THE SOUTHERN JAGABAN

By Mercy Godwin 2 months ago

"Politics well give your accomplishments a safe landing, it is where great men end up," Chief Otumba Peters said to his son as he packed both arms of his well-tailored, white "agbada" and rested them on each shoulder.

The "agbada" was his favorite outfit, his signature attire which suited his tall, huge frame and captured the air of unbridled wealth surrounding the man. Father and son were both standing outside, at the garden of the hospital where Otumba's daughter in law, his son's wife had given birth to a beautiful baby girl just the day before. 

"Despite your aversions I know you'll do well in it, you have what it takes," Otumba insisted tapping the young man's shoulder before taking his leave with his guards in tow.

It was Chief's great wish to bring his son into the world he'd created, a world where his name hung proudly at the top. His own father before him had been right hand to a king. He learned so much watching his father's role that from a young age he knew he was meant to swim in the waters of power.

The traffic of Eko city was known to be notorious and spared no one not even the rich as street hawkers invading one's space to advertise their wares and unruly cab drivers added to the chaos. The sun also was a discomfort as was especially the case in the dry season. With the year so far, it had been hell and everyone was complaining. It was becoming common place to see people leave their houses half clothed atimes with only a piece of towel or boxer shorts on their waist.

Sitting at the back of his car in the midst of it all, was an ordeal Otumba loathed, but still, his mood was light because he was a grandfather yet again. The young woman he'd seen who was the newest member of his family was a total delight, plump and healthy. The little girl had a semblance to the most important person in his life, his dear wife Turai Peters.

He checked his watch and realized he would be late for his 2 pm appointment with the newly elected governor of the state. A man whose victory he was solely responsible for, financially and in every other way that was relevant. 

The man was masterful in choosing his political sons and daughters, fishing them out of every field they were and grooming them for his purpose. He chose intellectuals who were goal oriented and he had a rare gift for breeding loyalty. Otumba made sure whoever came into his circle was not entirely in it for self-gratification and that was why his state in the country could boast of the best and biggest economy in growth and diversity.

It was through his efforts that his political party had successfully taken power in the previous presidential election, the first step in his own rise to the highest office in the country which he had always coveted.

He was drifting off to sleep when he heard the news anchor's voice announce the death of another victim of police brutality over the radio.

"Turn up the volume," he called to his chauffeur.

It was said the killing was over bribery the victim refused to give when stopped on the road. This was the latest problem the masses faced and Otumba like every other "big man" in the country did not really care until recently. The actions of the police were beginning to affect the fees he taxed on the city's cab drivers. They complained it was becoming too much to pay such fees and still be harassed by the police for more.

The fees he took from all commercial drivers in the state were for his own pocket, they were collected by a company which he owned. After payment daily, each driver was issued a receipt which allowed him to freely pick up passengers. It was another source of income Otumba had in the state, a means of control he had always exerted. The present issue was the reason he had asked to speak with the new governor, it needed to be dealt with. 

It was unfortunate, not just in Africa but all over the world that the only time a problem of the masses got attention was when it affected someone at the top of the social strata, someone big enough to "make noise". So in a way, it pleased people when the problem met those of "relevance" and not the common man.

Chief was called the "Jagaban of the Naija" a title which meant leader of warriors. He first made his wealth in crude oil after a college course on economics abroad. It was then he entered into politics and amassed even more wealth as he expanded his business into almost all sectors. Owning a telecom company, television stations within and outside the country, producing goods like cement, noodles, flour, sugar, beverage and more. Bullion vans could be seen carrying cash in and out of his residence at intervals, this was what earned him the name "Ezego", meaning King of money as he was also the richest man in the continent.

It was almost three o'clock when Otumba walked into his office. He waved off his secretary before she could tell him of the guest waiting in his office. As he opened the door to the room, he found the governor seated opposite his desk with a glass of water and apologized for his lateness as he took his seat. 

On his desk and above him behind were pictures of himself and his wife. The walls of the office were of glass but there were blinds to ensure privacy.

"I want the immediate sack of the incompetent nitwit who calls himself the police commissioner," Otumba stated, his deep voice echoing his displeasure. "Talk about bitting the finger that feeds you," he went on with pure disdain.

The governor simply nodded in agreement, after getting an ear full from the man on how his state operations were being affected. Then he congratulated his boss on the arrival of another grandchild in his family.

"Thank you for coming governor", the older man said as both men stood and shook hands.

"May there be many more victories," he urged.

 

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Mercy Godwin
@dShunamite
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