Rio Paralympics and other stories

“PEOPLE are crying but you are laughing. Is anything the matter with you?” “Those crying – na dem sabi. Why must a man add to his woes?” “You cut a picture of someone satisfied with the suffering in the land. Are you one of those afflicting us with this mother of all suffering?” “Of course,  not.” “Why, then, are you not showing it? Why are you pretending as if all is well with you?” “It is survival tactic. The name of the game is survival of the fittest.” “Only the super rich can survive the anguish and agony in the land. A bag of rice is N22, 000. And another fuel hike is knocking” “Stale news.” We have been warned rice will sell for N50, 000 before December and petrol for N500 at the rate things are going.”

“These are no cheery news items. Yet, you still have the mouth to laugh.” “Laughter is a pain-killer if you did not know it. You must survive these times to tell the story.” “I see! Your laughter is make-believe; you are one of those pretending all is well even when fire is actually burning you under cloth.” “Exactly! And that is the trick; otherwise, man fit join them quick, quick commit suicide. The rate is alarming these days.” “But someone said economic depression is not the only source of depression. A person who was jilted hanged herself the other time.” “That’s right; but at the root of every misery lurks money. Ask the man who jilted her why he did. It may be he ran away with a more promising prospect.”

“Each day, I spend long hours ruminating over what has come upon us…” “Please stop! I don’t want to read of your obituary any time soon.” “I cannot avoid it…” “You can! If I can, then, you, too, can” “Tell me the secret.” “Look on the sunny side of things. Laugh at things that ordinarily should make you angry. Allow the many jesters out there entertain you for free.” “You talk of jesters as if you don’t know you have to pay through your nose to go watch them entertain.” “There are those who entertain for free.” “I don’t understand.” “Each time, I go to the news stand with jotter and biro and copy expensive jokes from the powers-that-be.” “What for? Those callous beings have caused and are still causing us excruciating sorrow, which they are now touching with their finger?”

“Correct! But, I do it for my own good, not theirs.” “Tell me, how does it work?” “A few quick examples; listen as I read from my jotter: ‘Politics is not war. I advise politicians to see politics as sport where there is always a winner and a loser. That way, we will not have major conflicts in the community. When you contest an election and someone else has won, felicitate with that person, hoping that tomorrow will be another day when you will have your day.” “Good! Which pastor gave that beautiful advice? I will recommend him for Nobel Peace Prize” “Pastor ko; pastor ni! It is no less a person than Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State” “Eeewo! God forbid bad thing: The man who fought Armageddon with Rotimi Amaechi to grab Rivers ?”“Exactly! As we speak, elections remain inconclusive in that state.” “But how can a man be so audacious? He speaks peace with his tongue, but his stomach surely bristles with AK-47 and Improvised Explosive Devices.” “Don’t blame him; it is part of the survival strategies of the times.

Have you listened to Amaechi himself? They are birds of a feather.” “How, then, can any reasonable man stomach such nonsense?” “For your own sake, not theirs, you must learn to laugh it off. When politicians in this clime have perfected rigging plans, they go to CNN to accuse the opponent of plotting to rig.” “You are right! When they have armed their thugs to the teeth is when they allege that someone else is bringing in thugs to scuttle elections.” “After Wike won his own do-or-die battle, he must hide the ladder he used to climb to the top.” “Not just  hide but burn it!” “Thanks for the correction. Now, let me read you another of my jottings.” “I am all ears.” “‘The Anambra State Police Command has warned criminals operating in Onitsha and its environs to leave the state or face dire consequences. We have a new operational order for the ember months, which is to occupy all the black spots until the criminals relocate. They must relocate to other states or give up criminality.” “Chineke! Where should the criminals relocate?” “To your backyard, possibly!” “Tufia! God forbid! Which dumb policeman said such a thing?” “A senior police officer; an Assistant Commissioner of Police for that matter, one Abubakar Yahaya!” “Are they not called the Nigeria Police to secure all of Nigeria and not just one locality?” “Correct. They are to apprehend and not relocate criminals; curb and not disperse crime.” “Did you say an ACP; someone a step or two away from being a CP?” “A potential IGP if you care to know. I wonder where he got his training…” “Or if he ever heard of cross-border bandits like Shina Rambo or Boko Haram. He should return to the Police College and begin again as a recruit.” “Don’t be too sure; the next you hear about this officer, he may have just been named…” “Named what? You make me laugh…” “Thank God you too are beginning to laugh. That is what the times demand if you are not to go bunkers…”

