Lunch in London, anxiety in Nigeria

“What’s gwan inna wa cwantry?”

“What language is that?”

“English of course.”

“Sounds like Creole to me. Why don’t you just talk straight?”

“Nobody talks straight in this country anymore.”

“I still talk straight. I can’t start twisting my tongue because some people have lost it.”

“Okay, I was asking what is going on in our country?”

“Is that a direct question or a sly comment?”

“Just answer the question”

“What I know is that we are now truly, a country of hyenas, jackals and small animals. A big animal kingdom, but when the First Lady Aisha Buhari drew attention to this, recently, we all started screaming that she was rather condescending but right now, with what I am seeing and hearing, I believe she will be vindicated in the long run.”

“I see.”

“We, the people are obviously the small animals. In an animal kingdom, the bigger animals do what they like with the smaller ones, and they dare not complain.”

“But you still haven’t answered my question”

“My friend, why must I always be the one to tell you what is going on in this country? When you want to be mischievous, that is when you ask funny questions. Are we not in this country together? Don’t you listen to the news like everyone else? So, why should I become your newspaper and internet combined. Stop it. But for just this last time, I will use my church mind to tell you that the latest development is photography as a tool of governance. Some APC Governors and party leaders just visited President Muhammadu Buhari in London. They had lunch with him and took photographs.”

“I know about that. I actually saw the photos too. But the whole thing doesn’t look straight to me.”

“It doesn’t look crooked to me either. People have been complaining that the President of Nigeria is missing in action and they need to know that he is still alive. So, they provide a photograph of him having lunch with his party members and loyalists. How is that a problem for you? We should be glad that the President is getting well.”

“Who took the photograph?”

“We are in a digital age. Anybody at all could have taken the photograph?”

“You can’t just ask anybody to take the President’s photograph. It is either you have a media crew on ground, who will take both still and motion pictures, that is photos and videos, or you invite the media, both local and foreign to capture the scene.”

“Who says that is the only way to cover a Presidential occasion?”

“Everything a President does is supposed to be properly documented.”

“What is your problem? They showed us the President having lunch with his guests. And there was another photograph taken by the guests.”

“Where are the establishment shots, and the video, and the audio?”

“Those people didn’t go there to establish anything. They went to do eye-service!”

“You don’t get it. Rather than just show the President and his guests at the dining table, they should have shown us the President welcoming his guests, chatting with them, and NTA should have shown us an actual video as part of the nine o’clock Network News. And what kind of lunch was that? It looked like they just placed a bunch of banana in front of the President and some fruits in front of the guests. I checked the table carefully; every drink there is like anything from a Nigerian fridge. And not even a small stain of oil on the table.”

“You were looking for stains on the table as proof that the lunch actually took place? Did that look like a bukateria to you? Hen? Obviously, the only thing you are used to is gbegiri and amala kind of lunch. When big men eat, they don’t litter and stain their clothes and the table the way small animals like you do. And their mouths don’t drop oil. If that happens, there would be stewards to clean things up.”

“You are assuming some big men have table manners. You don’t know anything. They should show us the video then, and more useful photographs. And why didn’t the party leaders travel with the President’s media team and the Minister of Information? All these dem say, dem say, Okorocha told me. All of a sudden Okorocha has become the Minister of Information. You think if they asked Alhaji Lai Mohammed to also come and eat in London, he will say he is busy?”

“I see your problem is that some people had lunch with the President.”

“Someone in fact told me that the picture looks very familiar.”

“You may need to prove that.”

“Okay, Mrs Buhari also went to London to visit her husband. Where are the photographs of her own visit? Why didn’t they show a picture of her sitting with the President?”

“You are a foolish man. You want photos of the President and his wife, sitting together in za ozza room? Candidly, tell me you are asking for photographs from the Presidential ozza room? You are sick. No President takes pictures in that other room.”

“Donald Trump will gladly take a picture anywhere. You don’t get my point”

“I get your point. You are just another wailing wailer, a merchant of lies and a mischief-maker. We know your type.”

“I am only trying to help. When you set out to tackle disinformation, you look out for pitfalls that can create doubt and you deliver a sucker-punch to shut people up. You don’t address an issue by creating more doubts. I am talking strategy. All of this would also have been more convincing if it was the picture of Acting President Osinbajo having dinner or breakfast with the President in London that they showed us.”

“The acting President didn’t go to London to eat. He went for serious business to consult with his boss. And what if he was fasting at the time?”

“He could have posed for a photo-op with his boss.”

“He was in a hurry. He rushed to London and rushed out to attend Council meeting on a Wednesday.”

“In a hurry to take a photograph to allay the anxiety of Nigerians?”

“People like you would still have said the photograph looked familiar.”

“Nigerians are not convinced. They would probably have given Mrs. Buhari and the Acting President the benefit of the doubt but they won’t believe what an APC Governor says. Okorocha ke?”.

