BFG's Story of the APC Convention (What da What happened at the APC Hullaballoo!!!)
Updated: Jun 17
There’s a place on Earth like no other in all the world. I have journeyed far, and I have travelled wide, if not in person, then at least by the power of the world wide web and I tell you reader, there is no land stranger than the one at latitude 9.0820 degrees North and 8.6753 degrees East.
My friends, my enemies, my lovers and my exes, this is the location of Nigeria, my country, my prison of the last 3 years. Just a week or so ago in this wild and unruly land there was an event to shake all events. The country’s ruling party, The All Progressives Congress or APC, which is really misnamed because there is not one single progressive within that party, had a great to do, a grand hurrah, a gigantic spectacular spectacular to decide who would represent it in the presidential elections next year.
In most countries around the world being president is a job. Those who do it get stressed, their hair goes grey, wrinkles line their faces, the tedium of the laborious labour that is running a country can be seen on their bodies, but this isn’t so in Nigeria - latitude 9.0820 degrees North and 8.6753 degrees East.
I saw the country’s president in the flesh not too long ago. His skin was glowed like a soldier’s shoe. It looked supple like a pair of unsqueezed breasts. He was handsome, casual, untouched by worry and untainted by tragedy. A more beautiful positively geriatric man this writer has never seen. Instead of ageing he has un-aged. When he was elected president I saw the shadow of death on his shoulder. Now, there is only the beauty of life. It is no wonder there is no job more desired in the whole of the land.
I wasn’t at this event, the grand to do, the APC party convention. A thing designed to select the man or woman who could be president but this doesn’t matter because someone I know was. It is as they say your friends are merely extensions of you. This friend is special to me.
Brothers in life for at least two decades, we have frolicked from continent to continent in tandem, feet sore from dancing, stomachs swollen from eating, eyes sore from weeping, and livers shrivelled from drinking. When I discovered that he had attended this sublime festival of Very Very Important persons, personages and attachés, I gave him a ring, a call on the phone, and said:
“My dearest brother, my Big Friendly Giant, Cuddle Buddy, Hustle Companion, Borrower of Money, tell me what happened at the APC convention. I want the scoop, the story, the behind the scenes! You know politics bores me half to death. I couldn’t be bothered to watch it on the television for even 5 minutes lest I be taken to hospital in the throes of a great anaphylactic shock for such is the strength of my bullshit, rubbish and nonsense allergy. My brother, BFG, do me this solid that I may tell the world your story.”
My friend, BFG, said:
“Sweet Damilola, your name will always be sweet on my lips. I do not believe I have the power to say no to you. So there’s only one thing for me to say to you and it’s yes, one thousand times yes, 2 million times yes.”
This is his story, my story, of the what the what really happened at the APC National Convention.
As an entrepreneur forced to join the wretched thing that is Nigerian hustle culture I could not afford to miss it. Where there are big men and women with money there also shall I be. It matters not what they need only that they choose me to do it. As a result I have become a Jack of All Trades and a Project Manager par excellence. I have built websites, performed data science, facilitated Satellite launches, sewn wedding garments, funeral garments, and even freed the kidnapped. My name is BFG. I am Beloved of Dami. Any violence against him is violence against me. If you are the one he spoke about in this article: https://www.theroam.me/post/anger, I am one of the people standing at the ready to beat you like a teenager who hasn’t yet learned that masturbation is a sin beats his dick. I’m sorry to be so vulgar, but it had to be said.
I turned up to Eagle Square in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory at 6pm. Only the president and the vice president were allowed to park within touching distance of the venue so I had to walk. It was a trek. My blood was boiling, you could see the anxiety coursing through my veins. The event was invite only, and I was not invited. However, I wasn’t going to let this stop me. I am a charming man, my mouth is sweet, I was certain that with the correct amount of nonsense spilling from my lips, just the right quantity of bullshit, I’d be able to score a media pass. I was once a magazine publisher. I learned the work well.
The hall was a little empty at 6pm. There were delegates from Nigeria’s various 36 states scattered about the place. I tried to work my magic and get in the area reserved for the very very important people - the candidates up for presidential consideration, but I was denied. This was a shame. Those people are like cows to me. When you squeeze them money comes out. Anyway, determined to make the most of the opportunity, I made my way to the Lagos section. As a son of the great Ikorodu I was welcomed with a pat on the back and a bottle of water. There was no food served at the event. If people ate they had connections. I managed to secure a little something something from a lady I call Big Mummy. I’ve been good to her so she’s always, always, good to me.
The first aspirant to arrive was the Vice President of the Country, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. He was greeted with cheers. If a man can’t get a touch of charity at home, he cannot reasonably expect to get it anywhere else. A military band ushered him in.
The next person I noticed was Ahmed Lawan. The man who had reportedly received the president’s approval. Because I am so connected I can tell you that this is a lie. He didn’t receive President Buhari’s approval or endorsement. The idea was floated in front of the president and he ignored it. I suppose some took his silence for affirmation. Lagos did not cheer for this man. To put in Nigerian English, a language that is vastly superior to the Queen’s English, we did not send him. The entrances of the former Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun and the former Governor of Imo State and current fighter of corruption charges, were also similarly low key.
Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s former Minister for Transportation received a decent bit of applause. He didn’t come with that many aides. It is a thing I found extraordinary. Nigerian politicians typically have enough attachés to form at least one fully sized football team at any given time, be it the dark night, or the bright day.
