On the Animal 2

Every language and every culture has what we call idioms. An Idiom by the definition of my trusted dictionary, is a group of words whose meaning is different from the meanings of the individual words. For example when it said that ‘the cat was let out of the bag’ is not meant literally but rather it is meant to mean that a secret was mistakenly exposed.

 But idioms are not the only form of expression that applies to languages and cultures, there is also what we call etiquette. For example it may be okay for a man to use a certain idiom, while being considered inappropriate for a woman to say the same. In fact certain idioms are only to be uttered in the presence of one’s peers and not their elders. There are also certain idioms that are not to be uttered by men or women who occupy a certain position. It may be perfectly normal for a common man like me to say certain things, but it will be suicide if such words where were to be uttered by say a politician. If a common man like me were to refer another human being as an animal, it will at most be considered bad manners. If however a politician was to say the same, then the matter becomes different. A good example of this is when Charles Taylor referred to his opponents as cockroaches.

Alas in every language, there are some idioms that are unwise, just down right unwise. A good example is a Hausa idiom that; ‘If your neighbour’s beard is on fire, start to water your own beard. Even as a child I feel proud to remember that I felt this Idiom to be funky at the very least. It took some growing up for me to finally realise that it is complete nonsense, Bullocks and all round deserving of a PG 16 rate description. For truly what is the point of pouring water where there is no fire? Imagine a house on fire, and the fire brigade arrives and proceeds to hose down all the neighbouring houses, instead of the one that is actually on fire. What is the point? The first thing to know about fire is that it burns, the second thing to know about fire is that it spreads. This is self-evident to even the world’s dumbest animal, if indeed there is such a thing as the world’s dumbest animal. This is why one of the best indications of a wild fire is the sight of animals running in terror, oblivious to what may stand in their way. It almost feels as though some idioms in the Hausa language were deliberately popularized by enemies of the language itself.

It appears that there are so many unwise idioms that have been perpetuated and infused into the language and psyche of some Hausa speaking people like myself, that I am beginning to understand how Boko Haram’s Shekau could conceivably hope to make sense to anyone. Or how a neighbour will cut the finger of his dead neighbour, because of a shiny ring. Or how every now and again they go on a rampage of mad attempts at ethnic cleansing, even though the people they are actually trying to kill share the same blood with them. I am talking about the Christian/Muslim killing sprees that plague Kaduna state every now and again of course. But why should anyone be surprised when the governor of the state himself cannot seem to think of a better way to deal with those who murdered people in the state, other than to pay them. Not just pay them, but enthusiastically come out in public and boast that he has paid them. This happened in Kaduna state, and if you don’t believe me, look it up on your own. Such is the depravity of Nasiru and his ilk, that the fact that he has insulted human beings, is a trivial matter, to be consigned to arguments about idioms and grammar.

The Hausa language is as old, as the collective memory of the hundreds of tribe who speak it, from the Senegal all the way to Saudi Arabia and beyond, Muslims, Christians and all. It is because of its truly peaceful spirit that it has united so many different and diverse groups of people, for as long as it has taken for it to expand and grow to the point it has. The turmoil of inter faith violence that has plagued Hausa speakers in what is but a very tiny percentage of the history of the Hausa language, has its epicentre in Kaduna state. And the culprits are people with mind-sets like Nasiru. People who can’t quite be described as human, people who feel no empathy, people who can do anything, people I think are dead inside; I believe Fela described such of them as Zombies, the Undead. Abominations on God’s Earth.

Luckily thanks to the tireless and untold sacrifices of honest Nigerians from a large number of diverse and rich heritages including my father, this country now has a better electoral system, that is the best this country has had in all its history as far as I know. So that someone like me does not have to be Tallahassee, Ana, Alice, Ben, Shaun or Ash Williams in order to oppose the filthy tyranny of the undead effectively. I do not have to own a boom stick and a chainsaw arm in order to try to save myself and my fellow men, women and children from the abominations that are the soulless and un-living creatures Like Nasiru. My voter’s card and God willing my ballot will suffice to ensure that I can do my part like everyone else to bring this nightmare to an end. Nasiru claims that my father’s people don’t vote, that is why he thinks he can, not only let himself out of the bag, but meow, scratch and bite as he sees fit. To vote or not to vote is a personal choice which everyone has every right to make, it is a personal choice, not a religious prerogative. This is why the words: “vote for PPP, CAP, DTC, LKC, APC or PDP” shall never be heard from my father’s mouth, for he is a religious leader and a father to all. Just like “I know the Animal I am dealing with” should never be heard from the mouth of a local government chairman, let alone a Governor of a state, or even an amateur politician. But I am none of these things, and so this allows me to say to you that you Nasiru ‘will never win a fair election again for the rest of your days.’ Even if I Mohammed Ibraheem Zakzaky is dead. Nasiru will never win a fair election for the rest of his days.

By Mohammed Ibraheem Zakzaky