​“ I hear we are no longer Nigeria, but the United

States of Nigeria”

“You didn’t hear anything. Stop being

hypocritical, my friend.”

“But the incumbent Minister of Sports is on

record as having said something like that”

“I know. That dumb Minister who wears the red

cap that looks like something taken and

approved from a shrine?”

“Ye, that one, Solomon Dalung. The same one

who is mismanaging Nigeria’s trip to the Rio

Olympics.”

“If he said that, it must have been a case of a

slip of the tongue. There are more important

issues we should worry about, my friend. But

really, what is wrong with Nigeria being a United

States of Nigeria? We should actually be a United

States, because if there is anything we need in

this country it is unity. I take it that the Minister

was speaking loud. A case of malapropism, no

more no less…”

“What is that? Speak like a normal human being,

this man, I have always told you. Ma-la-pro-pri-

sm.”

“A slip of the tongue, that is what it means, but

in this case a truthful slip right from the heart of

serendipity. I actually think Nigeria should be

united.”

“Kai. Allahu Akbar. I think you are the real

hypocrite. People speak I know, but your own,

you must use one big word to confuse

everybody. It is a national problem, any day.

Nobody talks straight in Nigeria, anymore. You

either have to use wisdom or carry a dictionary.

They say one thing today. Tomorrow, they say

another thing. You, you have joined them. Even

Nigerian economy sef, has become magic. ”

“Can you just calm down? The Minister wanted

to refer to the United States of America. But he

mentioned Nigeria. You can’t crucify him for

that. It shows he means well for Nigeria. It

means Nigeria is on his mind. I have no problem

with that.”

“But he is not doing well. He is a misfit as

Sports Minister. President Buhari should fire him”

“You have a girlfriend problem with him?”

“No. He has mismanaged the Sports Ministry and

exposed this country to gross ridicule.”

“How?”

“You are asking how? Have you not been

following the disgraceful trip of the Nigerian

Team to the 2016 Olympics in Rio? First, the

Team members could not get a ticket to travel.

Many of them went on social media to start

soliciting for help. We must be the only country

in the world whose contingent went to Rio 2016,

as a team of beggars. Even the soccer team was

stranded in Atlanta. They got to Brazil through

the philanthropy of Delta Airlines.”

“The country is in recession, technically and

officially. Philanthropy is welcome.”

“Then, we have no business going to the

Olympics. We should not become a nation of

beggars.”

“We are begging because some people stole all

the money in four years.”

“That’s a cheap comment. Money was voted for

the 2016 Olympics. The Minister owes us an

explanation. What happened to the money? That

is the issue.”

“Apparently there is no money to fund the 2016

Olympics.”

“I don’t accept that. The President has shown

that he loves and supports sports. One of the

first things he did on assumption of office was to

honour a sports team that did well when he was

Head of State as a military man to correct an old

omission. He has also since congratulated the

Nigerian soccer team that got to Brazil by sheer

accident. Those boys beat jet lag, walloped the

Japanese 5-4 and registered Nigeria’s presence.

The President has urged them to go ahead and

win gold. I believe President Buhari is putting his

mouth where Nigerian money is. Mark it, when

all of this is over, some heads will roll. The

President cannot be supporting a project and

some characters will be busy putting the country

to shame.”

“Insha Allah, Solomon Dalung and his people

must be made to account for the money for the

Rio Olympics. If they chop am, they must vomit.

As it is, nobody can blame our representatives in

Brazil, and the Olympics, so important for

national pride. People are making sacrifice, the

Sports Minister is busy forming and foaming.”

“Did you even see the track suits that the

Nigerian contingent wore during the opening

ceremony? Nigerian went to the Rio Olympics in

borrowed clothes. They looked like they went for

training,”

“Allahu Akbar”

“We were the most unprepared nation during the

opening ceremony, the laughing stock of the

entire world. Even countries that don’t have oil

appeared better. You don’t need to win any

medal, but during the opening ceremony, you can

show some swag and win an undeclared gold

medal. Nigeria was just not there. And yet in

2012, we shook body. Now, something is truly

wrong.

“Change! But I have no problem with the cheap

tracksuits. It could have been worse if the

Nigerian team had won the masquerade attire

that had been originally planned for the event.

