The Englishman feeds his dog with bones. The Nigerian feeds his dog with chocolate. The difference is chocoholic.
There are no bones in chocolate.
In his classic How to be a Nigerian, Peter Enahoro, aka Peter Pan, recounts the chocolate-and-bones matter thusly.
A Nigerian student bought a very expensive roast chicken in a London restaurant and decided to eat up even the bones. A nearby Englishman wondered aloud what Nigerians fed their dogs with.
The Nigerian was very prompt with his answer: Chocolate!
That is our way. Any other way spells how not to be a Nigerian.
This brings me to the story of how some white men flew into Nigeria to record the life and times of a man whom they adjudged to be the oldest living man in the whole wide world.
The white discoverers came with the most modern cameras, television monitors, high-tech lighting, super-duper super-computers, and sundry gizmos and gadgets.
There was so much talk of having the old Nigerian enshrined permanently in the coveted Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living hominoid North and South of the Hemisphere.
The white explorers set up their filming equipment on the frontage of a non-descript bungalow in the Ikate suburbia of Lagos, Nigeria, and the oldest living mortal of their discovery sat upfront on a cane chair, with plenteous klieg lights shining on his woe-be-gone face.
“Pa, why have you lived this long?” the foreign interviewer fired the first question.
“Unlike most Nigerians, I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke, and I don’t do Womanology,” answered the old man.
“Womanology!” screamed the interviewer, his pointed nose shooting up and his equally pointed jaw almost dropping. “That’s a new one. Can you explain the terminology to us? I mean Womano…”
“Womanology is a rabid disease of the Nigerian he-goats called men,” said the old papa. “I don’t go to the other room at all! I have no interest whatsoever in breasts and buttocks and the aperture underneath!”
Just then, a loud commotion emanated from the back of the house. There were sounds of bottles breaking and wild screams of unprintable curse words.
“What’s the cause of that?” asked the frightened white interviewer, pointing toward the back of the house from whence cometh the brouhaha.
“It must be my elder brother,” replied the old one, shaking his head. “Every day he wastes his life smoking and drinking, and any night without a woman is a funeral!”
“So you do have an older brother?” the interviewer queried, unbelieving.
“Yes,” said the old man. “He is a disgrace to the family!”
“Aaaaah!” cried the interviewer. “So you have an older brother who is the direct opposite of you? A boozer and a brawler and a crawler! He is the interesting old man to interview. Get thee away from me, you lifeless papa!”
The interviewer was about to dash into the house when the old brawler came bounding out, almost pushing the excited white man to the ground, whilst being grabbed at by a half-clad middle-aged woman.
It was total commotion writ large.
“Pay me my money!” screamed the nearly naked irate woman at the brawler.
“E sweet me, e sweet you, who go pay?” the old brawler screamed back at the lady, mightily struggling to disengage himself from her vice-like grip.
“Shameless old rake!” The woman was still screaming, eyes flashing red.
The old brawler took his time to look at the gathered white men in turn, and then queried: “White men, what are you doing here with this my bloodless brother?”
“We thought he was the oldest man until we discovered you…” the white interviewer was saying.
“How can a bloke who doesn’t drink beer and clear bushes grow in age?” the old brawler interjected, quaking with laughter and hollering. “More rounds, more years!”
The white men looked at one another in wonder. Even the lady was relaxing her hold on the blithe old man.
“My brother is the perfect example of how not to be a Nigerian,” the old brawler was saying, looking from the white men to his brother while avoiding the woman by his side. “My brother does not belong here at all.”
“Let’s talk,” said the white interviewer, closing in on the brawler.
“Let’s get to the bar at Divine Parish and I will talk,” the man said, gesturing that the white men should follow him to his regular watering hole. “Booze is a Nigerian!”
“You are going nowhere without paying me my money!” the lady cried, grabbing back at the departing old brawler.
“We shall pay you in his stead,” one of the white men said to the lady.
“How much is it?” asked the other white man.
“Get me all the Naira in my wallet,” said the interviewer. “We have to pay her.”
“Nobody eats my chocolate on credit!” howled the woman, still grasping at the brawler.
“You are shit!” the old brawler shouted back at the woman, unrelenting, as ever determined to have the last word. “You told me you were chocolate but there’s no sweetness in you! Nigerian chocolate is shit! That’s why our dogs eat the damn thing!”
“You are the dog!” yelled the woman in finality while stretching out a hand to be paid by the white men.