Ndubisi wanted Mr. Ikedi to do him a favour and stand by him against Hon. Eke. As he stepped into the porch where he was stretched out on a comfy stretcher, he wished he supported his decision.
“I understand how hurt you are my son, ” Mr. Ikedi began after Ndubisi had finished pouring out his mind to him. “It’s unfortunate no equal match has stood up against Eke yet, he should have learned his lessons. He doesn’t have legal right to your property after more than fifteen years of your occupancy without his disapproval. Im sure his claim is unfounded. He only wants that land because it’s at a good site for his business venture.” He said and Ndubisi beamed. He was happy with his statement.
“That’s wickedness sir.” Ndubisi said and paused when Barr Ikedi busted out with a terrible cough. He coughed for about two minutes and Ndubisi was taken aback.
Mrs Ikedi hastened into the porch with half a glass of water and offered it to her husband.
“Sorry sir. That’s serious.” Ndubisi felt for him.
The cough is not my major concern. The ones that have brought me down are high blood pressure and arthritis. I’m managing well but my age makes it a little hard.
“You’ll be alright.”
“Sure! I’ll be fine — As I was saying, Eke spells terror. Don’t know how and why this temptation found you.”
“My utmost annoyance is that way no one is seeing how wicked he is. Good number of people love him.”
“You’re right but despite his camouflage, we lawyers know how well he and his likes have skillfully manipulated the Government and the judiciary especially.”
“I’m glad you see this man the way I see him.”
“You’re not the only victim. The land where his booming mall at Upper Chime, New Haven stands, was owned by a widow. I heard that some people masqueraded as people from the Government and told her that her husband’s property was positioned at an improper location and the government wanted it demolished. She was compensated and given two months to find somewhere else. Six months later, a new structure emerged there. You can imagine who’s?”
“Eke’s of course. Terrible.”
“The widow’s brother who was a pastor and also a lawyer tried to sue the government for the act and was told by a kind solicitor, a friend of mine, to go home with his life.”
“What if the location is wrong for residential purpose and right for business purpose? Besides no one points accusing finger at the government, he was advised.
“Too bad.” Ndubisi shook his head.
“Listen to my sincere advice, Ndubisi. Tell Eke how much you want him to pay you and leave the land for him.” Again, Ndubisi was taken aback. He wasn’t expecting that kind of advice.
“Sir, you know I won’t do that. I can’t leave my family land to that beast at any cost.”
“Listen. Listen Ndubisi, I want you to live a peaceful life. Do not ruin your life and that of your family by insisting. I must tell you the truth out of experience, Fighting this man is not worth it. You can’t fight him and live. No one can.”
“In this country? I can!”
‘Know that he has the government, the army, the police, the judicary, name them in his grip. He has red- eyed gang of criminals he calls his body guards, who can kill for just ten naira. Is that what you want to stand up against?”
“Well, I can sir. I’ll be that one person who can challenge Eke in this country.”
“How do you plan to face him?”
“Sir, have you not heard about the story of David and Goliath?” Ndubisi said and Barr Ikedi shook his head in disapproval.
“For so many years Goliath intimidated the Isrealites that even the mighty men of valour became so weak before him but one day, Little David stood up to him with just a stone and a sling and he became a history. I can do that to Eke.
“Young man listen when an elder is talking. You’re not David and Eke is stronger than Goliath. Remember this is not a physical combat Ndubisi listen to me. I won’t deceive you. There is no battle here even because you don’t have access to him to kill with a stone. Yet, he has access to you, you family, your job and all you stand for. He can wake up one morning and throw your things out of your house and demolish it.” He looked at him and saw how determined he was.
“But, If you insist, I’ll be right behind you but remember I’m not responsible for the end result.”
“Thank you sir.” He said and at that point Barr Ikedi began to tell him about his first son who was in US. The same old story he heard twenty years ago when he came around their house. The story had not changed a bit. His son had not come home still. He had not built any house. The new structure was the one he started in his name to make people think he thought about home.
“He married an Amrican woman. He said they have two children. To me, he’s not yet married. Whenever anything brings him home, if I’m still alive, he’ll marry a Nigerian.
Ndubisi chuckled but Mr. Ikedi wasn’t fooling. As his cough started again, his wife came to his rescue once more with his medication and half glass of water.