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Shayo Na ‘‘Slave Master’’

bai Edwin Eriata Oribhabor, Naija Langwej Promoter, Abuja-Naijiria

"Due to increase in road travels during the period of September-December (emba months) every year and coupled with the presence of so many bad roads in Nigeria, the rate of accidents are usually higher when compared to the preceding months. Conscious of this, members of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) do mount series of campaigns to save or ameliorate the situation. At this time, one of the regular jingles that we hear on different radio and television stations is, ‘’If you drink, don’t drive.’’ Notwithstanding, there are Motor Drivers who have formed the habit of taking a bottle or two of any alcoholic drink before embarking on a journey. A recent entry into the Nigerian market called "Alomo Bitters" is not helping matters. The sing song of drivers who compulsorily drink before driving is; "Man most drink bifo i enta stierin". Hardly would such drivers heed any prodding from passengers against not drinking before driving. No bi smol tin. Some of them will boldly say "Na todé na im a de draiv moto?," "Na yu go tich mi hau to draiv?," or "Di taim a de draiv dem don born yu?"

Abuja is a city blessed with lots of gardens. In one of my poems titled "Abuja na hevun, na kpangba," I said "fo Abuja, gadin na san san."Today, the numbers of pleasant venues available for relaxation are increasing. Why recreate or unwind? The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of current English (A. S. Hornby 6th edition), states that to recreate or unwind means to stop worrying or thinking about problems and start to relax. But the concept of recreation or unwinding di we oyibo pipul tok am, difren from awa oun. If recreation is meant to unwind and put away our individual worries, should it be on a daily basis? Must it go wit di grin botul ol di taim? These and many more questions kept popping up in my mind lately.

Recently, I witnessed an interesting incident regarding the power of alcohol over the lives of millions of Nigerians. Three men pulled up menacingly at the parking lot of a garden as if being pursued or in pursuit of someone. All eyes turned in their direction as they walked majestically to a table close to where I and my friends sat. One of them shouted in a high-pitched voice “Waitaaaa....!” in apparent disruption of an on-going discussion on hau awa politishan dem de ple payan wit awa laif. Promptly, one of the service boys attended to them. Bifo wi se mek wi nou wetin de hapun, dem don drink more than two cartons of beer. From time to time, we kept turning our eyes at their direction wondering the stuff they were made of. In no time, they were headed for the fourth carton. Based on instruction to the service boy, all empty (consumed) bottles of beer were left on their table. Imagine forty eight empty bottles of beer on a table of three innocent-looking guys who rate and pride themselves on the number of bottles consumed at a sitting. At the end of the day, they will likely recount of their exploits this way, "Yestade na wa. Wi shayo wel wel no bi smol."

Wetin bi shayo? What is shayo? This same question was asked by non-Nigerians responding to the posting of one of my friends on Facebook named Pamela Yori Yori Stitch who addressed shayo as a bastard. She said; ‘’I will repeat this over and over again – shayo na bastad. Shayo na slave master. When people shayoed up, they lose sight of reality and start constructing things. Dealing with something in my other life (non-internet) - that is a direct result of someone’s tie to shayo. If you have a friend or family member tied to Shayo - intervene immediately.

In local Naija parlance, shayo means alcoholic drink or to take in alcoholic drink. In Pamela’s comment above, ‘‘shayo na bastad’’ means, at the end of the day, it’s worthless taking alcoholic drinks. People likely lose their sense of reasoning whenever they take in alcoholic drink and get drunk or shayoed. And a persistent hold to the habit of alcoholic intake (tie to shayo) puts the one affected in a world completely different form the real world. At this point, alcoholics only see things their own way as they ‘‘start constructing things.’’ I love this remark. Yu don si pesin we don shayo de yan?

That shayo is a ‘‘Slave Master’’ speak volume of its capacity to command its drinkers around like ‘‘slaves’’ especially when they get shayoed (drunk) as stated by Pamela. How else would one justify a habit that conditions one to a daily intake of alcoholic drink despite its negative consequences to personal health and finances? No doubt, the one who drinks every day is ‘‘tied to shayo’’ and a change of habit is strongly advised at this time of the year when resolutions are being made in view of the coming year 2012. Why remain ‘‘tied to’’ the apron strings of shayo - the slave master after 2011?

Shayo may not be entirely bad but when we look it at from the perspective of a drinker being ‘‘tied to’’ it, ‘‘Shayo na bastad.’’ Shayo na ‘‘Slave Master.’’ I believe Pamela. A biliv yu!

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