A Passage To Otta

by Uche Nworah

Yo! Dude, what’s up? I can’t believe 8 years is up. Funny how time flew during your second coming. Boy, I tell you, it’s been one hell of a ride on the train called Nigeria during this time, was it for you too? Wish that they would realise too that people come, people go and Aso Rock remains.

I really got to give it to you dude; you sure are a brave dawg for even daring to show up at the party one more time. Many dawgs in your shoes would have buckled under the pressure of riding in, not to talk of driving a bus that seemed to have all its body parts all over the place. That is sure the stuffs patriots are made of, big up for this bro.

I have been trying to figure out what made you to come back, I tell you, I’m not sure I would have even dreamt of that were I in your shoes. You don’t know with these your countrymen, one can never win with them, who needs all these Aremu this, Aremu that?

Times have indeed changed; this ain’t no 70s anymore when your first coming must have felt like a walk through Murtala Park. You and your crew were still young back then; Shehu Musa still sparkled in khaki and Theophilus hadn’t yet started wearing those trademark glasses. I remember seeing you a few times on the black and white television in pop’s living room looking buff in your starched khaki uniforms, real soldiers you guys were, not the akamu ones that we have these days that idle away at their mess eating pepper soup from morning till night, and day dreaming about coups. They can’t even hold up the zippers on their new-issue khaki trousers anymore, what manner of soldiers are they anyway? Where are they when their country needs them?

I have always wanted to ask you this, whatever happened to those your lofty projects, particularly the one aimed at feeding the nation, my primary school teacher made me memorise the meaning of OFN and several others including IYC, OIC etc. Oh how I loved you and him for it, for helping to keep my young idle mind busy. Too bad the trend didn’t catch on; it would have been another of your legacies bequeathed to your dear country.

I was just thinking again how times have changed, it seems like the land has gotten a lot worse since the 70s, the internet has debuted and Nigerians have also gotten wiser, you don’t blame them dude, do you? You can see that they have for long been taken for a ride such that trust don’t mean nothing to them no more. Perhaps you will be forgiving in your judgement over the way they have treated you. Even the great prophets were also prosecuted, what clever remarks you made to those nosey Financial Times journalists. Serves them right, they would learn to mind their own business next time.

So how was it this time around? I bet Aso rock is more comfortable than Dodan Barracks. The building does look nice from the outside, I would give anything to have the opportunity to check the food out, that’s just my only bother, I love food you know. In fact it would have been a dream to sample the food with some members of your kitchen cabinet, just to pick their brains a little.

I guess that would remain a wish still, but then there may be something you can do before you leave for Otta. Remember your pal, Billy Boy; before he left the White House, he taped some funny parodies including the famous one with Kevin Spacey.

How about inviting some of the renegade bunch over for lunch, sure that would be nice. Okey Ndibe may cheer (oops! Chair) the session; wouldn’t it be nice to settle the scores once and for all?

I trust that you will leave the kitchen utensils just the way you met them, else Umaru may be found wanting in the early days as he hosts his associates including Maurice Iwu. We don’t wanna copy those Americans in everything, do we?

While we are at it, how about renting out some of the unused rooms for some spare change, since Abubakar received his marching orders, I’m sure that there are now ample rooms in the estate to rent out, better to take every opportunity while you have them. One never knows, with the way farmers are complaining these days, you don’t wanna retire to Otta a poor farmer, do you? You’ve been there, I’m sure you know what I mean. Sure, I would be happy to bring m’missus over for a night; perhaps if you do us a book -one –sleep- in- a –second –for-free deal, I would invite some friends over too.

Now while we are on the issue of Abubakar, what will be his fate now? Not politically since we know that already, I’m talking about his residential accommodation? It appears that he has been made homeless as his official residence has been allocated to the CJ. Perhaps Mallam Nasir may come to his aid, although I don’t know if the FCT runs a homeless scheme like my local borough in Greenwich. Please do find it in your heart to forgive him, let him sleep on the couch or if that would be too much worry, allow him the use of your boys’ quarter.

I don’t know what you’re gonna do next but I trust that you ain’t gonna be bored. I would have suggested going back to your ways travelling the globe as an elder statesman but it just occurred to me that Apartheid as we know it is officially out, thus rendering your former clique – Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group jobless. Perhaps you may consider setting up an African Elder Statesmen Forum; you will surely have good company with old boy Mugabe and the desert fox – Gaddafi, all worthy role models.

How about trying out your hands at critiquing? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to write back, and give Nigerians a dose of their own medicine? Poke some hot bile back at Okey Ndibe and his posse. Perhaps if Maurice had selected Utomi, Okotie or Atiku, that would have kept your fingers busy at the keyboard and your mind away from Alhaja, but see what pass time Maurice has denied you, you wouldn’t dare criticise Umaru, would you? He is your homeboy too after all, in’ it?

Alright Hommie, it won’t be long now. We gotta be seeing you real soon on the other side. We are quite elated already and do please come home safely, the chickens are waiting to be fed, never mind the ones that would wanna roost; their destiny already lie in the knives of Aboki Suya.

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