Mister Governor by Tolu Daniel

Nigeria-Governors’-Forum

 

The office was empty, void of the usual stewards that usually lurked the corners, his chief of staff just informed him that his commissioners and army of special advisers were seated and waiting for him; patience had never been one of his virtues, he had awoken that morning with the desire to fire someone, spank someone, insult someone, Yes he feels like that sometimes, that was why he had started therapy; the previous week, he had literally forced the deputy governor to resign but that one had not given him the benefit of resignation but placed himself on a terminal leave, stupid man.

Some people said he was paranoid because he keeps firing and rehiring, nobody dared say it to his face though, he always dared them to talk, provoked some of them sometimes to even talk about him behind his back, but nobody dares that these days. That was why he had agents everywhere now, people on his payroll, who could do anything for him or so he thought, what was the definition of anything these days? Were they all not snitches, all of them, their lots, stealing money from their various ministries and departments; he didn’t really care, he just wanted information, information is power, whatever he knew and could control, can be used effectively; he was in no doubt of that fact but this people claim that they want to give him plausible deniability.

None of his usual people brought anything worthwhile to him anyway, they were all busy trying to cover their asses, nobody wanted him to abuse them; so he was surrounded by an army of sycophants who couldn’t help themselves to save their own lives; that was why he had to get something that was profound, something he could hold onto against these dogs that said he was unstable and unfit to govern. Something that would defy all the predictions of doom that all these people had given him, something he could wave at them when he commands them to go and canvass for votes for him; even the filthy civil servants that had helped him win the last elections wanted him gone now. They even had slogans that they threw at his face at every opportunity, these slogans made him delirious in anger, they piss him off to his core. “Governor must go” they chant now whenever he addresses them; it was unfortunate that most of them were clueless regarding the plans he had for them, those arrogant and hungry bastards; plans about their salaries, trainings and making them five star civil servants.

“You people are not seeing what I am seeing” he says as he makes an entrance into the oval conference room that his executive council was currently occupying; there was a bit of murmur as he made this announcement because some of those seated wondered what Mr. Governor was seeing that they couldn’t see if they had been working with him for well over three years and they still could not see his vision for the state with him; it is unfortunate.

There were some members of this council whose allegiance had swayed simply because their benefactors had issues with the way this man was running the government, there were some however who were for him but do not agree with his methods any longer, but they stayed, they kept their mouths shut, they didn’t want to get the boot simply because their benefactors insisted they stayed; there were some however who couldn’t stand the nonsense that was going on who gave themselves the boot before the paranoia of this man hits them like a hurricane. Who are these benefactors? They are the people that recommended these men and women for the positions that they were occupying, hence the individuals that were in this room seemed like stooges in the real scheme of things.

The room was filled with individuals whose role in government cannot be exactly ascertained, at first glance, one may be deceived to believing that some of this stooges could bring something worthwhile to the table, they were captains of industries in their respective fields after all, that was why he had agreed to give them political appointments not that he had any need for them, some of them with their benefactors were the ones that funded the campaign during the last elections, little wonders he is so skeptical about giving them the boot despite the fact that some of them were not really performing well up to his expectations or any expectation for that matter.

The elections were coming again and things are not looking too well for him, he had the financial muscle now to discard anybody but people did not like him, yet he believes that he is still the best man for the job even despite his weaknesses which people say are multifarious and besides, people thought him too stingy to spend money; the concept of stomach infrastructure still seem foreign to him even though in the politics of these days it was the biggest move one could make. They say he is stubborn and autocratic, two combinations that only exist in military dictators not democratically elected ones; they say he is petty and gets angry at slightest provocation not that anybody has dared to provoke him in a while, they say he is still nursing a bitterness that goes beyond the now, the bitterness dates back to the two previous electoral loses to his chief nemesis, the former Governor of the state, Chief Obongbele Eweje who it is rumored to be coming back in full force backing another candidate. They also say he is a hands-on leader because he wants to do everything, well almost everything by himself as if there was a crime in that.

Mr. Governor sir, if you would allow me” the secretary to the state government, a fat man in his early fifties, arose from his seat gathering the papers before him, he was the one that usually moderated these meetings while the Governor presided over it, that was how things were supposed to be, but quite unfortunately, things were not necessarily this way, in fact that was one of the reasons why he wanted to speak up now so that his decision to be mute would not be the end of them all.