“This is a funny country. Only someone without a sense of humour will think of committing suicide in this country.” “Listen to this: President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the 16-year rule of the PDP was a waste – no savings, no infrastructure, no power, no rail, no road, and no security.” “It is obvious the president exaggerated; there was a little of all the things he mentioned, but probably not in the right quantum.” “Most of the time that the president had spoken off-the-cuff, he had committed unpardonable gaffes.” “We must pardon him; he is not an academic.” “I want to ask you a question: does the president use a phone?” “What kind of question is that? Have you seen a Nigerian who does not have GSM? Even beggars have GSM. I have seen that with my koro-koro eyes.” “If Buhari uses GSM, we must ask him who brought GSM to Nigeria.” “I see! GSM was not a military invention; Chief Olusegun Obasanjo berthed it long before he publicly tore his PDP membership card.” “You can see that the poor are not the only ones suffering from depression.” “You make me feel for the president; he too must be going through a lot of agony to have simply forgotten that PDP brought GSM.” “For all you care, he might be holding a gold-plated GSM phone when he made that statement.

The next jotting may make you cry. They said about 5000 workers recruited by former President Jonathan stand the risk of losing their jobs.” “Again! With all the retrenchments by the banks, oil companies, industry, GSM companies, etc.?”  “Yes, one goon at the Federal Character Commission said the appointments did not reflect federal character.”  “What does that mean? Were those employed Cameroonians or Ghanaians?” “Not at all; the goon said slightly more southerners than northerners were employed…” “So it should have been the other way round?” “Exactly; just as we have had in all appointments, secret and open, made by the Buhari administration; after every 10 northerners, one southerner should be introduced to balance the equation.” “And you call that balancing; such unfair, unjust, and inequitable system?” “You are unnecessarily working up yourself again.” “You call that unnecessary? Where is your sense of justice?” “It is inside my cap. I wear it inside my cap, but you wear your own as a badge. That way, you could soon get killed. Beware of EF…” “I don’t give a damn!” “Sacrilege; that statement is the copyright of Jonathan.

Only those who survived General Sani Abacha are today telling the story of Abacha. Only if you survive these harrowing times will you tell the story tomorrow. I can see you are troubled already…” “I am all ears; fire on!” “The Sultan has said the herdsmen unleashing mayhem all over the country are foreign terrorists…” “…Did he say that; did he use those exact words?” “Yes, he did, I swear.” “It means then that Governor Ayo  Fayose of Ekiti State was right with his anti-grazing law. He, too, called them terrorists and said they would be treated as such.” “Thank God , you have brightened up again. Daughter of the assassinated Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Chief Bola Ige, said Nigeria is not worth dying for. The great Zik had also said so.” “Honestly, I don’t know whether to agree or disagree; these things demand tact…” “…Above all, a robust sense of humour.

Now, have you heard the news from Rio?” “Where we had the Olympics?” “Yes. The Paralympics for the physically-challenged is on-going. Team Nigeria has won 12 medals as at the last count, eight of which is gold and we are 10th on the medals table.” “You mean where the able-bodied failed woefully, physically-challenged people are shinning like lodestars?  This is a shame” “It is not; the able-bodied men and women were also handicapped in a very important sense. They were financially-handicapped and, therefore, motivationally-challenged; hence their very poor outing” “Did we have any reason to believe, then, that the authorities pumped more money into the Paralympics in sympathy with their condition?” “Not at all; if we know the authorities well, the handicapped would have been treated much more abjectly than the able-bodied” “What, then, accounted for their spectacular success?” “Favouring someone does not mean he will do well and putting someone down does not mean he will remain there.” “This is food-for-thought.” “Yes; where there is a will, there will always be a way.”