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IT didn’t take long for Teo to grace the screens of all broadcast TVs in Kimberland. Following his impressive win of the design bid.

The news waves eventually found their way into the Rock Castle in the capital Gardon City.

And now President Jacobs decided to reward the meritorious design by inviting the architect for a private dinner.

It was February 2018 already. Teo got the invitation to have a dinner with the first family at the powerful Rock Castle.

The rumours of the invitation soon garnered more praises for the young architect.

Many considered the young dude as a fortunate man, whose hard work was eventually bringing him before kings.

Many also had the opinion that President Jacobs had invited Teo with an ulterior motive.

They reasoned that the president was only an opportunist who wanted to use the rising fame of the young man to increase his political ratings even more.

But then, what clarifies a blurry line is only time. And only time would make the president’s intentions come out clear.

Like oil stands out of water.


Dr Oye’s new office was well furnished with tasteful furniture and classy woodwork.

There was almost nothing the fifty-seven-year-old man could raise an eyebrow over in the interior design of his new office.

But then, there was yet a single thing the former minister might want to complain about. And that was the location.

The location of the new office spelt out the word secrecy as though shouting it into Oye’s face. It was like a rude joke on the old man.

Oye couldn’t believe his feet were leading him further down the storeys when he was taken to the new office that morning.

Oye was led by an aide through a long passage in the Presidential Office Building of the Rock Castle.

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt, Unsplash

After walking a minute or two, they came to a staircase at the end of the hallway. But rather than heading up, the leading official only headed downwards.

Oye followed with curiosity as the two men descended through the long stairway.

The descent went on for a couple of minutes. When the men reached the first floor and the aide again headed for the stairs going down, Oye couldn’t contain his shock.

He gasped. ‘Where are we going?!’

The aide pointed downwards and muttered. ‘The basement, sir.’ He followed his words with a curtsey.

Oye stood still for a second and swallowed hard.

The aide motioned to him. ‘Shall we, sir?’

Oye picked himself up and trudged behind the state house official as they mounted down the stairs to the basement.

Oye couldn’t believe his eyes when he got to the basement. He came to his office door and saw his name on the door tag. It was the basement indeed.

This was another of Jimi Jacob’s card shoved into Oye’s face. It was simply paying back the old man in his very own coin.

It was Oye’s ‘Secrecy’ epitomised.

The old man’s heart was broken; his spirit was dampened. He clenched his fist as he stood in front of the door and stared at his name on the door tag.

He was furious. He was very furious; and so much he was at loss on what to do.

He yanked off the keys from his guide’s hand and dismissed him. He turned the key through the keyhole, opened the door and walked into his office.

In the office, the old man could find consolation in the executive touch the interior design had.

He remembered his new position.

He smiled to himself. ‘I’m a Special Adviser to the President, after all!’


The introverted Teo had to honour the invitation of the first man in the country. A flight had been booked for the young man.

Teo was nervous. He’d removed his bowtie the fourth time now. He wasn’t used to the formal outfit.

If everything was left to Teo, the young man wouldn’t have minded to dine with the nation’s president in his usual T-shirt over a pair of jean trousers.

But his lady wouldn’t allow that. Foye had gotten her man a tuxedo with a bowtie to grace the presidential dinner with.

Teo wouldn’t give up on his complaint.

‘Foye,’ he called, ‘I don’t need to go through this stress, huh? It’s just a dinner after all. I mean, it’s just basically food and talk.

‘This formal stuff will eventually give me indigestion, you know. Especially this bowtie of a thing.’

Foye wouldn’t take that. ‘No, that’s not correct, my Teo,’ she retorted. ‘It’s not mere food and talk. It’s ceremonial.’

She squared up to him. ‘Why will you go in your casuals, in fact? And you know it yourself that bowtie is essential with the tux in this context, huh?

‘Photos of you with the president’s family will be taken and published in newspapers, you know. So you just have to look good, my Teo.’

But then, every time Teo put on the bowtie, he did sweat profusely due to the hot February weather.

The brief humid harmattan season had given way to the tropical heat that usually goes before the raining season.

Foye eventually surrendered and allowed his man go without the tie.

She encouraged Teo to keep the tie with him and that if he ever felt more comfortable putting it on – especially in an air conditioned dinner hall, he could always use it again.

Teo eventually left for the Rock Castle in Gardon City. And the young architect was given a warm welcome by the first family.

The dinner was held at the Rock Castle.

Photo Credit: Robin McSkelly, Unsplash

It began with a brief photo session by media reporters. And then, the reporters were dismissed and the private dinner was held between the first couple and the young architect.

Rather than a simple handshake, President Jacobs had given the young architect a long, warm embrace.

And it had worked to calm the young man.

Teo became more relaxed and enjoyed his evening with the warm, hospitable Jacobs.

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Copyright © 2020 by Kayode Olla

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