Monday, February 22, 2010

Our President Who Art in BBC…


This is BBC HarshTalk. I’m Sebastian Gregory and with me in the studio today is the controversial Niagaran minister of injustice and the anthony general of the federation, Mr Mitchell OndoAccra. Honourable minister, you are welcome to the programme.

Thank you very much for having me in your studio and I hope by the time I take my leave some myths about me would have been broken and jettisoned.

Perhaps we should take off on this note. Within the Niagaran community here in Britain, there are those who believe that your name, OndoAccra, is a strange combination of the names of two cities in Niagara and Ghana, which symbolises the seemingly perennial political confusion in Niagara and also what your presence in government has caused in the realm of legal interpretations from your ministry. By the way, for the purpose of educating the viewers, you may want to give the meaning of your name and how you came about it. Is OndoAccra native to the Niger-Benue people?

Kaase! You can’t stand the story of my people. We are a warlike species, the kind you see in Burma, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, plus or minus the Talibans ... But, anyway, that’s not the story for today. What I just want to say is that those who say my name is a strange combination of Niagaran and Ghanaian town names are the ignorant, uninformed, maladjusted Niagarans in the Diaspora. These are the people who have lost contacts with their roots. They had better listen to Lucky Dube’s “Roots” and retrace their steps back home instead of focussing undue attention on some backstreet towns in West Africa.

Beg your pardon? Will you say Ondo and Accra, the capital of Ghana, are backstreet towns?

As far as I’m concerned, these towns are not mentioned in the Niagaran constitution and are, therefore, null and void, and of no consequence.

I’m sure the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, does not exist either, going by your legal intervention, but, if I may ask, why did your parliament resolve the constitutional crisis based on a foreign radio transmission? Was that not unconstitutional since the BBC is not projected in the constitution as the vehicle through which the president can convey or transmit requests to the parliament?
There is nothing unconstitutional about that. Those who are saying so are just being mischievious. Modern technology has made it possible for presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens and even ayatollahs to transmit power and largesse via text messages, e-mails and MMS. The president, if he likes, can upload on YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter details about the country’s troops and cash movements from one war zone to the other, especially on election days.

Right. But why didn’t the president’s men use these facilities to show his visage even if it is Gorgon Medusa’s on FaceBook when he was said to have signed the budget, at least, to allay the fears of Niagarans?

You seem not to know our people. They are the worst specimens of cynics and pessimists ever created after the biblical Job. They can make any Thomas grin with envy with their predilection towards doubting any government move. I won’t be surprised if they lack Patience and refuse to allow Turaih to continue as acting First Lady to the acting president.

Sure? Well, that brings me to the question that has been agitating the minds of many observers of the Niagaran political scene. Why is a first lady so powerful in Niagara, yet she has only seven ribs none of which is recognised by the constitution?
If I may throw the question back at you, too, why is Her Imperial Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, so powerful yet you, the British, have no (written) constitution?
Simple. We run a monarchy and, by convention, she is the ceremonial head of government.

You see, we are practically saying the same thing. In England, the queen is the ceremonial head of government while in Niagara, the king is the de jure head. QED! So Sebastian, remember, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
If that’s the way you see it, fine. But for the benefit of the listeners, perhaps you may want to give us an insight into how the government of Niagara was being run in far away Saudi Taraba.

That’s pretty obvious. While the de jure president was in Koma, the de facto ‘president’ was making hay in Oloibiri lest the oilwells ran dry.

Beg your pardon? I didn’t get that.

Sebastian, in Niagara, the more you look, the less you see. Let’s leave it at that. I’m a lawyer, I can’t be saying the whole truth. No lawyer does that.

So, did you see the president at all while he was in Koma? I learnt most of you could not gain access to his hospital bed and that some of you even camped in Yola waiting for an opportunity to catch a glimpse of him to no avail but came back to say they saw him hale and hearty, jogging in the mountains with the Super Eagles who were en route Angola. Your foreign affairs minister, Ojoh Madukaykay, was in that seat recently and when I put the question to him, it sounded more like Greek to him than his native Igbo language. What’s really going on? Why was it difficult for you, cabinet ministers, to consult with the president while in Koma?

Who told you he was in Koma? Anyway, there is nowhere it is written in the constitution that we should have face-to-face chat with the boss. If you care to know, our president is a damn good blogger like Obama. He blogs like no man’s business. He is savvy with the Internet. He is always carrying a blackberry in his left hand and a rosary in the right one. We contact him quite often by listening to BBC and through text messages, telephone calls, MMS and, you will be surprised, we even see him by telepathy on FaceBook! What else?

Nothing more except that some of your people are of the opinion that there’s too much deceit and deception in the system, so much that a colleague of yours in the cabinet wrote a memo to protest this grotesque, if not insulting, assault on the intellect of the generality of Niagarans...

If I follow the trend of your argument very well, I guess you were referring to Roda’s memo. Don’t mind her. She is just a rambler, a rabble-rousing professor who wants to play heroic in the corridor of power and not in the lecture theatre where she belongs as a professor of drugs.

You must be kidding! With due apology, Mr Minister, I think you got it wrong. Dissent is an essential ingredient of democracy. A real leader is one who stands up for the truth even at the risk of his or her life. I’m sure the rest of the world will not agree that she is a rambler.

She is. I repeat, she is. By the way, what’s her locus standi? We only invited her to come and eat and she wants to grow wings! That’s never done. Government is a dinner party. You eat and eat and eat until you are eased out from the dinner table. You don’t come to government and start looking at people’s yansh.

Last question, please. What happens if the president has another stream of consciousness and grants another one-minute interview to VOA or BBC or Reuters or AP saying he is ready to play golf with Tiger Woods?

That’s a ‘woody’ question. Only the Senate can answer that.

Opilogue is back. Thanks to those who kept the line of communication open despite the “indefinite” break.

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