Yes, I have struck the match, ready to light my cheap, blonde hair extensions. I am waiting for my sister to buy the kerosene to pour on myself. The only problem is that the queue is long at the fuel station and the traffic is very bad around Wuse II. At least, so she said when I called her about five minutes ago. But wait a minute; is she not trying to buy time in order to make me change my mind about my chosen path of honor?
We had talked and argued all night about my decision. Imagine how the name of our family would ring in the world for centuries to come, I told her. Think Queen Amina, Queen Nzinga, Nefertiti or even Cleopatra, so shall all lips utter my name in awe. Myths and counter myths shall be woven around my person. Historians will camp at my poor, inaccessible village. By then of course, it will become the top tourist destination in Nigeria, complete with tarred roads, street lights, pipe borne water, hotels and other trappings of modernity. I smiled as I wondered what worthy title shall then prefix my humble name; “the immortal”, the everlasting”, or perhaps a suffix of “the courageous one” or simply “the bold”. Anyway, I would not worry about that, it is most likely that different generations would prefix or suffix different titles to my name, according to what they consider to be the highest honor of their time.
I remember the look on my sister’s face when I told her. She is only fourteen, and all she could say was;
“Sister, I don’t want you die. I will miss you – Mummy and Daddy will miss you.”
I laughed and assured her that our parents will be forever grateful for the sacrifice, the supreme price I would pay.
“What is my poor life when compared to the 150million worthy souls of my fellow Nigerians?” I responded with a glorious smile on my face; the type of smile reserved exclusively for the near-dead who lay claim to the Blessed Hope.
She began to wail and roll on the floor, clutching her stomach. I rushed to her, picked up her slight frame and held her against the wall. How could she be so selfish, I accused her. She was the last person I expected to act the way she did. Despite her tender age, she is a keen student of politics. Government is her best subject in school and she has never scored anything less than 98% in the exams. Together we have watched with unbelief as events unfolded in the Middle East, all because Sidi Bouzid dared to light the match. Many times we have fasted and gone on night vigils for our country Nigeria, we have cried and prayed and gnashed our teeth in repentance for the sins of our leaders. Now, I believe, is the time to act. Is it not written somewhere in the Holy Book that faith without works is dead? Be still, I cautioned her. I only woke her up at that ungodly hour to let her know of my pious plans, not to ask her opinion. No matter how hard she cried, first thing in the morning, I was going to the National Assembly to set myself ablaze. She will have to go home and inform our parents before they see it on television.
“But sister, who will Nigerians protest against when you die?”
Smart question; the Tunisians removed the Ben Ali guy who was there 24 years, the Egyptians removed Hosni Mubarak who was there 30 years, the Libyans are now trying to oust Ghadaffi who has been there 40 years. Who should we as a people protest to remove? Of course, I had thought about that; it was not for me to predict what would follow my matrydom, I told her. Sidi Bouzid set himself ablaze to protest the seizure of his means of income; I am going to set myself ablaze to protest that the country is bad, the leadership and the politicians are rotten and heartless, that people are suffering, dying and being killed like fowls. As a lamb, I sacrifice myself, first for the good of my country, and yes, for a shot at posthumous awards, wealth and honors for my family – something that would have been impossible barring my proposed act – I did not tell her my second reason.
I succeeded in calming her down and we went to sleep. As I slept, I heard two soft knocks on the door, another followed in quick succession. The time was 3.30 a.m. That was the sign. My sister a heavy sleeper snored on, exhausted and depressed at the thought of my impending demise. I sneaked out of the door. The CIA agent who I can only identify as “Tom” gave me the substance in a can, and helped me to spray it generously on my body. He gave me my flight ticket to the United States. The ticket read Accra – Amsterdam – Washington, it was a one way ticket and it came with a fake Somalian passport and some thousands of dollars in cash.
“Tom” told me the name of the doctor who worked in the Emergency Unit of the National Hospital, Abuja.
“He is one of us. As soon as you are taken there, he will declare you dead and you will escape through a back door. He will take care of the rest.”
“Tom” turned to leave, but noticing the apprehension on my face turned back and asked if I had changed my mind.
“No Sir, I have not, but I have a question”
“Ok?” His overgrown, scattered light brown and grey eyebrows raised quizzically.
“What if it does not work?” I humbly intoned. Abeg na Naija pesin I be, I almost added before I held my tongue.
“What if what does not work?” He asked, his eyes as cold, mean and as calculating as they come.
“The thing you sprayed on my body.”
He laughed, or rather chuckled. The way you do with a 3 year old when he asks you why a car does not fly like an airplane.
“It is the best. The kind used on Hollywood actors in action movies. You can have this.”
Short, pudgy hands extended to give me the can of spray.
“Try it on something, first, and see for yourself. It lasts 10 – 12 hours. Best of luck.”
I felt better. It will be utter madness for me to believe a word of what any American government official tells me, talk more of a CIA agent. Not so soon after Wikileaks, at least. I went back inside the house to wait with apprehension.
At the first cock crow, I ran outside, caught the cock and sprayed some portion of the can contents on it. I lit a match, set the cock on fire and watched as it became engulfed in flames. I waited about three minutes – time I assumed some hustlers around the National Assembly would have run to my aid – before I poured a bucket of cold water on the bird. True to “Tom”, the bird shook itself dry and walked on in search of breakfast. My heart swelled with pride and love for country; it is safe. The time for Nigeria is here. I am gone on my “suicide” mission to save Nigeria.