When salt losses its taste

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe


I do not know why the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) chose a day after President Buhari’s national broadcast on the Covid-19 pandemic to demand N1.1 trillion from the FG for the “revitalization” of the Nigerian university system. It is truly apalling with the current economic situation!


But then, this is Nigeria where any proof of life speech by the leader in standing position is breaking news. We are indeed a cynical federation! as ours is breaking news. While the periodic distraction that the national speculation on the whereabouts of Mr President might be temporarily strategic it has a cumulative effect in the progressive bastardization his political legacy in the long run. Being a president is not a call to be an expert. Rather it is simply being in charge which in an internet age is not a picnic.


The contents of President Buhari’s speech in overall context commendably covered all the relevant issues. That it was short on details is perfectly understandle. This is because unlike President Trump that briefs his nation daily on the pandemic, ours only addresses his national constituency “after hours and hours of rehearsals, which nonetheless unmasks his declining cognitive faculties” as his leadership template is apparently that of “presidency by absenteeism”




The world we live in is a global village. From Uganda, a young lady Kenyangi Bale tweeted at 7.58am Kampala time on March 27, 2020 just 2 days before President Buhari addressed us ” I know Ugandans deserve better. But, our president, Museveni has addressed this nation the 5th time in 2 weeks on the COVID-19 pandemic. You guys needs to visit Nigerian Twitter. They are looking for their president. He is no where to be found”.


Last night (Nigerian time) Mr Trump started his usual live briefing by announcing that the US Navy hospital had sailed into New York ready for medical battle. The former oil tanker was converted to a hospital ship in 1987 has 1000 beds, 12 operating theaters, a dental clinic, 4 X-ray machines, CT scanner, 2 Oxygen production plants, Optometry lab, 5000 unit capacity blood bank, daily 300,000 gallons fresh water plant, helipad and morgue. According to the US Navy, the hospital ship that is the equivalent in height to a 10-storey building and 3 football fields long was due to sail for New York in 8 days but when the Army Corps of Engineers was drafted in it sailed in 5 days.


Meanwhile, it took 35 days between when the first Covid-19 case was announced in Nigeria and when President Buhari addressed the nation. In India it took an Indian academic, Virologist Minal Dakhane Bhosale 42 days to develop an indigenous test kit. She unlike her Nigerian counterparts was not on strike, rather as soon as she finished her project headed for the maternity ward to deliver a bouncing baby girl. What is the difference in distaste between Mr President and ASUU?


Anyway soon after Mr. President addressed the nation a disturbing video started making the rounds on social media showing an obviously distressed Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, the CO of Operation Lafiya Dole apparently addressing, his boss the army chief.



“We have been met with very strong resistance – from more than pockets of Boko Haram. From every flank not less than 15 gun trucks were facing us. I’m standing here with Sector 2 Commander; the armed helicopter has just come to hover our air, the instruction I gave them was that anything they see moving they should engage because most of my gun trucks are not moving. Like I said earlier, the three battalions are fighting as deployed — nobody is running” He went on “But what we have here, I will give you some estimates. Boko Haram has fired more than a hundred mortar bombs at us; they have fired 80 to a hundred RPGs at us; in addition to eight to 10 gun trucks firing at us from all sides. We have not run, and the soldiers are not misbehaving or disobeying orders.We have casualties. I will come and see you in person on what we need to do. But we are not running. We lost about 20 MRAP tires here. We have changed close to 250 Hilux tires due to the terrain.”


According to a report that accompanied the viral video “Several wounded soldiers could be seen crying in the video while bodies of their colleagues was scattered all over location. Recall that Boko Haram recently ambushed troops in Borno and killed more than 50 soldiers during that attack”That such a highly classified communication is being circulated in the public domain is shocking. It however means the video was perhaps deliberately leaked by whistleblowers in service to alert the nation on the deterioration of affairs in the North East.
Nigeria’s security and military apparatus cannot afford to be distracted because elsewhere in the world either by hook or by crook according to the newspaper Times of Israel in its March 27 edition; “The Mossad intelligence service on Thursday helped bring another 400,000 CoronaVirus test kits to Israel from an undisclosed foreign location, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said. That was in addition to the roughly 100,000 test kits the spy agency brought to Israel last week. The PMO, which is responsible for the Mossad, said the intelligence service had imported the chemical reagents needed to perform approximately 400,000 tests. The swabs needed to carry out the task are being sourced both internally and from a number of foreign countries. The PMO refused to comment further on the matter, specifically on the country or countries that sold it the testing components, leading many to assume that it was a country that does not have strong or formal ties with Israel.


In another report in Blomberg.com dated March 19, 2020; “Earlier this week, the Shin Bet (Israel’s) domestic security service was authorized to use a technology developed primarily for counterterrorism purposes to identify who infected people may have come in contact with”
So on one hand, while in our country the military is besieged by a seemingly endless insurgency in others the armed forces and security are being used to assist a national effort in medical health care delivery. No doubt it is all about a coordinated leadership that has purpose and direction. Ours unfortunately is mostly about an “absentee presidency” If so what is the way forward? It is all about to be seen to be in-charge. Leadership is mostly about effective presence without actually saying much or being an expert. Just be there!


Law 16 of 48 Laws of Power recommends “Use absence to increase respect and honor. Create value through scarcity” There is however a caveat “Absence is dangerous – instead of fanning the flames, it will extinguish them. In the beginning, make yourself not scarce, but omnipresent. Only what is seen, appreciated, and loved will be missed in its absence” It is against this background that Law 6 is instructive; “Everything is judged by it’s appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention”

CONVID 19: Nigerian Earthly Gods are not to be blamed.

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe


Or are the Wailers are not to Blamed instead?

I am glad that the Presidency has decided to reject the call by the National Assembly for a national broadcast on Covid-19. Can you imagine; have they forgotten they are a rubber stamp parliament?

Hmm…somebody should remind them that, “Until the rotten tooth is pulled out, the mouth should chew with caution.” Besides didn’t the “National Leader” of our great Kutuje party recently claim the issue is actually 2023 virus? Anyway Malam Garba Shehu sorry; Alaka, has rightly replied those enemies of progress by emphasizing, “These are not the times for populism and cheap politics.”

