I LIFT my head reluctantly from the pillow, wondering where the night went. Wasn’t it just a few minutes ago I crashed into bed? I really wish I can sleep a bit longer, find more time for Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham and Jackie Collins, but being President of this country is perhaps the toughest job on planet earth. The opposition wants your head for breakfast. Your party and party men, and women too, want you whole for a seven-course lunch. For dinner, Boko Haram wants not just your body and soul, it follows you to bed and torments your dream all night. That I knew what I was signing up doesn’t make the job easier because there are days I just want to be normal, take decisions according to what my mother taught me without having to wonder what Mr Obama would think or the contents of Lai Mohammed’s press release for the day. Lai will always find something to react to anyway, whether I work all day or sleep all week.
In Nigeria, if you survive the opposition, you can survive anything. I think that is why almost all our past presidents and heads of state are still alive. The opposition gets angry that the army does not have enough ammunition and then blows a fuse when I submit a request to buy ammunition. They say the money is too much or I’m trying to steal their money. How much was I supposed to be asking for sef? I want to buy real stuff, attack jets, not catapults for Christ sake!
Enough. Calm down, Madam President, this is not how to start a special day, I tell myself as I grab my fluffy peach towel. I check out my gear in the mirror to be sure Nigeria has not stolen my curves. Well, a girl is a girl, Madam President or not. I see the love handles are not improving but the joggers are hugging the hips nicely. I celebrate them, smiling.
The gym is nice, quiet because it is my very private gym though I will prefer to jog outside, take in the early morning breeze and clear my head of all 2015 cobwebs but I can’t. There will be politicians laying ambush out there somewhere waiting to pounce on me for one favour or the other. And then jogging or walking in the open will mean seeing those frightful black DSS guns and different camouflage uniforms. That can’t be healthy at 6.00am, trust me. And since I’m doing things differently today, I am working out indoors.
I get on the treadmill, plug on my head phones, and start my work-out with Dorobucci. Oh yeah, the president is a human being too and I love Ada by Flavour and plenty of Davido too. I block out Nigeria for 60 minutes as I sweat it out with my favourite Nigerian artistes. I make a mental note to do something for these great talents.
Of course by this time, the different waiting rooms are filling up with all kinds of people, some of them I ordinarily will not touch with a 10-foot pole but when you are President, you are public property. So, I invite all of them to join me for breakfast.
I try not to choke on my yam pepper soup when one of my party men brought up the crisis in Ekiti State and the dusk-to-dawn curfew. I let him and the human right lawyer at the table tackle each other for a bit before saying anything. Why is it that states where APC wins, there are no bonfires after election? Are some people trying to give Kayode Fayemi a bad name just before he leaves office because he’s such a gentleman? I don’t see him being behind all this violence. I’m embarrassed on behalf of Ekiti people with all their degrees and knowledge. Beating up a judge, and in court too? You can’t judge a book by its cover obviously. It’s really scandalous, disturbing. We must probe this crisis but nothing will stop the inauguration of Fayose. Nothing. That baby has already been delivered and we must respect the choice of the voters but we will probe everybody involved and I mean everybody. Whoever has to go to jail will go, irrespective of status especially now that murder has been added to the mix.
The Synagogue tragedy is demanding attention but why am I been crucified for going to commiserate with Pastor T. B. Joshua by the same people who wanted to nail me to the cross for not going to Chibok? Lagos State has laws to protect its citizens from such tragedies, why am I the focus of anger? I bet some people are already saying that I’m a member of Synagogue. They should not force me to institute a public hearing because I will bring certain church workers to identify publicly those who sneak in to see the prophet while the rest of us are sleeping. Nigeria will be shocked by the list of those who saw illegality and ignored it just to get their holy water.
Meetings, meetings, meetings, each one accompanied by one request or the other. Why do governorship aspirants think I can force their governors to support them from Abuja? If a man has run a state for eight years, does that not count for something? If I’m seeking re-election too, doesn’t that tell everybody that I have enough on my plate in addition to the night and day torment from Boko Haram? A beg, make I hear word o.
As for the battle of Sambisa Forest, it is not one I intend to lose. We will fight it both conventionally and clandestinely. We will use man and iron to fight. Those who think this sect will overwhelm this office know nothing about the powers of a President. In the days ahead, there will be rain of hailstones and liquid sulphur and any and all human rights activists who start any hoopla about civilian populace will be treated as Boko Haram sponsors. I am finally tired of everybody saying if we launch a full-scale war, civilians will die in their dozens. Rubbish! Can anybody tell me if those that have been killed since this war started, from Konduga to Damaturu, are not civilians? From here on, it’s war, the type you see in Iraq and Syria. We will evacuate indigenes and rid the North East of every demon tormenting us. Those who want to use February 2015 to blackmail me are welcome to get ready for battle. Let me just warn them that two can play that game. If you decide to take on the office and powers of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, make sure there are no skeletons in your closet because once you get in the ring with this President, you will dance at the Eagle Square with all your skeletons. And on national television too.
Also on my to-do-list is fixing the disrespect Nigeria has been subjected to on the continent. If a big misfortune throws you on the ground, little ones will also want to sit on you and on the day an elephant dies, even knives without handles will come for a cut.
Look at the way even nations that can’t clothe themselves have been thumbing their noses at Nigeria over Ebola. Imagine Gabon, even Gabon o, threatening to close its borders to Nigerians. What brand of disrespect is that? But I don’t blame them. It is because we let all of them neighbouring villages, that’s what they are, get away with the insults. From today, all citizens of countries who disrespect us in any way, I repeat, in any way, will be returned to their villages until all issues are resolved. For instance, if Gabon is afraid that there is ebola in Nigeria, then we will take judicial notice for now and later. You cannot insult Nigeria and still expect us to send troops when war breaks out in your little kingdom.
In addition, Nigeria is hereby recalling all her troops worldwide. Yes, we need our men back home to fight our own battle. The Nigerian soldier is not a lesser being or inferior to any other soldier in the world and since the foreign super stars won’t bring their soldiers here, we are recalling our men. Let the ‘big boys’ fight in the air everywhere. If nobody will help us, we will mind our business.
My to-do-list is quite long and I guess my day will still be on long after normal people have gone to bed but this country needs fixing and since the bolts and nuts are handy, I’m rolling up my sleeves. I’m over-tired and under-caffeinated but the President of Nigeria is that human being caught between a hungry wolf and a quarrelsome sheep.
■ First published on September 28, 2014