(A satire by Evans Ufeli, Esq.)
The sun was half-way sunk into the stream while viewing from my window as the day grew older into the night when I received the president’s letter that evening.
The cloud was subdued with the early cast of the fogs of nightfall. Neighbors were returning from work and children engrossed with their toys.
The Post Master beckoned at me to sign off on the package – a letter from the President. I appended my signature on his copy and he rode his motorcycle with a box clinched on the rear seat, out of my compound.
My day hadn’t played out well except for two promising phone calls I received few hours ago. I held the letter absentmindedly not sure what the content was, and then I remembered I had consulted for one of the state Governors who promised to refer me to The Presidency. Perhaps he made good his promise. I thought.
I opened the letter and it was an invitation to The Presidency on a consultation project to proffer peaceful solutions to the secession agitations gaining grounds in the South Eastern part of Nigeria.
My mind keyed up into reasoning almost immediately in preparation for a presentation to this effect. I made a quick search into history, uncovered the source of the squabble and skimmed through my draft notes and retorted permutations.
The room was cold and the typically epileptic power supply was available today but the voltage was so low, it made the bulb appear like a lump of red oil, hung up the ceiling. The air conditioners had given up a long time ago and the fridge was long dead. The air hung in the room, stale and long, like a weary shirt, faded and hapless from being over worn.
My wife stumbled on the letter and called me to the sitting room the next morning.
‘You must not honour this invitation’, she said. She stressed every word with a tone of finality. Her face had changed and dripping with the venoms of hostile rivalry.
‘You have criticized this administration treacherously. You have granted interviews, lampooning the government at their lack of co-ordination, systems and methods.’
‘What do you mean?’, I replied.
‘What makes you feel this is not a ploy to arrest you?’, she yelled.
I clinch my fist and dimmed my eyes. I had made up my mind to honour the invitation and my wife’s concerns just didn’t cut it. She thinks I am a recalcitrant nincompoop. Perhaps she isn’t wrong. I could be whatever I want to be as long as I take responsibilities for my actions at all times.
‘I will honour the invitation.’ I whispered to her ears, while I filled my wine glass with more of my usual of sweet alcoholic poison. She pushed me aside and headed to her room.
I packed my notes, took my laptop and headed to the study. In developing the peace plan, I made recourse to online resources, holistic and time tested research modules with empirical references.
Just at the peak of my intense revision, my wife came to the study to inform me she has called her Reverend Father to pray and conduct deliverance for me before I stepped out for this assignment at The Presidency.
‘You should have told me too’, I sputtered. She gulped and hissed viciously.
‘Come back here!’, I screeched.
She wiggled her hips out of my sight, then I bawled again.
‘Why do we need a Reverend, deliverance and a showdown on a matter as simple as a work gig?’
‘This isn’t funny’, I retorted to myself.
‘Can’t a man walk through his own life without the intervention of some Priest? Or just live in solitary confinement without the over-burdening threat of societal pressure. This is intrusive and ludicrous I must say!’
‘It is not just a Priest we need in this matter, we need to fast and pray before you honour this invitation on Wednesday. It’s important. The world is wicked.’, my wife insisted.
I felt I had no need to fast over the issue and maybe, no need to fast at all.
‘Let’s not argue any further I will go to The Presidency, make my presentation and come up with action plan and reports that will not be used’.
My wife nodded. She doesn’t absorb issues on the surface. Every bend in our lives is mystified and consequently requires the touch of some spiritual authority. She concentrates more on the unknown than any other thing around our home. Perhaps she sees things I don’t see, I don’t think she could be wrong but I think the excessive reliance on unverifiable complexities stifles the prescient requirements of reasoning.
I sat on the sofa to ponder over my wife’s spiritual petition. I got drained at the thought of the country’s situation not just the IPOB agitations in the South-East but the Fulani herdsmen’s killings in the North Central and the South-South region, Boko Haram in the North-East, ASUU strike, the doctor’s warning strike, kidnapping in the country, ritual killings, inequalities at the unity school admission process, a dysfunctional police force and a rather corrupt system that stifles national transformation.
I thought there’s a way out of this chaos. I reasoned that in our very eyes corruption has rendered us prostrate. I vowed to inspire hope with my presentation at the presidency.
