Logo Loading

Blog

Another Gentleman

 

It was a total gridlock, bumper to bumper, not even an inch of space for any soul to walk past. The roads were terrible. It had pot holes filled with water. It was the rainy season and there was no bypass. This was the only road that led in and out of Akuoye and politicians capitalized on the fact that they could easily gather mammoth crowd on this road to listen to their readymade lies. They didn’t need to hire any special place for their campaigns in Akuoye. Election in and election out; they used this road for their electioneering fête.

“As soon as I get elected, the first thing I will do is to award the contract for the rehabilitation of this Akuoye highway that connects Idorin and Udoeye towns”. This sentence always seemed well rehearsed, up to the point that even in his dreams any politician vying for the most coveted seat in Akuoye State, the governorship post, would recite it without a hitch. All the citizens of the state had witnessed the same promise being made every four years for the past two decades, but nothing was ever done about actually reconstructing the road.

In the first 100 days after swearing in a governor for either the second term or a fresh tenure, caterpillars and all sorts of heavy duty equipment will be mobilized to site and there will be such a momentum of work force that one would think that within twilight, the whole road would be finished. There was always this initial joy that welcomed the mobilization of the work forces to the site for visitors but for those indigenes, who had witnessed similar mobilizations in the past, it was just a political gimmick, so they usually just exhaled and waved their hands over the manipulations. In fact, there was this expression that was often used in Akuoye when trying to find out the date of an event that was planned around an election period, the invitees would often ask, ‘before or after faKcon?’ Fakcon meant fake constructions!

Within two months, the whole project would be abandoned. The heavy duty trucks, caterpillars and bulldozers would decamp and leave the road in a far worse off state than when they first met it. What exactly was the jinx about this road that could not be broken? Different governors and governments gave different versions as to why the road was in such a state, yet this was the singular most important road that connected to three towns that were the economic lifelines of the state.

The rubber plantation was located at Idorin. There was well over 200 hectares of rubber plantation there that supplied latex for export, which brought in foreign earnings for the state, yet the road was in such a dilapidated state! The big trucks that transported this latex was constantly making the road to become worse off and they were also a major source of traffic and road mishaps. What sort of a government would be so indifferent to the infrastructural decay of the source of economic earnings for the state that they looted; and lived such luxuriant lifestyles from? The grief generated by this terrible road was unfathomable.

One certain time, a popular journalist from Akuoye tried to pry into the office of the state statistics to get the figures of the death and accident cases on this road. His name was Mr. Ikunni, but Ikunni just disappeared one day after work before the figures could be made public. He was on his way back from work when he was abducted by gunmen. The police were informed. His people visited the police station countless times to see if there was any update on the case, all to no avail. His colleagues in the media houses made fortune from his disappearance, but till date nothing has been heard about him. Mr. Ikunni’s children were rendered fatherless; his pretty wife who did not know what to make of the situation resigned to fasting and praying for her husband to return home. The outgoing state governor visited her and comforted her in the presence of gentlemen of the press. In the night he sent one of his drivers to go and bring her to the state house.

“I will do everything within my powers as the executive governor of this noble state, to ensure that we find your husband and the perpetrators of this dastardly act will be brought to book.”

“Thank you your Excellency” Mrs. Ikunni whispered.

“In the meantime, if there is anything, anything at all that you think I can do to be of assistance to you and your family in this trying time; please do let me know.”

“Thank you your Excellency. Actually, since the disappearance of my husband, I have been finding it very difficult to sustain my family because he was the sole bread winner as I took time off work to be able to support the children. Now we are barely able to feed. His establishment has not paid his wages, so please if you can intervene and prevail on the establishment to pay my husband’s wages, then we should be fine.”

“Not to worry my dear. I shall talk to the MD of the establishment and get back to you.”

“Thank you your Excellency.”

“In the interim, take this and manage it till we can resolve this case and hopefully all this shall be a thing of the past. The police commissioner has assured me that he will get to the bottom of this.”

