enough to live in Nigeria and perhaps some other spot on the globe, you would agree with me that in Nigeria, it is very common to find clothes aired outside, where all can see. This is alien in advanced nations.
In fact, in Nigeria, if you live in the ‘yards’ or have passed through such abodes, you would find that these ‘aired clothes’ are often more dirty than clean.
Hence, as a growing child with several questions that never left my lips, you would appreciate the confusion I battled with when overseas, I never saw dirty linen aired in public; yet, back home in Nigeria, it was commonplace, though my dad, in using the aphorism, often said that was alien to our culture.
Many years growing up thought me the old man meant it literary. In any case, let us assume for once, it was meant directly. If that be the case, is it okay then, to say, in Nigeria we air our dirty linen in public very often? In fact, it is our primary nature!
The tale of abducted young girls in Borno State has helped us invite the world to view our dirty, torn boxers and slacked panties hanging outside for all to see. It is an eyesore! First, we refused to actually state how many girls were abducted. When we gave a figure, we had our Armed Forces tell us the girls had been rescued in a matter of hours. What followed was even more traumatizing.
Not only was it a lie from the military, it turned out that the number of the abducted continued rising. Then, we failed to give their names, explaining that we didn’t want abducted children stigmatized (despite the fact that they were/are still yet to be rescued). When the names finally appeared, the released names were less than the number said to be abducted.
It did not stop there! We managed to throw in the mutiny of soldiers into the circus of events. We had the Presidency inform us of intents to visit Chibok. However, that never happened and the reason was because of the insecurity in Chibok (so, they said). I recall Ms. Sesay of CNN in an interview, asking Doyin Okupe about this and he said there was never an intent for the President to visit. In fact, he added it must have been incorrect news just circulating around and she argued that she had been personally told by two top officials of the Nigerian Government. That must have been a classic dirty-linen-public-airing moment!
If I stop at this point, you would agree I have left most of the juicy parts or perhaps, if you have a perverted mind, you can say I have left out all the dirty crack stains on the aired G-strings and Boxers. However, the point is this:
We have succeeded in showing the world our lack of order. Yet, the definition of a Society has the word ‘order’ in it. So, one wonders, is this Nigeria really a society? Our records are conflicting; our lies, very flagrant! We have shown that our Leaders would rather designate their duties to anyone else, but themselves; though, when it comes to traveling overseas and handling any areas that have to do with billions, they would find themselves very capable of such!
We now show the world our greatest form of dirty linen: every man caters for himself! If you doubt that statement, then look around any Nigerian household. Feeding is fully the responsibility of the human. There are no welfare packages for anyone, be you young or aged. To have running water, you install your borehole apparatus. For security, you get your ‘Ma-guard’. For petrol, you either own a petrol station or befriend one who owns one or at worst, seek out a worker at a petrol station as a buddy. For education, you seek a private school and still, include the help of private tutors for your ward. Ah! How about health? Everybody is a Doctor or Nurse here, self-medicating as you have little or no choice. Now, I hear our military is so ill-equipped that our young boys are now the ones killing their fellow men in the bid of survival and to rescue our abducted girls.
The thing about linen aired outside which I so find fascinating is, it often gets to the point where such would have to be taken indoors. However, in the case of Nigeria, no one seems to realize that. We now have teens who are ‘killers’ in the bid of fighting terrorism. The profligateness of weapons to untrained youths is alarming, yet, our military is complaining that they are unarmed! What happens when these ills ‘come inside’? Or better put, what happens when the targets are no longer Boko Haram but ourselves?
Or do we forget, with every aired linen, the sun sets and the owners of such must gather them all and take them indoors? Sadly, the sun is beginning to set on Nigeria. So, what happens next?