Conversation With A Nigerian Politician

 

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BAMIDELE JOHNSON

Me: Good morning, Chief…

Politician: Correction, please. I am also a prince

Me: Very sorry. Didn’t know you were both. But doesn’t it appear strange that a prince, the very son of a king, is also a chief?

Politician: There is nothing wrong with a prince being a chief. I have chieftaincy titles from many places, including my hometown.

Me: You are right. Was your dad a king?

Politician: He was not.

Me: How come you are a prince?

Politician: My maternal great-grandmother hailed from a royal family. But I am a prince because I have been called a prince since I was young.

Me: I was called doctor as child, but I didn’t trick myself into believing I was a one, not even a trado-medical doctor. Why would you, on account of being called prince, conclude you are one?

Politician: Well, I am a prince. You don’t have to agree with that, but that is what I’m called and I love being called.

Me: I see. I will also encourage people to start calling me pastor.

Politician: If you wish.

Me: Are you seeking an elective office?

Politician: If my people want me and call on me to run for office, I cannot turn them down. In fact, they have been begging me to run and threatening to buy the nomination form for me.

Me: Wonderful. They must really love you, perhaps more than Senator David Mark, whose desire to buy the nomination form provoked a stampede when his constituents donated money for his nomination form.

Politician: They love me very much and the feeling is mutual. They are everything to me. But I will also seek God’s consent. I don’t do anything without asking God first.

Me: That’s good to hear. But has the voice of the people stopped being the voice of God?

Politician: I have to ask God. That is what I do before taking any step.

Me: Do you seek God’s approval before brushing your teeth?

Politician: Haba! Why would I ask God about such things?

Me: You said you don’t do anything unless you ask God first. Anything suggests everything.

Politician: My friend, you know you are joking. But I always put God first.

Me: Great. Do Nigerian politicians worship the same God?

Politician: There is only one God.

Me: So, why does He tell 10 or 12 people to contest for a position that has only one vacancy?

Politician: I don’t understand your question?

Me: People come out to say God has told them to run for presidency or governorship, announcing themselves as divine candidates, but get defeated at the polls in dismissive fashion.

Politician: Er, er…the truth is that God says such to only one person. He has said it to me, the reason for which he could not have said it to other people eyeing the same position as me.

Me: But others make the same claim.

Politician: Don’t mind them. My God is not a God of confusion. I talk to Him and He talks to me. I understand Him and He understands me.

Me: How often do you have tete-a-tete with God?

Politician: Prayers, not tete-a-tete.

Me: Aren’t they the same?

Politician: They are not. You don’t kneel down when having a tete-a-tete. You do when praying.

Me: Kneeling down isn’t a requirement when praying.

Politician: It is in my church.

Me: What church is that?

Politician: Mopol of Christ Deliverance Ministries aka Holy Ghost Battalion.

Me: Colourful name. Mopol? That sounds like mobile police?

Politician: Yes, it is. We crush demons like mobile policemen crush riots.

Me: Great. But don’t you think you have been using God the way heavy metal bands use Satan?

Politician: I don’t get you.

Me: Heavy metal bands use Satan as a marketing device, exactly the way you use God.

Politician: God is not a marketing device. He is our father, our pillar of strength and is in control of everything we do.

Me: I understand you. But do you think God cares about who wins an electoral contest?

Politician: You don’t know God. He cares because He wants His children to be led by upright people, who have the fear of God.

Me: Okay. Does He care about elections in Nigeria?

Politician: He does because He wants the best for us and wants us to prosper as a nation.

Me: By ensuring we’ve had wretched leaders delivering malice as governance since independence?

Politician: He is the one who gives power. All powers belong to Him. That is what the Bible says. My friend, read the Bible.

Me: I do. But INEC, Police, SSS and elite thugs are not God.

Politician: You don’t get it. Power belongs to God. Let me help you. The book of Daniel says God “deposes kings and raises up rulers” and that their power, might and glory is derived from Him. Jesus, if you recall, famously told Pilate that any power the ruler had was given “from above”. And in Romans, Paul writes that existing authorities “have been established by God”. Do you still have a doubt?

Me: I do not doubt that the Bible says all of this, going by your copious quotes. But do you believe that God, who gave some countries of the world great leaders, is the same God that has given Nigeria the world’s largest collection (per square metre) of inept and self-centred rulers?

Politician: His ways are not our ways. He works in mysterious ways.

Me: I hear people say that, but I also heard you say you understand God and He understands you. That understanding should equip you to work out why He seems to love us less than other nations He gives good leaders to.

Politician: He does not love us less. In fact, he loves Nigeria more than any nation in the world. That is why we have not broken up despite many upheavals. He wants Nigeria to remain one nation. It was the reason for the amalgamation of 1914. God’s love for Nigeria is why we do not have natural disasters like other countries, including the more prosperous ones.