A brown envelope was handed over to Mrs. Ikunni. When she was dropped off at her home by the emissaries of the state house, she counted the money and she had a whooping sum of 10,000USD in the envelope. When she converted it to their local currency, it was well over 4 million Jaras. What a surprise! At first instance, it was a moment of temporary relief. She thought of the immediate needs that the money could solve – school fees, house rent deposit, and food. She reasoned that before the need arose for more money, her husband would be back; God would bring him back. His wages would be paid by the media establishment and then they would be okay. But she suddenly remembered that, her husband had said he was doing some investigations on the activities of the current administration, especially the governor’s new scheme of trying to perpetrate himself in power by sponsoring a stooge in the oncoming gubernatorial election. Then she became suspicious. What if this was a trap? How could a state governor who owed workers over six months salaries and allowances give her such a monetary gift? Her mind turned into a battleground. She was having a headache. She prayed hard and wished harder that her husband would just re-appear so that she could put all her troubles to rest. He was her backbone; he always knew how to handle matters no matter how difficult they were. A wave of caution rushed through her, and she made up her mind to return the money. Two weeks later, she booked an appointment to see his Excellency again.

“Very good to see you again” the governor sounded nonchalant.

“Thank you your Excellency.”

“What brings you here today?”

“Your Excellency, Sir, I came to inquire if you’ve had any word about my husband and if you managed to speak to my husband’s office yet?”

“In fact madam, the police commissioner was with me yesterday and he told me that they have gotten some very useful leads which they are following up and hopefully soon, they shall be able to get to the crux of the matter.”

“Oh! My God” She lamented

“What is the problem my dear? Do take heart.”

“The problem is that it’s been six months and his kidnappers have not even asked for a ransom, your Excellency.”

“That is quite unfortunate my dear, but never mind, things like this do happen to good people” He said, stroking his long beard.

Then she broke down. She could not carry on like this anymore. This was the same story they’ve been telling her since the event occurred. She missed her husband. Her children missed their dad. The situation was getting from bad to worse. Feeding was a struggle and maintaining her home without her husband was a grind at the mill. Her husband’s establishment would not pay her any benefits as the case was not yet concluded.

“Iksa, I promise you this, that I will do everything within my power to ensure that we bring the perpetrators of this act to book.”

Her heart skipped a beat. “Bring the perpetrators to book?” What about her husband being rescued alive? Does this mean that there was no hope of ever finding her husband?

She wept again and the governor asked his aides to leave them for a moment. He stepped over to where Iksa was sitting, lifted her hands and swore that he will do everything to make sure the case was concluded. She went back home feeling very sad, and in her grief she forgot to return the money to him.

Two days after Iksa’s meeting with the governor, a tanker overturned on that same road in the middle of the night and burst into flames. With no street lights and with rains pouring nonstop, six other vehicles were caught up in the inferno and twenty five lives were lost that night in an avoidable death situation. The government issued a statement as usual and commiserated with the families of the departed, promising that the road would be fixed as a matter of urgency. The statistics hiked and yet no one dared to say anything. Mr. Ikunni’s disappearance was still fresh in the minds of the people and journalists. They obviously loved their lives and didn’t wish a repeat of what happened to Mr. Ikunni on them.

“Lies, lies, lies! That is all what they keep telling us. My husband’s disappearance will not be in vain” Iksa vowed within herself to continue with her fight against these lies.

It was another session of a gridlock jam. It was usual to have this gridlock between 5pm and 10pm. Makeshift bars and beer parlors were set up along the sides of the road. It was common to find drivers leaving their vehicles to grab a beer or two and some pepper soup while the traffic lasted. They would often times pull their vehicles to the side of the road and worsen the state of the traffic situation.  Nicosa had been in this traffic jam for the past four hours, the cars were not moving at all. The average distance he had moved over the past four hours was probably a quarter of a mile. A set of hoodlums called ‘Area Boys’ went about redirecting the traffic to favor their teams and friends and those who gave them money. They stood in front of cars and stopped them from moving, just to allow other vehicles to move or change lanes, when the opportunity arose. These were society’s miscreants and nobody wanted their trouble.

