Edwin Eriata Oribhabor
In life, experience is the best teacher. This is why in Pidgin, we commonly say hu no go no no. For example, if you expend so much of your hard earned money in building a house, you will definitely appreciate what it takes to own one. To successfully go through the processes of becoming a landlord/house owner in Nigeria, yu go no hau fa. It is only there and then that you would be better placed to guide anyone planning to join your club of house owners. You wouldn’t want anyone to make same mistakes you made in course of building your own house. This is why kalo kalo and granite deserve mentioning here. We shall look at these two words shortly.
From Abuja to Maiduguri in far North down to the Niger Delta of South South Nigeria, to build haus no bi smol mata bot pipol de build haus evride. As I drive around the city centre of Abuja daily, I always ask rhetorically; wie dem de get di moni wen dem de yuz laik dis. As a follow up, I usually will provide an answer by equally asking; wai ah no go maind mai oun biznes?. This is just
but one of the psychological tortures residents of Abuja experience on a daily
basis. You see fain fain buildings spring up with confidence and authority up to completion stages. An yu no get eni won. Yu no ivun get land. Wie di land?
In the Niger Delta, building a house is a different ball game because of the very difficult terrain. So much money is spent on getting the house to the faundeshon levul which must be very high from the swampy grounds.
As used in Nigerian Pidgin, kalo kalo means gamble or gambling games played in casino houses across the country. While growing up in Warri, we usually associated kalo kalo with the Lebanese who were masters in setting up and running casinos or kalo kalo houses. We used to call them kora. And kora in Pidgin means fraud or anything that’s obfuscating, not straight forward etc. I want to think that the word kura may have originated from here. But in reference to building of houses, kalo kalo are round reddish stones/pebbles used for making building foundations, upstairs decking etc. These days, kalo kalo is no more in popular use because granite has been found
to be far better for many reasons.
Like kalo kalo, granites are stones used for civil works, usually very clean, sharp and in different sizes. In those days, kalo kalo was popular but over time it has been wiped out from the market because they can’t stand the test of time. Most houses where kalo kalo was used for the decking, many years ago, are now giving way. Granite are in sizes of 1/8, 3/8, ½ ¾ inch etc and are used for different purposes like flooring, decking, etc.
A retrospective and introspective look at kalo kalo takes my mind to everything that is fake and uninspiring within our society. Just cast your mind to people around you and you will observe that there are many whose stock in trade is to fan and encourage the things that separate us rather than what binds us.
Kalo kalo as a game of gamble, is a risky enterprise common with people who want to make it shap shap. I know of people we de ple kalo kalo every night. Atimes it favours them but the following day na difren mata. If one loses today in a kalo kalo, one wouldn’t mind emptying one’s account in a bid to recover whatever one must have lost the previous day. God help you if you don’t fall deeper into the deep s***. A good example of Kalo kalo is the pool’s games. Big hotels/club houses have a reserved kona fo kalo kalo. If such places are not gaining from the business, they would have closed them down. Generally, kalo kalo is referred to any business/endeavour that’s brings pain and losses even though one may survive in the future. The chances are usually very very slim.
If kalo kalo is fake and capable of bringing pain and losses, why go for it. Why see the right thing and go for the wrong one. On the lips of millions of Nigerians, you will hear; NEPA na wahala (is the problem) and the most
popular recommendation to government is for the adoption of a one-point agenda – fix NEPA and all positive things will be added unto us. In the light of this, and going by the level of wahala Nigerians are going through as a result of the energy crises in the country, NEPA na big kalo kalo. Especially for the fact that bills are still being forwarded to different homes without the
rendering of any service. This is likened to money we put in an enterprise, a
casino without any money coming out. Dis na put put put.
Therefore, all this tok tok ebaut Megawaz an megavaz na grama. How do we get out of this kalo kalo wahala fo Naija. We need leaders who are made of the granite stuff; clean, sharp and amenable. Until we achieve this, onli
som of dem na im bi granite. Ol na kalo kalo ful stop.
Oribhabor is a member of ANA and resides in Abuja.