We Must Do Something

by Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

Wait, you mean the Speaker said all that?

And more.

You don’t mean it.

He even boasted that he was untouchable and that it was either we accepted it that way or we can go to hell.

No no, this is now too much. Imagine that small boy we made Speaker. Remember I wasn’t very comfortable with him. I knew that his smile was just a cover up. You see now? Shebi I was saying it. See what that boy is now doing. Did you say Majority Leader was at the meeting?

Yes, he was there.

And what did he say?

Hmm, that one? He didn’t even utter a word. He just sat there chewing endlessly at his kolanut. When he opened his mouth, all he could say was that we should just take our share and go. I have a feeling the Speaker had settled him before the meeting.

Oh! You are still feeling? Something that is so obvious and you tell me you are still feeling. The man has pocketed his extra cut and only came there to make sure everything went as planned. This people think we are small children o!

I think it is now enough. They have cheated us enough. Was it not what they did the other time when the President brought the oil for that his yeye Commission Bill? The Speaker and his Deputy just shared the thing into two. Took one and gave the rest of us the remaining to share.

Even during that time of Impeachment. They just divided the thing anyhow and gave themselves lion shares not minding that it was me that thought up the idea. Was it not me that told them during the caucus meeting that we could scare the man a little with impeachment and he would become less stingy? Was it not me that went round to mobilize our colleagues to speak in support of the motion? What happened when the oil dropped? They suddenly remembered that there were other hands to oil.

And they keep anything that comes from above to themselves. They chop and clean mouth. Yet they want to have a share of the small small oil we get from these ministers when they come to defend their budget.

Haba! It is too much now. Did any of them bring me to the House? They think they are the only ones that came here with an agenda. I came with one too. You see Honourable, we cannot just seat by and watch this continue. Election is close oh! The much you can grab now is what will count. We must do something.

I agree with you totally.

Wait, who else was at the meeting sef?

Emm, Madam Professor was there.

That one that has destroyed her face with bleaching cream?


Hmm I never told you. I have been suspecting that woman and the Speaker.

You mean they may be…

Exactly!! There was this day we met on the corridor to the Speaker’s office. She just spirited past me, but not fast enough for me not to have noticed. All those lip stick on her lips had vanished. I got into the office only to see Oga furiously cleaning his own lip with a handkerchief like you would after eating chicken. I just pretended like I didn’t know what just happened.

Aha! No wonder she is always supporting him. Now I know. See how see was pouring encomiums on the speaker at the meeting. Describing him as the best thing that has happened to the Federal Republic. When we began to disagree on the sharing of the oil, she got up and called us ingrates. She used words I only hear in American gangster movies. Do you know she threatened to slap me?

Slap you?

Yes O!

And you say that woman is a Professor. A University Professor?

Well, that’s what she claims.

Thank God my Children are not in Nigerian Universities. Please continue jooh. Who else was there?

Chairman committee on National Planning was there too.

Who is that again?

Ah…I can’t remember his name now but I am sure you know him. That old man who always seats behind the Chief Whip in front.

Oh! Oh! that one that is always sleeping?

That is him. I don’t think he has ever said any word on the floor of the House during plenary. But once it comes to oil sharing, he is ready to throw punches. He sees it as a complete waste of time to be arguing over a sharing formula. Just share the oil let’s go. Well I don’t blame him, does he know what intellectual input went into making the oil flow?

Sometimes I wonder how it came that I should be in the same House with characters like that. Just imagine, when I introduce myself as Honourable Member now, he too will introduce himself as Honourable Member. He will even add Distinguished.

Did you hear of that other one who was caught on television cameras reading his newspaper upside down during plenary? Hekpa! These people will not stop disgracing the House. It was on the cover of all the papers yesterday. I hear members of his constituency were so embarrassed that they are beginning to mute starting a recall process. The man on his part has through his lawyers threatened to sue the newspaper for defamation. Their argument is that the man was just solving a crossword puzzle when the picture must have been taken.

Crossword puzzle, that man? Very funny. Once I had asked him if he had the Order paper for the day. He looked on at me oblivious of what I was talking about. I asked again and may be the word paper registered. He picked up and handed over the newspaper before him to me. I didn’t bother asking again.

That reminds me, hope you have made arrangements for the addition of that our thing in the order paper for the next sitting?

Oh! It is already done. Trust me now. I have my way in that House.

That Bill needs to pass o! You know those guys paid up front and they promised that once it passes, they will pump in the remaining oil. I don’t want anything to jeopardize that cool deal. I have already spoken to all the Members from my region. They are all safely in my pocket. All we need now is to make sure that that yeye minority leader does not show up that day speaking that his long grammar.

That one? Forget about him abeg. When I started playing politics he was still running around in his diapers. He thinks politics is about speaking long grammar, every time disturbing everybody with talks of equity and accountability…equity and accountability. He will be there talking equity and accountability while others are leaking their fingers. He would just end up an Honourable for mouth. If he does not support us, Kpata kpata, he will grant a press conference after the sitting. Shikena!!

I heard he used to be a Students’ Union leader. He fancies he can change Nigeria with one stroke of the pen. I really pity him. He will soon get frustrated. I blame our party candidate who he defeated. What was he doing? People like him are not good for politics at all. Nonsense!

So this is my share?

Yes. It’s ten million. You want to count it?

Ah! No now. Why didn’t they even bring it in dollars? Carrying naira around is so much trouble.

I just collected my own and immediately called that Girl from one

of those banks who has been worrying me sick about helping her meet her target. These days I don’t even know how many accounts I have.

Honourable, Honourable. I am sure she must have helped you met your own target on the other side. Hahahaha. You eh!

Those sweet things just keep disturbing someone. What should I do now? You know my wife and children are in London. That our quarters could get so lonely at times.

Yes, yes. You mentioned it the other time. When are they even supposed to come back?

Come back where?

Home now. I thought they were on summer holiday.

Not at all. The moment I decided to contest the elections, I evacuated them to London. I don’t want any stories abeg. The risk on me is already too much. I am not ready to expose them to it. In London, they are safe. I go to visit them once every month. I make sure they have everything they need. Don’t tell me your family is around?

Of course they are. You know I have two wives and I am about to add the third. The first is in my village. The second is here with me but she would soon give way for my bride. My people you know are not like your people. My people don’t kidnap the children of their leaders. They revere them instead, that way they can come around to the compound every evening for free dinner. Whenever I am coming home they line the roads waving at my car. You see, I am a man of the people.

You wouldn’t try that in my place. They are ready to kidnap even you and demand for thirty million. The length of your convoy doesn’t matter to those boys.

So you don’t go to your village?

Who am I going there to see?

How about your constituency project?

Constituency what? Don’t tell me you have been worrying yourself about doing anything. Haba Honourable!! That oil was meant for your pocket now. Didn’t you hear what the Speaker said that day it was shared? I thought I didn’t hear well myself until I asked him again in his house. He told me it was entirely my business what I did with the money. He said it was our version of the Security vote the Executives get.

Just imagine me. Do you know I have concluded arrangements to sink ten boreholes in ten different villages in my constituency? Thank God you told me this. I can still stop the contractor from going to site. Ah, thank you oh.

You are welcome my friend. Anytime, anytime.

But we must do something about this thing Mr. Speaker keeps doing o, we are not kids. We cannot continue to take peanuts for deals we did together. I am saying my own now. Just the way he got in, he could be shown the way out too o!

Are you planning anything?

No. Not yet. What of you?


Was that a knock?

Yes, I think someone is at the door.

Ah! Let me put this away quickly.

I think I should better be on my way now.

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