Nigerians must learn to respect Baba Fakunle’s privacy so that he can cool his “hotness of a gorilla” in the other room. Anybody that needs to be addressed should tune to CNN and watch Donald Trump. Those calling on Mr. President to address the nation should not forget that; “A chicken eats corn, drinks water, swallows pebbles, yet she complains of having no teeth. If she had teeth, would she eat gold? Let her ask the cow who has teeth yet eats grass!”
This is Nigeria where our leaders should address us only during political campaigns. The Next Level is about peace and quiet before Adetusa’s retirement. Our government is not to be disturbed by you disobedient Gbonkas with petty matters as we are currently focused on repairing the PDP damage of 16 years which shall be carrying out indefinitely. After all we have already achieved national sufficiency in local rice production; what else do you ingrates of Ikolu want again?
With a price reduction of N20 from every liter of PMS it is Danfo drivers and luxurious bus operators that you Ijekun people should compel to reduce transport fares not us. We have done our best under the circumstances for you people that are beginning to behave like Aderopo. If you think because you voted for us you want to make noise don’t forget there is nothing independent about INEC. “Is it not ignorance that makes the rat attack the cat?” Any petrol dealer in spite of old stock bought at the former price must now sell at the new price. That is the defination of patriotism. This government is ever ready to close the shop so that we can chase treasury looters. You think e easy with corruption fighting back? “Because the farm-owner is slow to catch the thief, the thief calls the farm-owner thief!” Therefore any Odewale that feels too strongly about Covid-19 should send in photographs of suspected cases for perusal like the Lagos governor did with the aftermath of the recent pipeline explosion at Abule Ado. Does the Aso Rock Villa look like NAFDAC office or Center for Disease Control? If anybody coughs simply tell the person – Bless you! Or sacrifice rams to the gods. Sacrifice did you say? Perhaps to “Soponna the god the poxes or even Sango the god of thunder and rainfall” So shut up and “boil lemongrass, tea bush and some limeskins including dogonyaro leaves” then isolate yourselves – “when rain falls on the leopard does it wash off its spots?”

If body scratch you eat local rice! So please you Haters should carry your Coronavirus talk far away from us or we quarantine you with Ogundele the hunter. We have urgent matters of state to attend to like making sure the esteemed chairman of our party, Comrade Akilapa with diamond buttons on his safari is not humiliated out of office by saboteurs from where 3 footpaths meet – nearer to Ede than to Ilorin. So no national broadcast on Covid-19 for you. “Let no one stop us and no one come with us or we shall curse them…..When the wood-insect gathers sticks on its own head it carries them” Is it because there is power you want to see broadcast?

Wait till we return DISCO to power holding then your eye will clear. If you vex go and vote for Atiku in 2023. This is not a play!



FINAL WORD

NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY DAY JOKE: JUNE 12TH

Buhari met with the Queen of England in London n asked her…How do you run such an efficient government here?
Are there any tips you can give to me? I want to help Nigeria.

QUEEN: The most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people.

Buhari: How do I know the people around me are really intelligent?

QUEEN: Oh, that’s easy. Just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle.
The Queen sent for Theresa May. Theresa May walked into the room,

MAY: Yes, your Majesty.
You sent for me.

QUEEN: Answer this riddle. Theresa, your mother and father have a child, it is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?”

MAY: Hmmm… that would be me.

QUEEN: Yes, very good.

When Buhari came back home he sent for Abba Kyari.

Kyari walk in to Buhari’s office.

Kyari : Sir you call me.

Buhari: Yes sit down and answer this; Your mother and your father have a child, it’s not your brother and it’s not your sister, who is it?

Kyari: I’m not sure, let me get back to you.
He asked all his staff in the office but none could give him an answer. Kyari then ran to Fashola.

Kyari asked: Your mother and father have a child and it’s not your brother or sister, who is it?”

FASHOLA: That’s easy. It’s me!

Kyari smiled and said, Thanks! Then he went back to speak with President Buhari.

Kyari: Sir, I have the answer to that riddle, It’s Babatunde Raji Fashola!

Buhari got angry, and said to Kyari; No wonder Nigeria isn’t moving forward, I am surrounded by dummies! The answer is… Theresa May!!!

A beg don’t laugh alone ..make someone laugh. A MERRY HEART DOETH GOOD LIKE A MEDICINE. Proverbs. 😀😂😄
COPIED…

UK & USA Reject Nigerian Elections

Breaking News:

UK & USA Reject Presidential election results, threatens to remove Buhari .
Read full story….

The U.K and USA has rejected the Presidential election held on Saturday.
The Urhobo Kingdom (UK) representing Irodo community in Delta State And the UKwani Student Association (USA) also threatened to scatter the INEC office in Irodo and UKwani, two small communitIes where only about 100 and 300 people registered to vote
Details later….

Happy new month with blessings

A MAN ON THE MOON LESSON FOR NIGERIA

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe on facebook

50 years ago in 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the Moon. Irrespective of who wins the presidential elections what lesson can we as Nigerians learn from the Moon landing? In 1957 the Soviet Union launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. By 1961 the Soviet Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the world. At the end of the same year the Iron Curtain had launched 5 space shuttles. The Americans had none. That did not stop the American president JF Kennedy from declaring to his compatriots that “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the earth”.

It was a tall order because the Americans had not even launched any manned satellite by then. That however happened in 1962 when the American John Glenn in 4 hours circled the world 3 times from an altitude of 162 miles. The normal cruising height of a commercial aircraft is 6 miles high. In 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon and successfully returned to earth after 8 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds. The call sign when the shuttle landed on the Moon was: The eagle has landed. On the main screen at the Mission Control Center on earth Kennedy’s 1961 speech was scrolling followed by the words: Task Accomplished. The space race that started in 1957 was finally won by the Americans in 1969. The Space Center in the US was named after the Kennedy. The then US president was Richard Nixon his Republican archrival. The longstanding political bitterness between the 2 men did not affect the US space program despite the fact that the Democrat Kennedy had died in office 6 years earlier. The event was televised worldwide and broadcast on radio to millions of others including in the Soviet Union. Fast forward to Nigeria, a pathetically dysfunctional country where 60 years after national independence we are still eyeing each other through the prism of ethnic identity and religious affiliation. A country where State of Origin and not State of Residence is the major meal ticket cannot land on the Moon.

Ours is where a sitting president cannot give any cogent answer to the Almajiri problem because it might acknowledge his predecessor from the South in building special purpose schools in the North. Nigeria today needs a leader like Kennedy who will dream while awake and a Nixon that will cast aside political bitterness. The main leadership challenge in Nigeria is how to manage our diversity. What has happened the last few years is that Ijawization was simply replaced with Northernization. It is now time to break the jinx by externalizing our aggression like the Americans did with the Soviet Union. Nations develop when they have rivals to surmount. If there was no Japan there wouldn’t have been the Asian Tigers led by South Korea. India needs Pakiskan to excel and vice versa. Without Taiwan’s rivalry China would still be backward communist nation. Even under Murtala Mohammed the emancipation of Angola, Mozambique, Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa was our rallying point. Without external rivals nations cannibalize themselves as we have been doing for decades. Leadership imagination is very crucial in turning the tide. Nigeria therefore needs a president that can think outside the box by creating an external rival that will unite us in a common purpose and direction. We can then land on the Moon instead of fighting each other.