As though a whirlwind had just started, the traffic began to ease and there was a sudden mad movement. Horns blared, tyres screeched, people yelled, some cars were scratched in the process, others were hit and some people ignored theirs but some crazy commercial drivers jumped out of their vehicles and got into a fight, thereby making matters worse.  In the midst of this scramble, the Area Boys came in front of Nicosa’s vehicle and stood in front of it, beckoning on another vehicle to enter Ntafiong’s lane. Ntafiong, Nicosa’s driver kept inching the car forward and those miscreants came and banged on the bonnet of his vehicle. Ntafiong came out and asked them to move away from the front of the vehicle. They were about seven in number. They swore at Ntafiong and asked him to stop for a minute for the other vehicle to make an entry to his lane. Nicosa came out from the vehicle with his pin striped suit, brown suede shoes and bowler hat. He was exhausted; he had had a very busy day at work and just wanted to get home in peace.

“Don’t hit the car again” he announced to them.

“We will hit this car anytime and anyhow we want to and you cannot do anything to us” they said in unison.

“Turn off the engine” Nicosa instructed Ntafiong.

“Yes sir.”

Ntafiong went inside the vehicle and switched off the engine. That lane was completely stalled now. Not a single movement. The people who were in the cars behind the Mazda 6 ultrasport car, came out and cursed and swore at everybody. Some begged Ntafiong and Nicosa to please ignore the miscreants and move their car so that they could all leave the scene; others fueled the anger in the protagonists and antagonists of the drama.

As the situation was unfolding, a wailing siren could be heard from behind. One of the supposed big shots was driving by with his entourage. Everybody scampered off the lane to create space for them. Nicosa stood his ground. Their vehicles came closer to the impasse and grinded to a halt.

A short chubby man, whose shirt could barely cover his large belly appeared on the scene with a service pistol in his right hand. He identified the Mazda car as the cause of traffic obstruction.

“Who owns this vehicle” he barked.

“Me” said Nicosa.

“Move this vehicle now. The big boss is on his way and he needs to pass quickly.”

“I am not moving the vehicle” Nicosa said calmly.

“If you don’t move this vehicle now, I will call my boys to arrest you and impound your vehicle”

“Go ahead.”

The Area Boys began to chant and raise a whole lot of furore.

“We have been telling him since to move the vehicle and he refused. Now you have to move this vehicle.”

The Area Boys went wild and made loud indiscernible noises and they began to bang on the bonnet of the Mazda and to lift the Mazda out of the way.

The short chubby man fired a couple of shots into the air, brought out a radio and called for backup. People scampered helter-skelter.

“I am not sure you want to start what you cannot finish” Nicosa announced.

Nicosa flicked open the boot of his car and brought out two AK 47 assault rifles. He held one on his right hand and other on his left hand. He fired shots into the air and sprayed the short chubby man and the Area Boys with bullets. A more intense pandemonium broke out. A Hilux military truck had managed to creep into the scene now with armed police escorts paving the way for the big shot. Ntafiong opened the boot and brought out two AK 47 rifles and began to spray at the truck. It was fire for fire.

A lady could be seen crouching from her old dated car towards the Mazda Ultrasport. She opened the boot and took an AK 47 rifle. She ran straight across the road towards the convoy and began to shoot at the military truck and the cars of the big men. Drivers of other vehicles saw that this was the golden moment they had to grab. They took the rifles and guns from the fallen policemen and began to hunt the passengers of all the convoy down. Iksa opened the door of a black gleaming Mercedes and dragged out its pot bellied occupant.

It was the outgoing state governor, Chief (Dr) Elder Ntutue. The people had gone mad, his security was breached and he was completely helpless. Six of his aides laid dead on the street in the pool of their own blood.

“Mrs Ikunni, why? After all what I have done for you?” He asked with an injured air.

“Put your hands up in the air” she yelled.

“What? I am the executive governor of this state, or have you forgotten?”

The uproar died down and the crowd became still. There was absolute silence.

“No, not anymore, you are now the criminal and I am the executioner. Where is my husband?”

