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The eventful life of a Lagos banker (6) – Checkmate

There was nothing unusual about that eventful day. Henry woke up early, as usual and got to the office well before the routine daily meeting. The Branch Manager; Ben Okosi’s excitement was clearly visible throughout the meeting and Henry just managed to put his curiosity in check at the thought of the saying that “there’s no point picking at a parcel that would eventually be uncovered”. He however marveled at Ben’s sadistic instincts that drives him to bliss at another person’s discomfort.

Henry didn’t have to wait long… the meeting ended in record time as Ben desperately wanted to get on with his drama. Then he began his obviously rehearsed¬† speech, “Guys, there is a recent development that we must address. I received a distressing letter from one of our key Customers and I am left with no choice but to take certain steps to contain the escalating situation. It is more saddening that the account is managed by a Senior Officer of the bank and his display of ineptitude has brought grave embarrassment to the bank”. The tension was palpable in the office as searching glances were exchanged to perhaps get a clue of what was going on. “Olu, I am personally disappointed at your inability to manage such a significant account and for allowing things to deteriorate to this level. Chuma will take over the management of the relationship going forward. Both of you should wait for further discussions with me. The meeting is over”.

The hushed exchanges started even before they exited the office. “How are the mighty fallen” Henry exclaimed in apparent shock at Olu’s predicament, being the unfortunate recipient of Ben’s “dose of love”. Olu had always been Ben’s accomplice, the guy to be seen in his office chatting him up and having an occasional laugh with him, the primary beneficiary of whatever favours Ben were to dispense. Olu cultivated and defended that relationship with such an uncanny wit that everyone believed that their bond was never to be broken. Here we are, the table turned on the master strategist, in one swift Machiavellian move that left Olu stunned.

Olu went out unceremoniously right after their meeting and Chuma was faced with the many questions begging for answers. Ever reticent, it was a total waste of efforts as very little information could be gleaned from Chuma, after much prodding. His disclosure, which was not so far from what Ben had revealed in the meeting, was that Delta Group had written complaining of some service issues with Olu and stated that they didn’t want him managing their account. Ben then swung into action on the basis of the letter and transferred one of the most lucrative accounts in the branch from Olu. Chuma, not wanting to be caught in the power play, was wary of the unsolicited favour but had to reluctantly accept the precarious responsibility thrust on him.

Olu came back incensed, talking boisterously to anyone in sight that he would not lie low and watch people trample on his integrity. He didn’t care that Ben was holed up in his glass office and could hear his daring utterances. He just went on and on, like one possessed by some spirit, pointedly accusing the Branch Manager of instigating the Customer to write the letter meant to tarnish his image. The whole scenario was too bizarre. Stella tried to calm him down, suggesting that he should be careful and not make unverifiable statements in anger. Then he dropped the bombshell. He had actually accosted the MD of the Company to understand why he would write such a letter, when nothing of such actually took place. To his utter surprise, the MD had directed him to go back to the Branch Manager and resolve whatever issue they have as he was not ready to get enmeshed in their dispute. Olu went on to disclose that the whole thing was a grand design to discredit him as Ben had threatened to deal with him after a misunderstanding they had the previous week. An unusual calm descended on the branch at the disclosure. “Could Ben be that desperate”? Henry wondered.

When Kunle stepped down from his office, located at the second floor of the building, Henry knew there was trouble. Kunle, the Internal Control Officer of the branch was an arrogant, stubborn and cunning man, who was fully aware of his powers. He was the Policeman of the branch, mandated to maintain law and order and he carried out his undignified job with relish. In a couple of minutes of subtle questioning, he had gathered the gist of the matter and had cornered Ben in his office. By this time, Ben had become sober and was quite eager to find a way to resolve the matter at the branch. It was however too late, his ploy had backfired and the hunter had become the hunted in this bizarre power play. Kunle, like a predator that had caught a whiff of choice game, could not be shaken off its trail. He was bent on getting to the root of the matter and would not be deterred by the plight of Ben.

If only Ben knew his erstwhile accomplice better, he wouldn’t have picked a contest with him. Ben’s past successes in dealing viciously with any form of opposition had obviously numbed his senses, to the extent that he couldn’t decode Olu. Henry by association, knew first hand that beneath Olu’s calm and witty veneer is a cold and ruthless soul. Where others would have accepted Ben’s verdict that morning and even solicited with him not to let the complaint get to the HeadOffice, Olu’s response was to dive straight in and tackle his aggressor, without care for his safety.

Like the proverbial housefly devoid of counsel, that follows a corpse to the grave, Ben’s overriding ambition had driven him to his own destruction.

 

About Kene Okoye

A creative writer, banker, pianist, composer and music promoter, Kene documents events and presents his viewpoint in compelling narratives. He sets out to create vivid pictures with his intelligent use of words and seeks to engage, thrill, educate and inspire the reader. Come on and enjoy yourself.

9 comments

  1. waiting………

  2. Lovely imagery…I like that olu guy, especially his “you can’t bully me spirit”

  3. Intriguing

  4. Pastor Ijeoma Ekekwe

    Very captivating. There is seed time and harvest!!!

  5. Am watching out for part 7!

  6. Thanks Guys, the next episode promises to be even more captivating. Watch out!

  7. Hmmmmmm, interesting and captivating.

  8. I can’t hold it back, hahahaha, Ben Ben did not realise Olu is a bad guy. Good for him though.

  9. The hunter has indeed become the hunted.

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