I shivered with tension and awe as I was ushered into the spacious entrance of the Presidential Villa. I clutched my UNIBEN Student Identity card like it was my Nigerian Passport, as that was the only credible Identity card that I could use to identify myself. My mouth opened as I saw a fleet of at least six posh limousines that I have seen only in movies before. I wondered who the hell came up with the dictum that politics is a dirty game. These black limousines looked all shiny and magnificent, each one with a small flag of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on each side mirror. Politics must indeed be a very clean and well-paying game, but perhaps only if you know how to play your cards right.
“Please hurry up, your appointment is in ten minutes.”
The voice of the Staff Sergeant who was showing me into the interior of the Presidential Villa jolted me back to reality. I had noticed something distinct about this staff sergeant when I met him at the gate. He had three tribal marks cutting across each cheek which looked exactly like the stripes that were pinned to his shoulders. The tribal marks were cut with an equal lethal precision which made me think of the masquerades that terrorise people during Oro Festivals in Osun State. Perhaps his parents had already predestined him to be either a sergeant or a masquerade. His boots were shiny, and his bald head gave credence to the overall soldierly look.
I stuttered, as I shuffled to catch up with him. I could only gaze in amazement as doors were miraculously opened for us just as we got to them. Is this really happening to me? Or is this one of those dreams where you know that you are dreaming? Well, if it is a dream, I would definitely want to continue dreaming.
“Wait here, the Personal Secretary to the president will be with you momentarily.”
So Hausa soldiers know how to use the word ‘momentarily’. I stiffened at the thought of a suicide bomber reporting to his superior: “The bomb will explode momentarily.” So much for Boko Haram being against western education.
I glanced up to see a young lady of not more than 27 years in a dark navy suit and very expensive looking shoes walking towards me. She had something that I vaguely recognised as an iPad in her hands. But my concentration was immediately stolen by the gigantic earrings that were dangling from her perfectly shaped ears. This earrings must have been wide enough for a golf ball to pass through without obstruction.
“Ahh, Mr Oluwanonso. You are here at last.” I managed to tear my eyes away from her earrings to shoot a puzzled glance at the watch which I had borrowed from my cousin for the occasion. Surely, the time was 9:53 A.M, and I was still seven minutes early for my appointment with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. She looked at me with a smile that immediately told me that she was Personal Secretary to the president. It was then that it dawned on me that when you have an appointment to see the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, you are expected to be at the reception no later than thirty minutes to the time of the great appointment. She smiled at me again pointed at one of the plush sofas that graced the wall. I sank into the sofa, and my buttocks immediately recognized the difference between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. I relaxed my back, and silently cursed myself for not coming earlier. But it was not entirely my fault that I was late. I had spent over an hour in front of the mirror, trying to decide on the suit which would impress the Commander-in-chief. I had actually tried all combinations of shirts and ties in my scanty wardrobe with the two suits which I possessed. It was not until my aunt poked her head into the room to tell me that the cab that I had booked the previous day was waiting that I finally settled into my white and black ‘uniform’. Truth be told, that was the only dress which I was comfortable in, as it is a trademark of all law students. The cab driver had spent the best part of the two hour drive to the Aso Rock weaving and maneuvering his way along the Nnamdi Azikwe Avenue, like some expert kid playing a Nintendo car race.
“Would you like to have some coffee?” The voice of the Personal Secretary jolted me back into reality.
“Yes. Please heavily laced with cream and sugar.”
If I was to have presidential coffee, I should as well get fat on it. Miss Personal Secretary walked away while typing on her iPad, and within ten seconds, an aide arrived with coffee on a tray, and true to form, the coffee was heavily with cream and sugar. I thanked both the aide and Madam Personal Secretary who had returned to a desk which had an official looking door behind it that I hadn’t noticed at first. As I slowly drank my coffee, my tongue confirmed the difference between the rich and the poor. This coffee was none like I ever tasted before. So freshly brewed that I feared that I would have a digestory orgasm (whatever it means).
I mentally revised the questions I had prepared for this exclusive closed door session with the President. I planned on planting the idea of permanently doing away with the NYSC service scheme for good in his head, as well as getting him to open up on issues currently plaguing the country. I wondered how he would respond to my questions on the Boko Haram insurgency, silently praying that how would not question my intelligence or even mark me as having close ties to the jihadists.
I made a mental note to also pursue issues regarding the recent Niger Delta uprising, as well as the growing dissatisfaction and agitation for the creation of the Sovereign State of Biafra in the East.
“Yes sir. The student is here for the interview.”
Madam Personal Secretary was talking on the intercom, jolting me from my reverie. I drained my coffee mug of the last drops of its presidential content. We both stood up. She was now addressing me with a smile.
“The hour has come. You may go in for your interview.”
Almost immediately, the great doors opened automatically as the clock chimed 10 O’clock.
I put my foot covered in well polished borrowed shoes forward as I stepped into the posh office.
My foot found nothingness.
I found myself spiraling and tumbling downwards into the darkness.
I landed with a thud.
I had been sleepwalking again and had just fallen down from the staircase in my Uncle’s house.
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