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Michael Afenfia: Breakfast with Governor Ayade

Michael Afenfia

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This stay at home order is doing a number on me. Honestly, it got me imagining things on the regular and my already creative mind is on overdrive. As if it didn’t paint enough mental pictures and make-believe scenarios before the lockdown, now the juices flow unabated and I see a story in everything. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, I even imagine the conversation my neighbour’s dogs are having in their house.

Let me tell you what happened this morning. I saw a picture of something odd, and it got me thinking and imagining things in my head again. The image I saw on television immediately sent me to my imaginative place again and I imagined a conversation between the person I saw on the television and one of his staff.

So, for perspective, the person in the picture is Professor Benedict Bengioushuye Ayade, Governor of Cross River State. This is the conversation I imagined.

Good morning, Your Excellency.”

“Good morning, Victor. Where’s everybody?”

“Your Excellency, the First Lady, and First Children are in her quarters, but there are other people waiting outside to see you.”

Are you ready to have breakfast now, sir? There’s local and continental.”

I want an English breakfast. But please, Victor, when they serve it, tell the servers that I want them to use the blue China with the Coat of Arms. Remember to tell them that the spoons, forks, and knives must match the plate.”

“So, everything must be blue, Your Excellency?”

“Yes, everything must be blue or have a touch of blue.”

Your Excellency, where would you want your breakfast served? Would you want it here, in the dining room, or by the poolside?”

Let me eat in the dining today because the curtain is blue and that will go well with the plates and cutlery.”

In that case, I will tell them to serve that blue juice-wine, the one you bought from Spain.”

“That is good. Everything much match.”

“Your Excellency, your tailor, sorry, the stylist is here to see you. The SSG and your Commissioners are also among those waiting outside to see you. Who would you like to see first?”

Victor, that is a foolish question. How can you be asking me who I want to see first when I have an emergency on my hand that you are aware of. There is a global pandemic and people are dying and you are asking me who I want to see first. Please send in the tailor jor.”

“Stylist sir, you said we should call him stylist.”

“Will you go and bring him here right now!”

Victor goes out and comes back with the tailor, turned stylist.

Good morning Your Excellency.”

“Good morning. How’s your family? I hope you guys are social distancing and washing your hands regularly for twenty seconds.”

“Yes, Your Excellency.”

“By the way, have you collected your appointment letter?”

No sir. It is still on the SSG’s table. She is yet to append her signature.”

“What is wrong with this SSG sef? Ordinary to sign letter, she can’t. Since three weeks ago, I appointed you as my Senior Special Assistant on Dabbing and Fashion Trends, this Tina Banku Agbor is yet to give you your formal letter of appointment. Don’t worry, I will call her in after we finish and you must get your letter today. It is as if she doesn’t know the important role you are playing in this government. Doesn’t she know you are critical to the success of my administration? You must get your letter today.”

“Thank you, Your Excellency.”

Okay, my stylist, show me the things you brought for me.”

The stylist, now newly-appointed SSA shows him the things in his bag. The governor is suddenly agitated. He tosses the things aside in annoyance.

No now! I can’t be caught wearing any of these in public. Not in this pandemic. What will Buhari say if he sees me wearing facemasks without swag? What will the NCDC chairman think of me and Cross Riverians?”

“Your Excellency, you don’t like them?”
“How can I like them? How can I like this rubbish? Abi the material I gave you wasn’t enough?”

“The materials were enough.”

“So how come you are now bringing shirts with facemasks that don’t match?”

“I’m sorry sir.”

“I’m sad. In fact, from now on and even after we defeat this Corona nonsense, I want you to make sure any shirt you sew for me has a matching facemask and if there’s still left-over material, use it to do a patch or outside pocket on the trouser. If it is possible, let my shoe also have a touch of the same fabric. Remember the rule in this my government – everything must match. The world must see that I am fighting this Coronavirus head-on. We are in combat with an invincible enemy and I must be seen to be dressed for it.”

“I hear you, sir.”

“But this thing you brought does not tell the world that. Don’t you know that this my strategy of matching things is the reason why my state has not recorded any case of Covid-19 till date?”

“What about your citizens, should they match everything too?”

“No. But they must have one for every day of the week. I will decide on the colour and communicate with you.”

“Okay, Your Excellency.”

Victor, his Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs re-enters the room.

“Your Excellency, your breakfast is served.”

“Okay, Victor. Tell the SSG to join me.”

“What of the commissioners?”

“What are they wearing? If any of them is wearing blue or something with a touch of blue, you can ask them to join me in the dining room for breakfast.”

“Copy that, Your Excellency, the passcode for today is colour blue. Tomorrow, it will be red. And the red must be Ankara. We must beat this virus; this virus cannot beat us.”

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]

6 Comments

  1. Rex Dogood

    May 14, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    This needs a short comic or cartoon to follow.

  2. Ayomide D'great

    May 14, 2020 at 11:38 pm

    Beautiful storyline. Artfully written.

  3. Olufemi

    May 15, 2020 at 7:54 am

    This is very creative and funny. But there’s truth in the story. Seeing the colors makes more sense to them than the purpose. ?

  4. Grace Williams

    May 15, 2020 at 8:57 am

    ahahaha
    This is thrilling and captivating, I laughed out with tears
    This governor has got the perfect swag

  5. Taiwo Oladele

    May 15, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Looool. I see what you did here. I will leave it to the imagination of other readers too.
    I thoroughly enjoyed your breakfast with the Governor, I even sat at the table, with my blue Chevon shirt, royal blue pants, navy blue socks and a matching tie…

  6. Victor Oroyi

    May 16, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Hmmmm… Governor Ayade must hear this but first let go get my red Ankara because the governor must approve my proposal.

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