He does not like the way they all trouped in with grim faces. It felt like they were on a condolence visit. But he has not died yet; he just lost a damn election.
The new set were coming in, feet shuffling in their flying bleached white clergy gowns, the sound of their slimly palms reverberating across the villa, grim-faced and ashen-stricken, their faces looked like they were greased with dark crude oil. He went straight to receive them with outstretched arms smiling, and behold his simple smile transformed their greasy faces washing away the slimy aspect. He transferred the Easter mood and spread it on all their faces like the sprinkling of holy water.
The group of clergymen broke bread and ate chicken, not turkey, with the outgoing President while talking about the virtues of Christ in this reflective season. The issue of the 10 million votes that miraculously disappeared between 2011 and 2015 was not reflected upon yet though. He was not going to bring it up on his own too; he was not a sour loser. He would continue to be the hero. He smiled and chewed on the chicken bone, and they prayed. They prayed for Easter, for Jesus for the nation’s emancipation.
They prayed harder. He reflected harder.
Jonah not long ago had some of the richest pastors in the world, surrounding him, and earnestly disbursing prayers, cementing his every lizard-hole with it. He always knelt for their prayers, all of the lot. He might have been the president but President Jonah was a humble servant of the Lord too; not even a President is greater than the Lord’s cronies, he knew that deep in his heart. Yet those cohorts could not deliver his message to the Lord, with all the prayers they amassed in their private jets, none travelled more than a mile up to the Lord it seemed. One miracle indeed.
The full-stomached clergies kept pouring their own bouts of prayers though. Loud Amens collided with the humming silence, and the eerie reflections in his head with the warm weather of the Easter afternoon.
Even when it was clear the numbers from the south will not overturn his rival’s in the north, they didn’t stop cooking up dry facts.
“Sah, we will surely win it…it will be a landslide” one would say.
“We will win it again Sir…by hook or crook…” they always pointed.
Special advisers or special patronizers, he was staring at defeat, but they kept feeding him false altruistic meals; only the white-bearded general told him the truth, the bitter truth.
By hook or crook?
He thought of that means too. But why continue to fight when even God has shunned your persistent kneeling?
The clergy’s long prayers were done and the chickens were now merely bones. Finally, the issue of the 10 million votes he lost was next on the list. Diplomatically, in a way only the men of God knew how to, they began:
“What God has ordained surely no son of man shall drag with it. Mr. President you are a world hero. Yours is a story chipped right out of the Holy Scripture. We are proud of you, the whole country is proud of you, and even our Saviour is smiling at you from heaven”
The ordained fate. What even their Godly eyes could not show them though was that deep down he was happy, contented to be free. He was tired of the choky Abuja atmosphere.
Aides, meetings, advisers blowing hundred different perspectives on issues into your head with none out of the whole bunch corresponding, all different simulations. How is one supposed to transform everything like that? Haba!
“Mr. President you have etched your name in Gold. Your attitude and humility as a leader is to be ascribed to, this singular act of yours has been unprecedented”
Unprecedented. The new darling word that has now giving Transformation a technical knock-out from the lexicon of the villa; it flew around pecking him as he tried to run and escape its bloody bite.
“Surely you will continue to rise; this is not the end, for those who have done right shall rise to life. Behold, heed to the spiritual story of our Lord Christ and it shall be your own emancipation. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you as you leave with only the best of intentions!”
Yes, it is all the doing of God. But he has already been emancipated. The elections were his emancipation. Jesus the saviour had saved him, aptly in this Easter period too. Jesus has risen with him.
Jonah can still feel the soreness on his legs, from all the campaign travels, all the prayers and all the kneeling. The pastors, the bishops, the shrines, the wizards; all of the shouts, wailings and the gibberish; the heavy breathing, bad breaths and all the descending floods of saliva and the rough hands manhandling his presidential skull.
*May all your enemies die like Sisera! May those who love you rise like the sun in all its power!
*I therefore declare that His Excellency will win the coming elections!
*The Lord will return his Excellency to his presidential seat!
*There is no vacancy for The General at Aso Rock!
*I declare divinity’s decision to return Jonah to Aso Rock!
And to think they all spoke God’s mind, all of them. Wonderful God, Benevolent God!
Jonah has no regrets whatsoever though. The meeting with the clergymen was lighter in mood, he thought, as he ushered them out of the presidential home. It was tenser when he met the Governors he recalled, but even then he was bold too. Yet he smiled. The smile seems to be flowing all too easily these days. It is the single bullet left in his armory.
The Governors’ entourage, those that were brave enough to come, arrived sheepishly, like a heavy load was mounted on their arched backs, dragging them down. It was not like they were the only cause of his dismal failure at the polls, well even though they did contribute, but he was not half as grumpy as they all were. He actually has never felt as free and light as he was these days.
Light like a feather, the spirit of Christ is with him, he has nothing to fear, nothing to lose.
Jonah has been propelled up the trajectories in all his endeavours, all his life. Deputy Governor. Governor. Vice-President. President. Surely his Lord has been generous. He decided not to lift the burdened guilt they carried on their bent backs. For the first time he was stern in their midst. He did not even bother to have a sip from the bottle before they came, but, he was now ready, the confidence and the ego were exuberant, the Lord is with him. He told them off brusquely and blatantly.
“I’m not saying you should go down with me, no, but let the young people vote with their hearts, trust me you will feel much lighter and better spiritually when you do. The era of electoral fraud and manipulation should be closed; you will be heroes, win or lose. Just look at me now!”
They stared at him with jumbled eyes, like they were watching a complete maniac spiraling out of control. He was now a mad man to them, he has lost his touch of reasoning, just for instructing them to allow the will of the people take its course. Jonah did not blame them though, but his mind was made up; he would not be a complicit to any treasonable act again. And he shall not turn a blind eye to it too.
Silence. It was the root of my failure.
He had listened to too much of their nonsense, and they took his silence as a seal of approval; but when everything debilitated and rot, the sour meat is served hot in his plate.
It is all coming to an end though. His aides and their foul advices are already shy of the villa. It is like the General’s win has also automatically sacked all of those runny-mouth advisers, or at least incapacitated them. He is still the President though, and he will be presidential, as much as he can be, in these final days.
No more sycophants and their rotten sycophancy.
Jonah gave power to his enemies, the real enemies within. He was his own downfall; he could not rise to the challenge.
And no more.
“That is all I have to say”. He concluded calmly with the Governors. “Do the right thing”.
The Governors left with defying optimism in their head though. Their eyes were sunken and hollow like the end result of a widow’s grief, the resurgent vigour of this mad man would not stop them however. But the mad man knew, his eyes are open now and he saw the Lord’s vision clearly, they would all follow his suit in the coming days. There will be nothing they could do about it anymore.
Jonah now had only one agenda.
He has to continue to be the hero they have crowned him now. The people might forgive easily, but would they ever forget?
He is leaving peacefully.
No bloodshed. No violence. He is the hero. Let them hold on to that for a longer while.
The final peace shall reign. That would be his legacy.
He made a mental note of it as he made for the bar. He no longer makes a dash for it, he is free, and a man of his own will, but he needed the soothing warmth after the day’s bout of grim commiserations.
I was the most criticized, but now I am the luckiest.
He smiled, that transformed smile, dropping the cup aside and gulping the bottle of the soothing thick crimson liquor down his throat.