‘Drinks’ in this context are the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
We have a strong drinking culture in Nigeria. Drinks are incorporated into everyday activities and events. Think about it: every feat, achievement or major step in life has to be sanctioned by drinks.
When you buy a new car, you have to buy drinks to “wash” the car. When you build a new house, you have to buy drinks to ‘warm’ the house. When you buy a parcel of land, no matter how small, you have to buy drinks for a couple of people and groups. When you are inviting people to attend your ceremony or occasion, you have to buy a drink to invite them to come and feast, etc.
The culture of drinking and buying drinks for almost everything has given rise to a new culture of exploitation.
Last year I rented an apartment, but I couldn’t move into the place until I bought drinks for the landlord. I thought he was joking, but after I got several text messages and phone calls from him, I had to pay him ₦5,000 for drinks. I thought I was the only tenant being exploited to give drinks, until I asked five other tenants who confirmed that they all paid the same amount for drinks before they moved in.
After I paid the money, I sat down and reflected on the matter.
Why should I buy you a drink after I had spent good money to pay you house rent, service charge and agent fee? Shouldn’t you be the one to buy me a drink to welcome me to your house?
I decided to conduct a mini-research on this issue, and I ended up with a lot of interesting tales. In one of such tales, the tenant refused to buy a drink for the landlord, and as a result, the landlord removed one of the windows in the house and blocked the toilet of the erring tenant. Horrific, right?
You can’t just run away from buying drinks in Nigeria. A single man who asks a lady out is already owing her a drink right from the time she says yes to him.
A young man who wants to marry will end up buying the equivalent of a warehouse stock of drinks by the time the marriage festivities are finally over.
You dare not hold any public occasion, ceremony or event in Nigeria without saturating the event with alcoholic drinks, so that guests will drink to stupor and give your event high ratings.
Even the ancestors are not left out in the drinkfest. They have a high preference for alcoholic wines, dry gin and spirits.
If you are a teetotaller in Nigeria, you will often go to many places and events and find out that there’s no provision of drinks made for you. You walk in to see only alcoholic drinks served as refreshment. I have sat down at events and meetings and watched people gulp down ten bottles of beer and casually walk away without any effect on them. But in my case, by the time I manage to finish one bottle of beer, my head is already turnioniown.
Drinks are the sealer of deals in Nigeria. In the micropolitics of our universities, anyone who wants to get any post during any students election must drench his fellow students in bottles of alcohol to stand any chance of winning. In the macropolitics of Nigeria, alcoholic drinks are an essential component of political patronage and followership.
Inviting someone to your event with a bottle of wine is seen as being respectful in our society. There are people who have boycotted events because the event owner didn’t invite them privately with a bottle of drink.
We should reduce the rate of consumption of alcoholic drinks. We should be contented with what people offer to us as entertainment rather than imposing particular brands and quantities of drinks on them. We should stop demanding for drinks for every little transaction. Maybe by then, we will be living in a more peaceful society, and we won’t all be walking around with potbellies.
Dear reader, if you’ve read up to this point, you owe me a drink already. You will buy me a drink today, won’t you? 😉