When you hear the phrase, “beer parlour talk”, what comes to mind is quite predictable- gibberish, nonsense, balderdash, lies, rumours and whatever comes to your mind. One thing we fail to realise is that these ‘talks’ are the reflections of average Nigerians. To get the message in the ‘talks’ however, one needs to chill on a ‘coca cola diet’. Simply put, order for a soft drink and observe the chats of the ‘fellow Nigerians’ and don’t hesitate to inject your opinions when the topic is of great interest to you.
You get beer parlour ‘talks’ every day you go to a bar and the topics always vary. Today could be the present politics; the next day history, another day entertainment and the weekend after could be sports. Whether the discussion attracts your interest or not, one unanimous fact is that we go home knowing something new- it could be a mere mirage though- or better still, we leave the bar knowing that someone else shares the same opinion as you on a particular topic.
Today’s beer parlour talk would certainly interest you and based on that I would not share my source with you- I mean the beer parlour’s name. A stout man ‘on a bottle of stout’ started the conversation. In his exact words, he said ‘Na Buhari fit fight dis corruption matter, the others na thief’. Just like an ember of light ignited, almost everyone in the bar showed interest, except few of us who were on our ‘usual coca-cola diet’. The reactions were varying as expected but indubitably, it showed the views of thousands of Nigerians.
That stout has ingredients that make one develop an interest in politics might seem like a beer parlour talk but the first persons to react did not have a green bottle on their table, it was black and really made of black. The first man was quite vocal, from his choice of words; one could deduce that he is educated to an extent. ‘Buhari is not fighting corruption but only fighting his oppositions’, he said. His claims were that the popular ones that have been arrested are not members of the APC and those that have been investigated by the EFCC are people presumed to be strong oppositions to the policies of Buhari. He seems quite good with recent histories as he made reference to some PDP bigwigs that have been investigated- Olisah Metuh, Fani Kayode and even Fayose.
One interesting thing about beer parlour talks is that the idea of turn-taking in conversations is not needed in such a context. The first person to react to the ‘stout man’s’ controversial assertion wasn’t done talking before someone else joined the conversation. He seemed to have consumed more bottles than the others based on how aggressive he responded. ‘That’s the problem of this country, we are really unserious! Buhari is ‘G/god’ sent and we are still not comfortable, the man is winning the corruption war and people who have pauperised Nigerians for 16 years are eventually being arrested yet we are claiming it is an opposition war’, he angrily said. ‘These PDP members being investigated are thieves, did you even read newspapers at all or even the news on the internet, go to talkglitz.tv, you will read how they stole our money-billions of dollars. Look at Madueke, I read online that she is richer than Bill Gates and she is not the owner of Microsoft. Tell me, how did she get her wealth if not by stealing your money-our money? You better wise-up, Buhari will flush these people out and Nigerians will remember him forever, he’s our Messiah!’
I still couldn’t fathom how he was given all the time on the floor to share his opinion, maybe because of his aggressive voice or his apparent passion in expressing his opinions. Whatever reason it was, it made more people join the conversation. One contribution was worthy of note, this man was visibly in support of what the last person said. He said ‘Buhari is a man full of integrity; he has never stolen public funds in his political career. He had just 150 cows in his farm even though he was a military head of state before. How could you claim such a person is not sincere with his corruption war? Some ‘bad-belles’ are just trying to dent his image. That is how they said his son had an accident on a bike and people were shouting that the bike is a super or power bike. Someone we should praise that his son is riding ordinary Okada’.
‘Those online platforms will just exaggerate everything! How many Presidents will you see their son riding okada?’ Most of those who seem interested in the conversation were laughing including me. The narrative of the power bike turn Okada must have been responsible for that. He seemed serious with all he said although he was obviously under the influence of stout. His friend had a different opinion however. When people in beer parlours say ‘man pas man’, it underscores how people who have consumed the same number of drinks talk and act differently. Although, the friend has taken more bottles, he was obviously not drunk. His contributions were direct and from all indications, he seems vaster in politics than his ‘Okada-Power bike’ friend.
‘Buhari claims he is fighting corruption but obviously, he is not. Let me give you practical examples- Obanikoro ‘was’ corrupt when he was in PDP, he is no longer corrupt, Omisore was corrupt but when he aligned with APC, his name disappeared from the travel ban list, Kemi Adeosun forged NYSC certificate but unlike Adeleke, she was escorted to the airport by the police, Ganduje’s tailor sew a bank and he called it a cloth, babariga or whatever it is called- EFCC is not talking about Gabduje the way they talked about Fayose when he was a sitting governor. Can you now see that everything is a scam?’ He said with much enthusiasm. That certainly made his beer parlour brethrens believe his line of thoughts.
He still has a whole lot to say but the nature of the discourse context would not give him the time he needed. The next voice I heard was from a man who I believe finds solace in cigarettes, after puffing out the smoke in his mouth, he said ‘Let us call a spade, a spade and not a working tool. These people in government don’t care about you. Their corruption noise is just to make us believe they are working. They are all corrupt; do you know what we call PDP in my workplace? People Deceiving People and APC, Association of Past Criminals. Those ones being arrested are the present victims. If they are guilty, they should rot in jail so that they won’t come out to throw a big party like Bode George did and those ones who have not been arrested should enjoy it while it lasts. Their time will come, sooner or later but for now, let me smoke up’.
An igbo man said excitedly ‘
Oga, ahbeg me I no hear English ooh but I sabi something, all of dem na desame, Buhari dey try but hin no fit fight corruption. If he wan fight am true true, make hin start am from APC, make hin clear all d thieves for hin domot, if hin don do dat one, e fit con move ahead. Shebi na dem dey talk say ‘change begins with you’ who suppose be ‘you’ wey change go begin with if no be Buhari and hin Change people. If dat one don dey, we fit con talk something else. But dat corruption matter dey kill us for dis country, d calculator wey bin dey my phone sef no fit calculate d money wey we dey hear say dis big politicians dem don steal to naira. News don turn money to yeye. Dem go just talk billion like say na sand wey dey everywhere. Me no want d billions, make I just fit give my wife and pickin food and make d pickin dey school. After dat one, make I fit tell mama make she yemu 2 bottles of stout and 1 Nkwobi, e don finish’
The atmosphere of the beer parlour is always lively and very few life-related topics are not discussed. In this particular beer parlour, there is neither DJ nor speakers. It is covered with a tent and everything they sell there is ‘mortuary standard’ (the beer parlour ‘people’ knows what that means). Those who patronize this particular beer parlour see it as where they could relax after the day’s stress at work. At least, ‘man no go kill hinself’. The topic at the beer parlour today wasn’t over but for time factor, I had to leave. The beer parlour talk here isn’t just the men’s talk-women are as involved but few women were present today. The next, I believe, will be more inclusive and you wouldn’t want to miss it. See you at ‘Mama Mortuary Standard’ Tent later today!