Some Anioma proverbs can be very expressive and amusing, and I suspect that this applies to proverbs in many other languages that can be found in Nigeria, especially the Western Niger Delta section of coastal South South Nigeria which includes Delta, family where Anioma is currently classified. Proverbs are amusing to us, partly because we apply our real-life human situations to the context they literally contain and because of what we find ridiculous in them. One such proverb in Anioma that we can find quite amusing is the saying attributed to the dog: Nkịta Sị Ní Ndi Nwe İke Amaghị Anọ Òdụ (The dog says that those who have buttocks do not know how to sit down).
So, the dog has been watching us! I thought that it is merely squatting as a “long-throat” as we wrestle with the bony part of the meat! So, the thoughts of that dog can be verbalized; in other words, somebody in the room knows what it is thinking? Also, so the dog speaks our own language but something in its barking makes the deciphering difficult! Dog trainers and vet doctors should hear these o!
I wonder why the sage chose to put these human thoughts and human words into the mouth of the barking dog. What more, making the bloody squatting animal a satirist of human behaviour. Who knows whether the dog has contested for Delta State Governor! Then, it can also watch the shapes of our tongues and the colours of our teeth. In fact, one has to be careful, for (not Big Brother) that dog, that mongrel, that poodle, that bulldog, the terrier… may be watching out for one’s posts!
Animals speak for animals. That is normal, only when animals speaking for animals and like animals are a strategy of entrapment. The dinta (or ode in Yoruba) knows that very well. Sometimes he pretends to be an animal by imitating the sounds associated with the animal and easily deceives its mates. The get closer, thinking the sound is from a friend, not knowing it is from the worst enemy. Then, BANG! And the mumu animal is down and out. Its life is over among enemies that pretend to be friends. Its journey in the jungle is over.
Some would classify proverbs of this nature attributed to an animal under wellerism, or a statement which contains a known proverb or quotation, a fresh use, and an utterer, which of course adds to its humour and strangeness. So, using those criteria, let us just accept the classification tentatively. The point remains that the lower is positioned to teach the higher, which is perfectly in line with the idea that those who are gifted with buttocks do not know how to sit down!
But why is it so? Is the dog right? Does this apply to individuals as well as large groups like Anioma. Is the conclusion of the squatting down valid or is the dog merely jealous of Ndi-Anioma? Is it not in the province of irony that those that have buttocks do not know how to sit down?
Given that buttocks are for sitting down, whatever “sitting down” means. Given that the dog, literally speaking, is in the fictive situation saying so after comparing itself with those who have buttocks. But the dog has buttocks. Except that animal is denying it, seeing the presence of a tail it wags often as the absence of buttocks. In that case, it sees the tail as a disadvantage, as a symbol of lack! No wonder it prefers to squat here and there.
Anioma culture uses it and its logic as a paradigm for appreciating wise use of resources, or what one is gifted with. It is clearly shown that those who have an advantage ironically turn it to a disadvantage sadly. Are some individuals not misusing (or not using) opportunities? Are some Anioma people that are in government actually reading others and do they learn from this virtual classroom? Do they really use the opportunities (fellowships, conferences, workshops, etc) for academic growth or do they stockpile them like any other social media luggage?
No; don’t talk about some Ika people in government. It could be very obvious that they misuse resources, and worse still, hardly care about human resources. Oh; why shouldn’t millions be slaughtered or rendered homeless? Are these State not greatly overpopulated? Is it not better to slaughter the populations as a way of reducing the populations? After all, a State is not its citizens; it is just the map.
Dear dog, keep squatting and learning human language. Keep criticizing the absurd human behaviour. Every observer needs to squat, not sit!
~Sad Citizen Miracle Ogor Ifeanyi.
The Undisputed National Chairman Of Political Trouble Makers Association Of Nigeria,
Sad Citizen Miracle Ogor Ifeanyi