I remember, as if it was yesterday, the first time I heard that dreadful double T word. I was at Fort IBB, now Niger Barracks, deeply mourning the loss of a very dear friend, whom along with 116 others had died in the Bellview crash of October 2005. The news also broke that the FBH had also died during a surgery at a hospital abroad. Aisha Abubakar, a close friend of my deceased friend was sitting right next to me. In her typically soft-spoken manner she offered the explanation, ‘They said she (FBH) was having a tummy tuck’. A what? I asked, though the word sounded self-explanatory. And that was how it made its debut into my vocabulary.
Suddenly, it’s back with us again, on several lips. And the excuses are many. Some say the Lucky VIP Lady needs it because she doesn’t look too smart with a bulging middle-belt. Some say she reminds them of someone just exiting an antenatal ward, and yet others say when she speaks she sounds like someone who just finished jogging due to the big bulge. I say, what is your own, fellow Nigerians? Who are you to complain when the First Dude isn’t complaining? Is there no end to your bad belle?
In any case, I’ve heard our elders say that in some parts of our country, they don’t tie it up after child-birth and insist the bulge must go, rather they show it off as the vessel for their bundle of joy. It is where some of us come from that the bulge is fought tooth, nail and wrapper. For all we know, the Lucky Lady must be living the tradition of her people by not torturing the ‘thing that brought her so much joy.’
For those who think I am up against the tummy tuckers because I belong to the big bulge group and I am trying to ward off accusing fingers pointing my way, I dare say I have no such headache. To borrow from Winnie Mandela, ‘nature has been so good to me’ that despite the children, I have no obvious bulge. I cherish the day, two years ago, when my doctor asked me, during a medical exam ‘Did you say you have four children, Aisha?’ ‘Yes’ I told her. ‘It’s amazing how you can have four children and not a single tummy stretch mark to show for it.’ Needless to say, I left her hospital feeling like flying. You see, not being in the medical profession means not having access to other people’s physiques. It never occurred to me that I had anything special.
Anyway, my philosophy is ‘samu ya fi iyawa’. Those who think they could look better if they had that exalted office should try and get there first. For now the Lucky Lady has it and whoever has it must flaunt it, however imperfectly. And talking about imperfection, who said perfection can only be achieved through the surgeon’s knife? I say there are countless ways to seek and achieve it without risking a knock on the door of the Great Beyond.
For one, concerned Nigerians can campaign for a non-greasy, low-fat and low-sugar diet for their Beloved Big Lady. They can lobby for a reduced liquid intake for her except if the bottle is crystal clear water. They can say that the state-of-the-art gym equipment in her Rocky Villa must be put to good use immediately. The beautiful, well-mowed lawns of Her Excellent abode will make for a good jogging venue, Obama-style. By the time this is done, we will have no reason to complain about some Executive middle-belt because it won’t be there anyway.
But to all those who say a tummy tuck it must be, I say go down memory lane, what caused that emotional national funeral five years ago? What was it that killed the mother of American rap artiste Kanye West? Unless they want to argue that it is only jinxed against prominent Black women – which is scary enough for us – I am yet to hear a convincing argument in its favour. So, tummy tuck for Lucky Lady? Tufiakwa, lai-lai, God forbid.