CONVERSATION WITH OCTOPUS PAUL
Don't even begin to think this is a joke. Seriously, I made efforts to reach Octopus Paul (herein to be referred to as OP) because I know we have major problems which solutions are beyond us. We have prayed but I'm not sure God knows what to do with us. He must be really perplexed at the way we use sin as 'aso-ebi' while we still complain of nakedness. Like a patriot, I decided to go after Octopus Paul on the bill of Sunday Sun (herein referred to as SS). But I returned alone, sadly.
Here's the transcript of the Germany meeting.
SS: Octopus Paul, I must congratulate you on your brilliant performance at the 2010 World Cup. You were really marvellous.
Op: Thank you but it was not a performance as you put it. I only did what came naturally to me. I'm not an actor.
SS: (Coughs). Oh, alright. That was actually why I made this trip all the way from Lagos. We'd like you to come help us out in Nigeria. We have so many challenges and we are tired of groping in the dark with little or no result.
OP: I truly sympathise with you and your country Ma'am but I must decline. Nigeria is not exactly a safe place now. Apart from that as a celebrity, I have been invited to the Octopus Festival in Spain as Guest of Honour on August 8.
SS: You can come to Nigeria straight from there and I promise that you'd be treated like an expatriate. Trust me, your safety is guaranteed. There will be sirens and even military escort, JTF, Mobile policemen, the whole works.
OP: When have that stopped militants or kidnappers from carrying out their duties? And in any case being an expatriate only increases my hostage value.
SS: I assure you that you will be taken around in bullet-proof vehicles. No evil will befall you.
OP: In Nigeria? Even the devil himself is afraid of you guys.
SS: It is only in the South South and South East of the country that those kidnappers operate and we are about to declare a state of emergency in those regions. We may even take all the governors and traditional rulers to Abuja if it that will convince you.
OP: Don't bother. I have strong feeling that if you move those people, the kidnappers will follow them to Abuja. Maybe you should declare a nationwide state of emergency.
SS: Ok. We'll do that. Will that convince you to come to Nigeria?
OP: First you must tell me why Nigeria is suddenly up in arms against kidnappers. Is it a trade that started last week?
SS: Weell, not really. It's been around for a while.
OP: In other words, it is a business sector that has steadily grown from a small scale one to what it is today.
SS: You could say that…
OP: Is kidnapping now quoted on your Stock Exchange?
SS: This is not a joke Octopus Paul.
OP: Octopuses don't joke and by the way you can call me Paul. I'm not a Nigerian and I don't care about titles .
OP: When you come to Nigeria, we shall give you a few titles and you can become Otunba Octopus Paul or Ogbuefi Octopus 1 of Psychic Autonomous Community. You will wear beads, fine cap and use walking stick.
SS: That's exactly the problem with Nigerians. You spend too much time on trivialities at the expense of governance and constructive ideas. You always come up with great ideas for parties. For instance, what does an octopus need a walking stick for?
OP: Every chief, every elder uses one.
SS: What makes a man an elder is not his walking stick but what is between his ears. If it is cotton wool, a dozen walking sticks won't bestow respect on him.
OP: Are you saying our elders have cotton wool between their ears instead of a brain?
SS: Are you telling me you don't know that your elders have watched your country go to waste over the years while swaggering all over the place like they have more legs than the octopus? If you had taken care of unemployment all these years, you wouldn't have kidnappers.
SS: Are you saying being unemployed is an excuse for crime?
OP: You don't need a psychic octopus to tell you that an idle mind is the devil's workshop, do you? These are young men with fertile minds. These are ex-campus cultists who have graduated into kidnapping kingpins and bank robbers. Have you tackled cultism on your campuses? No. So, you can be sure the worst is yet to happen. Today it is the turn of journalists, you'd see the calibre of the next set of victims.
SS: Are you predicting that these kidnappers will go after governors or Senators?
OP: Yes, and just like they didn't kidnap one rookie reporter, when they strike next time, they will take a busload of legislators on oversight duty or seize governors at a Governors Forum.
SS: Is that your final answer?
OP: Final answer.
SS: Ah ah ah, that can never happen.
OP: Are you now a psychic octopus? You can disagree with me all you want but first ask yourself why a Presidential Order, Senate President's anger, Inspector-General's pleas and national rage has not yielded any result? The answer is simple, they know all of you can't do anything to them. Even if you shed tears on national television , they will still make you pay.
SS: No, they have reduced the ransom from N250m to N30m.
OP: They had no intention of collecting N250m in the first place but you will pay. They will make you pay because you have spent years ignoring your problems. It's payback time now.
SS: The long and short of this story is that you will not go to Nigeria with me?
OP: It is too risky to follow you. Nigeria is a risky habitat for an octopus of any kind. Even Nigerians are leaving the place.
SS: I'm shocked that you are not impressed by my assurances.
OP: You can't blame me considering that Nigerians have overdeveloped taste buds for what you call 'bushmeat' and delicacies made from every game? I am already an old man at two and a half years old and I'd really like to live the rest of my days in peace not as pieces of barbecued seafood.
SS: I don't understand what you are talking about.
OP: I heard that you love such things as suya, kilishi, asun, barbecued fish, dabu nama and so on.
SS: Are you sure you are not a Nigerian octopus? How can you know all that from Germany?
OP: I'm a psychic, remember?
SS: So I should return alone, disgraced?
OP: I will come to Nigeria when I'm sure I will not be kidnapped or end up as Octopus pepper soup. For now, I'm enjoying my retirement.