Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 10
…the women at the grassroots!
The D.A had been working too; they had managed to dig into some shady deals involving the C.A’s top hierarchy. While they had been unable to discover much about Chief Mike, whose younger years were spent in the far Northern part of the country, they had been able to unravel Sir Maigida’s status as a stinkingly rich billionaire. The man had sponsored the elections of two neigbouring state’s governors. This had been based on an agreement to be awarded certain percentages of the entire state government contracts in those states over a period of time. One of them especially, an oil producing state, had been pouring billions into his bank accounts until the elections period when the Governor, now firmly on his feet and seeking reelection for a second term had decided not to renew the agreement. It was also alleged that he had sponsored some other political office holders through fronts, but the investigations couldn’t ascertain the exact persons involved in this. They also weren’t sure if Chief Mike was also a victim of this arrangement. They concluded this was unlikely since Chief Mike was already a made man before venturing into politics. They wondered the reason behind Sir Maigida’s pretentious modest lifestyle, despite the huge resources at his disposal, but inferred that it had to do with a desire to appear closer to the masses. All his children were overseas managing his businesses over there. It was discovered that even the times he claimed to be travelling overseas for medical reasons; he was actually going there for business reasons. Most of his party members, the investigations revealed, had no inkling how rich their chairman was.
They would have desired more, but the available facts were enough. These were collated, spiced up and rolled into the first documentary on the C.A titled: RICHEST POOR MAN; UNMASKING THE KNIGHT!
It was a departure from tradition; for the first time since the commencement of the campaigns, the C.A was thrown on the defensive. They had been so used to taking the initiative that it now appeared unnatural having to defend themselves against D.A darts. The D.A wasn’t totally truthful in the narratives on the documentary; some facts were embellished to make them more significant. They had also used gumption in filling in the blank spaces, thus making the allegations sometimes outlandish and incredible. Some of these the C.A tried to pick on, pointing out that the D.A were only trying to grab at straws, anything, to steady their sinking ship. They alleged that the entire documentary was actually a constellation of lies, packaged with enough falsehood to make any right thinking person cringe in disgust. In a published interview on the Quarterly Herald, Chief Oye wondered why the people would trust such a party with their mandate, a party that could go any length in their bid to gain reelection.
‘Only gullible citizens of our dear state can believe that package of falsehood,’ he said in the interview. ‘The script writer wasn’t even wise enough to realize that some of those allegations are outrightly criminal, and a party with the interest of the citizens at heart would have actually gone to the law instead of rolling the tapes.
‘Our people must be informed that those in the Desperate Alliance are only concerned about one thing – which is power. Their welfare doesn’t even come up at all in their scale of preference. They must be forewarned and ready to vote them out come the Election Day.’
This view was supported by many, with various interviews appearing on several newspapers. Mrs Olatunde even went a step further to say that the D.A’s act was only preemptive of the fact that they knew that similar plans by them were being monitored by the C.A; these, she claimed, would soon be exposed to the public. Neither Sir Maigida nor Chief Mike made any public response to the documentary.
‘Don’t bother responding to those hooligans,’ Sir Maigida told Chief Mike when the latter paid him a visit in his office at the party secretariat, ‘the election will hold in less than two weeks and no amount of lies can rewrite the goodwill we have garnered these past months.’
Chief Mike hoped so. He had lost some weight in the course of the buildup to the election; he had spent billions in the process, rebuilding a new image of himself. He had been forced to donate to courses he didn’t believe in, he had had to start attending church regularly despite his mind always being elsewhere while there, he had left his business to an assistant – giving himself more troubles as he now had to double-check figures to be sure his staff were being faithful to him. He had had to retain the services of Jide and Alamu for much longer than usual; he had even had to smile at them where he would have formerly barked. He had done all of these just for a new direction he wasn’t too sure of. Promises were easy to make, but he was yet to make a blueprint towards achieving them. There were a few ideas, but he wasn’t sure of their workability, not when he wouldn’t be solely in control of the state like it was with his business. He had the House of Assembly to contend with, there was also the efficiency of the various commissioners in question. And a substantial amount of government contracts had to go to certain men who had no worthwhile capacity to boast of!
