Your Brief Bio:
Elhassan: Altine Jojo studied Surveying at the University of Wolverhampton; specializing in Environment and Sustainable Development at the University College London. Since 2009, she has committed herself to writing about socioeconomic realities of living and working in modern Nigeria often times from a female’s perspective using satire and humorous imagery.
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#Future of Africa # Her Excellency # Unified Republics of Africa # electricity generating thread mills # 2036 #2037 # Ministry of Traditional Affairs # mobile capitals #dance with the cannibals # Team Ace #training schools # Public Service # Civil Service
It is the year 2036 in my continent, the Unified Republics of Africa whose capital is currently Nigeria. Too many Africans over the decades had voted shamelessly and were subconsciously trained to crave for power in a bid to commandeer a life of luxury and possibly escape the realities of the charms of day-to-day living within their individual Republics. The debauched actions of too many policymakers over the years had motivated daring, stereotype breakers and trailblazers in various climes and fields to join in the financially productive game called politics. Now, a group of young professionals, with Her Excellency Emeritus at the lead, hungry to deviate from the norm, believed they had to fashion a new path for the last four politicking decades had taught them the bleakest of tenures always gave way to a new dawn.
Six hundred and eighty five aspiring Senators and Representatives jostling for seats in the National Assembly across the Republics have successfully passed the three hour webinar and Skype interviews on eight core modules namely Basic Sciences, Ethics & Current Affairs, Entrepreneurship & Legal Studies, Poverty Mitigation Techniques, Household Ecology of Financial Regression, Sustainable Financial Management & Control, Investment Appraisal and Communication & Key Skills. They have also enjoyed the hospitality of various motels across the capital, and are set for the final interview at their respective Arenas as stipulated under the African law that mandates candidates fully engage and excel in field activities to validate their practical dexterities and intellectual proficiencies.
The field activities are strategically designed to promote swift and rational thinking in the face of complex challenges that have kept several middle and lower class families waltzing through endless balls of adversity whilst constantly trying to douse the flames of the menace labelled poverty. It is hoped that these activities at the National Arena, a brainchild from the Ministry of Youth & Social Development and endorsed by over ninety seven percent of the African populace would meet its goal of exposing aspirants to some curve balls most Africans tackle whilst toiling at a range of occupations from dusk to dawn in a bid to maintain some sustainable form of livelihood.
This new administration is hopeful the proposed activities will also ascertain fitness-stamina levels amongst other soft skills so the nation experiences an extraordinary decline in medical tourism amongst others that have slowly morphed into the norm. Her government is confident the anticipated batch of driven, result-oriented intellects should efficiently resolve the multidimensional challenges that have plagued the United Republics of Africa since the amalgamation two years back. More importantly, the results of the aforementioned should achieve the secondary objective which is a verification of intellectual capacities against stamina levels in the face of unanticipated crisis especially for those with muscles enfeebled from spa treatments received over the weekend.
A weather-friendly Monday morning accompanies aspirants to the National Arena specially built for the second phase of this validation exercise. Our expatriate team of uniformed ushers consisting of a hundred registered cannibals living on the brink of an endangered Amazon forest warmly welcome guests with smiles and nicely, filed teeth. Dismay not, for they would have sworn oaths to traditional rulers densely populated across Africa not to indulge in what could potentially be a nourishing feast. They have also signed blood covenants with the Ministry of Traditional Affairs not to devour the work-in-progress policymakers kitted in three accessories namely drive, dark green shorts and Nike sneakers. These are mandatory emblems that should hasten movements, fairly limit guaranteed trips and showcase marathon skills to the legions of spectators who booked two months in advance to secure seats at the National Arena.
In a nod to humanity and corporate social responsibility tenets, the aspiring policymakers showered in quinine syrup to prevent tear and wear for some obstinate cannibals who may chance a lick when they eventually catch up with any. Do remember that the cannibals would have agreed to a no-consumption clause for the shades of meat on the run. The Presidency reiterates a zero tolerance for bites or scratches; however, hugs and amicable pecks from our expatriate visitors are permitted and encouraged. They are also mandated to terrify sufficiently to better stimulate brain cells, bottom limbs and possibly activate upper limbs.
The appointed jury, resident in the capital Nigeria, would comprise Wole Soyinka, Aliko Dangote, Daniel Amokachi, Sunday Oliseh, Oby Ezekwilisi, Ngozi Okonjo Iwela, Folake Alakija, Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nwankwo Kanu and two others who are yet to confirm their availability for this historic event. Enoch Adeboye would declare the event open after Aliko Dangote croones the new National Anthem with vocal support from 2Face, Davido, Dbanj, Harry Song, Wiz kid, Lagbaja, Mavin crew, P-square, Phyno, Samsung, Simi, Shina Peters, Terry G and the few others who have paid off outstanding dues to the African Music Guild. These creative celebrities will provide unending hip-hop tunes that would last the course of the event and hopefully, stir the feet of both spectators and aspiring policy makers.
