By Sinmiloluwa Makinde
As a Nigerian child, the first thing that should stick to your tiny skull is that you are a Nigerian birthed by Nigerian parents. Once that has sunk deep in that small-well sometimes big-coconut head of yours, you are safe (*slips on shades*call me basketmouth). You can’t behave like the ‘oyinbo pikins’. Don’t ever try to pull the stunt of reporting your parents to the police when they flog you…it would land you in so much trouble than you can ever imagine and you would be a reference of madness to other kids around you…even the local media would make you popular using the title “END TIME SIGNS: STRANGE CHILD REPORTS PARENTS TO POLICE FOR FLOGGING HIM”
Never watch television. On no account should you watch television at all. Whether weekends or weekdays, don’t watch it. When you get back from school, after eating what your mommy prepares for you, ‘jejeli’ go to your room and pretend to read your books (you can dream away on how you’ll win the next table-tennis game or the latest gossip you heard). The only time you can get away with watching the television is either during Christmas or ‘Ileya’…but that also depends on your religion. If you are a Christian and you want to watch film on ‘Ileya’ day, don’t tell what you see ooo. And if you are hell-bent on watching television when your daddy is not around, just make sure you know when he would be back so you switch it off 30 mins before that time and put it on that same channel he left it at (If it’s a movie you watched, don’t do I-too-know when your dad’s watching it. Do NOT claim to know ANY of the cast).
If you love yourself, when you are being beaten with ‘pankere’, never call on the neighbors for help. Reason is this: it’s either the neighbors encourage your parents to beat you the more or they help you to beg but be sure that the beating will start all over again when they leave. Imagine when you are being given 20 strokes of cane and a neighbor comes to your rescue at 19 and your parents start all over again (Efimílè! E jé n náà!)…. So when your parents flog you, just accept it and know there is God.
It is a taboo to have friends. Friends according to Nigerian parents are evil; very very evil. If you tell them that you have a friend in school, you would be asked a question and told a quote. The question is “Shey it is friends I have told you to go and pack in school or you should go and read your books?” The quote would be “A sheep that walks with a dog will eventually eat shit” (there are various pronunciations for that by the way. It could be sheet, cheat, cheet, shirt….) which means that bad company corrupts good manners…friends are evil…don’t have any.
“Parents are always right” should be the song in your head. Fear your daddy and your mommy. That is just the smartest thing to do. Don’t take sides, if you take sides with your mommy-even if your daddy is obviously wrong-daddy would threaten not to pay your school fees and would refuse to give you money…that’s when you would hear statements like “Go and meet your mommy and collect everything you need from her. ‘Shebi’ you have chosen to obey your mommy in this house ni? Go and meet your mommy and leave my front!”.
When your parents tell to you to study Medicine, don’t tell them you prefer music. That would be an insult… your opinion does not count (even when it does, you’re still a child, what do you know?) what you feel is not a question here. Whether you love music is not a question that would be considered. Don’t you know that it is more glamorous to be called ‘daddy doctor’ than ‘daddy olorin’? (if your jazz works well, you can tell them about Olamide and Wizkid and not die before your time, that is, be flogged to death by them). If you want to avoid being abused by the whole extended family, ‘jejeli’ do what they want. You would be the obedient child who makes parents proud especially daddy.
Your parents have the final say, don’t try to give your opinion a voice. Any attempt you make to explain your position on an issue would be taken to be argument…and I’m sure you don’t want to be termed the child who argues with his parents.
When you get home with your report card with the second position on it, know that your daddy would scold you since he spends the money. When he makes statements like “Why can’t you be the first? Does the person who is first-God help you such is a girl and you are a guy-have two heads ni? When I was in school, I was always the first (even though you know that the best position he had in school was when he was 15th out of 20 students) and I don’t know where your mummy got you from.…”, you don’t talk. Just stare at the floor, when he’s done lashing your brains, he would release you.
Never compare ‘openly’ what you eat in your house to what others kids eat in their house. You would be termed as ‘olojukokoro’ and you would be terribly flogged. Accept whatever your parents provide for you as food. If what is being put in your flask to school every day is rice or pap or beans, never look at that boy that brings lots of goodies as he would definitely put you in trouble because you would tell your mommy and your mommy’s reply to you would be to ‘pankere’ you and tell you that “It is what a parents give his child that the child should accept”.
If you obey all these diligently, you would be the obedient Nigerian child (please step forward and receive your prize).
Then again, globalization has changed the century, hasn’t it?
Sinmiloluwa Makinde loves to write and he tweets @sinmimakinde