Monday, December 08, 2008

Soyinka sketch from the 60s

Taken from here. Thanks JG for the text.

A compromise government is in power after rigged elections, the regular old shysters are back in the saddle. One cabinet minister, caught out nakedly in a shady land deal, took the time-honoured method of brazening it out with irrelevancies.

Journalist: Now sir, about the problems of the coalition government, I wander if –

Minister: My friend, before you say anything else let me remind you that I am a M A Michigan.

Journalist Yes, sir, but with all due respect-

Minister: In fact, I got two B As you know. One at Toronto for Political Science and one for National Economics and Sociology, that was in Dublin.

Journalist: What I am trying to ask, sir, is your position as a Minister in the broad-based government-

Minister: It was after that I went to Michigan to get my masters.

Journalist: But sir, if we may define this broad-based government-

Minister: We cannot define Government. A Government is not a human being with a broad base or a broad bottom. If anything, it is more like a baboon with too many bottoms. So perhaps we ought to call it a round bottom Government. (Laughs broadly and sips his drink.)

Journalist: Would the Minister say some words about-

Minister: The B A Toronto was with Honours you know. First Class with Honours. The B A Dublin had no honours but that was discrimination - everyone knows that. Colour bar was very strong in the universities in our days. You boys don't know how lucky you are. If you are good you get your degree but if all you can manage is to be a quack journalist coming to ask me stupid questions, then it is your fault.

Journalist: Sir, what are your plans to improve-

Minister: Improvement, that is me. I've always tried to improve myself. When I did not get honours in Dublin, I went to Toronto and did it all over again. So I just laugh when you people say do I know the path of honour. I not only know the path of honour, I know the path of honours, (Laughs. Wipes tears of laughter from eyes.) So ask yourself, is it possible for an Honours man not to be an honourable man?

Journalist: Now, sir, about your Operation Fantastic, don't you think that-

Minister: My friend, what is there to think? I said fantastic and I mean fantastic. I am fantastic. Nigeria is fantastic. Everything about us is fantastic. The things which happen here cannot happen anywhere else, they will be fantastically fantastic. Look my friend, man is either common, ordinary and a nobody, or else he is fantastic. We have men of timber, we have men of calibre. And some of us are timber of timbers, So worry about yourself. Are you a nobody or are you a fantastic timber?

Journalist: Now, sir, these recent events. Don't you agree that they might give Nigeria a -

Minister. (Quickly interrupting. ) Oh yes, I know it is a big boost for Nigeria. Don't forget I am also an international author. I wrote 'Irredentism in Renascent Nigeria’. I am a director of several companies and I have shaken hands with Princess Margaret when I was taking tea with the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace. So if you don't know who I am people, who matter do.

Journalist: Now sir, about those land deals, don't you agree the Government may-

Minister: Let me insist once and for all that although I am a personal friend of the Prime Minister, personal friendship does not come into it at all. This is all a matter of Principle, Policy and Politics - write it down, write it down and refer to it as my three P's - Principle, Policy and Politics. They are my Three P's for Peace. For Peace and Good Government, for Peace and Stability. Seek ye first the Kingdom of the P's and the world shall become a Palace of the People.

Journalist: Sir, we all know that even less embarrassing things than this have brought down some Governments.

Minister: My friend, you are a small boy. You are all small boys. Principle, Policy and Politics. Do you think I am interested in the little amount of money involved? Chicken feed. Chicken feed in an elephantine mouth like my own. I can spend that in one week and not know the difference. But it is a matter of the Three P's: Principle, Policy and Politics.

Journalist: Could you explain that further, sir?

Minister: With pleasure, and let me remind you that I am an M A Political Science and I say that this is a matter of the third of the P's - Politics. Now when we agreed to serve on the broad based
Government was it not to give the Government a Trial? Well, my friends THIS IS THE TRIAL.



Anonymous,  3:11 am  

Jeremy, I still believe Soyinka's best stuff is the satire he did in the 1970s. 'Ethical Revolution' (a record with Jimi Solanke) is the most hilarious 1-hour on phono...

Anonymous,  5:56 pm  

This is boring. Unimaginative in its repitiveness. By the fourth question - the joke had worn. You said this was Soyinka? Ah well. Oh, and where's the land deal of which you speak?!

Waffarian 3:49 pm  

Hahahahah! the degree part is so typical...I am sure we all know at least one person that talks like that...hehehehehehe I used to know one human being that announced his degrees every time he met someone knew...hahahahaha too funny.

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