Sunken Ships is a Zikoko series that explores the how and why of the end of all relationships — familial, romantic or just good old friendships.
In this episode of Sunken Ships, Kiki* (22) shares why she blocked her uncle and how it goes beyond supporting different candidates.
What was your relationship with your uncle like pre-elections?
Kiki: Pretty normal. You know how in every Nigerian home, there are different kinds of uncles? The rich ones who always give you money, the stingy/broke ones, the one you’re convinced is a pervert, the cool one and the rest? He was one of the rest. A bit younger than my dad, but not young enough that we had things we could relate to. His children are also younger than me, so we didn’t have much to talk about.
However, we weren’t enemies. I spent holidays in his house, and when we had family events, we had proper conversations. He didn’t treat me like a child who didn’t know anything, but he provided support only someone older can give. He’d send me articles he read and thought I was interested in so we could talk, but he also sent those ridiculous BCs and bulk messages on Whatsapp. He was okay, and so was our relationship.
How did the fight start?
Kiki: I won’t call it a fight, but we started having issues over WhatsApp. I hardly use the app, but that day, I decided to check people’s statuses. That’s when I saw that he’d put up the poster of a particular candidate running for President. I swiped up to have a conversation with him because I couldn’t believe who he supported. I wanted to know his thought process if any. He didn’t reply immediately — probably because of work — but we eventually had a conversation.
The words he sent that day shocked me. I wanted to scream at him, but I maintained my peace. We had this long back and forth that ended with me blocking him. I didn’t have the strength, and he wouldn’t change his mind.
A week later, while I was out with my mum, she stopped by his house. When we got there, he brought up the fact that I’d blocked him to my mother. It’s one thing for him to support someone who’s incompetent, but to report me to my mother over it? I lost it. I reminded them that I’m an adult and can decide I no longer want certain people to have access to my life. My mother told me it didn’t make sense for me to fight family because of politicians. That people have a right to vote and campaign for whoever they want. I told her it’s more than that.
Kiki: If someone doesn’t align with my values, I can also choose to remove their access to me.
It’s not just about picking a different candidate. I think that’s very reductive of the issue. You can disagree on the policies of different candidates. Candidate one wants to increase tax by 5%, and candidate two wants to reduce it by 3%. Or one candidate wants to make Lagos the capital of Nigeria, while another wants to make Edo state the capital. These are differences you don’t have to cut off friends and family members over.
But he’s endorsing a corrupt, terrorism-affiliated, allegation-heavy candidate whose policies might as well lead to the end of my life. I’m upset that he supports someone who’ll most likely make millions of people suffer. I have every right to choose to no longer associate with someone who willingly chooses death and suffering.
It shows his beliefs and values align with said candidate. If the candidate he supports has made degrading comments about people from certain tribes, it means my uncle feels the same way. If the person is known to align with thugs and thieves, then that’s something my uncle stands for. I don’t stand for those things, so why should I keep him around?
What’ll happen after the elections?
Kiki: Nothing. He’s still blocked and will forever remain blocked. Why should he remain in my life? He’s been reporting me to family members, and they’ve called and begged, but that’s their business. I don’t know why they think my uncle and I must talk by force.