Nigerians, Are we preparing for the future as a country?

On Made in China 2025.
On several occasions I run across these Chinese kids here in Georgia Tech, what surprises me is the type of courses they study. Almost all of them under Chinese government scholarship here to study in Americas best universities are studying courses that have to do with the future.

They study artificial intelligence, systems science and engineering, and hard core courses for tommorows World, their social lives are zero and they always hold sophisticated telephones. Very suprizing, but China is a country that thinks ahead and every Chinese is a potential suspect.

Have you ever heard of the concept, made in China 2025? It is Chinese Development blueprint that had sent fear around the world. It is meant to transform China from a labor intensive economy that makes toys, cloths, pharmaceutical to one that engineers advanced products like robots electric cars, and space explorations.
The Chinese are believed to be the most determined species of the human race. Once they set their minds to achieve a goal nothing stops them.

Earlier today, I listened to a commentary where the presenter clearly stated that the Chinese state would not mind stealing technology and intellectual property just to meet their goal.
I also read elsewhere, that Chinese kids are sent in droves to study unique courses like artificial intelligence, information systems, system science, robotic engineering, systems engineering in American schools. Surprisingly this is a deliberate state policy. You never see a Chinese student on scholarship studying arts, social sciences or religion.

What is most troubling is that they study these courses in America and United Kingdom top ivy leagues. They are here on full state sponsored scholarships.
While the economies of the world including the United States are exporting production distribution and exchange in an era of globalization, China is pursuing an agenda of localizing production.
They promote a policy to get almost 70 percent of their production value chain domiciled locally. This is very dangerous because in the future the entire world will answer to China in terms of production. My concern with China is how can a country and a people get it so right? Always ahead of the rest. Always scheming at a time our own kids are holidaying and eating barbecue in foreign restaurants.

The more I study the Chinese, the more I fall in love with these guys. They have leaders that think. They have leaders that plan for tommorow. More interesting, even children as young as five years in China know in every transaction they have to eat up their opponents or be eaten.
The big question: Can we ever have a country built on values? Unfortunately, this is our biggest handicap in Nigeria. Our leaders think only of themselves. Selfish and greedy, and some of our young people think only of what they can scoop out of these greed.
Vision 2020 we planned, this is 2019, nothing to write home about. Even the government themselves are busy politicking and killing themselves with no regard to attain the goals of vision 2020. Open a discussion with a federal minister on how his ministry plans to meet the vision 2020 goals he has no idea what you are talking about.
Our hospitals are still consulting clinics, women still give birth at home without medical support, our roads in disrepair, our schools abandoned and our politicians clueless.

Is there hope for our country that we can ever plan and execute with precision like the Chinese?
Sometime I wonder, do we embrace the Chinese and be recolonized or do we continue to align with the west?
These young Chinese kids in Western schools studying robotics and artificial intelligence are the ones to compete with our own kids 20 years from now at a time our educational system and universities are dead and lecturers still going on strike. I fear for my country and our future, to be candid I fear!

Princewill Odidi, a Development analyst write from Atlanta.

The Perfect Story for Kaduna

With the recent crisis in Kaduna State, Northern Nigerian, which broke out on Thursday 18th October, 2018, the almost immediate spill over on Sunday 21st October, 2018, and then the Friday 26th October, 2019; this latest one following this breaking news:

“KIDNAPPED AGOM ADARA MURDERED

The king of Adara, Kachia LGA, Southern Kaduna, His Highness, Dr Maiwada Galadima, Agom Adara, who was kidnapped on the Oct 19, on his way back from a meeting with Gov El-Rufai has been murdered after the payment ₦5 million ransom.”

The criticism has been centered on this being a political killing….

Some want it to be known that the State Government under the leadership of Mal. El- Rufai has shown it’s clear disdain for southern sections of the State because of the incessant problem in these areas.

The Fulani herdsmen tagged conflict in these southern most part of the state has not fully abated & a majority of these sections had voted against the ruling party in previous elections, regardless of the official results announced after the last LG elections.

Governor El-Rufai’s utterances & actions, since assuming office has been said by some critics to have breeded the current crisis and killings going on in Kaduna state. To these persons El-Rufia’s utterances have always been laddened with hate for these particular section of the state.

Watch this video https://t.co/oyxtG897V5

video of elrufai

But though El-Rufai is not known for moderation & tact in his blunt utterances, but he is not entirely wrong.

It is true that the narrative on BOTH sides has been lace with more exclusive undertones than unconditional peaceful overtures.

The Story of Kaduna’s reoccurring ethnic-religious crisis is that of endless reprisals.

I read the perfect most story recently that all the people in Kaduna must read.

A delightful cousin of mine had put it up on whassap.

“At the time of Obatala The King in Yoruba land,
Three people came to him dragging a young man with them and said to him:
Kabiyesi!!! (Your highness) This man has murdered our father.

Obatala: Why did you kill their father?

Young man: I’m a goatherd. My goat ate from their father’s farm, and he threw a stone at my goat and it died; so I also took the stone and threw it at their father and he also died.

Obatala: Because of this, I pass judgment on your charge of murder by sentencing you to death.

The Young man said:
I ask for 3 days before you execute the judgment. My late father left me some wealth and I have a sister to take care of. If you kill me now, the wealth and my sister will have no guardian.

Obatala: Who will stand for your bail?

Young man: Looking into the crowd, he pointed at Lamurudu.

Obatala asked: Do you agree to stand for him, Lamurudu?

Lamurudu answered, Beeni (yes).

Obatala enquired further: You agree to stand for someone you don’t know, and if he doesn’t return you’ll receive his penalty.

Lamurudu answered: I accept.

The young man left but after two days, and into the third day there was still no sign of him.

Everyone was very afraid for Lamurudu who had accepted to receive the penalty of death if the man failed to return.

Just before it was time for dinner, the Goat Herdsman appeared looking very exhausted and he stood before Obatala.

The Young man spoke up: I have handed the wealth and the welfare of my sister to my uncle and I am back to receive the penalty.

You may execute the penalty now.

In great shock and surprise, Obatala said: And why did you return after having a chance to escape the death penalty?

Young man:

I was afraid, it will appear that humanity has lost integrity and the ability to fulfill promises kept”.

Obatala turned and looked at Lamurudu and asked him: And why did you stand for him?

Lamurudu responded:

I was afraid, it might appear that humanity have lost the will to do good to others.”

These words and events moved the brothers who had wanted justice for their father’s death very deeply and they decided to forgive the young goat herdsman.

In furious anger, Obatala asked “Why?!!!”

They said:

We are afraid, it will appear as though forgiveness has lost place in the heart of humanity.

I have also share this beautiful message and passed it on with the hope that it might be a reminder of how forgiveness is an integral aspect of peace. Such that doing good may not be ever lost to us.

