… where sa-tyres never go flat

PoliticsThe Book of Ajanaku

This government will favour me and my family

This government will favour me and my family

Wole has never cared much for politics. But when Bunu ran for president, he whipped out his voice and dedicated every second of his Internet hours to support his campaign. He doesn’t know about the man’s ethics or competence, but he’s from his side of the map and his neighbour’s in-law’s cousin used to work at his company. So you never know.

Wole was sure that he stood a better chance of benefitting from a political windfall with Bunu in power than any of his opponents. When he finally won the elections, one slogan rang in his mind so often it had to be true: “this government will favour me and my family”. But as days turned into weeks and weeks into months, that slogan started to take on a life of its own, increasing in length and locking onto one condition after another.

Aunty Busola was the first to go.

There was a stampede at the stadium. Women leaders of the ruling party had organised a pro-Bunu rally and they had started sharing cash and cartons of indomie. Some of the people had not tasted noodles in months. Three people were knocked unconscious that day as the crowd swarmed towards the goodies like bees. One of them recovered. Busola wasn’t so lucky.

“Well,” Wole thought, “this government will favour me and my family, except Aunty Busola.”

But the tragedies poured like they had been edged by providence for far too long and suddenly had permission to come. Brother Lekan was abducted alongside his wife and two children. After the ransom was beaten down to N20 million and delivered two weeks later, thanks to at least donations from far and wide and at least four loan apps, only the wife and children returned. They said Brother Lekan found a way to untie himself in the thick of captivity and bolted, leaving his family behind. He couldn’t run faster than the bullet. He was buried there in the forest.

“Well,” Wole said, “this government will favour me and my family, except Aunty Busola and Brother Lekan.”

Then, one morning, he received a call from a strange number. “Are you Adewole?” the person asked. “Do you know any young man in his late twenties who lives in Lagos and wears a beard and locks?” That must be Moses, he replied. “Why are you asking?” Moses is dead, the strange number said. He jumped into the lagoon. By the time help got to him, it was too late. Wole was one of the last people he called and since there’s a prefix of “bro” next to his name, they figured they must be family. Moses studied Petroleum Engineering, graduated seven years ago, and has been unemployed for longer than he has been extremely underemployed.

Death seemed to have a yawning appetite because the tragedies kept pouring. Armed robberies. Road accidents. Starving to death while crossing the desert into Europe. Extrajudicial killing. Judicial killing. Jungle justice.

One day, when Wole walked away from the fresh grave of his last family, his heart was heavy with grief and his eyes were laced with tears. Then he checked his phone. Bunu had just announced that he was giving trillions of naira in grants and loans to business owners to breathe life into the economy. Each beneficiary could get up to ₦5 million. By a stroke of luck, Wole’s neighbour, whose in-law’s cousin used to work for one of Bunu’s companies, posted on WhatsApp that he had access to a few slots. All you had to do was pay him ₦500,000 for his troubles. This was his chance.

Wole sold his washed-up generator, which he could not afford to fuel anyway, and scraped up the rest of the money by delaying paying his rent. As he transferred the money, he reluctantly muttered to himself, “This government will favour me …”

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I am Tubosun, the first son of Ajanaku; and my forte lies in casting light upon the bottomless pits of societal ills through the pastiche of news and satire.

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