Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Like Father, Unlike Son


“Everybody wants a share of the robber economy and the real bone of contention is the percentage of share from the oil and gas account”

Hi, Jagunlabi. Long time! No see!! Where have you been?

My friend, I have been away to participate in the last voting exercise.

Which one? Do you mean the wuruwuru thing of last April? So, how did it go in your state?

It wasn't funny at all. It was like April Fools' day. Do you remember my uncle, the politician?

Yes, Uncle Fijabi. I remember...

No, it's not that one. I mean Uncle Jegudujera, my paternal uncle who has been in the Upper House since the soja go, soja come “arrangee” democracy of the Salami days.
I seee! So, what happened?

On election day, Uncle Jegudujera came out very early in the morning to monitor the electoral activities in his constituency but all he saw were deserted streets and heavily armed soldiers at roadblocks. Everywhere he looked he was confronted with stern-looking soldiers. He just put two and two together and quickly rushed back home, donned his wife's attire and headed straight for the (Idi Iroko) border.

Why? Did his two and two give him 40?

I really don't know... That would be kabukabu mathematics. He didn't tell anybody. It was only after he came back from the closed border that he deemed it fit to let us know why he bought the proverbial pounded yam and did not wait to collect the mandatory soup. He said he thought the jackboots were out to collect their power back as they were wont to in the dark days of military siege to the commonwealth.

Can you imagine that?

Poor man! What's he afraid of?

My friend, I don't trust these I-chop-you-chop politicians, not even my uncle.

Why do you say that?

They all have one skeleton or the other in their underpants. If not, why did he race for the border on seeing soldiers on the roads?

Maybe he is allergic to green uniforms. But, by the way, let's leave the politicians underpants and come back to the polling booths. So, generally speaking, how did the election go?

It was abracadabra all the way.

Kai! Who says? Is it the retired general or the ever-bubbling professor?

None of the above.

So, who is your source of information?

You want me to tell you?

Yes, why not? Or are you a journalist who will not disclose his source of information even at the point of death?

Well, I'm not a journalist but a man who has a third eye and a satellite dish...

It’s a lie! Third eye... Satellite dish!! What's that supposed to mean?

An inner eye and a listening ear, of course.

Whose ear is not for listening and hearing?

Are you asking me? A lady's ear, of course!

Beg your pardon! You must be kidding. Bring it up... Come again!

A lady's ear, if you do not know, is meant for decoration.

There you go again! Bloody chauvinist!! So, what did you see and what did you hear with your so-called satellite dish?

My friend, I heard a lot and saw wen! For the first time in my life, I saw hoodlums parading the streets in four-wheel-drive vehicles, posing as electoral officers and, in some cases, as policemen. I saw ballot boxes snatched in the presence of policemen who chose to look the other way. I saw an under-age voter thumb-printing one thousand ballot papers in one minute!

Akika! Small, small...

True! Before God and man, I saw returning officers returning home with bundles of naira notes...

Jesus Christ!! Is that all?

Look at you... I heard one politician complain that one party was just being too greedy by not allowing his own party also to capture the cake, saying, afterall, the said party had been robbing the people for the past 18 years and it was time it allowed them also to do their own bunkering while the oil well runs.

Now you can see why those militants are itching for a piece of the cake, too. As a matter of fact, everybody wants a share of the robber economy and the real bone of contention is the percentage of share from the oil and gas account. What do you pay the explorers? What do you give the exploiters? What do you concede to the owners? What do you share among the remaining citizens? For as long as this problem remains unsolved, so shall we continue to have political unrest, electoral robbery, social inequality and a permanently drifting entity called Niagara.

You forgot to add that so also shall the politicians be sleeping with one eye closed because of the persistent threat from their opponents who reside in the barracks. And so shall Uncle Jegudujera and his friends continue to be keeping their ECOWAS passports and NAGBAKO maps under their pillows every night. They come in handy just in case...

It means we are still living in a fools' paradise. Just too bad.

Real super bad. But I think the Gentleman on the Rock is up to something. He can perform miracles with his the-less-you-look-the-more-you-see style of governance.

For where? We need an Iron Lady like Thatcher, the Milk Snatcher, or a Strong Man like Ghadaffi, the Desert Warrior, to scatter everything and make everybody sit on the edge of the knife.

Ah! You must be kidding!! What did the king of yesterday achieve with his crude bravado, impressionistic bravura and volcanic eruptions?

We are still counting.

The losses or the gains?

Na you sabi. My friend, give unto Baba what is Baba’s and give unto son what is son’s.

Thou sayest.

*First published in TELL July 9, 2007.