I encourage all the sides in Kaduna to embrace peace, forgive & forget all the ills supposedly done to them in the past or present. Let it pass on, or else I fear that…. Our humanity is slowly being lost.

Be safe & God bless you always.

The political stewards’ explanations cometh

BYE-BYE & GOODLUCK, if you've earned it
BYE-BYE & GOODLUCK, if you’ve earned it

It is always interesting to hear how government officials answer questions about their stewardship, before they get into power and after they leave it. Reflecting on how Nigerians will for the very first time experience what it is like to have a democratically unseated government explain how it failed to deliver, I pondered on the novelty of the experience that awaits us. This time around there will be no group of inheriting stooges in the incoming government to cover for the past government. Instead there will be a pack of roving glory seekers very eager to point out the past governments countless shortcoming as well as edging to make a notable difference of their own. Some of the promises the in-coming government made during its campaign sounded juvenile and naïve, now is the time to explain those away and substantiate the change they promised, while emphasizing the difference they will make. The major difference this time around is that a majority of Nigerian had a say in who does what explaining and all the politicians, across political divide know that the people have to like all their weighty explanation.

While we wait for the first of these explainations, enjoy the following ficticious one.
(excerpts from The Whore; Chapter 5)

The_Whore_Cover_for_Kindle

“The infantile joke in the citizenry’s attitude towards very essential measures taken by government is appallingly so naïve most time,” said the government’s minister for finance.

Laraba was momentarily stunt, wondering what the guy was up to. She didn’t ask him to repeat himself or clarify what he actually meant. Doing so would give him an opportunity to either correct himself or attempt to soften the blow of the blunt and rather unguarded remark he had just made. She already had her mini tape recorder rolling away and had the vital advantage of being able to review what she knew she had just heard, again. The mere thought of the magnitude of this potentially damning bashful blunder and the silly rashness of the minister’s openness was elating. Laraba had already started toying with the limitless possibilities of this single statement, made only two question into the proposed two hours long interview.

Her concentration seemed to waver and his gaze pierced into her thought fruitlessly, as he contemplates clarifying what he had just said. It didn’t feel quite right and with the tactful use of a combination of coy reasoning and logic, he could tactically withdraw the remark. She sensed this and didn’t give him the chance by clearly pretending not to have registered the remark. She deviated into another aspect, dear to the boastful minister. She almost beseeched him to again briefly explain for the umpteenth time, how he had effortlessly got the nation such a massive foreign debt reprieve for a full decade. He fell for it like a winter starved Bear to catching jumping salmon slowed at a cliff edge waterfall, on their seasonal breeding trip up stream.

The Promised Change is Finally in place
The Promised Change is Finally in place

Tanimu Lawal was the Nigerian minister for finance and he has always thought the world of his looks, mainly because he appeared to attract a lot of interested stares when he walked around or spoke publicly. Clearly he needed to be reminded that badly dressed ugly people do attract even more looks from appalled spectators, than well-dressed, physically attractive people would ordinarily do. He wasn’t just qualified for his plumb job, but as a third generation professional international banker, one whose influential northern Nigerian family is continuously represented at the very top echelon of the federal government, he already had enough training and experience in international monetary dealings for his present job, before his early thirties. So that elegant mannerism of handling a simply press interview comes naturally to him, almost like a shaven coiffure to a balding young man. His rich folks gave him a lot more than life, they also gave him the kind of life to live as well. His family’s historical position gave him a living to live life with.

Laraba let him indulge himself, going over details that were not quite important to her, since the whole financial world had certified them as laudable and massively beneficial to the country. She waited patiently, making the right noises to both encourage him and put him at ease for what was to come. This interview was slated to be Kengua’s, but honourable Tanimu Lawal had insisted she handled it instead, he was that sure of himself. It was always going to be a duel between them and they both knew it. She had resisted doing the interview. Kengua didn’t mind in the least and Lawal was increasingly persistent she did it, even as she resisted further.

Finally she had cunningly made out she had only accepted to take the interview reluctantly, but she had actually just made the minister less ready for their duel. She hid away the advantage she had and made him feel comfortable, with the wrong impression. If he was under the illusion he would stroll through their two hours session because he is the darling of the financial world, he had goofed. As the latest wiz-kid on the block, he was to know better soon enough, she thought. Laraba is a butcher and fattened cows only come to the butcher for one reason only.
Lawal looked into Laraba’s eyes & smiled.

“My will is cast in hope re-enforced prayer,” he said. “Hope for my nation to flourish with a viable economy that will be envied the world over.” He had quickly added.

Laraba nodded, sensing he was about done with blowing his shiny trumpet. Lawal became uncomfortable, the interview was going too smoothly for his expectations. Even he knew reputations are not mere hand bills but solid structures that command space and respect.

“I merely did my little bit,” Tanimu Lawal concludes and waited expectantly for the fiery salvo he knew was certainly coming his way. Laraba didn’t waste any more time.
“Surely Mister honourable Minister Lawal sir, you don’t think most Nigerians are stupid, do you?” The glint in her eyes and the brief twitch on the right side of her lips is her tell, when she sets about ruffling up some one. But he didn’t know and had no way of telling.

Lawal curtly responded with an unqualified, uncertain Yes!
His answer hung there on its own, un-accompanied with more expansive elabourate clarification for an uncomfortable brief while, a couple of nervy heart beats too long. It wasn’t really a reply like it ought to be and Lawal looked unsure but Laraba though it was vague enough to be ideal for this purpose. When words get in the way of expressing real thoughts and feelings, unlike how they quite expertly express fake ones, they serve some real purpose all the same, as deceptive tools. He moved uncomfortably in the cozy armchair he was seated in, inside his huge office. He reached out his right hand for the glass of water on the transparent clear glass stool.

It gave him some time to think. Laraba had kept her eyes on him all along, as he refilled the already half empty glass with water from a half full jug. She enjoyed his effort to hide his visible discomfort and wondered if she wasn’t even thirstier than he was at that instant; thirstier for his famous prestigious blood. As both their gathering thoughts collect, hers permeates her mental notes for a better way to home in on him for the ultimate clincher. His thought sought to cathartically expunge the impurity in his earlier seemingly damning statement. Their separate motives were apart and ill-aligned to be anything but opposites. Their movements were only destined to be perpendicular and the interview was ever going to end with some dissatisfaction.

But it was yet early to tell still. Lawal filled up his glass and seemed to have received the misty glass with his eyes before he picked up the obviously cold drink. He swallowed nervously before downing the liquid content with visible relish. Being interviewed by Laraba is a hot proposition any day. He still had the half full glass in his hand but was just leaning forward to put it back on the glass stool when she asked the same question with completely different words.

