THORNS IN MY BOOT 31

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31

I passed my J.A.M.B with 290 points; the cutoff point for Business administration at U.N.N was 260 points. I also passed my final prelim examination at I.M.T

I settled for U.N.N and I registered at the Business administration department as a one level student at the Enugu Campus.
I focused on my academics and my Okada business. My aim from the onset was to come tops in the department so I ensured I did not miss any test or assignment. The knowledge I had acquired from the preliminary studies at I.M.T came in handy because it was like a repetition of the courses I did in I.M.T at the one hundred levels U.N.N.

1999 elections was over and Obasanjo had been sworn in as the Civilian president of Nigeria but I was scared of going back to headquarters to see the G.O.C, the hostilities I faced trying to reach him had been too daunting.

I was happy that Amaka was pregnant but I was sad because it will distort her plans to further her studies abroad, she had hoped to get her master’s degree before settling down. But she did not seem to bother, but I was because I had wished for a better and more comfortable life for her, I was still trying to succeed in life, she did not even leave me with the choice of terminating the pregnancy as she had gone all the way to tell her father about it. I just wished I would not let her down; I wished all the ill luck that fate had endowed on me since childhood will end and not consume her too. These were the challenges I tabled before mama and Baba Ekundayo as I visited them in Abakaliki to mark Ekundayo’s first birthday. They encouraged me and assured me that money was not the problem and indeed it was not because Baba Dayo had hit it big in Abakaliki.

Having set up his Shop at ‘sperra n deo “junction with a big showroom facing the ever busy road, it was not difficult for his works to be seen and admired and consequently the deals started coming in torrents. The first big hit was a contract to furnish the new P.D.P (Peoples Democratic Party) secretariat at Abakaliki; all the rooms in the Building were to be furnished with wooden office furniture. He was the successful bidder after going through the due process screening of contractors as his price was the least and most realistic.

Baba Dayo as I now call him travelled down to Ogbomosho in Oyo state and Akure in Ondo state to seal business deals on supply of plywood and timbers to his shop at Abakaliki. He also went to Villages and bought matured tress in the forest; these were felled and pruned by professionals before transporting them down to Abakaliki. He then got a paid agent based in Sarki in Oyo state whose job was to be going into villages and buying matured trees and sending the timber to Abakaliki.

Consequently Baba Dayo became a Timber Merchant in Abakaliki, supplying other traders at the Timber Market on Ayim Street.

The contract price that was awarded to him to furnish the secretariat was twenty million naira even though he quoted twelve million naira, he knew he had to return the excess money to certain persons once he is paid, in fact they demanded he paid them upfront before commencement of the Contract but he begged them as this was his first and he did not have such capital so what they did was to act as guarantor for him as he collected a bank loan to finance the project but they collected their eight million naira up front all the same.

At the end of the contract, he was paid his balance and he made a profit of four million naira, having used eight million naira to execute the job and settled many people. But he was a busy man as many of the Politicians wanted him to furnish their new houses and hotels that were springing up at Abakaliki. He had over twenty workers on his monthly pay roll and many hired hands that come in handy for urgent jobs that may need him to travel out of town.

He was also told that the contract of furnishing the new government house being planned at Nkwagu will be given to him as long as the quality of his job does not fall and as long as he is willing to grease the necessary palms. The Government house contract was estimated to cost over three hundred million naira.

If not for the school I had started in Enugu, I would not have gone back! For what? When my parents are millionaires already? Baba Dayo was controlling Money and controlling money means controlling People, his life was changed forever! Abakaliki was expanding, P.D.P was in charge of the state and he was their favoured contractor! He had his hands full as almost all the Local Government Chairmen and Councilors wanted him to handle the roofing and furnishing of their new houses because he used the best wood in town and his job was very neat and unique, his style of design was not common in Abakaliki so they all wanted something different.

Baba Dayo was also building his own house, a four room Bungalow at Nkwagu close to the Army barracks. He had ordered for two fairly used Cars from Belgium through a Car dealer in Abakaliki, an SUV and a Saloon for mama.

As I left for Enugu on Monday morning, Baba Dayo gave me a Cheque of two hundred naira for my upkeep and School expenses. He said whenever Amaka and I are ready, we should tell them so that we can all go to Awka and see her father and his Kinsmen for Amaka’s hand in marriage. He also said he would be visiting Esa-odo with his Wife and Kid by Christmas time; but as I kicked started my bike and pumping the throttle in readiness to zoom off, mama ran to me and whispered in my ears that they would not be going to Esa-Odo come December because she was pregnant but her husband does not know it yet, he had been busy pursuing business. I laughed out loud and gave her a peck before zooming out of their compound. I was so happy, I sang all the way to Enugu with my two hundred thousand naira in my pocket.

To Be Continued

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