“With power comes great responsibility; you weild power, you must be responsible for the consequences. You can’t tell me that its beyond your control and that the opposition party is responsible for the fuel scarcity. That is the height of irresponsibility!”
“I am telling you that the opposition has hijacked our supply of fuel!”
Ifeanyi is pained by this outburst. The neatly arranged crease on his forehead reappears as he tries to understand this line of thought. Whenever he discusses politics with Anthony, it always turns into a bitter argument and Ifeanyi is amazed at how all sense of logic flys out of the window with this ordinarily brilliant man.
He sighs in exasperation. He has vowed several times never to engage in arguments relating to politics but the stark ignorance he sees on a daily from the lips of educated Nigerians makes him break the vow over and over again.
“Ok, let me humour you. How is the opposition responsible for the scarcity in fuel?” He asks Anthony leaning forward on his plastic chair in the famous roadside sit-out called “Pump Price”.
Anthony is seated across him, his tie loose, his heavily starched shirt creased and the buttons open three steps down from the neck. In front of him is a plate of goat meat Peppersoup with its scanty remains of bones determined to take the pieces of meat attached to them to the bin. If the pieces of bones could speak, they would narrate a sad story of brutal canivorous skinning by merciless white teeth.
“The opposition has infilterated the the fuel importation machinery and formed a cabal to cripple their operations.” Anthony raves. “They think we don’t know but we are on to them!” Anthony wipes his sweaty head with his now properly stained handkerchief. Mama Funke’s pepper was starting to take effect. He took a large gulp from the full glass of beer at his side.
Ifeanyi laughs – more at the aftermath of the effect of the spicy soup and Anthony’s desperate gulp in a bid to quench the raging fire growing inside him, than at his most current remark. He has never understood his friend’s appetite for all things peppery.
“How is that even possible? Are these fuel importers doing charity work or are they getting paid by importing fuel?” Ifeanyi asked.
“They have been bribed by the opposition to stop importation of fuel to make the president look bad. We know…”
Ifeanyi cuts in. “You haven’t answered my question. Are the fuel importers doing charity work or do they get paid?”
“Of course they get paid but they have been bribed by the opposition’s godfather.” He says nonchalantly.
” Ok, so now they get bribed to stop working abi? How much can they possibly be offered to stop working?” Ifeanyi asks.
“Go and ask the Lord of Bourdillon.”
Ifeanyi laughs at this. He can see that that Anthony’s mind is clouded as usual but he presses on.
“There is no evidence that the importers were bribed. Haven’t you even considered that they have stopped importing fuel because they have not been paid? Doesn’t it make more sense that they have refused to import fuel because they have not been paid?” Ifeanyi asks.
“Have you ever heard that the government owes fuel importers before?” He fires back in the typical Nigerian way of answering a question with a question.
Ifeanyi leans back on his chair with a weary smile on his face and sips his half empty glass of Orijin. A quick look at @giditraffic on twitter says the traffic on his route is still a no go so he orders another round of drinks for both of them.
“I take it you didn’t read yesterday’s papers then.”
“You and I know the papers are full of lies because they are sponsored by the opposition.”
Ifeanyi shakes his head in disgust. “So you won’t even see reason or even try to investigate why there’s fuel scarcity? If the papers are sponsored by the opposition, why will it print the malicious and unfounded lies of the president’s garrulous campaign director?”
“Don’t give me that. We know that the opposition has taken over the media with its trolls to demonize the president but they will fail.” As he pours the just served beer into his glass and takes a generous drink. It is cold and the smack of satisfaction on his face is unmistakable. An unrepentant lover of Gulder; he once said heaven wouldn’t be fun without it.
“I see.” I was already tired of the argument and wanted to be away from here at all costs but alas, I was stuck.
“This is the same way the president’s team blames the opposition for the Boko Haram insurgency. What is funny about all these accusations are that they expose the president’s incompetence. If he actually believed all this nonsense, why haven’t the opposition members been investigated and the guilty culprits brought to book?”
“Forget that thing; you know the president is a good man that’s why he won’t witchhunt his enemies. Look at the general’s past comments; he supports Boko Haram and wants to see Nigeria islamized.” Anthony says.
“Wait…If the opposition is responsible for the insurgengy that has claimed over 13 thousand lives, they are not just the president’s enemies; they are enemies of state. There is nothing about witchhunting here; its about bringing terrorists and their sponsors to book. How can we still have a ruling party Senator who has been exposed to have dealings with the sect sitting and making laws for us? Yet you still claim the insurgency is sponsored by the opposition. Wasn’t it your president who said some time ago that the insurgents have infilterated his cabinet? What has he done about it? Or he’s a good man and he doesn’t witchhunt people. I can’t believe you’re still talking about Islamization when I have showed you time and time again that its is impossible in a democratic setting. You surprise me every time oh.” Ifeanyi is getting agitated now. He forces himself to be calm.
“Go and ask the general about Boko Haram.” Anthony says dismissively.
“If there is even an iota of proof, arrest the general for God’s sake!”
“So that people will become violent? No thank you. We’ve had enough deaths already.” He takes another drink from his glass cup.
“I see. So its better to allow a “guilty” man go Scott free abi? This is looking like a pattern for the president, isn’t it?”
“If the general is arrested, I’m quite sure you will be among those rioting on the streets. His supporters are violent people.” Anthony says with a mischievous smirk.
Ifeanyi shakes his head. “And the so-called “reformed”militants, especially the bearded idiot are agents of peace, abi? Abeg, make we talk another matter. I’m tired of trying to reason with you.”
Anthony sensing victory continues relentlessly. “But how can you be supporting that dictator? You want him to die on the seat of power?”
“Now you sound like that idiotic governor. I can see clearly that your opinions are hardly original but a mere regurgitation of the asinine statements made by those privileged idiots. It is pointless arguing with you.”
“Na so so grammar you dey speak. GEJ till infinity!”
Ifeanyi finishes up his drink and bids Anthony farewell. He has made up his mind that sitting in traffic with music for company is better than wasting his breath. He decides to stay away from Anthony…until after the elections.
The sad thing is you can’t reason with people on certain matters who have decided to blind their eyes to the truth. You may argue that truth is relative but when we both know that we are going to sleep in darkness because in our individual homes, PHCN or whatever they call themselves these days are at the top of their game as usual, denying you electricity and there’s is no fuel to run your generator in this terrible heat. Well, as is said in law – res ipsa loquitur; the matter quite speaks for itself.
Or doesn’t it?