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

A call from one of my customers around 6:30 in the morning woke me up. He was an engineer working at the soon-to-be-commissioned Bayelsa Airport project site at Amassoma. He told me that he couldn’t afford to be late for work because they were expecting the state governor at 8:00 am for a site inspection and he couldn’t find his car keys. He sounded really frantic on the phone, I had no choice but to jump out of bed to rescue the situation.

I asked BRD to accompany me in my car and we sped off to his house along PDP road to help him force his Toyota Tundra door open. I bypassed the ignition, worked my magic and started the car within minutes. Engineer Doubra expressed his gratitude to me with the sum of N2k, promising to add “something extra” when we came to pick up the car from his office later in the day.

On our way back, and even while working on the car, I noticed Broderick was sluggish and distant. I suspected he must have gone out drinking again last night, or worse still, he was high on weed or some form of prescription medicine.

I chose not to confront him in the car because I knew he’d deny it anyway and get all-defensive and whatnots, like he usually did whenever I brought up his bad behaviour and nonchalant attitude to life. The company he kept was becoming a problem for all of us in the workshop and I was worried for him. His parents had such high hopes for him and I didn’t want to see him disappoint them while under my care.

When we got home, I asked him to follow me to the living room, and called Saka and Biodun to join us.

“Saka, I don tell you tire say make you dey put eye for this boy, but you no wan do am. I no blame you sha, after all, everybody here sabi say na only woman matter dey your head now,” I accused him.

“Wetin the boy don do again na, oga Ebinimi?” he asked avoiding my eyes.

“You no see as him dey do body and the way him eye dey shine like Nokia torch? Me, I know say no be ordinary drink dey cause this one. This guy don dey take codeine or tramadol,” I insisted.

“But if him dey take tramadol or codeine sef, that one no bad na. No be Tiwa Savage dey sing say she dey on a codeine diet?”

“Saka, if codeine na good thing, why federal government come ban the medicine for chemist?”

“That one na their own oh.”

“So if federal government announce something and Tiwa Savage talk another thing, na Tiwa Savage own you go take?”

“Oga Ebinimi, before nko? You no see how that girl dey whine her waist for Don Jazzy?”

I could see Saka was a lost course, so I turned my attention back to BRD. I called out his recent attitude and told him that I had my eyes on him. After my long speech, I dismissed them so I could take a shower and get about my day. While Saka and Broderick went into their room, I noticed Biodun walking behind me. Clearly, he had something he wanted to say to me.

“Yes Biodun, anything?”

“Oga Ebinimi, no vex oh, I be wan to ask you something.”

“Go ahead.”

“That guy when dey come worry us for shop, you still dey owe am money?”

“What kind of busybody question is dat? Wetin be your own if I dey owe am?”

“No vex, I just dey ask because I notice some kind of funny movement for street yesterday. It’s like some strange faces don enter area.”

I paused to think for a minute. “Did you notice anyone wearing brown shoes yesterday?”

“Brown shoe with green shirt. I first see the guy dey buy akara and bread for mama Akpos shop for morning. Later for evening, I come see am again for junction dey buy corn and pear.”

As soon as he left, I reached for my phone to call Tiekuro, but his phone was switched off. I made a mental note to call him back after I showered but as soon as I got out of the bathroom, I heard singing in the backyard. Reverend Ebizimor had resumed work for the day. I hurriedly put on my work clothes and stormed into his tiny church office without knocking.

He was startled by the intrusion, but he smiled when he realised I was the one. “Haaa! Brother Jacob, I don’t think I saw you in church on Sunday, and you haven’t been attending midweek services too.”

“I’ve been busy.”

“Is it school, because I haven’t been seeing you in the workshop that much either. It’s like you’ve been going out a lot?”

I wanted to tell him to mind his business, but I had to stay focused for the task at hand.

“I came to discuss something important with you.”

“Oh I see,” he replied, still smiling. “Do you need prayers or special blessings?”

“I didn’t come for prayers or special blessings,” there was no need for pleasantries. “I came here for the rent.”

I saw the bible he was holding drop from his hands to the floor, but he caught it before it touched the ground. His reflex was so swift I figured he must have been a good goalkeeper in his younger days.

