Baba Risi surveyed the crowd and smiled. Rosco had done a good job mobilizing and organizing this governorship debate in the biggest motor park in Osogbo. And at least, he could say all of Osun was here and he didn’t pay them a dime, unlike the politicians. No right thinking Nigerian politician would miss this kind of opportunity lailai. He wasn’t interested in all the small small candidates, he had invited only the Iyiola Omisore of the PDP and the incumbent governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of the APC. Those other ones, after the elections, if they offered them commissioner sef, they would take. But Ogbeni Rauf and Omisore wanted nothing less than governor. All those elitist debate organizers didn’t know nothing. They had not learnt from Ekiti that elections in Nigeria are not about their highly ideological grammar. See, their own debate, there was no mammoth crowd, only twitter people making noise that the people that would vote would never hear in one hotel.
Aregbesola came into the venue in convoy, waving through an open roof car in his usual style and the crowd went into frenzy until he climbed the podium. As soon as he sat down, on cue as if someone gave a signal, a single okada carrying Omisore entered the arena. Shouts of “grassroots baba, kukureyejo, akerekoro” rent the air as Omisore jumped off the bike and walked briskly to the stage.
The candidates took their seats and Rosco had fierce looking agberos maintaining law and order. They were wearing t-shirts with inscription saying “We No Be Police ooooo” so people would not get any funny ideas. Baba Risi had gotten big money for this debate and he knew he had to do it well in order to land the contract for the presidential debate in 2015.
He got up and started “this na the debate of the people, the one wey we go ask the candidates wetin concern us gangan. I know say una wan hear their mouth, so I go ask, dem go respond. If una like their answer, make una show am, and if una no like am, no hide your feelings. Awon boys dey here, so make una dey calm, no make trouble o. The boys are not smiling, dem no be police, so dem no be your friend. If you do anyhow, you go see anyhow. So the two candidates will now introduce themselves now. Since A is before P, the APC candidate na him go come first. No long thing o.”
Ogbeni Rauf stepped forward and shouted into the microphone “APC!!!!!!”
“Change!!!” came the thunderous reply.
Baba Risi stood up and spoke into his own mic “I know say APC no be your name sir, so no use this one like rally.”
A little embarrassed, the governor responded “I am Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Oranmiyan that has come back to Yorubaland, the one they wanted to cheat but God said no and brought me to the seat of power. And I don’t need to tell you the wonderful things my administration has done in Osun. We have built both on the ground infrastructure and stomach infrastructure. We are here to ask for your votes again and insha Allah, you will give it to us.”
The crowd roared and it took a few minutes for Baba Risi to calm them down.
Omisore jumped up with hands behind him until he got to the microphone and then dramatically brought out two cobs of roasted corn, took a bite from each and waved them in the air.
“I am Iyiola Omisore. I eat what I share. My philosophy is, it must go round, chop I chop. My corn is the one that grows in this soil, the normal one. Not some people that bring odourless fufu. I don’t bring imported Lagos rubbish. Osun people eat osun things. We will bring federal might here. We will free you from slavery to Lagos and Bourdillon.”
The crowd roared. Baba Risi wondered if they even knew who to support or they just roared irrespective of who spoke.
Aregbesola took his own microphone waving the fufu bag in his hand and spoke powerfully into it. “This is innovation my people. We in APC make anything the PDP has done better! Where they share raw rice, we share jollof rice. And where they share ordinary garri, we share not just fufu, but odourless fufu, because we know how much the smell of fufu bothers our people and we are a government sensitive to your needs.”
“Ogbeni, I cannot lie, if it doesn’t smell like fufu, e no be fufu” Baba Risi chipped in and the crowd seemed to murmur in agreement. He continued “My question is for the PDP candidate. Dem say you no dey respect your elders. You commot cap for late Bola Ige head. You no dey prostrate for Ooni. As a Yoruba man, this is a grievous accusation”
“Ah, you too said it earlier today now. Anybody that does anyhow will see anyhow. That is Bola Ige’s own. And as the Ooni isn’t complaining, it is nothing. He is Ikeji orisa, even me I be omo orisa. I am a son of Ife soil and the 364 gods in Ife have given me victory!”
“So wetin I talk to this crowd na wetin apply to Chief Bola Ige. I don hear. Ngbo Oga Ogbeni, this your opon imo wey the children no get light to charge and wey you dey collect from them back, na him you wan do again the second time abi another thing dey?”
“Baba Risi, it is change. That is what the APC stands for. Very soon, because of Opon Imo, Osun students will soon become smarter than all the students in all other states. Especially because we give them good food to eat in school.”
“But una no dey top ten for WAEC results now, for the records”.
“YES!” Omisore shouted “and my government will change that. We believe this APC change government is sparing the rod. So instead of wasting money on food and opon imo scams, we will give our farmers contract to produce stronger canes from our vast timber industry and train teachers in new flogging techniques. Result will change immediately and we will create employment at the same time.”
“So na by cane children dey sabi book? Una hear so, my people? Okay, oga Omisore, shebi you don go prison before and dem say you no suppose fit contest. How you come dey do am?” Baba Risi asked.
“Chief, are you okay? Is this the kind of question you want to be asking me here?” Omisore responded angrily.
“E never finish. Dem say na you kill Bola Ige. Answer that one too as we dey here. Wo, ayelala dey here so, no be court. If you lie, you go swell up till you burst.”
“En en! So this is an APC set up to rubbish me ba? I will deal with you, you this fake judge.” Omisore stammered angrily and walked up to Baba Risi. Baba Risi sat down calmly, watching to see what Omisore wanted to do. He didn’t have to wait too long. Rosco was racing towards the stage but was tackled by some mask wearing goons before he could reach there. Omisore reached for Baba Risi’s cap and took it off his head. He tried to bring the hand down to hit Baba Risi’s head with it. But even as he tried with all his might, the hand refused to come down. Omisore began sweating.
“Because I wear cloth dey stage, you think say I normal ba?” Baba Risi said with a grin. Omisore began sweating profusely as the hand got heavier.
“My people,” Baba Risi continued “all of them, them be the same. Plus corn, plus fufu, plus rice, plus iPad something, APC, PDP, all na same. Na make una shine una eye.”
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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