Things have really changed. Now, everywhere is quiet. We no longer have to worry about our neighbours’ noisy generators. They are no longer on. The roads are also fairly decongested. My neighbours have a roster of days their cars go out. In the month of Ramadan, you would think the machines are fasting too. And, it is not as if anything has changed in the way we used to live. It is just that the price of fuel has gone far beyond our reasonable reach. We are now a changed people, lovers of quietness. The overused generators now rest, day and night. We have now gotten used to finding our mouths in the dark, biting our fingers. It is almost as it was in the stone-age village.
The village is in darkness too. But it is not always in darkness. It appreciates the Moon and the shame it casts on city life. The village used to be deserted, housing only the aged — male and female. Now, it is a beehive. The youths are everywhere, in clusters, from morning till sun down. They went to school in the city and are back, jobless. And, you would think they are farming, no. They are too fine to till the land. They are in the village because, at least, there is food there, grown by grandpa, prepared by grandma. They are there, sleeping, waking, sagging trousers, wearing long Afghanistan beards, bushy heads. Daddy and Mummy are in the city — working without pay. Things have really changed.
Change is sweet, or, rather, bitter-sweet, like Madam Oluremi Obasanjo’s book of that title. You now work in government in the day and pray very hard at night. You need that prayer for God to enter the head of your governor to have mercy on you and agree to pay your salary at the end of the month. You need that prayer as you work and join cooperative societies to raise funds to pay school fees. You need that prayer so much as you put so much into the monthly contributions which you know is the only legitimate way your kids’ school fees can come. Now, you wake every morning with fears and trepidation. You wake up in the middle of the night invoking the Holy Spirit to intervene and make your governor agree to remit that thrifty contribution to the cooperative society so that your kids can continue schooling. Again, you need that prayer so that universities here would accept that child you are withdrawing from school abroad because things have changed.
Things have really changed. There is no dull moment here. When and where there is no problem, we consciously create at least one. We used to read of warped women with two husbands. Now, it is possible for a state to have two governors. We saw it in Abia State last week. And it is part of the change we see that both have judges queuing behind them. We may likely see more of this as we advance in our mastering of political engineering. Too many new things happening in our public life. You would sit down and marvel at how ingenious we are as a people. Even when the law clearly tells us we are wrong, we remind the law that we created it to serve us and our whims. We whip the law into line – and it has, so far, been very obedient to our orders.
Some people are dreaming of changing the change. How is that possible? There are governorship elections coming up in Edo and Ondo states this year. I told a colleague in the PDP in February to wake up and stop daydreaming of his party contesting in both states. My friend won’t see what I have seen. The high priests that offered the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and the All Peoples Party (APP) to the gods of destruction have finished eating the heart of the PDP. I wondered why my friend won’t see the very striking similarity in the fate befalling the PDP and what befell the AD and the APP. I advised him to go join President Muhammadu Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Not APC. Not PDP. Not any of the other miserable contraptions disturbing the political space. My friend won’t listen. He wondered why I was so unnatural in thinking. And when the president spoke last week that he would pay particular attention to the primaries coming up in Ondo State, I asked my friend to listen to the president very well. I reminded my friend that this president’s words are always few, very few — but deliberate. I told him, if I were in APC, I would, that moment, step back and use the president’s eyes to look at happenings in both states because this is not 2015 when Buhari was a follower. Roles have changed.
When a man is dazed or going blind, he starts seeing double, seeing things in twos. PDP has two national chairmen, two sets of state chairmen, two governorship candidates in Edo State, two governors in Abia State. Can you see the Nigeria of tomorrow in this PDP? Will there be two everything everywhere soon as things change and get unchanged to the people’s sorrow?
My PDP friend is actually a pastor. He believes so much that prayers can save his unpraying party. And, so he still won’t see that a lot has changed in his party, enough to convince anyone that only a miracle would put the party on the ballot in both states. His party is like Abia State; a woman with two brutal, obstinate husbands, tugging at her bosom. They have raped her finish. My friend won’t believe that his PDP is disfigured so much that its owners can barely recognise it in INEC’s archive.
Where is the way to go then? Fiery Sango may be crushing all reeds and trees on its line of fire, but it knows the scent of its favourite and nurtures it. So, if I were my friend, I would go join the president’s party. Members of the president’s party don’t have their calls entering voicemail. They don’t have mailer-daemon as replies to their emails. They are in government. They are also in power. If I were you, I would, today, join the president’s party. That is what reasonable people do because, again, this is not 2015, roles have changed, parties have changed too. But my friend is a pastor, he won’t listen; he is still hopeful for a miracle that will raise his party from the morgue.