I am not sure when the entire urban population of Nigeria got into chewing gum. Growing up, chewing gum had such social stigma that it was common to hear someone being told that they were chewing gum like a prostitute or the more colourful term, ashawo. One day, I woke up and everyone was chewing gum, in offices, on the streets, everywhere. And every traffic jam had chewing gum for sale. A certain brand of chewing gum burst on the scene. Orbit chewing gum is now more ubiquitous than Coke on Nigerian streets. As president I would have to insist that whatever company produces that chewing gum sets up shop in Nigeria. That, or I ban the importation of Orbit chewing gum. They cannot be making so much money and not be paying us taxes. But that is a matter for 2015.
Orbit has become part of urban culture. Orbit is a conversation starter. A guy wanting to speak to a girl or vice versa only needs to whip out a pack of Orbit and offer it. Orbit is the one thing strangers don’t say no to. A person who doesn’t even like people of your tribe will take your Orbit chewing gum. As president I may not be able to stop the social impact of Orbit but I can make sure it does not become a problem. How can chewing gum become a problem?
I notice that many people get depressed or angry when, after offering a stranger or even a friend Orbit, that person proceeds to pull out two, three or more pieces from a pack of 14. And you can’t say to someone you have offered gum that they are taking too much. This is causing friction in our country. Some people have devised a way of preventing this by actually just giving one piece from the pack themselves. This can make a person appear stingy. And in Nigeria stinginess carries great stigma.
Nigerians need not despair. There is a solution. As the proactive president-in-waiting that I am, I have come up with legislation that will criminalise pulling out more than one piece of Orbit chewing gum when offered. Find below a draft:
ORBIT GREED (PREVENTION) ACT, 2015
An Act to promote generosity by persons able to purchase Orbit chewing gum and decide to carry same about, prevent greedy ingrates from shamelessly pulling out multiple pieces of Orbit when offered the pack to take gum from and to provide for punishment for chewing gum greed and matters related thereto.
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-
Orbit means Orbit chewing gum in a pack of twenty, Orbit in a blister pack or any other type of imported chewing gum.
2. The offence of Orbit Greed
(1) A person commits the offence of Orbit Greed if
(a) He or she, upon being the beneficiary of the generosity of an Orbit owner, decides to greedily take out more than one piece of gum from the pack
(b) He or she asks for Orbit chewing gum again after already being the beneficiary of the generosity of an Orbit owner who has hitherto on the same day offered him/her Orbit chewing gum.
(2) A person who commits the offence of Orbit Greed shall be liable upon conviction to public flogging for one hour every day for three weeks.
3. The offence of Aggravated Orbit Greed
(1) A person commits the offence of Aggravated Orbit Greed when he or she commits Orbit Greed more than once in the space of the same 24 hour period with the same person.
(2) A person who commits the offence of Aggravated Orbit Greed shall be liable upon conviction to public flogging for three hours every day for three weeks.
4. The offence of Serial Orbit Greed
(1) A person commits the offence of Serial Orbit Greed when he or she commits Orbit Greed more than once in the space of the same 24 hour period with the different persons.
(2) A person who commits the offence of Serial Orbit Greed shall be liable upon conviction to public flogging for three hours every day for three weeks in three different communities around where the offence was committed.
5. Attempt to commit Orbit Greed
(1) A person who attempts Orbit Greed commits a felony and is liable upon conviction to daily frog jumps on a highway of the courts choice, for 7 days.
Ps. President Jonathan’s army began the discombobulating confiscation of newspapers this week. To attack the only thing which is free in this country – expression – is to attack the very soul of the people. I do not understand it- how soldiers can intercept and take newspapers away. First off it is not even a very smart thing to do, seeing as you can find most stories online anyway and everyone is a click away from what they don’t want people to see. If nobody was searching, now everyone is going to want to know what was in those newspapers they confiscated. And the explanation of the army about “materials with grave security implications” is a too weak an explanation for sending armed soldiers in bullet proof vests to confiscate newspapers. Also, at a time when our army’s capacity to fight insurgency and insecurity is increasingly doubtful, it makes no sense using the army against a defenceless media.
And finally, if the president is going to let shameful things happen under him, can he at least have the balls to take responsibility and stop denying that he has anything to do with it? Can someone at least remind him the meaning of “Commander in Chief”?