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Spygalss:Born To Rule 

By Azore Opio

When the year 2009 was spinning to its logical end, I sat lounging on my veranda with kola nut and a gourd full of uncut palm wine. On my lap was a very captivating book by Tah Asongwed, a man whom I later learnt was born in Baforchu in the Grassfields. I was trying to read it, but for all the effort that I made, I could not make head nor tail of the context until something he said about people who are born to rule caught my attention.

What you are about to read, and this is in good faith, is not fiction nor is it legendary. It is based on facts that may arouse anger in some people, dismay and self-pity in others and yet vengeance and patriotism in others. All reactions and their accompanying mirth and wrath are expected and very welcome. Anyway, my mind wandered back to a certain life president’s state-of-the-nation missive to his subjects, which I retrieved from my heap of archived correspondences. It went something like this.

"I have been in the corridors of power for so long I can hardly remember when I first I ascended to the seat of power. I feel, therefore, that it is my honourable duty, on behalf of my people, to write and set the record straight. As I have already made up to 15 years, or is it 30 years in power, I am sorry I can’t remember very well, nevertheless, I have borrowed a title, "President for Life," from a comrade in ruling. To this title I could have added my own coinage; "The Secrets of Longevity in Power" but that is another story altogether.

"Being sensible of the great difficulty of conveying such bitter facts and being sympathetic, particularly for the benefit of my fellow bumbling citizens, I have adopted a hard hitting tongue-in-cheek style. I must also take this early opportunity to confess before the whole world that I am filled with inbred discontent, greed and an uncontrollable penchant for violence when I am denied my divine right to rule forever.

Anyway, for a man who has first rate talent and is in possession of a particular flair, I don’t have to try very hard to rule forever, for I can always parlay my talent or flair into a living without any particular charm, and I am glad that my people are lucky to have above them a man of my mundane background and low I.Q for a ruler. "Friends, you must thank God that you belong to my country. Although I am not in a position to guarantee your independence, I must warn you that the moment you gave me the opportunity to rule you, you must have been prepared to face all your difficulties on your own.

I have by far more pressing duties to perform than to be cajoling you to live well besides maintaining my power. Sometimes, I hear foreigners say that mine is a poor country. Yes, indeed. There are no skyscrapers; there aren’t many limousines except, of course, mine and those of my minions; there are no factories. Mine is a very poor country if you compare it to the rest of the world. But when you asked me to rule you, you ought to have known that I was not going to build you houses, buy cars for you or put food on your tables.

"The task of nation building naturally falls on me, of course, but this honour carries with it great responsibilities and pains. And if I am to live up to this challenge, I must cultivate certain essential values; a love for good food and fine wines and whisky; the tenacity for power and a mind tuned to protect the likes and interests of those who co-opted me as your ruler.

To achieve these values, I have decided to bring to a standstill the entire democratic machinery and the institutions shall be used as my poultry factories. Our democratic character shall, therefore, take a hue which doesn’t depict the fullest expression of your desires and wishes until we, (my collaborators and I) decide that the contact between the source of power and those at the receiving end of the rod of justice is safe.

I, therefore, think that power under this system of government resides, not in the majority of people, but in the hands of self-styled rulers such as us. I also believe that we are basically agreed that I can build a strong nation on the basis of centralised power where dictatorship is my guiding light. In the final analysis, it will be accepted that respect for my dignity and worth is paramount. I also want to assure you that the monopolistic approach affects all fields of life and it is my firm intention to secure and maintain law and order for the safety and longevity of this monopoly.

"Let me tell you something that might put your troubled minds to rest; what God does, He does well. But God cannot do everything on his own; He chooses instruments through which He accomplishes His works. I am that instrument! All at once penetrating, persevering and convincing.

How else, would I, even as I am so unpretending of genius, low in the scale of intelligent beings, govern you a people who have taken God’s motto – Patiens qiua oeternus – to be your own motto illustrating your own patience over me; a people very humble and every disinherited; a weak people who have no force except when they creep to beg me to rule further into the future; a people who hardly reap what they sow, who labour for abstract ideas and use all their energies to maintain one man; ME! And with all their sweat, heap their respect and admiration upon me and create a royal cloud and a sacred halo around me; you a mysterious people, how could I govern you if God Almighty had not bestowed upon me the divine powers of penetration, perseverance and conviction?" How should I end this article then? Cheers, and keep suffering and smiling.

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