Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 4
‘I will help you,’ said Sir Maigida, ‘but it will cost you something.’ He still maintained an impassive expression.
‘That shouldn’t be much of a problem.’ He was surprised that the respectable Sir Maigida could be hinting at what could be a bribe but didn’t show it. He could be mistaken.
‘I want you to learn the ropes, as after the primaries we would have a bigger job convincing the general populace to vote for the party. If you can’t convince the party delegates, how do you intend convincing the people of the state to vote for you?’
Is it now about me? He wanted to ask, but mouthed instead, ‘I understand your stance, sir, but how do you want me to go about it?’ The glass of wine served him by the chairman’s steward was still untouched.
‘I will recommend for you a young man. He’s a graduate of political science and very well versed in such matters. I will advise you to take his opinion very seriously.’
What young man was that? He had expected the chairman to come up with an easy solution only requiring cash.
‘It’s okay, sir, but what really would the young man do?’
‘Impatience, that’s one thing you must do without, Chief Mike. The political world is different from the business world. The dynamics of politics require patience and calculation. That’s one thing Ezekiel will teach you.’
‘Ezekiel? Who is that?’
‘The name of the young man I said I will introduce to you.’
Chief Mike smiled. He felt manipulated, he felt deceived, but could do nothing about it. It was too late to back out. After another glance at the glass of wine beside him, he arose.
‘You are leaving without touching your wine?’ Sir Maigida asked. He already knew the answer.
‘Tell him to meet him at the office nine a.m. tomorrow,’ Chief Mike replied. The smile had totally left his face.
‘That’s okay, if he isn’t busy then.’ Sir Maigida arose too and accompanied him to the door.
The doorkeeper opened the entrance door for them to step out. Once outside, Chief Mike muttered his thanks and marched briskly to his car. Sir Maigida watched until the car had gotten to the gate before turning to go back into the house.
It was ten minutes to nine when his secretary knocked and entered his office. He had instructed her some minutes back to sort out some files and was surprised she was done so soon.
‘Are you through, Bolanle?’
‘No, sir; there is a man who wants to see you.’
‘A man? What’s his name? Tell him I’m busy.’
‘He said he’s from Sir Maigida.’
‘Oh!’ Chief Mike held his forehead as understanding dawned on him. ‘Show him in!’
Bolanle wondered what it was about the scraggly bearded, thin man to so excite her boss. She exited the office and returned after some seconds with Ezekiel Tobalu.
Even Chief Mike’s excitement was dented when he saw the thin man enter his office. Ezekiel resembled someone blackened by the sun and thereafter starved unto thinness. He had even neglected his beard.
‘Who are you, young man?’ He asked, suddenly unsure if the man before him had come from Sir Maigida.
‘Good morning, sir; could you, please, ask your secretary to excuse us?’
Chief Mike indicated so with a nod and Bolanle returned to her office. He was already remorseful for the manner he had earlier addressed him. The young man had a very well groomed voice.
‘I am Ezekiel Tobalu, sometimes eccentric, but a quite dependable ally according to my friends.’
‘I am sorry for the cold reception, I was taken aback by your…what would you like to drink?’
‘By my appearance you wanted to say? That’s our first lesson; never judge a book by its cover.’
‘What would you like to drink?’ Chief Mike repeated, keen to steer the conversation to safe waters.
‘May I sit down?’ Ezekiel asked, like he hadn’t heard his question.
‘Of course, please do.’ He had made another gaffe. He had expected Ezekiel to take sitting for granted. He watched the young man sit, before asking again: ‘What would you like to drink?’
‘Anything, sir; anything you can offer.’
‘Soft or alcoholic?’
‘Non-alcoholic, I don’t take alcohol.’
Chief Mike sighed. Ezekiel was the first young man he would meet who didn’t take alcohol. Even Jeffery, his only son had once returned from a party drunk. He had sternly warned him then never to allow such repeat itself, but experience had taught him that such stances by parents would only drive such habits in their kids underground. And Ezekiel couldn’t be much older than Jeffery. That instant, it dawned on him that he was being too eager to please. And Ezekiel couldn’t be much older than his son, Jeffery!
‘You may serve yourself,’ he told Ezekiel, pointing at the fridge. He was regaining some self-consciousness.
Ezekiel arose and went to the fridge; he knew how Chief Mike felt, but also knew that he had successfully created the right ambience for their relationship.
He drank slowly, apologising for his earlier attitude before requesting for details of the chief’s political travails thus far. Chief Mike’s revelations were same as those he had gotten from Sir Maigida the previous day. He had made some plans before coming, and he believed they would be effective if properly applied.
He had made some plans before coming, and he believed they would be effective if properly applied.
Ezekiel Tobalu neither possessed good looks nor an awe-inspiring physique, but one thing he had going for him was his brain. He had a way of belittling problems and thereby crushing them. He had graduated with good grades from the university, but after his compulsory one year National Service had found the rock of a satisfactory job insurmountable. He had gotten a few offers in the course of his searches, but none had been satisfactory. He detested the idea of having to sit in an office for many hours, working out a monotonous schedule that required little next to nothing of his intellection. Many thought him mad, but he never bothered to dispute it. He had it worked upstairs, the kind of work he would like, and he believed it would come to fruition, no matter how long it took.
His parents were still patient with him, but even their patience was waning. He wasn’t as young as Chief Mike had initially thought; he had clocked thirty his last birthday and his next birthday was only a few months away. His physique made many think he was younger, but not his parents who were already desirous of a grandchild from their only son. His only sibling, his elder sister Titilayo, was married to a white man and was overseas with her husband. According to his dad, Ezekiel was the only real child he had, the only one to bear his name, and he wanted to carry his child before going to meet his ancestors. At sixty three, Ezekiel didn’t believe his father would leave anytime soon, and therefore didn’t give his words much thought. His mum was less vocal about the desire for him to get a job and get married, but he saw the disappointment in her eyes whenever she inquired if a lady friend of his was the one and he said no.
He was so much at home with political issues, having studied Political Science at the university, that Sir Maigida soon spotted him. He saw that the young man was a fast thinker who had great passion for oppositions all over the world. He was even more sympathetic when such oppositions kept up the fight even when appearing severely disadvantaged. This was the case with the C.A when Ezekiel joined them, they couldn’t even boast of being able to secure half the number of votes the ruling party would. Sir Maigida had made him the Public Relations Officer of the party’s Youth League, a non-stipendary position, with occasional windfalls; and it was from that position he called up Ezekiel to be Chief Mike’s one-man thinktank.
It was the kind of job Ezekiel loved, the type that would give him considerable freedom while requiring his creativity.
Chief Mike had offered him a salary he couldn’t have gotten from any of the organisations he had formerly rejected; he also provided for him an official car and an office in the company. The office was more geared towards relaxation than work. With a reclining chair and desk, a television, mini home theatre and a laptop, he found the office more homely than their sitting room at home.