Opinion

Tunde Leye: A Hellish Welcome

It is the Nigerian section of hell, and things are not working. There is fuel scarcity and hence the fire isn’t burning. The demons that are meant to torment the spirits of the dead are protesting and have downed their tools.

Two Nigerian politicians welcome a newly arrived politician.

Veteran 1: Why do you have that look on your face mister oga?

New Arrival: This is hell?

Veteran 2: Yes ke, what did you think it would be like?

NA: I thought I would hear blood curling screams, witness fiery tortures and be welcomed by terrible looking demons. Instead, all I am seeing is a place that reminds me of Nigeria, the difference is just small. Frankly, I am underwhelmed. Hell is rather disappointing jor.

Both veterans laugh hard for minutes, holding their bellies.

NA: Did I become Bovi ni or what is so funny to two of you?

V1: Oga, you did not know that Nigeria was just a step away from here? E no dey too pain us when we reach here, cos we are already used to the sufferhead.

V2: Abi? See now, the Demons Labour Congress is protesting about their minimum wage and also length of hours they have to work. But as usual, their leaders will negotiate with Lucifer and shortchange them. Doesn’t that remind you of something, my dear friend?

NA: Haaaaaaa! You know how we played them in Naija now, can we do the same here?

V2: Oga, what do you want to tempt the demons with? It’s only in Naija that money is everything. Anyway, let me even check if that guy has famzed you yet.

The two veterans pull up a tab and log on to twitter. New arrival keeps looking on in amazement. He joins them to peer into the screen. They navigate to @DeleMomodu’s timeline. Sure enough, after scrolling down, they saw what they were looking for. Again, the veterans burst out laughing, holding their sides.

NA: This guy put up pictures of us together and called me his brother. Wondafu! I cannot even remember when we took these pictures o, and I can count on one finger how many times we met. What’s all this palapala?”

V2: You are not an “illustrious” Nigerian if you die and Bob Dee doesn’t famz you, with picture evidence. The guy is a legend here o.

V1: In fact, I am certain that he will schedule a tweet to famz himself when he finally passes on. Something like “So sad Dele Momodu has left us. We were born in the same hospital on the same day o”

Even the New Arrival couldn’t help himself this time. He joined in the laughter.

V2: Which party did you belong to in Nigeria sef? PDP or APC?

NA: I was a member of…

V1: Oga, it doesn’t matter jare. No difference between six and half a dozen. Let me ask you a few questions now, and you will see that it doesn’t matter.

NA: Okay, I’m listening.

V2: See as you strike GEJ pose…

V1: Leave him o. Anyway, question one. Which country did you die in? Was it one of UK, India or America?

NA: I died in London

V1: Of course, no Nigerian hospital is good enough for our kind. Not even the ones we commission and use for campaigns. Second question. How old was the youth leader of your party?

NA: Ah, he was a youth at heart at sixty one.

Both veterans exchanged knowing looks and laughed.

V1: Do your children attend school in Nigeria?

NA: How can? With the rubbish our education has become? They only attend the best schools in America and Canada please.

V2: What was your portfolio again? Weren’t you the Commissioner for Education in your state?

NA: What are you driving at?

V1: Ah, don’t be angry my fried, we are all the same. I was Minister for Health, if you remember, but when I sprained my ankle, didn’t I go to India to treat it?

NA: Thank you o, my brother. Who will let Nigeria come and kill him?

V2: You see your party doesn’t really matter. In fact, we are so much the same that we can switch parties as we please. That’s what I loved back on earth about being a Nigerian politician. Jump ship and leave all the rats to sink when it suits you.

V1: Talking of rats, your rats are singing for you o. The eulogies are pouring in and everyone of them is waxing lyrical on what a great person you are. Of course, your haters are trying to bring out what they call facts to discredit your legacy. But don’t worry, Nigerians don’t talk bad about the dead.

Suddenly, a fiery whip flew at them. The veterans had seen it coming and dodged it expertly. The New Arrival was not so lucky and it tore into his back and he screamed in pain.

A reedy voice from the darkness shouted “So na only you waka come?”

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Tunde Leye @tundeleye is a fiction writer. He believes that the stories written form a priceless resource that is the basis of society, all the other arts (film, music, theatre, visual arts) and hence he is committed to telling stories out of Africa that show it as it was, is, and is going to be.

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