Towards the end of the previous year and the beginning of the present new year, the nation was hit by a dramatic phenomenon; the pant rituals. I thought it wise that it will be a slap on my journalistic face if I don’t tell my own side of the story in my unusual entertaining manner.
Even though the beats of politics: electioneering, tribunals, blackmailing, etc has taken over the days of activities in our dear country, Nigeria, thereby covering the earlier dramatic piece, some of us, especially youths won’t forget so soon and this piece has come to serve as a comic relief in the midst of the political drama hovering around the environment.
Recall that Nigeria star modern highlife singer, Chinedu Okoli, aka Mr Flavour, came into the music limelight with the release of the popular number titled, ”Pant No Niro”( an Igbo slang meaning underwear is exposed) in his first album. That was few years back when ladies freely hung their underwear in public. Interestingly, some ladies do that as a way to appeal to the opposite sex.
An African proverb says and I quote, ”the child who dances the music of the spirits must know that such music is specially reserved for the spirits.” Today, the music has come with an absolutely different tune. The first outbreak of the drama was when one unknown internet user said she sold her pant for an amount totaling over a N250,000. By that time, nobody had considered this very seriously. But as time ticks, the phases of action began to unfold; the pant owner being the central character while the supposedly thief becoming the villain of a set in a typical Nollywood non-cinematic standard movie.
I bear witness to a scene where one Sunday (surname withheld) was caught with several ladies pants in Mgbakwu, Awka North LGA in Anambra State after feminine locals complained of their missing pants. After being battered by the angry crowd, he confessed that one chief had approached him with the mouth-watering proposal to deliver ladies pants in exchange for cash. Obviously, such proposal to this poor gentleman meant provision of employment, isn’t it? According to him, each underwear supplied was to go for over N400 only. As at the time of being caught, he had managed to steal only 35 pieces.
With many rising cases of the pants ritual; ladies became wary of their environment. Everyone became a suspect; especially the power-hungry boyfriend. A gift of underwear, including pants became like the Trojan horse that must be dreaded with uncanny passion to avert the incoming consequences. As I was in dialogue with a female colleague on my intent to note down this drama-in-action, that cracked our ribs. She went ahead to relate yet another story of the pant saga that took place along Benin-Ore expressway. A vehicle was intersected by robbers on the highway. Unlike the usual,” your money or your life”, this scene of action changed into a historic feature with the tag, ”surrender your pants.” According to her, for those that had no pants, they were offered one to wear for few minutes and the robbers took it back.
I repeat, whatever is the genesis to this drama, it cannot be forgotten, especially amongst the youths. Suddenly, it became a norm in the streets for a male to comically threaten a female to steal her pants. The latter replies impromptu, begging for forgiveness. This was the order of the day as dear Nigerians counted the days to the 2019 general elections.
The point remains as a fact that nothing is ever new on earth. Years ago, it was alleged that body spray, perfumes, etc, were used as objects to attract and hypnotise ladies. That period saw most ladies avoiding gifts from their lovers especially in those items.
However, prior to the pant saga was the horror film; female parts for money rituals. This is the oldest and most horrific amongst the scripted movie. In 2017, a 200l female student from ABSU who had gone partying with her friends at Owerri was later found dead with vital parts of her body especially mammary glands removed. According to one of her friends (who had gone along with her to the party), who raised alarm after noticing her absence from school few days after their return from the pool party. She allegedly said that a man had offered her friend lift and that was the last time she was seen alive. The end story of this horror movie is horror-stricken.
To add fire to the flames, another unscripted drama took place in Delta State University (DELSU); a case that cost the life of a young lady, who was murdered in cold blood by a security official of the school. The victim was an undergraduate in the Department of Mass Communications. Meanwhile, the alleged suspect’s confession implied it was not his first ‘Murder in the Cathedral,’ and would not have been his last if nemesis had not caught up with him. The gory images of the victim showed her eyes removed and her breasts cut off. The poor girl died out of pain. Unlike what is attainable in a typical Hollywood setting, it appears that the villain seems to be triumphing over the main actor in these movies.
As serious as these issues are, there have caused paradigm shifts in the lives of many members of the society. Do you remember the era of the Casket rituals? While, our Chinese, Russian and North Korea counterparts are anchoring for more IT and military power, our dear youths were busy malingering in the coven of money and power. The insatiable hunger for wealth pushed them to go a long way to lie in a casket and be buried for days. If the individual survived the test, he would gain power and fame. Such an interesting feat!
Still prior to the saga being treated is the potty effect (Ebe’ in Yoruba, Ishi in Igbo). In early 2016, while discharging my duties as a National Youth Service Corps member, the LI instructed every one of us to mind what we eat, where we eat and …….where we discharge our bowels. That last one led to a roar of laughter amongst us. Little did we know that a new order has taken over the day. Men were willing to trade potty for money. At the time, a place of potty was priced between N250—N400, 000 . We made jest of the issue as some of us made comments to sell theirs for the money.
” abeg no be shit. Me ready to sell 10 plates of my shit to the person jare,” one corp member exclaimed during one of our leisure moments.
The question to ask ourselves becomes; how did we get to these level of man’s inhumanity to man? Where did we get it all wrong? Who is to blame or to be praised?
Artistically, every script has the story writer. Every script has its SLOG; location, time (day or night), and characters. The genesis of the whole story centres more on the Nigerian youths’ quest for survival. Like the young lion (cub), he finally finds himself entangled in the web of class ratification and need for societal recognition.
The exodus being the middle of the story begins at the moment he realizes that survival in the race demands extreme measures. So, he goes on to seek wealth in any manner possible. At this stage, it seems his personal ideology becomes the popular adage, ”…… man must survive.” Hence, to meet up to social standards, he improvises the methods to actualize his dreams.
Then, what becomes of the revelations behind the dream? Like the character Hamlet, the young youth devises a plan to dramatize his intentions. Today, he does it via associations with popular and dreaded occult groups, or collaborations with top barons in the game of drugs; most importantly, an association with the popular internet fraudsters aka Yahoo boys, which happens to be the trend of the moment.
The missing link is the lack of value in our systems. There is need for re-orientation. At a time when most sects in the society is clamouring for restructuring; whereas the first part of that has to begin with the training of our minds to think in a far productive and positive manner.
The revelation is the beginning of a new generation armed with moral values and patriotism. The revelation is the beginning of a new breed of personalities. When this is set, then a refined kind of script will be acted on.