Pangolo Junction
Life, arguments, and kunu... with Max, Nat and Zack

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Visions, names and the tricky issue of donations

I know why you're here. And you know that I know why you're here. So why don't we skip the formalities and get down to the serious business of eavesdropping on our Talkative Three?



(Max, Nat and Zack are sitting round a table listening attentively to a fourth man with a lean body and a hungry look. The man is going on passionately at length about some subject.)

Fourth Man: ...so let me just recap why you should sign up for the Democratic People's Convention. Firstly, we have as members people who have not had any past history of involvement in politics and who are therefore untainted by any political scandals or corruption. Secondly, this lack of involvement in past politics means that we will introduce a fresh perspective to politics in Nigeria. Thirdly, we are the fastest growing party in Nigeria today! Fourthly, we aim to have a presence in each of the 774 local governments in the federation by the end of this year.

Zack (sceptically): Hm. This your party, Joe... what did you say your vision was for Nigeria again?

Joe: That's the other thing I forgot to mention. We are a listening party. Instead of imposing our vision upon Nigerians as most politicians have done in the past, we intend to canvass opinion from all sectors of the public. For the first time in Nigeria's political history, the common man will have a voice!

Max (with an amused look): In short, your party has no ideas and is hoping that the common man will provide it with some.

Joe: No, not at all. Of course we have a vision... it is just that we will merge our vision with the vision of the common man.

Nat: OK, tell us about this vision of yours that you plan to merge with the common man's vision.

Joe: Well... uh... first of all, we plan to ensure that there is full employment in Nigeria...

Max (interrupting): Oh? And how do you plan to do this?

Joe: We will... uh... we will set up a panel which will solicit input from the common man first on how to do this. Then...

Zack: You're not serious! You consult the common man for this... you consult the common man for that. Where is the leadership there? If you're elected as a representative of your constituency, I don't suppose you'll consult the common man before deciding on whether you should collect your first pay packet?

Max (grinning evilly): Knowing our good friend here, it won't just be pay packets he'll be collecting. Abi am I lying, Joe?

Nat: And you say that your party members plan to bring a fresh perspective to politics? Can you expand on that?

Joe: Well, we haven't been involved in politics in Nigeria before, so we will introduce different ways of doing things...

Max: Different – not better? Will you just introduce different ways of chopping money that will take it to new heights?

Joe: Max, I can understand your doubts, but by the time I've finished clarifying my party's vision...

Zack (cutting in): Come on, Joe – Max's doubt is well founded. Wherever you go, a smell of dubious deals seems to follow. Wasn't it you that tried to peddle passports to this new country called 'Egobettaria' which you said had an arrangement with the US and the UK such that its citizens didn't require a visa to travel to these countries?

Nat: And there was the time when you were selling this 'special card' with an access number that allowed someone to call abroad for just 80 kobo per minute, but nobody seemed to be able to get through.

Joe: Ah, why do you have to bring these things up again, now? I've already explained that I was a pawn used by big men to do their nefarious work.

Max: Just like you'll prove to be a pawn being used to do someone else's nefarious work this time, right?

Joe: No – I promise you, this is the real deal.

Max (stifling a yawn): OK, spare us the hot air and cut to the chase. Presumably this 'party' of yours needs money. How much do you want, and what do you want to use it for?

Joe (slightly taken aback): Well... it's not that we don't have funds already... as the fastest growing party in Nigeria, we have people from all walks of life joining us... as I've mentioned already, we aim to have a presence in all the local governments...

Nat: Well, he obviously doesn't need any money from us, then.

Joe (hurriedly): No o, I didn't say that o! I was just trying to explain that although we are ramping up membership, any funding we get is absolutely welcome. We will put the funds to good use to further articulate and spread our vision among the masses.

Max: I'm sure we'll be all be happy to contribute...

Joe: Ah, excellent. I promise you, you are definitely on the winning team.

Max: ...except I don't like your party's name.

Joe (taken aback properly now): What?

Max: Well, look at it. Democratic People's Convention. There's already a Nigerian party that claims to be democratic and cater to people. Why should I join you when I can join them?

Joe: Oh... well, I'm sure I can have a word with the Board of Trustees about that...

Nat: Suggest to them that they should change the name to the 'Coolu Temper Congress'. I think there's too much anger and violence in Nigeria today, and a party that appeals to the peaceful nature of people will definitely get my vote.

Joe: Well, that's a strange name...

Nat: Tell them also that a common man said so. I thought you said your party was the listening party?

Zack: No, Nat. As good as your name is, I think that the name 'Coolu Temper Congress' will give the wrong impression of a party that is not in charge, and that is begging people to behave. I think your party needs a name that shows that it is confident and decisive, and that it will not tolerate any nonsense. Call it the 'GBAM! Party of Nigeria'. Yes, that's G-B-A-M followed by an exclamation mark. And tell them that this is also the wish of another common man.

