She took them from him and went through the documents
thoroughly. Finally, she looked up from the documents.
‘You’re lucky that the First lady got to know you through
your expose on child prostitution which is an area she is
concerned with. We have tons of applicants for this job, but
you’re the choice. Congratulations.’
‘Thank you very much.’
‘You’ll be knowing madam herself pretty soon. Let me tell
you to give this job your best. If you do, you’ll be
adequately rewarded. If you don’t,
you’ll be booted out.’
‘I understand,’ he said.
‘Good.’ She brought out some files and explained some
things to him, explaining the programmes lined up for the
remaining quarter of the
year. She also talked about the scheduled itinerary of the
First Lady and how he could be asked to travel within a
short notice. She gave him a
file to understudy and asked the secretary to take him to
his office which he would be sharing with another staff of
During lunch break, Ms. Terver sent for him.
‘As for your accommodation, there’s a two- bedroom flat at
the Zone A Housing Estate. I will show you the place after
‘Thank you, madam,’ he curtsied.
They continued the work until four o’clock when they
closed. Tope went with her in her Prado jeep to the estate.
The place was neat and decent
and was meant for middle-cadre government officers. She
took him to Block A flat Four and handed the keys to him.
‘Luckily, I occupy flat five,’ she said. He thought he saw her
give a sly smile, but he wasn’t sure. He entered the flat to
inspect. It was a nice
apartment that already had furniture and other household
items. He liked the place. He had to go to the hotel to check
out and retrieved his
luggage. At the gate of the estate, he got a metro cab to
the hotel. About fifty minutes later, he was back to the
house. He inspected the
apartment again. He would have to get electronics such as
television set, radio, video and cable decoder. The kitchen
was okay, but the gas
cylinder needed to be re-filled. He called Iye to inform her
that so far, so good. He also called Rita to tell her the
On Tuesday morning, he had to find his way to the office.
He decided that that weekend, upon his return to Lagos, he
would sell his old car and
probably bring the Lexus jeep to Abuja, since Iye asked him
to be using it for now. He had a feeling he would be
enjoying his new job.
When they closed, Ms. Terver came to his office.
‘Can you drive?’ she asked.
‘Yes, I can.’
‘Good. I’m kind of tired. You’ll drive this afternoon.’ She
handed the keys of her car to him.
He nodded. ‘No qualms.’
He was behind the wheel while she sat in the passenger
seat. ‘So, when are you planning to marry?’ she asked.
‘Very soon,’ he replied. ‘I’ve got a lady I’m planning to
‘Hmn, that’s good. I hope you’ll treat her right.’
‘I will,’ he asserted.
‘I quit the marriage because he became so unfaithful.’ There
was acrimony in her voice. ‘To make matters worse, he
treated my two daughters
as if they were outcasts.’
Tope mused briefly. ‘Sorry about that.’
She nodded. ‘I hope you won’t be like him.’
He shook his head. ‘No, I won’t.’
When they got to the estate, she thanked him for the ride
as if he was the owner of the car.
‘You’re welcome,’ he replied, handing the car keys to her.
‘You can come around in the evening,’ she offered. ‘You can
come and have dinner with us.’
He smiled. ‘I’ll do just that.’
He went inside to change to casuals and went to the city.
He made a purchase of a flat screen, a digital television
decoder, a rechargeable radio
and a sound system. He rented another cab to take all the
items home. About eight p.m., he was at the doorpost of
Ms. Terver’s apartment.
Her younger daughter who was about twelve opened the
door for him.
‘I’m Tope Davies and I live next door,’ he introduced
‘Yes, mummy talked about you. Please, come in.’
He entered the tastefully furnished sitting-room. Zaynab
was obviously a lover of the art as some oil paintings
adorned the wall. She soon came
to see him. He stood up to greet her, like a gentle man.
‘Oh, please sit down and feel at home,’ she urged.
Some minutes later, they – Zaynab, her two daughters and
Tope – all went to the dining-table to eat the sumptuous
meal of ‘tuwo shinkafa’. It
was the first time he would be taking such a meal, but he
enjoyed it. Thereafter, they went back to the sofa and she
popped wine. Tope used
this time to study his hostess. Zaynab shouldn’t be more
than forty-two or –three. She was quite robust and
appeared to be more of that at the
chest region. She was pretty and she carried herself
elegantly and smartly.
Her two daughters retired to their room while she chatted
‘Have you been to the North before now?’ she asked.
‘No. Even during my NYSC, I served in Edo State.’
‘So, how’re you finding Abuja?’
‘Very interesting, so far.’
She nodded. ‘Apart from the fact that things are quite
expensive, this is a good place to live. Besides, there is
He nodded as he could not agree more with her.
‘You’ll enjoy the job,’ she said. ‘The First Lady is a kind and
generous person. You’ll surely enjoy working for her.’ She
smiled briefly at him.
‘Besides, you’ll have the opportunity to travel a lot. Within
and outside the country, there’re opportunities to travel.’
He nodded again.
‘Aren’t you lonely being alone in your apartment?’ she
‘Well, I guess I’ll have to make friends fast. Loneliness is
not the best.’
‘And you must be careful about the kind of friends you
keep. Remember that your job is a sensitive one.’
‘That’s true,’ he concurred. He was with her until few
minutes to ten when he stood up.
‘I guess I’ll be going now. I must really thank you for your
She smiled up at him again. ‘You’re welcome, Tope.’
‘Good night, madam.’
He gave her a slight bow and stepped out of the sitting-
room. Back in his apartment, he stripped himself to singlet
and boxer. He flicked the
television to an international news channel and sat down to
watch. Many minutes later, his doorbell sounded. Now, who
could that be? He
He went to the door to open it and was surprised to find
Ms. Terver there.