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Michael Afenfia: The President can Smile

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Ever since I watched Will Smith and his son, Jayden in that movie they did together a couple of years back about happiness, I’ve had a fascination with the concept of its pursuit. That story though is for another day. Today, I prefer to dwell on a more localised construct, because as it turns out, I’m not the only inquisitive one.

In America, it is an inalienable right provided for in the documents declaring their independence. Philosophers and great thinkers like Socrates, Confucius and John Stuart Mill have not been shy about espousing their two cents on the subject of happiness and its significance to mankind.

Some latched on to religious postulations, while others took a more hedonistic view to its attainment. At the end of day, whether it is found in money, power, possession, position, family, God or self, it seems like most of us spend our entire lives searching for happiness. Some give up along the way, while others just take whatever serving is available per time and wait for the next one. The wise ones amongst us though, somehow find a way of blending the happy and the sad into a beautiful mosaic called life.

So there are happy people, and then there are happy governments, because quite frankly, carving out an entire government office with people and money to ensure its smooth operation is pure genius. Rochas Okorocha knows what he is doing – trust me. Come on guys, this is the same man who is personal friends with world leaders, and has a private collection of their statues lining the streets of his capital city to prove it.

Come to think of it, what if Rochas wasn’t wrong to have created a Ministry of Happiness and Couples or is it Purpose Fulfilment? What if he was right and the rest of us watching and making fun of him are wrong? What if because of him and his foresight, Imo State becomes the world capital for happy people and tourists from all over travel to Owerri in droves to find genuine happiness and fulfilment. Just think, when that day comes and Imo State is raking in happy-dollars as revenue, who would have the last laugh? Let me guess – Owelle Rochas Okorocha and his wise advisers!

My only grouse, though, was why the governor and his team had to chicken out and change “Couples Fulfilment” to “Purpose Fulfilment,” because if you ask me, when couples are fulfilled, they achieve their purpose faster. So I urge him to reconsider the nomenclature of that ministry his blood sister heads.

But on a serious note, if fulfilment and happiness weren’t that important, why would Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity spend so much of the people’s money on a documentary just to show to Nigerians that our President smiles, our President laughs, our President has a sense of humour. Really?

I thought Mr. President’s thing was fighting corruption. That was the red meat thrown to voters in 2015 that got people chorusing, “change” and “sai Baba.” So what changed? The President can’t tout anti-corruption anymore because of all the allegations of nepotism, budget padding, contract award scams and yes, corruption involving high-ranking villa staff and some key appointees, so he wants us to see the other side of him?
But still … a documentary? His handlers might as well have put him in distressed denim and have him dab and dance shoki to Olamide’s “wo.” That would really be something, wouldn’t it?

Finally, Nigerians get to see the cool side of the President and hopefully that might get him re-elected in 2019. Before then, we would really like to know from his spokespeople if our President is actually 74, 75 or 80 years old. Knowing how old he really is would help us relate with him better, and tell age appropriate jokes that would make him laugh even more.

But if by chance you have other ideas on how to make the President come across as happy, apart from consulting the Imo State Ministry for Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment, please feel free to share. Perhaps, your suggestions would get to Mr. Adesina who desperately wants to see his boss happy and smiling for Nigerians.

A proud son of the Ijaw nation and lover of Nigeria, Michael Afenfia associates with everything good and exciting about Nigeria. His ongoing work, the Mechanics of Yenagoa, is published on his blog every fortnight. So far, he has authored three critically acclaimed novels and a number of nonfiction writing, including a biography. He is @MichaelAfenfia on social media and can be reached via [email protected].

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