Joe: Ah... yeeeees, I will definitely look into both suggestions. Now about donations...

Max: Ah-ah – don't I get a say?

Joe (with apprehension): Yes, Max – you have a name to suggest?

Max: As much as I see the sense in both of my friends' suggestions, I think that they aren't aspirational enough. What Nigerians will be attracted to will be a party that encapsulates their dreams and hopes... and it's for this reason I am proposing the name of 'Nigerian Settlement Party'.

Joe (aghast): I can't call it that o!

Max: Why not? Let me tell you a secret – it is every Nigerian's desire to be settled. Who can resist the thought of receiving a large sum of money for doing little or nothing? Why do you think people play the lottery instead of working hard to get rich? Settlement is good.

Joe (weakly): But settlement is corruption...

Max: Nonsense! The only reason that settlement has a bad name is because only a few people are being settled at the expense of the many. I tell you, if you party promises to settle every Nigerian, young or old, rich or poor, alive or dead – believe you me, even Ghanaian citizens will be rushing to join it.

Joe (hurriedly): OK, so we'll go with the name of 'Nigerian Settlement Party of Nigeria'. So those contributions...

Zack: Hey! What of my own name – the 'GBAM! Party of Nigeria'?

Nat: Or the 'Coolu Temper Congress'?

Max: I know what – you can call it the 'Coolu Temper GBAM! Settlement Party of Nigeria'. That way, you will accommodate the wishes of all the common men present here.

Joe (looking thoroughly confused): Er... yes, so that's settled. (Brightly) Now to the issue of donations...

Nat: Donations? I thought we'd agreed that you would change your party's name first.

Zack: Since you're so influential with the Board of Trustees, why don't you ring them now?

Joe: Ah, the offices of the party will have closed by now.

Max: Oh, well, no name change, no donation.

Joe: Hold on... I think I have the GSM number of the chairman with me. Let me call him. (He brings out his mobile phone and starts to dial.) Hello... hello, is that Peter? Peter, I have some very important feedback from some potential members. They say... (He is suddenly interrupted as Max lunges for his phone and grabs it before he can do anything. Max puts the phone to his ear and starts laughing.)

Max: Just as I thought! This party of yours is just a one-man affair that exists only in your head... unless you can explain why you're holding a conversation with a dial tone!

Zack (with contempt): I knew right from the beginning that it was just another scam.

Joe (protesting): Honestly, he was there! The phone cut off just as we were talking.

Nat: Then I guess we should have heard an engaged tone. (Wearily) Joe, please do consider looking for gainful employment and stop travelling on this road to perdition. In spite of myself, I worry that one day, you'll meet people who aren't quite so forgiving of people who try to dupe them of money.

(Joe starts to protest again, but takes a look at the amusement, contempt and resignation on the faces of the three and decides that now is a good time to make his exit.)

Nat: Sometimes, you really despair of Nigeria when it keeps on throwing up people like that.

Max: I totally agree. Imagine trying to put together such a cockeyed scheme! I don't know how he thought it would work. Now, the party that we are going to form...

Zack (incredulously): We? Form a party? When did we agree on this?

Max: Just now. Come on – it's a great idea. The difference is that unlike Joe, we'll have an inspiring name and vision to attract Nigerians by the million. And you'll get the chance to be elected to high office so that you can deal with erring weathermen and motorcycling maniacs with the full force of the law. Just think about it...



And we leave Max trying to sweet talk the others into his grand plan, although I personally doubt that he will be successful. Join me around sometime when I take another dip into the world of Pangolo Junction.

4 Comments:

  • Yes, Pangolo Junction is heating up. I especially love this entry. Gbam!

    By Anonymous Seun Osewa, At July 09, 2006 6:30 pm  

  • lol @ 'Egobettaria'

    Laughed my head of on this particular post.

    Great as usual!

    thinking to self: Am i ever going to say any of these post isn't great...

    My regards to Max....LOL

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At January 04, 2007 12:22 pm  

  • "thinking to self: Am i ever going to say any of these post isn't great..."

    Thanks for the continued appreciation. That's the incentive I need to get writing soon... and believe me, there's no danger of running out of things to write about! Hopefully, I'll have started on some new posts by the time you get to the end.

    Oh, and if you like the entries so much, feel free to spread the word about PJ, heh...

    By Blogger Atala Wala Wala, At January 04, 2007 1:32 pm  

  • You're welcome!

    Spread the word? I'm going to do just that. I had actually thought about that...

    You really should get your work published.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At January 04, 2007 2:43 pm  

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