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9ja rules! "Wahala dey o"! - Popularising the Naija Language: 5 things to be thankful for if you live in Nigeria


  • Popularising the Naija Language
  • 5 things to be thankful for if you live in Nigeria
  • Is there anything wrong with following instruction? Who is wrong here, the Ticha or the student?
  • "My own don spoil today!!!"
  • "Wahala dey o"!
  • 9ja in the life beyond!

Popularising the Naija Language

Using the word “pidgin” to describe the speech pattern or its written version commonly referred to as broken English in days gone by or stylishly named “rotten English” by Ken Saro Wiwa in his novel Sozaboy is no longer fashionable nor accurate –so concluded language scholars at the IFRA (Institut Francais de Recherche en Afrique) Nigeria-organized conference on the Nigeria Pidgin held at the University of Ibadan in 2009.

The conference rose with the firm resolution that the Nigerian Pidgin is currently well developed enough in terms of widespread usage, identifiable orthography and communicative propensity to shed the derogatory connotation of the term pidgin and wear a new respectable toga to be known as Naija. Several measures were suggested to further popularize the Naija Langwej in its current standardized version, among which was its use in literary writings.

The poet, Eriata Oribhabor, was an active participant at the said conference, where he presented a paper on “The Use of Naija in the Media, Arts and Entertainment” and it is, therefore, logical for him to attempt to creatively present the newly renamed Naija langwej in 50 poems of varying length and subjects in a collection entitled Abuja Na Kpangba An Oda Puem –dem .The arrival of the collection, with its catchy title, echoes many other iconoclastic efforts by notable poets in the past in their attempts to make us take the then pidgin seriously as a language of creativity. One recalls Aig-Imouekhuede’s Pidgin Stew and Sufferhead (1982),Ken Saro Wiwa’s long pidgin poem “Dis Nigeria Self” in his collection Songs In a Time of War(1985), Mamman Jiya Vatsa’s Tori For Geti Bow Leg(1985),Ezenwa Ohaeto’s I wan Bi President(1988) and If To Say I be Soja(1998) as signposting the land-marking usage of the Nigerian Pidgin in literature.

All the aforementioned books were received by the reading public for their public spirited themes and particularly for their use of a language with mass appeal –the language of the people.

Abuja Na Kpangba An Oda Puem-dem, though following in the footsteps of the rich traditions of Pidgin poetry of the earlier writers, makes a strong case for taking the form seriously in terms of conforming to the grammar and stylized standards of the Naija langwej. Beyond the pioneers identified above, contemporary writers usually switch on to pidgin as a kind of second rate attempt at creating humour which they erroneously think pidgin is best for and can be done as solely defined by the capacity and exposure of any writer. Thus we see varied orthography, some of them outlandish and mostly led by the ear and generally appearing like twisted English in many of the pieces presented as Nigerian Pidgin in contemporary Nigerian literature, whether it is drama, prose or poetry.

In Abuja Na Kpangba…, the corrective and pioneering venture of the poet Eriata in showcasing the new way the hitherto Nigerian Pidgin now Naija should be written is noted in the “Edito Mesej” by David Esizimetor prefacing the poems thus: “dis koleshon of puem speshal bikos na im bi di fest naija langwej buk we dem poblish wit di niu spelin sistem we bi Standad Naija Otografi(SNO) we Naija Langwej Akedemi(NLA)aprov.” After that, the poet plunges into the wonders and the contradictions of the city of Abuja in the title poem entitled Abuja na hevun,na kpangba where he writes: Abuja na ples!/ wen you land/ yu go wonda weda/ na Naija yu de?/ yu go de luk ayanyan/ yu go de hala laik se/ yu wan kolo/ yu go se/ “abi no bi Naija bi dis?”/ “abi na obodo oyibo bi dis?”

In another poem the poet asks: “Wich Landa Broda?” as a post-colonial critique of history as written or perceived by the colonizers, not sparing the internal colonialists, too: Abuja don te/ Gbagyi don de/ bifo Abuja kom de
na so i bi.// Naija don te/ awa pipul don te/ bifo Naija kom de/ na so i bi.//
Na so wi de/ Dem se na Landa Broda/ Dat na wait lai/ Wich Landa Broda?
In poems, such as “A get sista” and “Wich neshon yu bi?”, the poet explores family themes and upbringing resonating with the boy-girl child dilemma as it affects both parents. In the first poem, we witness a mother with so many boys already pining for a girl: “No bi boi bi di tin/na gel mama want/bot na boi” ; while in the second poem we encounter a disciplinarian father dealing with his horde of boys: “Papa pas soja/i gada os laik gels/haus no get gels/i no wan hie.”

The poems in the collection traverse the wide range of subjects any poet can muster, ranging from socio-political concern, love, treachery, ribaldry ,urban tales, class dichotomy to simple display of street lingo or credibility which is never in short supply in the arsenal of the form on which the collection is built.