“But how do you expect me to know? He was abducted by unknown men”

Iksa cocked the gun and put it on his temple. “Now, for the very last time, where is my husband you freaking bastard!”

“Please don’t kill me, okay, okay, I will talk, he is dead.”

“Who killed him and for what offense?”

“Err, he, I, you know.”

“Oh, so you’ve lost your tongue? You killed my husband because he wanted to expose the truth about your maladministration, and you sold lies to the entire public. Shame on you; beasts like you should be given a special corner in the zoo to live in.”

“No, not so my dear, you see, the state could sponsor some executions at times. Nothing personal you know.”

“Oh; really? Very well said then, because this state is about to sponsor your own execution.”

The crowd could no longer contain themselves. They descended on the governor and his remaining aides, stripped them naked and marched them down the road that had claimed the lives of several innocent citizens of the state. Iksa was at the front leading the march while Nicosa and Ntafiong and the rest of the revolutionists marched on the side of the single file that the governor and his aides were forced to take. The gentleman on striped suit and suede shoes chanted, “Aluta Continua” and the enraged crowd replied, “vitória é certa!”

8 Comments

  1. My goodness this was action packed. Mrs Ikunni’s bravery was simply amazing. Thankfully she didn’t let the governor’s greek gift dull her senses.

    Rather than just surrender to prayer and fasting, she dared the unthinkable.

    That’s really instructive

  2. The story another gentleman was an exciting read. It gives a vivid picture of what usually happens during elections.I love the way the author blends the characters into the story. The characters displayed in the story are a microcosm of our modern society. We can all draw lessons from all of them and learn.
    Election cycle is the only time you find politicians out in the open, making promises,meeting and greeting the people all in a bid to win their votes. After the latter has been secured, its back to business as usual and Akuoye was no different. A large crowd had gathered despite the bad state of the road usually to just to hear the same old regular lies that the politicians have been known to concoct one of which would be to repair the road upon geting into office. Many a times its not even about what the politician has to say. What brings the people is that they sometimes hope to get some little money that is known to be shared or probably get some of the party memorabilia with the politician’s face boldly inscribed on it.

    The state of Akuoye had a large rubber plantation well over 200 hectares of rubber that supplied latex for export, which brought in foreign earnings for the state, yet the road was in such a dilapidated state!This was a paradox because the state could easily fund the repair of the road from its earnings. The big trucks that constantly plied the road to transport the latex didn’t help matters because the road become worse off and they were also a major source of traffic and road mishaps.

    True to point, as the governor assumes office within 100 days equipment are sent to the site.Caterpillars and all sorts of heavy duty equipment will be mobilized to site and there will be such a momentum of the work force that one would think that within twilight, the whole road would be finished. The citizenry of the state were familiar with this gimmick that they gave it a code name ‘faKon’. Within a space of 60 days, the whole project would be abandoned thus leaving the road in a far more deplorable state than it was previously.

    In order to bring a resolve to this occurrence Mr Ikunni the popular investigative journalist tried to pry into the office of the state statistics to get the figures of the death and accident cases on this road. Just before the figures could be made public, Mr ikunni was ‘disappeared’.Mr Ikunni’s sudden disappearance rendered his children fatherless; while his wife who did not know what to make of the situation resigned to fasting and praying for her husband to return home. The absence of Mr Ikunni made it very difficult for the wife to sustain the family because he was the sole bread winner. His establishment too had not been paid their wages for months. When his wife was summoned to the state house, she relayed all this to the governor including the sudden disappearance of her husband. She was assured that the police would get to the root of the matter and was also given a brown envelope containing a large sum of $10,000. At first instance, it was a moment of temporary relief. She thought of the immediate needs that the money could solve – school fees, house rent deposit, and food. She reasoned that before the need arose for more money, her husband would be back.
    But then she suddenly remembered that, her husband had said he was doing some investigations on the activities of the current administration, especially the governor’s new scheme of trying to perpetrate himself in power by sponsoring a stooge in the oncoming gubernatorial election. Then she became suspicious. What if this was a trap? She wondered because the workers had not been paid the salaries and allowances for well over 6months.
    After several months of going to see the governor, with no conclusive evidence to his whereabouts or the people behind his disappearance she wept profusely because she couldn’t support her family’s daily needs.

