GOVERNOR EMERITUS OF ALUCHI STATE, BY JAMES IBECHI

By James Ibechi

The Governor Emeritus jumps out of his sleep. He looks at his surroundings: the bed is gold-plated; the mattress is extra-relaxing; the table lamp; the chandelier; the curve television set; the crested rug; and all.

He could not have asked for anything better. But he is baffled and troubled. The dream he just had still scares him.

The dream is a sharp contrast to the beauty of the room he is in.

James sunscreen
James Ibechi

The first thing that occurs to him after clearing his head is to walk from his kingly Lodge to the Governor’s small Apartment and  challenge His Excellency with the facts just revealed to him in his dream.

It is just 6am on Sunday. The crowd will soon start trooping in. Since his status changed to Governor-Emeritus of  Aluchi State, the crowd in and outside the Lodge has increased. They troop in as early as 7am. Of course, to seek one favour or the other. Those who want the Governor Emeritus to give them party tickets to be LG chairmen, to be federal and state lawmakers, to be this and that, they besiege his Lodge.

To many of these people, they see him as Governor Emeritus rather than the Senator of the Federal Republic that he now is.

To them, the fact that he now lives in the palatial Lodge anytime he is in town is a further confirmation of his hold on Tyover Gum who is the governor of Aluchi State.

The Governor Emeritus drafted Tyover Gum, a former Motor Park worker, into APC and made him governor at all cost.

In appreciation, Governor Tyover Gum allows him call the shot for a long time. Almost everybody that matters in the Tyover Gum’s executive council is there on the Governor Emeritus’s say so.

 

Now, this dream: it has two parts. One part is that Tyover Gum will soon start calling the bluff of the Governor Emeritus. He will start by forming his own structure at the grassroots; after that, he will continue with weeding out of all the Governor Emeritus’ boys from his cabinet.

Governor Tyover Gum may not stop there. He will extend the axe or the Sword of Damocles to the Governor Emeritus’ boys at the LGAs.

What is the offence of the boys at the locality? They are not Tyover Gum’s boys. Instead, two, they are a drain pipe that the Governor Emeritus uses to  milk the LG treasuries and frustrate development at the grassroots.

For instance, allegation is milling that Governor Emeritus collects N5million monthly from the boys at the LG. Do the math, multiply N5million by 23 boys and what you get is as good as the writer’s tally.

Three, it is rumoured that Governor Emeritus in collaboration with the almighty Andibilla Rock will deny Governor Gum of second term ticket of their party. But before that happens Governor Tyover Gum will cut Governor Emeritus to size.

Governor Emeritus shivers at the possibility of these things happening. It occurs to him that nothing is impossible in politics.

His phone soon rings. It is the wife of Governor Emeritus, who is in Dubai enjoying her life, perhaps on the bill of Goveror Tyover Gum.

“Hi Honey,” he says.

“Good morning my heart,”  his wife replies.

Before he says anything else, his wife adds: “You sound down.”

He relays the dream he just had to her.

“This is getting serious,” she says.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Yesterday, my PA called me saying he heard the SSG saying that the governor cannot continue to be under your shadow and that very soon, he will show you who is in power between them by first ensuring that all the lawmakers switch allegiance to him.”

Governor Emeritus cuts in: “You mean he said that?”

“Honey, he did and even said more. He described you as a greedy bastard who thinks the whole of Aluchi State should lick your foot. He said soon Abuja will be your permanent home and that if you prove stubborn, he will supply EFCC enough evidence to make Kuje your official abode.”

She continues: “Apart from the SSG, another aide of Governor Tyover Gum was overheard saying that the governor will soon meet with members of the National Assembly from the state and other critical stakeholders of the party and the reason for the meeting is to use them against your leadership of the party in Aluchi State.”

“Can all these be true?”

“I really don’t know.”

“But, with the kind of revelations in your dream, I am beginning to believe them,” his wife says.

There is a silence of some seconds.

“Honey, just be careful. There are examples abound of men helped into power who less than three months after turned against their benefactors and became their worst enemy. So, if it happens here it will not be strange. Of all the governors helped into power by their predecessors, only a few did not supplant them. Some tried but could not. I can even remember that former Governor Oyi Anyim even did it to you before.” “I almost forgotten.”

“I will be careful dear. Just enjoy yourself. I will be expecting you back next week.”

The conversation ends. He decides to place a call to the SSG. The phone hardly rings before the man starts to pay obeisance.

“Good morning your Excellency,” the Chief of Staff says, “I remain loyal Sir. To what do I owe this call sir?”

Doubts set in again and he queries himself: Is this man deceiving me? He is confused.

“I want you to see me later in the day. There is something I need to discuss with you.”

“Okay sir, I will see you,” the SSG replies.

He gets off the bed and retires to the bathroom to have his bath. The Jacuzzi is where he thinks he needs and he buries himself in it relishing the soothing feeling of the water. There his thoughts wonder.

He remembers his search for a successor to former Governor Oyi Anyim and how he had to dump one powerful man before settling for Tyover Gum. He remembers the battles he had to fight because of his choice. He remembers the dream he had in which he found himself in-between heaven and hell. He remembers how after that dream he decided he was not going to foist any candidate on the party. He remembers how he called a meeting of the party top notch and told them he was not going to foist anybody. He also remembers how weeks later his wife told him to discountenance the dream and go ahead with his original plan. He equally remembers how he had to threaten his estranged political sons with death when they were against his decision to foist Tyover Gum on Aluchi state. He remembers so many things and he shivers inside the warm Jacuzzi.

As the Governor Emeritus rubs the liquid soap on his body, he thinks of the best way out. Should he confront Governor Tyover over the sack of his loyalists from the cabinet or should he just siddon look? It is not an easy decision to make. In that instant, a discussion he had with former Governor Iyaji of Eko State came to him. Iyaji had advised him against sticking out his neck for anybody. Iyaji had stuck out his neck for a former banker to become his successor and it did not take three months before the man turned against him.

For Governor Emeritus, the deed is done. Tyover Gum is governor already and what he needs to fashion out now is how he will not be disgraced.

Or, should he just work underground to make sure Governor Tyover Gum loses at the next election? No, this is no option, he says. It will only bring in his arch enemy, who will now make it a point of duty to expose him every day. At least, this one will only assert himself but not ridicule him, he agrees.

He gets out of the Jacuzzi, heads for the room, dresses up and looks out of the window. There are at least 10 people waiting outside already. He recognises four of them. They are men who have begged him to get them one appointment or the other. He sure is in no mood for petty talks this morning.

“Titus Zzam,” he calls on the steward.

“Yes sir,” the steward says.

“Tell all of them I am going to be busy with a conference call with the Senate President for the next four hours. They should come back tomorrow.”

“Okay sir,” the steward says and rushes to go and deliver the message.

He grabs the remote control, switches on the television and tries to soak himself in on the newspaper review by Terver Igbudu.

It takes less than five minutes into the programme for him to realise than his case is akin to someone who has murdered sleep and peace of mind is going to be a commodity he will find difficult to acquire.

Aluchu State, happy new shape of things, from Jamesibechi.com.

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