Sir, reports reaching me states that we might be in for a probe” he said and paused so that he could assess the faces of the individuals seated, especially his boss, the self-righteous governor who had made them prosecute all the allegedly corrupt officers, politicians or civil servants who had benefited from largesse of the previous administration. The government at the center which was controlled by the opposition party has been targeting states like theirs in a bid to render the candidates invalid by declaring them corrupt and unfit to contest and win back the states. “You might want to take it under advisement that we start putting our books into order henceforth.”

“I have checked the books, I still went over it this morning, everything appears to be fine, we have no problem” the governor said almost dismissively as though he was angry that the SSG had wasted precious minutes out of his very precious time.

On the contrary sir, our books are not quite right, it is one thing for the accounts to balance, it is another thing for the balance therein to corroborate with the principles of due process, many of the things that we have……” the governor interrupted him before he could finish what he was saying, the atmosphere in the room had changed slightly, it had become more tense than it was initially, the rest of the council were not totally comfortable with the way this discussion was going; they all knew that the SSG was right of course, but speaking back to Mr. Governor was another thing altogether.

Are you saying that we have not been following due process, SSG?” asked the Governor, his face creasing into a frown obviously annoyed that this fat man had the guts to exchange more than two sentences with him and was telling him that he was wrong about a thing, even if he were to be wrong, he didn’t want to be told about it by this guy and certainly not in front of this people. ‘Who the hell is he? While it is true that he was one of the people that bankrolled my electoral victory in the last elections, he had outlived his usefulness, he was only a member of the executive council to make the numbers not to do anything worthwhile or exchange words with me’ the governor thought.

Of course we have sir, but at certain times, we have been made to execute knee jerk decisions given by your humble self-sir without due recourse to due process.”

“Are you blaming this on me?”

“No sir, I wouldn’t, I am only bringing to your notice what I believe we need to do.”

Anybody else feels like wasting my precious time? I, Alhaji Chief Iskil Bamigbeje am talking about taking the state to greater heights he is talking about books and due process, can you imagine? How can the state move forward with men like this at the helms, men who are too concerned about their own problems than they should, men whose sole purpose in governance is to steal money, abi Mr. SSG is that not your aim?” the question seemed like it was begging for an answer but it was chiefly rhetorical.

The governor continued his long soliloquy of how he needs to purge the state of thieves and corrupt politicians for another fifteen minutes or more and the members of the executive council listened to him silently, some with their heads bowed not wanting him to see their eyes, the hatred that their internal memory had registered, how some could kill him if they had the chance. At odd intervals like that he was used to insulting them like that or any single one of them that dared talk to him, anybody worth their onions should pack their bags and quit the cabinet but these people won’t, shameless twats that was why abuse was inevitable for their lots.

Mr. Governor, if you would please, I have another issue that requires your attention” the SSG said again as he arose from his seated posit, he held in his hands a white piece of paper. The other members of the council were uncomfortable with this, they started murmuring, the governor braced himself for another round of insult, he was sure that he was going to insult this man again, the humor of it played patient-less-ly around his lips.

Firstly I want to thank you for the opportunity that you afforded me to serve the state and my country, the lessons and the prestige that it has afforded me in the last three years have been invaluable.” He stopped for a moment and cleared his throat, and then he moved his beefy fingers to his belt and adjusted his, his tightly fitted shirt which seemed too choky of a sudden. “I Ogbeni Ogundiran Olaniyi, hereby tender my letter of resignation to your humble self as witnessed by your executive council, and for the sakes of the records and newspapers here present, I am making this move because I cannot continue to be insulted by this narcissist bastard that I introduced into politics some years ago, who calls himself a governor but does not respect the rule of law nor his subjects and the people he works with.”

Ogbeni Olaniyi was pointing his fingers now at the governor like a bus conductor calling passengers into a bus, the rest of the ex-co were immediately animated, the governor sat there frozen and unable to talk or respond, apparently this man had come prepared, he threw the letter to the face of the governor and walked out of the conference room; several others followed suit, it was as though it was preplanned, two third of the executive council resigned at once, though less dramatically than the ex-secretary to the state government.

Apparently all of them had been coming to the ex-co meeting with their letters of resignation in hand, but none of them had been able to summon up the courage to be the first to make the decision to leave. It all happened in almost a twinkle, somehow the thirty seven membered executive council had reduced to merely twelve people, the governor was dumb struck, he had not expected them to turn on him en-mass like this, he knew he had to do something immediately else his plans to contest for a second term could just as well be kissed goodbye right here and right now because as he suspects he probably just empowered his oppositions to come after him for all he has and all he has built for himself and the good people of Idera State of Nigeria.



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