d It was a cold Thursday morning, so cold that people preferred the warmth of their beds to getting prepared for the day and had being very reluctant when they eventually had to get up. It was so cold that children wailed as they had their bath and their mothers also cold, with teeth gnashing fiercely never ceased to shout at them to keep quiet, but the children never cared to listen. It was a cold morning. The rain had fallen down in torrents and had stopped some hours ago but the effect it left was lingering. The wind sang sweet melodies, obviously nonexistent to humans but the trees and shrubs had no choice but to sway in rhythm to it. Dogs bark softly, cows moo merrily as they graze and munch the grass contently, it was a day of excess earthworms for the crowing cocks and cackling hens. Humans beings sure do miss a lot; every other thing God created was happy that morning except humans. The chill from the cold was bad enough: it was one of those days they would have to waddle in pools of water on those erosion-ridden roads.
Somewhere in the city, a man of about 38 rushed out of one of those fancy houses in a black Armani suit and red tie, he was about 6ft tall with curly hair, his wrist was adorned with a black leather watch and he wore a black shoe to match. He is not your average citizen. His dress, physique and poise suggest that he lives in affluence. “Oh my God”, he muttered under his breath “I’m going to be late for work.” On a normal day, this would not matter but he had seriously reprimanded one of his staffs who came late the previous day. He had a good punctuality record but yesterday was just too close; he cannot afford to be late. He must lead by example. He jumped into his Range Rover and signal to the gateman to open the gate and zoom he goes, without acknowledging the poor man’s greetings. Today was no normal day.
The sight of the highway brought more misery to his already down soul. “Yikes, I’m sure not getting out of this traffic anytime soon. Could today be any worse? He asked himself absentmindedly. He knew the response to his question but he was too weary answer. He knew there was nothing he could do but wait. He glanced briefly at his mobile phone, then his wristwatch “The bank alert should be in any moment from now” All his worries that morning evaporated at the thought of the money he was expecting. Gradually, life started coming back to his already dead heart. The money will come at one of those times he needed it the most. He looked back at the twelve years he had started work at the ministry of works and smiled satisfactorily. He was just a junior staff when he started but years of relentless hardwork has brought him to the top. His current job at the ministry is to forward the name of shortlisted contractors for construction works to the minister himself and his pay is enough to feed more than 3 families, that aside from the favours he get from those “pot-bellied” contractors. To him, it is by their grace he remains in that office. He wondered where he would be if he had chosen to be that straight God-fearing citizen he wanted to be when he was appointed permanent secretary some four years ago. “Thank God I listened to that invaluable advice…” Just then the sound of moving cars interrupted his thoughts, the traffic had cleared. He heaved a sigh of relief and sped off, leaving behind him a trail of dust. Within minutes, he was in the ministry. Everybody was doing their jobs with some kind of enthusiasm he could not comprehend. He instantly knew they had been idle all morning, his arrival had made their scurry to their different posts. On a normal day, he would have passed a comment but this was no normal day; he was more than an hour late. He took giant strides to his office, and his staffs also pretended to be so engrossed in their work. He pushed the door open and a blast of icy air greeted him, he had forgotten to put off the Air conditioner the previous day. He turned it off and settled down to the numerous files that awaited him. He glanced at his phone again and all the suspended thoughts came floating back in. He remember how after assuming office, he rejected a brown envelope from the first contractor that came to him, “I don’t take bribes” he had said. The bemused contractor had gone to his predecessor to report what he termed an anomaly. The former permanent secretary, being his boss and friend had called him and told him over dinner the norms in the ministry. “I heard you rejected a favour from a contractor today, Jide” His former boss had said in between mouthfuls.
“I don’t take bribes” he had reiterated.
“Look” his boss had cut him short “to make it in this country, one has to be smart. These contractors just want you to send their names to the minister. They know he has the final say on whoever the contract will be awarded to.”
He had thought about his conscience and the fear of getting caught, but he had been assured that he has nothing to fear. He thought about the extra bucks he would be getting and he felt fate has finally smiled on him. He had collected the first bribe, then the second and the third and he has lost count. All he has to do is to forward their names to the minister. Life couldn’t be simpler. Four years as the permanent secretary, he had enough to spend, his garage was stocked with the latest cars in vogue, his houses were of the latest designs and most importantly, his wife and children reside abroad. His thoughts were again interrupted by the voice of his secretary over the intercom
“Sir, chief Olaniyun wants to see you”.
“Show him in”, he replied. “I just hope he is not here to tell you story” his subconscious told him. Chief Olaniyun is a man with small figure, his eyes are rimmed with glasses, as he entered, Jide stood to greet him “you are most welcome, chief” he said.
“Good morning Mr. Olapade, I hope I meet you well” the chief greeted in a deep Yoruba accent. “You meet me just fine. Please call me Jide and do have a seat” he replied earnestly. Million thoughts were running through his mind, he needed the money badly. “I hope you are not angry with me, I would have gone to the bank this morning but the rain had disrupted my plans…”
“What do we do now” Jide said rather impatiently.
The chief swallowed hard and continued “As I was saying, I couldn’t go to the bank but I brought the money here.” He glanced around furtively and brought out a briefcase hidden beneath his Agbada outfit and laid it on the desk.
With ridicule in his voice, Jide said “I told you I don’t take cash”. “I know you said that”, the chief replied “but you told me you were sending the list to the minister at 11 today and I thought I might not make it. I have added a million Naira to the ten million, for your trouble”. Jide’s eyes danced at the mention of the extra amount, today is going to be a good day afterall.
“Okay, no problem” he said as he reached for the briefcase and put it under his desk “you have no problem, you have made the shortlist”. The chief thanked him profusely and made to leave after declining the permanent secretary’s offer of seeing him off. The door had hardly closed before he brought the briefcase out and the money in there smiled at him. He gave a satisfactory smile in return and returned the briefcase. He then proceeded to start his day work; numerous files stared at him and he gave a frown. Minutes later, he heard a knock. The chief and another man sauntered him.
“This is the crook” the chief said. Olapade Olajide looks up to study the man, he looked frail and he had a cold stare permanently etched on his face. “The money is beneath his desk, arrest him detective” the chief cried. The detective went around to the desk and brought out the briefcase and opened it, the money was the exact marked one the police force had given the chief.
“Mr Olapade” he began “by the laws of this country, you are placed under arrest, you have the right to remain silent, you have the right to an attorney and if you can’t get one, the country will get one for you…” Jide was at a loss of word, everything was happening so fast than he can comprehend, he watched, mouth agape as the detective put his hands behind his back and had them handcuffed. As he was led out, he heard one of his staffs say “Good riddance”… Today was no normal day. it had rained hard; the rain of nemesis.
NB: THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION, ANY RESEMBLANCE TO PERSONS (LIVING OR DEAD) OR PLACES ARE DEEPLY REGRETTED.
Thank you for reading.