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ABA SAHEED: Anikura and the Forbes billionaires’ list

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ABA SAHEED: Anikura and the Forbes billionaires' list

Anikura thought he was going to have a pleasant night last Tuesday after taking his wife out on a sumptuous dinner treat. It was fun throughout the evening at the Hotel Gbewiri where Anikura and his plus-size wife of 30 years had a 9-course meal with tantalizingly bewitching damsels feeding their eyes with scenes of pole-dance and other out-of-this-world lurid entertainment. That was customary of this super-rich couple whose lavish tastes had no respect for decorum or decency.

‘Darling me”, Abora had hardly put her second foot out of the glistering limousine when she called out in a not-too-friendly tone, “ I thought you heard the news as we were having dinner when the newscaster reeled out names on the latest list of billionaires with special attention to those who made the grade in our country”

“Yes, darling. I did. What about it?’’

“What about what?”

“Yes, what about it? Have you ever heard them mentioning my name among the names of billionaires in this country?”

“That’s my point. And why have you never protested?”

“Protest over what?”

“Look, dear, don’t frustrate me this night. Look at the small boys, yes boys, not necessarily in age, but small by virtue of the newness of their wealth and the smallness of their wallets.”

“Age has nothing to do with Forbes categorisation or newness of the wealth. I think their assessment is based on visibility and I think, possibly on verification of the assets and market value of those they parade as the wealthiest or something like that. I don’t work for Forbes, so I really don’t know for certain what their criteria are”

“You see, that’s where I’m coming from. Are you saying the Forbes people are blind? Can’t they see the palatial buildings we have all over the places. In The US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Dubai, Canada? I’m sure if Forbes people are serious and not corrupt, they should know that you are qualified to top the list of billionaires in this country.

The atmosphere was getting charged and Anikura was at a loss as to what to tell his wife to calm her down. She was fuming and as she punched out every word from her large mouth, her breasts seemed to be moving up and down in response to heavy breathing.

Abora was hypertensive and she also nursed a sizeable measure of diabetes. She stammered and that God’s gift jacked up her temperature whenever she lost her cool or appeared worked up in an argument.

“Look, darling”, Anikura tried to calm down her nerves; may be I should call our accountant to explain to both of us why my name was missing”.

“Come on. Am I an illiterate? What is there to explain to me by your accountant? Don’t you have money? Are we not by far wealthier than those boys and girls in the Forbes list of billionaires? How much billions do they have? In Dollars, we are not their mate. In Pounds Sterling we are not their equal. In French franc, we are by far ahead of their grandfathers. In Naira, we are richer than the Central Bank. So, what is it? What is the so-called accountant you built a house for coming to tell me? Are we not the ones who sent his 2 daughters abroad? Is that the man coming to educate me on what I know?” Abora would not let go. Anikura, her husband, former Governor, former Senator, former Council Chairman, former Ambassador, former Minister and former ex-Military Chief rolled into one, was already perspiring. He also was diabetic and suffered renal challenges.

“No sir, Yes sir, no sir, Okay sir, Beg your pardon sir” That was accountant Manotan Paramole.

“Please if you can drive down to our mansion now, I will appreciate it very much”.

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“Expect me shortly sir” Paramole concurred.

“I will walk out on you both if he should show up his ugly face here tonight.”

“What exactly is the matter with you this night? I tried to explain to you how Forbes conducts their business, you said No; I want to bring in an expert, you still say No; what do you want me to do? It’s already past 8, o, clock. We should be in bed by now”.

“Not me and you in bed this night. This Forbes nonsense, exposing me to ridicule in the eyes of my friends who always hail me as ‘Super Billionaire’s Heartthrob’ must stop.”

“Come in!” Anikura gave Manotan a cheerful welcome. “Please sit down”

“Thank you sir”.

“Darling, please come and listen to our accountant”

“Madam, ma, as I was saying….”

Abora interrupted him. “What were you saying? Even by your records, the way we lavish money on you and your entire family, including your father and mother, are we not billionaires? Is my husband not qualified to be dubbed the NO1 billionaire in this country, in this continent, even in the world? You know our assets distributed all over the world and the humongous cash stashed away abroad in several special designated banks? Now, your story?”

“Thank you Madam, ma. The way billionaires are ranked is based majorly on visible, verifiable assets and wealth, possibly along with products or services which engendered such wealth. You know, we are not allowed to advertise my client’s wealth especially since we cannot prove the source or sources of the huge funds stashed away in hidden accounts. And Madam Ma, may be you are not aware, most of the assets you and oga have are in fictitious names and fictitious companies’ names.”

Abora turned to her husband, her jaw drooping: “What am I hearing?”

“But you heard him”, Anikura responded calmly.

“Is he saying you are a shady billionaire, to your face, in our own house?” “Cheeky eh?”

“I don’t think that’s what the accountant is saying. He is just explaining how his company works. He surely can’t sit in my house and call me a thief, or embezzler of public funds or such profane words bothering on character assassination. No, God forbid!”

“I hope not” the confused Abora let down her guard.

“After you have served this country meritoriously almost all your life, working as a public servant for close to two-thirds of your life span so far, how would anybody impugn your integrity? My darling. I’m so sorry. I now understand. Forbes classification is for nouveau rich. For small boys who still have to prove how they came by their sudden wealth. We have long passed that stage.”

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“You see, my darling wife, we are billionaires from the womb. Me, Anikura, Forbes doesn’t have one percent of my wealth. It will be an insult for me, and a major insult on my wealth and riches if Horbes should rank me with these little tots.”

All hail Anikura, the billionaire beyond Forbes orbit.

By ABA SAHEED  , Syndicated Columnist and foremost satirist.

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