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TEO was about to swim in new waters. And he wouldn’t embark on the voyage without the support of his heartthrob.
The hardworking architect was never bored of Foye’s endless chatter anytime he worked. He always knew the inspiration he needed would come from her talk.
That afternoon in his studio, Teo reclined himself in a chair while his girlfriend chose to seat on a tall stool.
Teo had given his staff another day off, following the hectic trip to Yemija River the previous day.
The young architect had been racking his head since morning. But he couldn’t come up with a solid structural idea for the artificial nature’s park design.
He really hoped Foye would come to his aid with a brilliant idea. Like she often did.
Foye had always been aware of her contributions to her man’s work. But the young successful business woman wouldn’t boast of it.
She was rather grateful she had a responsible man that valued her opinion.
Foye got up and walked around the studio room. She wasn’t the type of woman that worked well in the box of formality.
The intelligent girl of twenty-six wandered around the room, her eyes searching through the design pictures on posters and a calendar.
She turned a glance at Teo. ‘You know I’m upset I wasn’t invited for your picnic,’ she said.
She set her eyes back on the design pictures, walking down the wall length with really slow steps.
Teo raised himself to look at her. ‘I’m sorry, darling. I didn’t call you since it was going to be work all day, you know.’
He rested back in the chair.
He felt sorry. He’d planned a serious day out and had denied his really carefree woman a chance to simply enjoy herself with them.
But more than that, the young architect realised the work picnic itself could’ve been more productive with his intelligent girlfriend being onboard.
He wanted to make it up to her. He brightened up. ‘Oh, let’s go there on a personal picnic after the bid—whether I win or not.’
Foye glanced back at his soft hearted man, flashed a smile at him and turned his gaze back to the designs.
She picked up the various detailed sketches the staff members made of the scene.
She checked through them and saw one in which Teo sat on a rock that stood out of the river.
She took note of the reflection of the sun on his man.
She flashed the sketch at him. ‘How did you cope with the sun heat yesterday?’ she queried, tapping at the sketch paper. ‘Now I’m no longer regretting I wasn’t at your picnic!’
Teo smiled. ‘I told you it was total work and stress for us!’
Foye went on chattering. ‘Gosh, even nature won’t save us from itself!
‘Look, in spite of how beautiful that scenery is, the hot sun or heavy rainfall won’t allow someone to have a nice time with nature here in the tropical region of the world.
‘And despite how comfortable the homes we build are, the fresh breath of nature won’t come into the confines of our four walls!
‘Really, I wish structures and nature can marry themselves. Really!’
Teo jumped up to his feet at Foye’s last words.
He’d found it. ‘Yeah, structures and nature can marry! Thank you! Thank you!’
Teo exuded with incredible excitement and a more incredible zest.
Foye looked at him, dazed at first. But she was almost used to the sudden outburst the ambitious architect usually made in the middle of her chatter.
It was another spark of inspiration, yes.
And Foye was eager to see what great big form it took this time.
That afternoon, Dr Oye was to bring the president answers.
Both Oye and Ojo walked into the president’s office with some curious anticipation about the manner in which the important conversation would meander.
Oye wasn’t rest assured he had enough sway over Jimi Jacobs to determine how today’s discussion would go.
But he was going to push; and really push until something happened.
Jimi offered them a seat and the three men kicked off talk.
Professor Ojo was the first to give input. Jimi asked him for his opinion on the matter Dr Oye raised three days earlier.
Ojo remarked he’d thought it through and that there wasn’t any feasible solution to the economic and financial situation.
Other than doing one thing per time as regards investment, returns and development.
Jimi wasn’t disappointed in the young Professor. Being an economist himself, the president also knew there wasn’t a straightforward way to tackle this.
But then, Dr Oye had raised everyone’s hope before the last meeting ended.
It was Dr Oye’s turn to sit behind the conversation’s stirring wheel.
He sat up, cleared his throat lightly and dropped a little bombshell. ‘The only way out is to get a loan, my President.’
Well, that would’ve been an obvious solution to an economic case. But it was not to be for Kimberland.
Certainly not for a small nation that received a huge debt pardon from the World Bank only two months ago.
It was a feat which Kimberians publicly credited to the newly elected President J. J.’s diplomatic relations.
