Wednesday, 24 December 2014

What is Abuja?

Is it the man, the senator, who has nine cars: a few Mercedes’, a few Ferraris, many more? Did he buy any of them when he last travelled officially or unofficially to the United States of America the month before last? Does he have four different chauffeurs, each with a car of specialty? Does the senator eat at least three times in a day? Does he eat things like a few salad sandwiches for breakfast, pounded yam and egusi soup with lots of meat and or fish in it for lunch, the best fried rice with the most decently fried fried chicken for supper? At the end of the night does he go to a bar? Does he order the most expensive wine, champagne? Does he order bottles of the most expensive beer? Does he eat more meat, fish? – Suya? Fish pepper soup? Beef pepper soup? Is he living the Abuja dream?
Is it the rich man who doesn’t work half as much as he earns? Who goes to work every morning, his office, freezing in the absurd exuberance of a fitted air-condition turned to its coolest temperature? Does the man feel he needs to make more money because somehow his salary is not enough for him? Does he think his family – his wife who has three cars of her own and has a chain of departmental stores all around the municipality, his two sons who are studying in the best universities in the United Kingdom – are not living comfortably enough? Does he add one more zero to the five million to be sent to the presidency for approval? Once the presidency approves the fifty million, does he remove his share – forty five million? Does he do this alone? Is he assisted by someone? – A secretary? Two secretaries? Does he give these people a share of the forty five million?
Is it the randy businessman whose wealth was handed to him on a platter by his late, hardworking father? Who considers it an insult for a beggar to stray towards his company? Does he harass these beggars? Does he arrest them? Does he consider himself too rich to have beggars hover around his company? – Hover around his home? Does he have three wives that fight nonstop about things bordering the ridiculous, then the supernatural? Does he still go to the club every night and dance with little girls that are so utterly dumb, they think their bodies are objects? Does he collect their phone numbers at the end of the night? Does he call them the next day? Does he call them the next night? Does he tell them to meet him at a certain hotel room at a certain time? Are these girls young enough to be his daughter? Are these girls underage? Does this man pay them for whatever services they render to him at the hotel room? Are these girls prostitutes? Is this man living the Abuja dream?
Is it the streets bordered by yellow and white coloured street lights or the fast, flashy cars that drive through the twenty four hours of the day on these streets? Is it the closes named after local governments or the streets named after the countries? Is it the Chinese restaurants? KungFu? Chopsticks? Or is it not?

Could it be the man who lives in a suburb next to the refuse dump of that suburb or the refuse dump of the whole city? Next to construction sites that billows dust into his nostrils and probably cancer into his throat? Is it the man that builds his house from aluminum roofing sheets because he knows a demolition is inevitable in the future?  When will this demolition happen? In three years? In two years? Three months? Next month? Tomorrow? Does this man have a family? Does he have kids? Is he living the Abuja dream? Can he live the Abuja dream? Does such nonsense even exist?
Is it the cab driver whose home is the backseat of his cab? Where does he take his baths, this cab driver? Does he take his baths? Does he make enough to afford to feed himself? Is his cab in good shape? Does he need to change the engine? Does he need to change the gear? Does he need to change the shaft? Does it make infuriating noises every time he changes to a higher gear? Will he love to have a new cab? – One with an automatic gearing system, perhaps? Does he make enough to change anything? Is he living the Abuja dream? Does such ridiculousness even exist?
Is it the little boys and the little girls, dressed in rags or completely undressed, that sing as the airplane flies through the sky over the refuse dump in front of their hut, ‘Aeroplane bye bye,’? Is this airplane a private jet? Is it the senator travelling to the United States again? Will he buy another car this time around? – A Lincoln? A Citroën? A Lamborghini with the fancy doors?
Is Abuja a farce? Is Abuja overrated? Does Abuja exude fakery? Is Abuja the rich men with the many cars and money, the rich streets that look like heaven or is it the backyard of the animal farm where animal dungs are buried, covered up by sand and pretty cotyledons, to hide it's dirtiness? It's shame? It's unprecedented levels of inequality?

Thanks for reading this, if you read this. This writeup is an experiment, really - a series of questions that naturally answer themselves and tell a story.
You may want to read Donald Bathelme's Concerning the Bodyguard,  this. And Elnathan John's Politics, this. Great reads.
Till next time,, Keep dreaming!! 

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