In the new business of purchasing form for someone to contest for an office, you do not need to even know the fellow for whom you are purchasing the form.
The report came out of Ghana not too long ago, of a new art form that had evolved into a vibrant enterprise and was gaining increasing patronage across parts of that civilized society. The business was that of professional crying at funerals.
As the story came, the professionals in that increasingly patronised business had honed their art so well in recent time that they were now charging good money. Some cynics who dismissed the business and its craftsmen and women a while back were now taking another look at their services. Depending on what you pay the criers, they could up their delivery to some impressive level, helping you – the bereaved – to send home your loved one with enough tears and tumult to match. The very good ones among them could cry to the point that even the bereaved would be consoling them. Indeed, if the pay was real good, some of the performers (of course, that’s what they are) will simulate trying to go into the grave with the dead, all the while delivering the most sombre crying a funeral can boast of.
It all depended on the pay. You pay poorly, they cry poorly for you, such that people will not even notice that someone died in the neighourhood. You pay them well, then leave the crying for them. They will generate so much tears and grief-stricken cry that no dry eye will be seen around. They were that good. Of course, they had no business knowing who the dead was. Who cares? Pay the money and leave the crying to them.
It was only a matter of time before something as creatively bizarre cropped up in Nigeria. Now it is here. And in what better platform of life is such deception better raised than in politics? Purchasing form for a man who you ordinarily have no business with has become the current equivalent of crying for a dead person you neither had any relationship with nor even knew in life. In the new business of purchasing form for someone to contest for an office, you do not need to like or even know the fellow for whom you are purchasing the form. It is purely transactional. Just pay the fees and the group will march out to purchase form for you and even give rousing testimonial for you. Once you settle the agreed bill, they proceed to the party secretariat, make the necessary noises and pay for the form with the money you had given one of your trusted henchmen to take along. They go their way. You go your way. What is their business with your record or profile?
But trust Nigeria. Things never go on smoothly without drama over here. Unlike in Ghana. If the business of contracting people to purchase form for others is taken up in Ghana, you can bet it will be handled with finesse and due professionalism. That is not always the case in Nigeria. Here, you did not need to have a crystal ball to know that this new line of business will be messed up sooner than later. And messed up it has already been.
The report out of Kaduna that some Traders Association has publicly repudiated purchasing any form for the governor as they were said to have done came as no surprise. According to the report the traders said to be involved in the altruistic purchase wondered angrily why and how they should purchase N22 million form for someone who demolished heir shops and raised taxes for them. You see now?
The traders’ public disclaimer is just the beginning or perhaps the one not promptly settled before it came out to the public. You bet that many other professional or semi professional form-purchasers whose fees were not fully settled are all over the place agitating for full settlement of the contractual agreement. Of course, politicians are not known for settling agreed fees with those they use for their sundry make-believe engagements. Ask many of the poor fellows hired here and there to form a crowd to receive a politician at the airport or such public places. Many of these hapless folks have been known after singing the praise of their high class puppeteers to be abandoned to trek home, with the paltry pay promised them not coming.
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The public disclaimer over purchase of form for Mr. Governor is very much in tune with Nigeria; very tardy in handling things both big and small. In Ghana you can bet that the person for whom a form is being purchased, hereafter referred to as the primary form purchaser will scout well for secondary form purchasers who will deliver on the assignment and quietly fade away. Why pick as your secondary form purchaser a group that are already disgruntled and bitter towards you? That smacks of extreme lack of due diligence on the part of the primary form purchaser whose money the secondary purchasers had to buy the form with any way? Don’t even be surprised if in some instances, not excluding the current case in reference, an aspirant proceeded to purchase his form and then announced thereafter without the consent of some groups that they purchased the form for him. This is a land of impunity and taking others for granted.
Then you begin to wonder; what is the craze about getting secondary purchasers to purchase a form for you to contest for a position everyone knew already that you will be running for? Is this deceit seeking for a way to express itself? Or is this delusion of acceptability?
The lack of creativity that goes with this latest deceit is so baffling. But it is so much like politicians. One of them gathers a motley group and said they purchased form for him to contest for an office and bingo every politician who has been accumulating money to run for office must go out to rent people to purchase form for them. Another one gathers some hapless elements in his house and arrange them in a badly choreographed scene to plead with him that he should run for the office he is already running for and the next few weeks the air waves are filled with all manner of otherwise disillusioned persons herded about begging all manner of characters to please come run for president or governor or senate.
When has it become a crime for a man who really wants to run for a political office to go out to purchase the necessary party form and set about the business of campaigning for what he desires? Must some already battered compatriots be further humiliated by putting some kobo in their hands and putting words into their mouth to get them plead with their traducer to please continue trampling on them? Is there no limit to the humiliation that politicians in Nigeria have to subject their fellow citizens?