Me: I see. But many countries have broken into two or more separate entities. Eritrea, for example, is no longer part of Ethiopia. Didn’t God want them to stay together?

Politician: I told you He works in mysterious ways.

Me: You also told me you understand Him.

Politician: It is because of my understanding of Him that I have been able to tell you that He works in mysterious ways.

Me: You made yourself a wriggle room, but let’s leave that. The evidence you gave of God’s special love for Nigeria-that we don’t have natural disasters like other countries-is a bit wobbly, given that self-centred leaders carry more menace than earthquakes, tsunamis et al.

Politician: What are you talking about? Earthquakes and tsunamis kill like no man’s business.

Me: Poor leadership ruin lives in the present and future-and in millions. It is not even poor leadership that we have. It is malevolent leadership, which delivers-without fail- decrepit infrastructure in health, education etc. It appeals to ethnic and religious sentiments, which have delivered spectacular carnage like we are seeing with Boko Haram.

Politician: You see…

Me: See what?

Politician: Let us just continue to pray for our leaders.

Me: Still pray for them when they are God’s choices for us?

Politician: We need to pray.

Me: I will cultivate the habit, especially when you eventually contest and win, as you most likely will because of your endorsement by God.

Politician: You don’t seem like the praying type.

Me: I can learn and I think I learn very fast. My maiden prayer to God will request that a plane full of government officials should crash in my neighborhood, but not on any building.

Politician: Haba! Why would you request such from God? That’s evil.

Me: Chief, hear me out. The roads in my neighbourhood are good for just one thing: extreme sports. They look like the surface of the moon or like they were bombed and the government continues to ignore them.

Politician: How will a plane crash get them fixed?

Me: It’s worked in a few places. Lisa, the village where the Bellview plane crashed in 2005, got a tarred road because of the crash. Areas around the site of the 2012 Dana crash in Iju, Lagos, got roads, streetlights and a memorial arcade. It seems that plane crashes make governments remember places only thought of during campaigns.

Politician: That is not enough to wish us dead.

Me: It is more than in enough. Why would leaders treat some people as children of a lesser god? I am actually surprised that you are worried that I want a plane to drop. You guys don’t seem to give a toss about what we say or think.

Politician: We don’t…sorry, we do.

Me: Which one now?

Politician: We do. To be honest, we care when we want to contest. We give rice, garri, palm oil, vegetable oil and other alimentary gratifications, which we now deride as stomach infrastructure.

Me: After winning the election nko?

Politician: We still care, as we keep distributing these items.

Me: But not with same intensity?

Politician: Yes.

Me: Why do you get red-eyed at criticisms, describing critics as disgruntled elements, bitter election losers or ill-informed detractors etc?

Politician: Critics naturally fall in one or all of those categories. They criticise for the fun of it. They never suggest options.

Me: I’ve heard critics suggest alternatives, which were rejected out of hand because you do not want to give them the satisfaction of feeling that they are brighter than you.

Politician: That has never happened.

Me: It has. Critics advise that certain persons accused of corruption be prosecuted as deterrence to others.

Politician: They are disgruntled and ill-informed. They can never see anything good in any government, especially members of the opposition.

Me: Your own party is not on record as having praised your opponents. Why should you expect praise from the other side?

Politician: The are power-hungry. That is all.

Me: You don’t think they’ve ever done anything well?

Politician: Let’s go to some other things. The opposition parties are just a collection of disgruntled elements.

Me: You are a Christian, but I won’t be surprised to see you with a skyscraping turban at a Muslim praying ground.

Politician: You should not be.

Me: Is that not syncretism?

Politician: The path to God is a dual carriageway.

Me: How can you pray effectively-the Muslim way-when you aren’t a Muslim?

Politician: God understands every language and I also need to watch the owners of the faith do it and I follow.

Me: That suggests there is no conviction in what you are doing.

Politician: God is the same.

Me: A few months ago, you were accused of corruption…

Politician: It is because I’m from the Southwest.

Me: The case against you seem convicting.

Politician: It is because I’m Yoruba. The other ethnic groups don’t want our progress. They are envious and bitter.

Me: Is stealing the proper response to their envy and bitterness, given that the money you were accused of stealing belongs to your people?

Politician: Are you not a Yoruba man? What benefits would accrue to you from the destruction of another Yoruba man?  The Yoruba are the problem of Nigeria. We are problems unto ourselves. What are you talking about? Don’t they steal money in other places? Please, get out of my sight.

Me: Stealing is corruption. Why would you steal your people’s money? You don’t steal from those you love.

Politician: You know nothing. Corruption is not stealing. The President said and I would take his word over yours every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Me: Okay.

Politician: Okay what? Just get out.

Me: It’s been a pleasure talking to you.

Politician: That is up to you.

 

Note: This is all made up. One should enjoy the licence to make things up. Politicians do all the time and get paid for it.

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