    Enter Iksa she too found herself in the very same situation that Mrs Ikuuni was.
    “Iksa, I promise you this, that I will do everything within my power to ensure that we bring the perpetrators of this act to book.” said the governor.
    Her mind raced when she heard the statement “Bring the perpetrators to book?” What about her husband being rescued alive? Does this mean that there was no hope of ever finding her husband?
    She wept again and the governor asked his aides to leave them for a moment. He stepped over to where Iksa was sitting, lifted her hands and swore that he will do everything to make sure the case was concluded. She went back home feeling very sad, and in her grief she forgot to return the money to him.

    Two days after Iksa’s meeting with the governor, a tanker overturned on that same road in the middle of the night and burst into flames. With no street lights and with rains pouring nonstop, six other vehicles were caught up in the inferno and twenty five lives were lost that night in an avoidable death situation. The government issued a statement as usual and consoled the families of the departed, promising that the road would be fixed as a matter of urgency.

    Iksa had heard enough of these lies and vowed within herself to continue with her fight against them. It was about time someone steeped up to the plate and put an end to all this gimmickry and mockery.
    A plan was hatched to confront the governor’s convoy on that busy road. Ntafiong and Nicosa blocked the road. Nicosa flicked open the boot of his car and brought out two AK 47 assault rifles. He held one on his right hand and other on his left hand.He fired shots into the air and sprayed the short chubby man and the Area Boys with bullets. A more intense pandemonium broke out. A Hilux military truck had managed to creep into the scene now with armed police escorts paving the way for the big shot. Ntafiong opened the boot and brought out two AK 47 rifles and began to spray at the truck. It was fire for fire.

    A lady could be seen crouching from her old dated car towards the Mazda Ultrasport. She opened the boot and took an AK 47 rifle. She ran straight across the road towards the convoy and began to shoot at the military truck and the cars of the big men. Drivers of other vehicles saw that this was the golden moment they had to grab. They took the rifles and guns from the fallen policemen and began to hunt the passengers of all the convoy down. Iksa opened the door of a black gleaming Mercedes and dragged out its pot bellied occupant.
    It was the outgoing state governor, Chief (Dr) Elder Ntutue. The people had gone mad, his security was breached and he was completely helpless. Six of his aides laid dead on the street in the pool of their own blood.

    Mrs Ikunni had had enough of prayer and fasting she went to the executive governor and yelled at him to ‘hands up’. She needed answers. Iksa too cocked her gun and put it on the governor’s temple demanding who killed her husband. He finally confessed that it was a state sponsored killing and was nothing personal.

    The crowd could no longer contain themselves. They descended on the governor and his remaining aides, stripped them naked and marched them down the road that had claimed the lives of several innocent citizens of the state. Iksa was at the front leading the march while Nicosa and Ntafiong and the rest of the revolutionists marched on the side of the single file that the governor and his aides were forced to take.

    The story was an exciting read with so many nuggets One of which is that at certain times in life, beyond staying and praying, one needs to take drastic measures. I highly recommend this piece especially if you find yourself in a quandary of sorts .

