My dear Baba Buhari, leave us to keep eating Maggi

January 30, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo



Prince Charles Dickson



Nigerians have become so impatient and edgy now because we eat too much of maggi” House of Representatives member, Aishatu Dukku.



We don’t have enough time to live our own life!


I reached this conclusion after trying to follow all the advice given on a morning news show one week in January 2017. It seemed like a smart way to start my day. I figured I’d tune in, get the forecast, learn the headlines, and maybe hear a celebrity interview. I wasn’t expecting all the show segments telling me how to live my life better.


Most of these segments offered the promise of deliverance: “Financial Freedom Is Closer than You Think” or “Four Secrets to Better Communication.” Others, I decided, were designed to scare the socks off of me: “Six Health Risks Every Person Faces” or “Thieves You Cannot See.” Motivated by this combination of hope and fear, I compiled a to-do list of ways to improve my life and its management according to the experts. The more I listened, learned, and listed, the more behind schedule I felt.


The topics on my list ranged from health maintenance to home maintenance to car maintenance. I was informed I need to eat certain foods every day: four veggies, three fruits, two proteins (preferably chicken or fish), and I think a partridge in a pear tree. I also need to get enough fibre, calcium, Vitamin D, B, C, and Beta-something-or-other.


I need thirty minutes of cardio a day (but apparently with the right exercise product this can be done in ten), fifteen minutes of strength training, and ten minutes of stretching. Plus, some extended time for meditation so that my body and mind could align. I’m told a germ-resistant mat is needed for that. I need to bust my stress, nurture my creativity, and improve my posture.


I need to pay attention to my finances. Save and invest. Spend frugally — yet somehow also buy the cool gadgets they review on the show. Apparently extreme couponing is the way to afford it all, but it takes a lot of time to save 80 percent on your grocery bill. I need to check my credit report regularly. Shred important documents. Back up my computer. Meet with my financial planner, if I cannot be one myself.


The list continues…


Change my oil every 3,000 miles and my transmission fluid every 30,000. Test my smoke detector batteries biannually. Change my air filters every other month. Replace my toothbrush every three months. Flip my mattress every six. Buy new pillows every three years — I think this is for my posture, but it could be to get rid of dust mites. Check my skin for irregular moles. Check my yard for moles too. Weed and feed the lawn each spring. Grow houseplants to cleanse the air. Save last night’s roasted chicken bones to make my own chicken stock. Buy undervalued international stocks. Sell my stock before it drops. And stock my pantry for possible natural disasters.


Fertilize, amortize, winterize, maximize, scrutinize. Suddenly I realized: I don’t have time to live my life!




My word for the year is PAUSE. In my busy life there are so many times I need to pause. Pause to remember these days, for they will fly by so quickly. Pause to say yes … and no. Pause to give thanks. Pause before I speak in anger, judgment, or criticism. Pause to say I’m sorry.


Looking at the list of things I was supposed to do to live my life right, or well, or whatever all this was going to do for me, I felt defeated. The list that was going to improve my life left me overwhelmed. In my moment of defeat all I wanted to do was go surf. ’Course the list said I should put on a high-SPF sunscreen and take along a BPA-free water bottle to keep me well hydrated. Filled with filtered spring water, of course.


Dropping the Ball


I’m sure you can relate; you’ve made lists too. Lists of things you want to start doing or stop doing — things you want to change about yourself. Lists of ways to improve your life and your character. Maybe you’ve only listed them in your head. But I bet by December we see that little was achieved.


And you’ve probably found, like I’ve found, that each day keeps blurring into the next while we try to make some progress with our many good intentions. Yet very little actually changes.


So Baba Buhari, pause, take a chill pill, like the Americans are wont to say. We do not appreciate you with each passing day; in all the attempts you made to be president up till the point you cried and eventually you got the seat you had loads of resolutions.


The Change mantra came with loads of hope for Nigerians, we believed you were coming with an exercise routine that would bring smiles to the face of the populace.


Almost three years gone much of what we have is fractured progress, cripple movement and blind motion. Leading Nigeria I am sure Mr. President has come to realize is no bean cake.


The situation in the nation has led to excessive Maggi eating, thus we have become an edgy people, a nation divided across ethnic and faith lines with intense hatred. Promises have not been kept; the emotions of integrity, incorruptibility do not hold water when insiders know better that all is not well. So as a people what have we set out to do, we have resorted to reducing our population by self inflicted genocide, we have by a self-programed button resorted conspiracy theories. The larger population is making the noise, the leadership is silent, and little done is assuring.


This administration has tried but really, how well; very debatable, is there capacity to do more, there are doubts, should we try another route, so it seems. Change never came on a platter of gold, but what we currently have is a mantra fuelled by the usual prebendalism, thus the road is not only rough and tough but leading nowhere, our tunnel has no light; so do we give up on drawing a lists as nothing is being achieved, or do we ask Baba to leave us with our maggi—Only time tell.






Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.

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