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Di Sainbod Filosofi

bai Edwin Eriata Oribhabor

Regular readers of this column should by now, be familiar with spellings in Naija as used on this page. This niu spelin sistem was packaged by Naija Langwej Akedemi in collaboration with Institut Francais de Recherche en Afrique au Nigeria (IFRA-NG) code-named Standad Naija Otografi (SNO.) This autography has guided all spellings used in the promotion of Naija (aka Nigeria Pidgin) For example, if the above title was written in normal English language, it would read; Signboard Philosophy or Philosophy of the signboard. By the way, the average Nigerians regard billboards as signboards bikos na niu wod . In whatever name you choose to call it, let’s talk about hau di tin don skata som pipul hed fo Naija.

Philosophy, spelt filosofi in Naija, is a “set of beliefs or an attitude to life that guides somebody’s behavior. “ By this definition, the filosofi of di sainbod fo Naija could be explained as the feeling or belief that projects the use of billboards as a compulsory tool for the promotion of a particular cause or image with a view to winning political advantage at the expense of political opponents in Nigeria. It is a false barometer for judging the capabilities of candidates seeking to be elected into respective political offices. Similarly, it is a “yardstick” for measuring who is who amongst serving political office holders especially governors of the respective states in Nigeria. Somehow, it has become a sine qua non for performance and the capacity to perform “if given the opportunity.” The phenomenal increase in the number of signboards being mounted across the country points to the fact that it is now a veritable avenue for making quick business; an meni pipul don hama from dis niu levul .

There’s no doubt that several politicians/candidates seeking for one political office or the other will continue to redouble their efforts at outsmarting themselves using this filosofi even though it exposes their respective level of kolo-mentaliti . It is now one of the ways by which awa big big oga dem de tek de setul dia bois ; political cronies and ol di pipul we sabi limpa . These days, am told that political jobbers and business people embark on fasting and prayer sessions to secure the contract for the production of billboards. Dem go se, if manpikin fit get ivun tu oo “three” sainbod, a don hama. The sainbod filosofi creates a false sense of feeling in those mounting them that; the more billboards they mount the more their chances of winning or staying in power for as long as the constitution permits. They have a warped view of politics for genuine development. Dem kom tink se di mo dem du sainbod, di mo pipul go de laik dem.

Going by this thinking, we find all manner of billboards mounted with both private and state funds promoting smol smol yeye wok like the commissioning of a borehole in a community or a block of classrooms whose entire surrounding at completion stage smacks of nothing but hori hori wok . What about a billboard showing a governor smiling and waving to no one in particular. Is this a way of telling his people that im govament na kankpe? No shekin?

In matters relating to billboards, shame is usually thrown to the dogs. Billboards are even used in the promotion of either ground braking events, on-going construction works, or projects that were haphazardly concluded. No thought is ever given to the huge sum of resources wasted in the process of mounting them. Plenti plenti yeye yeye tins de fo sainbod mata and are capable of making one cry for one’s country and its leadership especially when one looks at some shoddy jobs/projects (almost eaten up by weed) shown to the whole world on giant-sized billboards. Then you will ask; di pipul we put sainbod no get shem?

Once carried away by a filosofi that conditions one’s mind and thinking to view the mounting of sainbod as the only way of showcasing one’s political worth, one was bound not to imagine a disgraceful outing at the coming polls. This reminds me of one of Evi Edna Ogholi’s musical numbers that says something like; in every kilometer, you find a new language. In this sense, every kilometer is a billboard competing for space and recognition in terms of size. For fear of being branded a political hatchet man acting the bidding of some political godfada , the names of states leading in this show of shame fo dis moden ej would have been mentioned. As the billboard wars rages on, it would be expedient to make provision for the repair/amendment of the old and weary looking billboards as well as the production of new ones with “current designs” even though there may be no budget head for such expenses. Sainbod filosofi. Naija sainbod. Ol na ten an ten pens!

Mr Oribhabor is a Promoter of Naija and resides in Abuja.

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Institute of African Studies
University of Ibadan
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