I plan to be president of Nigeria someday. It may take me 15 years in which case I will be pushing 50. Again I may try and try again and only succeed in the twilight of my life when a few core bodily functions will need help to be actualized. If that happens I do not want people to make a fuss about what I own or do not own. Some foolish people may say that leaders do not need to declare their assets. Listening to people like that is what got Goodluck Jonathan an early retirement. Especially in a country rife with corruption, the assets of a public servant should be everybody’s business. And I consider myself a public servant whether or not I hold public office. It will be a tragedy if, as a greying president some young children who are still collecting money from their parents harass me on social media over declaration of assets. This is one reason why I have decided to declare my assets yearly, starting this year. Another reason is that as a public figure, people can get emotional and attached to defending you publicly, volunteering lies and half-truths on your behalf. For example, friends who have known me all my life and know how little I care about worldly possessions may say things like “Elnathan is honest and poor. He has never even owned a car in his life.” And I may never get to hear them saying this to offer the truth, which is that I indeed have owned a car (God rest his soul). My car, until its untimely demise was a red German car called Sylvanus. I was fond of Sylvanus. New friends of mine may never have met him so I am just putting it out there before someone accuses me of lying about ever owning a car.
Please find below my asset declaration for 2015.
1. First and most importantly, I have a book. I am still calculating how much that book is worth this year. So far three publishers have bought various rights to the book, one of whom has made me swear not to mention how much they paid for it. So that they can cheat other people perhaps. But I am a child of God and will not judge. As soon as I get the final figure I will publish it here. Whatever the final figure is, add x to it.
2. 100pounds. This is what is left from the 500 pounds the Caine Prize gave to the shortlisted candidates for this year. God bless the Caine Prize. The rest I spent on things like a generator and water dispenser. I know that perhaps my purchase of a generator at a time when Buhari has promised to fix the power sector for good may show lack of faith. But I can assure you it doesn’t. The transformer in my neighbourhood often breaks down and I can go 24 hours without electricity not because there is no supply but because something broke down in the transformer. And I cannot tell the people expecting deliverables from me, “sorry I can’t deliver that story, our transformer blew again.” I will go hungry if I do. So President Buhari and his friends shouldn’t take this generator purchase personally. Everyone needs a plan b.
3. Chioma-Blessing. Or CB for short. CB is my MacBook Air. No it is not a liability. The things that CB stores are worth many millions. But I don’t want to brag. So I will be conservative and just peg CB’s worth at 1 million naira. Nobody has allowed me win anything, but if I should ever get a prize for my work, the first person I will thank will be CB for staying with me through bad writing and good writing, depressing emails and exciting ones. Yes, I said person. That’s how much she means to me. God bless CB.
4. Books. My books are not that many because of the fact that I often give away books for free from time to time. However, what I currently have (including the ones I stole and those I borrowed and did not return) is easily worth 500,000 naira.
5. One dormant registered business entity. So, there was a time that I wanted to do some work with a government agency and they swore that unless I had a corporate account they would not give me one kobo. So I quickly registered a company, got the funds and did the job. I swear that the business has not done any business since then and is currently worth nothing. In fact, if I have to revive the business, I will have to pay annual returns which, even if I declare 0 naira will cost me the transport money to the Corporate Affairs Commission.
6. I have 0 oil wells. I know that some of the old men who own oil wells today started owning them when they were my age. But they say the world is like a basket of potatoes. Some are large and some are small. I am a small potato.
7. I have 0 heads of cattle, 0 sheep, 0 camels. This is not what one should expect of someone who hails from Kaduna. As a Kaduna man, I know the importance of animals like camels. So, I am working on getting at least a camel by the time I become president. If I do, I will slaughter it and distribute the meat in Kaduna in celebration.
8. I don’t even have a mud house. I know that my father has a couple of houses but I have not read his will. As a rebellious child, I doubt that I will even make it in there.
9. Like I said earlier, the one car I had, I lost in an accident a couple of years ago. Since then God has not yet blessed my hustle enough to buy the new Golf I have been wanting to buy. I am not questioning God. I am just stating facts. Since my very serious accident, no well-wishers have offered to buy me a car. Maybe my well-wishers are as poor as I am. Maybe they have other pressing needs. I am not criticizing my well-wishers. I am just stating facts.
This is all for 2015. Hopefully, God will meet me at the point of my needs and I will have at least a car to declare next year. And if you are my well-wisher, consider this a gentle reminder about that my car issue. No pressure.