Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 5
he found the office more homely than their sitting room at home.
He would drive from home around nine a.m., arrive at the office about thirty minutes later, and after some small talk with Bolanle would cross over to his office. Chief Mike would usually use the intercom whenever he wanted him, and that gradually became more frequent as the primaries drew closer.
The very first day they met, the same day he had advised the chief never to judge a book by its cover, he had told Chief Mike to concentrate less on the strengths of his opponents and look more at maximising his own strengths. Unlike Chief Mike, he didn’t see Professor Dele Imonikhe as being the most formidable amongst those desirous of clinching the party gubernatorial ticket. In the course of his political adventures, he had realised that money played a pivotal role in building up political acceptance. One who was initially regarded as unpopular could become popular overnight once his money went to the right places. This money, Chief Mike had in abundance, at least from what he had seen; leaving him the task of deploying it aright. There was also the subtle support from the party chairman, Sir Maigida, though the man had consistently tried to play it down and appear neutral. Ezekiel had detected this the very day Sir Maigida asked him to take up the role of Chief Mike’s righthand man. The chairman had told him that day that he strongly believed in his ability to put his passions to positive use; that he had the opportunity to make a name for himself, thereby securing his future forever.
‘But why Chief Mike, sir? Is he your favoured candidate?’
‘Favoured?’ The chairman asked, ‘I don’t think there is any favoured candidate here. What we’ve got are very good aspirants in the C.A.’
Ezekiel didn’t believe him; it was obvious in Sir Maigida’s voice, his preference for Chief Mike. The reason behind that, he was going to find out later.
‘I will do my best, sir.’
‘I know you will; that’s why I contacted you.’
Ezekiel soon set out to work. After obtaining Chief Mike’s permission and funding, he dug into the background of Professor Dele Imonikhe. It didn’t take too long to discover that the professor’s achilles heel was his love for university girls. This was inspite of the austere perception most undergraduates had of him. Professor Imonikhe could bore his class with many quotes from the bible before commencing a lecture, insist on strict adherence to discipline in his classes, even send out ladies who were – in his opinion – poorly dressed, but the man could hardly take his hands off them once they were alone within any confines. Ezekiel’s discovery of the first lady who had aborted for him soon led him to the second. Neither was of his department, Philosophy, but both took his course as electives. It was another thing Ezekiel soon discovered; Professor Imonikhe was more into ladies who weren’t of his department. The reason for this, he couldn’t find out, but it didn’t matter anyway. Another thing he discovered was that his wife knew nothing about his flings.
Jubilantly, he informed Chief Mike about this and advised that they pushed immediately.
Once again, Chief Mike sanctioned the move and Ezekiel confronted the professor with the piece of information. He had expected the professor to be shocked but was shocked himself when Professor Imonikhe listened to all he had to say with an expressionless face then smiled.
‘Which of my challengers do you work for?’ He asked calmly.
What was the man saying? Was he high on some cheap drugs?
‘Is that all you’ve got to say, sir?’ Ezekiel asked, highly surprised.
‘Is that all you’ve got to say, sir?’ Ezekiel asked, highly surprised.
‘What else were you expecting? See, young man, I am not one of those that can be easily cowered into subjection by blackmail. I know that’s your intent with this piece of information, but I can assure you that it won’t achieve the intended purpose.’
‘I was thinking we could discuss, sir; but you leave me with no option.’ Ezekiel arose and leaned on the desk. ‘I will be taking my leave now.’
‘Hold it, young man. Who do you work for and how do you intend to deploy that piece of information?’
‘This is personal, sir; you don’t need to know about what do don’t care about.’ He turned around and made to leave.
‘Please, come back and take your seat.’ Professor Imonikhe’s tone was now considerably conciliatory. Ezekiel loved that.
For the next fifteen minutes, they deliberated over Ezekiel’s terms. Professor Imonikhe, this time, admitted to being prepared to do anything to keep the information about his flings from his wife. His wife aside, he was a deacon in his church who had conducted many lectures on chastity in the past. It would greatly soil his reputation if such news got out. However, he disagreed with Ezekiel on outrightly dropping out of the race.
‘…it would raise questions; many of my supporters would want to know why,’ he explained.
‘You can always cook up a lie for them,’ Ezekiel countered, he now held all the aces.
‘No, young man; I will have to cover up one ill-conceived lie with many others. That I don’t think I’m ready for.’
‘Does that mean you are prepared for whatever consequences this news getting out there may bring?’
‘Not that, but…’ his appearance portrayed one deep in thought. ‘I think this is what we should do: I will stop mobilizing my supporters while still remaining in the race. That way, you can have your way without raising questions.’
Ezekiel didn’t trust him, the professor could have something up his sleeves.
‘I don’t think I would accept that, sir. If you don’t have a preconceived lie, I could help you with one. How about getting your car battered, then claiming it was done by members of the ruling party, who are scared of your candidature?’
‘How can you think of such a thing? I have only two cars…’
‘A Toyota Highlander and a Peugeot 406; none of those cars cost as much as the governorship form.’
Professor Imonikhe wiped his face with both palms and stared into space. The young man before him had thoroughly done his homework before coming. His mind flashed to Clarence, the first student to abort for him. She had been brought to his office by Tinuola, his former girlfriend who had graduated. Tinuola, who had since gotten married, begged him to be Clarence’s school father. According to Tinuola, there were some lecturers in her friend’s department who had sworn to give her hell if she didn’t get down with them. It had appeared a normal proposal until Tinuola added that Clarence was ready to give him anything in exchange for his protection from the ravenous wolves in her department.
Anything soon turned out to be three meetings per week at The Palace Hotels. He would drive straight to the hotel, where Clarence would had already been waiting for him, after party meetings on Mondays; his ready excuse to his wife was that party meetings rarely closed early. He would usually drive his family home on Tuesdays before, on the claim of going to visit a friend, drive to the hotel. Thursday meetings were usually once he was through with lectures for the day. He would go home to cool off afterwards and probably attend another meeting same day. Clarence was a wild one, even wilder than Tinu had ever been. She claimed to hate condoms and got him to go bareback with her on a number of occasions. He wouldn’t have agreed to it had she not further claimed to be adequately protected from pregnancy. That claim turned out to be untrue when she came to inform him of her missed periods.
He would have refused responsibility had he not feared a scandal. He had eventually convinced her to quietly remove the baby, but it appeared she hadn’t been so discreet after all. But, while he could have claimed inexperience concerning Clarence’s pregnancy, he couldn’t claim same about Adaora, his fellow lecturer’s daughter, or Priscillia, both of whom he also got to abort babies for him…
Ezekiel, on the other hand, wondered what it was about sex that made most men lose all sense of self-control once presented with it. He had engaged in it a couple of times, but those times had been on his own terms. He couldn’t see himself getting promiscuous after marriage; he had never found any lady exceptionally sexually appealing. This was in spite of living in a district widely known for being a zone for hookers. He did find their baiting techniques interesting, funnily so, but that was how far the interest went. He found it hard to imagine how men fell for such. Ezekiel almost started feeling sorry for the professor, but didn’t allow such emotions to take hold. He had a job to do and he had to do it professionally.
‘So what do you say, sir?’ He made a gesture of impatience, his brows furrowing as he cast a glance at his wristwatch.