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Retired but not tired

Almighty God, You have given me long life. I am already in my mid 50s, and I am grateful because many of my classmates in…

Almighty God, You have given me long life. I am already in my mid 50s, and I am grateful because many of my classmates in school have not made it to this age. Friends that we used to play football together, including our captain that we called Pele and our goalkeeper that we used to call Gordon Banks, both of them are deceased now. Pele died of cholera during one epidemic and Gordon Banks fell off a motorcycle. May Allah have mercy on them. Many of my classmates at school are not here now. Even that girl in our primary school that I used to love very much. I used to climb an acacia tree behind their house and waited for her mother to send her on an errand. There was a time a snake nearly bit me in that tree while I was trying to catch a glimpse of her. She is deceased now. She dropped out of primary school and got married to one old man. I hear that she died during childbirth. 
That is why as I sit down under this tree, I offer thanks to Allah but I also pray to Him to grant me one more favour before I leave this world for the next one. Almighty God, You see me sitting under this tree today, alone, except for these newspapers and this radio. I am still strong, I am healthy, I am able, I am willing to go on serving, but they retired me from the civil service under one useless new rule, saying I have been a director for eight years. My former director in that same office, he was there for 16 years! Me, I only did eight years and they said I must retire even though I had many more years to go before I reached retirement age. Look at me sitting here now doing nothing, when I used to wake up as early as 6am, go to the office by 8 and stay there till 9pm, minuting in this file, signing this voucher, signing this cheque, attending this meeting, going on official tour, etc.
Do they want me to sit here and die of boredom? I know I must do something. When my brother came here last week, he said I should use my retirement benefits and become a farmer. Farmer! You want me to carry seed and bury it in the sand, then sit there like a fool waiting for it to come out? No! I will do something more interesting. I will join politics. Me, I know I can do politics. Even when I was in primary school, my grandfather used to call me a “politician” because of the way I can talk. He said that me, I can dribble people with my mouth, I can hold small audiences spellbound with my stories, that I get sweet mouth. So I have the first qualification for politics, which is sweet tongue, but I know that in today’s politics money is more important than even talking. The chairman of our local government today, the man cannot even speak but because he has money, he was elected by a wide margin.
Even the money that I have today, God knows that I was not a corrupt civil servant. All the hanky panky that other directors were doing, I never did it. The only thing was when a contractor brought our ten percent from a contract, I sat down and shared it with all my staff. I never cornered it for myself alone, like our perm sec used to do. I have therefore decided to enter politics in my state, Tafki State. I don’t even know why they named our state after a lake. All the other states in this Nigeria, they named them after rivers. Niger is a river; Benue is a river, so also Kwara, Kogi, Cross River, Yobe, Jigawa, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Taraba, Ogun, Osun, Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi. They are all rivers! Rivers State is many rivers combined and Delta State is a collection of rivers, but they went and named our own state after a lake. Mtss!
Anyway, I must offer my services to the people of my state as a payback for all they did to me in my career. I will contest for something in 2015, whether governor, senator or any other big thing, but I will not decide now, I must test the waters first. The day I enter it, politics will not be the same again in this state, wallahi. It is not for nothing that my friends used to call me African Never Die on the football field. I was very colourful! I can dazzle and dribble, and I can also talk. All the foolish people I see around calling themselves politicians, they will give way by the time I enter. Let me attend my first party meeting and they will know that a politician has come. They think those of us in the civil service we don’t know how to talk?
I will even revive the alias I used in secondary school when we used to sneak out after lights out to go and watch Indian movies. They used to call me Jugnu because of my ability to hide when the school prefects came looking for us. I will hide in the toilet, sneak under the fence, jump over the wall and crawl inside the gutter just to reach the cinema theatre. That is what I will do when I enter politics. I have made my decision. Tonight I will call my wives and tell them that I have decided to become a politician. Next week, you will hear how the meeting went.




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