When Ajakaiye was finally announced as Nigeria’s president-elect of Nigeria, it was as if someone had mopped up what was left of his energy with a towel and had drained it inside a gutter. He’d spent all his savings on the campaign. He’d only gotten fourteen million, three hundred and thirty-two thousand, five hundred naira from the GoFundMe project, but that was gone within two days of lobbying and campaigning. He still has people he’s indebted to. It was his third time contesting, so he wasn’t caught unawares. He’d been shown the dark, hard dangers of the well, but he jumped anyway because he was thirsty.
No, he wasn’t thirsty for power. He was thirsty for reforms. For change. For a new dispensation away from corruption, underdevelopment, and insecurity. That is exactly how he put it in his inaugural speech.
But weeks into office, his demeanour changed. Having decades of experience politicking is certainly not the same as spending a day in the driver’s seat of power. Why did nobody tell him?
Why did no one mention the snakes and monkeys? Those who do not hunger for bananas and rats but mint cash. And not just any lying around; they have developed a powerful skillset to open locks and devour mounds of money thought to be safely kept.
Why did no one tell him about the sham in Nigeria’s health sector? That mechanics and plumbers were getting robed into scrubs and treating people because all the qualified medics had gone to Canada and Saudi Arabia? No wonder his predecessors did not trust the local healthcare system and always had to go to Germany or the United Kingdom for minor injuries.
Why did no one inform him of the billions the government was getting from terrorists, bandits, and kidnappers in the form of taxes? That over half of the country’s internally generated revenue actually comes from organised crime. And that if all the criminals go to jail, it’ll spell doom for the economy. Why did no one talk about the otherworldly stock market, where Nigerian lives are worth less than a shitcoin and that it’s actually okay for thousands of people to die every year. Really, it doesn’t upset the universe.
Why did no one talk about the supreme rule about budgeting for education? That it must never surpass eight per cent of the total capital budget; otherwise, the country crumbles. Nigerians are already getting the best quality of education they are entitled to, according to the Big Book of ‘If You Know What is Good for You’. Anything more than this will lead to pure chaos.
Why did no one mention the god of commissions? That just like Yahoo boys sometimes need to spend money on silly things for their fortunes to continue to shine, politicians must commission stupid projects every year if they want to cling to power. They know the projects are ridiculous, but it is what the god of commissions demands.
Why did no one ever call him to a corner to intimate him about the witches and wizards of Aso Villa? About how they keep the occupant of the presidential seat young and healthy and delay their death by a decade or two, but the occupant must also sacrifice his sanity and agility. It’s simple. You get the immortality potion but also a harmless little bit of schizophrenia.
Nigerian politics, he would learn far too late, requires the strength of men and the wisdom of the senile. It is no place for women and youth or people with disabilities, and this has nothing to do with discrimination. It is just one of those secrets that keep the country from falling apart, descending into a civil war, or crumbling under powerful natural disasters. It is why ‘God’ has continued to bless the country with riches that are out of reach and gifted its people with tongues that may run out of food and water but never out of prayer points.
The other day, Ajakaiye learnt that the spiritual realm also had a vested interest in Bandana’s politics. The association of traditional worshippers had paid him a visit and carefully explained the reverse relationship between economic development and interests in religion, especially voodoo and traditional workshop. The more people you lift out of poverty, the more people forget their roots and gods. People are no longer trooping out to see masquerades as they used to, and the population of white tourists has reduced too, due to insecurity. And so the gods had mandated that year-on-year economic growth must not be more than 2 per cent. And the literacy rate, too, must never surpass 60 per cent. If the gods themselves had not sent him press statements in his dream, he might not have believed it.
Ajakaiye has always thought governance couldn’t be rocket science. Even if it were, with his three MScs and two PhDs, he was going to make it look like a stroll in a park. But now he realises it isn’t. It’s something way worse. It’s spiritual warfare. And he didn’t come prepared for that.