It’s 2.20AM and I’ve just retired to bed. Sleep is yet to come. That’s why I try to avoid sleeping on Saturday afternoons. But I just couldn’t help it yesterday. I was so fagged out that I slept for most of the afternoon hours. Now, it is early Sunday morning and I’m still wide awake.
My phone rings. Oh, no! It’s that same phone number 1111. This is the third time a call would be coming from this strange number within the last fifteen minutes. Who could the caller be? Why would anyone be calling me by this time of the day? No, I don’t pick strange calls. Maybe it’s one of those advertising agents who send recorded messages through phone networks. But why would they do that at 2.20AM? That would be an intrusion into people’s privacy.
God! The sound is becoming unbearable. It’s as if the caller is deliberately increasing the call’s intensity from the other end. Maybe I should pick it. What do I have to lose, anyway? After all, sleep has refused to come.
“Hello!” I pick up.
“Ha, thank God you finally answered your call.”
“Who is this?”
“This is the President, His Excellency…”
“Haaa, good evening… go…od…good, good morning, Sir” I stammer.
I needn’t wait for his introduction. I can recognize the voice immediately. It’s the president!
“Yes. Good morning, and sorry for disturbing you at this hour of the day.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
I’m already out of bed now. My head is actually ‘rolling.’ Why would the President be calling me? Why me? Where did he get my number from? Something must be wrong somewhere. Maybe there is a mistake somewhere. My hand is trembling slightly and I’m trying hard to keep it steady on the phone.
“I got your phone number from your Blog Page www.MegaInsights.com”
“Oh, you visited my Page, Sir?”
Definitely there is no mistake whatsoever. He’s sure of the person he’s talking to. But why did he call me? And why this time of the day? Why me?
“Yes, I did. And I’m still there as I speak. I’ve read three of your past articles and I’m now on the fourth one. I got to the blog page through your Facebook posts. You know we are both friends on Facebook.”
“That’s correct, Sir. In fact, I’m highly honoured and elated that His Excellency is reading my work.”
“Oh yes. I’m really having a nice time on the site. I like your style of writing. You are not like those other bloggers and critics who don’t usually have any better thing to say other than to abuse the president, his government and his wife. I really like your approach.”
“Thank you, Sir. But you must have seen some of the salvos I threw at you and a couple of your Ministers in some of my posts on the site.”
“Yes, I’ve seen them. But you were not too direct or abusive. I call those articles of yours ‘satirical writing.’ Satirical writing or satires are aimed to correct and give positive criticisms which, I believe, is what you tried to do. I observe that you displayed your satirical prowess in ‘A Country of Cabals,’ ‘I Trust The President,’ ‘Ministerial Anger’ and others. Don’t forget that I remain a teacher despite the fact that I’m now the president of this great nation. As they say, ‘once a soldier is always a soldier;’ so also ‘once a teacher is always a teacher.’”
“Again, I am really, really honoured, Sir. I actually feel on top of the world talking to His Excellency live and direct.”
“That’s okay. You are most welcome. By the way, if there is any form of assistance you would need to make your blogging much more enjoyable don’t hesitate to let me know. Alright?”
“Yeee, Yes…I will, Sir. But I don’t think I know how best to reach you directly, Sir.”
“Why do you think they call me ‘Facebook President?’ You can always reach me through my FB Wall or send a direct message to me from there. Let me assure you that I read every message and comment that comes to me through Facebook.”
“You do, Sir? Really?”
“Yes, I do. I create the time to do so. Why are you surprised?”
“Because the number of comments on your Wall is usually high! I also think you wouldn’t be bothering yourself reading all those abuses that some people post there”
“Let me tell you, I don’t take anything personal. In fact, I respond to some of them in form of personal messages to the writers. That’s why I’m everyone’s president – my enemies and my friends alike; most especially the youths of this country. You see, that’s the beauty of democracy.”
“Ah, that’s quite magnanimous of you, Sir!”
“By the way, I want you to write more about my government and its achievements on your blog site. I will be happy to read more of your articles on my government’s efforts in the area of employment generation, youth development, security, and the general economy. I want you to take it as a national assignment. Together, every one of us can contribute to the ‘Transformation Agenda’ of this present government.”
“I will try my best, Sir.”
“Hello! I’m still here, Sir.”
“Ah, okay. The line was actually breaking. I think the network has not been so good these past few days.”
“Yes, Sir. Everyone has been experiencing poor performance from the service providers for some time now.”
