Recently, on Facebook, Nigerians watched in shame a video showing members of the National House of Assembly tear each others clothes when a violent disagreement took place.
This was not the first time. I remember watching on television local House of Assembly members throw chairs at each other due to some disagreement that had taken place. So, while I wasn’t particularly surprised when I watched this video, I said to myself there have to be more constructive ways to disagree, if not necessarily non-violent, given that members of the House of Assembly seem to have very expressive personalities.
What if instead of throwing chairs the members had opted for rolls of Eba (Staple of cassava meal eaten widely in West Africa)? At least, several nearby bukas (local food stalls) would have hit their weekly targets with a contract from the House of Assembly for balls of Eba not to talk of the kind of PR this would have brought them. Think of the sous-chefs and cleaners working there? They would have been able to pay for their kids school fees and even buy new school shoes.
How about the rolls of Eba littering the House of Assembly? Well, I remember eating Eba every afternoon as a student of a popular Federal Government Girls College in the South. I had spent only a year in this school when the principal retired. When a new principal was appointed she was amazed to find that rice was served more than once a week. What rubbish! In a public school?! Eba was made to replace the rice very quickly. Hence, we had Eba almost every week day for lunch. The effect? I haven’t made or eaten Eba voluntarily since I left secondary school. As I write this, I pray I never have to make Eba for my children. In addition, I pray my children never have to eat it but choose to eat it. Amen. I guess you know how I feel about Eba now.
However, had the members thrown Eba at each other someday about 16 years ago, I think the principal would have eagerly liaised with the cleaning firm working at the House of Assembly, whether it was in the south or across the River Niger, to deliver the Eba for recycling in the school’s kitchen. How pleased would she have been to present a report to the Ministry of Education on how much she had saved in the area of nutrition in less than a few weeks of becoming principal.
You see if we must do things in an irrational manner, I think we should remember those who can benefit from our actions. After all, almost all Nigerians believe in GOD and attend church or mosque at weekends. We all are taught not to be selfish and to remember the poor. So, next time, may all concerned endeavour to bring Eba and desist from throwing chairs.
And please before you start to tear each other’s clothes, kindly take them off and send them to your churches and mosques where they can be distributed among the less privileged.
P.S: Thanks to @kayobiclothing for inspiring the title of this blog post with their famous ‘Make Eba not war’ tshirts and @goodnaijagirl to whom I owe Image credits.