BY RICHARD MADUKU
Something many foreigners would swear was impossible even in a dream or in fairy land is happening in Nigeria today. It is not the free fall of the country into the poverty capital of the world. Many outsiders can hardly believe that a nation blessed with so much natural and human resources like Nigeria could become a place where the majority would be gnashing their teeth in hunger and converting the same into fasting and praying.
It is also not the transformation of the stick-carrying rustic nomadic Fulani herdsmen into rifle-carrying terrorists imbued with a newfound boldness in occupying farmers’ lands after killing them, raping their women and torching their homes. All these hardly believable things have been happening in the last few years but there is something else. It is the transformation of that great technological wonder known as the laptop into a deity!
You are wrong if you think we are speaking in metaphors or parables here with the last sentence.
We are not. We are talking of a real transition from a technological wonder into a full-fledged deity like any other elsewhere! The only snag is that they have not transited into benevolent gods that require only animal blood, kola nuts and ogogoro (local gin) as sacrifice.
Believe it or not, the deity laptops had become in Nigeria lust for parts of a woman’s body such as the head, breasts or the vagina! When these are not readily available, some accept women’s panties! Again, we are not talking in metaphors here – we mean everything mentioned here literally!
As it is said that there is no smoke without fire, cases of women murdered with head or breasts missing have been on the increase since the yahoo-yahoo plus (that’s the name the laptop phenomenon is popularly known) began in the last couple of years.
Young women, especially those in universities, have been murdered in their hostels and some young men have been arrested with either ladies’ body parts or undies. They were said to have confessed that those items were for yahoo-yahoo plus rituals.
A young man caught with a woman’s head which turned out to be his mother’s also confessed it was for the same purpose! Out of fear of being stolen for yahoo-yahoo plus rituals, girls now dry their washed underwear inside their bedrooms or mount guard over them if hung on lines outside.
Some herbalists have been questioned after being fingered by laptop-carrying young men caught with female body parts or panties!
To borrow a Latin phrase made popular by the ongoing impeachment inquiry into the US President, Mr. Donald J Trump, what is the quid pro quo here – what does the laptop deities give back to those who were able to procure these grisly items as sacrifice to them? Unlike other gods that take months or years (if not almost a lifetime) of sacrifice, the newly discovered laptop devils enrich devotees who fed them with these ghoulish items with wealth that no other god had been known to give almost overnight!
But as if this is not strange enough, it is believed this wealth, usually in newly minted banknotes especially the dollar, and is delivered at the shrines of herbalists or witch doctors – a case of high western tech collaborating with African magic?
And unlike adherents of most other deities that are of all ages especially the middle-aged and the elderly, those of the laptop god are mostly boys in their teens or young men in their early twenties or early thirties at most. As at now, no females of any age are known to be worshippers of this laptop deity.
But this has got nothing to do with the items of sacrifice that must be parts of their body. For, like flies after feces, girls flock around the big boys and the young men who have made it as adherents.
According to the information I gathered from reliable sources, these youths drive the most expensive cars and they are to be seen in the best eateries and hotels with their girls almost at every time of the day.
Young ladies who on their own wouldn’t have staged a party now do so regularly once they have a yahoo-yahoo plus boy as friend or who was likely to honour their invitation. They now organize parties to celebrate their birthdays, their parents’ birthdays and marriage anniversaries.
They throw parties when they pass JAMB and especially when graduating from tertiary institutions. Those graduating from one vocational training or the other who have a yahoo-yahoo boyfriend, celebrating what they call “freedom day” is a must.
And the yahoo-yahoo plus boys who often drive in late to such parties rarely disappoint their hostesses. According to my sources, they out spray any local Dangote or Adeleke and with crisp naira notes!
At a burial ceremony a few months ago, I saw a harmless-looking young man spraying not only the family members but also the musicians and the master of ceremonies as if money was not his problem.
As he was leaving immediately after spraying, he began throwing brand new naira notes into the air for women and children following him to catch or to pick. When I asked who he was, I was told he was a yahoo-yahoo plus boy. That was the closest I ever came to one.
But it is not all jolly-jolly for these rich big boys and young men. As they are the toast of most social gatherings, so are they on the list of most wanted persons of the police above even terrorists, armed robbers and kidnappers. Recently the same fate has befallen the smart phone. Any big boy or young man carrying a smart phone is now treated as the one carrying a laptop.
Though they are rarely picked up in their parents’ homes or during parties, the police now search for these two items more than illegal firearms carriers in their check points on Nigeria’s highways. Any young man found with either a laptop or a smart phone on Nigerian highways today is always detained by the Police. Before they could be released huge sums of money is believed to always have changed hands.
Some women, not happy with this development were reported to have formed an association of yahoo-yahoo plus boys’ mothers to fight for their sons’ rights! This was reported not only on the social media but also by the reputable papers and TV stations in Nigeria this year, 2019!
Like in the Edo Syndrome where parents and family members source for money by all means to send their daughters to Europe to hustle, many parents in Nigeria today are reported to be doing the same for their young sons. They are reported to be frantically sourcing for money to buy their sons who were yet to be initiated into the yahoo-yahoo plus fraternity either laptops or smart phones in order to join!
I was at home one afternoon about three months ago when a woman with a child tied on her back entered my sitting room after being told to do so on knocking.
She was searching for accommodation but the first thing she uttered with surprise written over her face on seeing me typing on my laptop was: “Papa you de do yahoo-yahoo plus too?” ie Papa are you into yahoo-yahoo plus too? I calmly told her that I was not and that I have been using a laptop for over one and half decades. Lastly, I told her that I don’t believe in the jazz about laptop or smart phone for ritual purposes anyway. She shook her head with disbelief and like every person I have expressed my disbelief to, she wondered if I was living on the moon!
Maduku, a retired Nigerian Army (Infantry) Captain and novelist, wrote in Effurun-Otor, Delta State.