“Hmmm. Interesting. So I can count on your support when I run for Governor’s office in the next election?”
“Off course you can count on my support.” Ike affirmed readily.
“That’s good to know.” Mark rubbed reclined in the chair. “You see, the bane of Nigerian politics is the ‘money politics’.”
Ike shrugged warily. “Politics cost money all over the world.”
“Yea, but……” he stroked his beard thoughtfully. “You know from the first day Ify mentioned you, I liked you. Sight unseen, I liked you.”
Ike shifted uncomfortably in his chair, wary of the direction this discussion was taking.
Mark laughed heartily at Ike’s evident discomfort. “I think that came out wrong.” He said between bursts of laughter. “or you interpreted it wrong. What I meant is; from the moment she suggested you for the job, I knew you were the one for the job. Evidence of how much I trust you; since you began at GO, have I ever undermined you?“
“No.” Ike replied slowly.
“Yes and that’s the way I work. I believe in giving people the freedom to perform, and you have performed Ike, you have performed. He emptied his glass and refilled it immediately. “You should join a political party, the ruling party off course. Come in see how our dear nation is run. Vibrant young men like ourselves shouldn’t be sitting back while the old men run us into the ground. Take a stand, take an active role.”
Mark was on a roll, he sounded so convincing, like the politician which he was. Ike took a moment to think on Mark’s argument, he was still confused as to where this whole discussion was leading, he chose his response to continue on the path of caution. “You know better than most how impossible it is to run a business and a political career successfully; I mean, that’s why I’m here. For you to be able to concentrate on giving our people quality leadership.” He shrugged, smiling slightly. “if I allow myself to be convinced, and you do make a convincing argument, you might find yourself needing another me, who you’ll no doubt convince to politics and the cycle keeps going on and on.” Mark burst into uncontrollable laughter, Ike himself was having difficulty controlling his laughter. “You do need me to run GO, I feel like its my duty to resist the lure of politics.”
Mark laughed so hard tears rolled from his eyes, Ike couldn’t help but join in the laughter, both men laughed long and hard.
“I like you, I really like you. We’ll be such good friends.” Mark said when he could speak. “I can’t remember the last time I laughed this hard, I’ve worked up quite an appetite. Let’s have something to eat, the fish peppersoup here is lovely.” He signaled the waiter and ordered for both of them. “Ok. I’ll quit trying to convert you to the benefits of politics, for now. You are right, I do need you. Perhaps more at GO than the nation needs sharp minds such as yours. So tell me, we are from the same state, what do you think of me as Governor?”
“Depends on what you have in mind for our state.” Ike replied.
“I like that. I have such good plans for our state.” Mark went on to outline his agenda if elected governor of their home state. Many hours and many bottles of wine later, they both walked on unsteady legs to their cars and their drivers drove them home.
Looking back, months later, Ike wished he hadn’t been hasty in promising his support. Mark dragged him to as many political meetings as he could, made his unofficial legal and financial advisor. While it was a new, not-altogether bad experience for Ike, he missed the day when he practiced law in shades of black and white. The business world introduced him to the shade- gray, and in politics; it was all muddy brown. He got to know a few of the intrigues that went behind the scenes, and was amazed at how a lot of the news which filtered out to the public was planned and stage-managed.
Like Mark had said; politics was capital intensive, and Mark’s governorship ambition was taking him to the cleaners and fast. Mark was bent on running his campaign without any financial input from anyone, so, according to him, when he got in, he won’t be accountable to anyone, except the voters.
Ike wondered where the money to fund the campaign would come from as they were still a few months away from the general election. Mark confidently dismissed his fears, promising there was still some more money for when it was needed.
For Ada, renewing her friendship with Ify was like reconnecting with a long lost loved one. Well, it was more or less the same. Ada found Ify a counselor whom Ify said helped a lot. Ify said she was happier and more confident since she began seeing Dr. Jane Hamzat. She said her relationship with her husband had improved greatly, and Ada was happy for her. Their kids bonded and discovered the kind of friendship their mothers had during their childhood. Indeed, all seemed well until the day Ify came to her in tears again, saying she heard Mark’s mistress was campaigning with him and there were plans that she would be first lady when Mark won the election.
“What are you doing in Lagos?” Ada asked her seriously?
“How?” Ify asked, confused, stopping her wailing.
“I mean, why don’t you join your husband on the campaign trail?”
“You mean like I should go send her away or something?”
“No, I don’t mean that. I mean, go join his campaign team, support him. Let his team know you better and you in-turn get to know them. Honestly, you can’t sit in Lagos and complain on being sidelined. It’s easy for Mark and/or the woman to project her as his woman because you the legally married wife isn’t there. Go to your husband.” Ada advised.
Ify considered this for a few minutes. “But my kids?” she protested.
“Will be fine, you can leave them with me.”
“Really?” Ify asked earnestly, searching Ada’s face to confirm her intentions.
“Really. You can leave them with me.” Ada affirmed.
“Thank you.” Ify ran to hug Ada. “Thank you so much, I appreciate. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. We’re family. Family supports each other.”
Ify returned to her seat, sniffling and wiping her tears.
“I thought Mark and I were on the mend. This latest news is just so devastating. To throw his wife and mother of his children over for one………..”
“Ify, forget it. Forget all that. What you should be concerned with is how to keep your man, keep your marriage, not with another woman. When can you leave for Abuja?”
“I don’t know.” Ify wailed.
“I say we start making plans immediately. The sooner, the better.” The ladies began making plans in earnest on how Ify was going to win back her husband and her position.
So guys, I’m missing your input, y’all should keep the comments coming (even if its to tell me the story is getting boring). Thank you.