Boko Haram’s Expiry Date

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By Pius Adesanmi

Early Monday morning. A chalet somewhere in Aso Rock. Booze, runs girls, and other trade marks of government officials. Montell Jordan’s “This is how we do it” blares from a powerful gbedu home theatre. Enter Ruby.

“Orontus! Renoks! Na here una still dey?”

“Ruby! Why you always dey rush in to wake person? Wey your own by the way?”

“I don discharge am. She don go. There is work to do. I still can’t get used to the idea of waking up like this on Monday mornings.”

Orontus and Renoks crack up. Loud peals of laughter.

“You think you were coming here to chair editorial board meetings of Rutam Times on Monday mornings? Calm down my friend. You will soon get used to government work ethics.”

“Thanks, Orontus. Thanks, Renoks. I go say una talk so but right now there is fire on the mountain and we need to get cracking.”

“You are such an alarmist. I have told you that the Malabu oil deal scandal will calm down after a while. Oga does not have to react to that one. No be Naija we dey?”

“That’s what you keep saying, Orontus. You people should at least let me know the exact size of Oga’s share of that booty so I’ll know what to say if the public insists on an explanation. Have you not heard that the House has instituted a probe into it?”

Another round of raucous laughter from Orontus and Renoks

“Ruby, oh, Ruby. You no go kill person so? The National Assembly? Ha ha ha ha ha. Renoks, tell Ruby what is going on.”

“Oga Ruby you should know by now our ritual with the boys in the National Assembly. Dem own no dey pass Prado Jeeps. One Prado per person and that will be the end of the noisemaking.”

“Renoks, we are talking $1.1 billion o. Are you sure they will accept Prado Jeeps? Won’t they ask for a bigger cut?”

“Oga Ruby, wait, I never finish. That was our initial fear. That they would ask for a bigger cut. So when we asked their representatives to come to the Villa at midnight the other day, our strategy was to start small and increase the offer depending on their stubbornness. So we started with Toyota Camry and were surprised that they just agreed without negotiation. That meeting ended before 1:00 am. It was that short. Oga was even still able to host Baba Edo starting from 2:00 am that night”

“Oh, no, they accepted Toyota Camry? Not even the usual Prado Jeeps? That’s how cheap they have become?”

“Yes o, Ruby. We instructed them to continue to make some noise throughout June on the floor of the house.”

“And which Baba Edo came here at 2:00 am?”

“Ruby! How many Baba Edo do we have fixing things for us? Don’t you know that Oga has decided that PDP must win the gubernatorial election in Edo state? That’s why we summoned the old man?”

“A man over 80 years-old agreed to come here in the dead of night? Na wa for dat Baba o. Anyway sha, you guys are distracting me. I’ve even forgotten why I wanted to see both of you. Today is June 1st o.”

“Ehen? If today is June 1st nko? Abeg, Ruby, go and draft Oga’s speech for June 12. End it with a statement renaming the Kainji dam. Oga has decided to call it the Amen-by-Fire Hydroelectric dam.”

“Amen-by-Fire dam? Why?”

“Ruby! Ruby! You no dey quick understand o. Nigerians have been complaining that Oga does not say Amen when respected clergy men go off point and begin dey yab yeye prayer. So we give the Nigerian people a permanent monument to the Amen they are looking for this coming June 12. Besides, there will so much national outcry by those who would say Oga is being dumb as usual by renaming Kainji dam on June 12 that the MAULAG protests will be drowned and forgotten.”

“But there will be a new round of protests over the Amen-by-Fire Hydroelectric dam.”

“Then we find another yawa to keep them busy. The idea is to keep them busy from yawa to yawa till 2015.”

“Anyway, you guys have distracted me again. I’m not here for June 12. I’m here because Oga promised the whole country that Boko Haram and other security challenges will end in June 2012.”

“And so?”

“What do you mean and so? Orontus…”

“Lookia, Ruby boy, don’t Orontus me over that matter o. Just because I am Strategy and Renoks is Twitter and Facebook does not mean that we must always be your master planners. Can’t you go and tell people that Oga was misquoted?”

“This is the electronic age, Orontus. Oga is not just on written record. He is on tape, putting an expiry date on terrorism. We cannot claim that he was misquoted o.”

“Then go and claim that he was speaking metaphorically and our people should learn to understand metaphors.”

“Orontus, you know I have used that one before. I was sort of hoping that Oga meant what he said? That there is indeed a master plan to rid the country of Boko Haram, kidnappings, etc this month? If that is the case, tell me so I can begin to prepare a victory over terrorism speech for June 30th. That is why I am here.”

“Sometimes, Ruby, you say things to deliberately annoy person. How you go dey ask if Oga get answer to Boko Haram or if plan really dey to end Boko Haram?”

“But it was Oga that put an expiry date on Boko Haram now. We were all there that day when…”

“Ruby, I’m not daft. I know we were all there when he said it. What I am saying is that we all live in fear whenever Oga steps up to a microphone. We have all accepted the fact that no amount of coaching go fit make oga sabi yarn properly. So we all pray and hope that the damage will not be too much whenever he talks to Nigerians. You of all people should know that the Boko Haram yarn na one of those Oga mouth-miss-road yarns and you are here asking us if there is indeed a master plan to end Boko Haram in June. Master plan ko, servant plan ni? Na so e easy?”

“So how do we handle the scandal if bombings and kidnappings continue in the country after June 30?”

“Ruby, since you still don’t know how we do things, watch me and learn. Renoks, call Ibrahim right now.”

A phone rings at the EFCC’s brand new Headquarters in the Jonathan district (formerly Maitama) of Abuja.

“Hello, hello, yes, who is speaking?”

“Ah, Oga Lamorde, na me o. Your boys are representing here in the Villa.”

“Ah, Oga Orontus! Yaya de? It’s been three days o. Dis one that you remembered me today. How are you sir? How is Oga?”

“We are all fine Oga Lamorde. Happy new month to you. Oga has a small problem which requires keeping the country a little busy from July 1st to around the end of August.”

“Ehen, ok. What is it?”

“It is that Boko Haram expiry date business. How can we find idle diversionary talk for Nigerians as from July?”

“That is easy. We can dust some high-profile files and do high-profile arraignments throughout July and August. Which files do you suggest, Oga Orontus?”

“Now you are talking, Oga Lamorde. Let’s use the fuel subsidy file. The indicted people are heavy and many of them are in Oga’s economic team. You can start arresting and arraigning them in July.”

“Ok, Oga Orontus, I’ll leave it to you to explain to the concerned people that there will be some inconvenience for them in July-August.”

“Before nko? Leave that angle to us. Talk to you later, Oga Lamorde. Bye.”

“Ehen, Ruby, you see now. This is how we do it. While Lamorde is busy arresting and arraigning, your own assignment will be to “see” editors of newspapers, especially the Lagos-Ibadan media. Don’t worry about “seeing” ThisDay. They will help us anyway, whether we “see” them or not. Plant stories that Oga is considering sacking Madam Diezani and disbanding Nuhu Ribadu’s committee. If Lamorde is arresting people in Oga’s economic team, and newspapers are gossiping about Madam Diezani and Ribadu, and Renoks here is twitting and Facebooking about Oga’s renewed war on corruption, Nigerians will not remember that Boko Haram expiry date talk even if Boko Haram drops an atomic bomb on June 30th. Trust me, Ruby.”

“I trust you, Orontus.”

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