By Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH of Monday, July 16, 2018)
It’s the zero hour. Nobody slept all night. Everything is set for the war. Commanders are busy, surreptitiously dispatching orders and supplies to the frontlines. The night before the war is the most crucial night. It’s the night before the dawn of victory or the groan of defeat. It’s also the night treachery wears the cloak of loyalty, clinging tightly to the battledress of the commander-in-chief, with eyes glazed on the treasury chest. What a night!
Today, the sun, wary of the task ahead, stirred slowly in the East. But it is screened off by the green canopies of the bended boughs of the baobabs, mahoganies, irokos, palms and sycamores in the thick forests of Ekiti. Hot and cold water cascade down the hills of Ikogosi. Even the cock knows it’s not yet time to announce the break of a new day. The wards are secretly awake, though the world is still asleep. Men are at work as the clock tick-tocks.
Arise, O compatriots
Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fatherland…
Continuity announcer: I say a very good morning to you our cherished listeners out there. This is Ekiti Kete Broadcasting Service, transmitting on frequency 41.9. I welcome you to our first programme of the day, “Ekiti Decides.” As you all know, 35 candidates are set to slug it out in today’s governorship election. I’ll take you right into our studio where our indefatigable politics editor, Dimeji Ologbenla, is waiting. Over to you, Dimeji.
Ologbenla: Thank you, Wale Aberuagba. Good morning, Nigeria. You’re welcome to another edition of your incisive programme, “Ekiti Decides.” Today, we shall be analyzing the election results as they trickle in from the 177 wards of the 2, 185 polling units in the 16 Local Government Councils of the state. The total number of registered voters for this election is 913,334 but only 630,000 voters have their PVCs in readiness for this landmark election. I have with me in the studio Comrade Tunji Aduroja, Alhaji Mukaila Ehinola, Apostle Jesusegun Olorunjeda, and an Ifa worshipper, Baba Ifaleke Famoriyo. Your opinions, gentlemen.
Apostle: Sincerely, I think the wave of defections within the ruling party is going to affect the outcome of the election. Elections are won by people and not stones. When you have key people defecting from your party, the end result won’t be palatable.
Comrade: The power of incumbency will play a major role. Remember, Nigerian politics still feeds fat on violence. Any of the party that controls the mechanisms of violence will have an edge.
Alhaji: Money will play a deciding factor in this election. Ekiti civil servants are hungry; they’re being owed several months of salary arrears. Anybody that dangles the carrot will have their votes. The fatter your carrot, the higher your votes.
Famoriyo: There’s no sincerity among our political class. The skirt and blouse are of the same fabric. Ifa hates deceit. Ekiti must vote wisely.
Ologbenla: Gentlemen, let me link up with our correspondents out there to have a feel of the field…
PHCN strikes. Programme goes off air.
Government House, Ado-Ekiti
Peter Rock: Hello, Blahlah! Hello! How far? Is that the sound of victory I’m hearing in the background? (Smiles)
Blahlah: Yes, Your Excellency.
Peter Rock: Jehovah seun, Thank God! The Lord God of Host showed Himself to me thrice in a trance this morning. He said, “Peter, after installing your anointed, you’re going to Aso Rock as vice-president.”
Blahlah: Ha, no sir, Your Excellency! It wasn’t God that you saw, sir. The victory sound here is from the camp of the Apola Party, sir.
Peter Rock: W-h-a-a-a-a-t! Kilo sele? Didn’t you distribute the N250m within the LG?
Blahlah: I did, sir, but the Apola Party are stoning people here with money ni o. The party is even giving money to people who have no voter cards.
Peter Rock: Are you saying 16-0 has won in that LG, Blahlah?
Blahlah: He has won o. People were complaining that you didn’t pay workers’ salaries arrears, yet you raised money to bribe voters in the election.
Peter Rock: I’ll deal with them, they’re stupid! Wait, Blahlah, let me pick this call from Hitler. Don’t cut it o, just hang on…“Yes, Hitler, what’s the situation report in your LG, I can sense you’re excited. How did we crush them?
Hitler: I’m not excited, sir. I’m breathing heavily ni, sir. I was hotly pursued by voters. When they received minty N5,000 each from Johnny, they came after me, saying if Johnny who’s not a governor could give N5,000, Apata Ayeraye should be able to give more. They caught Eyin-Ejo, Sandpaper and Petrol and beat them to a pulp. They broke their necks and hands. They too now need neck braces and slings, they too are touching their heads and weeping like infants denied breast milk.
Peter Rock: Shut up, there, you idiot! Did you see tears in my eyes when I put my hand to my head like Roger Milla? (He terminates the calls)
(Dials) Sola! S-o-o-o-l-a!
Sola: Sir, Your Excellency!
Peter Rock: Where’re you!? Ehn…!? Toilet…!? Stooling!? What pressure have you seen that’s making you stool!? Drive down to my quarters immediately!!
Johnny Walker Campaign Office
Johnny and Apola Party leaders sit round a large table, monitoring the election on TV.
Johnny: (Cleans his eyeglasses repeatedly and wipes sweat from his brow. His phone rings) Hello, Your Excellency!
Excellency: How far, Johnny?
Johnny: The air, land and sea bombardment seems to be working, sir.
Excellency: I told you it would work. You don’t punch the mosquito that perches on the scrotum. They were foolish in the way they conducted their own rigging in 2014. Walahi, nobody can trace this election to Abuja. His arrogance and quarrelling with the leaders of his party did enough damage. The teargassing by security agencies three days ago was enough to break them. The money bombardment was the killing shot. I have fought many wars in my life, Johnny. We’ll move to Osun next. Congratulations!
Johnny: Thank you, sir. Peter doesn’t know I’ve learnt how to crush all manner of rocks at the solid mineral ministry.
Excellency: You must move closer to the people now, and stop blowing big grammar. I have Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye as ex-governors from the North serving jail sentences. Peter from the South-West will serve his jail term in Abeokuta. I’m looking for ex-governors and senators from the South-East and South-South to balance the equation.
Johnny: Why Abeokuta, sir?
Excellency: Yowa! I think he calls himself ‘The Rock’, and Olumo Rock is in Abeokuta; let his rock go and jam Olumo Rock and let’s see the one that will scatter.
Morning after the election
Peter Rock: (Calling, panicky) Hello, my national leader, I’ve been trying to reach you since yesterday, sir. I called madam, her line was unavailable. I called Ogbeni, my friend and ex-schoolmate at The Poly, Ibadan, he said he would help me appeal to you to appeal to His Excellency…
Bourdillon: R.A spoke to me, Peteru… But I warned you, it’s always best to keep your words soft and sweet, you might never know when you have to eat them. If death kills the cautious chameleon, what won’t it do to the moth that stalks naked flame? You went too far…, but I won’t leave you to the wolves. Why did you announce your own election result? That was irresponsible. Well, I’ve sent my security to come and pick you. They’re at the Ekiti Government House. Are you there?
Peter: No, sir. I’m just entering Cotonou. I disguised like a herdsmen and escaped out of Ado immediately after the election. I had to keep calling you to give the impression that I’m still in the country. Buhari for skin me live!