He’s Ramona Abbas. Even this name is puzzling. Some reports anglicize his name as Raymond. But it Hushpuppi we know, poetic, lyrical and even symbolic. Silence implies silence, secrecy, conspiracy, shadow. A puppy, in this respect, means playful, like a week-old dog. This makes him a sly dog.
But then it has other origin stories. Some others attribute it to the founding of New Orleans, which gives the world Mahdi Gras, a mad carnival for pleasure pilgrims. A female immigrant who invented the snack ball made from cornmeal and the city called it “hushpuppi”. Their own incarnation of Akara. Even then, the nickname of Abbas is written with the ending in the letter ” I ” instead of the letter “Y”.
In one of the latest fashion photos, he is shown in a shirt of a familiar brand Fendi. But the other brand was stalking him like a wildcat, stealthily, patiently, and calculatingly. It was a brand as a buttress: the FBI. Caught in Dubai, but caught in the United States, the colorful fraudster’s stay is coming to an end. Behind bars, he will not wear Gucci or LV, but an orange top that at best will say ” prisoner.”
He is no longer a Hushpuppi. Now he is Abbas. He buried his real name in a coffin of lies and deceit. It was revived by a glamorous icon, the eponymous, abandoned house, and became the global smart Alec. He was a man of wealth, but without means of support. He conquered cyberspace, dispossessed the gullible, hid his global Bank account, roamed the world, built dream cars, snored in palaces, dressed like a dandy, preened like a peacock, seduced the young and drugged the old.
He became a role model for the lazy generation who enjoyed luxury without difficulty. When he was caught, the FBI buried Hushpuppi and revived Abbas. But where is the real Abbas? If he again to find Ramona? He can’t. Like Sophocles ‘Antigone, he” lives neither among men nor among ghosts.” He is in a dazed world, a Ghost. He died twice; he was born again as a jailer, his third life. He was reckless. Now it’s a wreck.
But Abbas is a fairy tale for the moment, albeit in the opposite direction. He was caught trying to cash out a group of people for millions of dollars in palliatives during the pandemic. Abbas is a way of greed at the time of sacrifice. He flaunted his shoes, cars, mansions, parties at a time when many were hiding behind houses, suffering in hospitals, coughing with grief, grieving or being mourned. It presented a heartless look when we were supposed to be our neighbors ‘ caretakers, when many were suddenly fired from their jobs.
When his countrymen lost their jobs and wealthy people gave their millions and billions to the poor, Abbas was a braggart. The thing with Abbas was that no blockage could stop his party. His extravagance was in the network. The whole world was his audience. It thrived and frolicked in real time and space, but its fans joined it virtually. It was a Paradise for voyeurs. The young man stared, watched, and commented. When they swore, they did it out of smouldering admiration. He came to represent a generation of Nigerians who didn’t trust their parents, their bosses or their leaders. They followed their greed. They followed the Hushpuppi. He was a priest of the new goddess, money.
Abbas was a kind of escape for them. He became a man who played the system and won. All the stadiums in the world applauded. They are like the hero of the English novel Billy the liar, a young man who lived in his imagination, where he achieved power, wealth and fame, although he had nothing but the fact that he lived from paycheck to paycheck. Abbas was a stranger to them this escape. They lived in Hushpuppi. They wore his Fendi, lived in his Palace, flew on his plane, had fun with his women, or were his women, and drove his Ferrari, Lamborghini, and rolls-Royce.
Here, have Nigerians not been able to take Bambesa. Weddings, birthdays, and funerals were moved to salons and backyards. This is a time for humility, and it was only right that the person who opposed it should be caught and jailed.
No one goes anywhere with Gucci shoes these days. There are no first-class tickets to buy to London and photograph for online vanity. No one has a chance to fill their pockets with dollars and pounds to spray the hero of the day. Those who have large cars can’t drive them anywhere for display. No frills for Mephistopheles or a harmless showman. The worst thing we can do is dress up at home and flaunt it to our child, wife, or husband, like miss Havisham in Dickens’s the Great waiting, who dressed in her wedding dress every day for years and died in it without leaving the house.
Those who have special cars only warm up their engines and drive around the surrounding area. These times show our material constipation. Abbas, a constipated man, left the building,his bowels rumbling with feces.
Everything was turned upside down. Those who see churches and mosques as ways to accumulate wealth shout that they want people to be together, but they are tempting the Lord. It is possible that some of these God’s people were praying for Abbas, and he may have taken this stolen money to decorate the house of God. Ironically, such people thrive when we hear the people of God preach. The point, however, is that this is an age when the word of the Lord is exchanged with the richness of the word. Quite a few churches prefer material splendor. This is not the same hypocrisy as in the wartime play mother courage, where Brecht says: “When there is a load of special virtues, it means that something stinks.”
Abbas represents the Yahoo boys, and his downfall is their downfall. This is retribution for a tribe of desperate people who demonized technical genius. The new frontier of progress is also their front for fraud.
It was not for nothing that he was associated with some of our famous politicians, even if they had nothing in common. He had photo shoots with some of them. If he were not a Hushpuppi, but just Ramon Abbas, we would not see such pictures.
But our politicians have one thing in common with him: impunity. Where leaders promise and refuse their word, it’s as bad a lie as Hushpuppi appearing on a person’s email and asking for one piece of information and turning email into an opportunity to harass and destroy. They are the spirits of Internet monitoring. They get that person’s bill and empty it.
We also see our politicians taking our money when others have nothing. Fraud has now become a familiar terrain for politicians. To be a politician is to seek a path to self-service, not to serve everyone. But the arrest of Abbas is a hope, but not enough. This shows that even a new border can be tracked down, and the crime is surrounded and stopped. Our people are not doing well enough to catch those who are doing well dishonestly. Some of them were caught. We want more.
Abbas is caught today, and no one is calling for him. His audience is now laughing. He looks like Jay Gatsby from a Scott Fitzgerald novel. He acquires his fable of wealth in order to win back the woman and buys a large mansion just like the Hushpuppi’s. Everyone in the neighborhood comes to his frequent parties, but not the kind of woman he craves. In the end, he dies alone and poor. Everyone goes to his parties, but no one goes to his funeral. Abbas is now alone. Like the Hushpuppi. Abbas watches as no one comes to Hushpuppi’s funeral. Frozen eyes Hushpuppi look without seeing, Abbas goes to jail.