  3. Its not just a powerful and intriguing representation of the grave political decadence going on in most developing countries of the world, Another Gentleman by Uwem Mbot Umana is also a very touching and entertaining story. It is a powerful political and social literary fiction that stirs torrential emotions within the breasts of its readers. To say I love the story is an understatement of how I feel towards it. I love this story due to the fact that it portrays the pure truth of how politics is in the society of countries like Nigeria. I love it’s sincerity and it’s theme of revolution.
    In Another Gentleman, we meet a road that has become a grave entity. The road is the only into and out of Akuoye. It is the road that leads to the large rubber plantation which attracts large trucks for the transportation of it’s latex. This road is in a terrible state despite its great importance. This road has become or rather has been made into a blood sucking vampire. It is this same road that is greatly utilized by the political lords of Akuoye as a campaign ground due to it’s large traffic.The road serves as a place to feed the masses with lies and lies in the name of manifestos. The promise of the repair of this road has always been on the lying lips of each governorship election candidate for the past twenty years. Every four years, after the swearing in of a new governor, road construction materials were brought to the road only to be taken back a few days later leaving the road in a worse state than it had been. This road is causing great loss of lives yet the government does nothing about it.
    A popular journalist named Mr Ikunni decides to do something about this problem. He compiles the statistics of deaths caused by the Akuoye highway. How is Mr Ikunni repaid? He is abducted a day before the day he plans to make his statistics public. Day after day, Mrs Ikunni making inquiries about her missing husband’s case and each time she gets the same reply; ” something was being done about it “. The state governor, Chief ( Dr ) elder Ntutue tries to “shut her up” with a large sum of money. Six months passes and there is still no improvement in Mr Ikunni’s case. His wife, Iksa ( Mrs Ikunni ) realizes that something is seriously wrong. The government is lying outrageously. Where is Ikunni?
    Meanwhile, the death tolls of Akuoye highway keeps spiking but nobody is brave enough to speak up, Ikunni’s disappearance is still fresh in their minds.
    It’s another ‘normal’ day on Akuoye highway, a ‘normal day’ of thugs and miscreants harassing people and causing trouble. On this particular day, there is an ‘abnormal’ man by name Nicosa. Nicosa and his driver are waiting in the horrible traffic when the thugs tell them to slow down their car so that another car could come into their lane. The thugs usually did that, they stopped drivers in the traffic so that other drivers who had bribed them could pass. Nicosa is a brave man, he orders his driver, Ntafiong to park the car thereby stopping every movement on the lane. He is not intimidated by the miscreants’ ranting. Soon sirens start blaring announcing the approach of the Governor’s convoy. Everyone expects Nicosa to succumb and move his car in the presence of the Governor’s convoy but he does nothing of the sort. There and then, A Swift and fierce revolution begins on the same remarkable road. The anger, pain and sorrow of the people flow strongly carrying with it the brutal arm of Justice.Among the leaders of the revolution are Nicosa and Mrs Ikunni.
    This story is true and very touching, I love it for the reality it portrays.
    The people of Akuoye are suffering at the hands of the government they put into power. Politics has become a means of acquiring illegal wealth. The people I n government do not have the state’s interests at heart but rather desire to fatten their bellies. The major road in Akuoye has lain battered and destroyed for decades, it has become a serious death trap, yet nothing is done. Election year after election year, the masses are fed with lies about n the name of electoral campaigns. Each government loots as much as they can, then steps down for another government to continue the vicious circle of corruption.
    The people have no say, the brave ones like Mr Ikunni who try to speak out are silenced brutally. This story reminds me of my country, Nigeria, where the exact same thing takes place, where politics has become a brutal game of bloodshed, lies, corruption, embezzlement, looting, fraud and all sort of vices. It also brings to my mind another story, Kusunga by Uwem Mbot Umana where the citizens of Nsaba state vote in a disastrous government because of the free gifts they were given during the electoral campaigns. This government milks the state dry into a state of great debt.
    I love the theme of bravery and revolution in the story. Most people are afraid to try because they or someone else has tried and failed. Bravery is not being unafraid but is being afraid and still going on. Nicosa is the embodiment of bravery and revolution. Another gentleman teaches us to be brave. It also teaches us that we cannot keep waiting for our situation to turn around, we must take action concerning what we want. The story of Akuoye state remained the way it was until the people stood up to act.
    This story also brings to light the essence of unity in the fight against societal dark forces. One person cannot win the war. Mr Ikunni couldn’t do it alone, it was until the citizens of Akuoye stood as one that a revolution began. Unity is very important. I see this as a lesson to the citizens of Nigeria and other countries where corruption is the order of the day; we must unite!
    I believe that the author’s purpose for writing this story is to bring to light the political and societal problems faced by the citizens of most developing countries and to also intimate us on the fact that something can be done. I believe the author fully achieves this purpose.
    This story is set in the fictional state of Akuoye. The characters are well developed, the act and behave in very believable ways. The readers are made to feel and understand the emotions of the characters. The plot of this story is very well structured. The is also very climatic with a twist at the end.
    The themes or central ideas of Another Gentleman include political decadence, corruption, bravery, revolution and contemporary societal problems. There are also many lessons in this story. The author makes use of powerful literary device, imagery and description.
    In conclusion, I must say that this story is a masterpiece. It is a very good and compulsory read for everyone. Another gentleman is real, powerful, educative, and entertaining. I strongly recommend it.

