It was that my Oga, Chike Ogeah I had run to. I was thinking of doing a compilation work that would involve some of the most influential columnists on the question of Nigeria and I needed an authority to write the foreword. Chief Anyaoku came readily to mind. This was a Nigerian that more than most had risen above the primordial sentiments that have turned Nigeria into a huge cave peopled with ‘bushmen’ the type you would find in the Kalahari desert.
So I ran to my egbon who happened to know everybody. He Knew Chief Anyaoku and would speak to him for me. Chike never fails me, the ultimate social networker and one imbued with tremendous goodwill. He got back, confirming that he had spoken to the Chief but that he had mentioned his schedule was so tight and as such may find it very difficult to work on my project.
Well, I cannot vex. Who am I. I came out of that discussion with small big head sha. Since Chike mentioned that the Chief knew of my writings and enjoyed reading me. So I went about my usual business of looking for trouble all over Somolu.
The call came at a very funny moment. I had just finished eating at Francis Atuch’s Hubmart and was looking frantically for my debit card. The little lady at the other side of the counter was looking at me with so much suspicion when my phone started ringing in annoyance. I looked at the number and did not recognise the number so I ignored it, beginning to hatch my escape plan.
But the young lady was having none of it. I tried to explain that I was an Investment Banker asking if she couldn’t tell from my bowtie. I further informed her that I was part of the team that structured the first bridge facility for Tinapa a whole $5m that she could check my phone she would see Donald Duke’s number so this N1,500 that was about to cause this fratricidal war was not something beyond my reach.
All these while, the phone kept ringing with the persistence of a hungry child. My first thought was that this could be my GTB account officer. You see, I am owing those ones and this beautiful lady is intent of recovering these sum. The fact that I have paid over the amount lent and more does not really matter to this exotic beauty. She is intent on taking the case to the International Court of arbitration at the Hague and I am more than ever determined to marry her when all these is over. But today, it was not Jane that was my issue I had a little problem of N1,500 to pay.
As I continued going through my pockets looking for the card, the phone kept crying. What kind of problem is this, a whole Duke of Somolu about to be embarrassed at this point, I thanked my God for not asking for a second plate because the way I was seeing this lady’s eyes that would have led me straight into the guillotine.
So when,the phone would not stop crying, I decided to pick the call with the hope that my captor would be distracted which would allow me rush into the gents and stay there until help came from the Duchess who was somewhere within the huge complex, I am sure trying out the various wigs on display.
The voice was deep and rich. The accent was aristocratic and definitely British, ‘Duke of Somolu, how are you.’ At that point, everything came to a standstill. Goose pimples erupted from my patched skin and my mouth turned dry. I opened my mouth but nothing came out. This was definitely the MD of GTB. Jane had finally escalated this matter. It was either the MD or the IG of Police that I had only just recently yabed in my Thisday Column. But the sweet aristocratic accent knocked out the IG, this was Segun Agbaje.
In a shill barely audible voice, I responded. ‘please who is speaking….; getting ready to deny it was me and then the words that have kind of changed my life emerged. ‘it is Chief Emeka Anyaoku’. Now in my time, I have received calls from some very prominent Nigerians and I had thought that I had gotten used to them but this one was different.
The same Chief Anyaoku of Commonwealth, the one who counted the Queen of England and Nelson Mandela as personal friends, the International statesman and the epitome of sophisticated, diplomatic class was calling the Duke of Shomolu.
I immediately stood erect and with my very best South African cum Ibibio accent responded, ‘ sir, good afternoon sir’ he laughed a deep and fulfilled laugh – the Duke of Somolu…… I really enjoy reading you and hardly miss your column…..’ he continued….’ Chike has mentioned your book, but I will be out of the country and would be back on the 15th can we meet when I come back’. I responded in a faint. Yes sir and realised I had peed my pants……. Aghhhhhhhhhhh
To be continued.