It has been a minute since I wrote one of these — the last was in 2018 — but the state is deserving of one at this interesting time. Nigeria is a difficult place to write satires, seeing how satirical the country itself gets. But here is the disclaimer; this is a SATIRE.
Sitting at the recently-renovated presidential ante-room, the Aso Villa demons are having their annual general meeting for 2021. The ante-room is the new location where the president is forced to hold many of his meetings, so the rest of the villa is not exposed to the not-so-novel coronavirus. The meeting is to review their performance in the previous year and plan for the new year.
The loud drums and unending laughter finally come to a halt, as the chief demon waves at other demons to take their seats. He goes on to deliver his first speech in 2021.
“I’d like to congratulate you all for a remarkable job done in 2020. Despite all the ups and downs, we achieved all our goals in that terrific year. Could you imagine that Nigeria planned to join the top 20 economies in the world by 2020. What a joke?
(The demons laugh like robots programmed to respond at the same time. The chief signals them to silence)
“How could they even think a country like Nigeria could come into the same space as Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and the Netherlands? But the country tried nonetheless, they climbed up to number 26, and somehow maintained top spot as Africa’s largest economy. For sixty years, the country has had potential to be one of the biggest drivers of the global economy. But you know our job is toooooo…”
“Our job is to keep the nation having potential, but never really becoming what it is capable of becoming.”
(They all continue the laughter, with a little drumming this time. The chief dances along to the songs of mockery they sang. He signals them to silence again, and waved them back to their seats)
“You see, we need to send special gratitude to those who made our job easy in 2020. Those hampers we sent may not be enough for people like the former helmsman at the financial crimes bureau. In 2017, he staged a war against the Department of Sorry State, which gave us so much joy. In 2020, he stood up to that Ant-onion general of the Federation, which ended in tears for him. We need to appreciate him for his sacrifice, not many people will sacrifice their careers for our cause. He’s a good man.
(The demons laugh in mockery)
“Need I speak of Abike and the minister of telephones who hosted a fighting show on Twitter, dragging each other like stubborn generating sets. Confusion, you really outdid yourself in 2020″ the chief said, pointing to the demon which made the fights happen.
“We must also send gratitude to Detective Fash, who distracted the undiscerning from the shooting in Lekki. Special gratitude also goes to the lying minister, who immensely made Naija a laughing stock on the global scene. We need to thank him for his many press conferences attacking the international community. Can you believe he really wanted to sanction the American news channel over the Lekki shootings? If anyone told me you demons could pull that off, I’d have doubted you immensely.
“Time will not permit me to speak of the family drama we pulled off in this villa. The heightened level of insecurity and all the other great things we achieved in 2020. I believe we can do better this year.”
DEMONS PLAN FOR 2021
(The chief asks the demons to share their plans for the year 2021 and how they plan to destabilise Naija further in the new year.)
“I see some of you already taking giant steps, but I’d like you to furnish the house with the details of your plans,” the chief says as he takes a seat.
(Four demons step forward to share their plans. Insensitivity, Insecurity, Confusion, and Nepotism take turns.)
Insentivity: “My plans this year are already in motion. From our grand plan, I am employing whispers to drive frustration within the country. The last time the governor of the chief bank of Naija visited the Harry’s Boo, I whispered into their ears and joined in on their conversations without their knowledge. I told them cryptocurrency was bad for the country and a ban on such will ensure development and security in the country. It will also make cow-to-currency thrive.
“I reminded Harry’s Boo of the kidnap of Aisha Hardo, his wife’s name sake, who paid $15,000 in bitcoin to kidnappers in 2019. I told him that if this can be done in Abuja, imagine what is happening elsewhere. He bought it. the governor of the chief bank did not agree, but he could not say anything. Funny thing was that I could hear him thinking, “so if Kidnappers ask for food as ransom, would Harry’s Boo also ban food?” But he couldn’t say that lest he loses his job. Now, the bank will defend and poorly implement a policy it doesn’t believe in.
