They don’t compulsorily come large in size or big enough but they crave the company of, even compete with the most powerful people, needing a lot of money, effort or time to lick leprous boots and ‘belong’. Their bigness is driven by okirika (second hand) fervor and manacled enthusiasm, while our handicapped politics, the one that easily hands a cripple, running spikes and tartan tracks, puts them before us. In case you have not noticed, the price of cassava starch, luxuriously applied to their clothes, has gone up, just like several other bilious things that are at the centre of a locust migration that comes to us every time a new government takes centre stage. That season is upon us again.
As we look around and see these political sprouts of men, we confirm indeed that the season is actually upon us. These new big men stare us in the face with an arrogance that is native, cruel and annoying, as it is always the ritual. Their fingers have suddenly become too heavy to press the “Yes” button or swipe the screens on their phones to take a call. If they do take your call, “I am in a meeting” is always the response, even when we know that most of them have corridor and staircase offices where they are confined to doing nothing all day. That they commonly ignore calls is absolutely no fault of theirs because most of the calls put to them are beggarly in nature and extortionist on arrival. But then, most of them also believe that a new big man must be difficult to see; it is a senseless philosophy that quickly removes them from among the people when they get into office and makes them resolutely unacceptable to the people, when they leave office.
Right now, they are without a considerable sense of reason which should help them understand that at the back of the ENTRY sign that signals their political office engagement is the EXIT sign which as a matter of natural order also points to their disengagement in due time. Some of them have become too attached to even new ways of talking and walking. When we listen to them talk, it is a cocky drawl that insults our sensibilities. They propagate principles and perspectives that they are ill-equipped to drive but still insist that we swallow same, hook, line and sinker. When they walk pass you, it is with a baseless swagger that displays emptiness. Even those among them who have a name, a face and some brain, will at some point lose their heads and be lumped with all others like someone’s chattel of housekeepers; indeed those who lie on a lice infested bed can hardly walk away without a louse or two.
For those of you who have a few new big men as friends, better keep an open mind. They will initially be available, take your calls, hang out with you and then…switch gear(s). By the time their pockets begin to swell with cash, they will make new friends and laboriously keep you. Take no offence if they insist that you send a text message instead of place a call to them…hmm, busy people don’t take calls. Wait-o, you just might be the one they send to buy drinks when their new friends arrive, if you insist on always being around them.
When they tint their cars, they will pass you on the road and stoutly claim that it was the driver on an errand. The places you all use to go to and hang out will suddenly need to be upgraded before they can come there. I tell you, with speed they will forget the name of that sales boy or girl who lost his/her job because s/he gave you guys credit on a few drinks that you still have not paid for. You may choose to enjoy this rascality or turn your back on it…you have a choice or you can just stay in this season of CHANGE.
Be careful with the promises they make you; often, they have not the capacity to deliver on those talkative promises made to earn social epaulettes. You can still be lucky and earn more than a fading from these promises though. Ha, be not disappointed too when they work at taking the young woman you have been grooming for marriage…monkey work, baboon chop…cannot find a better expression.
You may never again get invitations to events they host in the next four or eight years; don’t worry, not too far from now, if they can muster the financial muscle to host events after they leave office, the numbers will not be there. It is at this point that they begin to realize that the new big men have long lost a few good friends. Are you sure people are jostling to be at any event hosted by former Petroleum Minister Dieziani Madueke soon?
Don’t worry about the siren, it was just from an ambulance rushing to go pick up a few new big men taking their dogs for a walk. Bother to wave not at them because it will unsettle their attack dogs and you may have yourself to blame.
Finally, if you have friends in this category, it doesn’t hurt to pray for them, it may just be the difference between twelve and a dozen. Then, whatever thing you diligently do that puts food on your table, cherish it and work hard at it no matter how small because that is what will stand you in better stead instead of hoping that one new big man has got your back.
Welcome any new big man you see, for me.
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