A Playlet by ‘Din Shehu
The characters and events in this play are fictitious. Any similarities to actual persons or events are unintentional.
Senator Afonja – My Leadah
Senator Ajekunaye – Boy
Senator Na-juman Jonge – Hexcellency!
Sunday – A double amputee; My Leadah’s houseboy
AN ACT, A SCENE:
Enter two distinguished looking gentlemen resplendently decked in crisp agbada. The older, shorter man leading the way is in a blue, exquisitely-tailored Agbada ensemble. He is clearly someone used to authority from birth. It is evident in his measured, confident strides and the expression on his face; a cross between the assumed nonchalance of someone holding a fart in public and the smug satisfaction of expelling it unnoticed. Somehow, it befits and even adds to his aura of quiet influence.
The other, in spotless white agbada is younger but much taller. From the fawning look of admiration in his eyes and obsequious gestures, it is apparent that he is subordinate to the man he is trailing. As they swaggered into the expansive and luxuriously decorated living-room, the younger man rushes to remove an errant side-table out of the way and waits until the other is seated before sitting down too beside him. They are clearly in exuberant moods as their faces are wreathed in the self-satisfied smiles of loud achievers.
MY LEADAH: My! The book launch was a terrific success!
BOY: It was oh, my Leadah!
MY LEADAH: I was particularly impressed with the turn-out of personalities. Boy, you outdid yourself this time!
BOY: (still struggling with mirth) Hahaha! My Leadah, it was no big deal oh. I just did as you instructed. I also made sure that all distinguished and honourable Nyash members were present.
MY LEADAH: And the overwhelming media presence, nko?
BOY: That one easy my Leadah. After the adverts of the book launch in the media, I followed up with personal calls and a little ‘something–something’ in their accounts. You know how hungry these pen-pushers are now, my Leadah.
(Renewed laughter, this time mocking)
MY LEADAH: I love that Dame Kpeshe was personally there. That was the clincher for me!
BOY: Yes oh! You know Madam Kpeshe has been itching to fight back ever since (lowers voice almost inaudibly, and nods in a general direction) Parosident Bubu’s people started harassing her. Ah, the woman was more than willing gaan to come oh.
MY LEADAH: I was scared stiff her oga wouldn’t let her show face. You know how the pitiful moron is trying to keep a low-profile nowadays.
BOY: I thought of that too my Leadah, but you and I know say na Kpeshe be the oga for that house naa! Immediately I called and invited her, she said (imitates Dame Kpeshe): “chai, I go waka come!”
MY LEADAH: Boy, I’m glad we pulled it off. A brilliant move, from beginning to end! I’m only disappointed that some other key people didn’t show up, like that Junior Jerrycan from Anaga.
BOY: Nor mind am my Leadah. You know say him too dey form like say he holy pass, like Bubu. Even that my former teacher refused to come after I sent him three years worth of his miserable salary as transport fare. ode like him!
MY LEADAH: Good thing Junior Jerrycan didn’t come after all. What if he’d showed up with a hidden automatic and started shooting all the Nyash members present? You remember what he did to our fellow politicians in Anaga then?
BOY: Kai but My Leadah, you are just too brilliant! They say people with big head are very intelligent but here I am with my big head and I don’t have even a drop of your intelligence (looks admiringly at MY LEADAH, before dropping a morose glance on himself). In fact, you should have been named ‘Smart’ and not that oloriburuku I defeated during the last election.
(MY LEADAH smiles briefly at the praise and cocked his head in modest acknowledgement. BOY pleased with the effect of his words on his principal, continues)
To be quite honest my Leadah, I think whatever is giving you this thinking power should be packaged and sold at every supermarket nationwide!
MY LEADAH: (now beaming brightly): I’m sure if anybody can arrange that, it’s you.
BOY: (Laughs) Aah! No oh! It is not by my power oh. I just dey follow you for back my Leadah.
BOY: (After a reflective pause) Ehen my Leadah, you haven’t told me the reason you were so insistent in January when you directed me to write and publish this book oh.
MY LEADAH: My boy, you are forgetting the first lesson I taught you in this very room. Did I not tell you that to be a successful politician in the Federal Republic of Niagaraland; you have to master the art of Mass Distraction?
Boy: Yes my Leadah, you did. I remember now!
MY LEADAH: Then why are you asking me questions when we have just pulled off the greatest mass distraction coup in the history of Niagaraland?
BOY: (Stammers) Erm…M-m-my Leadah, I-I-I’m not quite…er…following sir.