“Isn’t naivety stupidity in this context?”
He instantly saw the opportunity for a rebound and she knew she had just unconsciously handed him a good strong life line. One he could use to either pull himself out onto solid ground or hang himself up with. But Lawal merely elabourated further.
“No, it is actually impatience, rather,” he answered and swallowed.
“If we say we will stop flaring up gas, they cheer us up. If we say we will burn up the gas in huge motored furnaces to generate electricity for the general public’s use, they jeer angrily. If we say we will stop using the gas and sell it, they cheer us up yet again.
“When the electricity they get is expensive, because we cannot use the cheap gas easily available to us, they jeer at us yet again. They cheer us, they jeer at us, then they cheer and again jeer, repeatedly like babies.” He had hung himself, but he had clearly made sense in doing so.

Was he taking a bullet for a sitting President because it is in his job description? Or was he being bold because he had such faith in the bulletproof vest of laudable financial achievements he had on? It was clear from the way he developed his argument that he meant well though, but Laraba has her own job description, which is satisfying her readers and upholding her reputation.

He waved eloquently in his argument, confident that his rational reasoning was clearly not as flawed as his critics make them out to be. Mentioning contrary views to his appear to have caused him plenty of aggravation. He would emphatically condemn these perspectives as; “Unfathomable logic, clearly biased to selfish sentiments, devoid of common sense and made by persons who have not acquainted themselves with recent world economic and social trends.”

Laraba instantly realized the amiable federal minister was on self-destruct mode. She only needs to let him talk freely and he will spill the beans. He is clearly the sort that truly means well but has to dishonourably befriend all the neighborhood’s meanest bullies with presents of stolen sweets. This allows him to do the little good he can, like save trapped kittens and rescue weaklings from severe trashing. She toyed with him, preparing him with ideological niceties.

“Maybe there is no such thing as a common good or even common bad. Maybe just from some perspective it exists, but not in any general real term. I mean it is either good or bad to some and bad or good to the other, not all good or all bad across the board. What is your take?”
He hesitated and sized her up.
Clearly he was trying to figure out her approach, but true to his character, he did let fly.

“I disagree. Certain things are commonly good, others commonly bad. Maybe perspectives will see them as mainly good or mainly bad. It really comes down to the context it is viewed in; No rain and a drought, too much and a flood, that kind of thing.”
Mild conscious start, Laraba thought.
Then almost out of nothing Lawal fired out.
“It is quite silly, really. All the harsh criticism we get is unfounded most times and you wonder sometimes if some of these grown up Nigerians actually know what they want”.
“You do mean, ‘What they need’ don’t you?”
“No, I do mean what they want!”
She realized once more she didn’t need to interrupt him, he wants to talk.
“Nations are like individuals. Where its citizens fail to successfully establish their core financial independence, nations will most certainly fail socially too. The merit and demerits of microeconomics are like those of macroeconomics. Parameters must be set in key areas of the economy to let it blossom on its own naturally. The whole Nigerian economy had really grown when it was finally decided to massively subsidize the steady input into electricity production and make power available, alongside all agricultural inputs; disregarding the western world’s threat not let Nigeria to do so. Then government removed all subsidies.

“The government removed subsidies on commercialized fossil fuel derivatives and produced electric power; disregarding all the politicized selfish local agitations not to do so. Luxury items and personal incomes were meticulously taxed but simultaneously, all basic modern living essentials were untaxed. These key steps were so unpopular with large sections that consider them inimical to their preference. We lost some foreign trade because of agricultural subsidies.”

“But the cost of living then doubled with the withdrawal of fuel and power subsidies.” Laraba pointed out quickly. Lawal shook his head, disagreeing with her.

“Actually we later gained twice the foreign trade we lost. The big economies shunned us but the smaller economies trooped in because we could offer stuffs at lesser prices. Then investors tripled as did employment and domestic income, all around.”
“Things didn’t get any better for the ordinary man still.” Laraba insisted.

“It’s just the lingering indefinite recession, so to speak.”
“So to speak, you do not consider this a recession?”
“I do. Just it is best described as a financial meltdown. Don’t you wonder why almost all the nations in the world are in debt and where all the money has gone to?”
Lawal started to explain further.

“As elementary as the answer might sound, it is indeed true that all the public funds have manage to go private. That is why there are more seriously rich people and corporations now than ever before. There is this massive accumulation of money stashed away for rainy days. It isn’t rendering the services most required now or creating nearly as much jobs as needed now.”
It was Laraba’s turn to reach for her glass of water, he just continued without breaking off.

“Also this breakdown in world finances was inevitable. No one continues to spend what they don’t make without the utopian fanfare ending abruptly at some time.” He just went on.

“‘Adache’ is a northern Nigerian close community thrift arrangement. It always ends after a very brief spell and it runs for only a short while at a time, repeatedly. People get to spend more than they are worth at a particular point in time, but not more than they can guarantee they can pay back within the specified period of the thrift’s session and repeatedly.

“It all depends on the slot beneficiaries fit into in the agreed sequence of collection. Some participants could literally be taking short, completely interest free loans from their group friends or colleagues. While others might just as well be saving up in a free fixed deposit bank account, with no access to it until the specified time elapses. It is very simple and very effective.

“Compare this to something only recently researched here; activities of an old failed arrangement in southern Nigeria decades back, where a smart banker ran a loose thrift set up.”
Laraba nodded, recollecting the particular reference.
“He duped a lot of people of millions in accumulated personal funds, I recollect.”
“That’s right. The smart banker had duped deserving gullible greedy people, if you ask me. His fraudulent bank; or something like that, was actually paying one hundred percent interest rates on any investment made within a year. Incredible as it sounds, the chap actually paid up for a couple of years. It was apparently a very huge success for a number of years and naturally, all went burst. That’s your world financial meltdown presently, and I am not exaggerating.”

Laraba saw the need to steer him away from his comfortable topic of world finance and let the bragging federal minister throw some more stones at the Nigerians he serves.
“You once said, ‘There is little good in most Nigerians.”
“That was taken out of context.”
“Then what did you actually say then?”
“I said just that, only I referred to most Nigerians who readily seize opportunities to paint government in bad light when they either didn’t do better when they were in government or don’t even remotely proffer better solutions or forward any constructive ideas to the problems they are arbitrarily bad mouthing so freely, regardless of the many successes they see being achieved.”
“So it is not possible for such criticism to mean well?”
“I am of the strong belief that all reasonable and logical virtues can be applied by or revealed simultaneously in one individual. As such their actions will speak as loud as their words. If they meant well and do mean well, it will show through. It doesn’t in these cases.”

“But these are very important people with loads of national and international experience in governing this country and international agencies, that you’re not giving any credence.”
“What they have is priority grades for their own selfish requests and attention. They are your VIPs; Very Important People. IPs: Improper Professionals. SPs: Special People. VSPs: Very Special Persons. These are all glossy personifications of corruption.”
Laraba scribbled down her first notes since the interview started.

