Reuben Abati 

The season of recanting By Reuben Abati


“I wish I could travel to the US right now”

“Why? Why not wait till summer time?”

“No, I feel like going there physically to tell President Donald Trump exactly how I feel about the statements he has been making about the black world.”

“You don’t need to go to the US to do that. Follow him on twitter and tell him what you feel.”

“I am just angry.”

“We all are. Each time the man opens his mouth, pure shit comes out. I mean, he has lowered the dignity of the office of the American President.”

“You know when he said Haiti and African countries are shit-hole countries, it was as if a part of me died. I am black and proud. But by calling us citizens of shithole countries, President Trump just stuck a pin in the entire framework of the African Renaissance, Negritude, and the growing wave of Afro-optimism”.

“But the man has recanted though. He said he didn’t actually say so, and that he is not in any way a racist.”

“He only used tough words. I heard him. But what are those tough words? The words of an American villager who does not believe in the dignity of other peoples of the world; the words of a nativist, and an egotist.”

“This was how the man once said Nigerians live in huts”

“He should visit the private palaces of Banana Island or Asokoro and come and see what he calls huts.”

“Can you blame him? He says he has special intellect, and he is a stable genius and a billionaire.”

“Which billionaire? Is he richer than Dangote? Let him stop boasting. He is a billionaire. Can he spray better dollar at a party? The man is an accidental President. He should learn to carry himself with decorum. That was how the other day he even said the people from Haiti all have AIDS.”

“He has been most unfair to the people of Haiti if you ask me. He needs to be reminded that the people of Haiti fought for American independence. The Volunteer Hunters of Saint-Domingue, the largest unit of men of African descent fought in the American Revolutionary War in Savannah, Georgia.”

“The year was 1779. But what has been Haiti’s reward. America has consistently joined Europe to plunder and humiliate Haiti. I know the history. Haitians did not go to America on a boat. They went there as revolutionaries.  Henri Christophe and the other Haitian Revolutionaries must be turning in their graves.  To be so insulted by a man whose ancestors were not part of the Revolution that he now benefits from as President of a United States.”

“It is the black man’s burden. You know even during the American Revolution, men of colour were treated as second-class citizens. Trump speaks for an established tendency.  You’d be surprised that the mainstream, average American doesn’t see anything wrong in what he has said. Many white Americans actually believe that we live in shitholes. In fact, worse, hell-holes”

“What surprises me is the fact that there are many Uncle Tom Africans and black people who believe that Trump has not said anything that we do not know already.”

“Some people enjoy being oppressed and abused. They have no pride. If you abuse their mother, they will say Yes sir (!), before realising their folly”

“It is called the Stockholm syndrome.”

“One guy sent me a video message on whatsapp showing some people in Agege, jump-starting a train, and he asked: what is this? Is this not a shit-hole? And we are blaming Trump?”

“How do you jump-start a train? What is that?”

“The train suddenly stopped on the rail-track and the engine refused to start. The passengers came down. Passers-by joined them and they pushed the train until the engine coughed back to life.”

“In Nigeria?”

“In Agege, Lagos. I saw the video. The passengers were so happy and they cheered as if something glorious had occurred.”

“Whatever. That still doesn’t make us a shithole. Growth is a process, not a structure.”

“I got a note from one of our brothers in the US. He said we should see the Trump statement as a challenge to make our continent better.  When Americans hear that state Governors in Nigeria do not pay salaries, or that African leaders change the Constitution so they could remain in office for life, or that some countries have no electricity, no potable water supply and that the United States has to assist some African countries to buy mosquito nets, while the country’s lawmakers are busy dancing and junketing around the world, they simply conclude that Africa is a shithole.”

“Which shithole? There are many Nigerians in the United States who are better educated than most Americans. We are the most educated set of African immigrants in the United States.”

“So, how does that take the shit out of you? That’s what the average American thinks. With all your education, they may still ask you: where did you learn to speak English?”

“Right inside my mother’s womb”

“And then of course, when they hear about Boko Haram and the killing of human beings to avenge the theft of cattle, I mean, I mean, the confused American would just start screaming shit, shit, shit mehn.”

“There is more shit in America than in the entire African continent and Haiti. Trump owes us an apology.”

“Some people are likely to say it is African leaders who owe our people an apology for turning us into the laughing stock of the world. Are you aware that the Chinese and Asians in general also think Africans and black people are full of shit; it is just that they don’t say it?”

“If anybody tries that, I will punch him or her in the face.”

“If you are looking people to punch in the face, I can recommend some people around here. Let’s leave Trump alone with his shit.”

“Like who and who?”

“The people who put Nigeria in this mess. All the people who had the opportunity to deliver change and progress but turned Nigeria into Trump’s wash-hand basin.”

