I am writing this story from the comfort of my study in my farm house. I am just forty three years old now in 2015 but the things I have been through in life makes me feel like I am seventy years old, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
I am now into full time farming. I am also a writer as well as a consultant. I have some short stories published to my credit. It was my wife that actually encouraged me to put my life experience on paper so as to serve as a source of encouragement to those in unpleasant situations in life. Today I am also a worker in the house of the Lord where I worship and I cannot but give glory to God for all that happened to me in my life, I believed it was his way of preparing me for my today.
Funmilayo is away in Accra girls academy Ghana, while Kayode is at Command secondary School Abakaliki, they are both far away from home. Ekundayo and her younger brothers are also at Command Secondary School Abakaliki, they are all Boarders. During the holidays all the Kids come to my farm or they go to Abakaliki at Baba Dayo’s work shop to work and earn some money.
Amaka is presently a special adviser to the Oyo state Governor on legal matters, she has a Chamber in Enugu and another at Eleyele Ibadan. The competency exhibited while representing her Clients in Courts in Ibadan endeared her to the state Government that she was nominated for the appointment and the fact that she was Igbo married to a Yoruba man helped cemented her credentials for the appointment.
My farms are doing great, the palm plantation in my village rolls out hundred of drums of red palm oil for Companies and northern traders yearly, the Palm Kernels are not enough to meet the demand from companies that produce soap and farmers that need them for feeds preparation including my farm here at Ibadan too.
There is much to be gained from a palm plantation; when the fruits are ripe, we set traps and catch wild Boars and Rodents that come to eat up the fruits from its bunch or the ones that have fallen to the ground due to the activities of rodents, these are roasted and my share sent to me at Ibadan, and one thing I had loved from Childhood was Bush meat! When it is time to prune the branches of the palm trees, we sell them off to Basket makers in the community.
I had gone back to Lagos after my annual leave in 2004 and resumed duty as the A.O. Finance. The monthly booty kept coming and I kept putting it in the separate bank account I had opened for it. I continued working while I monitored activities at my farms and residence. I sneaked into Ibadan or Esa-odo on free weekends and public holidays to monitor the work in progress.
My palm seedlings survived the first scourge of dry season and rain season, they developed new roots and I was assured that they would grow well, the weak ones and the dead ones were replaced while I handed the Farm over to an Igala Man that has being in our Village for as long as I could remember, we called him Baba Agatu.
The Farm at Ibadan was also completed in due time and the House at Eleyele too, it took us a whole year to get all these in place and I was ready for our plan B.
I made up my mind and went to meet my C.O with a mini tape recorder in my Bosom Pocket. I once again told him of my fears and my desire to be posted to another office. He went berserk and started to threaten me.
Look lieutenant! He said; I have had enough of this your silly talks about not liking what we are doing here and wanting to leave the pension Office! Did I bring you here in the first place? Look if you are not comfortable here you better resign and get the hell out of here!
Think I will resign sir! I said; I have a feeling that all of these will back fire some day! I do not want to go to Prison again, not now that I have a Wife and Kids that look up to me!
Anything you want to do, do! He shouted; but let me tell you, people like you that have tried what you are trying to do are six feet below the earth now! And yours will not be an exception, I promise you that! You will just disappear! Where is captain Adekunle now? Where is staff sergeant Adamu? Where are major Isiaka and Corporal Johnson? They all tried to be stubborn but they forgot that the stubborn fly follows the Corpse into the grave! My friend, go and ask questions! Do you know the caliber of People that are involved in this cartel? Do you know how many heads that will roll and the number of families that will be shattered if you sing? My friend, this is not 82nd division Enugu o! This is Lagos! He shouted; my friend, leave my Office this moment before I charge with something that you will not be able to explain.
I stood up and saluted him, and then I told him that all the monies paid to me are still intact in my account, I asked him if he wanted it paid into his account. He was furious and he lost his cool and punched me in the face. I fell down on my butt. I got up and asked him why a general could condescend as low as to physically assault a fellow Officer.
I will give you another blow! He shouted: in fact I will slap you! And with that, he slapped me in the face, I screamed and fell down again.
In fact! Ojo, you are dead meat! You are dead meat I promise you! He fumed as he left his Office and banged the door while I was still on the floor rubbing my cheek.
I went home to meet my Wife who had flown down for the execution of plan B, and we replayed the tape recorder and heard all that transpired between me and my C.O.
We did not sleep at home that night; we went to a Hotel outside the Barracks and slept. The next morning, I went and submitted my resignation letter to my C.O.
The beauty of it was I had done a total of over fifteen years in the Army and I was pensionable. I would have loved to get to the rank of a more senior Officer before retiring but I guess that was not my destiny.
I submitted the letter to him with a Copy of the tape recorder in a compact disc; I saluted him and left his office as abruptly as I came in.
He knew my wife was a Lawyer, he knew she was the one that instigated the move at Oputa panel that eventually led to the dismissal and jailing of nine men and the demotion of a Colonel to Captain. He also knew she must the brain behind the recording of my discussion with him, he knows he was doomed if anything happened to me.
He called me after two hours and asked that we met and talked at the Officers mess immediately, I told him I would be available in the evening, he was so scared of my every move that he drove straight to my house to meet me and my Wife.
We talked for sometime but I told him that my mind was made as per leaving the Army. I told him I was not going to expose the decay and corruption at the pension office but if anything happened to me or my family, then the tapes would circulate and all hell would be let lose. He agreed to protect me and my family until his dying day. He was on his knees asking me to beg my Wife for him as he does not trust Lawyers especially female lawyers! He wished he could swallow all the words he uttered in the tape. The General was begging and crying like a small Boy before a Lieutenant and his Wife! Amaka later promised to bury the hatchet and he left our house with thanks and prayers for us.
I officially resigned from the Army in the month of March 2006 as a pensioner and came to settle with my family at Ibadan. Today my Wife speaks fluent Yoruba and is working for the state government. I have over fifty permanent staff on my pay roll. We sell eggs daily in thousands of crates, we supply fresh fish and Chickens to over twenty fast foods, it is a matter of first booked first served.
Traders in the Market book our Turkey, Sheep and Goats in advance. The grass cutter and the Snail farm are Money Spinners. My major challenge is to meet the demand of Customers. Politicians book my turkey and Ostrich months before they are matured so they can use them as gifts to their Political God fathers. Ostrich lay an egg in a year so it is very expensive.
I give lectures at symposia on Agriculture and Aquaculture, I have regular inflow of students on industrial attachment; I have investments in chains of businesses and my fifty million naira booty realized from the Army pension Office is still growing in the fixed deposit account. Indeed life, they say begins at forty. I guess I was not destined to stay in the Army because whenever I wore those boots, things go sour for me; it is like there are thorns in them that I had to pull them before I get some comfort. But the Army prepared me for my today; it was a means to an end for me.