Tuesday, 15 April 2014
The Neighbourhood He-Goat And The Presidency
I’m not certain if ‘he-goat’ is proper English, but if you’re African or Nigerian, you must know what I’m talking about. And if you had the privilege of growing up in a village setting like I did, then the concept of the neighbourhood male goat or billy goat won’t be far-fetched.
Growing up in a village like Elu Ohafia was so much fun. Despite the deprivation and disruptions occasioned by the civil war, my people soon re-adapted to living according to the rhythms of life. Communal activities flowed with the seasons; with everyone playing their part in this endless continuum.
Long before environmental militants arrived on the scene, my people knew and practiced environmental sustainability.
Among the duties assigned to me as a child was the care of the nanny- or she-goats.
The family grand matriarch, Mma Oyidiya had comprehensively tutored me on the choice of where the goats should be tethered. They must be tied where there is ample sunlight and food. And they had to be tied in such a manner that, in the process of moving, they do not strangulate.
Secondly, they must be tied in a location that makes for easy access by the neighbourhood he-goat that was usually permitted to move from one homestead to another getting all the nanny goats pregnant!
So each morning, I did my duty by securing the goats in suitable locations and dragging them back in at the end of the day. I didn’t have to bother about the he-goat doing its duties because it usually did. Five months or so afterwards, the birth of a kid or two was incontrovertible evidence that it did its bit. And in all my years as a domestic goatherd, the he-goat never failed to perform its noble role.
There are qualities of the he-goat I have always found both intriguing and interesting. Its signature odour, impressive work rate and sexy caller tune.
Long before you set eyes on it, that characteristic effluvium and celebrated caller tune arrive first: in that order. And long after it’s gone, the he-goat leaves ample, incontrovertible evidence of its visitation.
I’m aware the he-goat is not exactly associated with virtue in many climes. To call a man a he-goat is to make an instant enemy of him. Personally though, I love and admire the he-goat: body odour and all. That’s one animal that knows precisely why it’s around and employs the powers vested in it to get the job done. Often hated, harried and harassed, it will defy all odds to ensure the seed is planted. When it runs away, it is only to retool for another go at its bitter-sweet lifework. Isi-ewu and Nkwobi addicts and enthusiasts have the he-goat to thank for ensuring, by its dogged tenacity, that these famed delicacies continue to feature on the menu.
I would have titled this piece, ˝ The President as a he-goat, ˝ but I wanted to avoid being accused of deliberate deprecation of Mr. President’s libido: a matter I know absolutely nothing about. Sometime ago, I wrote a piece around the Presidency where I employed the metaphor of an ass. Some roundly berated me for calling the President an ass! No. I’m not, by any stretch, calling my President a he-goat.
Lately though, I’ve been wishing he’d start acting like one.
Everybody cannot love the President. Fact is, the President who is intent on tackling Nigeria’s hydra-headed ills will be much hated and maligned by those who benefit from the stifling status quo. Among this inglorious gang are prominent personalities and even so-called partner nations. All efforts to impress them are exercises in utter futility. Instead of wasting time currying their favour, the President must focus on delivering on the promise of generating fresh air to save the masses of Nigerians from economic asphyxiation. In the final analysis, what will stand the President in good stead is the improvement of the lot of the average Nigerian: not how many awards garnered or lucre cornered.
The he-goat is not much adored and admired but it gets the job done. So should a President.
Kings are not usually given to verbosity and flippancy. Yet, when they do speak, their words are like law that cannot be questioned. All documents that bear their imprimatur are treated with requisite sacredness and immutability. Like the he-goat, a President’s voice must ring clear and shouldn’t be mistaken for any other’s. Whenever and however he elects to speak, there should little doubt about intent and resolve. A situation where many are falling over themselves purporting to speak for him only engenders confusion. And when rebuttals and clarifications are thrown into the already murky mix, disbelief and cynicism only heighten.
Finally, anyone who aspires to succeed as Nigeria’s President must be a workaholic. There are far too many things to be done; and most of those should have been dealt with yesterday. The job of administering Nigeria is not an eight-hours-a-day, forty-hours-a-week jamboree. It’s not for the lily-livered, physically challenged, mental misfit. The garrulous and gluttonous are better kept far away from the precinct of the Presidency.
Barrack Obama assumed the US Presidency as a dashing young man. Today, he’s aged and grayed considerably. That’s what effective leading should do to people.
I don’t know whether he-goats can have intestinal ulcers. It shouldn’t be surprising if they do. It will be heart-warming to learn the President has just developed ulcer (the treatable type; that is)!
So Mr. President, it’s entirely up to you now. Before you are the many nanny goats confirmed to be on heat: just aching and dying for you to plant the seed. I don’t think your virility is in question.
And five months isn’t such a long time to put the matter beyond argument.
Do have a merry Christmas and I hope and pray 2013 won’t be as disaster-ridden as 2012!
OLUGU OLUGU ORJI
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters