The maize revolution

A hungry man is an angry man, but you’ll find a man angrier when the food he’s offered brings dissatisfaction rather than the opposite. The consumption industry is fast catching up with the construction industry in terms of utilising gravel as a raw material. And it appears the stone the builders rejected also got steamrolled (or parboiled), sacked (in 50kg bags), and became the corner stone of our weekend breakfasts. You probably narrowly escaped one this morning. With the sheer amount of stones chewed(and/or swallowed) in the past few months, the digestive systems of a lot of us should have begun evolving gizzards, if Charles Darwin was right about that popular theory of his. Anyways, we are already losing our teeth (and our bite) in our next step towards evolution into chickens. And while one could gamble the rocks are likely to reduce with time, it’s safer to hedge that bet by having, via natural selection, a dentist or two among family and friends. But this rice we’ve been eating cannot lay any claim to be “chicken feed” because one, it is expensive, and, two, even chickens prefer cornthe last time I checked.

Nigerians have resilient constitutions but these stony staples are stretching our immunity and community, rather than keeping them bound. Picking rice is now similar panning for gold, and that seems quite apt since they are both harvested in swampy regions – and lakes. The scarcity of food that can be chewed from beginning to end without being extra careful is a problem for which pap is a solid solution – or a fluid suspension, depending on how it is prepared. Hence it is up to those of us who subscribe to this notion,the responsibility of applying it to the largest scale attainable. And this cannot be attained individually but as a single unit. There lies the onus – on us. A manifesto should be launched with a “Table of contents” but what happens when the writer is not content with what is on the table for lunch? What happens when the food for thought cannot be sifted through in order to find any value? – It might rather be dismissed as pap. However this time around, the value is in the pap.

Lovers of pap, unite!  Lovers of pap, coagulate!!  Lovers of pap, be congealed not concealed!!! The time has come as it has become necessary for us to collectively turn over a new leaf in all sectors, from the grass roots to the green shoots. But first, we need to get the seeds planted in the right conditions, and stalk the growth until the tassels are moved from each ear – like a graduation ceremony – and the cycle is completed (and restarted). But it all begins in the nursery.  For instance, we believe that “A for Apple, B for Ball…” as recited by kindergarten pupils should contain “P for Pap”, and for that reason, we adopt “P-‘4’-PAP” as the identity of our organisation. The full meaning might change with the times, but the catchy acronym which is alphanumeric to ensure a stronger password to our servers – and to deter hackers – should be retained, especially for our upcoming tasks. Having observed that the process of getting into the right positions requires lots of reforms, the first step is to institute a level playing (or “planting”, as the case may be) field for all. And just like harvests should be fairly commensurate with pollination, polling results should be a proper reflection of the vested interests of the populace.

This is why our first incarnation would be in the guise of Pap-lovers for Proper Addition of Polls (P4PAP).Quite corny, it might sound, but since collation is basically addition, how difficult could that be? This feat could be achieved easily by mass mobilisation of agents to go round every polling unit in the 36 states, 774 LGAs, and thousands of councils in the country. They would only be required to transmit the results declared by the Presiding officer by uploading them online to our social media platform, Whats-pap from Maize-book (not to be confused with Zuckerberg’s). Computers could compute the computations from there. Once our structure is firmly established in almost every council district in the country, we would register with the electoral commission. Just as pap is popular throughout the country, regardless of weather and climate, P4PAP would also become a household name. In fact, our logo will be a bowl of pap. The only ideology we would have would be whatever guarantees the surplus of corn, millet and other pap-making grains and condiments in the market. Some people blend their pap with ginger and we are quite gingered for that as well. Registration would be on the condition that we are granted the following waivers.

Number one would be the permission to have our alphanumeric acronym on the ballot. Two, the location of our headquarters should not be mandated upon us. We could remain virtual, or we could decide to build an island on the Atlantic using all the sand and stone pebbles found in our meals. The final and probably the most important: Drinking of pap at the election venue should neither be counted against us as a brandishment of our emblem nor as campaign during election. Man needs nutrition, and it is not our fault that the electoral commission doesn’t provide refreshments for its events. These have to be in place as soon as possible so that we can quickly actualise our great vision for the country when we get to the helms of affairs. The fundamental plans which we hope to achieve include the official renaming to “Nigerya” because it is an anagram of the word “grainey” – as well as other more sensible geographic reasons. Another thing we’ll change is the flag. The appearance would remain the same but the colour labels would then be “Gren, Whit, Gren” – the “e’s” would be eased out – so that the pronunciation would be similar to “Grain Wheat Grain”. These and more give a feel of our awesome ambition, if given total unwavering support. We are Passionate Pap-lovers Promoting Plans Plus “A-maize-ing” Progress (P4PAP). And we are reaching out directly to you – no third “party” involved. Herald the arrival of a new season. Join us whenever.

  • Osunkoya writes in via osunkoyaidris@yahoo.com

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