Those cheap and stupid attires were forgotten

and left behind in Nigeria. If we had used those

original costumes, we would have looked so bad;

every Nigerian would have concluded that

something has truly gone wrong. “

“I believe President Buhari is watching. After this

Olympics, some people have to be flogged for

embarrassing the country. The people who

collected money and didn’t pay for air travel, for

example. The people who collected money for

opening ceremony masquerade attires and

thought they could swindle us with track suits,

the Minister who doesn’t know that the Olympics

is important and the charlatans who tell us that

it is perfectly normal for Nigeria to go to the

Olympics with thoroughly discouraged athletes.

Their punishment is still busy doing press ups in

Daura, by the time it reaches Abuja, the

Olympics will be over.”

“I don’t expect that if any Nigerian wins a medal

at the Olympics, there will be any moral right to

present that medal to the President of Nigeria.”

“I am convinced that those athletes in Rio

believe that they are there on their own, not for

Nigeria. That is why there are press up things

currently getting ready in Daura. You want to

bet? ”

“Sad.”

“But there is a good side to it, though”

“Which is?”

“One point is that Nigeria saved a lot of money.”

“How?”

“Anybody wey wan do Olympics, make him or her

find way. Shikena. And if you win anything . you

are on your own.”

“No. That is not state policy.”

“But it may be a sanctioned strategy. In the face

of official and technical indifference, you can see

that nobody that is suspiciously important went

for the Opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics. If

it were in the past, Nigeria would have had the

largest delegations at both the opening and

closing ceremonies. Governors, Senators, DGs, all

sorts, big people chopping money, accompanied

by girlfriends to watch show and spend public

money. You hear say any Governor don go Rio

Olympics? Make dem try now, make we see.

That is why I am reluctant to call for Solomon

Dalung’s head. The bush man knows what he is

facing.”

“But how about the International Olympics

Committee?”

“I am also surprised that they are silent. But you

know we are in the era of change. Everything

has changed, including Nigeria’s Olympics

participation.”

“The IOC is dead?”

“I don’t know. May be they won’t be dead if

there was no forex problem.”

“Hello?”

“I am saying I am not sure any member of IOC

can make it to Rio. The only people who can

travel right now are the people going on

pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia from Nigeria. If the

athletes can’t travel due to financial constraints,

so why should the IOC members travel?”

“Wahala dey oh”

“I think everything has to do with foreign

exchange and the dollar”

“Is that what you think?”

“More or less.”

“But I hear there is forex deal for people going

on pilgrimage? The black market rate is N400,

but privileged persons going to the Hajj get it for

N197 to the dollar. Right now, you only need to

go to the Hajj”

“Right now, I want to be a Muslim”.

“Is that why you have been saying Allahu Akbar?”

“My brother, this is the era of change. Man must

have sense. At this moment I am a Muslim.”

“I don’t get it. Didn’t they tell us that religion is a

personal thing? And that government will not

fund pilgrimages? And that things have

changed?”

“Don’t you know government policy on pilgrimage

right now will create many billionaires? All the

government big men who send people on

pilgrimage will make money through forex deals.

Big money. Talk sense, I beg.”

“Hmmm”

“In fact, I am now a Muslim. And I want to travel

to Saudi Arabia”

“ I hear it is a standard policy from which

Christians can also benefit.”

“Yes. When that time comes, I’ll also become a

Christian again.”

“Bad. We can’t have a country where people just

switch and wheel and deal. The people who

should benefit from this kind of policy are people

who have children in foreign universities, people

who are running businesses and can add value,

people who are truly Nigerian.”

“Sorry, then, but this is where we are. Fact.

Reality.”

“No. This is not about fact or reality. It is about

the truth.”

“Tell me about the truth.”

“The simple truth is that people going on

pilgrimage should not enjoy forex concessions

while industries that create jobs cannot enjoy

enjoy the same privilege. What is more

important?”

“Hmmm. It even looks like the whole thing is a

conspiracy against parents who have children

schooling abroad. Pilgrims can get cheap forex

but parents trying to produce better citizens

can’t? Industries are dying. I don’t get it too.

Nonsense CBN policy. “

“Get it. It is cheaper today to go on pilgrimage

than to produce toothpick. That is the way of

government policy.”

“Je-su-s Christ!”

“What? It is obvious you won’t make it to Saudi

Arabia with cheap forex.”

“Allahu Akbar!”

“Can you just shut up?”

“I believe in change. And I am glad we are a

United States of Nigeria.”

“We are not! Shut the hell up!”

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