The duo of Tori and Melania seemed interesting and full of life and in the last ten minutes that Joel had been with them, he had enjoyed the series of conversations he had had with them.
“Poverty is a political weapon.” Joel pointed out.
How the discussion drifted into politics, none of them knew, but just as Nigeria is approaching a general election in a year’s time, every young Nigerian is taking up an active role in the polity. The youths are either running for office or playing a decisive role in the political environment.
So, when Tori brought up the issue of the Presidential Youth in Business Workshop- which was organized by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity and the Presidency – Joel readily shot the idea down, claiming the Presidency could have done more to alleviate poverty, instead of meeting with already established businessmen to seek their support for the upcoming elections.
“How is poverty a political weapon?” Melania asked.
“Look at the statistics released by the World Bank sometimes back, saying 60% of Nigeria’s population lives in abject poverty, below 1USD per day. You think there are no economic policies that could improve the living conditions of Nigeria?” Joel asked rhetorically. “ The government has consistently ensured that the majority live in poverty, so that when election comes, they can influence people with as low as two thousand naira to sell their votes.”
“That cannot be accurate. No one would sell their votes for such measly amount.” Tori argued.
“He is right. People sell their votes for a bowl of rice, onions, salt and other mundane things.” Melania pointed out.
“Do you have your PVC?” Joel asked.
“No, I don’t.” Tori replied. “And I need to get it, someone I know is running for Senate.” She added.
“Who?” Melania asked.
“Raymond.” Tori replied. “His dad is being offered the guber ticket, but he asked for a ticket to the Senate for his son.” She explained further.
“Waoh! That’s huge. So Natasha is gon be the first lady?” Melania remarked.
After another fifteen minutes of discussing around random issues, Tori excused herself to see the Doctor.
“Let’s know when you’ll be discharged and the bill.” With this she left the ward.
With just Joel and Melania inside the ward, there was an awkward silence which was broken by Joel’s abrupt question.
“So, what happened that fateful day? Why did you loose your balance?”
Melania took a deep sigh and as she made to start talking, the door into the ward burst opened and Tori walked in.
“You’re back, so soon!” Melania remarked.
“Yeah, the Doctor said you can leave later in the evening.” Tori replied.
“That’s good to hear.” Joel remarked. “Actually, I’d like to take my leave now.” He announced.
After a number of going back and forth, Joel was finally allowed to leave. “Let me walk you, I’m leaving as well.” Tori said picking up her handbag.
Together, they left the ward to the hospital’s parking lot where he got offered a ride back to the mainland.
Just today, I have managed to save almost 70% of my total transport fare. He thought as Tori backed the car out of the hospital premises.
Dr. Ayeni walked into his living room after a very hectic day at work. Despite having been in active service as a medical doctor for thirty years, something he should have gotten used to, he comes home every day with a new form of tiredness, requiring a special type of recovery process. Right now, he can’t wait to get into the shower and let the cold water do it’s therapeutic job of relaxing and calming his nerves. But his wife was already at home; he had seen her car in the garage. And Angela being home is synonymous to an afternoon of long talks, meaning, no rest.
“Welcome darling.” Her voice rang out from the kitchen just as he was about to get on the flight of stairs.
Damn! He cursed. If only he had gotten on the stairs much quicker, he would have raced all the way upstairs. Or he could have followed the backdoor. Anything to avoid his wife.
“You are home early today.” He said, sounding as since red as possible. But in his head, it sounded like; what the hell are you doing at home by this time?
“Yeah. I knew you would get off early and I went to the market for that.” She replied.
“What about Charity?” He asked, referring to the house help.
“She went to get Philip from school.” Angela replied.
“But she could have gotten it from the market on the way coming back.” He pointed out.
“That girl’s movement is suspicious. She has a boyfriend she goes to see every time she goes to the market. And who knows, she might be sharing my foodstuff with him.” Angela replied in her usual paranoid manner.
Dr. Ayeni turned away from the kitchen, little did he know their conversation was just getting started.
“When are we going to talk about Joel and Natasha?” She asked.
The Doc could hear a voice in his subconscious scream; Jesus!
“What about them?” He asked, feeling as confident as possible.
“The young man is back, already met his son. Don’t you think this might result to a triangle of some sort?” She asked. Referring to a triangle involving Natasha, Raymond and Joel.
“There is no triangle anywhere. It’s not like Tasha has feelings for him. His business is with his son.”
“Think of what it will cause between Tasha and Raymond.” Angela said.
“It won’t cause anything. Raymond knew Tasha has a lovechild and another man was responsible for it. So, it is merely a confirmation of what he knew already.” Dr. Ayeni explained.
“If that’s how you see it, no problem. But I think Tasha still has something for Joel, cos the circumstances under which he disappeared then, she had no idea. He might tell her the truth.”
Now the conversation was tilting towards the uncomfortable part. One which Dr. Ayeni dreads with passion.
“Tell her that I paid him off so as not to derail the future plans of Tasha. I hope he does.” He replied. “See how Tasha turned out. Imagine if Tasha had been held down by the baggage of being a mother and the presence of her babydaddy, what do you think would happen?”
“You have a point.” Angela concurred.
“I did what I had to do.” He said followed by a deep sigh.
“Grandma!” Philip called from the living room.
“Baby, I’m here.” Angela replied.
Philip ran all the way into the kitchen and jumped on Angela.
“I qualified for the tennis finals.” He announced excitedly.
“That’s my boy, give me five.”
“Uncle Joel was in school to cheer me up today.” Philip added.
Angela hurriedly dropped the boy. “Joel, what does he want?”
“I thought he is Mummy’s old friend?” Philip wondered why Angela spoke in such a tone.
“Yes, he is.” She replied. “Go to your room and freshen up. Lunch is almost ready.”
Once Philip was confirmed out of hearshot, Angela turned to her husband. “I told ya, he has a plan.”
To be continued.
PS: Philip sees Angela as a grandmother. But she is in fact an Aunt to him.