Analyzing the Stages of Booze in Nigeria

by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
stages of booze

“Stage One – The Mood Jocose.
Stage Two – The Mood Morose.
Stage Three – The Mood Bellicose.
Stage Four – The Mood Lachrymose.
Stage Five – The Mood Comatose.”

– Ayi Kwei Armah: The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

I went off the radar to drink with the spirits, and I was surprised that a whole lot of prosaic characters noticed my absence and said many bad things in my absence.

Some of the blokes speculated that I had been sent to Facebook Prison, whatever that means in the netherworld of Mark Zuckerberg.

I am consoled and ever so happy that all the bad characters saying bad things about me have been identified by Mummy GO as destined to go to hellfire!

The downer though is the revelation that Hell has seized to exist after Pastor Odumeje went there to engage Satan in a wrestling match that had neither spectators nor a referee only to come back draped in a championship belt that looks like it was bought in Onitsha Main Market!

Anything can happen while drinking with the spirits.

It was while sharing alcohol with the spirits that it was revealed to me that the story of Nigeria is akin to the “Stages of Booze” as published in Ayi Kwei Armah’s classic novel The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, and quoted above in this piece.

The first stage of booze is “Jocose” which in simple English means being playful or humorous.

What can be more playful or humorous than Nigeria’s then Governor-General Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe stating that the country got her independence “on a platter of gold”?

Little wonder then that the then Finance Minister Festus Okotie-Eboh wore a vast and flowing costume in Lagos with an escorting courtier carrying the long tail of the cloth in faraway Ibadan.

In the jocose mood of the early days after independence, Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was more interested in solving the problem in faraway Rhodesia instead of dousing the “wild, wild West” fire in his domain.

Then came the next stage of booze in Nigeria known as “Morose” which means being sullen and ill-tempered.

Ill-tempered Nigerians had a field day dousing the political terrorists with petrol and setting them on fire while the government remained sullen.

Caught in the morose mood of inebriation, the country gravitated into the next stage of booze known as “Bellicose”, to wit, demonstrating aggression and willingness to fight.

The bellicose military boys struck and seized power which sent the politicians scattering in several different directions.

The war of drunken bellicosity that followed featured even pot-bellied soldiers as war winners.

There were bearded warriors who boasted that no power on Planet Earth could defeat their soldiers but then had to flee before war-end.

Amid the rat-a-tat of war bullets one of the fine war leaders took out time to go to the altar with his beautiful heart-throb.

The drunkenness of the war was such that the war winners started speaking in tongues about “No victor, no vanquished”.

There was talk in the years following the end of the war that the country had so much money than it had sense to use.

It was at that point that the country entered the fourth stage of booze called “Lachrymose”, that is, being tearful and given to weeping.

There was the cement armada that brought tears to so many homes, and unsurmountable hold-ups in Lagos traffic led to so much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

A military coup had to happen to keep things moving but there came an immediate follow-up drunken “dawn-to-dusk” coup which made the musical group, Oriental Brothers, to sing that any killer with the gun must die by the gun!

It was akin to adding military insult to civilian injury when the transition-to-civil rule programme that followed ended on a Twelve-Two-Third note of dividing humans into halves.

The lachrymose matters turned on a bad head when another military honcho took over with an iron fist that starved all fellow countrymen and women of essential commodities, alias “Essenco”.

Many years later, the Essenco military tyrant reincarnated as an emperor of democracy, thus leading the country into the final stage of booze known as “Comatose”, which means that the land is very near the gates of death and damnation.

In the state of coma, the advent of herdsmen of sacred cows marks the paving of the grazing routes of ruga civilization.

Going comatose is not negotiable now that the land has been sold to China in unpayable debts.

The demons of death are on the loose, arranging mayhem and spreading annihilation with drunken fervor.

Everybody is now walking an ungodly but very familiar Nigerian road littered with shattered bones and broken dreams.

The terrorism all over the land today points back to a ghastly past of blood and gore and death as sublimely submitted as the “Stages of Booze” by Ayi Kwei Armah in his novel The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born.

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