What Mama-Put Means To Nigerians
Mama-Put as the title suggests is how an average Nigerian gets even in the face of perennial hunger gnawing the belly of Nigerians. This eating culture and tradition became popular in the late 80’s with the introduction of the World Bank-supported Structural Adjustment Programme implemented by the military regime of the former dictator, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida whose administration took Nigerians on an eight-year maladministration and wastefulness aka corrupt practices. It was an eight-year case of suffering from destination myopia and lack of will and purpose. This World Bank programme destroyed the then emerging middle class and sent the majority of Nigerian youths to the dumpsites to scramble for survival and means of livelihood.
Living became mere existentialism. The cost of living overshot the sky as more and more people became poor. And I mean abject poverty. The race of capital flight ensued as the value of naira is devalued over and over again. The rich most of who have benefited from petro-dollar-inspired economic crimes against Nigeria and her people moved their money out of the country to depict their loss of confidence in the Nigerian economy. Up till today, this has become a national hobby hence the economic crimes certain former governors are arraigned in our courts.
The intellectual left the shores of Nigeria in their droves causing an unprecedented stigma of brain-drain. Nigerian universities’ undergraduates are today said to be half-baked.
It is either you are poor or you are rich. The gap has widened so much that the poor devised a way of surviving in the face of living below $1 per day.
Mama-Put became the answer. Here you get food for any amount you can afford. The dishes are well-cooked and spiced to meet the nutritional needs of one’s demanding body. The fun of Mama-Put is that it is food for the upwardly mobile members of the Nigerian workforce at very affordable prices. Children of school age berth at Mama-Put which dots most street-junctions for a helping hand before they run off to school with their tasty and spicy booty in their food pack. The ingenuity of Nigerian food vendors came to the rescue of the pauperized Nigerians and put holes to the offensive statement made by a then cabinet minister that Nigerians would be dining with the pigs in no distant time in our various smelly dumpsites.
Today, smart Nigerians have exported this food tradition to various parts of Europe and the United States of America. Anywhere you see the letters saying MAMA-PUT, do not hesitate to go in and give yourself a treat to different Nigerian nutritional, tasty and well-spiced foods of Nigerianized cuisines.
Of course, you are hearing that word for the first time from me on my blog. Thank you!
This is our way of life. As McDonalds is to the Americans and the Europeans, so is Mama-Put to Nigerians.
Today, we call it ‘meals in your mother tongue’.
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