What do you want to know about Niger State? Perhaps you don’t know anything other than the hydro power stations that cursed the State with the slogan: ‘The Power State,’ albeit lacking power itself. Sorry, scratch that, this is supposed to be a friendly piece of writing. And it is, but you know what they say, a writer’s sentiments always find its way into the piece he is writing, especially since this particular writer had to go the length of almost five kilometers in search of electricity to meet up with this deadline. Sorry, dear esteemed reader, I am not frustrated, and mind you, I am not intending to drag you into this apparent distress; far from it. I also know wherever you are, in Nigeria of course, this problem is not exclusively mine. It is indeed yours too, hence, when you visit Niger state in future as I hope you will and find profound darkness accustomed by the lack of electricity, please embrace this irony because even darkness has a colour, and the environ has a funny way of blending it into warm pictures.
So quickly, what do you want to know? Shall we start with pictures? There is Zuma Rock in this state; that mysterious rock that carries a face that chases after you when you are on your way to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. You know what? I have a brilliant explanation why this rock runs after people. Yes, if you have traveled that express way, you will understand me. You still don’t understand how a rock is able to chase after passersby? Well, you will have to make the journey and then come back to this story I am writing. Sorry, reader, I wish I can tell you everything; but sometimes seeing is believing. Ok, ok, sorry for drifting away, so this rock chases people because, once, folks from Abuja wanted to rip it out of Niger State. I hope you know that FCT was carved out also from part of Niger State, Kogi, and part of Nasarawa state, respectively. The largest chunk of course was from Niger State. If you know well the Abuja people wanted to claim the rock too, and ever since the rock realized that, it began chasing everyone who dares to come close— well, that’s what my grandmother told me. Trust me, she is hardly right, only this one time though. So for your own sake, and history sake, come to believe in her story as I have. So forget Zuma rock for one, when you come to Niger state you will still find it here. Oh, one more time, remember to run away from it, it only chases you like a mad dog, when you run.
Sorry, I am quite hungry, I will tell you about the famous Bida Brass work, that beautiful craft men and women that melt their skins and bones into the brass work they create. It is sad though that that culture is now surreptitiously going into extinction. The craftsmen are abandoning this art handed down to them by their forebears. Ok, I said it, I am hungry, so understand I am just highlighting this. I will come back to it in the next bit. Wait, did I inform you that I will be writing the part two of this series? Ok, sorry, there. I will! Yes, I am hungry, each time I intend to write about food, I get famished like I haven’t seen food for the preceding 21 one days, and I am on my last stretch of enduring what the hunger is doing to my body. Forget it, only thinking of Mirah’s food does this to my body. Sorry I am dropping this beautiful lady’s name on you like an odd thing. Sorry once more, dear reader, if you are a lady, this one has been taken. I know I am periodically charming and girls are susceptible to my charms, no wonder only one girl has actually dated me. Lol. Never mind, don’t get confused. What I am saying is that this existential theory only existed, yes, in my hallucinatory state. Forget, it is a long story, you won’t understand. so let’s go on, Niger state has the capacity to feed the whole nation, especially if it is rice, or yam you love to eat. There is the abundance of sugar cane no one is using. Someone told me that Ghana is the largest exporter of shea butter gotten from Lapai axis of the state. Yes, I am not sure of this, please find out, but it is believable, I am choosing to believe it. Back to Yam, there is plenty pounded yam to sashay down your throat. The journey will be smooth, there is this soup, the Gbagyi’s love to make – MiyanKandalo. Ok! I am salivating. So can I stop talking about the food now? As I`ve said earlier, this is a two-part story, so please, distinguished reader, stay tuned.
Pardon me, I forgot something, Minna is the Capital of Niger State, it is quiet. And also recessed right now. I mean it is taking a break from infrastructural development, or as my naughty consciousness loves to put it, on break. Next time I will tell you about the food, the beautiful people of Niger state, and the hospitality you will be drowned in.
Sorry, one more thing. There is this thing about Niger State – Writers. It is a hub of writers, especially poets. A great man once predicted that in a few years’ time, all the important writers in Nigeria must have either lived in Minna or schooled here. Ok, that great man is me. Yes, you can scream now, it is allowed. I know I am not yet great, but sometimes in the past, something interesting happened. The Nobel Academy, which gives out the Nobel, looked at a newly elected President Obama and gave him the Nobel Peace Prize ‘’for what he will do for peace’’. You get that? What he will do, not what he has done. So there, my justification for calling myself a ‘great man’, not because any is needed, I am just feeling incredibly generous this afternoon.
Please take care of yourself dear revered reader, till sometime soon.