Senator Konbowei’s Bayelsa: A Proud American Neighbour

By Mark Olali Jr.

I tuned to Channels TV yesterday so I could catch up with the startling spectacle of my countrymen. I saw a senator representing Bayelsa speaking with a quivering voice. Without being told, it was obvious he was frightened out of wit. He brazenly said Bayelsa State has a boundary with America.

This statement of his intrigued me as a Bayelsan. And to be sure that I heard him correctly, I searched for the news on Twitter and noticed it was already a trending topic among the Ijaws. A classical photo of a fisherman paddling into the Atlantic and towards an erected signpost on which WELCOME TO AMERICA was boldly engraved was being posted and reposted because of this statement

The opinion of those who weighed in was divided. While there is one set who believed the Senator’s statement was flippant, the other sets, famously described as comrades for doing nothing productive, were sedated by the statement and defended it with the last drop of their blood.

Before now, I strongly believed that Nigerian lawmakers were studious and vast. To me, this is a fine tool they use to cover the indencies of their underwear. So, at first, I believed the concocted statement of Senator Konbowei Benson that Bayelsa is a salient neighbour to America, and with a cold rage, I questioned the veracity of what my geography teacher taught me, from how to read a map to how to calculate the geocentric angles of latitude.

Out of disappointment, I lost the taste for watching, switched off the TV, and swore not to turn it on for a week. And I have, in a hostile but thoughtful way, continued to lambast my geography teacher for keeping this away from me. If she had taught me about this hallucinatory border between Bayelsa and America, I would have gotten a floatage vest for myself, with some burgers, and swam through Brass Island (Bayelsa) to America, never to return.

Some minutes into this mood of resentment, one of my Igbo friends watched the clip where the Senator said it with much grandeur, and called me. According to him, if given the chance, he’ll build a ship as big as the Titanic that will carry people from Bayelsa State to America, which is fascinating news for those of us who desire to leave Nigeria and pull stakes in America. I was not only dazzled by the business excellence of this guy but was also moved into the world of utopia, imagining how Bayelsa can become a concentrate of commerce, hope, and big dreams, and how the long tradition of voting for any kind of leader (like the Senator who made the statement) has frustrated it.

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