The ‘Honorable’ from Abuja

…Of all the businesses engaged by the ‘honorable’ the most potent is the business of ‘self deceit and duplicity’ – You are either deceiving yourself and wasting your precious time following these shady characters, soliciting for their assistance or you are being goaded by greed and ignorance.

By Njoku SaintJerry A

The small city of Abuja, home to Nigeria’s capital is littered with sets of men and women addressed as “Honorable.”
The acronym is a popular nomenclature attributed to elected officials at both the Upper and Lower Chamber of the National Assembly located in this city, with extension of the presence of ubiquitous civil servants almost at every turn and handful of traders, job seekers and fortune hunters. While the elected officials referred as ‘honorable members’ sit in the comfort of their green and red chambers, debating and jive talking, another breed of ‘honorables’ reign supreme virtually in all matters of decision making and businesses transaction outside the chambers.
Abuja is an administrative city of government workers laced with job seekers, dreamers pursuing contracts, one favours or the other and this mix of titled young men of various shades, missions and characters addressed as ‘Honorables’ with one common occupation – meeting here, meeting there and another meeting with no aim to produce anything but another series of ‘Honorables’ with one intention – to outwit, act as bait and make your fairy dreams come true and virtually at every corner of the metropolis, there are groups of ‘honourables’ hanging out or just idling at the various outdoor joints littered across the serene city. Whichever way it works out, you will be culpable, either as a prey or as the dreamer.
Oversea embassies are located here in the city and virtually all documents of claim for anything that has to do with official documentation including authentication and processing of business, civil and other administrative documents takes place here but nothing thrives more as the business of the “Honorables.’
You want to see the President or sit with the minister, a Honorable is there to assist you, you want to get a contract, a honorable is there to take your story, you want a job for any of your children, you sure need the honorable or should you just want some money for your night business, some honorable will be having a party and will need some coke bottle shape busty ladies to spice up the meeting. Now ‘run away’ married madams are included in the night party and lot more.
Of all the businesses engaged by the ‘honorable’ the most potent is the business of ‘self deceit and duplicity’ – You are either deceiving yourself and wasting your precious time following these shady characters, soliciting for their assistance or you are being goaded by greed and ignorance.  I been led and fooled by shades of ‘honourables’ – they come in sizes too.
A supply is about to happen from office of the bureau of procurement at the Federal Secretariat, a contract s pending at the Presidency, the ministry, the agency of government, they need thousands of bags of rice to be supplied to the IDP camps, they need buses to be supplied to all the agencies, there is road rehabilitation for all the federal roads, they need stationeries for all the ministries, a construction for overhead bridges and street light to all the villages in Northern Nigeria and lots more, sometimes a minister is traveling overseas for ‘debt collecting’ conference and the honorable will be  leading the delegation to the oversea country.
Demands are rife, opportunities to assuage your desires to become rich by the connection of the Abuja honorables are endless and almost every ‘new comer’ believes the honorable wield some influence as he engages you in the lobby of one of the numerous hotels dotted across the city flipping pictures of himself and the President, the Minister, the governors, shaking hands with virtually all the ministers, the permanent secretaries, the DG’s of government agencies, courting the friendship of elite madams and who’s who in the city – then you swooned and fall for the bait – Just like that!

I lost millions of naira that cannot be accounted for with the ‘honorable’ a friend lost hundreds of thousands of dollars with the honorable and he was lucky to escape out of the country although badly broke and traumatized, I made enemies of friends for introducing them to the honorable with a promise that he will connect them to any agency of government.

 like I said; they come in sizes and shades; he could be a clergy, a founder of a certain NGO, the President’s Cousin or family relation to the grandfather of sister of grandmother to the President or the governor’s hit man – all is a ruse!

 These are skilled fraudsters, con men aced in their game and sure has backup.
Then I took time to find out what and who made these ‘honorables.’ Are they a product of any election, any appointment or honorary assignment?
I found out; it’s a ‘titled’ thing; a self aggrandizement society loves her titles and attaches so much value to them, if that is the only laurel you could fly for a reputation – that should suffice! You’re the man!
The society made these honorables, a society that glory in self deceit, men got to catch up to act the script, then our greed and ignorance made them thrive.

