THE STOMACH IS THE LEADER

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“Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame..” -Philippians 3:19

“Anywhere belle face” was a popular phrase used in football fields around Warri/Wado City areas of Delta State in my growing up days. I don’t know if it is still in currency, but it was a term often used to describe any unskilled or fumbling, kick and follow, football player who lacked the ability to shoot the ball in a direction other the the one in front of him. It didn’t matter if the target was far away from that direction. In a literal sense, a man’s stomach (belle) is always in front of him, hence the phrase “anywhere belle face”.

It was in this literal sense that our young minds understood and deployed the saying. No one knew the originator of the saying which must have been before our time, but the twin cities of Warri/Wado were known for catchy slangs and wise sayings such as “Warri no dey carry last” a saying that has been popularised nationwide by the likes Alibaba, I Go Die and AY. Warri/Wadoi of that time lived up to this saying, only that these days Warri still “dey carry first but e dey carry first from behind.” A once vibrant, bubbling city is turned a decritip slum. A city we all, once proudly love to associate with as “Warri boys” has suffered years of neglect by virtue of being torn apart by years of needless ethnic wars and rivalry. A situation that informs my refering to this once united city as the twin cities of Warri and Wado.

At that time we had not read Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation to fully grasp the crucial place of the stomach in determining the behavioural pattern of man and his brother primates (the other animals) – even if we were aware of the importance of eating. Survival or self preservation is the first instinct of all primates, man inclusive. Both man and animal needs food to survive.
In Abraham Maslow’s widely accepted scientific study of man’s hierarchy of needs food is among those needs listed as basic needs. They lie at the bottom of all man’s needs. These are the needs that man shares almost uniformly with other animals of his like, so to say. If man were to live by these needs alone, he will not be distinguishable from the other annimals.

Also listed in Malsow’s pyramid of needs, are other higher needs that distinguishes man from, and places him above all other animals. Such needs as self esteem and self actualisation lie at the top of the pyramid. It is to these needs that man ought to aspire to for personal and societal growth.
However, recent happenings in our polity suggests rapid downward societal regression into animalistic state of man. We seem to be collectively aiming at the bottom of the pyramid, in conduct and practice, as if in a determined march to defy Marlow’s well received scientific theory and other theories of human development.
The word infrastructure with regard to governance and political manifestos, ordinarily conotes the provision of physical structures such as roads, schools, hospitals, power supply, etc, for the smooth operation of society and the benefit of all.

But the prhase “stomach infrastructure” recently entered the political lexicon to describe the slide in our behavioural pattern and our seeming collective resolve to return to the base of human nature. The hunger in our stomach has grown so huge that we now literarily swallow or construct these structures in our stomachs and this has reflected in no small way in the sizes of our stomachs. If you still wonder why we seem to have more pregnant men than women in today’s society, wonder no more. The answer is stomach infrastructure.

Any society where the stomach, rather than reason and enlighened self interest leads, descends sooner than later to an animal kingdom.

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