21 Nov Predestination and the Human Experience
- Title: Hang No Clothes Here
- Author: Bolaji Olatunde
- Publisher: Parrésia Publishers Ltd
- Number of pages: 505
- Year of publication: 2017
- Category: Fiction
‘Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing’. – Macbeth, Act V, Scene V
Hang No Clothes Here centres on the life and experiences of an assistant superintendent in the Nigeria Police Force, John Braimoh, and how he ends up. His quest to return to Abuja after being posted to Lagos leads him to become entangled in the world of drug dealing. His bosom friend and senior colleague, Dennis Omoruyi, tells him about two drug cartels, a new threat that they target in a bid to secure their places in the Force and remain in Abuja. However, their plan to eliminate this new threat boomerangs, and Braimoh is forced to spy for the cartels after a series of threats, kidnappings and torture. In a bid to disentangle himself from the mess he has gotten into, he makes many tough decisions.
Hang No Clothes Here is Bolaji Olatunde’s second novel. The novel explores the theme of corruption, as experienced by Braimoh, for instance, in the actions of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board. This task force, which was set up ostensibly to fight street hawking in all its forms, becomes a means of exploiting poor individuals. ‘The seized goods had to be bailed out, with good money and the bail, one could swear, never got to the AEPB’s coffers’ (p 22).
Omoruyi also condemns the ways in which elected officials manipulate people by giving them small gifts to do their dirty work, even as those elected officials devise corrupt strategies to get into power:
Me, I know their game. These cutlasses are the ones they’ll use to fight the coming elections. All those thief, thief governors in Yoruba land. If your people like, they should let them steal the election again like they did in 2003. Your people hmm! Once they see small small money, their body go start to shake like say they hit one kain jackpot. For a small thing like a cutlass, these hungry people I’m seeing can kill for this yeye governor… O boy, we don’t have leaders again o! What we have is leader-shit (p 69).
The novel exposes corrupt practices even in the Force itself as Braimoh recounts a story of blatant cheating in the police entrance examination. He says, ‘I found out later that she was there to write for another candidate who was admitted. The cadet she wrote for is now an ASP’ (p 110). Corruption is also seen in the character of Omoruyi, whose standard of living outstrips his income and which he puts down to ‘correct runs’ (p 61).