“Pauloh, you are a genius”

“Why did you say that?”

“Sometimes you make statements that are inappropriate and sound absurdly ludicrous, but at the end, they are often true”


“Well that is what we call foresight, something most people don’t have. By the way, why are we having this conversation?”

“Remember the last time we discussed Nigeria’s first lady”

“Patience? Yeah”

“You said she talks and acts like a market woman”

“Well, I based my conclusion on inferred assumptions made from empirical premises and philosophical inquisitions that only Sigmund Freud can decipher”
“You’ve started again.”

“I’m sorry. I’m always distracted at the sound of intellectual discourse. Anyway, what’s up with Patience?”

“Guess what happened last Friday”


“She went to the market and had a nice time buying, chatting and chanting with the market women”

“You see. It’s clear that she feels more safe amidst the cacophony that characterize buying and selling in the typical Nigerian market”

“Apart from that, do you know what surprised me most?”


“She was very happy – happier than she has ever been as the first lady”

“I don’t think it’s just happiness, she’s glad to be home”

“Paul, don’t confuse me. How can Nigeria’s first lady see the marketplace as home?”

“Well, home is where you are relaxed and free to free yourself”

“I still don’t get it”

“Okay, let me make it clearer. Every human being is like a drug addict; no matter how hard he tries, he can’t ignore the aroma of nicotine which his body has recognized as an epitope that triggers off series of reactions with great avidity. For months, Patience has been enclosed in Aso Rock without contacting those she’s freer with. But when she got the opportunity, she couldn’t resist”

“Are you saying that she is better around market women than the intelligentsia?”

“I guess so. If you heard her speech at the market, and compare it with the one she gave when the executive board of the Nigerian Paediatrics Association visited her at the villa, you won’t need to bother”

“I find it difficult disagreeing with you. Basically, you are saying that the first lady is a great fan of the grassroots”

“Yes. And that is a good thing.”

“Please explain”

“Apart from bad leaders, Nigeria has been blessed with unique first ladies. The late Stella was the delight of the corporate world. Her command of the English language surpassed that of her husband; she was a beauty that loved beauty; she even represented the president on several occasions! She was the only Nigerian first lady that could challenge Michelle Obama”

“Hmmm it’s like you had a crush on her”

“I guess so. But the first lady that crushed my heart is Turai”

“Paul, please let her grieve in peace”

“Grief my foot. With the ten billion Naira National Cancer Centre fund tightly secured somewhere around her expensive Arabian hijab, I guess she is going to be very comfortable. And have you read the Wikileaked secret that linked her and her late hubby to some shady deals?”

“Pal, please focus on the issue at hand”

“Okay. Like I’m saying, I loved her at the outset until she went to Vienna to address an international conference on cancer. It was the first time in my linguistic life that I heard someone make grammatical errors while reading a prepared and probably rehearsed speech”


“Please. Before she was done with the salutations, hot bullets were flying around the cold hall at a speed that surpassed the velocities of light and sound. It was an embarrassing show that was shown on national TV. I couldn’t take it any longer when I saw a woman from Trinidad laughing hysterically at my country’s first lady. I was forced to change the channel”

“Paul, is bad English the only thing you can say about Turai? That is not fair. Isn’t there anything good about her?”

“Well, I respect her stance on her hubby’s sickness, and I don’t think any man can hold the entire country to ransom like she did: commanding army battalions, shutting down the airport, switching off the light at the terminal,

“importing” and “exporting” Mr President in the middle of the night, leaving the vice president in the dark on the state of the nation... I can go on. She’s a tough woman”

”What about Justice Abubakar?

“Like my Glo line, she’s unavailable.”


“Back to Patience. I believe she can be Nigeria’s best first lady ever if she can make her market visits more frequent despite her “tight” schedule?”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, we all know that there is no official constitutional assignment for her, and like past first ladies, she is “busy” with her pet project. Since it’s something she evidently enjoys, I think she should embark on a tour, visiting every major market in Nigeria. That way, she will reach lots of market women that monthly federal allocations will never reach.”

“But what will she gain in return? You know this is Nigeria”

“For start, she needs the exercise, and Jonathan can do with an athletic Patience.”

