Any country that must succeed has to have internal harmony. Will Durant said “a great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” As one who will be president in 2015, I take this very seriously. Consequently, I have begun mentally drafting laws which will preserve this internal harmony and save us from implosion. Some of the laws, I apologize, I cannot share with you now because I realize that my political rivals also read my columns. In fact I met Dino Melaye the other day and he said in passing: “I saw your tweets (about me)”. I am sure Ebele secretly reads my blog on his Smartphone. But I will share a few which aren’t of a sensitive nature.
One of the laws I will propose is the “Smell and Share (Plantain) Act”. A lot of damage has been caused in this country by people who, knowing how the smell of fried plantain carries, far away from its source, still insist on frying plantains with their windows open AND NOT SHARING! This law is based on good neighborliness and decency. I am not a religious person but I know a certain narrated tradition in Islam by Tabarani which says the following:
The rights of the neighbor is that when he is sick you visit him, when he dies you go to his funeral, when he is poor you lend him (money), when he is in need you protect him, when he is in happiness you congratulate him, when he is struck with calamity you condole him, don’t raise your building above his to cut the wind from him, don’t harm him with the smell of your food unless you let him have a part of it.
The key words there are: don’t harm him with the smell of your food unless you let him have a part of it. This is particularly important when the said food is fried plantain. It is malicious not to share fried plantain with those who have smelt it. I have done the research and I will quote just two out of the many who have expressed their feelings about this matter. Nigerian-American poet Bassey Ikpi wrote the following on Twitter this week: “Someone is blatantly and rudely frying delicious smelling plantain while I contemplate Milo for breakfast. People are so cruel.” What if Bassey, moved by this cruelty commits grievous bodily harm on the offending neighbor? Would it not be self-defence? I certainly think so. Again, another poet, Ibiene, wrote to me on Friday via Twitter: “I woke up to the smell of fried plantain this morning. It hurt knowing I could not have any.” I cannot sit and watch our country go down this path.
Thus because I care and I am not Some Guy Called Goodluck Jonathan, I will treat this with the urgency and seriousness which it deserves. I propose the following as text of the Act to be amended or expanded by a committee I shall set up when I become president, headed possibly by Bassey Ikpi:
SMELL AND SHARE (PLANTAIN) ACT 2015
An Act to prohibit any form of stinginess by persons shamelessly invading the houses of their neighbours with the smell of delicious fried plantain to the detriment of good neighborliness and peace in Nigeria.
1. A person who fries plantain shall be mandated to share the said plantain with all those who by olfaction have come in contact with the delicious smell of the said fried plantain.
2. A person commits the offence of Malicious Frying of Plantain (hereinafter referred to as MFP) if –
(a) S/He blatantly and rudely undertakes the frying of delicious smelling plantain in a kitchen or in an open space and finishes such frying without sharing the fried plantain with neighbors who have been visited with hardship by enduring the smell of the said fried plantain
(b) S/He employs a cook, or otherwise commissions a third party to do the acts described in 2 (a) above.
3. A person commits the offence of Aggravated MFP if
(a) S/He blatantly and rudely undertakes the frying of delicious smelling of plantain with no intention to share the said plantain with a person who witnesses such frying or is in the same house at the time the frying is being done.
(b) S/He employs a cook or otherwise commissions a third party to do the acts described in 3 (a) above
4. It shall not be a defence to MFP or Aggravated MFP that the victim is a family member or a spouse.
5. A person commits the offence of conspiracy to commit MFP if they witness the acts described in section 2 of this Act without promptly performing a citizen’s arrest or reporting same to the authorities.
6. A person commits the offence of conspiracy to commit Aggravated MFP if they witness the acts described in section 3 of this Act without promptly performing a citizen’s arrest or reporting same to the authorities.
7. Where a person is charged with an offence under this Act, they shall undergo psychiatric evaluation as well as therapy to discover the root cause of such wickedness.
8. A person who commits an offence under this Act shall be liable upon conviction to 14 years imprisonment where they shall learn the virtues of good neighborliness and plantain sharing.
9. A person who is a victim of an offence under this Act shall be entitled to therapy to heal them from the hurt that results from MFP and Aggravated MFP, during which period they will be served generous portions of delicious fried plantain. The cost of this therapy will be borne by the person convicted of the offence under this Act.
Ps. So I hear John McCain denigrated the office and person of some guy called Goodluck Jonathan saying that if he was president he would just fly in, grab Shekau by the beard and drone out all the Boko Haram men. Two things. One, I think it is in order to thank the Nigerian god that this baba who was born before microwave ovens, digital computers, color television, the Jeep, the Transistor or the ball point pen were invented didn’t become president in 2008. There should be a law banning people who were alive before the ball point pen was invented from holding public office anywhere in the world. There are jobs for such people. Library attendants, tour guides for ancient monuments. Not leader of the free world. Two, I just think it is important to have a leader who can still have sex without a medical emergency happening.