What is however very noticeable in Abuja Na Kpangba is the assured manner in which the poet is able to navigate the varied subjects using Naija(Nigerian Pidgin) without being verbose and with refreshing turn of phrases in virtually all the poems that give the reader a feeling of reading Pidgin like it has not been written before. And in places where the poet quarries deep into the lingo of Naija, as spoken in maybe Sapele-Warri axis considered as the native speaking area of the language, footnotes not glossaries are generously supplied to aid comprehension by non-native speaker. For example, in the poem “Na fo haus yu swim?”, mocking pretentious child upbringing by parents, who themselves were very free as children, the poet pens thus: Wi du am fo sansan/ Baf fo sansan/ Swim fo dambadamba/ Kach ogoro,kuk feri fud/ Ple,jomp an laf. (italics mine).

In explaining some uncommon words in the above smippet from a much longer poem, the poet supplies footnotes indicating that sansan means “sandy ground”,dambadamba as “stagnant pool of rain water collected in dugout sand pits”,ogoro as “frogs” and kuk feri fud as “cook imaginary play food.”The most obvious change in the orthography a lay reader of the collection will notice in relation to earlier forms of the Nigerian Pidgin he or she may have come across is in the spelling and pronunciation of the letters or words i and a . The letter i in very many pidgin renditions sounds as or pronounced as a as in i dey kampe (apology to Olusegun Obasanjo of i -still –dey- laugh fame).In Abuja Na Kpangba, the written form of i and the pronunciation is close to that of the letter e as used in context in the poem “Abuja na hevun,na kpangba”: “Abuja na di ples!/na di veri ples/i de kamkpe no bi lai.” Compare that to the use in the poem “A arenj” which goes thus: “A de kamkpe/a arenj/a si pepe,a sabi/a arenj, etc.”
Eriata Oribhabor has definitely achieved a crescendo in Abuja Na Kpangba in the sheer exhibition of the mastery of Naija(Nigerain Pidgin), as he passionately weaves piece after piece, showcasing the viability of the language in expressing our humanity and the endless pleasures that lie in speaking in one’s own tongue;in this case the Naija Langwej.

The book from the content page to the blurb is written in the Naija langwej which is commendable except for the page on about the author at the very end which is written in straight English and one wonders why that oversight?And you readers must wonder too why this review was written in English and not in the Naija Langwej or at least in Nigerian Pidgin. I guess it will take a long time before we will be able to settle the language question in our literature and the coming of Abuja Na Kpangba has added a fresher dimension to the unending discourse.
Denja Abdullahi, former National General Secretary, Association of Nigerian Authors, is Deputy Director, National Council for Arts and Culture, Abuja.

5 things to be thankful for if you live in Nigeria
~Vanguard Nigeria. Sunday, December 18, 2016. 

It's been a rough year for Nigeria. From the hike in the price of the dollar to increase in the cost of food and living, there have been a lot of reasons to feel discouraged about the giant of Africa. Many have become fixated on big-picture worries and so, take for granted all the little facets of life that deserve appreciation.

Believe it or not, Nigeria is still a pretty great place to live. And to bring a major boost to your overall happiness. Jumia Travel shares some things you can be grateful for if you live in Nigeria.

Jollof Rice

Nigerian jollof rice is probably one of the tastiest meals there is in the whole continent of Africa, especially when paired with grilled or fried chicken and plantains. Those who live in Nigeria have to be grateful for the meal, especially as you can get decent Jollof pretty much anywhere in Nigeria.

Better Access To The Internet

Despite the recession, the country has generally experienced better access to the internet as several companies providing internet services have emerged and network providers like MTN has even further reduced the cost of acquiring internet/data and so a lot more of the residents in Nigeria have access to the internet. Basically, almost anyone can now learn about anything that piques their interest without having to pay for training or visit a library to find a book or magazine about it.

Good Entertainment

From good music to fantastic Nollywood movies, when it comes to entertainment, Nigeria has good representation. You can hardly get bored in that aspect. Foreign artistes have done more collaboration with local Nigerian artistes as regards music and a lot of Nigerian movie directors and producers have invested more in movies to ensure they are of higher quality and can not only compete with movies from other parts of the world, but also gain accolade as well.

It is Much Easier to Find Love in Nigeria Now

Love is one of man's core needs and no matter how much people try to refute the fact, they find it being the case. There are so many more places to meet people as well as avenues to meet them. More bars, restaurants and lounges crop up around the country each day, where residents can meet people. Again, online dating has made everything easier as there are more dating sites to meet Nigerians and even get to know them before actually taking them out and spending money on a date. Basically, dating in Nigeria is so much easier now.

Small And Free Pleasures Of Life

Nigeria is a beautiful country and has so many tourist attractions and peculiar environs to prove it. Residents get to enjoy several small and free pleasure of life, whether they are actually visiting some of these exotic sites or just having a regular day. From as little as watching the sunrise at Elegushi seaside to taking a relaxing walk at Agodi gardens, and swimming at Oguta Lake, there are so many pleasures within the reach of the residents.

