Tony Anenih: A Tribute To The Leader, By Ose Oyamendan

Ose Oyamendan

You must forgive me for the brutish salutation, sir. After all, I’m just down the road from you in our dear ancestral homeland that kidnappers and hired killers have turned into a playground. The fault is not mine or yours, sir. Blame the weighty amala in Ibadan and the lumpy American burgers for my inconsistent native tongue.

But, that would not stop me from congratulating you on a most worthy elevation to the chairmanship of the board of trustees of the biggest political party in Africa. Is it possible, sir, that they change the acronym to something more authoritative, like YES? You see, when you hear the word BOT, it sounds like a question mark, like something or someone not exactly worthy.

I hope you don’t mind that I have been out of touch. The first time I was introduced to you outside the hallowed chambers of the Senate where people go to make fortunes on the back of people’s sweat, I did promise I will come around and say hello properly. But, you see, my Senator-friend had bigger fishes to fry in the stormy Southwest.

In America, I could have called a cab driver and asked him to take me to the leader’s house. But, you gotta be careful in Nigeria. The leader is not exactly always the man with an open gate. And, I don’t blame you either. If I’ve done what the leaders have done to the nation, I would not only have a closed gate, I would live in a closed city.

By the way, I hope you don’t mind me calling you the leader even though I don’t have a party card. I very much like the way the word rolls off my tongue. The last person I called a leader was my Cub Scout master and even then it was with a sly roll of the eyes because that man was something, I tell ya. He he lead us astray so many times I started confusing him for a national leader

I am really happy you’re out of the shadows now. If you see me, I have a loose tooth just from expressing my opinion that it was rude to label you a hatchet man. We all know that the honorable men and women of the police force are not the farce jealous people say they are but the last defenders of humanity. I believe every police officer above the rank of Assistant Superintendent should be knighted. Except that stubborn Nuhu Ribadu, of course, who thinks he knows everything.

Sir, God knows you have a lot on your hands. First, you have to calm the raging governors who have held the president and party hostage. I think I have a better cure for that one in Rivers with a Yoruba name. It’s easier than throwing him under the tire of God’s will. We’ll start a rumor that he’s not from that state, and then we can get him impeached. Genius, eh?

Two, you have to fortify the presidential fortress. All these guys that call themselves presidential spokesperson can’t event talk themselves out of a bathroom. Let them know if they want to be proper spokespeople they visit Lai Mohammed and learn the art of blending reality with fiction, subtracting the obvious and coloring it with hope.

I think your easiest battle though will be keeping the party in power. I think it’s all setting up for you to make your biggest hurray so far. I love the coming together of the opposition. One of my friends who is a political expert mainly because he took some political science classes and can shout a lot told me the opposition in Nigeria is like a bucket with a lot of holes in it. I wish I’d come up with that phrase. Very original!

I’ve studied the opposition and their tactics, and sir; it’s like comedy sometimes. They can’t even agree on a name that doesn’t include initials or words from their old parties that they’ve not dissolved by the way! And, there is the case of the Daura general who wants to rule again and the commandant of the Atlantic legion in Lagos who wants to dance his way to the villa. We’re not even talking of the foot soldiers that hope the old warlords will disappear and their saintly memoirs will place them in power.

And, they think your party has problems! I’m sure you’re laughing like I am right now. They are going to have a presidential field of dozens and you will have a field of one who has the keys to the Central Bank’s vault. And, if some upstart like the Customs guy decides he wants a sniff of the presidency, there’s always the EFCC and FBI, ah! I know what you’re thinking now. I should come work with you.

Welcome to the front of the ship, sir. I hope to see you soon and we’ll have some champagne and plot how to remove that pesky comrade from the governorship. By the way, have you seen his mansion yet? It’s all over the Internet. I think we still need to Photoshop it some more though.

Mr. Oyamendan, a Hollywood-based Nigerian film maker, writes a weekly column for Premium Times.

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