The incumbent governor of Alanta State received a call that gladdened his heart. In spite of his status, he jumped up and down like a school boy on receiving the great news. The tough-talking electoral officer had finally caved in.
Johnson, the governor’s trusted aide had been working assiduously to persuade the electoral officer to substitute the authentic results of the just-concluded elections with the one prepared by the governor’s men. The woman rebuffed their offers right from the first day she was posted to the state.
After the casting of votes, the governor realized how much his people wanted him out of office. In spite of all he did to sway them, they still voted massively for his opponent. At that point, he gave Johnson a fresh mandate to use every possible means to get the electoral officer to co-operate. He was at liberty to take anyone and anything he needed to ensure that the genuine result was not announced.
Johnson’s call lifted the governor from the dumps. He had been worried sick, having waited for many hours to know his fate. That momentous call was a life-saver. It was celebrations galore in the government house.
Johnson returned half an hour later and met the party. The governor took him aside and congratulated him on the feat he performed.
“ Thank you, Your Excellency. It wasn’t easy. That woman is tough.’’
“Are you telling me?’’
“It took persistence. I gave her no rest until she was forced to name her price.”
“Interesting. And what was her price?’’
“ Well, I must say this in fairness to her. She merely wanted to put us off with a high price. She never thought we would meet her conditions. You know these people that live on meager salaries have no idea what it means to be in control of real money.’’
They both laughed.
“ Okay, what exactly did she ask for?’’
“ That her entire family be relocated to the Caribbean Islands immediately. She fears that she will lose her job if she helps us.’’
“Is that all?’’
“ And a little capital to enable them buy a house and settle down, that’s all.’’
“ Fair enough. And how much does that come to?”
“ About a hundred and fifty million will take care of it.’’
“Alright, Osita will see to that.”
“ Your Excellency, she wants it in cash before the announcement of the results.’’
“Then find Osita so that I will give him instructions at once. Johnson, I am impressed. Believe me, this time, I will make you smile.”
“Thank you, Your Excellency.’’
Two hours after Johnson left with the money, the election results were announced on the airwaves. Nze Diala of the opposition party won the governorship seat. The governor’s party turned cold. No sound was heard except the strong din of silence that gripped everyone. When the governor found his voice, he shouted on top of his voice, “where is Johnson?’’
Everyone began to run around in search of Johnson. The people that went to the electoral officer’s place to find Johnson came back with a stunning report. Johnson had not been seen anywhere near the electoral officer in the past three days. He absconded with three other aides of the governor. The blow was total. His Excellency stood like a statue, gazing at the ceiling as he pondered this great betrayal. Finally, he heaved a heavy sigh, sank into a seat and wept like a child.