Hello. Is that Mr. Femi Akomolafe?
Hello, Sir. Please, Sir, I need your help, Sir. I mean we need your help, Sir.
Calm yourself down, young man. Who are you? Who are ‘we’?
My name is Saviour Agbave, Sir.
How are you, Saviour? What can I do for you?
Sir, I, sorry, we, want you to help us beg government and help us petition the government.
Yes, Sir. We want to petition the government to…
Are you a citizen of Ghana?
Yes, Sir. I am a Ghanaian.
Then, let’s clear that point first. Citizens in a democracy do not petition their rulers. They make demands, Petitions are strictly for subjects. If you live in a kingdom, or in an empire, you petition your king or your emperor. In a democracy, it is different. Ok?
Ok, Sir. But we need to beg the government to help us?
Help you, why do you think I’m the best person to help you reach the government? I don’t have a special access to anyone in authority.
But, Sir, you write. Many people read your weekly column religiously. I, sorry, we think that government will listen to you on our behalf.
You still have not told me which group you represent.
Sorry, Sir. My name is Saviour Agbave. I am the Media Coordinator for the Association of Ghanaian Senior Secondary School Boys Students (AGSSBS). We call it AGSSBIS as in “Hags bees.” Our motto is…
Wait, wait. What type of association is that?
We are a Boy’s Association, Sir. For Boys at Senior Secondary schools across the country.
Oh! I didn’t know of your existence. Any reason why you excluded the girls?
Sir, we formed our association quite recently, to agitate for our share of the national cake. The girls got theirs, and we were left out.
Oh! What national cake do we talk about here?
Sir, we talk about the budget, the national budget, Sir. The constitution of the Republic of Ghana prohibits the discrimination of citizens on any grounds – gender, age, religious, tribal…
I know, I know. I know what the constitution says. Can you get to the point, my young friend?
Thank you, Sir. We feel discriminated against when the government announced plans to supply our female counterparts with free sanitary pads.
Yes, Sir. Recently the government announced plans to use part of a contracted loan to supply free sanitary pads to SS girls. That got our goat, so to speak, Sir. It irked us to no end. We believe the move by government to be wholly unconstitutional, and a clear discrimination against boys. We need to petition government to also take us into consideration.
Are you guys serious?
Yes, Sir, we are serious.
But boys do not use sanitary pads, or do they?
Haba, Sir, Boys Abr3. Sorry to use that term here. But we are totally fed up. It is like the government panders only to the girlfolks. It is correct, Sir, that we do not use sanitary pads, but we boys also have our own peculiar needs.
I bet you do.
With all respect, Sir, there is no need for sarcasm. Our case in anchored not only on the constitutionality or the legality of the government’s decision; we deemed it a moral imperative that the government must be made to realize that it cannot arbitrarily decide to decouple students, and give one faction preferential statement.
Wow, I am suitably impressed by your cogent presentation. But which part of the deal do you want to agitate against? What is wrong with government stepping in to help needy students?
Honestly, Sir, we have nothing, per se, against the government decision to help the girls, or any other segment of the populace. We do not want to get into the political or the economic sagacity of government borrowing money to buy sanitary pads. We can argue about the economic or the financial wisdom of borrowing money for those type of things. We can posit that the money should have been used to build a sanitary pad factory, for example. But we don’t want to get into those ponderous economic, political or philosophical debates. We just find it unacceptable that government can so blatantly discriminate against us. In this age and time, that is totally unacceptable. Boys also have their peculiar needs, and not all of us have parents with deep pockets.
And what would these peculiar needs be, my young friend?
Sir, it is a bit delicate thing to talk about.
You called me up, and now you tell me it is a delicate affair. Shall we call it a day, young man? I have better employment for my time.
Sorry, Sir. It’s the C thing, Sir.
‘C’ thing, what’s the ‘C’ thing?
Ehm, ehm, ehmmm, Condom, Sir!
Young man, is it not too early?
Too early, Sir?
Yes, too early for you to be drunk?
Sir, I am not drunk, Sir. I didn’t drink anything. Ok, Sir, maybe a beer or two thrown here or there. But, Sir, I can handle it, Sir.
But are you serious?
Serious? Yes, Sir, I am, sorry, we, are serious, Sir.
You are serious that the government should provide you and your colleagues condom, never heard of that stupidity before.
Sir, there is nothing new under the sun, Sir. No government in the world ever bought sanitary pads for school girls, but now it has happened. There is nothing stupid about our demand, Sir.
I cannot believe that I’m hearing this, government to provide condoms, ha!
Sir, we just don’t want to be discriminated against, Sir. The government is the father of all of us, so it cannot discriminate against its own children. If our female colleagues got their free sanitary pads without any agitation, we believe it is right that we are provided with free condoms. We male students also have our own peculiar needs, sorry for repeating myself. We are at the prime of our youth. Testosterone and libido are at their peak, and they are running riot. You must know about that, Sir. It is biological. Yes, Sir, it is biological. We do not want to get into situations whereby we cannot go to classes and concentrate on our lectures due to unbearable agonies of hard-ons, Sir. We also don’t want to get into situations whereby we impregnate our colleagues and saddle the state with unwanted pregnancies. We do not want to get into situations where we all become failures due to inadequate concentration of our studies. We also want to grow up and help our country. Economic imperatives alone dictates that the government comes to our aid.