Immediately after the national anthem has been prayed, the artistes in no particular order turn up the steam and esteemed spectators shall appreciate the art of Physical Education. Celestine Babayaro, Oby Ezekwilisi and Taribo West play supervisory roles with the latter playing the lead role to ensure proceedings run smoothly and participants pay heed to health and safety regulations as medical aid is limited to a ten liter keg of iodine, a five liter container of spirit, some balls of cotton wool, hand towels and small containers of glucose tablets to boost energy levels as and when necessary.
International media and indigenous paparazzi present to record this historic occasion are Aljazeera, BBC, CNN, NTA International, AIT, Channels, Silver bird and a few radio stations including Hot and Cool FM’s. It is hoped citizens get a chance to watch the event live at least once a lifetime having considered tones of related pleas, advice and suggestions.
At the conclusion of the hour long exercise, the referees namely Anthony Joshua, Blessing Okagbare, Jay Jay Okocha, Mikel Obi, Nwankwo Kanu, Tijanni Babangida and Victor Ikpeba would end proceedings. The lead referee, Blessing does the honours with a trumpet after a prompt from the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development. A member of the jury, Chiamanda unlatches the exit doors to release all who failed by fainting or falling twice or more. This group would be eliminated whilst bona fide athletes are awarded handshakes and certificates from Ngozi and Wole who sat through proceedings with disgusted looks on their faces.
The winners shall proceed to the second stage of this phase, a thirty minute Question and Answer session chaired by Dangote and Oby whilst the cannibals would be given a drink of zinc-flavoured nestle water and bush meat heavily laced with banned sedatives. On maximum consumption, all would be further sedated intravenously, strapped on planes and exported back to the Amazon whilst the successful squad will be prepared to proceed for screening by Her Excellency Emeritus, the President of the Unified Republics of Africa. She reckons aspiring policymakers should do justice to the Self Developing and Empowering exercises especially in the wake of the recent, very unfortunate lapses across the Civil and Public Service in the various Republics.
At the close of this exercise, I am certain future aspirants would embark on apt self-examinations prior public displays of largely fictional athletic prowess and mental incompetence on a grand scale. Some members of her cabinet believe this is the best way to choose individuals that would do her Presidency proud. A highlight on her does not do justice to her achievements so far, nevertheless- Her Excellency Emeritus, is the first female President of my continent. She is currently based in a new capital which many consider to be the “heart of Africa” and the envy of several being abundantly blessed with both natural and human resources. She aspires to boost the continents economy to much greater standards but the powers that be still try to curb her steady progress.
A majority of her rural dwellers have ploughed away the fertility of mother earth, infecting the land with readily available, inorganic fertilizers. This is not solely their faults but greedy, middle-men who have fed off their labors for a long, long time. Unsurprisingly, this vicious cycle of doom had been incessant for centuries as a result of intergenerational hallmarks of semi-literacy, ignorance, a glaring lack of know-how, corruption, greed amongst other deplorable vices. The rurals, discontent with their standard of living and deep-sated hunger for more spiraled her party into resounding victory based on what had been termed ‘core sustainable, campaign promises’ and her track record as a formidable and accomplished entrepreneur with branches in all four war-torn Republics. She would leave her mark on her motherland. It was the dawn of a new era whether the voodists liked it or not.
Her training schools in the Republics of Niger, Somalia and Congo were equipped to support aspiring policy makers with diverse skills that repel intellectual redundancy, rebuild and refine essential ethics. Her Excellency Emeritus needed diligent and courageous leaders who were committed to executing poverty-mitigating techniques while meeting the needs of the masses within their communities. Female farmers in the rural areas, especially those who had recently been bereaved due to inter-tribal conflicts had had an unfortunate history of being swindled by unscrupulous third parties. Her government also aims to offer sanctuaries to marginalized individuals at the peripheries of their communities. By championing women as the “master keys” to building formidable societies and positive growth through empowerment, Her Excellency was steadily rousing the sleeping giant, better known as sustainable development. She had also begun to scale-up their means of livelihood by providing multiple benefits which included scholarships for children under 18, medical insurance and tax-free discounts on purchase of modern farming machinery. She felt a bottom-up approach was the only solution to revamping the semi-quagmire that was the nation’s economy which she had inherited. This is why she resides in each of the Republics for a month to familiarize herself with the issues stagnating growth and development within the ward.