“I also reminded the presidential spokesperson that his only job is to defend the president. Nothing more. And I see he is already doing it at all cost. He recently blamed Naija people — and not Harry’s Boo — for the corruption in the country. Insensitivity doesn’t get better than that my lord. This year, the people will see more of this blame-shifting and gross insensitivity. I will put my best to it.”
(Insensitivity takes a bow, as Confusion takes over)
Confusion: My lord, this year will be a great one for me. Toward the end of 2020, I set plans in motion to employ confusion in reducing economic activity and increasing COVID-19 numbers. I whispered a question to the minister of telephones, I asked him how powerful he was. He said he was very powerful. I told him he was powerless, that all he had was an illusion of power and not power itself.
I told him that if he thinks he is really powerful, he should shut the country down. The man is a genius. How he cooked up a storm is beyond. A few days after our discussion, I saw a memo to all telcos to disconnect all phone numbers not linked to a National Identity (NID). Everyone began to run around to get NID. The man indeed almost shut down the country.
“From mid-December till now, my lord, no telco has sold a single sim card. It is for this reason that telcos in the country lost over three million subscribers in December. Those who want sim cards for 4G routers or modems cannot get this. This economic line has been blocked just to romance the ego of the powerful genius. It was after this brilliant take that I googled him. Guess what my lord, he has a Ph.D. from the UK, and has been to Harvard and MIT. Such a genius will be good for our plans this year.
“I have now told him that he has shown his powers nationally, he now needs to take things global — disturb the diaspora. Working with his idea, I told him to replace Bank verification ID with National ID, after all, the nation is bigger than the banks? This plan will mean that those in the diaspora who don’t have NID will have to come home to get it or lose their bank accounts when NID replaces BVD. With him, we can reduce how much revenue Naija makes from telecommunications — all while increasing COVID cases from long queues with no social distance. My Lord, this is only the beginning.
“From this meeting, I am planning to attend the next FEC to revive my plans on funding 2021 budget. I have confused them so much that they do not know where to borrow money to increase the nation’s debt profile. They want to borrow from the poor, from dormant accounts and unclaimed dividend. I want more. I want them to borrow from the dead. I want them to ask banks to check on accounts whose owners have not visited the bank in one year. Who knows the virus could have killed them. I’d remind them that if you borrow from the dead, you need not payback.
“My lord, watch out for more policy confusion in 2021. You’d say I said so”
(Confusion takes a bow as Insecurity takes the stage. As he sought to speak, the demons begin hailing him in the typical singing call and response)
Insecurity: “Na me,” he chants, thumping his chest.
Insecurity[/b]: Na me
Demons: Boko Boko Boko
Insecurity: “Na me ooooooooo,” he chants, bringing them to a halt, before going on with his speech.
“My lord, may your days be long in this villa. In 2020, I raised my game. Na me be bandit, na me be kidnapper, na me be insurgent, na me come be freedom fighter. My lord, The southwest that has been a fortress, has finally been broken down. We have found an emissary in the region; my plan is to make him look like a hero for months, give him fresh enemies, inspire good but dangerous statements, make him the shadow Ona kankafo. This would mean two traditional generals in the region.
“They would work to undermine themselves and play hard into the hands of my killer herdsmen. In months, his heroics would begin to fade, but his act would have given us full access into the southwest; then I can bring my boys in.
“My lord, I promise you that by the end of the year, nowhere in the country will be safe. I am Insecurity, I belong to nobody and I belong to everybody.”
(The demons repeat the call and response as Nepotism takes the stage)
“My lord, in 2021, I will be on sabbatical; Harry’s Boo has taken over my job, and he promised to double down this year. Just as Khaki no be leather, 97 percent no be 5 percent. He will be as nepotic as ever. That’s it my lord.”
(The demons begin another round of singing, drumming, laughing and dancing, as the chief stands to give his closing charge).
“I leave you with the words of our fathers; when they think Naija has shown them the worst, break new grounds.”
(They all rise as the meeting is adjourned.)
The story never ends…
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