Archive | November 2014




“Your mouth is too sweet,” I overhead her telling the young salesman, “I don’t want to listen to you because you will end up selling something to me. I didn’t plan to buy anything from you today. So I won’t listen to you at all.”


The young man smiled, then laughed, then smiled again, “No, ma. I’m not here to sell anything to you. I just thought to say “hello” to you, ma. Actually, I was going to show your next-door neighbour my new products. I’ve just received some new fabrics and jewellery from Dubai, they are MORE BEAUTIFUL than the ones you bought the last time. And the PRICES and terms of payment are fairer too. I was just . . . ”


“Oh, really?” She interrupted him. “Let me see the new materials.”


I couldn’t help but chuckle as I walked past them. That young man was indeed eloquent and he sure knows how to get his customers seriously interested in his products.


Last night, I wrote a short piece here, telling how I didn’t vote for Jonathan in 2011. You see, Goodluck Jonathan is not an eloquent man. Just now I had to pause to check Merriam-Webster again for the definitions of “loquacious” and “eloquent.” I note that someone might be able to speak for several hours and yet not be eloquent.


So, Mr. President wants to be President again in 2015? I pity him. How will he manage to sell himself? I wish he could talk as sweetly as that clothes and jewellery salesman.


People always prefer to buy new products but they trust established brands with good reputation. When people are seriously disappointed in a brand, though, they will buy any alternative – for a try, at least.


Relax. I’m not trying to sell any political party or candidate to you. I’m not a salesman. I’m not eloquent either. I just want to share with you my understanding of how government administration works – especially in Nigeria. Possibly, that will help your decision when the political salesmen come to town.


First of all, I am presuming that you are used to sleeping for at least five to eight hours every day and to making most of your decisions alone – only with occasional inputs from your family, or friends, or pastor, or professional consultant as the case might be.


In government business, the chief executive (be it governor or president) is always under enormous pressure to a degree you can at best just imagine. He’ll be lucky to get six hours of sleep on any night.


The president. A human being like you. He has family commitments. A wife – who could choose to be aloof or meddlesome with affairs of state. He has to manage and maintain his relationship with her through his years in office. And that includes his biological duties to her. He also has kids – who may be of school age – or even much younger, and would desire and deserve some personal attention from their father. I saved a picture on my computer here. The picture shows John F. Kennedy Jnr playing under the Resolute Desk in the White House. While, Dad, the president of the United States was busy working on the table, he was busy playing – calling the desk “my house.”


The Resolute Desk. The working table of the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Exactly what kind of work is done on that table on a typical day? In fact, exactly what is the job of a president? To give orders and commands to security service chiefs? To appoint Central Bank governors – and sack them? What does the job actually look like?


Let’s rewind to before the beginning. Having held a meeting with state

Governors from his political party from 10pm on Sunday until 1.30 am on Monday, the president retires to his private quarters to rest. He manages a quick shower and hops to bed. Next, his bedside alarm wakes him up at 5.30 am.  He has barely slept four hours yet he feels as refreshed as someone who has spent an entire night in bed. He flips open his Open Heavens daily devotional and reads “God’s word for the day.” He manages a prayer of two sentences and steps into the shower to freshen up. He goes straight to his study. He prepares himself to read the newspapers headlines online. He’s always grateful for the miracle of the internet. The internet helps him to grab the newspaper headlines every morning. He never has the time to read the details, just the headlines are okay.


As he settles to begin refreshing the newspaper pages, his wife pops into the study. An unusual intrusion. Startled, he turns around to face her and gets a reassuring smile and then a soft pat on his shoulder. He protests, “Wetin nah? You know, I’m busy.”


“Yes, I come discuss one serious matter. . .  this Amaechi and Wike issue,” she begins. But their quiet discussion almost becomes an argument and she leaves the study in annoyance. His mood is tingled for the morning.


He swirls back to face the computer. He logs on to the Punch website and there it is. A bombshell. “TERRORISTS ABDUCT 220 GIRLS IN BORNO.” He’s stunned. He leaves the desk and steps into the ante-room. He hurriedly opens the Red Box. On top of pile of documents is the daily security briefing from the NSA. The report says an unknown number of girls have been abducted by terrorists in Borno. He thinks to himself, “where is Borno sef?” Then he realises he had left his mouth open. He picks up the hotline and starts to dial the Governor of Borno. It’s 6.22 am.


He cuts the call and dials the NSA “please see me at once.” He buzzes the Private Secretary, “Invite the security chiefs for a meeting at Where is Abati?” He cuts the line then dials the Governor of Borno, “are you sure this is not some APC drama to tarnish the image of my government  –  ’cause the antics of you guys in the APC is becoming too much.”


The Governor Shettima replies, “Good morning, sir. I’ve been trying to reach you all through the night but I could not get through. 238 girls were abducted from  Chibok last night . . . ”


“Chibok too? I thought they said it’s Borno. Where is Chibok?”


“Chibok is in my State. It’s in Borno State. The name of the town is Chibok. It’s Boko Haram. They took them from a boarding school  . . .”


“I’m reading the NSA’s report now . . . It says 210 girls were abducted. The newspapers say 220. You say 258. Which is which?”


“it’s 238, Mr. President.”


He cuts the call. He turns around.


“Daddy, good morning, sir.”


“Good morning, daddy.”


His kids. Ready for breakfast. Usually their only time together as a family on most days. “Good morning, how was your night?”


“Daddy, grandma’s tooth is paining her,” his son says.


“Okay. I will see her. The doctor will see her”.


A call comes through on the hotline. It’s Senator David Mark.


(to be continued)