T he day before today was very tiring, meeting after meeting, pulling ends together, hours past and it was only when I felt the tingling pinch of pain in by bowels that I remembered; it was 3:37pm and I had nothing in my belly for the whole day. My company and I went for a fast one and decided it was time to part ways and have a good rest. My sleep was heavy, thanks to tired muscles. As I had a cup of coffee the next morning, my phone rang a message. The sound was piercing, this was about 5:30am, I could see a three-page text, here's what it read:
'New perfumes for sale: Escape by Ibori; Desperate by IBB; Assault by Deji of Akure; Catastrophe by Kaita, Barely 13 by Yerima; Blackout by NEPA; Confusion by PDP; Oputa Panel by Justice Oputa; Missing by Yakubu; John Wayne by Ngigi, Goodluck by Jonathan; Jungle & Rumble by House of Reps; Nearly by Super Eagles. All Products are 100 per cent Nigerian… to place your order call 080naija4life. Offer lasts while stock lasts.'
I had to skim through it three times to get the break. Yes, it was somewhat obvious, but it's really deep and has a lot of meaning to it. It's comical but in many ways serious. Like it or not, at one time you've bought a brand of our 'enviable and much talked-about' home mixed perfume. So, welcome to the perfume factory, home of premium scents and delightful colognes.
There's nothing as good as some original perfume or cologne sprayed on freshly washed skin and clean clothes. It gives a sort of confidence boost, you know. You walk knowing you smell good, like money. The international brands; Bvulgari, Calvin Klein, Tommy etc are cool. Yes, but they lack a certain touch and feel, that extra knack, the intoxication. This factory makes some very solid stuff. You should try it if you doubt me. You'll never use anything else: ditch the fine bottles, pick the new stuff.
I remember, many years ago, buying a cheap perfume. A lady friend sold it to me. Somehow I knew it was a fake. You know what? That perfume made me stink whenever I sweat. Funny! What is supposed to take stink, brings the stink.
Well; to the point of the whole case: the whole drama in our recent and past history is actually like a perfumery. The scent of the 'filthy' rich and the criminals is so strong it's choking. The analogy is that; the actions and results of our ridiculous national system and the people on top of it is really like perfume, but it falls between the very cheap stuff and the excessively offensive. For example, escape, by Ibori; someone is being chased by International Police. All the while, they have at the back of their minds: Another Nigerian leader on the run. So, this stinking fake perfume oozes out and it chokes all of us. Imagine the shame. A former governor on the run! Sadly, some admire these suspects because of the money they have. This is the only smell they can pick off these people. They can even kill for them, and some aspire to be like them. It's amazing how many of us envy them.
The smell even extends to our sports. Look at that one, Catastrophe by Kaita. How come, is it the natural street anger and aggressiveness of the struggling Nigerian that our man, Kaita, was drunk of and had to kick a player outside the box? You just wonder at the dramatic ironies that continuously arise.
We keep hitting the international scene with strange stories and events. Governors being frustrated out of their parties just because they care to do a few things the right way and keep the state for the people instead of it being the property of a few. Others shift parties when they have 'a view to a kill' in the future and they can't stand or imagine being without power. If our leaders had their way, they would die on the seat and if possible let their lost souls rule on and keep smelling of the money; the perfume.
I thought about the level of unemployment and the cruelty of firms and institutions in recruiting and maintaining staff. Sometimes I come across a young person, jobless, and I just wonder, how long before he catches the scent and becomes a robber or con man? How long before she becomes a street girl out to sell and live? How long? You find that we are at the tipping point in our existence. There are more unemployed people than we ever had. There are more agitated people today. We face constant decay, like the smell of fake perfume under sweaty armpits.
The shame. The shame. Senators fighting to the point of shredding their clothes, getting all sweaty and stinky. What's the reason they have to battle stuff out beyond the tongue and paper to using the fist? Simple, there's gold beneath the whole thing. It's all about resources, protection of territories and interests. So, they had to go and rip each other's shirts, like kids fighting over toys and biscuits, even worse; most kids won't get to that extent. But this one was made in Naija, mixed in our perfumery. It's the mind of a child with the boldness of an adult.
You know what the bad part is? 'Offer lasts while stock lasts.' Wow! The truth is, if we don't do something pretty soon, we'll always have these perfumes on our shelves. We'll always buy them every time we envy these people. We'll always smell so bad every time news breaks of another fugitive leader being apprehended in some foreign soil. We'll always stink every time we boycott free and fair elections and play the dirty selfish games.
Here we are with just a few choices, we can keep spraying these corrupt scents and celebrating the people who have tied our hands. Imagine that you have very tight twines around your hands, bleeding and getting whipped on the back and when the man with the whip shows you his purple apparel and 'sweet-smelling perfume' you scream wow, in envy. Meanwhile, your hands will never be loose to get anything close to that.
Well, go think about that.