Far more than they attributed to the financial institution’s magnanimity.
Both President Jimi Jacobs as well Professor Ojo stared at old man, looking askance.
‘Dr Oye!’ Jimi gasped. ‘Of course, you’re not suggesting that, are you! Not when we just secured the debt pardon from the World Bank!
‘Don’t tell me that’s the solution you took three days to proffer, Dr Oye!’
Oye’s lips curved up in a little smile. ‘It is; I’m sorry.’
Jimi started in his seat with an angry surprise. ‘Are you joking or something?! Huh!’
Dr Oye resumed, in a calm voice. ‘You know, Your Excellency, it is not a big issue, after all.’ He paused and squinted at him. ‘Oh it is. Very much of a big deal, in fact.’
He paused for emphasis, and then went on in a bit.
‘This is where we are. You announcing the debt forgiveness to the public two months ago will make getting another loan never understandable.
‘It doesn’t make sense that a country whose huge debt has just been forgiven some three months ago is already on her way to borrowing even more!’
Jimi sat back, glaring at Oye as he cleverly shot his words at him.
Dr Oye went on, speaking with a matter-of-fact tone of voice.
‘But don’t we all know now it wouldn’t have been an issue at all, if your new administration hasn’t insisted on feeding the public on every detail.
‘You know I warned against the so-called public right to information you were so quick to use to counter me, my President.
‘Now we’ve got all our cards out in one time. Just because of the righteous transparency idea you love so dearly, sir.’
Jimi heaved a sigh as Oye’s words sliced through his heart. The feeling of regret enveloped him already.
He wished he wasn’t that transparent by announcing every step and achievement to the citizens. He wished he could call back the time and undo yesterday.
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The young Professor Ojo came to the president’s rescue.
He directed his words at Oye. ‘I won’t agree with you on this, sir. Transparency was one of the watchwords during the campaign.
‘And if you look back, you’ll see transparency has in fact earned us the trust and support of Kimberians.
‘Tell me what’s bigger for a politician than the people’s trust and support!’
Jimi came back with a clear head. ‘Yes indeed; transparency has carried us pretty far,’ he nodded.
‘And besides, government administration isn’t like a cult where you have to keep everything secret, is it?’
Dr Oye resumed, with a deliberate half-smile in his face.
‘Well, it’s not like there’s no way to get a loan. I was only laying out factors that can hinder the implementation of your projects and plans.’
Jimi’s eyes brightened in the instant. ‘Really? Are you saying there’s a practical way out for us all the same?’
Dr Oye sat back and maintained some calm. ‘Yeah… there may be a way, my President; but the policy of transparency you’ve set up may hinder us.’
Jimi couldn’t take it again. He yelled. ‘Transparency! Transparency! Can’t we just stop crying over spilled milk and move on? Huh, Dr Oye?!’
Oye’s voice was a little calm. ‘I’m sorry, my President. Well, I don’t intend to drag the issue. I’m only trying to explain what we may have to do away with if we really want things to work out.’
Both listening men could tell there was more the fifty-six-year-old Oye wanted to say. They glared intently at him in the moment’s silence that followed.
Jimi decided to take charge of the awkward situation.
From the oddness in Dr Oye’s conversation style already, Jimi could tell the old man wasn’t going to have a roundtable talk about this.
Jimi gave a quick thought about it and asked Ojo to excuse the two men.
Professor Ojo was taken aback.
He’d already suspected this might happen with the way the fifty-six-year-old man had been hammering a nail on the transparency idea.
But he didn’t expect President Jacobs to ask him, the new Minister of Finance and Economy, to excuse the two men.
As Ojo went out of the doors, he lamented to himself about how he was repeatedly being sidelined in the new administration.
But then, the young Professor was even smarter to know this wasn’t just about him being sidelined. Or about a bias the president seemed to be having for his predecessor.
He could smell rat behind him.
But with the way the devious Oye was known to be a master of the game, he knew the clever man wasn’t going to use the embezzlement card for a good man as President J. J.
Whatever form it assumed, the scheme was certainly going to be another Adam’s apple. The beautiful and good—with a rotten side to it.
For no one was ever smarter than a Devil in negotiations.
Ojo stepped out and closed the doors on two desperate men.
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