She reassured herself that her mini recorder was still rolling and smiled at the thought of the material she already has.
Lawal had more creative quotes for her.
“It has been written once: There is bedlam and delirium and felicity for all. That is our Nigeria and the typical Nigerian.
“This country has it all wrong in its logic, sentiments and tastes across the board.”

There was no end to the controversial quotes he kept giving her.
“Nigeria may probably be the only country in the world where coins will never again be used, not ever again. And it has nothing to do with government policies.”
She simply led him on.
“Bankers always wanted a cash less economy, right?”
He chuckled at her joke. She joined in for good measure. Then Laraba tried to generalize.

“That is true indeed, but the entire world also has its logic all over the place. We have made water a commercialized commodity like we made conditioned air much earlier. Already all food kinds have been patented. Ultimately breathing would be branded as well, thus completely licensing life altogether. Is this the rise of the corporate world you envisage?”

“You make it sound like it truly isn’t and you know it. The world is changing and priorities are confused. But the Nigerian state has polished its bad and silenced it good.”
“Corruption, it is always corruption.”

“You have a country full of the best praise singers and the meanest critics. The irony of it is that these quite diverse functions are jointly exhibited, practiced and directed at only individuals of some perceived lofty economic and political standings, and oddly by the very same individuals of questionably coy repute, repeatedly. It is endlessly practiced by all and sundry across the length and width of the land. Its perverse tempo only heightens or reduces, depending on the occasion and place. Praise singing is a real national public pastime, which is mainly used to win favours from those pointedly praised and criticized inversely.”

“Are you insinuating that corruption; praise singing as you also tag it, is encouraged nationwide by Nigerians?”
“Most Nigerians will never readily admit this, but corruption is too widespread. Praise singing is the most visible form of corruption. Honest criticism is mainly undertaken in the private domain, when only obviously dependent relatives, harmless friends and domestic pets can discreetly hear and nod in fearful agreement, just like the good praise singers they also are.
“It is a cultural thing, I guess. The worst thing about the covetous need for this sort of hypocrisy is the lack of any real coercion. No one really needs to be so agreeable with thieves if they are not in harm’s way. This hypocrisy is purely a reflection of the internal corruption that encourages ‘praise for gain’. This is all towards gaining undue advantage cheaply, rather than to criticize appropriately or be ostracized and left ‘on your own’.”

Clearly, Lawal was on a roll and earning Laraba’s miserly given respect as he went along. She could see it now, all that privileged cozy upbringing he had, amidst the very gripping harsh improvised reality in the vastly visible suffering around him, must have pricked his conscience. It tugged at his literate sense of self efficiency in reasoning. It had made him question this disharmony, lack of moral uniformity and blatant fiendish wickedness so easily condoned.

The abrasive and rude concordance of this society had ingrained his self-promoting faculties with torrents of enmity for the system. There is also doubt in his capacity to effect genuine change without corrupting himself in the process. And because it didn’t ever take him far enough in doing the right thing sincerely and quite honestly, he made up for his groundless deficiencies by mating flawed affiliations. In order to impose his own laudable set of norms, evil entreaties won, making him responsibly responsive to what he considers as improper. Thus ultimately, Lawal had collaborated with the ploy of unassailable bad, only because by doing so, he continued to fester in his own imaginary world, in which he represents some good.

Laraba is familiar with the disposition of anchored fear and deep seated worries. The buzz of it reveals as an enticement disguising itself amidst the haunting shortcomings of energized good intent. It apprehensively proclaims itself, inside that solely unhappily insatiable and gloomy individual who surrounds self with the proudly rewarded dregs of society. The very same he is in defiant response with, but is still largely forsaken by them.

In this setting, whether they are in or out of government, the honest critic who speaks out and pushes for honest change, is all alone and on his own. He gets only verbal solidarity and nothing solid in his hour of need. Instead he is more flurried than frenzied into being a bitter person if he refuses to rest on his oars. He really only has his conscience to battle against, and all is covered with the must staggering unswerving disloyalty. Even the people he ought to trust assail him with overriding demands to lay back to let the status quo be and also belong. His renewed and refreshed perspective is cheered openly but chided for being a cynical attitude in the closet, as the entire world seems to come together to form bodies in protest.

Lawal was a revelation. He had seriously set out to and had jarred some usually unrevealed emotions. The anxiety his flippant remarks causes certainly will mostly attract the fiercest opposition in the most secret quarters. Laraba was sure even before the interview got published, that it will dwell and linger in the news scene for a long time. He had most definitely interposed.
His devastating bluntness presents a clash in the interest of the same clique he is criticizing but one he quite clearly belongs to.

A critique which they now cannot deny isn’t true, one they can’t put off but must deal with instantly. The anxiety his cronies would nurse will show through their worries. It would bother them mightily that Lawal loudly listed his worries like core dislikes and not principled opinions. This only fostered a continuous hesitancy in policy making, on the side of government. The direction of his critique assure of a tremendous impact. There surely wouldn’t be any retraction. This sort of interview always began a new adventure for both the personality and the journalist. They were both bound to get busy after it comes out and they weren’t set to be bored by the continuous petition for their comments afterwards.

What is more interesting about it all is the personality Lawal presents is bold and daring, almost beguilingly like a badly voiced over cartoon character. He looked implacable with a straight faced expression that doesn’t look any way like one with diverted attention. Yet his voice and utterances are those of the famished man whose perspective is increasingly fickle and unreliable. His eyes darted continually, only momentarily concentrating on something else other than the ball of huge responsibility he held as the federal minister of finance.

He attacked both the leaders and the led, with no distinction. It is after all quite natural to show interest in other people, that is what classifies all higher intellect animal as social animals, with people being fore mostly classed as the most advanced of the whole lot. Lawal states his views in a manner that sounds almost like they are some sort of divine manifesto of an ancient mythical deity. He looks to voice them out like they had no frailties of their own. But though they come out strong minded, they are actually weary calls for some justification.

They say they are not righteous alright, yet they are good. They are like the bold loud encouragement shouted out to a young healthy promising sprinter, by a spent old timer who has atrophied leg muscles for not exercising. He puts himself out as someone who had squandered his chance once and appears to be saying that his productive age has passed on for good. He envisages a new approach to fraternizing with the evil characters that abound everywhere, being doggedly above board in clear transparency, watching out for the needy. There is no stopping him as he unraveled what will probably be the new benchmark for the government he served.

“Look, let’s stop this lying to ourselves and face things the way they look. Nigerians are corrupt by their orientation and they will most probably always be corrupt. Kick out the entire heralded ruling class in governance, in one swift move if you like and replace every single one of them ten times over again with fresh Nigerians with untarnished credible images publicly. You will still have something not very different from the present lot.”

