(a modern-day fable)

By Tolu Ogunlesi


The President assembled his advisers. “I need help,” he said. “There are too many difficult decisions that come with this office. I need wisdom.” His advisers looked at one another, and then chorused: “Long may you reign, Your Excellency. Give us a blank cheque, and a fault-free presidential jet, and we will give you a solution.” On the day that the solution arrived in the country, the President declared a public holiday. A rented crowd gathered at the airport to welcome the solution. 

They sang and drummed and danced. The opposition protested, arguing that while they had nothing against the coming of the solution, it was irresponsible to declare a public holiday merely for that reason. 

That evening the President hosted a dinner, at which, with much fanfare, he unveiled the solution: a jet-lagged, psychic octopus waving eight Nigerian flags. The President recounted how, as a little boy in the creeks of the Delta, he never harmed any octopuses trapped by his fishing nets. After the President’s speech the octopus faced his first test. Confronted with a Ghana-must-go and a designer briefcase; the octopus chose the woven bag. The entire country (watching the event live on NTA) cheered. 

The night was filled with speeches and gift presentations. From a serving Senator from the North came a female octopus, as a wife for the new arrival. 

Observant guests thought the female octopus looked under-aged, but no one said anything. A governor from the eastern part of the country gave the octopus a copy of his bestselling book, “How banks produce kidnappers”, and asked for the octopus’ help in making his state kidnap-free. 

A governor from the western part of the country had rather cryptic advice for the octopus. “Silver and gold my state has none left,” he said. “But what we have – counsel – I give to you: Please, whatever you do, beware of ‘Number 4’.” The party stretched far into the night.

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