A Tale of a Speaker and a Loaf of Bread

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This world is a truly hard place. There’s no telling how people will respond to good gestures. On the one hand, chances are that the best expressions of consideration and empathy will be looked upon as exactly that and appreciated and celebrated, imitated and immortalized. But once in a while, the sun rises in the east and people don’t exactly appreciate the labour of a good man, choosing instead to fight for their daily bread rather than have it delivered to them. One would think such a seemingly ungrateful response to a humanitarian gesture would be rare amidst the current Covid-19 drama, but the episode that played out between Honourable Obasa and his Agege Constituency is a case in study.

It was a fine Sunday, and the sun was shining with the legendary verve of a Nigerian soldier punishing a bloody civilian. And then vans arrived in the Agege area of Lagos to deliver the stimulus package promised by Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa.

The package consisted of rice, bread and sanitizers – necessary materials, all of them, in this time of crisis. Honourable Obasa had effectively distributed 10,000 bags of rice, 36,000 loaves of bread, and ample portable sanitizers to the people of his constituency, to assist with the lockdown and its consequent scarcity. The bread especially was something of a novelty. Each loaf was wrapped in a customized covering and emblazoned with the speaker’s name.

While the gift was received by almost everyone in the constituency, the response in some areas was not anticipated. The people in these areas basically made footballs of the bread and kicked them into the sky. While the loaves were falling from the sky, some of these folks explained that four loaves were given to households, without regard to the number of people in those households.

The speaker has however decried these claims, stating that certain troublemakers were hard at work. According to him, it is mathematically inaccurate that 36,000 loaves would be distributed to members of his constituency, and that his gesture was not politically motivated; he genuinely cares for his people.

Dissenting folks have naturally shouted Honourable Obasa down, stating that the package stimulus he distributed is indeed politically motivated (especially with his name attached to the loaves), and a failure, since it was nothing compared with what he could do. They say that two million Jews were fed with manna in a wilderness; how difficult is it to feed people living in the land of milk and honey?