Laraba had to speak out in some form of defense.
“Are you saying most Nigerians are corrupt?”
“Yes indeed I am.”
“Isn’t that deeply harsh and an unfair generalization?”
“But is it?”
Lawal knew he could make something out of all this and he readied himself for such attempts to dissuade him from his rather extreme views.

He is aware that once this comes out, it would fully identify his true person finally. There will never be a lull in the clamoring chatter over the scandal that will ensue.
“The system simply churns out corruption and corrupt people successively.”
He allows a brief pause for effect.
“Not just singularly corrupt persons but in a vast majority of multitudes in every recognizable facet of life. Our great grandparents were less openly corrupt and more bias in their sentiments, they ushered the whole trend. Our grandparents and parents were corrupt, we are more corrupt than they were and without being in danger of exaggerating, our children have only naturally made corruption a way of life for they also know no better too.”
Laraba smiled back a tacit agreement as he went on.
“There is no aspect of our polity that isn’t tainted to a sooty dark screen of falsehood by corruption. No Nigerian; I repeat no Nigerian, is completely capable of being fully steadfast to a belief in the Nigerian project any longer. At least not without being unduly biased to their own personalized aspiration for the nation. If that isn’t corruption, then what is? This is the worst form of corruption because everyone simply transmits any sort of remote privilege they have into being subjective to issues that favour their very own orientation, ethnicity and religious leanings.

“Thus every Nigerian is corrupted by these constituted psyche of his person that he is taught to hold dear and use as a yardstick to measure his relationship with all other Nigerians.”
Laraba starts to worry Lawal would contemplate a possible doubt and ultimately some future denial of at least parts of what he has already said. But there is no hold on him big enough to dull the moment. He seems to know no bounds at the moment.

“This is however a very optimistic assessment and not a shut out pessimistic one, because Nigerians are mainly barking up the wrong tree when they tag this elite customized corruption as the main reason for their woes. They are choosing not to rightly blame their commonly diverse personalized inhibitions for their self-induced worries. It is a big contradiction of logic.”

It seemed he had completely forgotten that he was talking to possibly the most outlandishly cruel journalist in the country. Laraba is one journalist who wouldn’t break a sweat to make his subtle bad pronunciation appear like some blundering insult deliberately direct at her specific faceless readers. It completely baffled her why he was being so loose with his words. Clearly he wasn’t terrified of what she represented any longer. Apparently he has passed over that early fear of her huge reputation. Without being remotely scared of her as a very influential person, he continued to make his snide remarks, unperturbed.

“Historically, Nigerians have since time immemorial attached importance to social status, revering and respecting all forms of symbolic power and wealth.”

Lawal simply went on, not minding her perception. He was making the most of this opportunity to say it like he thinks it. He hinted treachery without evident dishonesty.
“Nigerians make every effort to get undue advantage from everyone; their siblings, parents, relatives, peers and their religious intermediaries and elders. They grew learning to solicit favours with physical gifts, paid homage or some other showy expressive behaviour, either in the simple act of greeting or pretentious show of allegiance. Even the Nigerian child now recognizes those who have and those who have not. The youngest Nigerian soon learns that the latter are fair game, while the former are noble hunters of the latter’s comforts and murderers of their rights.”

There wasn’t any need for more questions, any longer.
“Every chance I get, I tell even my relatives and closest friends that virtually all Nigerians must accept this fact about their nature. Accepting this fact about a majority of Nigerians is like agreeing that there is a God without requiring a regal booming heavenly bass voice calling down a damning sentence for every act of disobedience from the skies every morning.
“If the nation wishes to correct this wholesome abnormality unique to it and not wrest away advantage from one sect and hand it over to yet another, then Nigerians must have a system that immediately accommodates the real fact about the naturalized state of its corruption, quickly!

“To even start doing something about this problem entails being completely truthful about the hybrid culture of pretense and corruption created in the typical Nigerian’s gene.”
“Surely he was rounding up now,” she thought.
“Right now, what is happening is one set of thieves are lining up to take over from those thieves currently in power.”
“That means your set of ‘Thieves’ is the former?”
She couldn’t resist capitalizing on the glaring opening he offers and she even inserted the inverted commas with both her hands. But he was ready for her and matched her easily.
“Yes”, he agreed and smiled confidently.

This definitely has to be the clincher. The current federal minister of finance just branded the collection of persons that constitute the entire federal government he serves in, as a ‘Set of Thieves’. Even he couldn’t possibly surpass or out-do that!
“This is a fact and includes the long multiplied line of like-minded Nigerians, all the way down to the babies in their parents’ arms now. It is a fact Nigerians deny at their detriment.
“The Nigerian community must stop this charade about fighting corruption with witch hunting. This is only another way to give undue advantage to one thief against another.”
Laraba made a mental note to look up an authorized definition of the word ‘Thief’.
It would certainly prove to be essential.

“The nation is indeed represented in its legislature by its likeness. Look at those that deliberate on Nigerians’ behalf in the law making houses right now. Are they Nigerians? Oh yes they are in every sense of the identity. These are the most imminent Nigerians!”
“Who do you want them replaced with, you?”
“Sorry?”
“If our legislature is flawed, what or who replaces it?”
“Not the system; it is the people in the system that are flawed.”
“They are also ‘Thieves’?”
Again she gestured the inverted commas and for a brief while here, Lawal appeared to express some hesitation. But his subsequent words showed it was impatience.
“Please Miss Thomas, don’t bother discussing this with anyone but yourself. Right now inside your mind, will you honestly admit that you would only turn out to be a shade different? That is hardly ideal as you seat here in front of me.”
“I would expect I will fare better.”
“I thought so.”
“And your point is?”
“If we all think it, expect it from all and still are failed by all, what makes me, you or anyone else any different then?”
“It is a common problem everywhere, trust?”
“But here it is not just some bad apples in the barrel. It is the whole orchard that is infected and that is where we all fail, in admitting we are all ‘The Problem’; not just some part of it.”
It was his turn to insert inverted commas in the chill air. It brought a toothy smile to Laraba’s face as she acknowledged Lawal’s ingenious use of sarcasm.
“We are only victims to one aspect of the problem, while we actually victimized others.”

This wasn’t the inescapably mean individual with the self-made supreme air of importance Laraba was used to, neither is he without blemish. He is indignant to his enthralling version of the grim picture he paints vividly. He didn’t look or sound remotely like the sort to desert friends when he is needed. Clearly he didn’t see it like letting his friends down for he was never amidst friends. The penned up frustration he existed under had kept building up and now vents out. He was now letting off steam. He bore a grudge for so long with the echoing disservice that the polity had become so very accustomed to. Amidst the general loss that had become irreparable, the citizenry were alienated and estranged from the truth unsteadily dawning on everyone.