Though he didn’t voice it, he had found himself believing most parts of the documentary. Wasn’t he made to sign such an agreement as Sir Maigida was being accused of? Wasn’t he convinced to agree to it by Sir Maigida himself? How sure was he that those men weren’t actually figureheads for Sir Maigida? He had expected the chairman to come out clean on his innocence, but the man had rambled about other things before advising him not to be bothered by the documentary. Ezekiel was bothered and he was, too. The young man had conducted a sample opinion poll the previous day, just like he had been doing all along, and had discovered that the documentary was already causing them to lose ground. He didn’t like that; not when the elections were so near.
While the contents of the documentary swayed the opinion of some, a lot more saw it as a vain attempt by a party that had failed in her obligations to the people to shore up some sympathy and secure more votes. They found it unconvincing enough, with some affirming that nothing could stop them from going in the new direction at the polls. Anything, these ones asserted, was better than the Democratic Alliance. They argued that it was another sign of a lack of direction for the D.A to concentrate on Sir Maigida when he wasn’t even a candidate in the election. This was the view held by Jimmy as he drained some bottles at TonyMontana Bar.
‘Dem think say we be fool? Which kain film be dat wey gorment cook for us?’ The way his speech slurred, one could tell that the alcohol was beginning to have an effect. He was on his third bottle.
‘No be film, na documentary,’ corrected his friend and drinking partner, Barcanista. Barcanista was still nursing his first bottle.
‘No be television dey show am?’
‘Yes, but it has been voiced on radio too.’
‘As far as television show am, na film, forget English my guy,’ Jimmy insisted. Barcanista knew better than to argue with him when he was tipsy.
‘Okay,’ he said.
‘Yes, that film na nonsense stra-te…stra-te…em…strat…’
‘Strategy.’ Barcanista came to his rescue again.
‘Thank you, haha, my guy, if dem like, make dem show wetin dem like, my vote na for the new diresion, haha, my guy…’
‘But have you asked yourself what this new direction really is?’ He tried to reason with a half-drunk.
‘New is the opposite of old, na the diresion wey new I dey vote for, my guy. Nothing fit change am.’
‘Na so, my brother,’ said a man at the other table. From his bloodshot eyes, Barcanista inferred that he was in a worse state than Jimmy, but his speech wasn’t slurred. ‘Dem no do anything, yet dem want make we vote for them.’
Taking cue, the man’s friend laughed: ‘The road to my house done bad for years, motor no dey try near am if e no wan sink. Na new direction sure pass O!’
‘Friends, have we really asked ourselves what this new direction is?’ Barcanista tried again. ‘I like the personality of the man, Chief Mike, but he has been all promises, nothing beyond promises.’
‘Promise and fail…?’ Called Jimmy.
‘Is a sin!’ Others chorused.
Barcanista realised that he was greatly outnumbered, and by persons who weren’t ready for any form of logical reasoning. He looked at his almost empty bottle, his wristwatch and then at his friend. ‘Jimmy, time done reach to dey go house O.’
‘Seven done already nack?’
‘Dumbhead, it’s twenty minutes to nine.’
‘And I be wan take just one more bottle O.’
‘That’s true, you go take am tomorrow.’
Barcanista signalled at the barman, who came to their table. He made sure his friend paid first before paying for his own bottle. Then, getting beside Jimmy, he gently pulled him outside, to his car parked under a tree beside the beer joint. He settled him into the passenger’s seat, closed the door and ran around to get on the driver’s seat. After one more glance at his friend who was already beginning to doze off, he started the car and backed into the road. While they both worked as clerks in the Ministry of Works and shared a two bedroom flat, he had bought a car over a year back and was getting married in a few months; all these, while his friend still required loans to scale through to the next salary. Jimmy found great joy in shifting the blame for his condition on any other thing but himself. It could be his low level of academic attainments or his family’s low position on the social stratification ladder or the misfortune of not being born in the United States or some witches from his father’s house that were bent on destroying his life or some lady friend specially programmed to suck him dry or, in the present case, the incumbent governor.