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Inside Out I

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By Adeusi Anthony Kay

I was in Primary 4 many years ago. We had a big playing ground in our school, swings, slides and merry go round, open spaces but not big enough as a standard football pitch. Our seniors in Primary 5 monopolised the only space that could pass as a football pitch. We felt oppressed, suppressed because we could not be part of the fun.

I was not the class captain, but I was influential. I gathered all the Primary 4 Boys for a crucial meeting, to discuss our plight and the way forward. We reached a consensus to contribute 20Naira per head.

We did some titbits of Politics. I conducted an election and the girls even cast their votes (gender equality some would say in a cause that was of minute interest to them). I made ballots papers out of my most detested subject notebook (Mathematics of course. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Anyway, the school owed me a new notebook from the previous term).

I was a Presidential candidate, how funny. Fair enough, it was an open ballot system (even though we didn’t understand what we were really doing); there was little room for rigging.

I emerged as President of the boys, crucially also, my friend (just before he became my “very good friend” emerged as the General-secretary. There was no Vice-President, that office was assumed to suit a woman better (gender equality?).

As the new President-elect, I immediately sent word round that pledges be redeemed within two weeks, to be paid to the treasurer who was to hand it to the secretary, Tobi who would get us our ball. The boys cooperated. Our Money was completed in four days. My cabinet and I were pleased. We were following the rule of law, we understood protocol.

As little as we were, we had a fair idea of how dirty Politics could be. We in fact revelled in the dirtiness. Our Government was still less than 2 weeks old. Just before Tobi bought our football, I suggested that in order to enjoy our soccer, and deal with our opponents and enemies (Primary 5 boys), and to enable us gain long overdue revenge and succour for two terms of intimidation, we must agree on, and execute a master plan.

Primary 5 boys kept their football under their class Teacher’s table. The plan was for one of us to enter their class, draw attention to himself (very easy, those guys were bullies, they’d make sport of any Junior especially “Primary 4 boys” without batting an eyelid), another was to discreetly pass the ball from under the table and our Hitman was to puncture the ball twice using the Math’s set’s Protractor. This was clever, as no immediate damage would be noticed.

They didn’t know what hit them, the plan came off perfectly.

We didn’t see ourselves as been wicked or sinister. Our young minds conceived and executed the plan.

Tobi got our ball the next day. He reported that we had spare 30 Naira in the coffers. Common sense and accountability suggested we report this to the boys. We did not. The flesh was weak, but our spirits were not even willing.

Well, Tobi who that day became my “very good friend” split the money. I had 20 Naira. He bought four pieces of buns from Mama-Put and I thoroughly enjoyed my popcorn and groundnuts; the dividends of our nine school days Government, with no supervision or external influence of any kind.

Our 11-12 year old minds were already entrenched in Monkey dey work Baboon dey chop syndrome inside-out.

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