Naija the Great: Of snakes, cattle, rats, jackals and hyenas by Buchi Obichie (Opinion)

Naija the Great: Of snakes, cattle, rats, jackals and hyenas by Buchi Obichie (Opinion)

Editors’ note: In story-telling form, the writer, Buchi Obichie, highlights the various unusual developments relating to ‘certain animals’, which have taken place in the country. Employing wit and sarcasm, she notes the absurdity of each particular scenario and ends by offering a piece of advice even more alarming than the story itself!

This is a story about how strange events began to unfold in a land far, far away in West Africa. The over 180 million inhabitants of that great land woke up one morning to discover that something truly astounding had taken place at the national examination office – an animal had gotten very ‘fat’ and ‘rich’, through no fault of its own.

But before I go into that particular tale, let me start the story from the beginning, and narrate how animals became more ‘powerful’ than the citizens of this fantastic land.

It all started with the rat…the one who chased out the King when he returned from his medical vacation.

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You see, the King had suddenly taken very ill. The diviners and medicine men in the land could not come up with an effective treatment for this unknown condition, so the King had to be flown to another land…the white man’s land, where superior science could prevail.

As fate would have it, he got better, after spending over 100 days in the white man’s land. However, when the King returned, he refused to work from his office. His minders informed the land that rats had done damage to certain infrastructure, so the King would now have to work from his home office.

Up till this very moment, as this story is being written, no one outside the palace is really sure if the King has returned to his designated area of work, or if the rats are still holding court there!

Oh, I think I have gotten the sequence all wrong. It seems the jackals and hyenas came before the rats. Anyway, I shall proceed.

So, that ‘outspoken lawmaker’ from the land up North where the ‘short man’ governs, was the one who first brought the term ‘jackals and hyenas’ to the people’s consciousness.

The lawmaker always speaks in parables; but his words are clear enough that only the foolish would claim not to comprehend or decipher his riddles.

The jackals and hyenas are not animals per se, but can be defined as such, because of their ferocious nature. They are said to be the King’s handlers, responsible for all his 'wrong decisions', and for turning his heart away from the people.

They are seen and unseen, heard and unheard, but powerful enough to dictate what happens in the kingdom.

The King’s wife has also raised the alarm about these almighty creatures, but it seems her words do not carry enough weight within the palace.

In any case, the people have resigned themselves to the fact that as long as these jackals and hyenas move freely within the castle, there can be no real ‘change’.

Then came the cattle; these ones are just as powerful as the jackals and hyenas. They prowl about unchecked- day and night- and feast upon any farmland that catches their fancy. These animals move around with ‘high-grade security’; and woe betides the farmer who decides to play hero and stand in their way!

The cattle are known to leave destruction in their wake, even though their natural end is in the belly of the citizens of the land. Some people even say the life of one cattle has more value than that of a dozen citizens; but I would shut my mouth now, because that matter is a very sensitive one.

So, now that we have arrived at the end of the story, I will tell you the mystery of the snake.

Legend has it that one cold night while the kingdom slept; it crawled into the examination office and went straight to its treasury.

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As the story goes, the snake had been deprived of food for many days and was so hungry that it immediately proceeded to eat an unnatural meal – 36 million cowries!

The snake was so amazingly fortified with strange powers that it managed to carry the heavy load in its tummy and disappear before daybreak- without a trace. Up till now, not a hiss has been heard from this creature of mystery!

That ends my story; but before I go, I would like to give a piece advice to the people of this land: at this point, I think it is only right that all the animals in this story are officially granted citizenship.

I mean, it is only fair that for being even more powerful than the human beings, they ought to be granted equal rights and status - maybe even more! Or don’t you agree?

This opinion piece was written by Buchi Obichie.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of

Nigerians react as snake reportedly swallows N36 million - on TV:

Source: Legit Nigeria

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