Here is a man I do not know his origin other than his friends and accomplice hail and address him as ‘honorable’ – they do nothing but hang about in various hotels in Abuja, scheduling one meeting or the other – I did not bother to inquire, morning till evening, day by day, these men has no business other than meeting and scheduling various visits to several government offices, no industry, no office other than hotel lobbies, under the tree, outdoor joints and everyone hails “honorable, Honorable’ honorable to which constituency, which political party, which office, what business?, I fell in for the bait – a contract, a procurement, an employment, some documentation, seeking for privileged contacts, etc
You can’t walk out of your own hurt, if you fail to do proper inquiry of the characters and background information of the men you dealing with in Abuja.

Deceiving oneself is like inflicting an emotional harm that bleeds even when you’re alone,  especially when you find out these are crass unintelligent men thriving on the gullibility of some of us who are too impatience to conduct proper due diligence on these fat paunch, fancy dress, smooth talking strangers

So it was with my friend, a colleague, had an appointment with the ‘big man’ a Nigerian big man, a king, political and community Chief. At whichever angle, the ‘big man’ had it all made, king, chief, politician, community leader, even a king maker too – as I learned, the president in Abuja had invited him over for some mutual discussion.
We had waited for about 3 days in Abuja, impatience, frustration and anger building as our meetings always take place between 1.00AM to 2.00AM, and sometimes we must keep awake till very late hours because this Chief can call anytime requesting to see you.
We hurried upstairs into his hotel room that fateful night, here is the Chief seated with his eyes roving round about us like we were some sort of a menace, our link man, himself, an Abuja honorable, doubled as Chief’s handy man was quick to douse the tension by guiding us to the drinks as he take on the introduction – “These boys need encouragement Your Excellency, I brought them to you, they need to be rehabilitated, they’re oversea Returnees, I hope you can work with them” Chief sipped his glass of wine and sized us up, forced a smile and heaved a sigh; “Una welcome”, he greeted, “Una fit work so?, Anyway, relax, una go make money until una tire for money” – On hearing this last sentence – the whole room dotted with late night hanger-ons, pimps, drivers and others echoed almost in unison; Your Excellency, Your Excellency, Your Royal Highness Sir, May your enemies die ten times before you”, As I adjust my sitting position, My partner was already down on his two knees and his arms stretched towards Chief as he sings “God bless you Sir, God bless you sir, May your reign be forever.!”
 His excitement appear so surreal  that I had to shift back into the sofa to size up the young man named Chief Shakabula we’re all addressing as Your Excellency and falling over each other whose reverence and loyalty would surpass the other. His Skin was not any fresher, neither was his teeth encrusted with gold and diamond, he wore a cap accustomed to his tribe in Nigeria and certainly was his clothes not sewn with dollar and naira notes.

My friend was still on his knees by now, dropped his glass of drink as he continue to shower prayers and blessings on His Royal Majesty at every breath, “We will not fail you, Chief, we can deliver, anything Chief, just give us a try.” We learned Chief has a very elaborate ceremony under schedule and our link man, the honorable has brought us over to meet with his rank of friends and partners whom make up members of the political elites, the Abuja big men, the honorable that can make your dreams come true overnight.

We gave the Chief a copy of our proposal, he glanced through and remarked “Don’t worry, you boys has come at the right time, go and prepare yourself to count money” – and the room echoed again, “Long Live your Royal Majesty Sir, Your Excellency, Your Excellency, May your enemies die young!”
When we left the room returning to our location in the wee hours of the night, my colleague could not hold his excitement rather he rebuked me sternly for acting indifferently when an inherent opportunity to make ‘Abuja Money’ has finally come.
 
We returned home and the next day we began to celebrate the success of our ‘soon to come’ wealth, a blessing from the honorable.
My colleague out of excitement took the bills for all the night orgies for the honorable and his men for taking us close to our dreams.
We had waited for another 7 days in Abuja, spending on our link man and his men as we wait on a return visit to His Royal Majesty but that never happened. Later we would find out that Abuja, is a self made mix city of men and women of all shades and characters, divers in their trade, ‘forked tongued’ and skilled in studying ‘who want to meet the Chief’ the Minister, the President, who need the contract, the employment, the documentation, the interview and certainly there were many of us in the queue – from journalist, contractors, job men and divers professionals with every election year producing more ‘honorables’ – vain fancy dressed portfolio business men with no industry or trade other than deceit

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