Opinion

Femi Fani-Kayode’s funeral

“Whatever Fani-Kayode wants to do with his life is his funeral. What I want to know is, what are we going to do to save Nigeria from hellfire?”

“Have you seen Femi Fani-Kayode’s new girlfriend?”

“Lookia, my friend, what does that have to do with the national emergency that we face in Nigeria? Didn’t you hear that Naira’s exchange rate is heading to N1000 to a dollar by the end of the year? And Boko Haram and the bandits are surrounding Abuja for a final takeover vis-à-vis Afghanistan.”

“You are just an alarmist. Pure and simple.”

“I guess you are more at home talking BBNaija and Femi Fani-Kayode’s new girlfriend.”

“That is the problem with you Africans. Your thinking faculty has not developed beyond the superficial. You are incapable of looking into the deeper things of life and how they impact every other aspect. Everything is connected.”

“We were talking about the ruling party doing everything to silence all opposition to its misrule and you brought up Femi Fani-Kayode’s new girlfriend. Still, you dare to accuse me of being superficial.”

“Is it that God cursed all you Nigerians or that you Nigerians are allergic to commonsense? Which one is it? If you line up Femi Fani-Kayode’s past girlfriends, including his dream ones, you will see a very revealing pattern.”

“You get time ooo. You even know Femi Fani-Kayode’s dream girlfriends?”

“It is all public knowledge, my friend. As a political analyst, when you study a subject, you have to study the subject in full, or else you may miss the real ace in understanding your subject. You don’t want to sound like a half-baked commentator when you open your mouth to speak.”

“Ok, Mr. Public Intellectual. So what pattern have you noticed and how does that explain Nigeria’s current conundrum? How do Femi Fani-Kayode’s girlfriends explain the debt crisis Buhari has plunged Nigeria into?”

“You didn’t even care to know who is his dream girlfriend. That is the problem. You don’t pay attention to details. Or do you think I dropped that hint just to gossip? You are always in a hurry, looking for shortcuts. You cannot achieve anything lasting with that kind of attitude. The secret of success is in the minute.”

“Minute what?”

“The minute, the nuances. Can’t you see how a master of the art of commentary like Reuben Abati talks with passion when he talks about women- especially women’s body parts? Reuben puts out his greatest performance when discussing important topics like who has a greater right to the breast – the child or the husband or, in the case of baby mama, the child, or the boyfriend? These are very important subjects for discussion, with very wide implications.”

“Anyway, I am not on TV yet. This is just a beer parlor discussion between two friends.”

“Just a beer parlor discussion? Unbelievable! If you cannot shine at a beer parlor discussion, is it when you are under the lights in a Channels TV’s studio that you will shine?”

“Ok, I’ve heard you. So, how do we survive the one-party system that is developing under our noses?”

“Follow the pattern.”

“What pattern? APC is even willing to accept former President Goodluck Jonathan and allow him to run for president under APC, if that will guarantee them another four years in office. Are you not scared?”

“Not at all, because I know it will never happen. In the 1980s, NPN tried that kind of nonsense as soon as Shagari commenced his final second term in office. We all know how that ended.”

“How did it end?”

“I forgot that you were not born then. Buhari and his boys in the military, including Babangida and Abacha, planned a military coup and removed Shagari. We danced and celebrated because Shagari and his colleagues were corrupt. Just like we did when Buhari defeated Jonathan in 2015.”

“So history is just repeating itself. Is that what you are saying?”

“Follow the pattern, my friend. Look at everything, including the most minute of things. If the Naira-Dollar exchange rate is collapsing, investigate AbokiFX. Maybe they are manipulating it. If everybody is going to London to visit Bola Tinubu, investigate why Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has not gone. If Sheik Gumi is staking his reputation in the defence of the bandits, send the EFCC to Enugu to storm a hotel at night and arrest guests while they were sleeping. Until we understand the pattern, we will continue to miss the plot.”

“I am not sure I understood your drift. Anyway, please can you explain to me why Vice President Yemi Osinbajo wants pastors to pay Pentecost tax? Is it a prelude to Imams paying Jihad tax and native doctors paying juju tax?”

“The Vice President made the greatest speech of his young political life at the LEADERP Conference and Awards ceremony the other day, but none of you paid any attention. He marshaled out his optimistic vision for Nigeria and his solution to Nigeria’s ills. Nobody cared. It was as if he wasted his saliva on stage. Now you want to ask me about Pentecost tax. My friend, go and read the Vice President’s greatest speech first. Then, you can come back for us to talk about Pentecost tax. In any case, you cannot understand it until you understand why Cristiano Ronaldo went to Manchester United and Lionel Messi went to PSG.”

“Let me take it that you don’t know what Pentecost tax means.”

“Don’t insult me! I am an elder in my church.”

“You are also an unofficial Osinbajo campaign staff.”

“Whatever! Just take note of this. People who, out of fear or sentiments, cannot identify patterns, deserve whatever hits them in the face.”

“Let me go to a topic that I know you are old enough to remember. What is wrong with a return to Aburi as a solution to Nigeria’s problem? No national conference. No referendum. No genocide. No war. Just a quiet return to Aburi.”

“We are moving the nation forward, not backward. But who wants to return to Aburi?”

“Gov. Wike of Rivers State is returning to Aburi. Gov. Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state is pointing to Aburi.”

“I don’t get it. What do you mean?”

“They are fighting for the rights of states to collect value-added tax, VAT. It is essentially another way of saying, ‘in Aburi we stand.’ Once they get VAT, state police will follow. And so forth until the forty-four items in the exclusive list of Nigeria’s constitution are quietly retired.”

“You are beginning to sound like the old Femi Fani-Kayode 3.0 that became 4.0 this week.”

“Whatever Fani-Kayode wants to do with his life is his funeral. What I want to know is, what are we going to do to save Nigeria from hellfire?”

“My friend, you need to have hope. Be optimistic. Don’t be part of the elite the Vice President accused of being socially irresponsible. As the VP said, don’t be part of those elite who allow selfish interest or lack of self-awareness to lead them astray- to lead them into behaviors that lead to insecurity, insurgency and an embrace of secession, which will only lead to extinction. Learn from Femi Fani-Kayode. Turn a new leaf. Study the pattern. Allow yourself to experience transfiguration and transformation. Don’t fight it. Embrace your natural inner metamorphosis.”

“And if I don’t?”

“That will be your own funeral.”

“You know what?”

“What?”

“Let us talk about Femi Fani-Kayode’s new girlfriend.”

— Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo teaches Post-Colonial African History at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He is also the host of Dr. Damages Show.

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