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The Mechanics Of Yenagoa (Season 2) – XX
Post Series: Mechanics of Yenagoa

The driver of the blood-red Honda Accord wasn’t in a hurry. He knew that if he drove consistently at 100 km per hour he would get to his destination before the offices closed. That was why he left Yenagoa at 5 o’clock in the morning.

It was important that he got to Abakaliki in time to make some withdrawals in the bank because he didn’t have much cash on him. In the hurry to leave his office undetected the previous night, he didn’t remember to transfer his ATM cards from the drawer into his wallet.

But that wasn’t the main reason for his early departure. The real reason he set out before dawn was that he didn’t want anyone to see him leave. He had a great run in Yenagoa, but it was time for him to go somewhere else, start afresh in a new city – maybe even a new country, if what his cousin in Canada told him was true.

Things had started off well in Yenagoa, just like they did in Ayingba, Kafanchan and later Ilorin, where he had his last church. But he always got greedy – greedy and careless. If it wasn’t that, it was the women.

In Ayingba, where it all began, he hadn’t quite mastered the trick of performing fake miracles so the blind boy whose sight he purportedly restored was recognised by an old lady in his small church as the son of the bicycle repairer from a neighbouring village. She was certain the boy had never been blind. In Kafanchan, one married woman and the 17-year-old daughter of the head of the prayer unit both confessed on the same day that he was responsible for their pregnancies.

The problem in Ilorin where he was almost lynched to death came up because he collected the sum of N1.5m from an aspirant for the chairmanship position of the state chapter of the Road Transport Workers Association who wanted special prayers for victory in the association’s elections. He was lucky to have escaped with his life, his bible and his uncanny ability to hear from “God” where to go next.

That next stop was Yenagoa, where he had to start a new ministry from nothing because waiting to get his car and all his worldly possessions acquired in Ilorin might have been a costly mistake.

In spite of his very obvious Igbotic accent and the fact that he couldn’t speak a word of Ijaw, he adopted an Ijaw name made popular by a famous singer from Bayelsa state and concocted a fake story about growing up first in the East and then moving to the North before moving to Lagos as a teenager when both his parents and siblings were killed in a religious crisis in Kano.

The people of Yenagoa were quickly taken in by his rugged charm and impeccable dressing. They fell hard for his staged miracles and well-researched prophecies. Men and women sought his pricey anointing oil and booked well in advance for his special prayer sessions. People embraced his nuanced preaching and his mesmerising dance steps, and whenever it looked like their interest in him was waning, he consulted his Baba in Ijebu-Ode.

Yenagoa was a small town and the money wasn’t that much but it paid his bills and left him with enough for the rainy day.

Sister Ebiakpo who was desperately in search of the fruit of the womb and Sister Blessing who wanted a husband at all cost where amongst his first congregants. Before long, Reverend Ebizimor and the Jerusalem Warriors International Church was firmly planted in Kalakala street, courtesy of Sister Ebiakpo – and business was booming.

Unlike in his previous sojourns, this time everything went smoothly and he remained focused. Sister Blessing, Sister Agnes and even the women in the church threw themselves at him but he didn’t succumb. His eyes were on the prize. Whenever he wanted relieve, he took his business far away from the Church and Yenagoa city, sometimes travelling all the way to the neighbouring cities of Ahoada and Port Harcourt for sex. He had a target in Yenagoa and he was determined to meet it.

It was true that he once kissed Ebiakpo, fondled Blessing and fingered Agnes, but that was as far as it went.

When Blessing and Ebinimi started dating, it was providence. He did everything within his power, including making up visions and prophesies to speed things up in their relationship so they tied the knot. The obstacle was that Ebinimi wasn’t ready to settle down and his head was too strong, because his plan was simple. When Blessing became Mrs. Ebinimi Jacob, she became eligible to inherit Number 9 if anything was to happen to her husband. Blessing’s second marriage would be to him and the property in Ovom automatically became his.

That was the plan until Benson died.

Benson’s death was providence, a gift from heaven that fell right on his laps. It wasn’t the water he drank in Ebinimi’s room that killed him. That water couldn’t kill anyone because he drank it too. And for the records, there wasn’t anything special about the water and it didn’t come from Jerusalem.

What he wasn’t sure of though was whether Ebiakpo poisoned Benson.  If she did, she wouldn’t say but he knew that a woman that could hide the paternity of her child from her husband could do anything.

What he was certain of was that Benson’s permanent exit opened a door for him, and his intention was to forcefully—if need be—possess and fill up the vacuum before anyone else beat him to it. He knew that she already had a soft spot for him and if he really turned on the charm, which he had in abundance, a grieving sister Ebiakpo would run into his arms for comfort.

The only snag he foresaw was that there was someone else. Someone she wouldn’t tell anyone and he didn’t know how serious things were with this mystery man. Unlike with her first child, whose real father he knew because she told him; with the pregnancy she was carrying, she was uncharacteristically tight-lipped and it gave him cause for concern. Was there a man out there she could decide to get married to immediately her mourning period for Benson was over?

His Baba in Ijebu-Ode told him that her cloths and undergarment would do the trick. That was all he needed for the enchantment that would make her marry him and make him the owner of the land on which his church was built. He didn’t need Blessing and Ebinimi anymore.

If he had trusted his instinct and gone with BRD, perhaps things would have worked out as planned, but he went with his head that told him Biodun was the sensible one, the reliable person. It took a lot of talking to and convincing, but in the end, everybody falls for something. With Biodun, it wasn’t money or anything material. It was his innate tendency to care for others that did it.

Biodun believed when he was told that in a vision, it was revealed to him that her in-laws wanted Sister Ebiakpo dead. He thought he was saving a life when he sneaked into her room to get her clothes for him for the point of contact prayer that needed to be done to keep her safe.

He was still waiting in the office for Biodun when Ebinimi returned unexpectedly. When he heard the shouting coming out from the main house, he knew that the boy had been caught and he would be implicated and disgraced if he didn’t act fast. Fear crept in and it immobilised him temporarily. The louder the voices got, the more terrified he became. But courage came and he did what he knew he had to do.

Grabbing his car key, bible and wallet, he immediately fled the compound before anyone realised he was still in the office. Afraid they might trace him to his house, he drove to a hotel in Amarata where he spent the night.

In the morning, he got into his car and started driving. “God” had spoken again and this time when he got to Abakaliki, he would be Reverend Benjamin Kwajok from Plateau state. Reverend Ebizimor was dead.

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