Ladies & Gentlemen!

“Ladies and gentlemen, mister honorable President,” the monkey whispers in his baritone voice into the mike.

The large crowd of people fell totally quiet.

The press reported there were at least one million party fanatics stuffed into the stadium built for only about two hundred thousand.

You could hear a pin drop.

Sixteen golden cobras crawled into the arena.

Directly behind them were eight black mambas sliding in unison.

Four gaboon vipers, their fangs venomously exposed, slithered in, following closely.

Taking the rear was the Oxyuranus microlepidotus, the snake with the deadliest venom in the world. Its red-orange skin, beaded with silver threads, reflected the gleams of the morning sun, as it moved in tight circular curves to protect the Head of State.

The Oxyuranus microlepidotus was specially acquired from a decorated snake-breeder whose ancestors have raised deadly serpents for more than fifty generation in the deserts of India.

His Excellency, Ijapa the tortoise, was carried into the arena in a golden carriage hoisted on the shoulders of four large gorillas, each weighing more than 600 pounds.

Ijapa and his beautiful wife, Madam Queen Yannibo sat inside the diamond-studded, golden seats of the carriage.

Ijapa beamed generous smiles at the crowd, waiving at his hands and nodding his head at the party fanatics that, upon sighting him, burst into loud screams of ovations, each yelling as loud as their lungs would allow.

Madam Yannibo, maintaining her characteristic clam face, wore a pair of dark glasses. Nobody had ever seen her eyes before.

His Excellency and the Queen stepped down the stairs of the carriage, and His Excellency made their way to the golden rostrum, while Queen Yannibo was seated on a golden couch place next to the rostrum.

Her fingers were laden with diamond rings and bangles carved from precious stones dug from the richest private mine in southern Africa.

Ijapa cleared his throat, and the crowd fell silent again.

“My family,” Ijapa started, “special greetings to you.”

The crowd screamed and yelled back their greetings.

“I thank you,” Ijapa continued. “You are loyal. Our land is blessed with loyal folks. Except, of course, for a few traitors.”

The crowd yelled back, “Kill them! Jail them! Brutalize them!!!”

“We will not be mean to them,” Ijapa continued. “We are God-fearing animals. Since the revolution in which the so-called Low Animalia overthrew the so-called High Animalia, our land has known peace, progress and happiness for all and sundry.”

“Yeah!!!!!” yelled the crowd.

“Now they say we must have another election,” Ijapa continued, speaking slowly in a presidential manner. “I tell them, there is no need for an election. Why waste money on holding elections when the entire population of the land, from the smallest baby to the oldest folks, everybody loves me and wants me to remain the President.”

The crowd began to chant “Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!”

“Only four more years?” Ijapa asked them rhetorically. “Some have raised songs about Life Presidency. I said no.”

“President for life! President for life! President for life! President for life!” The crowd screamed.

“The last four years since I became president have witnessed tremendous developments throughout the land,” Ijapa said. We have completed so many important projects, I have lost count of their number. And we have started even more ambitious programs.”

“President for life! President for life! President for life! President for life!” The crowd yelled.

“But of course, the negative people are never satisfied,” Ijapa continued. “They accuse us of corruption, theft and incompetence. Without any proof.”

The crowd yelled back, “Kill them! Jail them! Brutalize them!!!”

“They are funded by foreign agents, as our intelligence have discovered,” Ijapa said. “Just to prove to the backbiters that there is no alternative to me as President, I agree to hold an election.”

“President for life! President for life! President for life! President for life!” The crowd screamed.

“Those of you in favor of me continuing as the president, say ‘Aye,’” Ijapa said.

“Aye, aye, President for life! President for life! Aye, aye, President for life! Aye, aye, President for life!” The crowd screamed.

“The Ayes have won,” Ijapa said. “ I humbly, yet reluctantly again, accept your election to the position of the President.”

“President for life! President for life! President for life! President for life!” The crowd screamed.

“We caught the ringleader of those plotting to overthrow the presidency,” Ijapa announced solemnly. “Alas, he was my best friend. Bí ikú ilé ò bá pa ni, tòde ò lè pa ni: your worst enemy is your best friend and your best friend your worst enemy, as Bob Marley taught us. My best friend is my worst enemy, as I just discovered.”

The crowd yelled back, “Kill him! Jail him! Brutalize him!!!”

“To serve as a lesson to others who are silently plotting to harm this benevolent government,” Ijapa continued, “we are left no option than the capital punishment. I will not mention the name. It is too foul for my tongue to pronounce. You will see this evil one when he is led in for public execution.”

The crowd fell silent.

Immediately, the large iron gate of an entrance opened and Aja, the dog, was led in on a leash held by four monkeys.

They led Aja to the Ogun shrine to be beheaded.

“Do you have any final word to say before you are beheaded?” Ijapa asked Aja.

Aja tried to speak, but could not make any sound because his mouth was gagged.

“I’m not surprised Aja has nothing to say,” Ijapa said. “Let sleeping dogs lie, people say. This dog not only lies, it is an incurable liar. You may continue to carry out the judicial sentence.”

The Monkey-Executioner raised the sword to behead the dog.

I suddenly woke up, drenched in my sweat.

A dog was barking outside.

Happy election season, folks.

Do you think your vote counts?

Do you think the results will make a difference in the lives of our people?

Please tell me why.

May the best candidate prevail.

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