BusinessDay

Emefiele presidency saga: The only man who can fix Nigeria is my dad

What do you do when something is so fundamentally, hopelessly broken that there is literally no hope?

Sometime in the late 1990s, my little sister had a toy helicopter. I had a largely toy-free childhood because I was more of a book kid personally. My spectacularly pushy parents helped feed my obsession with knowing everything, buying me an assortment of encyclopedia, maps, books and magazines where boys my age had toy trucks and Power Rangers figures. I never knew I could get into toys until I laid my eyes on my sister’s toy chopper.

It didn’t actually fly, but you could wind it up or put in a pair of D batteries and watch it roll across the floor or counter, with its rotor blades moving at high speed. My sister did not like sharing the toy with me because I would play with it for hours inside the pantry, repeatedly winding it up and watching it go. She was barely able to talk at the time, and she did not appreciate this “agbaya” older brother monopolising her toy.

One fine afternoon, as little boys do, I convinced myself that if I could get the helicopter to roll off a raised surface with its rotors moving, it would remain airborne and I would have a bona fide miniature helicopter.

I wound it up on a kitchen worktop and held my breath as it rolled off the edge…and promptly smashed to bits on the porcelain floor. The house was immediately filled with the horrible, piteous wails of a little child in distress as my sister contemplated the sight of her favourite toy lying in pieces on the kitchen floor.

D.F. The fixer

Normally, I was Mr. Fix-It, but this time around there was nothing to fix. The toy had disintegrated and there was just no way out. My sister kept on wailing, her tiny body heaving with waves of pure, undiluted grief until my dad came back that evening. Dad met his lastborn in her very own private universe of misery, and her sheepish older brother who wished he hadn’t had that brilliant idea.

Without telling us where we were going, dad put us in the car and drove to a local store selling toys. He asked my sister to point out the exact one that I broke earlier in the day, and he bought two. Now you have yours and she has hers. Leave her own alone. And that was it – problem solved. My sister got her favourite toy back and so did I…until I broke mine a few days later, but that is another story.

After this incident, I solidified an image in my head of David F. Hundeyin as the man who could do anything. Dad was my very own personal superhero — the man we needed and deserved who was as generous with solutions to my problems as he was indestructible. He had health problems, but they never showed.

He was never broke and if he was, I never knew it. Whatever problem there was — a new pair of spike shoes for running practise, school fees, new laptop, advice for dealing with bullies, information about masculine grooming as a greasy teenager — dad had everything constantly loaded and ready to go.

At the time when N50 was Nigeria’s highest currency denomination and the banking system was, shall we say, rudimentary compared to the present day, dad often had to hold tens of millions of his clients’ money in cash at home while brokering deals.

I remember opening his wardrobe one day and seeing it lined literally ceiling to floor with naira bundles. Of course, I did not understand then that maybe 1 percent of that fantastic pile actually belonged to him. I thought we were rich! Dad was a superhero who had the solutions to everybody’s problems and he was rich!

Even later on as a 20-year-old university student in 2010, when I did something very foolish indeed with about £4,000 of money that wasn’t really mine to spend, all it took was one tearful phone call spilling my guts to the man, and he made the problem go away – instantly. Forever.

A few years later in 2015, when I was moving out into my first apartment in Lagos, I made it clear to him that I didn’t need his help and I had it under control. Still, I was not too surprised when my phone beeped at work a few days later and I saw a credit alert for N500,000 — my exact annual rent, which I had told him about in passing. He was just “that” guy.

The fixer is dead

I was going to write a column about CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele’s detestable attempt to make a total mockery of what little institutional credibility Nigeria has left. That column was going to be a glorious excoriation of the banker-turned-caricature now known as “Meffy.”

Instead, I ended up writing a broody article about how I miss my dad – and you know why? Because while thinking up this column in my head, one inescapable truth kept popping up repeatedly – none of it matters anyway.

Read also: Emefiele’s presidential ambition posses ethical dilemma

So you can deliver metaphorical knockout punches to a malfeasant CBN governor on the pages of a national daily – and so what? Will it stop him from wielding his power in all its malfeasance, or nullify his horrifying attempt to open the doors to the 7th circle of political Hell in Nigeria?

Will it stop him from having the power to unilaterally nix one’s ability to carry out financial transactions using the Nigerian banking system without any explanation or legal basis required? My knockout punches are metaphorical. His knockout punches are very much physical and real.

Some of us can only express our rage and indignation with varying degrees of eloquence on platforms like this, but when push really comes to shove, does it matter? Who is listening? Who cares? Certainly not Emefiele.

Definitely not any of the parade of clown queuing up to pay N100 million to have a go at spinning the giant 2023 election lottery wheel. The entire system is broken in an irreparable way that mirrors the state of my sister’s toy back when we were kids.

So what do you do when something is so fundamentally, hopelessly broken that there is literally no hope?

You write a BusinessDay column invoking the memory of a dead man who once had all the solutions back when your life was simple. Now if someone would be nice enough to raise N100 million for my dad’s corpse to run for president, that would be very nice.

One could even argue that it would be the next logical stage in the long-running unfunny joke that Nigeria has become.

And hey, it can’t be much worse than what we currently have.

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