“Rent? Which rent?”

“My sister and I have decided that you cannot be staying here for free.”

“Sister Ebiakpo agreed to that?”

“She also agreed that as it stands, you already owe us one year rent. It could have been more, but since we are like family now, we decided to write off–”

“No, it can’t be. It is never done. In the bible, when–”

“In the bible, it says do not eat the bread of your children. This compound our grandparents left us is our own bread and butter. So Reverend, please, we started counting from 1st January this year.  You know you should have paid in advance, so you owe us N450k as it is.”

“Ha N450k! Where would I get that kind of money?”

“But Reverend, don’t you have faith again? With God, all things are possible. I will give you until the end of this month to pay up, otherwise you would have to dismantle your canopy, remove your blocks and signboard, and take them somewhere else.”

“What is this, Ebinimi? What is this? What is causing this one now ehn? God have not spoken to me to leave this Canaan.”

“Well, he spoke to me and he said N450k by the end of the month or another church would come and occupy Canaan.” I left him with his mouth agape and went out to join my workers at the other end of the compound.

Before picking up any tool from the box and going under any vehicle, I tried Tiekuro’s number again, but it was still switched off. With all that happened in just one day alone, I decided to let Saka off the hook, there was no point teaching him any lesson. I was calling off whatever hit Tiekuro might have ordered on my behalf. Saka was like a brother to me, and as it often happens with men, he would not remain a mumu to Agnes forever. One day, him eyes go clear.

When I couldn’t reach Tiekuro, I decided to call Mr. Freedom. I needed to see Honourable Aaron about Aguero. It was important I reached him before the arraignment on Monday.

“O’boy, wida you na?” Mr. Freedom was screaming on the phone. “Show! Show! Show! Everybody dey for house now, the one for Onopa. Na there all of us dey shack.”

“Shack? This early morning?”

“Yes na, abi you’ve been living under a rock? Didn’t you see the announcement for news and for social media everywhere?”

“Which announcement?”

“Oga don get Abuja appointment, check Facebook, check Facebook!” He cut the call.

I went into the house and changed into a T-shirt and matching tracksuit. I didn’t have data on my phone so I got into the car and raced to the house in Onopa. There were canopies and empty chairs on the lawn. I could also see empty bottles and plates with remnants of food littered everywhere. Mr. Freedom said it was an all-night party, with music supplied by Junior Robert and Asu Ekiye. I was led into a lush and beautifully furnished lounge to meet with my new boss.

“Ebinimi, I no see you here yesterday night. Abi you no happy for my appointment?” Honourable Aaron Barnabas-Treatment said in the sluggish way he spoke. “I am now the Honourable Minister of State for Defence, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Abi you never hear?”

“Congratulations, sir.” There was no need telling him I was hearing it for the first time.

“As he don be now, I don move to federal level. ABT don elevate. I no dey play local politics again. Sir Thomas Kimikeama and his useless supporters can die inside this Bayelsa politics. Make them put pepper, put salt, put mangi cube, turn am well well and take am cook rice. Make dem come chop am well well until them belleful, because me, I don leave Bayelsa politics. Na from Abuja level I dey operate now.”

I was shocked at his statement and curious to know what that meant for my friend, Aguero.

“What will happen to his son in police custody? The one facing charges of gun and drug possession.” I reminded him in case he had forgotten about the plot he masterminded and I executed on his behalf only a few days ago.

“Ebinimi, it’s like you have not been listening to me. Let me say it again. I have just been appointed Minister of State for Defence, Federal Republic of Nigeria. If I go fit tell Police Commissioner to lock the boy up when I be common PRO of South South People’s Voice and former Caretaker Committee Chairman of Yenagoa, na now when I be Minister of Defence I no go fit order that same commissioner abi even the IGP himself to release the boy?”

I left Honourable Aaron’s house happy but confused. Wonders shall never end in this Nigeria sha. How can a man like Aaron Barnabas-Treatment be Minister for Defence? My brothers and sisters, wetin him go dey defend?


Photo Credit: Kayode Peter




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