I didn’t really pay attention to anyone or anything else until Bola Ahmed Tinubu arrived. The crowd went wild. It was like they’d seen Michael Jackson back from the dead, or Beyoncé and her husband and her 3 children in the flesh. For 15 minutes they chanted, screamed, proclaimed, “JAGABAN! JAGABAN! JAGABAN!” Over and over and over again. The air was electric. The game was afoot. I was nearly delirious with excitement and anticipation. There were shivers running up and down my spine with so much electricity that I’m sure I could have powered Nigeria better than the national grid. There were so many people around him that it was difficult to ascertain his precise location. But then, I spotted his cap. It is a cap so distinguished, so unique that it cannot be mistaken for anyone else’s cap. It is rumoured that he keeps $5000 dollars underneath it an any given time. It is part of his distinct magic. It took him 20 minutes to get from the entrance to the VVIP section of the event.
After this, the president arrived and he could not have come sooner. Events don’t start till the president walks in. We stood for the national anthem and the shindig began.
Before I continue, a small comment about Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari. He’s a very organised person, rather punctual. He goes to bed at 8pm or 9pm at the latest. He doesn’t womanise, and he doesn’t booze. If there is anything intrinsically bad about him, it is that he does what he wants when he wants. He is a mad dog without a chain. A man with no master. You cannot urge him to urgency if he does not first urge himself.
There were performances. King Sunny Ade came on stage and did his thing, but it wasn’t very good. I’d give it a 5 or a 6 out of a possible 10. Sani Danja, an actor and musician popular in North Nigeria also performed but that wasn’t fantastic either. Mountain Black and Mad Melon hopped on stage sometime after to give a rather rousing rendition of their song Danfo Driver which is about a Danfo (A terrible excuse for a bus) driver. It says a lot about our culture that this performance was the best received of the bunch. I thought them unnecessary. We came to see who would become the presidential candidate of the APC, not to dance.
The speeches were supposed to be in alphabetical order but the Vice President broke this arrangement when he decided he would speak last and the event organisers declared that Tinubu would speak first. People didn’t pay attention until Godwin Akpabio, Nigeria’s Minister for the Niger Delta came on stage and declared his support for Tinubu. At first people couldn’t believe what they had heard. Then he said it again and there was an eruption of noise so great that I wondered how many of the attendees were high on cocaine. It was the first indication that Tinubu had the party nomination in the bag.
It was all pretty dull until Uju Ohanenye, the only presidential aspirant who uses the pronouns she/her stepped down in favour of Tinubu. The crowd erupted with cheer. She danced to Lagos section where she was celebrated for no fewer than five minutes. I’m convinced she was a Tinubu plant, a piece on his chessboard.
The Vice President of Nigeria’s speech was the only one people paid attention to. I know this because it was the only one that received a murmuring of commentary. It was really rather good. However, the Lagos section did not approve. They booed him. I thought this strange, because the good Yemi is a staple of Lagos society, but for him there was absolutely no love. I knew then that his presidential nomination was nothing but a fool’s dream. If one cannot receive courtesy, charity, in one’s own home then one has no right to expect it elsewhere.
Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari wrapped up the speeches at about 1am. I cannot tell you what he spoke about. I was far too tired to care. After he spoke I learned that Big Mummy was leaving so I left with her small entourage.
In summary it was well organised but the speeches went on for far too long. I’ll never attend another one as long as I live.
In the end Bola Ahmed Tinubu won the presidential candidacy for the All People's Congress. One thousand two hundred and seventy one delegates voted for him. Rotimi Amaechi was second with 316 votes and the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, was third with 235 votes.
BFG told me that if Amaechi had received President Muhammadu Buhari's endorsement then he'd have been a strong contender for the candidacy. I believe him, but it doesn't matter. He didn't get the endorsement and he didn't win. It is interesting that he beat Nigeria's Vice President whose political clout should be second only to the president. However, after 2 truly terrible terms I suspect that most Nigerians would like nothing better than for the pair of them to disappear off into the sunset together. It doesn't matter whether or not the sentiment is expressed, it remains true that few if any Nigerians are better off now than they were in 2015 when the dastardly duo began their jobs.
Tinubu will face Atiku, a former Vice President who will be representing the People's Democratic Party. The name of that party too is a misnomer as it is not for the people but the few. Rounding off the list of men who could be king is Peter Obi, the former governor of Anambra State. Young people like him. I've met him. He's a good man, but that isn't qualification enough for the job in my book.
I wonder why Tinubu wants it. He's got enough money. He's richer than rich should reasonably expect to be, and he's done enough with his life that he'll be remembered. I can only think of two reasons.
The first would be that he's hell bent on accessing whatever restorative powers remain from Buhari's president. If Buhari was geriatric when he campaigned for and consequently won the election that made him president, then Tinubu is practically on his death bed. He is so frail that he cannot be expected to climb a staircase without physical assistance. His hands too vibrate like an alcoholic's in withdrawal. There are whispers of a Parkinson's diagnosis but we mustn't pay attention to these things. We can only say what we see. That Tinubu looks like an old man who should focus on writing his will and spending time with his grandchildren, not run the most populous black country in all the world.
Anyhow, the presidential race is afoot. God help us all.