Mrs Obaniko detested her husband.
Senator Afiang Obaniko held her husband of over thirty years in very low esteem.
He had given up on life. Gone were the days of vibrance. He had lost his edge. He seemed content to sleep and then awaken. Eat, drink and work out. In between, read a book or two and then some news.
He, in her opinion, was a shadow of his potential.
He seemed to have embraced a stunning depth of lack of ambition. He seemed to be content with bare minimum.
Unfortunately, Dr. Ochiwar Obaniko did not care about her opinions. Or anyone else’s for that matter.
Consequently the relationship was precariously perched at the edge of a sheer cliff. It was a matter of time.
So when Java did not come home the night before, another decrepit pillar of their relationship was on the verge of collapse.
He was late… As usual.
He could perceive her signature fragrance from inside the elevator of the police force headquarters. She was the only woman he knew with a penchant for male perfumes.
Her aides, assistants and security respectfully stood and bowed as he sauntered into the office of the Inspector General of Police.
Her voice was elevated.
She was stressed and afraid. It was understandable, Java, their daughter was an only child. She was not just the apple of their eyes, she was Ochiwar’s life. She had been missing for a little over twenty four hours.
The perpetrators had called the house. The Butler said they wanted a ransom of one million dollars. In small unmarked bills of course.
His wife was livid and incensed. The money was not the issue, somehow though it was his fault.
Java was twenty years old. In the country on holiday. She was busy in the Senate ironing out national policies, where was he when this happened?
Her sour disposition did not help the situation. The I. G of police was already beleaguered by a myriad of official problems. He did not need a senator of the federal republic complicating his already complicated life. And so when Dr. Ochiwar walked in, he naturally preferred the man’s mild – mannered disposition.
His wife’s brothers and sisters were unfortunately present too. The cacophonous racket they were raising was as useful as Jack Daniels to a newborn baby.
Everyone was stymied. The situation was hopeless. A notorious gang of kidnappers had been terrorising the town for about a year now. The victims were usually killed anyway. Ransom paid or not. Java was as good as dead. The time line for the cash drop expired in three hours.
Senator Afiang increasingly grew incensed as she observed her husband marooned on his phone. Seemingly less than a hundred percent present.
“who the hell are you talking to at this time? What could be more important than your missing child? Your only daughter?! Can’t your whores wait?” Her flawless diction and accent-less phonetics empowered her words not only to hurt, but also to emasculate.
As if to further provoke her, his rather immature ringtone shattered the dead silence her cruel words had created.
Dr. Obaniko calmly picked up the phone,
“Do you know who I am?” He almost whispered into his mobile phone.
“I am reborn” He continued with his eyes closed.
“I will pay the ultimate price. My rights will not be usurped.”
The room was silent as he nodded intermittently listening to the voice on the other end. As he listened, tears escaped his closed eyes and trickled down his roguishly handsome face.
Everyone present knew that the call had to do with Java. No one interrupted. They hung on every word propagated by his strained, cultured voice.
He ended the call and slowly extracted an excessively white handkerchief which he proceeded to use to wipe his tears and noiselessly blow his nose.
He arose slowly and approached the I.G’s desk, he leaned over and rhetorically said,
“Do you know who I am? I am War!”
Then he proceeded to tell a suddenly very suspiciously docile I. G of police the precise location where his daughter was being held.
He disclosed the number of people within a twenty meter radius of his daughter and the sort of weapons they were carrying.
As soon as he was done talking, the I. G barked some orders into an intercom.
He jumped up and left his own office running, screaming instructions as sirens instantly
began wailing outside in the car park.
Dr. Obaniko left the office and his wife behind without a backward glance. She called out after him gently. He paid no heed to her or anyone else. His personal assistant rushed towards him offered her shoulders as support. He was suddenly limping, sniveling and profusely weeping.
Senator Afiang and her entourage got to their fifteen bedroom mansion an hour later. Her sirens afforded her preferential treatment on the roads.
Java ran out of the door into the arms of her mother and extended family.
Inexplicably, she was set free. Her kidnappers suddenly began to disagree. Fatally so. Ultimately her captors fell upon each other with knives, furniture and theirs truly in paranoia and rage. The last one alive had hoarsely told her to go home. She had driven back in her own hitherto carjacked Nissan 370z.
Dr. Obaniko arrived an hour later. Father and daughter clung to each other and wept.
Less than a month later, Java returned back to Cyprus to continue her second degree.
Dr. Obaniko was suddenly appointed as the minister of petroleum by the president.
The governor of his state reached out in fellowship and within twenty-four hours, their newly incorporated company was awarded an oil block, complete with licenses and perpetual tenuity.
Chevron and Shell simultaneously conferred on him the title of “Goodwill Ambassador”. Each multinational paid him an annual honorarium of half a million dollars each.
He accepted every offer with humility, grace and charisma.
Before he could assume office as the honourable minister of petroleum, he was forced to accept the position of senator representing his federal constituency.
It was only fair because the senator representing that constituency died suddenly. She was fatally stabbed and shot whilst on her way to a meeting within her constituency.
As her husband, the Senate, her constituency, her governor and the powers that be unanimously deemed it fair that he should complete her remaining seven years in office.