Column Opinion

The Nigerian Rumour Omelette

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

Not all Hausas are Muslims

Not all Igbos are Catholics

Not all Igbos love money

Not all Yorubas do juju

Not all Edo girls go to Italy for prostitution

Not all Ebiras are aggressive

Not all bankers have money

Not all Berom girls are dark

Not all Ijebu people love partying

Not all guys from Warri are sharp

Not all girls that dress semi-nude are sluts

Not all guys’ cheat

Not all girls lie

Not every successful celebrity is into “onething-something”

Not all rich kids are spoilt

Not all girls have sex to buy their expensive stuffs.

Some of the girls you danced with at the club are virgins…

All politicians are liars though

Your ancestors are dead…not every misfortune is from your village, chop that Kolanut and drink the wine jare!

Never use the action of a group of people to judge an entire race, country or people.

Nigeria my beloved country, is a nation of many a contradiction, stiff necked people, slow to learn, quick to forget, a nation that everything goes, sometimes we are the problem, most times the problem is leadership, we are one people that don’t really deserve the leadership but sadly it is what it is.

A nation that is scared of her own history, one full of all sorts of conspiracies, stories that are mostly tales by moonlight. Rumour omelette of all sorts, interestingly is how these tales have defined who we are, such that we have not corrected them, we have not addressed them either, we continue to live them, and it is even more disheartening the calibre of persons that believe them.

Yorubas hate Igbos, Hausas hate Igbos, Igbos hate all others, when we mouth WAZOBIA, we forget the countless other ethnic nationalities…

Sometimes people make up stories about you just so you deny it, then they can put you on the defensive by repeating the accusation multiple times.

The more you deny it and defend yourself, the more they repeat it until a “scandal” starts to develop out of absolutely nothing.

In journalism we call this the “Peter Fucks Goats” paradox, and this is the story of this paradox:

Peter is a normal, unspectacular, everyday guy who has a wife, 2 kids and a job in HR. He pays his taxes, goes to church and obeys the law. He does absolutely nothing wrong.

BUT-

One day Peter’s co-worker receives an email from an anonymous sender which only says the following:

“PETER FUCKS GOATS.”

At first the co-worker ignores it, but the same email comes in everyday at 10AM unfailingly. “PETER FUCKS GOATS.”

Eventually he decides it’s a funny prank.

BUT-

He shows the multiple emails to Peter, just to be sure. Peter reacts angrily and appears flustered. The colour of his face changes. He cannot understand why anyone would make up and circulate such a story about him.

Everyone else seems to find it funny, but he doesn’t.

Meanwhile the emails keep coming in, this time to all of Peter’s co-workers: “PETER FUCKS GOATS.”

They find it hilarious, but Peter reacts with anger and frustration each time someone references the email or his alleged goat-fucking.

He does not find it funny at all!

Eventually people stop laughing as they notice his distinct lack of amusement. The emails are now going out to Peter’s wife, in-laws and church members, with new descriptive details.

“PETER FUCKS GOATS. HE HAS SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH GOATS AT JIM’S FARM.”

Now it’s not funny.

People start quietly wondering, “Could this actually be true? Does Peter actually do this? If he doesn’t, why would anybody make up such a story about him? With such details?”

New details are added to the emails.

“PETER STARTED FUCKING GOATS LAST YEAR. HE GAVE HIS WIFE AN STD.”

Peter’s father-in-law confronts him angrily, wanting to know if it’s true that Peter fucks goats and gave his daughter an STD.

Peter denies it, but his anger is starting to give way to despair. People now avoid him at work and neighbours exchange whispers about his alleged habit.

Nobody wants to sit next to his family at church and his kids are mercilessly bullied at school for being the children of that goat-fucker Peter.

Eventually Peter’s boss has to lay him off because even though he knows Peter doesn’t fuck goats, his co-workers don’t.

The emails now contain graphic descriptions of how Peter supposedly fucks goats at Jim’s farm including pictures of goats and photos of Peter coming out of his house dressed for work, only to supposedly go fuck some goats instead.

“ONE OF THE GOATS PETER FUCKED DIED YESTERDAY.”

In the space of two months, Peter has gone from respected middle class family man to unemployed social pariah and presumed sexual deviant.

Peter goes home to deliver the bad news to his wife, but when he gets there, he meets an empty house. She has taken the kids and left him.

She has left a note saying that while she loves him and she knows that he did none of the things he is accused of, life has become intolerable because of how people treat them

She promises to return when things calm down, but Peter knows at this point that this may never happen.

Peter writes a suicide note apologising to his friends and family for all the pain the accusations have caused them. He maintains his innocence but says that everyone will probably be better off this way.

He hangs himself, hoping that this will clear his name.

Another anonymous email goes out: “PETER COMMITS SUICIDE AFTER RECEIVING TERMINAL DIAGNOSIS FROM STD AFTER REPEATEDLY FUCKING GOATS ON JIM’S FARM.”

Jim takes out an advert in the local paper stating that he runs a vegetable farm and has never had any goats.

Nobody reads it.

Peter is buried as a pariah. His family and friends are too ashamed to even show up to the funeral.

His headstone reads: “HERE LIES PETER WHO FUCKED GOATS.”

The moral of the story is that certain rumours have zero downside to those who spread them, while those affected stand to lose everything simply because a completely fictitious tale is repeated continuously until it becomes accepted as fact. This is the story of Nigeria such that we do not even know what our problems are any longer.

And indeed, that is how human minds work especially in this clime, we see a Fulani Christian and doubt his Christianity, we doubt the sincerity of a honest policeman, we do not seem to agree on anything, contentious debate like in my state whether a Muslim run bank should build a marketplace for Christians, Muslims and pagans. In a moment Jonathan is Ebele, an Ijaw-Ibo, and the next moment, Atiku is married to Igbo woman, he is Fulani/Cameroonian Ibo and in case you think this is a joke, I have read severally the parrot newspaper of the conquest of Nigeria from the desert to the ocean by the caliphate, or how IBB took Bongus’ wife.

Did you hear that Murtala was from Edo State and even Kwankwaso is not from Kano, or have we forgotten how even ‘supposed’ learned minds briefly played with the idea that Mr. Buhari is from Sudan, but definitely we now know that he is from Niger Republic.

While some of these contraptions are situated in multiplicities of dichotomies and come with certain merits, it is sad that we do not know which of our rumour omelette we need to deny oxygen. We find ourselves defending accusations that are not made or hold water.

We do not seem to be in agreement regarding the solution to our national disorder. We need a new nation, we need a governance model that has a direction, however are we ready to ditch the rumour omelette—only time will tell.

Contact the writer: pcdbooks@gmail.com

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