I am certain that at the sight of today’s headline, my readers who are from regions other than the Niger Delta would be tossed into bamboozlement. In a bid to dissipate this conundrum, I will tell a brief tale about the etymology of ‘talknado’ before proceeding into the crux of this discourse.
As a proud Ijaw girl, I grew up speaking fluent pidgin before anything else. English was for conversation in school but as swiftly as the ‘home-time’ bell rang, so did our English phrases get ‘broken’ down. In those remote times, when distant relatives and some non-relatives invaded our city home from riverine villages under the auspices of a communal lifestyle that once existed, they would at nightfall sit in the courtyard with my parents and delineate tales from the waterside. Like Alice, my siblings and I were to be in wonderland chasing after rabbits in those hours. Alas, that was just a figment of my mom’s imagination. For, with my mercurial nature, I had masterminded stealth ways of eavesdropping on the late-night korero. Equitably, that was the only aspect of the relatives’ unannounced visit that I luxuriated in because I disrelished their perennial intrusions.
However, my inquisitiveness would later be my undoing as it cost me the moments of smugness derived from my mischief while hiding behind curtains and listening to the hilarious tales by the village folks. One day, after school, I innocuously asked my mother, “wetin be talknado? Why that uncle wey come visit us dey talk say e no like that old papa wey visit us before e come, say ehn be talknado?”
Though it’s been decades ago, I remember the look of astonishment on mother’s face and how it slowly faded into a lazy smile as mom pulled me down onto the sofa and educated me. Though I lost my nightly visits to the elder’s forum for flippantly divulging my secret after that day, I learnt something valuable. Mom explained that ‘talknado’ was a truncation of ‘talk and do’, used by the folks back in our riverine home to refer to people who are a combination of words and action. She said it didn’t necessarily mean that the person was vile, though oftentimes ‘talknados’ seemed ruthless and other villagers didn’t have any fondness for them. .
As I grew older and got profound in discerning good from evil, I would laugh at the realisation that those folks from back then would most likely refer to me as another talknado but this story isn’t about me. It is about the so-called ‘jerk, sexist, racist’ that occupies the White House today. It is about what Donald Trump, the business man without any political pedigree said during his campaign and what he is doing in his first 100 days in the oval office, as President of the United States of America. While most of Trump’s campaign promises may be fresh in our memories because of the fact that he has hit the ground running, President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign promises may only resonate in our heads when we feel the pangs of this recession. I will elucidate on that momentarily but first, read this:
The 2016 presidential campaign of Trump, an American businessman, was formally launched on June 16, 2015. Trump’s populist positions in opposition to illegal immigration and various trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, earned him support especially among voters who were male, white, blue-collar and those without college degrees. Trump’s most polarizing and widely reported proposals were about issues of immigration and border security, especially his proposed deportation of all illegal immigrants, the proposed construction of a substantial wall on the Mexico–United States border at Mexican expense and a temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the U.S.
Fast-forward to 2017, his presidency began with a bang on January 20, 2017. That day, Trump became the 45th President of the United States and immediately, he made good his word. The first 100 days of Trump’s presidency has been characterized by laudable action, signing of executive orders that will bring life to the words he spoke during his campaign. On January 27, citing security concerns about terrorism, Trump signed an executive order suspending admission of refugees for 120 days; denying entry to citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. Remember how Trump went on and on about immigration during his campaign, he has done what he said he would do!
On January 23, Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an unratified free trade agreement. Didn’t he say he would do that during his campaign? The Trump wall is no exception because despite the rugged terrain of the border area, on January 25, Trump signed an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to begin building a wall on the Mexican-American border. Now, that is a ‘talknado’!
It makes my heart bleed and my soul cringe when I think about our dear country. I hurt when I remember the garrulous campaign promises that were crassly tossed into the atmospheric pre 2015 national election. America is already getting tangible deliveries in less than one month but here, instead of evaluating visible actions, we played the blame game and talked about parched hope, when we did an appraisal of President Buhari’s 100 days in office in 2015. Give him a little more time, the change fanatics had proposed, he will surely deliver but a year went by, in fact, almost two years have drifted away, two AGONIZING years and not one tangible achievement can be pointed at.
How about the crippling policies? When was the last time you ordered imported good? Some Nigerian importers have shut down operations due to the exchange rate. I don’t have to quote it, you know the rate but I must say congratulations to us. Yes, I am afraid I have to congratulate every Nigerian because we unanimously brought this monumental austerity upon ourselves. How did we do it? You may ask me. The answer is plain on tablets… Our silence, our inactions, our disgusting mentality of sanctimoniousness and the annoying ‘God will help us’ mantra we chant sans a scintilla of mortification.
Look at America, there has been series of protests since Trump’s inauguration despite the fact that he is doing what he said he would do. What did we do, what have we done after the agents of change came to usher us into this wilderness? We are waiting for God to come down with a celestial host and miraculously pull us out of this Hades, right? Please, I would advise you not to hold your breath because He will not come down! While the elite are as silent as tombs, a musician aims to bell the cat but some propagandized country men are audacious enough to call him names! Our deafening silence bids my heart break because I am certain that our woes will not magically disappear with a wave of PMB’s supposed magic wand.