“It’s true. But we just have to try and show some understanding. They said it’s because of the heavy rains and thunderstorms everywhere in the country in the past few days.”
“That’s what they always say, Sir. Yet, they keep making billions of naira off the common people of the country.”
“Let’s be patient. Things will soon be better for everyone in this country, don’t worry. Look at it this way; is what we have now not better than the era of NITEL’s naught-nine-naught?”
“You got me there, Your Excellency. It’s much better. But MTN, Glo, Etisalat, Airtel…all of them can do better. They have to improve their services, Sir.”
“You see, it’s a gradual thing. With the ongoing transformation efforts of my government, every facet of the society will soon begin to wear new looks.”
“I trust you, Sir.”
“Trust me, and continue to pray for me.”
“I will, Sir. Everybody is praying for you; particularly on the issue of Boko Haram.”
“Boko Haram? That will soon be a thing of the past. I can assure you that by the middle of this Year 2012, nobody will hear anything called Boko Haram again. That’s exactly what I told them in Seoul last week and I mean it.”
“I trust you, Sir”
“You ‘Trust The President.’ Right? Hope you are not being sarcastic in any way.”
“Who am I to do that, Sir? I really mean it. I trust Your Excellency. You are a performer and I have no cause to doubt your words.”
“Good. Can you quickly put on your TV please! I think NTA is broadcasting one of the projects that my government is currently working on.”
“We don’t have light, Sir.”
“Oh, so sorry about that! Okay, you can quickly put on your generator for the next few minutes. I just want to point your attention to something pertaining to that project.”
“I would have loved to do so, Your Excellency, but my diesel got finished about an hour ago so I had no choice than to go to bed in darkness.”
“Quite a shame! Again, I sympathize with you but it’s a matter of time … just some little more time … and NEPA, sorry, PHCN, will come alive again.”
“I trust you, Sir.”
“Okay, my brother. I guess I have to allow you to go back to bed. It’s just a quick call to say ‘Well done’ to you on your blog website. I want you to keep it up. And don’t forget what I asked you to do. It’s a national assignment.”
“Yes, Sir. And greetings to Mummy, Sir.”
“Oh, she’s here waiting for me to go to bed. She’s not asleep yet. You know that all women are the same whether they are presidents’ wives or not. She’s waiting for me to join her in bed. Hope you know that we sleep together on the same bed.”
“I do the same with my wife, Sir. I think it’s a great way of showing mutual affection.”
“Haha, see, Mummy is actually smiling here. I think you should say ‘hello’ to her. Just hold on a second. Okay?”
“Yes. This is Her Excellency. Good evening. How are you?”
“Good morning, Your Excellency, the First Lady.”
“Abi, good morning jare. Everything is so bright around here so it’s like afternoon. Don’t mind me, I forgot we are already in the morning of another day.”
“I can understand, Ma.”
“How is your wife?”
“She’s okay, Ma.”
“I hope you are taking good care of her o. Every man must play his roles in the house. In fact, that’s why I’m so proud of my husband, the president.”
“I’m trying my best, Ma.”
“My husband says you are a ‘bogger,’ what kind of business is that?”
“No, I’m a blogger ma. I write on the net”
“Are you a fisherman? How can you be writing on the net? Is it fishing net?”
“No, Ma. It’s just the same way they call His Excellency the ‘Facebook President’ because of what he writes on Facebook social network”
“Ha, that terrible place where they all abuse me, eh?”
“Don’t try to defended anything. Is that not where they say I no sabi grammar and they all run their dirty mouths against Her Excellency?”
“I’m sure you wanted to say I don’t have to ‘defend anything,’ Ma”
“Yes, yes, sorry. It is a slip of mouth.”
“You mean slip of tongue, Ma”
“Na you sabi joo, slip of something sha – mouth, tongue, nose, whatever.”
“I’m sorry, Ma. Don’t be offended.”
“Offended ke? I’ve had so many attacks from people that nothing bother me again. What you people doesn’t knew is that grammar is not our mother language and nobody is above mistake. Even Michelle Obama dey goof sometimes. After all, she and her husband are Africans on American soil.”
“You have a point there, Ma.”
“Anyway, it’s nice talking to you. Goodnight and greet your wife for me.”
“Good morning, Ma.”
She hangs off.
My mobile phone screen reads Sunday, 1st April, 2012. It’s the first day of the week, and the first day of a new month. It’s April Fools’ Day, though I understand that April Fools’ Day is not observed in a leap year, and 2012 is a leap year.
Whether it is observed this year or not, this telephone conversation is April Fool!!!