“How many persons are you going to punch in the face? You’d end up having bruised knuckles. Shouldn’t we at least thank God that some people are beginning to confess and recant?”

“Fulani herdsmen have confessed and recanted?”

“Who is talking about Fulani herdsmen? Fulani herdsmen want grazing colonies across Nigeria and their right to do business in any part of Nigeria.”

“Who is questioning that? Every Nigerian is entitled to basic freedoms but not at the expense of others. And as for grazing colonies, government has to come up with a more creative and acceptable solution. Nobody in the South wants a grazing colony.”

“Speak for yourself.”

“I don’t want anybody to graze cattle on my family’s ancestral land. If anybody tries that, I’ll report the matter to the Aaare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams. ”

“Not the police?”

“Which police? The same police that described criminal conduct as community clashes? You think the Yoruba traditional rulers who have appointed a Generalissimo of the Yoruba army do not have a strategic reason for doing so?  Let anybody come and take Yoruba land and let us see.”

“Government can take land in the public interest and convert it into a cattle colony.”
“In that case, I hope the same government will take land in parts of the North and give to the National Piggery Association to establish pig colonies across the North. Igbo livestock farmers are also demanding colonies for their pigs in all states of the Federation.”

“I don’t think Northerners will want anybody to come and set up piggeries all over their territory. Muslims regard a pig as a dirty and unclean animal. Muslims don’t eat pork, but you eat beef.”

“No. I eat fish. In fact, I am planning to join the Boycott-Beef-Movement of Nigeria, if that will put an end to cattle grazing and the conflict between pastoralists and farmers. I can’t accept that the life of a cow is more important than that of a human being. Did you see some of those gory pictures from Benue?  Human beings were slaughtered like cattle at the abattoir.”

“I am sorry, you are beginning to sound like Trump. You are describing a shithole of a place.”

“I can criticise my country if I wish, but Trump has no right to be rude to us.”

“When we become a country in a real sense, you’d be able to speak with true pride. Look at Ghana. Look at Botswana. Their Presidents immediately issued statements to tell Trump off.  Nigeria has not uttered a word. The shithole countries tend to know themselves. But there is is hope.  May be things will change.”

“Change. I hear that all the time. Afterall, they have started again. Fr. Ejike Mbaka recently preached that the only way we can have change is for President Buhari not to seek a second term, and that if he does, he will be disgraced at the polls.”

“The man don recant be that oh. He don change prophecy. I think he owes us an apology.”

“Let him keep his apology. The one that really shocks me is that of Pastor Tunde Bakare delivering a state of the nation address in which he scored the Buhari administration so low.”

“I am not interested in his scores. He should revive the Save Nigeria Group and return to Ojota. What is fair is fair.”

“But the man spoke oh. No holds barred. I couldn’t believe he would attack President Buhari like that.  I listened to him as he spoke about signs of retrogression, unemployment. ”

“I hear he wants to be President”

“This his last sermon was not about Presidential ambition. He called for a renegotiation of Nigeria because according to him, Buhari has failed Nigeria.”

“What? Did he mention Jonathan?”

“I think that trick of blaming Jonathan for everything wrong with Nigeria is no longer working. People have seen through that. If you know the number of young people who campaigned for the APC in 2014/2015 who are now recanting.  In fact, many of them are very angry.”

“The children of anger have found another victim! I read those things and laugh. I thought we told them and they said we were clueless. They have now seen the true meaning and nature of cluelessness.”

“I won’t say that. It is not good to gloat.  In a democracy, the people have the right to make choices and that includes the right to make mistakes.”

“One of their aunties, the Red Card auntie, has moved from looking for Chibok girls to distributing red cards and asking people to reject both the PDP and the APC. You know what her yesterday’s friends told her?”


“They told her to go and join the National Referees Association, and stop abusing the Red Card. She too has recanted. She has seen the light.”

“I don’t see why you find this funny.”

“Let me finish. You see one of those boys who used to flex muscle on twitter. I read an article by him too. He publicly apologized for being misled and for misleading others.”

“He doesn’t have to. The problem with us in Nigeria is that we are too emotional. We should learn

to be analytical. Suppose it is corruption that is fighting back, at the root of whatever is making you laugh.”

“Even our brother, Bob Dee, Dele Momodu has expressed his regrets.  He wrote this hot article…”

“The problem with us in Nigeria is that we love slogans. We should learn to get to the root of things before taking positions. The people are emotionally conflicted; our bail-out Governors don’t know what to do. Every little thing, they run to Abuja to beg for a bail-out. The failure of governance at the state level is the real problem.”

“You mean the real shit-holes are in the states?”

“I think so.”

“Shit. Shit.”

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