If I were president of Nigeria, I would be a maximum ruler: I would preside (because ‘preside’ is the verb for the noun ‘president’) over the matters that small people and children care about. I would eliminate distractions and appendages, which, like the appendix, serve no useful purposes.
First, I would eliminate the office of the vice president. Children typically say that when they grow up they want to be president: ask any child in any country. No child ever says that he or she wants to be vice president when he or she grows up. It is a useless office and the holder is often a source of irritation to the president. So, for the children, I would call the vice president into my office and ‘eliminate’ him.
Second, I would outlaw any post-election rallies by the losing party’s supporters to challenge the winner on the basis of election fraud. The logic of such rallies escapes me. If you vote for a party and that party was so stupid as to stand around and be trumped by the other party by fraud, you, the supporter, should not trust the loser to govern you. If you put him in power, he is likely to stand around also while other people invade the treasury. You should immediately join the winner. You will need his ‘intelligence’.
Third, I would decree that all women, married or single, the circumference of whose rear sides measure more than thirty-six inches would not serve in the presidential wing of the government because they would distract me and the thugs around me.
Fourth, I would harvest the best minds from the prisons and jailhouses and police holding cells and train them on how to steal for the common good. I would send them out to the world and, like Robin Hood, they would take from rich nations and bring back to us. I would show them how the foreign oil companies and big Nations quartered in our beloved country siphon our national resources back to their own shores; and how they give us some of the same booty back as loans, grants, donations, gifts, and we applaud like elementary school children. I would not harvest any recruits from our so-called intellectuals because they are too ‘educated’ to understand me.
Fifth, I would help the small people by surrounding myself with hungry thugs and downtrodden boys who, for pennies a day, would betray even their own mothers. Those are the people I would need as my bodyguards. They, as small people, would be happy to be close to power while I would be happy and confident of their loyalty. I would not need smart thinkers and intellectuals for protection because I would want to be alive at all costs.
Sixth, because the judges in the law courts would inevitably decide matters that concern my welfare and governance, I would retain only lawyers who have connections. A criminal on trial who was facing a death sentence if he were convicted in a law court was asked if he wanted a lawyer who knew the law or a lawyer who knew the judge. Ah, that was easy: as a smart criminal, he chose the lawyer who knew the judge. So, like that criminal, I would retain lawyers who have connections.
Seventh, I would ask all the foreign Embassies and Consulates and British High Commission, to send me the photographs of all visa applicants before issuing them any visas. Let’s face it, there are some brothers and sisters too ugly to travel outside our shores because they are often mistaken for true specimens of the typical Nigerian. Our present president, if he were a visa applicant, would not qualify to travel and would be denied visa.
Eight, I would personally preside over the free monthly distribution of deodorants to every man and woman over the age of fourteen. Have you been inside a crowded market or bus or office in a typical Nigerian town? Hold your nose, please. The small people would be grateful.
Ninth, I would issue a presidential decree or fiat banning all Nigerians in voluntary exiles in America, Europe, and Asia from ever complaining that the reason they are afraid to return home is because the government cannot guarantee their safety or provide amenities such as constant electricity, water, good roads, and so on. Since the government did not tell you to leave Nigeria, you must not cry like infants and make demands like spoiled children especially when you pay your taxes to your host countries and not to the Nigerian government.
Tenth, and finally, at the end of my tenure, I would issue a decree pardoning myself for all crimes that I may have committed while in office and I would ask all lawmakers to approve a law identical to the decree with a guarantee of one Ghana-must-go bag for each lawmaker.