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Interview With Nigerian Internet Service Providers: “Let Us Explain

Interview With… is a Zikoko weekly series that explores the weird and interesting lives of inanimate objects and non-human entities.

We wrote an article ranking Nigerian internet service providers. Somehow, the providers were able to combine their bad internet to read it, and they demanded an interview with Zikoko. 

[Zikoko arrives at a deserted island that’s probably not on any map. The providers chose the location because it’s close to their underwater sea cables and should be the best place for their internet to work without buffering. Zikoko cannot swim and would much rather not be in a deserted island with people they just dragged in an article, but braves it all for the story. Lord provide strength. 

Smile, Airtel, 9mobile and Spectranet are on their seats when the speedboat arrives. Zikoko does a quick scan and notices MTN and Glo are nowhere to be found.]

Zikoko: Where are MTN and Glo?

Smile: [holding their wig] Who are those? 

9mobile and Spectranet: Do we have to wait for them? I think we’re enough. 

Zikoko: Want to say thank you for having me, but honestly, what do you have to say that I’d want to hear?

Smile: My problem with you people is you don’t smile enough. Zikoko, relax. Smile.

Zikoko: What’s there to smile about? Yesterday, we couldn’t hold meetings at the office because of one of you. I won’t name names. 

Smile: Name the name you want to name.

Airtel: Yesterday, rain was falling, your AC was on. Was a meeting really something you wanted to have? 

Spectranet: And honestly, unless you live on a mountain, I do my work. Maybe your poverty is the problem.

Zikoko: You people are unruly. You want us to praise you for not working?

Them: Yes.

Zikoko: Okay, let’s assume your terrible network is for the good of mankind. What about the other complaints? 

Smile: Which complaints? 

Zikoko: Smile, let’s start with you. Look at the network you dish to Nigerians. What’s there to smile about?

Spectranet: You know, I’m happy you asked that question.

Smile: Please, shut up, Spectranet. We all know you came into this business to steal my customers with promises of good, affordable network. Yet, when they try you out, they come running back to me. 

Spectranet: Zikoko? You won’t say anything? 

Zikoko: Smile, you’ve still not answered our question, or is your brain lagging like your network? 

Smile: Omo, what did I throw, what did I collect? 

Spectranet: Like, can you relax? 

Zikoko: Can you people hear yourselves? Also, where the hell are MTN and Glo?

MTN: I’m here.

(That’s when Zikoko finally notices the laptop on a table. MTN is waving frantically through the screen.) 

Zikoko: MTN is doing this interview over Zoom?

MTN: Yes, I’m currently in South Africa. I needed a little rest. 

Zikoko: Why did you make me get a helicopter when I could’ve done it on Zoom? 

Airtel: Your network might be bad. 

(Zikoko tries not to scream.)

Zikoko: Okay, where is Glo?

9mobile: On their way. They currents are too strong.

Zikoko: They want to swim to this island? God help us. I’ve already spoken to Smile. What do the rest of you want. Please, make it snappy. 

MTN: Rude. We wanted to address the allegations you made against us in your ranked article. What do you mean I suck data?  

Zikoko: You suck abi you don’t suck?

MTN: I don’t suck.

Zikoko: What then do you do?

MTN: I just use it to pay tithe.

Zikoko: You have to be joking 

MTN: Don’t you pay tithe? 

Zikoko: Tithe is to come from your own money, not my data

MTN: Nobody told me that one o. They said I should pay, and I collect it from data. If you have a problem with it, fight Jesus. 

(Zikoko is turning red from frustration.) 

Zikoko: Okay, Airtel. The network blackouts. People can’t even make calls.

Airtel: National grid can collapse, but I can’t? 

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Zikoko: Quick question. Are you possessed or is this behaviour from birth? 

Airtel: Why do you have double standards? 

Zikoko: If it’s to change name and colour every couple of years, you can do that, but to give good network is a problem?

(Airtel starts to cry.) 

Airtel: Why are you bodyshaming me? Yes, I did plastic surgery, so what? 

(Airtel storms out in tears, and 9mobile runs after to offer comfort.) 

Zikoko: God, abeg. They don’t pay me enough for this. 

Spectranet: My own issue is you’re complaining I don’t reach everywhere in Nigeria. I’m exclusive. Not everyone can have access to me. 

Zikoko: But the people you reach say you’re doing rubbish.

Spectranet: What do they know? The problem is you people don’t care about our mental health. See, you made Airtel cry. We’re trying the best we can. Why can’t you understand that?

(9mobile comes back at this point, alone.)

Zikoko: Where’s Airtel?

9mobile: Airtel collapsed because the situation was overwhelming. See what you’ve done, Zikoko?

Zikoko: All of you are clearly insane, and I think I’ve had enough.

9mobile: But I’ve not even had a chance to clear my name yet.

Zikoko: The only reason you can speak is because we’re on a deserted island. If it was Oshodi now, we’ll be grateful if you give us 2G network.

Smile: I think everyone should just take a deep breath and smile.

Zikoko: If I hear you speak again, I’ll cause you physical harm.

(Zikoko’s speedboat arrives, they hop in and it takes off.)

Glo (drenched in water): Hi guys. Sorry I’m late. Has the interview started yet?

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