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Voice of my people

Three Kombi buses had parked in front of my house. They were commercial buses, all grey coloured with their taxi registration number. The drivers were…

Three Kombi buses had parked in front of my house. They were commercial buses, all grey coloured with their taxi registration number. The drivers were still inside but at least 30 people, majority of them women, had poured out of the buses and were heading straight at my gate. They were shouting, “Sai Baba!” Others were shouting at the top of their voices, saying “Sai kayi!” That is, “You must become [the governor]!”
My gateman firmly locked the gate and was telling them that Alhaji is still resting, that he worked very hard yesterday and he needs some rest today, being a Saturday. Which is not true, I didn’t do any work yesterday. I rushed out of the bath and almost bumped into Goggon Makka. Worry was written all over her face. She said, “Alhaji, a large crowd of people is here to see you. I told the gateman to lock the gate and turn them away. I can see prostitutes among them.”
So I said, “Who told you they are prostitutes? Just because you see people coming to see me you conclude that they are prostitutes?” She said, “I am sure of it. From the kitchen window I saw two of them smoking cigarettes. Please Alhaji stay in your room so we will tell them you are still sleeping.” But I said, “No! That is not good now! Let them come in!”
By the time I came downstairs, I counted 33 of them in my parlour. Some were squatting on the floor, a few sat on stools; no one sat in the chairs. As soon as I walked in, they arose as one and were shouting “Sai Baba!” “Sai kayi!” and “2015 insha Allah!” I said, “Thank you very much! Thank you very much!” I took my seat and they all knelt down to greet me. Some even did what Yorubas called dubale; they spread out flat on their tummies.
They all settled down and one tall, dark skinned man stood up. He shouted a few slogans, which his boys answered in a chorus, before he now began to speak. He said, “Baba, my name is Alhaji Isa Ghana. People also call me Namijin Goro because they say I am a stimulant like male kolanut. I am the youth leader of this Miskila Local Government as well as all the surrounding local governments. The people you see here with me today are only a tiny fraction of our members. These are the ward and street youth leaders in this local government and neighbouring ones. We were mandated by our teeming members to come here this morning to greet you, to welcome you back home after representing us very ably in Abuja where you protected our interest, where you guarded our dignity. We thank you very much for all the efforts you made to protect us from the people of the hills who are bent on spoiling our heritage. It is only great patriots like you that can protect us from the machinations of the people of the hills.
“Only God can reward you for what you did to us. However, we must show our own gratitude here in this world. God said if we do not show gratitude for the good thing He did to us, we will show gratitude for our suffering. That is why we are here on behalf of all the youth of Miskila, Gangare, Doruwa and Tsibiri Local Governments to relay to you the message of the youth. It is simple; you must be our governor in 2015!”
I was full of happiness. I could see in their faces that what they were saying was genuine. My civil service training taught me to detect truth from lies. I know that some politicians can be deceptive, but the things they said I did for my community and my state, it is true I did them when I was in service. We were the ones who fought the hills’ people. 
I thanked them very much and I promised to heed the call of my people. Who am I to refuse what my people want? After I finished thanking them, Namijin Goro stood up again and said, “Baba, everything we did today was entirely voluntary. All these youths left their trades and came on this mission just to show their love for you. They all stopped their trade for today and have forgone the little income that they will get. Even the buses that brought us, they are commercial, and when we go back home we will contribute among ourselves and pay the bus drivers and pay for the fuel they bought.”
So I said, “Haba! That is not necessary. I am very happy that you came. I will pay for the buses. What is that amount compared to the honour that you did to me?” I now went inside the house. The main money I had in my drawer was the N200,000 that my brother was coming to collect for his medical trip to Egypt. So I took that one. It was not enough, so I asked Goggo Babba to lend to me the N100,000 I gave her the previous night to buy children’s cloth. I remembered another N50,000 that I had kept in the closet, so I packed all of it and gave to Namijin Goro.
They left the house shouting my praises and praying for me to become the governor, saying if Allah shows them that day, they will feel like they have arrived in Heaven. Later on, my houseboy came back from an errand and gossiped to my wives, saying he saw them, they parked the buses just around the corner from my house and they were jostling as they shared the money.
Leave him with his gossip! I used to think politicians were lying when they say it is their people who ask them to contest elections. I have now learnt that they are telling the truth.

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