EXECUTIVE COUNCIL | A Thematic Scenario by Ayo Sogunro

[Aso Rock Villa. A meeting of the Federal Executive Council is just about to commence. Seated are the ministers of the federation—but prominent in this session are the Ministers for Justice, Information, Niger Delta, Power and Steel, Education, Finance—and of course, The President. They are seated at a typical conference table spanning the length of the room. There are files, notes, and laptops on the table. The President is seated prominently on a chair as befits his status at one end, while the ministers are ranged around on either side. With the exception of the President, they are all chatting animatedly.]

[The A.G. is seated to the right of the President, the Education and Information Ministers are seated to their immediate left and right respectively, facing each other]

PRESIDENT: [calling the meeting to order] Gentlemen, shall we begin. I—

EDU: [Calling to the Information Minister] Hey, Information Lady, I didn’t see you at my party the other time, and you’ve been avoiding me, right. Don’t you realise it is part of your job to cover important events like that? [Guffaws loudly, and turns to the AG] Am I not right, learned friend?

INFO: [Angrily] Will you please respect yourself and face your portfolio and leave me to mine. I have not ventured into telling you how to run your Education Ministry, even though your arrogance is costing me my branding project. I ought—

A.G.: [Coldly] And I am no friend of yours, I have warned you against referring to me as that.

INFO: [To the AG] Will you please not interrupt me while I am speaking. If—

A.G.: Woman, have I held your tongue? If you cannot communicate effectively, then what are you doing in Information?

INFO: I am trying to undo the image people like you keep projecting. I know you never supported my rebranding project but that does not call for sarcastic remarks.

PRESIDENT: [Weakly] Gentlemen, er, ladies, lady. Please—

NIGER DELTA: Well, you can’t say I have not been in support of your branding project, see what we’ve accomplished with the amnesty deal. People are praising us for handling the militants in that considerate manner. As minister for the Niger Delta, I have done my share of rebranding this country.

EDU: So what’s special about that? Why not confess to the media that you simply have no way of flushing them out—that’s simply your cowardly solution. Why not try and face ASUU for a change. Then you will see what real warfare is all about.

INFO: [Angrily] You stupid man, is that what the whole thing is about? A warfare? A battle of egos? You are killing our future and you think it’s a chess game.

EDU: You won’t understand what governance and politics is all about. You think this is just an agency like the one you were sitting on before like a mother hen over her chicks? This is no place for weak hearts. At this level you must be a strong man to get your way. No retreat, no surrender!

A.G.: Obviously, there’s no use talking to you. Your obstinate approach is causing us several lawsuits, and if you think my job here is to rush to court to defend your actions, you are making a big mistake!

EDU: Look at this man! Who told the President to start troubling Lagos State just to settle a personal score? Tell me, who is the two headed Minister starting unnecessary lawsuits between you and I? Go on, now you refuse to talk.

PRESIDENT: Gentlemen, once again—

EDU: Mr President, this man must talk! He thinks he knows more than anybody here, and he goes around as if the rest of us never saw university gates. Let him tell us why he had to go and step on the tail of a sleeping dog? Even a dog has its bite!

A.G.: If you feel that strongly about it, why not carry yourself off and join the Lagos government?

EDU: Oh, oh, now you can talk. You are simply jealous to see your colleague receiving accolades everywhere. The man is doing better than we all thought. I’m sure if given the chance, he will solve even the electricity problem in his state. No be so, Power Minister?

POWER: Please, I have no time for useless talk.

INFO: Useless talk? For once I agree with the Education Minister. How do I rebrand a country where electricity is as problematic as an AIDS pandemic? We are not at war, we have no social or environmental problems preventing infrastructural development. So why can we not have enough wattage for the country, I still don’t understand you people’s argument.

POWER: The electricity problem was here before we were, it is now, and so shall it always continue to be. I am not ashamed to say this. It’s the truth.

PRESIDENT: [Anxiously] Please, do not—

INFO: Beg your pardon, sir, but I’m interested in this. What’s your reason for saying that?

POWER: I got—

EDU: He got money from the generator importers and manufacturers. Every time a new Power minister is appointed, these people call him aside and lay out the terms for him—leave the electricity situation as it is, or worse, and you and your family will never suffer again. Anything else, he will be frustrated, or [He pints his fingers at his head, simulating a gun]POOF! Gone too soon. [laughs loudly] If only, I could get those guys to take care of the ASUU leadership.

POWER: You are so, so…useless.

EDU: Not as much as PHCN. But tell me, why did the previous Minister for Power get assassinated, the one that was also AG? He was trying to reform things! Big mistake. Information, you should learn a lesson from that.

A.G.: You had better watch what you say. As much as I would like to see you receive your comeuppance, I would prefer it to be after this administration passes, and not before.

FIN: Well, at least our import duties are bringing in generator set revenue.

INFO: Oh, the Ministry of Finance has waded into the argument. I thought you were too busy with your banking debacle. Meanwhile, I can’t decide whether the way the CBN governor began to sweep house is good for our rebranding image or not. Couldn’t he have found a more quiet way?

FIN: How so? Even the EFCC is going to be involved in this matter.

INFO: My point exactly! It suggests that we still have dirty linen and hidden skeletons in our closets. My brand image—

EDU: [shouting] Enough of this brand image nonsense. If I hear that word again, I will kill someone. Haba! Are you the only one to be Information minister. You spend millions of naira to design one stupid logo and call it rebranding. Nonsense. Good Mugu, great Maga!

INFO: [on her feet] BRAND, BRAND, BRAND, BRAND! Yes, tell me, what will you do?

EDU: [Rises as well, still shouting] Somebody had better warn this woman! I am not to be trifled with.

INFO: Really. You think because you can bully ASUU, then you can do so for everyone? [She grabs his collar, and stares him down, he grabs her jacket lapel as well, they deadlock]

AG: Mr President, will you please take control of this meeting.

PRESIDENT: I’m doing my best here, you can see.

[The PRESIDENT stands up, rushes to the duelling ministers, and attempts to pull them apart. He strains them apart, but the exertion is too much for him, he collapses. There is general alarm. Some ministers, including the A.G. rush the PRESIDENT out. The other original opponents are now seated busily ignoring one another. The A.G. comes back in.]

A.G.: I’m sorry to announce, the President has been flown to Saudi Arabia for a medical examination. This meeting is hereby adjourned.



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