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The Mechanics Of Yenagoa (I)
Post Series: Mechanics of Yenagoa

I guess I should begin by introducing myself. That’s what people do when they have a story to tell. So here we go – my name is Ebinimi, and that’s what my friends call me. They don’t call me Ebi or Nimi because I don’t like people shortening my name or calling me anything other than the name I was christened at birth. In secondary school though, for a while a few of my classmates thought they could nickname me Bola Tinubu and make it stick because of a certain similarity in facial features I share with him. I think it’s the eyes, and the dowdy way they droop when I smile. But, trust me, I shut it down only after two weeks.

Don’t ask me how I did it. What is important for now is that it didn’t end well for the principal initiator. He wound up with the proverbial black eye that may or may not have had anything to do with my encounter with him in a dark alley around his neighbourhood.

Once in a while, I allow Jacob. But that’s my surname and so I prefer that the user was older – like my teachers and lecturers at school or people from the church who insist on calling me Brother Jacob, which I detested by the way, but can’t do anything about. As far as I was concerned, that moniker was a ploy to gnaw at my conscience and make me feel bad for not showing more commitment to the ministry of Reverend Ebizimor. Allowing him use up almost half of our compound for his Sunday and midweek deliverance services without collecting a kobo from him was not enough sign of commitment.

Only yesterday, I noticed him supervising the replacement of the small signboard of the church beside the gate to something way larger. Now, “Reverend Ebizimor and the Jerusalem Warriors International” in glistering black and gold lettering was visible from at least a kilometre away and there was nothing I could do to get him to bring it down or revert to the old signboard. And then there was all that singing, drumming and prayers that only reached heaven if it was acted out in deafening decibels. But what could I do when he had my elder sister, Ebiakpo, wrapped in his crooked fingers, and she was his biggest fan and staunchest convert.

She says it everywhere, and all the time, that Reverend Ebizimor was responsible for her first and only pregnancy. Responsible, not in the sense of him being Anda, my nephew’s biological father, but because his prayers, fasting and spiritual conjuring somehow made her union with her husband Benson fruitful after almost eight years of marriage.

Letting the church share part of the land we inherited from our grandparents was a compromise. The deal was – if I let the church stay, then she would allow me use what’s left behind the house for my mechanic workshop. I had no choice but to agree because renting anywhere else for my business was out of the question. And now, after four years of being co-tenants, it was starting to feel like I was the tenant and that the church and its members were the landlords. I had lost my sanity, and anonymity, and most of all, control over what goes on inside my own compound and sometimes even inside the three bedroom flat I share with Saka, Biodun and Brodrick, the apprentices in my workshop.

But don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I would be an ingrate to do so because the church had been nothing but a blessing in disguise to me, and I mean that quite literarily. Firstly, patronage to my car repair workshop and my customer base increased significantly since the church moved in. Everyday, power hungry politicians, profit-seeking businessmen, lonely married women and desperate single ladies troop into number 9 Kalakala Street, Ovom under the guise of fixing their cars, to procure miracles and divine solutions for their myriad problems. And then there was Blessing. Blessing, the love of my life, the sugar in my tea, the cockroach in my cupboard, the kidney in my suya…but all that was before the pregnancy.

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This Post Has 17 Comments
    1. He should divide it up. Save 250k in his account for miscellaneous and invest the other 250k into his mechanic business. If he hands it over to the police, they would probably use it to drink beer

  1. In a typical Nigerian society, such money is probably a stolen public fund or one gotten through unscrupulous means. I’ll say that Ebinimi should report the money at the police station. He may be lucky to meet cops of integrity who will be willing to call the gentleman and probe him to account for the money. He shouldn’t contemplate a personal usage..

  2. The money is said to be owned by “the spoilt son of one of the Judges of the State High Court.” Half a million might not weigh so much on his mind, hence his lackadaisical attitude towards retrieving it. It is, however, unlikely that he has soon forgotten about it, Ebinimi’s folks are therefore right about the owner coming “for it before the end of the day.”
    Second of all, Ebinimi is known for fixing vehicles owned by high personnels and moguls in the society, his integrity is at stake here. To be found trustworthy will be a score point for him and his business.
    He should keep the money in the vehicle until the owner returns, if he returns, and bring the safe money to his attention, maybe he will be beneficial enough to tip him. If otherwise the owner does not return long enough (of which time a safe abortion for his girlfriend would have elapsed), he should run his business with it. Reporting it to the police or reaching out to the spoilt owner is only going to amount to the money eventually getting squandered.
    My advice is strictly based on the premise that the owner is “the spoilt son of one of the Judges of the State High Court.”

  3. Name of the new character: Mojisola

    Role: An old friend of Ebiakpo whom she last saw I’m secondary school. This new character and Ebinimi would meet by chance and develop feelings for each other ( she may or may not be older than Ebinimi). It should later be revealed that this particular character was an old lover of Benson (Ebiakpo’s husband) who has a ten year old son for him.

    It is said in the story that Benson has fertility issues. So I leave the “how the son came about” to the author.

  4. The name of the new character should be Oputari, Oputi for short. A female apprentice Mechanic that just graduated from Uni.

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