“Oh ye descendants of Shimei!”

“Shimei? Who is Shimei?”

“You are a Christian and you have never heard of Shimei?”


“Okay, just continue you hear. Just make sure you don’t lose your head in the process. Just because we are in a democracy, you think you can be questioning everything. Oh ye descendants of Shimei in Nigeria, beware…beware!”

“I have an idea.”


“See, I think the government can still score a master-stroke, if they arrange for Femi Fani-Kayode and Governor Ayo Fayose to also go to London and have lunch with the President. People are likely to believe the two of them. Fayose will then use his own mouth to inform Nigerians that he made a mistake when he said the President was on life-support and Fani-Kayode will recant and both of them will apologize.”

“Clap for yourself. I see you truly consider yourself a political strategist. So if you are working for President Buhari you will actually invite those two Yorubas to lunch with the President while he is on a medical vacation that is making everyone anxious.”

“Why not? The President is the President of everybody. He is the President of all Nigerians not 95%. And if you are concerned about those two being Yoruba, we can have a Federal character representation. They can invite Nnamdi Kanu from the East and Alhaji Balarabe Musa from the North. Lunch in London with Baba, an organized event covered by the media.”

“Nnamdi Kanu! Did you say Nnamdi Kanu? Are you on some kind of medication?”

“If the objective is to prove to Nigerians that the President is not bed-ridden, he should have lunch with people Nigerians are likely to believe.”

“So if Fani-Kayode, Fayose and Nnamdi Kanu return from London and they decide to say something else, who will bear the risk? Or they turn down the invitation on the grounds that it is a calculated attempt by the Nigerian state to blackmail and poison them, who will defend the Nigerian state?”

“You are giving the dog a bad name”

“Then it means you know nothing about politics.”

“I am not joking. I can even add one more person to the list, how about the Catholic priest, Ejike Mbaka who claims he has been hearing cries falling like rains in Aso Rock?”

“If Fr. Mbaka saw visions of cries and rains, he probably saw the floods that are now ravaging the country from South to North. But keep adding people. You can even add Hushpuppi, Maheeda and Bobrisky. But I bet you will also be the first to complain that they are using Nigerian or-yer-l money to have lunch in London.”

“In that case, let them just do a London edition of the Presidential Media Chat.”

“Nobody is going to do any media chat. Nigerians must learn to trust their government for once. When you go into government, people treat you anyhow.”

“It is our government. We have the right to ask questions. You can’t keep rejecting everything that I suggest. Okay, let the Nigerian High Commission in London organize a Town Hall meeting between President Buhari and Nigerians in the UK. That is a cost-effective way of correcting impressions. Nigerians want to be sure that their President is well, alive and fit. This thing is not rocket science and I trust our brothers and sisters in diaspora to report the truth. ”

“You want to sabotage the President. You want him to interact with PDP members in diaspora.”

“I never mentioned PDP. There are APC members in the UK too and there are persons who have no political affiliation. Anyway, when is Baba coming back?”

“When his doctors say so or according to Governor Okorocha, in two weeks‘ time.”

“But the Constitution is very clear. It says…”

“Forget about the Constitution. This is national politics, stability and security. We don’t care what the Constitution says. Be careful, when Baba returns Insha Allah, something will definitely be done about all you hyenas, jackals and small, small animals disturbing this government. Insha Allah.”

“Stop bragging. There should be room in this your kingdom for all animals please. Nobody should intimidate anybody. That is why I am happy that the House of Representatives is now considering the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill. They have reduced the minimum age for eligibility for the office of President to 35.”

“Thirty-five. I don’t have a problem with that.”

“You shouldn’t. The only problem is that you are a fascist. But there should be other bills: a Too-Old-To-Run bill that will prevent Aso Rock from being turned into an Old People’s Home and a bill that says the minimum qualification for anybody seeking any office, from councilor to President should be a university degree or its equivalent.”

“What has a university degree got to do with politics and governance?”


“Some of the worst people in this country are university graduates. So?”

“You just keep disagreeing with everything. Okay, are you aware that some people are now saying Nigeria is now definitely on auto-pilot?”

“Nigeria is not on auto-pilot. Professor Osinbajo is in charge and all of you wishing us evil, just know that there will be serious consequences.”

“What consequences? Threats. Threats. Threats. Government cannot continue to threaten the people. It is just so sad that civil society and the Nigerian media have been badly compromised. Where are the intellectuals of old, the professional activists, the pro-democracy coalition; they are all so quiet. I believe they are quiet out of shame and regret.”

“Nobody is ashamed. That is strategy. I am surprised you can’t even identify strategy. You think this government will wait and fold its arms and allow all of you to start sounding like paid enemies?”

“You and your people should just realize that this is a democracy, and that someday, tomorrow will come and the people will remember.”

“Hey, sorry hen, wailing wailer. I see the thing is paining you. For your information, Baba will win again in 2019.”


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