By Treena Kwenta

Hi Readers! I debated with myself whether to go confront Seb about his deception about his relocating to Accra, or, to just pretend that he’s actually in Ghana.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that if the gals are aware that he didn’t travel down to Accra, so must his household, and also nanny, who’s quite close to her Togolese compatriots.

“Nanny,” I said after we returned from an early morning mass, “when did you last see Papa Milwan?” I chose this time because after mass, people are likely to still feel ‘holy’ and are therefore more likely to tell the truth.

“Papa Milwan? Ah, it’s many weeks ago, before he left for Ghana. Wasn’t it actually the day he and his female guest from Jos, were entertained here?”

‘I searched nanny’s face for any tell-tale sign of lies, there didn’t seem to be any.

“I see. Well, information reached me that he and his fiancee, Madam Belinda, cancelled their trip to Ghana, and that all the while I’ve been going to work in his office in 1keja, Papa Milwan has actually been living next door in his house.”
“I can’t understand that,” said nanny, looking puzzled. “Why would oga tell me on the phone that he’s in Accra, while he’s actually in 1keja?”

“Maybe he wanted me to take full charge of the company while he takes a back seat, enjoying a stress-free life until the company recovers from its debts. I don’t think that’s fair, since I didn’t mis-manage the company and lead it into debts.”

Nanny looked distressed. “Who told us, madam, that oga is in lkeja?”

“It slipped out during a conversation I was having with Belinda at Nkechi’s traditional wedding the other Saturday. You were there, helping the caterer we hired to serve us food.”

“I remember very well, madam. Hm! Madam, I’m sure that woman is up to some mischief. What lead to the revelation of where oga is?”

I explained to nanny that I asked Belinda what days he had returned from Accra to attend Nkechi’s traditional wedding, and it slipped out that she and Seb hadn’t made the trip to Ghana, but she had told him to meet her at the airport, because she wanted him to get rid of his guest from Jos, that morning. I told nanny that I wasn’t bothered by that revelation of a change in their travel plan, but that what I resented, was Seb relaxing next door, instead of coming out to clear the mess he had allowed in the company, like a man.

“Madam, I would examine the motive of that woman Belinda, when she gives out an information like that. I don’t believe that it slipped out during your chat. She meant you to hear so that you would bear oga a grudge. Hm! I’m fed up with that woman. She’s always seeking ways of putting a wedge in the relationship between you and oga. I suppose after she ‘let’ out the information, she now pretended that she regretted it, because you were not supposed to know.”

“That was exactly what happened. Looking back now, I remember that she didn’t seem remorseful about the slip. She just said, ‘you weren’t supposed to know, but now you know’. She then gave a short laugh and then went back into the hall.”

“You see? Madam, be careful. Even if oga didn’t go to Accra as he said, you shouldn’t feel offended.”

“I should feel offended because it’s because he said he was going to Accra, that I went over to work in the office in Ikeja. If for any reason he didn’t go to Accra, shouldn’t he let me know? Even if he were here in Lagos, and he asks me to come help out in the office there, I would make time to go because the company is family business and I am co-owner.”

“That’s true, madam. Er, one has just been in the presence of God, at mass. Er, let me confess that on three occasions when I visited Michel and his family in Ikeja, I thought I heard oga’s voice in the main house. But Michel and Robert, also their wives, assured me that I was wrong, and that there was no one occupying the main house.”

“Why didn’t you mention this to me so that I would subtly investigate?”

“Madam, sorry, but there was no reason to suspect that oga could be hiding away in Ikeja. Telling you would be like spreading bad gossip.”

Spreading bad gossip? Hm! I didn’t want to argue that one out with nanny. If my own personal friends were in on the secret, and decided not to let me know, why should I complain because nanny didn’t tell me of her suspicions?

“It wasn’t as if there had been a quarrel, madam, and one had to watch oga’s movements,” nanny was saying, as if reading my thoughts. “I thought you might scold me if I told you of my observations. It would seem as if I was watching and reporting on oga’s movements.”

“Nanny, you acted in the best interests of everyone,” I told her, patting her on the shoulder. “Sorry madam to ask you this. Are you going to go next door to see oga when next you go to the Ikeja office?”

“What do you advice?”

“Madam, oga is your husband. You have the right to go to his house and ask him anything. It’s because you have been behaving like oyinbo that oga’s madam has spread her wings, and has the boldness to try to separate oga and you. If it were some other tough woman, it’s how you ask oga to treat her that he would adhere to. This is because you’re the mother of his children; the only children he has. You have a lot of power in his life. Madam Belinda has her own children too, for several men, but she doesn’t have any for oga, and the possibility of their having kids together is slim because she’s past child-bearing age. She doesn’t have any power over his life. She told me with pride, at that traditional wedding that her youngest son is related to the bridegroom, and that they sent specially for her to come and represent her son. I’m sure she wasn’t married to whoever she had that son for.”

It was on the tip of my tongue to tell her that Simon is supposed to be dear Vic’s son, but I had just attended mass, so, I shut my mouth. Bad gossip!
“Nanny, you still haven’t given your advice on what I should do with the information that Belinda gave me about Papa Milwan.”

“Oh, sorry, madam. I think you should go see him the next time you’re in Ikeja. Didn’t you say that Madam Mrs. Tayo’s manager has successfully helped to recover the debts and you’ve paid all pending salaries, and even benefits to those who are leaving?”

“Er, yes, God has done that for us. What’s left now is recovering more debts so we can pay our suppliers and then start producing again.”

“That’s good, madam. So, take the news to oga. That’s something to proudly go discuss with him. Don’t bring up the matter of Accra. Just stop over at his place and discuss business with him. He’ll be relieved that you’ve not come to quarrel with him.”

“That’s a good idea. I’ll drop in on him when I go to the office there tomorrow. It will be difficult not to scold him about the Accra matter, but I’ll try not to bring it up. Thanks,

nanny.”

“Er, madam, can I ring him up now, just to say ‘hello’? I spoke to him yesterday, but I can also speak to him again. Er, it’s exciting to know that he’s actually in Ikeja.”

“Go ahead. Speak with him, nanny.”
She brought out her phone, scrolled to Seb’s name, and called him.

She couldn’t get through, so, she had to try several times. Finally, she got him.

“Oga, good afternoon sir. We’re well, sir. How’s everything? Yes, sir. I know that you’re in Accra with papa and mama. Oh, you want me to speak to them? I should drop and you’ll ring me? Thank you, sir.”
Nanny and I exchanged glances as we waited for Seb to ring her. Seb was with my parents? I wanted to grab nanny’s phone, but I checked myself. The phone rang and soon, she was laughing her head off, speaking to my mum, then she spoke to dad. They must have told her to hand over the phone to me because she suddenly gave it to me.

I chatted with dad and mum, and then Seb’s voice came on.

“Treena darling, well done!” he greeted. “I told you that you’ll be able to turn that company around. You have the Midas touch. I’ve been getting good reports of progress from the GM and the Chief Accountant. What a relief that we’re recovering debts and fulfilling our financial obligations. I’m so proud of you. Over here, Coco’s son, who we made the C.O.O, is really doing his best to revive the company. So is Coco. Dad and mum and auntie Adeline have been marvellous, caring for me, even when I’ve left here to stay in the flat on the office premises. Belinda said she saw you and the other gals at Liz’s step-daughter’s traditional wedding, and you were all looking cool. Great gals!”

We chatted some more and rang off. I forgot to ask him if he had just arrived Accra from Lagos, or if Belinda was with him.

Nanny said Belinda’s news longer mattered. Well, I don’t know.

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