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A Nigerian national conference of adjectives


PHOTO: Odyssey

A few years ago, a successful national conference of VERBS IN THE ERA OF COLONIAL IMPOSITION was held by Roadside University (motto: short cut, long cut, just cut! mission statement: short time, long time, any time!).

In the time of colonial rule in the country verbs were limited.

Colonial officers taught our people about what they could not do.


So, the colonial times was called The Period of Don’t.

At the local level, at the provincial level and at the national level the colonial policy was the policy of Don’t.

That conference, in the various academic papers presented, established the fact that those who did, against the policy of Don’t, ended in prison.

In that era, to do was to do wrong. And those who do wrong do jail.

No wonder then, the conference concluded, that our education, our social and cultural emphasis was pervaded by the policy of Don’t.

The struggle for independence was a struggle for Do.

The colonial government was against Do and all their coercive powers of government was used to stop Do.

At the end the colonial government conceded to those who pushed Do but warned them never to forget Don’t because, as far as they were concerned, Don’t was the way of wisdom.

In footnotes to the presentations, there was the notion, still to be further researched, why, in spite of gaining independence on the platform of Do, Nigerian politicians and leaders continued with the colonial policy of Don’t.

There was to be a follow up conference on the VERB IN POST INDEPENDENCE NIGERIA but Roadside University could not secure a market place in time.

Plus there was no enthusiasm for such a conference when the condition pertaining to verbs was still negative.


Don’t do this. You can’t do that. And as yet nobody has appeared to say loud and clear YES WE CAN DO!

It is against this background that a case was made at Roadside University that finding a befitting market place and market day, a conference of ADJECTIVES be organised to discuss the plenitude of Adjectives that have flooded the country since October 1, 1960.

Why Adjectives? And why now?

The best creative writing courses any where in the world and in any language cautions the potential writer to shun Adjectives.

Keep away from Adjectives. Do not use them. They are like thieves and robbers of action.

They prevent you from going into the heart of things.

But the country, wishing to have things easy, went wholesale into Adjectives from the night of October 1, 1960.

The night of independence was described as historic, as wonderful, as powerful and as memorable.

But ask anybody what was historic or wonderful, powerful or memorable on that night? What wonders were performed on that night of independence?

What resolutions were taken, and then followed in the years that came to mark that night as different from the rest of nights?

Over the years, more Adjectives made it into the country.

There were those Adjectives that described the country. A particular one needs some attention.


Populous is the one. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. How many people are in Nigeria?

Like all members of the tribe of Adjectives, this one hides the truth.

And what is the truth? The truth is that nobody knows how many people are populous in Nigeria!

It is not that the knowledge is hidden somewhere and nobody can get at it. It is that the knowledge does not exist.

Seeing that such knowledge is vital for planning for the country especially in the area of infrastructure – schools, hospitals, town halls, radio stations, television stations, motor parks and airports – if the knowledge is not in existence, can’t it be brought into existence? Here, colonial policy of Don’t interferes.

It is dangerous to know how many people are populous in Nigeria.

Except that one day, some country in Africa would claim to be the third most populous country in the world after China and India with evidence, and that country would not be Nigeria.

That is why it is time to have a conference of Adjectives. Why now?


The country became hard the following years. The earth was hard and not because there was no rain.

The military intervened to make things soft. Things remained hard.

People were managing. Then the military stepped aside, without getting out of the way, and things became harder. Most people continued to manage.

But obviously their management made things harder.

By the time it was harder for the people, things had become hard for the governments! Governments were now neither DON’TS nor DOS.

They no longer paid salaries. And so people didn’t do anything.

And today everybody is competing to find the adjective that would best describe the country.


Failed state? Trying state? Managing state? Comatose state? There is no agreement.

If it is a failed state what class should it repeat to get promotion next time?

What is the level of failure? What led to the failure?

These are not the questions that interest the minds of Nigeria.

All they can think of is GOD FORBID BAD THING! The bad thing is a failed state. God will forbid for Nigeria.

What happened recently made a conference of Adjectives imperative.

As the presidential and other elections of 2019 draw near, the formula that worked last time was brushed up and put in use. The government has failed.

The future government will succeed if enough people defect to the opposition and the opposition will win the election on the platform of DIFFERENCE.


They are the same people but they are different.

So, governors, members of the House of Representatives, Senators are all deflecting here and there and everywhere.

The calculators are out calculating the numbers in each party as well as how much money is passing from one party to another, from one person to another.

In the mean time the price of a barrel of petrol has steadily climbed from below 40 US$ some so many months ago to over 70 US$ now. Nobody is mentioning this fact anymore.

Every commentator is struggling to find the Adjective that would best describe the defecting politicians. Hence the conference.

But shouldn’t Roadside University first deal with the verb before dealing with the adjective?

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