The system is rotten beyond the system. The sanctity of facts lost its sting in this country and all the leading proponents of truth lost out in their battles for the supremacy of sincerity.
A variety of plots, schemes and plans can easily turn a spurious manipulation into the God spoken truth. It isn’t a paradox to unravel from the mystery that encapsulates it. But the question is, was honorable Lawal merely depositing his versioned truth on her?
“This is where you offer a solution, in theory at least,” Laraba mused and Lawal giggled mildly. There was a quick glint on the worn out tiny silvery Alma Mata coat pin on his jacket collar flap, as it caught sunlight from the open window. His stomach is visibly flat and taut.

He wasn’t the type to be saddened because it is clearly insinuated that he is just ranting. Maybe if he was convinced that his solutions were not tenable, he would have been.
She busied her eyes with pretending to read her notes but her thoughts were momentarily engaged elsewhere. The outpour of words from the frail looking man before her demanded her close listening. She definitely represented a sure way for him to either lose plenty or gain more of the public affection he obviously craves for. She reasoned, why else would he want this interview and use it to lay out quite astonishing, blundering blandishments that she could easily use to bury him? There is no covert unanimity in their plain and simple arrangement to have this two hours long interview. The length of it was an indication of how extensive it was meant to be.

She was however free to use all the material she got from the interview like she pleases.
So she sat in front of him, a petite lady, with small hands and fitting tiny fingers, dressed in a rather tight fitting dark green gown, which looked exquisite despite the dull colour of it. This is because of the expensive suede fabric it was made from. She appeared well poised to either make yet another high profile person either dislike her a lot less or much more, it is always a present and imminent dual possibility with her, one she subtly threatened.
“You asked for my theoretical solution? It is simple. I said this is an optimistic assessment didn’t I? Hence the ultimate solution is in accepting the wholesomeness of the localized Nigerian corruption, then we can start to solve it. Now that is where the solution is, right there.”
Her gaze rose to penetrate him. Their countenance each conveyed their instant thought. There is by now no barrier to their discourse to gloat over. He wasn’t apparently saddened by how the process is going because he is now convinced he had been successful in leading the interview in the direction he wanted. Laraba’s guidance has been genuinely curious, with no ulterior intent left in it, once she realized she had a real talker.

After many years of handling so many controversial issues, Laraba has since learnt that a certain criterion repeatedly resurfaces in the most outlandish form in such matters. There are two of them. Firstly, all real possibilities of trashing the speakers’ so radically defined performance goes out the window from the very early stage of the interview itself. And secondly, definitely any likely bias fragmentation of the manner in which the entire interview turns out to be crafted by the writer is as a result also dashed, for the temporal permit for innovation is also lost.
There is always something that stretches credulity in these sorts of interviews. A kind of comradeship bounding grows out of it, as both speaker and writer lean on each other for good measure. Laraba recollects she once did a piece on an expatriate medical practitioner from an impoverished Asian country. He was doing brisk business within Nigeria, providing the most qualitative advanced medical services, which is completely not available in his own struggling tiny island nation of origin. He honestly admitted it was because his people couldn’t afford it.
Laraba was naturally shocked with this unforgivable insensitivity to the plight of the poor. She was also surprised to a mouth gaping stupor when she learnt that it was during that interview, he realized that Penicillin is not yet a century old. Laraba’s thoughts were visible in her awe filled eyes as the almost cream complexioned elderly man had wondered out loud, what on earth was used as antibiotics only a century ago. She didn’t break a sweat in making that interview huge and Lawal’s was billed to be a whole lot easier, by a wide margin.

“Nigeria is presently irredeemably corrupt and most Nigerians of virtually all ages are too. In their bashful nature, all Nigerians want what is due to them and most will not really mind shortchanging other Nigerians in their pursuit of it.” Lawal knew he couldn’t possibly achieve anymore from this interview than he already had. But the unbothered way he went on to make one blunt statement after another that could literally end his public life, made Laraba cringe.

She was likely writing his public resignation, so Laraba decided to improve on usual rule of sending hard copies of the transcripts and copies of the tapes to her subject a few days after the interview session. This is to reassure them only what they said will be in the published piece. For Lawal, she also sent the finished article too, days before it was published. She wanted to hear this guy try to take back some of the things he said. Not that it will matter any way.

Every reader will make their own mind about him, like she did. It seemed he was dying on the spot he spoke from as he talked like he was achieving more at that moment than ever in his entire privileged life. Laraba made sure he same last words concluded her piece on him, it was befitting in more ways than she could have ever made up herself. It was his moment and he had picked the words that spoke volumes for him and what he represents.

“Let us not pretend to treat one another with a sort of fake sincerity. Being true to ourselves is the way out. We don’t live in harmony now, all of us. Let us just make it official and actually start singing Nigeria we hail thee when we stop pretending to mime Arise O compatriots!”

Federal Republic of Niger-area; The Old Matured Lie

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(excerpts from The Whore; Chapter 8)

‘Nigeria is like a wonderful lie a sincerely misguided old mentor told his protégé to placard his impatience towards doing daily chores he must learn to do. Problem is the protégé believed the lie because it was never disproven and the apprentice has since taught his own pupils to believe it to. Generations had grown used to loving the fable that was made off the huge living lie and complex relationships has since been built on this old aging lie. And because someone ever gains the most in every relationship, the lie remains true to those who gain from it.

With uttermost regard for the honour and painstaking memory of their founding mentors, generations have flawlessly adhered to this lie. Decades passed and they are in too deep to ever surface again for the truth that their one ingrained belief is based on a lie. It is now a solid national structure and not a mere law to be simply abrogated or shredded confetti for the gutters’.

Nigeria exists as a national entity and it is the responsibility of all Nigerians to make the old lie an enduring truth. It is the dream of generations of the people of the larger Niger-area to actualize the ‘Will of Wishes’ their ancestors left for them to build on. Like the glorified bastards their obscure origins make them, the international identity of all Nigerians depends on it.
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WILLS OF WISHES

She is an old village;
Naïve, crude, not low in age.
She understood very little,
Wasn’t sure if trust was so simple.

From the refined distance he came;
With strength he showed his shame.
With feeble resistance she succumbed
And all that’s hers he well combed.

Because she paid well he kept her
And married her from leagues afar.
She never nodded or was asked
But remained his and tasked.

They got a son after a while;
The bastard was proud in his smile.
With time he knew mother and father
And truly had cause for bother.

Claiming justice the father withdrew,
His loyal son he let rule like he knew.
The complication wasn’t at first obvious.
As time tells, it also is very envious.

The mother weeps for her dear son,
For the father has the whole person.
Their bastard is what he knows
And in this nature all does grows.

Tomorrow’s sunsets come inevitably,
Carrying vague identity’s loyalties happily.
Nursing dreams of his father’s riches;
Their bastard made wills of wishes.

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