Naija parents are equal parts awesome and cringe-worthy. They are your first ride or die pair, but at the same time they will do and say things that will embarrass you for years to come. Their overprotectiveness is a little bit of control freak, a little bit of love and a healthy dose of fear. We want nothing more than to get away from them, but when the chips are down, we always go back to our first support system: our parents.
There are some funny, some not-so-funny sayings that have become a hallmark of Nigerian mums and dads and we will highlight a few of the greatest hits.
GOAN READ YOUR BOOKS
This admonition is part threat, part plea. They pull this one out when you’re doing anything remotely fun or relaxing, even leaning against a wall breathing and minding your business is enough to get you sent to “your books”. And they don’t mean novels either. They want to see you carrying heavy academic books around, looking studious.
THERE’S FOOD AT HOME
They pull this one out when you want fast food or a snack. Why would they spend #300 on Mr. Biggs meatpie when there’s soup and garri at home?
YOU BETTER RESPECT YOURSELF
Excellent advice, because not respecting yourself will get you slapped so hard your factory settings will re-engage. This means don’t disgrace the family, don’t follow bad friends, don’t fail in school, don’t be foolish, don’t be silly, whatever you’re thinking of, just don’t. Do exactly as they tell you, even if it embarrasses you.
GIMME THE REMOTE
Case in point, my mother. I won’t be surprised if she one day calls me over the phone to travel home just to hand her the remote on the next stool beside her. They will call you from whatever corner of the house you are in to give them something within their reach, and why shouldn’t they? After all, they gave birth to you so they would never lift another remote ever again.
Do not mistake this for a term of endearment, it is a serious warning that you are about to cross your lane and get whopped for your troubles. It is said with a rising inflection at the end that makes it an unmistakable rebuke, and my friend you had better sit up and listen!
YOU CANNOR KEE ME, I DINNOR KEE MY MOTHER
Not that you’re holding a knife or gun in your hands oh, but just step a toe out of line and the dramatic declarations of their imminent death begins. They were always model children to their mothers, but you’re the one plotting to kill them with your acts of disobedience. I’m sure their mothers don’t agree, but what do I know?
WHY WON’T YOU HAVE MALARIA, WHEN YOU’RE ALWAYS PRESSING PHONE/LET PHONE NOT KEE YOU
They hate that you read, or chat, or watch movies on your phone. Even when they got it for you oh! That phone is their mortal enemy. They blame all your misfortunes on the phone! Well, sometimes they are proven right when something does happen to you because you were more intent on your WHATSAPP than on your life. Case in point, the unfortunate fellow in the image above. He will never hear the end of this one from his parents.
AM I YOUR MATE?
The only answer that will save you here is “No sir” or “no ma“. Abort mission, I repeat, abort everything else you wanted to say, you have already said too much. If possible, run away as fast as your legs can carry you, but just make sure that as you run you have a plan of never coming back.
I DON’T BLAME YOU
Lol, please don’t be unfortunate, they really do blame you. It’s all your fault. Whatever else they say might sound like it’s their fault for indulging you, but don’t let down your guard fam. That’s how you get slapped.
YOUR MATES, DO THEY HAVE TWO HEADS?
There is conclusive evidence that they do, since you are still living under their roof, and not riding jeeps and building houses and getting married like your mates are doing. You that was born with one head, stay there and be failing your exams.
YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING ME, YOU’RE DOING YOURSELF
They are at the limit of their endurance with you and so they leave you to your own misfortune. The truth is that no matter what they say, you’re still doing them because they will go to any lengths to bail you out of trouble.
Honourable mentions go to “look atew” or “you see your life? “which is your cue to take an introspective look into your under achieving life and “tell me the truth I won’t be angry” (oh no, they will get very angry).
No matter what, we love our parents because they love us the only way they know how: fiercely and over-protectively.