My wife dragged me to the prayer session. I made to put up my best behaviour but somewhere in my mind I felt the solution to the countries problem isn’t prayer. The reverend father beseeched the heavens with the prayer of faith and asked us to repeat after him. My wife screamed violently as she repeated after ‘the man of God.’ They both roared, making supplication for my safety. I watched the glistening drops of sweat tickling down his face and the callisthenic display of acrobatics to win God to this side of the divide. The priest sprinkled Holy water on me and prayed that all the good things of life fell on me.
‘Amen!’ I shouted.
‘Money fall on me!’ I yelled again.
My wife gave me a fierce look. So I covered my mouth with my palm while my eyes roll over my head.
I got to the presidency amidst tight security checks.
‘My man, show your invitation.’
One of the soldiers roared. I brought out my appointment slip; he looked at my face and smacked his lips.
‘Let me see your identity card.’, he said.
I reached for it and gave it to him. He lowered his gun, adjusted his belt, sneezed and rent my clothes with tons of saliva. I was embarrassed at his lack of finesse. No courtesy and no apology. I wondered just how he got the job. He was a complete misfit for the job. A classic billboard of our nation’s well-documented preference for mediocrity in recruitment processes.
The villa was glossy. The carefully nurtured flowers and well mopped field gave the site an exquisite royal outlook. The passing road is textured with gorgeous interlocking tiles. The administrative block had a design of modern architectural luxury. A perfect contrast to the realities of the average joe living somewhere out there.
I was led to The President’s block on the third floor of an imposing twin three storey building. The receptionist put a call to the office of The President and I was let in. The President sat on a chair facing a huge mahogany table with a well-starched cap on his head.
‘Good morning your excellency’ I greeted.
The president ignored me.
‘Mr. President you invited me here and I think the least you could do was answer me when I greeted you.’
‘How are you?’ The President replied.
‘I’m fine except that things could have been better.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘I mean the country could be better if the right policies are deployed to fast-track development.’
‘That is why we invited you here. You have criticized us profusely now we want to use your solution specifically on the IPOB agitation in the South East. What do you say?’
‘Mr. President you brought me in late. The Army you superintend over have already violated too many laws. It is genocide to shoot unarmed civilians carrying on non-violent protest for self-determination.’
The President frowned.
‘Will you shut up?’
‘I won’t shut up Mr. President. I must point out your errors. The military went ahead to proscribe IPOB as a terrorist organization, this was wrong too. Mr. President you took an oath to uphold the constitution of this country. Section 14 of the constitution says, it is hereby accordingly declared, that sovereignty belongs to the people through which government derives her legitimacy and that the security and warfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.’
‘Listen or else I will throw you out of my office. You are here to offer solution and not to re-enact the past.’
‘Mr. President we need the past to construct the future. The future is formed based on our actions and inactions of the past. The Attorney General of the federation rushed to court and got an order through a motion exparte proscribing IPOB as a terrorist organization. This too was wrong because the organization is not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and so it cannot be sued let alone be proscribed.’
The President looked at me fiercely and yelled at me, ‘You must be mad!’
‘No Mr. President I am not mad. Let me tell you the fact.
‘No you can’t tell me anything again.’ He replied angrily.
With the snap of a finger, Mr. President called in the security team who rushed towards me, hitting me with their guns and forcing me to my knees.
My laptop fell and scattered on the floor with my notes and the Villa’s Official photo journalist began to take pictures. Within seconds, they had placed a pistol on top of my laptop and notes and accused me of coming into the villa with the weapon to the President’s office.
‘I didn’t come in with a gun.’ I profusely swore, agitated and aghast. The Security Officials said I did. They presented a prepared speech proscribing me a terrorist, bundled me out of the villa like a criminal and threw me outside the gate.
I continued to swear that I was not and would never be a terrorist and that I did not come with a gun when my wife yelled at me.
‘Which gun? Who are you talking to?! ‘ she said.
Then I woke up!
About The Writer
Evans Ufeli is a lawyer, internationally published author and a public affairs analyst. He is also an Alumni Member of the writers bureau, Manchester and a highly sought after conference speaker with a passion for the concept of change.
He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 08037712353.
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