MY LEADAH: Didn’t we #OpenNyash just a few days to your book launch?
BOY: Yes my Leadah, we did. Against my humble opinion oh, I must respectfully add.
MY LEADAH: Oh yes. Yes, your complaints were valid but my hands were tied, no thanks to awon omor jati-jatis on social media who were screaming “#OpenNyash, #OpenNyash!” like constipated hyenas. Well, can’t really blame them. I’m the one who promised in an ill-advised moment, to #OpenNyash if I become Nyash Parosident. I didn’t know these people were going to be so persistent…
BOY: (Cuts in) especially those DudgeIT people!
MY LEADAH: (raises voice) Especially DudgeIT! awon oloshi! They lack one single respect. I nearly deactivated my Twitter account because of their #OpenNyash campaign. I couldn’t tweet anything without them shouting “#OpenNyash!” in my mentions. (Sighs) Well, as I was saying, there was nothing to do but to #OpenNyash if I was to retrieve a little of my crumbling credibility. You know how some people are saying our Nyash is a den of corruption just because we refused to drop our trousers for them.
BOY: That’s true, but where did my book launch come in here?
MY LEADAH: (wears a patient school-teacher smile) Boy, you still have a lot to learn fa. Not everything is agidi, wearing choir gown and singing apala music on Insta like you did after they said you did not finish school like Tuface. Sometimes, you need to use your head.
BOY: (hangs head) Thank you my Leadah. I will take correction my Leadah.
MY LEADAH: (snorts) Anyways, I know our people in Niagaraland; once you give them something they asked for, they will start picking holes in it. That’s why immediately after we #OpenNyash, I was particular that we launched your book. You see, you and I know that the Nyash we opened was…erm…somehow. Our people are docile but they are not stupid. Sooner than later, I knew they will figure out that even though we have #OpenNyash, they are still not seeing our…ahem, ‘hole’. Your book launch was to firstly, distract them from looking too much to find the hole in our Nyash. Secondly, it serves as a counter-argument to those who say the Nyash is not doing enough to support the Parosident’s anti-corruption war.
BOY: Wow! My Leadah! I said it, you are Einstein himself! That was brilliant, and they bought it oh, like cheap ewa otili. Hmmm, now instead of #OpenNyash, they are now talking about my book launch and how many copies so-so-so and so bought. (Claps with childish glee)
MY LEADAH: (with a triumphant expression) now your head is there my boy.
BOY: But my Leadah, I saw you smiling when Honourable Ragoda launched the book with 18 million cowries. Why?
MY LEADAH: Ah, that stupid boy! He always thinks he’s smart and can play both sides. I was laughing because at that moment he shot himself in the foot.
BOY: How my Leadah?
MY LEADAH: Ahn ahn, were you not there when he started a bromance on social media with that short Governor from Agwugwu State, the one they were both displaying their pay-slips like horny teenagers exchanging nudes? Well, he was the one who said his salary is 350, 000 Cowries in his pay-slip. I was laughing because I knew these social media boys will ask him where he got 18 million cowries from if his monthly salary is really 350,000 Cowries.
BOY: Hmmm…another distraction for the social media people?
MY LEADAH: Yes ke! I’m sure by now the heat is already on him!
BOY: (leaps up and prostrates before My Leadah) My Leadah! You are too too much! I dobale for you oh!
MY LEADAH: (looks slightly embarrassed but pleased at the same time) Haba my boy. Stand up please!
Enter SUNDAY, MY LEADAH’S houseboy. He is leaning heavily on two wooden crutches. He halts when he sees BOY genuflecting before his oga but the smiling visage of MY LEADAH quickly assures him that nothing was amiss but BOY’s exuberant dignity.
MY LEADAH: Yes, Sunday. What is it?
SUNDAY: Distinguished Oga sah, na Hexcellency! dey wait for small parlour sah!
MY LEADAH: Hexcellency!? Please bring him in! Bring him in at once!
Exit SUNDAY. BOY, now seated, saunters to a water dispenser in the corner and fills a glass with water. He brings it to MY LEADAH who thanks him with a smile and took a small sip. SUNDAY returns shortly with HEXCELLENCY! in tow. He is an impressive man; tall and swarthy with the hooked nose of a predatory bird, clearly a man not to trifle with.
MY LEADAH: Ah! Hexcellency! Good to see you!
BOY: welcome sir!
HEXCELLENCY!: (to BOY) Congratulations on your-a bwook launch today. I heard it was a success.
