In Nigeria, Gbosa is the equivalent of hip hip hooray. It is an expression of praise or adoration for someone.
Just as the Englishmen would shout hip hip hooray when rejoicing someone’s achievement, so do Nigerians give Gbosas to someone that has done very well.
When in a gathering to celebrate someone’s success, a well wisher would stand up with his glass of wine in hand and shout, “Three Gbosas for Mr. Ademola on his retirement today!” The other well wishers would respond, “Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa!”
You could also view Gbosa as a kind of gun salute. But instead of using real guns, people actually use their mouths to do the shooting, Gbosaaaaaaa!
Last night, Xmas eve, I went to the church like other millions of Nigerians. As usual, the roads were very busy; not just with cars, but with hundreds of youths who barricaded the roads with the intention of getting some little change from motorists.
It’s all in the spirit of Xmas, and nobody complains.
I was behind the wheels wearing my blinking Christmas hat. So also was every member of the battalion inside the car with me.
As we approached one of the roadblocks, I put on my car’s “double trafficators,” the so called “danger lights,” hoping that the action would scare the boys off the road.
They were not deterred! Instead, they surrounded the car, singing my praises to high heavens.
“Baba Sir! God bless you and your family this Christmas!”
I ignored them and began to hoot loudly.
But it was as if my action actually increased their tempo.
They started dancing in front of the car. One of them even removed his trousers to reveal his bulging manhood!
I had no choice. They were not ready to yield, so I beckoned to one of them that wore an aura of leadership on his body. He held a large bottle of whisky in his hand, wore nothing other than tattered jeans, and had a long stick of cigarette dangling on his lips.
I rolled down the glass a little bit and sneaked N200 into his palm.
He used his phone touch light to check the note and shouted in a very rough voice, “Baba, e po ju eleyi looo, N200 is too small for your boys that are here… Baba Sir, e bu die si, ko ni tan nibi te ti mu jade.”
His eyes were blinking like the Christmas hat on my head; his mouth smelling heavily.
I was getting a bit upset. But my sixth sense told me that getting angry would only delay me and my people further, so I gave him another N200.
He then jumped on my car and sat on its bonnet: “Baba has treated us well; he has done Christmas for the boys! Now I want you all to give three Gbosas to baba for his generosity,” he commanded his gang members in Yoruba language.
The whole place erupted with “Gbosa!” “Gbosa!” “Gbosa!”
He gave another command: “E si ona fun baba ko koja, clear the way for baba to pass.”
As I drove past, they quickly blocked the way again and moved to the next car behind me.
Call it happiness. Call it poverty. Call it unemployment. Call it neglect. Call it social ills. Call it waywardness. Call it an eyesore. Whatever you choose to call it, you would be correct. Nigeria is in trouble with its youths.
Church service ended at about 12.30AM and we were on our way back home. This time, the roads were busier. There was noise everywhere; from car stereos to the sound systems of various pepper soup joints. Christmas was in the air, and still much in the air as I write!
And must I forget the bangers?
Holy Spirit! The sounds of the fireworks and bangers were deafening! I thought the police had threatened to arrest whoever “blows bangers during Xmas.” How many have they arrested so far?
On getting back home, I tuned the radio to one of my favorite stations. Oh, yes! I guessed right. A phone-in program was on, and the topic was “How do you plan to celebrate Xmas today?”
What an interesting topic with surprising contributions from callers!
Nigerians have a lot of weird ideas. It was 2.30AM on Christmas Day and the voices of the callers really showed that they were in a very happy mood. A couple of guys even called from nightclubs to express their excitements.
But one caller surprised me. And I’m sure he shocked everyone in the studio too.
The guy wanted to know what was there for anyone to celebrate this Xmas. He recounted so many bad things that happened in the country in 2012; narrated the negative things he experienced in the course of the year; and even went ahead to rain curses on Nigerian leaders!
He kept me thinking.
How many people are like this strange caller?
How come he couldn’t find one single thing for which to be grateful?
An idea then came to my mind: What are those things that made me happy in 2012?
I picked up my pencil and started listing them. Within a few minutes, I had already counted 48!
You too can do the same.
Pick up your diary. Open your Facebook page. Check your Twitter posts. Take a look at your smartphone calendar. Start from January 2012; you will find records of so many things for which you must give Gbosa to God this Christmas.
They are all there for you to appreciate:
- The day your man said “will you marry me?”
- The day she said “I do;”
- The day you got an unexpected gift;
- The day you got that employment letter;
- The day you escaped an accident by a whisker;
- The day the robbers raided but you were not at home;
- The day you spent a quiet night with your lover;
- The day your child graduated from school;
- The day you celebrated your 30th birthday;
- The day your debtor repaid his loan.
You get what I mean?
There are so many things for which to be grateful.
At every moment of our life, we have cause to give thanks to the Almighty for one thing or the other, but we often fail to acknowledge them. The simple breath of life alone gives cause for appreciation.
So, please compile your list of happiness and give a Gbosa to God for each one of them.
I have listed 48 so far, but I’m returning to the list after publishing this post. I’m sure I can count not less than 200 for the year.
Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosaaaaaaaaa!
Merry Xmas to you!