They say tomorrow is Easter. Is it true? Then please, if you see me, don’t greet me. Don’t say anything good or bad to me. Don’t wish me anything. Don’t bless me and don’t curse me. If you see me, just smile and waka dey go, go your way. And, if you cannot smile, frown. Oh, yes. It is allowed under President Buhari administration. Take it or leave it, it is one of our dividends of democracy.
No, my instruction, nay, order, to you not to greet me has nothing to do with the April Fools thing. My only wise counsel to you is: don’t let anybody pull off an April Fools thing on you tomorrow. Don’t let anybody tell you he or she saw the resurrected Jesus on his or her way to Ikot Ekpene, Abakiliki, Oyingbo or Maryland, Lagos. Don’t let anybody tell you that you have a parcel sent to you from “Laughter Line” columnist. I am not sending anything to anybody this Easter. Not even the most common commodity we have around here in large quantity: laughter! Don’t let anybody tell you that Dangote cement is now N300 per bag or that his rice is now N1, 500, bring money. If you do, you are on your own. Don’t say that I didn’t tell you o!
Truth is: times are hard. As my Calabar friend would say, country har’o! Oh, yes. Very har’o! So hard that, before now, we used to have ‘per minute billing.’ Later, we began to hear about ‘per second billing.’ Now, the new lingo in town is ‘per pay greeting’! Or, is it per greeting pay? In other words, pay as you are greeted!
These days, if somebody saw you and said, Oga, Happy Sunday, you will need to bring something out of your pocket and pay for that greeting. The same thing goes if somebody said, Happy Weekend, or Happy whatever. Everywhere you go, people expect you to bring something out of your pocket and pay any time you are greeted. If that does not translate to paying for greeting, I don’t know what else does
Let’s look at it this way. If you expect me to pay for Happy Weekend, Happy Sunday and “Oga, I dey greet o”, now you think how much I would pay if you greet me with Happy Easter, tomorrow. That’s why I said you should not greet me. I don’t have any money to pay. In fact, I have ordered Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector-General of Police, who has just suspended the order to withdraw policemen attached to Very Important Prisoners? (VIP), to supply me with about 10 Mopol (Mobile policemen).
I will need them to protect me from people who would expect me to pay for greeting me with “Happy Easter.” The moment they try it, the mobile policemen would descend on them and beat them black and blue or blue and black. That’s an order from below! We are tired of obeying orders from above, o jare.
And, if you think by supplying me with 10 Mopol, I too have joined the league of VIPs, then you need to give your filthy mind a bath. As far as I am concerned, all VIPs are equal: Very Innocuous Prisoner? Very Indignant Pensioner? Vermin Inside Pot? Very Inquisitive Prostitute?
Nigerians are ingenious people. They know how to make money out of virtually every situation. They know how to come up with survival strategies. They see you in your onyupa car, bringing out smoke from virtually every part – boot o, bonnet o, exhaust pipe o, windscreen o, windscreen wiper o, plate number o, brake pad o, clutch disc o, just name it, and they would still be pursuing you, wanting to wash your car, wanting to wipe its broken windscreen with detergent, long brush and water. And, they don’t mind. Anything you give them, they collect – one naira o, two naira, five naira o, ten naira o.
If we can pay for the air we breathe (telecommunication service providers, or network people call it airtime), pay for using ‘plate’ to collect energy or power from the sun given to all of us for free by Baba God, if you ask me, I would say we should try putting our ingenuity into work, in this area of greeting. Let’s pay per greeting. We should grade and bill the greetings based on how long and how effusive the greeter is.
Take for instance, the greeting “Happy Sunday.” We should expect nothing less than N500 from that one. If somebody is stingy enough to give you N100 or N200, you could use style to ask them to add to it by saying, “Ah, Oga mi, or Madam de Madam, dis Happy Sunday wey I greet you so, na from the bottom of my heart, not top nor middle o, I just dey bring am dey come so. In fact, it is oven fresh. I wouldn’t mind if you fit add something to this one you gave me. I know that country hard, but no bi so I dey take greet people na because you bi my personal person, na why I greet you so. If say you fit make am 5 Awos or 2 Ahmadu Bellos and 1 Awo or 1 Zik, I for like am. Just do me beta and God go bless you.”
Second sample: “Oga/Madam, Happy Weekend o. I dey greet. I say I dey greet o. Greet family o. Greet Oga and children. Ah, God go bless you o. God, go bless you and your family o. Armed robbers no go see you o. Kidnappers wey see you and wan pursue you go dey go West, while you go dey go North. Amen.” For this kind of greeting, you can collect 10k or at least 5k. And, if your benefactor didn’t play the expected ball, you can cajole him or her by saying: “Ah, Oga/Madam, greeting don change levels now. E be like say dem don dey charge for am now sef. For dis kin greeting wey I greet you, na special one o. Na your personal person wey you love dey receive dat kin. Na N10k per greeting of dat kin, but I fit manage N5k. But it is because it is you o. Like I told you before now, greetings don change level. People now pay for it.” The same thing goes for “Merry Christmas,” “Happy New Year” or “Happy Easter” that they person.
You guys should decide when and where to make greetings work for you. Engage yourself in per pay billing and you will be glad you did. These days I have learnt not to respond to some greetings because if you do, you will pay. Happy Sunday? Come o, dem no de dey unhappy for una place or area on Sunday? At this juncture, I will like to say, “Happy Easter” and “April Fools Day” in advance! And welcome to our world of laughter!