Last Days in Aso Rock

By Amarachi Okpunobi

Kunle, an average aged man sat on his office chair with the air conditioner hanged on the wall reading 15°c. “Thank Precious Lord, this silly people brought electricity irrespective of the absence of the President”, he exhaled. He adjusted his sight and his eyes fixed in the framed picture of him with the president. That was the picture he was fortunate enough to take with the president. He was lean like a dry fish, if that’s the right adjective to describe what he looked like then. “When man never got power”, he soliloquized, still gazing at the picture. ‘Thanks to Allah, I ceased the opportunity to take that shot, if not I will leave this office with a hand shake with the President’, he thought aloud. The picture was a one time shot he took after assuming the position of the Minister of Works of the Nation.

Kunle had written application letters to so many organizations for different job opportunities while still in a more youthful age but none was fruitful. He would use his hard earned money to hopelessly burn his airtime on data subscription in search of job opportunities till politics came knocking. Who would in his shoes, not grab any little opportunity to make cool cash.

Kunle kept gazing round his office, various thoughts running through his mind. ‘So finally, I don dey leave this beautiful office’, he regrets. His eyes went back to the visitors room in his office; the cushion, the refrigerator, the television, the colourful curtains and arranged shelves that made up his well organized office. He wondered if it would be one day aired that a certain rat had eaten the fake documents that decorated his office or probably his illegal signatories dug out, such as the flop that befell a one time Minister of the federal republic due to Fake NYSC certificate. He sat aback, and this time gave it a bigger thought. What if he finally. gets arrested as his fears had always been. What if a better person assumes his office and unravels all his promiscuous activities and resurrect his buried sins?

He was still buried in thoughts when Jerry, his Personal Assistance came into the office. Jerry is a tall elegant man in his early forties and also the secretary to the Minister, Kunle.

‘Sir, when do we start arranging the office equipment, as you know we are expected to evacuate this office before this week runs out for the new Minister´, Jerry questioned inquisively as he took a sit before the Minister.

Jerry, how can I possibly pack these files when I know that my death is near? Do you know, if the new Minister should assume this office, both of us are doomed?

Fear gripped Jerry who started sweating profusely under the cool breeze of the air conditioner. He adjusted his suit severally for proper ventilation but it seemed the air has been gripped by ghost hands.

´What do you mean Sir?,’ he asked curiously.

‘You act as if you don´t know of all these illegal papers that have taken the better part of my office shelves? Or was it all coming from my office?. Do you also want to pretend that you don´t know of all the fraud we´ve been into lately before the election? Have you forgotten how many millions of Naira we were assigned from the federal Government for the construction of that Enugu-Onitsha Expressway. Should I also remind you that that road leading to Abeokuta has not been built? Should I continue to mention them? But of course you know, I can´t go down alone, anywhere I am taken to you will surely continue to be my Personal assistant. Hope you understand what I mean?

Anxiety was beginning to hover around Jerry.

‘Emmmm….., Sir, you know that there is always a solution to any problem. Don´t panic I will definitely fix all these. We have always found our way out of such hurdles, so this won´t be different. case. This office wouldn’t even be a problem you know?’ He stood and started pacing to and fro in the office. He needed to think fast. He understood what his Boss meant, they will all go behind bars if these great lies of theirs leaves the four walls of his office. He needed to act fast too. They both went to a long journey of silence till Jerry pressed the brake pad.

‘Yes, I think I have found a perfect solution!’ Jerry exclaimed as he sat down again. ‘But our biggest problem would be the bank. Yes! The bank, especially the CBN. The Governor is too crafty and intelligent too, he always finds a way to dig out fake transactions. If we can do away with him soonest, the better. He won´t accept gift items, he has always claimed to have enough money to himself´.

This time, the Minister was beginning to lose patience. ´Jerry hit the nail on its head and stop beating around the bush, he snapped.

Jerry continued, ‘ok sir, what I meant was this; since the president could claim that rat entered his office and ate his certificate which obviously both of us know the truth but the masses believed him. We could also introduce wild rats into the office, they would even help to cut some of the wires while they also take their turns in feeding with these papers. And for the computers, we format them! After all virus can crash a system. That’s all! All these panic of yours would be over and you leave to enjoy your money.

‘Jerry, the Master Planner! Kunle hailed. You see why I have retained ‘you as my PA, even when some rascals came trying to bridge our relationship. But how is that obtainable?’ The Minister asked again.

‘Sir, you don’t have to worry, I am the planner, I plan well. What you would do now is to see the cleaners. Of course you know what I mean by the cleaners, to keep their mouths shot till all these are over, that way, I can fix all of these with even the walls not hearing of it’, he giggled. This is Nigeria, Everything is possible. Just name your price and everything is done.
Jerry stood up switched on the television and moved to the refrigerator, got a chilled wine and the two began to drink.

‘So, Sir, If I may ask, what’s your plan after you leave here, you know you haven’t told your PA, Jerry chuckled while he dropped the glass of wine on the table.

‘Ah! Once everything is over, am leaving this country with my family ooo! I can’t risk staying in Nigeria, what if something goes wrong in our plans? My life and that of my family would be at stake. As for my children’s education they can continue that there’.

‘Lest I forget, remember to get me that clearance form before tomorrow. We may be having a meeting with the President soon. I do not want to be left out, I must say something about my account and do away with all these fraud papers and …..’

The Minister was still speaking when gun shots were heard in the air and both flea, leaving the office.