Is there anything wrong with following instruction? 
Who is wrong here, the Ticha or the student?
"An old woman boarded a bus to Lagos from Calabar told d driver; "driver, if u reach Benin tell me o! The driver nodded n then she shouted again"my children,una hear wetin I tell am? Everybody responded YES MA!
On d long journey to Lagos,everybody slept off but dis woman neva blinked. Dey neva knew she doesn't know Benin. 

Afta several hours of driving and Lagos close-by wit Benin about 4hrs behind, the poor woman then asked; driver, u neva reach benin? Ooooh!! 
The driver exclaimed; madam Benin is like 4hrs behind us.

The woman started crying "take me back 2 Benin abeg I no wan wahala o!!!
After all said, and considering the age of d woman it was agreed dat the driver should turn back 2 Benin. On getting 2 Benin, the driver came down, opened d door n told d woman she is in Benin. 
The woman simply opened her hand bag, brought out a sachet of panadol, removed 2 tablets n swallowed dem with water. 
She then smiled and said, na my daughter say if I reach Benin make I take 2 tablets of panadol, Oya! Make we dey go Lagos"

"My own don spoil today!!!"
Sent by Frederick Ifeanyi Obiajulum Adigwe - Nigeria

A Nigerian man living in Sweden decided to marry a Swedish lady in order to get his permanent residency, but the lady was not aware of this. She felt he really loved her. Anyway, seeing that Nigerian men had a bad reputation in that particular part of Sweden, our chap decided to lie to the lady. He told her he was from Uganda.

Upon marriage, the lady came home one day and informed our man that she had just met another Swedish lady who had married Ugandan and they must all have dinner together.

The Naija man was shocked, but did not show it, and wondered how he'd get out of this spot. So he postponed and postponed until he could do so no more.

Finally, the day came when they were to have dinner. The other Swede came in with her Ugandan husband and they all sat at the table. Our Naija guy was very quiet. "My own don spoil today!!!" was all he could think.

The two Swedish ladies, wanting their husbands to mingle, being from the same homeland, asked them to speak to each other. "Hey! It's not every day you meet people from home.!" they said.

Our Naija man, being a sharp man, decided that he would just speak Yoruba, and the guy would probably assume he was from some part of Uganda where they spoke a different language. So looking across the table he said: "Egbon Eko ni mi se? Ni bo lo ti ja wa?"

The fellow looked up at our friend. His eyes lit up as he said: "Ah, bobo gan! Omo Eko ni mi se! Omo Eko gan gan!!!!

 "Wahala dey o"!
Sent by Gershon YAO-DABLU - Ghana

Bill gates organised an enormous session to recruit a new chairman for Microsoft Europe.
Five thousand candidates assembled in a large room. One candidate is Ayodele, a Nigeria guy.

Bill gates thanked all the candidates for coming and asked those who do not know Java program to leave. Two thousand candidates left the room.
Ayodele says to himself, "Man no die, man no rotten, I do not know Java but I have nothing to lose if I stay. I’ll give a try".
Strong-head, he stays.
Bill gates asked the candidates who never had experience of managing more than 100 people to leave. Two thousand left the room.
Ayodele again says to himself, "I never managed anybody but myself. Me, I have noting to lose if I stay. What can happen to me?" So he stays.
Then Bill gates asked the candidates who do not have, Management Diploma to leave. Five hundred left the room.
Ayodele says to himself, "Management ko! Management ni! Me, I left school  at 15 but wetin I get to lose?" So he stays in the room.
Lastly, Bill asked the candidates who do not speak Serb-Croatian to leave. 498 candidates left the room.

Ayodele says to himself, "O pari-o! Me wey be say na Yoruba dem born-me-inside and I sabi blow Broken well-well, wetin concern me with dis-one, Jo-o, I do not speak Serb-Croatian but wetin-sef, what do I have to lose?" So he stays and finds himself with one other candidate.
Everyone else has gone.
Bill gates joined them and said, "Apparently you are the only two candidates who speak Serb-Croatian, so I’d like to hear you have a conversation together in that language".

Calmly, Ayodele turns to the other candidate and says, "Wahala dey o"!
The other candidate answers, "Oga na wa o"!

…and Bill gates, "You are both hired"!


9ja in the life beyond!
Frederick Ifeanyi Obiajulum Adigwe - Nigeria 

 Angels: Almighty Father we are tired of these Nigerians... in heaven o

 GOD: What have they done this time?

 Angels: everything! They don't listen to instructions! They don't obey traffic rules,They dont wait for their turn in anything.! They are reckless!(exasperated) In fact they have turned heaven upside down since the first time we started admitting them.

GOD: Pls bear with them. They are very special to me... ehm let me call satan in hell to see how he's doing.
(phone rings) hell-o lucifer how are things over there?
satan: Baba God pls call me later. There's an issue i'm trying to resolve.
(ten minutes later)GOD: hell-o lucifer
satan:I'll call you back. The issue has turned into a crisis.
(one hour later) satan; sorry Baba GOD.
 GOD: lucifer are you having problems over there?
 satan: it is these Nigerians i have with me in hell. They (stammers) they.. they....they have quenched the fire in hell and installed air conditioners!!!

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