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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Who ate all the pie?

So what’s with the odenku denku children who waddled unto the pitch during the Manchester United/ Portsmouth match on Sunday?
As it is my new year (its not new year?) resolution to mind my business I will not wonder aloud why the match to promote the Calabar based Tinapa was played in Abuja or why the children were not properly and uniformly kitted? Or why…..

My concern really is about those poor roly-poly children and an emerging tendency towards juvenile obesity in middle and upper class Nigeria. For starters I can bet you my last kazo that those children are off springs of government officials. Why bother auditioning deserving athletic children from a cross section of the society when you can use your own bored, sedentary over indulged little geezers? Why give little aspiring footballers a life enhancing opportunity to meet their heroes when you can give your Nintendo addict a nifty bragging tool amongst his and her mini Dolce and Gabanna wearing friends in school next session?

I totally get that. What I don’t get is the sort of crass ignorance that this alarming trend amongst the children of the rich (don’t have accurate starts but how many obese children have you seen in your neighbourhood ramshackle local government authority school?) betrays.

Why is it that as soon as a bewildering majority of my people earn, acquire, obtain or receive their blessing, they stop eating whole natural food and proceed to clog their arteries with fat, salt, sugar and additives saturated, over processed, imported food? I often see my people at supermarkets pushing bulging trolleys of dead, dehydrated food with a huge swagger and a huger purse.

Affluence seem to be encouraging too many to over indulge, over feed (mostly on fast food) and over protect our children.
Most of the children on that field on Sunday do not deserve to be there and their inclusion has done nothing but reinforce a sense of entitlement and nepotism which will stunt their development and send signals to other children that their efforts won’t count. As a friend once said, the child sitting at home in his original Arsenal souvenir shirt and shiny Nike boots waiting for the driver to take him to football practise at the Astroturf will never be as good a player as the one who has hopped on okada or BRT bus and gone to play on the patched sands under the bridge at Orile. No be curse.


Naapali said...

The demographic trend you describe will only lead to a worsening of the incidence of diabetes and heart disease in our people. Add that to the many undiagnosed/untreated people with hypertension and we have a lot of trouble ahead.

Unfortunately the rich will always indulge their children.

Femi B said...

I totally agree with this perspective of more money =poor food choices, but i think that children fortunate or unfortunately having wealthy parents dont neccessarily mean they dont have talents also. That young chap in his original sports gear might just be as equally talented or better than the brt/okada child rider.

PS,I miss your tv show...really i do. it was my inspiration.

Naughty Eyes said...

Yipee! I'm first! Welcome back Funmi! Blogville's been a dull place without ya... Glad to see you've come out fresh and lively as usual. Saw your interview on Today's Woman and you never disappoint as usual. Hope the TV break will be short. The mediocrity on TV right now is just killing without people like you.
Peace and love,

omohemi Benson said...

won so omo da didinrin, won pe ni ajebota!

Anonymous said...

Being in the States for 8years and avoid Junk food like the plague. The shocking thing is when I visited 9ja, most commented why I had not ballooned! Ogbeni o'je Burger ni?

I am 215lbs with a 35inch waist for someone 6ft 5inches. Lets see who is still standing ramrod at 50!!

Iyaeto said...

Funmi good point.I heard last night that my young cousin who is in his mid twenties is in intensive care after suffering two heart attacks! When I heard, I concluded that he had fat blocking his arteries but its a blood clot.Why did I conclude? He is a very "big" boy.Other cousins have started one form of diet or weigh loss method now. It came as a wake up call to us all. Not that I'm fat though but...

Anonymous said...

Welcome back.
May the goog Lord contimue to bless and protect you and yours.

Texas, U.S.A

Lolade said...

I observed those well fed kids too and wondered if they are the ones to play the role of ball boys/girls during the match. I'm sure they must have returned right back to their parents' VIP seating area.

My nephew is a good example of shiny new boots and authentic jersey. He gets driven to Pepsi Academy every Saturday morning and his parents never allow him to go on the streets to play real football like po' kids do.


Anonymous said...

The more affluent naija folks become the more "westernized" they tend to get. Aligning to that westernization in their minds equals fast food, ibonics, hood mentality e.t.c. They forget that not all that spits out of the western culture is useful. But unfortunately, D&G/Gucci equals status and so does Hamburgers and french fries and all other packaged ish that ShopRite can deliver.

Still wondering why everytime i come home, they always want to treat me to "oyibo" food ala burger n all that, when i don't even eat burger here in the states. They always look disappointed when i opt for Mama Cass. I will take well done egusi soup any day over some greasy french fries!

Good point tho.

Yummy Mummy to be said...

Actually i feel the more money you have the better ingredients you can afford to buy, i.e fresher veg and better cuts of meat. And your food taste actually become more refined and one would tend to stay away from the Rich African foods and eat a more healthy balanced diet with plenty fruit and veg chucked down with loads of water.

TMinx said...

I agree with Femi b, being a rich kid doesn't neccessarily translate to not having talent but the new generation of parents need to pay close attention to their kids.

Natures Gentle Touch said...

In Nigeria, because of lack of information many people make a number of poor choices as it concerns so many aspects of our lives. The average person living in the developed world is more eqipped to make informed choices. This comes through the media; reading in transit,tv-including advertisements, provide all forms of information that help people make informed choices. Your show is a case in point. Do you know how much we learnt from watching your show and learning from your guests?

emmy said...

Hey Funmi,

U r a natural writer,always on the job.Never reckoned while we were watching this game that u were gonna blog about it.By the way thanks for inviting to ur b`day dinner.Yes o those kids were like stuffed turkeys but in a country where merit takes the back seat what do u expect.

Goldfish said...

Hmm...your words cut like a sharp knife. Not primarily to cause pain, but to surgically separate the real from the imagined - truth from junk. what we have in Nigeria is a steady chain of relay runners who pass the batons to their children and cronies, thereby perpetuating their ascerbic selves in the nation's fabric and psyche. God help us, and dem!

Senan said...

Those "odenku denku" children were actually from an orphanage and not the offspring of any government official as you seem quite willing to bet your whatever on.