In compliance with protocol, I extend a warmer welcome to Her Excellency herself- to highlight her findings on the most fundamental and final phase of her nine month selection process. Your Excellency, Miss…
I believed I had found the key to unlocking a go-slow/who cares mentality across my continents, my campaigns from republic to republic meant deciphering and offering bespoke antidotes to the multi-hydral challenges partially unique to each ward. From capital to capital, I invaded and surveyed to bring an end to the Bronze Age mentality. I disbanded my Field Research fellows and whipped up another team to bridge the gaps responsible for keeping the continent in hibernation mode. I had too much on my plate for myopic legislators. I almost bled out during negotiations for a single currency and very extensive translations into what it would mean for the African economy. For the first time in history, all Republics were on the same page. I had shunned the international media who had hounded me for interviews- truth is, I was too busy to spare time. My continent needed my undivided attention- perhaps I could fit them in when my tenure elapsed. I cannot even begin to disclose how grave some Republics are, it’s akin to stepping back into some unexplained history. Good grief- forgive my manners:
I am sitting President of the Unified Republics of Africa, South African by birth, Ghanaian by education, Nigerian by residence and Senegalese by livelihood. I travel often. In answer to your other question, yes, I needed four passports at a point in time in my life. No surprises as to my first course of action after my vigorous campaign and win to become the first female president of the continent. At the risk of being arrogant, I was born to push at the frontiers of the impossible and possible. I remain committed to addressing the complexities and diversities of the somewhat fertile challenges plaguing my continent. While my privacy has been lost with the wind, I am pleased to say the price has been worth it.
I have to admit I was saddened I missed the dance with the articulate cannibals- hopefully someone remembered to record the event before it was lost to history.
Solar panels have not gone cheaper over the years; so, I looked forward to each Republic generating their power. My administration has paved the way and validated the importance of slogans. It was one that has proved popular and remained on the lips of all including the convicts who had voted me enmasse after assuring them a speedy sentence, free dental treatment, healthier and tastier meal portions, better living conditions and firm mattresses. I believe the latter were responsible for the back aches and bad postures. Moreover, these were partly responsible for convicts lying idle in cells. I have also approved mass production of electricity-generating thread mills from Cairo, Dakar and Pretoria in a bid to boost and maintain power supply across the Republics. They were also for the range of mischief makers spread across my continent. I could already conjure them uniformly dispensing electricity to homes and offices after a three hour run- a most sustainable way to eliminate delinquency.
The month of October 2037 in my capital ushers in a wintry weather called ‘the harmattan’. Thus, I am pleasantly surprised watching the enthusiasm and level of commitment oozing off the fifty eight successful aspirants on my screens. I shake my head as I recall the series of intensive activities they had executed over the last nine months, now this-
The first team, Team Ace, who had embraced carpentry, had crafted something that could best be described as a hanger-on. The veteran carpenter on the panel of judges had almost lost his vision at first sight of the contraption. He grew dark-black with rage at the team when they insisted it was a shoe shelf. Excuses eventually ranged from running out of nails to several members stepping on a couple of them a day prior to the final whistle. I stifled coughs when I heard one of the judges, Folake Alakija enquire what business their feet had with carpentry. To crown their efforts, the team ended up losing sawdust they had generated to the rains as they failed to gather their proceeds early enough for their ally, Team Best.
This second team, who were billed to kick-start their activities with sawdust for the poultry were at a loss as to where to source for materials for their birds. Due to haste and reasons best known to them, they had overfed and forgotten to debeak them. We watched in near-horror as several team members sustained injuries battling chickens the size of turkeys. Team Best had also forgotten that they needed warm weather and care to spur their chickens into producing large eggs. The hidden cameras revealed large, noisy, unhappy-looking layers in shabbily curtained sheds birthing cracked, average-sized eggs on to a cold, stony ground covered with worn-out mats. It didn’t take any sibyl to deduce the last team, Team Conscientious would have insufficient eggs for the king-sized national cake they had been contracted to bake in celebration of our successful amalgamation. It was a shame the team had failed after their lengthy nine month run. Nevertheless, I looked forward to assessing the next batch of finalists.
Going through some submissions, I selected some sixty five persons who had passed similar exercises in Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Freetown, Juba, Kigali, Kinshasa and Niamey. They sounded apt, met other criteria and seemed to have grasped the notion of proactive synergy. I hoped they did me proud and understood winning meant getting it right from their first exercise. I shook my head wryly at the A-names the other teams of the previous batches had come up with: Acme, Accomplish, Accountable, Accurate, Active, Addictive, Advance, Alpha and Aid amongst others. Yawn.
The teams so far had failed to realize the tasks were generated to decipher proficiencies as challenges across the Republics were cross-cutting. So far, I had recorded abysmal losses that had had me cringing; seasoned experts indeed! My attention returned to the screen when I heard the bakers in Team C, better known as Team Conscientious raise their hands to the skies in anguish. I almost sympathized with them as they had waited forever for a certain number of eggs. Seems we would be having more buns than cakes in celebration of the long-awaited results.
It was a pity none of the teams so far had been able to sustain some team spirit in under a year. It was time to put a stop to the sight-seeing and merry go round. Switching off the screens; I immediately placed a call for my team of advisors to converge in my office as I monitored projections from the future. I couldn’t wait the monthly move to the beach-endemic Victoria next month to mull the dispatch of the power- generating thread mills across my Republics.
DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.