Your consideration for the welfare of your female colleagues and the state is commendable.
Thank you, Sir. We want the government to see reason and accept our demands, otherwise…
Otherwise what, young man?
Sir, otherwise, it shall be Aluta Condom, Sir!
Yes Sir, Aluta as in struggle. Perpetual struggle, Sir. We shall agitate and we shall vociferate and we shall vibrate. We begin with petition, sorry demand, to the government. Then we escalate until the government sees sense and agree to our demands. We shall be grateful if you can help us draft a strong-worded petition, sorry, demand to the government. Do you think we should include an ultimatum?
Thank you Sir.
Why limit it to condom, alone?
What do you mean Sir, what else should we include?
Ha, I am not an expert on such things, but I heard that when you make demands you should go for the maximum. Grab the jugular, so to say. It is good bargaining strategy?
Sir, you are good people, Sir. Thank you so much, Sir. What do you think we should include in our petition, sorry, demand, Sir?
Oh. Condoms don’t go alone, do they? You will need some condiments to get you guys in the mood and make the testosterone flow wildly. Nowadays, people swear by Viagra. So you can begin with demand that the government provide you with weekly Viagra. Of course, since the schools will not provide space, you guys will need a place to do your own thing, so make demands for hotel, motel or whatever allowance. Then there is the question of transportation, fried rice and drinks and telephone units and things for your girls. Put that under General Entertainment allowance. Since most schools do not allow you guys to go out at weekends, you can campaign for a free day. So, instead of five schooling days, you can demand that a day be set aside for Amorous Escapades. No, you can call that Practical Biology. That sounds better…
Wow! Wow! Sir, you are wicked. Fantastic! Sir, you are good people. I am happy that I came to see you, Sir.
You didn’t come to see me; we’re chatting on a telephone.
It doesn’t matter, Sir. You are too good. Do you think that the government will accept?
I don’t and cannot speak for the government. But as a caring and listening government, I am sure that you will get a good hearing. If government can find US$3 million to ferry to Brazil to pay footballers; if it can find, sorry borrow, money to buy sanitary pads, then it should be able to accommodate your modest demands without any problem. It looks like the only problem the government has is how to spend the money fighting in its pockets.
Would you suggest, Sir, that we copy parliament, to put maximum pressure on the government?
Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that! Yes. Also copy all the Diplomatic Missions in Ghana, Amnesty International, all the Human Rights organisations plus the media houses. The trick is to make the maximum noise.
Sir, Sir, I don’t know how to thank you enough. You have turned our modest aspirations into a lofty, soaring ambitions. We are eternally grateful, Sir. When do you think you can help us wake up a decent petition, sorry demand?
As soon as the lights come.
So, you don’t have light, Sir?
You are mantra!
Femi Akomolafe is a Pan Africanist writer. For More on his work:
Femi Akomolafe Books (Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” and “Africa: It shall be well,” are now available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:
Freedom Bookshop, near Apollo Theatre, Accra.
The Daily Dispatch Office, Labone Accra
Here are useful links:
Africa: it shall be well: HYPERLINK “http://alaye.biz/africa-it-shall-be-well-introduction-in-pdf/” http://alaye.biz/africa-it-shall-be-well-introduction-in-pdf/
Africa: it shall be well is available for sale on Kindle books at this link: HYPERLINK “https://www.createspace.com/4820404” https://www.createspace.com/4820404
A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: It shall be well’ could be downloaded here: HYPERLINK “http://alaye.biz/africa-it-shall-be-well-a-free-chapter/” http://alaye.biz/africa-it-shall-be-well-a-free-chapter/
Africa: Destroyed by the gods (How religiosity destroyed Africa) HYPERLINK “http://alaye.biz/africa-destroyed-by-the-gods-introduction/” http://alaye.biz/africa-destroyed-by-the-gods-introduction/
Africa: Destroyed by the gods is available for sale on Kindle books at this link: HYPERLINK “https://www.createspace.com/4811974” t “_blank” https://www.createspace.com/4811974
A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: Destroyed by the gods’ could be downloaded here: HYPERLINK “http://alaye.biz/africa-destroyed-by-the-gods-free-chapter/” http://alaye.biz/africa-destroyed-by-the-gods-free-chapter/
Femi maintains a blog @: HYPERLINK “http://www.alaye.biz/blog” www.alaye.biz/blog
Twitter: HYPERLINK “http://www.twitter.com/ekitiparapo” www.twitter.com/ekitiparapo
Gmail+: HYPERLINK “http://www.google.com/” www.google.com/ +Femi Akomolafe
LinkedIn: HYPERLINK “http://www.linkedin.com/Femi” www.linkedin.com/ Femi Akomolafe Facebook: HYPERLINK “http://www.facebook.com/ ” www.facebook.com/ alayeclearsound dotbiz
Website: HYPERLINK “http://www.alaye.biz” www.alaye.biz