One Man, Many Faces

 

Mr Ishaya approached the Golf club and took some good time to drink in the surroundings, allowing the gleaming Mercedes GL450 to taxi slowly around the building. He nodded in both agreement and impression. These new officials really knew their onions.  But why not, if not? The newly elected executive members of the club were peopled by one of the finest crop of technocrats the country could boast of, really proving their mettle in their fields of endeavour. Mr Jake, the current Permanernt Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum. Alhaji Musbahu, Director, Special Projects, Ministry of Health, Ustaz Minjibir, the handsome, slim and wiry Fulani who was a co-founder of  High Options Limited, the foremost software outfit in the country. If they could do wonders in their occupations of calling, what was a little club where they came to relax and strategise, maybe fraternise?

But he realized the club was not a little thing when he mentally appraised the achievements of the erstwhile executives of the club. Embezzlement was the in-thing, until he was forced to arrowhead an ouster which theme was that the Oneness Club was not about to become another Nigeria. It did not come without some toe-stepping, and hot exchange of invectives, even threats, though.  But as they said, peace always came with a price, which was not a peaceful one at all.

Rounding the sizeable bar and lobby for the last time from the exterior approvingly, he headed for the main gate and, as the Mercedes glided regally up the speed breaker into the edifice that housed the Oneness golf club comprising every fathomable facility both in the book and brain, he was thoroughly satisfied these people had done a worthwhile job. He may even recommend them for a second term. They deserved it, so why not?

Itching for a good game of golf, he downed the last contents of the Magarita bottled water, and stepped down from the vehicle, smartly clad in an all-white sporty apparel. The pure luscious white of the side of his head was in a perfect mix with the immaculate colour of his fez cap, and the glasses completed his benign and aristocratic look. Opening the back door, he reached for his backpack which contained his clubs, and little white golf balls. He started toward the course.

It was a well scaped five acre affair, with all the slopes and greenery that could compete with that of other international facilities. Just by it was the polo club, dotted here and there with horses that had  their mouths to the ground, tails swishing peacefully and little neighs that communicated that satisfaction which only a good meal could elicit. He savoured every bit of the serene atmosphere, and then set about what had brought him there.

He had just taken a long swipe at the ball when a certain instinct took his eyes to the left, aaway from the ball in mid-air, to the direction of the polo club.

He was not sure at first what it was, but he trusted it was a figure he saw in the distance hurtling in the air, and approaching the metal wire gauze fencing used for demarcation. He was also sure of the pandemonium which had erupted, and the horses running here and there. He went closer for a clearer look.

The figure was a boy, whose age he roughened at twenty or twenty one, and he hit the metal fencing in a manner that suggested he had some weight. Two horses were on his trail, and got to him immediately, and lifted two fore limbs immediately with a killer intent. Sharp and swift, the boy was able to roll away out of the field of the limbs’danger, and took to his heels, though the weakness of the effort was very clear. He collapsed after a few yards, his chest describing a pendular up-and down heave.

‘O my God’, Mr Ishaya shouted. ‘I hope he isn’t killed’.

It was not until he touched the boy that he discovered the major bruises on his side and back, and one very deep gash on his forehead. With all the strength he could muster, he lifted the boy and headed for his car.

‘What happened?’

Mr Ishaya was able to learn the next day that the boy, Peter, an undergraduate with one of the town’s universities, had been fascinated with the renovation going on in the club, and had chosen a quiet time to sneak into the polo ground to have a quick ride on one of the thoroughbreds, without a single knowledge of the command of the animals. The horse had kicked and thrown him when he had applied the wrong command, getting frightened and threatened. Looking at him now, all relaxed, hale and healthy, he was reminded of Gabriel, his grandson, who was nearly, if not more adventurous than this youngster here. Did they not even share a facial resemblance? Yes, the nose was the same pointed, Northern type, same with the eyes, so full of expectation and zest, with a playful glow to it. Considering the whole matter, he smiled at him.

‘At least you now know better than to climb a horse without knowing how to saddle it’, he said.

‘Yes sir, I am grateful for your help.’

The next few minutes were spent inquiring after his parents, his background, and a little more about him. He was convinced he liked the boy. He instantly promised to foot all his academic bills till the end of his university education, and that, too was greeted with another round of profuse thanks. He proceeded to the hospital’s accounting section to pay his medical bills.

 

Two weeks later, he had just dismissed an alleged case of theft for want of concrete evidence. He just put his head down on his desk to observe a two-minute time out before the next case was called in. he had not observed a quarter of his rest before the bass voice of the court clerk throated for order.

A young man was being bundled by three able-bodied policemen into the dock, amidst vehement protests, as Justice Ishaya was soon to tiredly notice.

‘You will all lose your jobs for treating me this unfairly! Do you know who it is you are bringing me before? My own father! Do you know whose son I am? You will all see!’

The judge was sure whom he saw. Peter. He said not a word. The case commenced immediately.

Peter was cross-examined. Evidences were provided. Arguments and postulations, both hypothetical and established, were flung from party to party. Legal manoeuvres and dribbles criss-crossed themselves. Justice Ishaya waited patiently.

One hour later, Justice Ishaya was ready to give his verdict.

‘You, Peter Ogboko, have been summarily found guilty, by the evidence before this honourable court, of robbery and cultist activities, and are hereby sentenced to fifteen years in prison, with hard labour. I hope this will serve as a deterrent to many others who would toe your path. I rise.’

‘But Father! You certainly cannot jail your own son! I am like a son to you! You helped me indispensably, protected me, and paid my bills just two weeks back!’

‘I helped you as a friend, and father, when you needed it, but today, you have fallen into the wrong side of the law, and my wrong side too, so I have no option but to jail you’, he said, signalling his orderly to gather his things.

 

 

 

 

 



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