• Monday, May 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

The henchmen’s henchmen

Can a fractured nation rise? The challenges and hope for Nigeria

I had a lot on my mind this week. The end of Ramadan, which culminated in Eid el Fitr, Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim brothers and sisters. May all your prayers and sacrifices be received by God, Amen. As I drove through Abuja, I saw gaily dressed boys and girls in their new Sallah outfits. I got some food from my neighbours and friends and saw a major distribution of food at different distribution points for the less privileged that took place throughout Ramadan. The spirit of the season, which was also the spirit during the just concluded Lenten and Easter seasons, Always the lessons of charity, prayer, fasting, and sacrifice, with the hope that what we fasted from—not just food in my Catholic faith but also from bad character or bad habits—can be curbed once and for all. I say amen to that.

Read also: The significance and lessons from Ramadan

I have also had the collapse of the grid on my mind—the long hours of no light in my home where we have had to depend on other energy sources. And I am band A, but because of the increasing lack of electricity, my children have resorted to describing the hours of light we get as 28 hours rather than the announced 20–24 hours as announced by the authorities. It’s hilarious! When the generator has been on for too long, they look me right in the eye and say, “Mum. Wow, we are getting 28 hours of light; all hail the authorities!” Now it’s no longer funny. They now go up, NEPUS! mimicking what used to be Up NEPA when the lights go off, come back, and go off again. A blender has been a casualty, and some electrical equipment is threatening Kaput! I am now seriously exploring solar. Nigeria just makes you creative, no matter who you are.

My thoughts have also been with the soldiers that died in Okuoma Community, the horror of their deaths, and the pain of their families, but that is a story for another day.

Today, we are dwelling on our henchmen. CEOs, politicians, and just any Oga man or woman and their spouses, men or women

Let us be clear about operationalizing the word men. Here, it serves like homo-sapien, the generic word man for both genders. I am an advocate for gender equality, but let me make my peace now. I mean the Oga at the top, be it man or woman, and their spouses. Now we are clear!

So, who are the henchmen’s henchmen? These are the people who serve as aides, drivers, domestic staff, and other related jobs on the field. Now you get, abi?

Last week, my spouse and I turned up at a wedding as guests, access card asoebi( for me), and all. You know those bouncers… they were on duty. They are good someday, and other days, not so sure. But they were good on this day. Behind us was a shout of urgency from an aide of a former someone. He wanted us all to disappear for his boss, who was way behind us, to gain entrance. My husband gave him a full eye and asked him what he thought we were doing at the entrance. We came to play. At which point his boss asked him to pull back and duly dignified himself.

Something happens when some people hold public office. It can go to their heads, and they play demi-God. It’s even more so when they have aides who cannot manage the public space or manage others in relation to their bosses. A lot of them are frothing in the mouth to show their loyalty by doing the most insane things in public in the name of protection. Watch them around their bosses; all dignity is gone. I watch in amazement how some overzealous ones try to carry their bosses, shove everyone out of the way, and act pretty ridiculous. When all these positions end, they move on to the next person who needs a henchman and act all fresh and loyal. It’s insane. So many Oga or Madams don’t cope when it’s all over. Why can’t you just be authentic on the job?

Read also: Senate Leader, Bamidele, urges Muslim faithful to hold fast lessons from Ramadan fasting

Be yourself. Treat others well, and pull your henchmen back. I understand positions like the President and other such related positions with security laid out. But what about you, CEO? CEOs wife. Talk to your drivers. Train your staff. Train your aides. A little kindness all around! Toh!

I know the wife of a top-level person who, every time she is enraged, throws her shoe at her protocol officer, who is old enough to be her elder brother. The shame is unspeakable.

But what about drivers who break lights and are self-righteous when they drive? With you in the car, they sometimes misbehave. When you are not there…hmmm, the sheer power of the henchman’s henchman. They drive like lunatics and wish you off the highway. Some of them are the drivers of top-level security personnel. The shame.

The classic henchman’s henchman is the domestic staff who takes children to school. A school for children of the top echelon is near my house. The drivers park rudely, and the maids walk like they would break when they cross the road, taking their sweet time. If they work for a white couple and the kid is white, that’s the end. This black Nigerian girl now begins to believe she is Spanish. Merde!