A friend at Abuja once told me of how he saw two men, who looked like ministers, carry out a decision in a beer parlour. The second man, had arrived late to the meeting, obviously in keeping in line with the african notion of time. He was wearing a new, heavy three-pieced suit, obviously from a renowned Italian tailor. His black leather shoes, polished to a mirror blackness, which was meant to complement the suit, was smelling of newness. As he eased himself into the beer palour, shouts of greetings and praises met him. Madam Philo, the owner of the bar couldn’t hide her wide-gapped teeth. “’Honorable!’” She would call out just as the present occupants are doing. And in response, ‘Honourable’ ordered the usual for everybody on his head. Shouts of jubilation and approval rent the air. “’Honourable’ is the man!” was readily composed by a dead drunk fellow, and the others would without considerable difficulty, chorus, “Yes, he is the man!” And he would engage in a sort of unknown dance to the music of the drunks with a swagger that was plainly to impress. When he got tired, he went and sat down beside his already drunk mate. The seven empty bottles, drooping head and drooling eyelids were all avid testimonies of how far drunk his mate was. And the hard light from Madam Philo’s would throw their face into dark shadows, hiding their eyes and lighting their round jaws. “Now this wasn’t even the main attraction,” my friend had told me. The first man, with his bloodshot eyes, shiny bald head and pencilled moustache would ask, “What are we going to do tomorrow, that will keep them talking?” “Let me see…list out what we’ve done thus far, so that I can see which new one we will throw at them,” ‘Honourable’ would reply while savouring the stiff effects of his beer, quickly placed in his front by the efficient Madam Philo. “You know we’ve done a lot thus far that I can hardly recall,” the former would remind the latter, the glass returning from another journey to his lips. “Oh yes,” ‘Honourable’ would quickly acknowledge. “I seem to have lost count, I also lack any more ideas”. “I think we should wait for tomorrow to sort itself,” he coldly added, while caressing his bottle of beer. And thus, they would each go home to their wives and concubines, ruminating on what blatant act to dish out the next day.
Let’s take Interior minister, Abba Moro’s Nigerian Immigration Servive exam scam as a case study. We were all aware that Minister Morro was widely reported to have been apprised of the huge number of applicants that were willing to write the aptitude test, after painfully parting with a 1000 naira application fee, because what else could they do? The little opening which their fatherland has decided to magnanimously offer them was worth more than 1000 naira. We heard of those that borrowed such money, and even had to borrow the transport fare that would convey them to their examination centres, only for everything to turn out a hogwash. Now, It wouldn’t have cost Morro more to organize the exam in batches and stages, that way, the safety of those lives lost will be unquestionably guaranteed. But I guess Morro feeling pleasantly light like any little child who picked a huge sum of money off the ground would feel. He was feeling unperturbed as if in a magnificent dream. “To hell with it,” he would declare pleasantly. “Where has it been heard of or witnessed that a Nigerian ministry was planning a perfect recruitment exercise?” he would shortly add. “Come to think of it, we’ve never gotten anything right in this country,” he would console himself.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the two men my friend earlier talked about turned out to be Mr. Mo and Prof. Chu. And as such, one can rightly deduce the following discussion between both men upon seeing each other at the beer palour. “Prof. Chu, good to see you,” Mr. Mo, already dead for drink, would greet gaily.
“Its good to see you too, Mo” Prof. Chu would humouredly return the greeting, while lowering himself to his seat.
“How’s the family?” the former would ask.
“Well…my children are doing well in their different schools in London. My wife travelled to Canada for treatment because she felt some slight fever, you know one can’t rely on the ill-equipped hospitals we have in this country …so everything is going fine”. “How is your own family?” Chu would invariably demand of Mo.
“Well…they are doing good, my son’s professor in America called yesterday to say how wonderful my son has been performing his school work; my wife as you are aware, is yet to return from her tour of the world, she called this morning to tell me that she just arrived in Dubai, you know the money I realised from that aptitude test is yet to be finished?”
“What are we going to do tomorrow that will keep them talking?…
The next day, Prof. Chu, wakes up with his yet-to-be cleared alcoholic brain and he came out in front of a nationwide broadcast to give the chops to over 16,000 striking medical doctors. Why? Because they dared ventured that they should be paid the same amount he pays his domestic workers as ‘health hazard allowance!’ The semimadness of it! How they dare think they deserved such amount? Or didn’t they know that he was a minister of the Federal Republic and was entitled to any amount of money both as salary and as allowance? They, of what good and importance are they to the country? Their act was highly intolerable. They must be sacked so as to send a note of warning to other recalcitrant ones. Imagine the obscurity of it!
What am I even saying? Am I not drunk? Where’s my bottle?