Monday, March 5, 2007

I received a call from my mother today. In the background, were several voices engaged in a heated conversation. She informed me that she was visiting her brother in Port Harcourt. As NEPA had "taken light" (or rather, "Power Holder," PHCN), the entire group of siblings, cousins and one grand uncle were all sitting outside in the stifling heat, having an argument about Nigeria and the upcoming election.

"Obasanjo is a thief," someone shouted.
"Na you wey be thief, ole" my mother responded laughing heartily.

I asked my mom who she plans to vote for and she told me "Nobody." Her reason was that she voted in the last election and doesn't feel that it was of any benefit.

"Who did you vote for, mom?"
"Ah, my dear. It was Obasanjo I voted for, oh."
"Well, then what are you complaining for? You clearly got what you wanted."
"I guess so, " was all she could say and we laughed for a long time.

I asked my aunt, who came in from Calabar, what happened to Donald Duke.
"Don't mind him. Anyway, he was too young to run for President. Obasanjo would have used him." She said.
"Hey, watch your mouth," my mom instructed.
"Heh, sorry, oh. But it is true." Aunty responded.

Next thing, my uncle, the family drunk (you know every family has one), excuse me - recovering alcoholic - screamed, "I'm voting for Atiku. Up Atiku!"
A couple people cheered him on and that got my mother really heated.
"Atiku, keh? Oti oh. Barawo Banza!" my mom screamed.

I could not believe she swore. Now, I have only heard my mother curse one other time and that was when i made her watch an episode of Jerry Springer. The word was "$#*!" and she only said it because two 'sisters' were claiming to be lesbian lovers. You know the typical Jerry stuff. In such a case, a swear word is more than appropriate. But, for my mother to randomly curse out Atiku is strange. She must have had whatever my uncle was drinking.

Then, I was informed that the new rumour is that Obasanjo wants to extend the elections until October and that he will do anything to hold unto power for as long as it takes. And, my drunk uncle also enlightened me that although today is Obasanjo's 70th birthday, he is "really 80" and is "going senile".

Although I got a great laugh out of listening to my family members slander the various politicians running for office, the heated nature of their discussion made me realise that the country is extremely polarised at this time. If my little family can have such wild arguments at 9pm local time while sitting in the heat, I can't imagine what people who don't like each other are doing to one another in the name of elections. How strange that my family could possibly reflect the divisions that have taken root in Nigeria on account of democracy.

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