In politics as in life, a lot could be decided in one day and today was one of such days for Olumide. He was going to meet a man who would determine how the next few years would go for him. He was ready. He had been told the right words to say, the right way to say them and the right time to say them.
There was a more important meeting going inside one of the inner rooms so he was told to stay outside. He watched people go in and come out. They were here for the same reasons; political advancement. He watched old men walk in with their huge bellies, young men with their smart caps and gold chains. And surprisingly, several young women. A group he was more interested in.
He saw a young lady enter and she immediately caught his eye. She was dressed differently; not very official. She was probably sleeping with one of the politicians inside. He was not used to letting girls like this go, it did not matter who she was with.
He walked up to her.
“Hello.” He said to the lady and she stopped.
“Can I help you?” She said.
“I’m kind of new here.” He said. “I was wondering if there was a place I could wait inside.”
“Sure.” She said. “Come with me.”
Great, he had bought himself more time without looking or sounding creepy.
“I’m sorry but I have to say I’m a little stunned by you.”
“What?” She looked at him with a bemused and confused face.
“I mean, I’ve known you for all of two seconds and I’m already mesmerized by you.”
“Are you hitting on me?”
He smiled and shrugged. She led him inside a room, empty but very open.
“You can wait here.” She said and made to leave.
“I didn’t get your name before.” He said. “I’m Olumide Fernandez.”
“Bunmi.” She said.
“I don’t get a surname?”
“No, you don’t.” She said and smiled.
He knew when a girl was into him and this girl was. This was not his first time talking to a random girl and this wasn’t the first time a girl was into him after just five minutes.
“I don’t know how much time I have before I have to go for my meeting.” He said. “But can I have your phone number and I will give you a call as soon as I’m done.”
She shook her head. “I’m sorry, I don’t date politicians.”
Yeah right, she didn’t. “No, I’m not a politician.” He could lie too.
“What are you doing here then?”
“I’m a contractor so I deal a lot with politicians.” He said. “So do I get the number now?”
“Come on, why not?”
“I don’t date married men either.”
He lifted his empty ring finger. “I’m not married. Do you have any more excuses?”
She shook her head. “No.”
He handed her his phone and she typed her phone number into it.
“I’ll give you a call.” He said.
She smiled and walked away. It was a good thing he didn’t bring his wife to this thing.
He was ushered into the room like the man he was going to see was the President of the world. It was ridiculous how much power one man wielded. He held no grudge against the man though. How could he when he himself hoped to hold that power someday.
He’d expected a panel of people in the room but only Otunba Bimbo Adetunji was in the room. He walked towards the great man and prostrated in front of him.
“Stand up.” Chief Bimbo said.
He stood. “It is a very huge honour to finally meet you sir. When I was much younger, my father told me stories of how you gave stability to the South-West at a time when the whole country was in chaos.”
“Your father, what is his name?”
“He was nobody you would know, just a civil servant who was grateful for your leadership.”
Chief Bimbo nodded. “Please sit.”
He’d heard that the man only allowed you sit if he liked you. He was sitting, this was going great.
“What can I do for you Olumide?”
How did he know his name? “Sir, I will like to do what you’ve been doing for this country for so long.”
“And what is that?”
All of these was nonsense, he knew. But he’d been told the man loved to hear you sound idealistic and intelligent even though everything usually would come down to money, a whole lot of money.
“In what capacity would you like to serve?”
He was about to answer when the door behind him opened. He turned around and saw Bunmi enter. She said she didn’t sleep with politicians, bloody liar. He waited to see if she would leave.
“Please continue.” Chief Bimbo said.
He looked at Bunmi who had taken a seat not too far from Chief Bimbo. Well, his lie about not been a politician was up. That didn’t matter much to him, it probably wouldn’t matter much to her either.
“I would like to serve as chairman of Somolu local government sir.”
He looked at Bunmi and she looked surprised.
“That is a huge position Olumide.”
“I know sir that is why I have come to seek your help and support.”
“You consider yourself responsible enough to do this?”
The man was asking funny questions but Olumide knew he had to indulge him. He was the beggar here, he had no choice.
“Yes sir, I do.”
“Are you married?”
Olumide opened his mouth to answer then looked at Bunmi and stopped. Her eyes were on him, she was genuinely interested in his answer. Why did she care? She was a big girl, she knew how this game was played. It did not matter, there were a lot of girls out there, there was only one Chief Bimbo and he would not lie to him.
“Yes sir, I’m married.”
‘You’re married?” Bunmi asked.
“He looks too young to be married?” Chief Bunmi asked.
“No.” She said. “He told me he was not married.”
“Why will he tell you that?” Chief Bunmi asked then turned to Olumide. “You want to keep her as your concubine?”
“Concubine? Of course not sir.” He tried to laugh but his mouth was too dry. “It is nothing like that.”
“So tell me Mister Olumide, what do you want with her?”
The chief was calling him Mister. He’d heard about that too, it was not a very good sign.
“Chief, I am so sorry. This is all a big misunderstanding. I did not know she was yours. I will never eat from a plate my elders are eating from.”
“Eat from a plate…” The chief stood. “You think I’m sleeping with her?”
“No, not really.” He was confused. What he was supposed to say now?
“So you come into my house to ask for my help and then you accuse me of sleeping with my own daughter?”
What? He opened his mouth and looked from the chief to Bunmi and back to the chief.
He removed his cap. “Thank you for your time sir, I will see myself out.”
Well, nobody will say he didn’t give politics a shot. It was time to dust up his Microbiology certificate. His soon-to-be ex-wife (there was no way she would forgive him for this) will be so proud.
M.Sc. Microbiology, here I come.