BOY: Thank you Hexcellency! it was.
HEXCELLENCY!: (to MY LEADAH) You-a must be fretty fleased. Everything went according to flans again.
MY LEADAH: indeed! In fact, it went too well. I think for now, we have given Niagarans another topic of debate, away from #OpenNyash.
HEXCELLENCY!: (frowns) I didn’t kwait understand why you-a wanted us to hophun Nyash for zis feofle but I must say that apta seeing ze commendation op even our own farty, ze AYC, I fink it was a wonderful move you made. Kwudos!
BOY: Ahhh! So Hexcellency!, you too were in the know of My Leadah’s plans all along? And you didn’t tell me?
HEXCELLENCY!: Op kwas, I was. We didn’t want to tell you until aptawards. My Leadah was apraid you will sfill ze beans on insta-menene again…?
MY LEADAH: (cuts in) instagram.
HEXCELLENCY!: Nagode, Instagram the way you droffed your-a last albwum dia.
MY LEADAH: Erm, Hexcellency! any news yet from London?
HEXCELLENCY!: Not yet my Leadah. My sauces have not been able to fenetrate where za Parosident is keft, but Insha’a Allahu, I will have news very soon.
MY LEADAH: I pray it is positive.
HEXCELLENCY!: It will be Insha’a Allahu. I have told you refeatedly, za Parosident is not coming back. If he wants to pight kwarrupshun, let him remain in London and pight it. Ze need him zia, we don’t need him hia!
MY LEADAH: What about his Vice?
HEXCELLENCY!: Zat gejere fastor? When za time kwums, we will deal with him afrofriately. Already, I have zirected some of our alewa elders to begin making small small noise to fwut pia in him. He is not a froblem my Leadah.
MY LEADAH: Thank you Hexcellency!. You are doing a great job. Soon, all these will be ours (points to a map of Niagaraland on the wall).
HEXCELLENCY!: (standing up) let me take my leave. It has been a long day por me.
(MY LEADAH and BOY rise too)
BOY: (Stretches) Aaah! A long fulfilling day
MY LEADAH: Indeed. (To BOY) where to now?
BOY: Ah, me? I’m heading straight home for a long relaxing bath. Also, there’s a new container arriving tonight (Winks suggestively)
MY LEADAH: My boy! Hope it’s not that afin shandy that was in that useless TV Show? I saw the picture you took with her today on Instagram.
BOY: My Leadah, I cannot categorically accept or deny that she’s the one oh!
MY LEADAH: Be careful my boy, I hear her tastes are quite expensive. shey she’s the one who wants only men that own private jets?
BOY: (laughs) Yes oh! But the only private jet she is riding tonight is this! (Points at his crotch).
MY LEADAH: Just don’t let those social media boys find out she’s going out with you fa, before they trend your name again. You know that mekunu boy…what’s his name again?
BOY: Jabgros. That boy is a terrorist on Twitter. I will deal with him soon!
MY LEADAH: Is it true he said he is the leader of all mekunus on Niagaraland Twitter?
BOY: Yes oh. He is always there, forming loyalty to the Parosident and his Vice. He thinks they are the best thing in the world since eba ati egusi.
MY LEADAH: Don’t mind those boys. They are just hungry. Give them small food, like omor Fanme-Bayode, and they will dance any dance for you.
BOY: True my leader. In fact, there was one small girl that used to make noise like Jabgros until Honourable Ragoda gave her small chop. The girl quiet pass mouse now!
MY LEADAH: you see? (To HEXCELLENCY!) Sorry Hexcellency!. We are keeping you waiting.
HEXCELLENCY!: Baa damuwa ai
BOY: Let me be on my way too my Leadah. I’m sure my Afin is waiting for me by now (laughs lewdly)
HEXCELLENCY!: Kai, you feofle are berry immoral gaskiya! My religion porbids me to engage in zis kind op ziscussion. Alhamdulilah!
BOY: But it allows you to pad Nyash budget, abi?
HEXCELLENCY!: Kai kamburuba! Zat one is not a sin gaskiya, ip you are doing it to peed your-a pamily, kaji kwo?
(They burst out laughing. Still guffawing, they exit the room together. Enter Sunday, who has been eavesdropping on their discussion, from behind a large book shelf. He stares sorrowfully after the departed trio whose laughter can still be heard in the distance)
SUNDAY: Nne, Naija don suffer!
‘Din Shehu is an occasional writer and amateur, albeit unpublished playwright. He tweets from @dinstots.