BURNING POT BY PRINCE CHARLES DICKSON,
My dear Baba Buhari, leave us to
keep eating Maggi
”Nigerians have become so impatient and edgy now because we
eat too much of maggi” House of Representatives member, Aishatu
We don’t have enough time to live our own life!
I reached this conclusion after trying to follow all the advice
given on a morning news show one week in January 2017. It seemed
like a smart way to start my day. I figured I’d tune in, get the
forecast, learn the headlines, and maybe hear a celebrity interview.
I wasn’t expecting all the show segments telling me how to live my
Most of these segments offered the promise of deliverance:
“Financial Freedom Is Closer than You Think” or “Four Secrets to
Better Communication.” Others, I decided, were designed to scare the
socks off of me: “Six Health Risks Every Person Faces” or “Thieves
You Cannot See.” Motivated by this combination of hope and fear, I
compiled a to-do list of ways to improve my life and its management
according to the experts. The more I listened, learned, and listed,
the more behind schedule I felt.
The topics on my list ranged from health maintenance to home
maintenance to car maintenance. I was informed I need to eat certain
foods every day: four veggies, three fruits, two proteins
(preferably chicken or fish), and I think a partridge in a pear
tree. I also need to get enough fiber, calcium, Vitamin D, B, C, and
I need thirty minutes of cardio a day (but apparently with the right
exercise product this can be done in ten), fifteen minutes of
strength training, and ten minutes of stretching. Plus, some
extended time for meditation so that my body and mind could align.
I’m told a germ-resistant mat is needed for that. I need to bust my
stress, nurture my creativity, and improve my posture.
I need to pay attention to my finances. Save and invest. Spend
frugally — yet somehow also buy the cool gadgets they review on the
show. Apparently extreme couponing is the way to afford it all, but
it takes a lot of time to save 80 percent on your grocery bill. I
need to check my credit report regularly. Shred important documents.
Back up my computer. Meet with my financial planner, if I cannot be
The list continues…
Change my oil every 3,000 miles and my transmission fluid every
30,000. Test my smoke detector batteries biannually. Change my air
filters every other month. Replace my toothbrush every three months.
Flip my mattress every six. Buy new pillows every three years — I
think this is for my posture, but it could be to get rid of dust
mites. Check my skin for irregular moles. Check my yard for moles
too. Weed and feed the lawn each spring. Grow houseplants to cleanse
the air. Save last night’s roasted chicken bones to make my own
chicken stock. Buy undervalued international stocks. Sell my stock
before it drops. And stock my pantry for possible natural disasters.
Fertilize, amortize, winterize, maximize, scrutinize. Suddenly I
realized: I don’t have time to live my life!
> > > PAUSE. My word for the year is PAUSE. In my busy life there
are so many times I need to pause. Pause to remember these days, for
they will fly by so quickly. Pause to say yes … and no. Pause to
give thanks. Pause before I speak in anger, judgment, or criticism.
Pause to say I’m sorry.
Looking at the list of things I was supposed to do to live my life
right, or well, or whatever all this was going to do for me, I felt
defeated. The list that was going to improve my life left me
overwhelmed. In my moment of defeat all I wanted to do was go surf.
’Course the list said I should put on a high-SPF sunscreen and take
along a BPA-free water bottle to keep me well hydrated. Filled with
filtered spring water, of course.
Dropping the Ball
I’m sure you can relate; you’ve made lists too. Lists of things you
want to start doing or stop doing — things you want to change about
yourself. Lists of ways to improve your life and your character.
Maybe you’ve only listed them in your head. But I bet by December we
see that little was achieved.
And you’ve probably found, like I’ve found, that each day keeps
blurring into the next while we try to make some progress with our
many good intentions. Yet very little actually changes.
So Baba Buhari, pause, take a chill pill, like the Americans are
wont to say. We do not appreciate you with each passing day; in all
the attempts you made to be president up till the point you cried
and eventually you got the seat you had loads of resolutions.
The Change mantra came with loads of hope for Nigerians, we believed
you were coming with an exercise routine that would bring smiles to
the face of the populace.
Almost three years gone much of what we have is fractured progress,
cripple movement and blind motion. Leading Nigeria I am sure Mr.
President has come to realize is no bean cake.
The situation in the nation has led to excessive Maggi eating, thus
we have become an edgy people, a nation divided across ethnic and
faith lines with intense hatred. Promises have not been kept; the
emotions of integrity, incorruptibility do not hold water when
insiders know better that all is not well. So as a people what have
we set out to do, we have resorted to reducing our population by
self inflicted genocide, we have by a self-programed button resorted
conspiracy theories. The larger population is making the noise, the
leadership is silent, and little done is assuring.
This administration has tried but really, how well; very debatable,
is there capacity to do more, there are doubts, should we try
another route, so it seems. Change never came on a platter of gold,
but what we currently have is a mantra fueled by the usual
prebendalism, thus the road is not only rough and tough but leading
nowhere, our tunnel has no light; so do we give up on drawing a
lists as nothing is being achieved, or do we ask Baba to leave us
with our maggi—Only time tell.