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Mechanics Of Yenagoa (IV)
Post Series: Mechanics of Yenagoa

“That was how I would have died someone else’s death oh Reverend.” I ended my narration with my hands lifted up to heaven in thanks.

“Brother Ebinimi, you must give this testimony in church on Sunday. You mean they had guns?” Reverend Ebizimor asked, already reaching out for the bottle of anointing oil on his desk. “I told you two weeks ago about the vision that I saw, but instead of you to do want I asked, you started keeping face for me.”

“I was not keeping face for you, sir. You know because of the ulcer I complained to you about the last time, I couldn’t do three days dry fasting.” From the look on his face, I knew he wasn’t buying my explanation.

“If you couldn’t fast, what of the vow ehn? What if they had killed you, ehn? What is N20k compared to your life? Please try and pay that money this week. You can give it to the church treasurer if you don’t see me. It was what the Holy Spirit ministered to me.”

“I will try, Reverend.”

“Brother Ebinimi, you have to try. You have to take the things of God more seriously this year. Just look at it na, my brother, because you drove your customer’s car for lectures in Amassoma, with your girlfriend inside – ”

“My course mate; she is my course mate, sir.”

“Course mate? Ok oh, if you say so. Although Saka told me she is your woman sha…but that one is not important. What is important is that God delivered you from a case of mistaken identity and God will continue to deliver us from mistaken identities in the name of Jesus.”

“Amen.”

“God will not let us die the death that is meant for someone else.”

I chorused another “Amen” and then lied about customers waiting for me in the workshop so I could escape before my unsettled N20k vow became N30k, plus interest.

From his office, I headed straight to the repair shed in search of Saka. I was mad at him and his blabbermouth for rambling about something I told him in confidence to my tenant and pastor, who didn’t even really like me that much. Just because I had returned flustered and flurried from my botched rendezvous with Adinna, and needed to narrate the terrifying near-death encounter with suspected assassins out to eliminate the owner of the car I commandeered for my tryst to Amassoma, didn’t give him the right to go and tell someone else.

“Saka, why you dey talk like woman?” I berated him in front of Biodun and Broderick because I knew he would have blabbed to them too. “So because I tell you wetin happen to me yesterday, you don rush go tell another person abi?”

“Oga Ebinimi, no vex. No be say I been wan tell am anything, but e be like say him hear as me and you been dey talk for backyard yesterday and him sef been stand outside when you rush inside. All of us fear na, oga. We never see you like that before and I reason am say since Reverend no be ordinary person, na man of God, I just feel say maybe you need anointing.”

“Na your papa need anointing. I send you message? Na so your mouth go dey do chochocho like parrot every time.”

“True Oga Ebinimi, I never see you like that since I begin work here.”

He was right. It was a very traumatic experience. Even with my eyes wide open, I could still see the two cars surround us, and the three masked, gun-totting men ordering Adinna and I out of the car. The one leading the operation was built like a rock and his grip was like a wrench. Every time he spoke, it was like a blizzard. I think that was what made Adinna pee on herself. Me? I peed too, but thank God for my black jeans, it wasn’t visible. He didn’t say much, he just kept howling, “Aaron! Aaron! Aaron!” And then he ransacked the car like it had some hidden compartments a full-grown man could take cover in.

All of these happened within a split second, but in that moment, it seemed like eternity, and within that eternity and long drawn reality, it took me like five lifetimes to realise they were looking for someone else – the real owner of the car – Aaron Barnabas-Treatment, the Public Relations Officer of the South South People’s Voice and one-time Caretaker Committee Chairman of Yenagoa Local Government Municipal.

“Please I am not Aaron. I am a mechanic in Yenagoa, sir. Please I am a nobody; my name is Ebinimi Jacob, sir. Please, I can show you my ID card. I am not a politician. I am not even the owner of the car, sir. I was just going to school in Amassoma –” If the slap hadn’t come when it did, I would have told them my entire life history.

“Shut up your stinking mouth!” The leader released another blizzard, followed by a painful jab with the butt of his gun. By this time, my pleas were mixed with tears, phlegm and a lot of prostrating

“Yes sir, yes sir. I no go talk again.”

“I say keep quiet!”

Not only did I stop talking, I clamped my lips with my hands even though they didn’t ask me to do so.

“God save you today. You see all dis gun when we carry so, the instruction dem give us be say make we no return with any bullet inside, so Mr. Fine-Boy-Mechanic, make you go tell Aaron say God save am today, but tomorrow na another day.”

My hands were still shaking sixty seconds after they left. Suddenly, I didn’t know where the ignition of the car was, or what to do with the keys. I couldn’t find the throttle and even the steering wheel felt like it weighed 10 tons.

I reversed the car and headed back to Yenagoa, not sure if I was driving or flying. I dropped off Adinna at Akenfa without saying a word to her even though I could see from the corner of my eyes that she was shaking and crying uncontrollably.  I noticed Saka, BRD, Biodun and the Reverend discussing in front of the workshop when I got back. They appeared to be signalling to me about something but I ignored their summons. At that moment, nothing was more important than locking myself up in the room until I was certain it had all been a bad dream and no one was coming for me again.

“Ehen Oga Ebinimi, about the other matter,” Saka’s voice brought me back from my trip to yesterday.

“Which other matter?”

“The N500k na,” Saka said. “The guy come here yesterday afternoon. Him come dey make trouble again after you drive off. We thought that was what got you upset and made you cut short your journey when we saw you storming back into the workshop.”

“Oh my God!” I didn’t think I could stomach any more unsavoury news. “Tiekuro came back? Was he with the thugs he said he was coming back with?” I put my hands on my head and looked up to the heavens in surrender. “When will all this wahala end?”

 

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  1. What ever business you are doing in life be truthful, honest and remember that people are watching good or bad. But hand work people sa be lie

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