“You are still not talking like a Nigerian”

“If you are thinking of money, I guess you know she will be getting travel allowance for the trips, will be given gifts by the host cities, and her fame will spread across the abattoirs as the first lady that frequents the market”
“But will she be safe? Especially in Aba market and other notorious kidnappers’ dens”

“I’m sure she will be safe.”

“Why are you so confident?”

“Didn’t you read about IBB?”

“IBB the Maradona?”


“What then does IBB stand for in Nigeria apart from the genius himself?”

“I’m referring to Independence Bomb Blast – IBB!”

“Okay! What about it, and how does it exclude Patience from the kidnappers’ list?”

“The swift response of the various security arms of government surprised me, and surpassed my informed understanding of the activities of the police SSS, and the likes. As if we were watching Hollywood action movies, they gave us interesting information on how the bombings were masterminded and carried out to the extent that I began to ask myself if Nigeria is really as bad as we present it to be. This shows that whenever government is interested in an investigation, they know where to get the files”

“Whoa! I never reasoned in that line. So if I’m following your thoughts, no kidnapper who read how the masterminds of IBB were apprehended would think of kidnapping the first lady. Hence Patience has no reason to worry because she’s safe”

“Now you are thinking. But some politicians are no longer safe”

“Who are they?”

“They are your legislators who received an early Christmas package last week from the bow tie-loving CBN governor. You know what? I was surprised that the boring house could become lively less than 24 hours that Sanusi made the statement. The person that amazed me wasn’t Sanusi, but the bespectacled Senator from Osun state. What is his name again?”

“Are you referring to Senator Iyiola Omisore?”

“Yes. Prior to the allegations and counter-accusations, the only thing we know about him is the record he set as the first man in Nigeria to win a senatorial seat while in jail. But he has added the feather of the most perturbed senator to his Awo-like cap”.

Paul, what do you think could be responsible for that?”   

“I think it’s related to the recent Appeal Court judgment that gave the AC victory in Osun state. You know he’s gunning for the post and has invested enormously in campaigns and other “logistics” to ensure that he emerge as the next governor of Osun state. Hence he would vehemently reject any attempt to cut his well invested salary.”

“Basically, you are saying that like his colleagues, Senator Omisore is only seeking for himself”

“Yes. But as bad as this might make them feel, they should take consolation in the fact that it’s a Nigerian phenomenon. Like I always say, the major problem we have in Nigeria is that of selfish leadership and unperturbed followers that will also be selfish when given the opportunity to lead.”

“It’s like you have another issue on your mind. Spit it.”

“You must be good at horoscopy. Okay. Look at the presidency’s decision to build six new federal universities in addition to the numerous dilapidating ones. Imagine the tremendous improvements and transformations he could make to the already established ones with the funds we want to use to build not one, but six federal universities.”

“I agree with you. But it doesn’t make him selfish and self-seeking like the National Assembly”

“Yes it does. Personally, I think the president only want a university for his hometown, just like Alao Akala wants a state university for Ogbomoso, and my local government chairman situates and personally supervises projects around his place of abode, while my councillor will only recommend his relatives for government loans”

“But Mr President gave a good reason for the new universities”

“My friend, stop thinking like a suckling child. Do you think he would have had it easy if he proposed just a university for his hometown? No way! His think tanks came up with five additional universities to support the one to be built in Bayelsa without considering probable sustainability challenges for present and future governments”

“Paul, I now agree with you totally that we are being led by people who only seek for themselves and their villages at the expense of the entire 150 million Nigerians. It’s this self-centeredness that will make them dispatch every national resource to ensure that their loved ones are safe, their bank accounts continue to be in ten or more digits and they get whatever they want without considering future generations or the impacts that their actions might have on standards and the quality of life in the nation”

“I think you are becoming smarter than ever; a worthy protégé of my unique school of thought. Anyway, I’m off to market. I need garri and vegetable.”

“Paul, you are not serious”

“Yes I am. If patient Patience can do it, I don’t have to be a patient before I learn how to cook and eat good meal. Like our leaders, my wellbeing must come first.”

“Okay. But before you go, how much does a cup of rice cost?”

“Hmmm, I don’t know”

“You are also like our leaders; you don’t know the cost of your actions, inactions and wrong actions”

“Nice one”

-Adepoju Paul Olusegun
[email protected]

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