  4. The story ‘Another Gentleman ” had my attention from start to finish. The quick pace and racy style of narration employed by the author is quite captivating and enthralling.
    Empty election promises, deplorable state of roads, constant gridlock and hardship on our roads are easily relatable as they are often the case in any corrupt regime. And the characters represent the different classes or types of people in these situations.
    Mr Ikunni is the voice of the people that is often silenced when an attempt is made to expose the ills of the corrupt government in power.
    Iksa, Ikunni’s wife represents the few who are able to stand up to corrupt governments. Rather than resign to just praying and fasting she decided to do something about the disappearance of her husband. Some may say what she did was criminal because she took laws into her hands but desperate times call for desperate measures.
    .
    Nicosa and Ntafiong his driver are almost comical in their swift response to the intimidation by the area boys and hoodlums. At the sight of their machine guns the hoodlums joined forces with them to fight the security men and even overpowered the governor’s aides. Iksa suddenly appears and leads the revolution.
    Interesting story though it seems kind of incomplete.

  5. The story, Another Gentleman, isn’t only exciting and intriguing but has in it deep political truths faced by most countries especially in Africa..

    Uwem Umana’s works are compressively strong with the intensity of emotions they bring to its readers. His ‘Another Gentleman’ is not an exception. He shows us in this political fiction, ‘ Another Gentleman’ that man isn’t only a being with social needs but political needs and that one important task of being humans is the need to be courageous to win the way against political treachery and instabilities.

    In this story, the narrator took us to a state, Akuoye State. This state had three towns, the Akuoye, Udoeye and Idorin towns, which were all connected to each other by a highway, the Akuoye highway. The Akuoye town was the Capital of this state due to this highway, which wasn’t only useful for transporting the latex produced in Idorin town but was also a good campaign ground for gubernatorial canditates who vied for the Governor’s seat of the state.

    However, despite being so valuable and necessary, the highway was a grave malady the people suffered from, as the death toll of lives wasted on this road increased by the day every year. The governments for the past twenty years had always chanted promises that failed to see the light of the day; “Vote for me! Vote for me! and the first thing this adminstration would do if voted in, is to repair this Akuoye highway and make it the beauty of this state. We aren’t like other adminstrations who would promise and fail. No! Our word is our bond!”. These were the Promises written and spoken out as their manifestos for the state which always went down the drain after their being voted in not forgetting the increasing loss of lives.

    The people of Akuoye were in terrible states but not more than Mrs Iksa, a married woman whose husband, Mr Ikunni, a gentleman and a popular journalist mysteriously went missing, as he went to work one day and never returned. Mrs Iksa, perturbed and disarrayed reported countless times to the police force but her only reward for the past six months of her husband’s disappearance were the usual mouth watering promises of ” Don’t worry ma’am, we’ll find your husband”. She resolved to fasting and praying, and holding on to the Governor’s word to see her husband being brought back alive but she saw all these led to dead ends yet she was resilient and didn’t give up.
    The highway drank the blood of more citizens, the government kept sending their letters of condolences to the affected families, with no one brave enough to speak up until one day, Another Gentleman in a pin striped suit, brown suede shoes and a bowler hat stepped out of his Mazda 6 Ultrasport car.

    This story to me is a perfect example of the “never judge a book by its cover” idiom. At first, reading the title, Another Gentleman, I thought it would probably be about this gentleman who helps the needy or the poor but the story betrayed my assumptions and was more realistic than ever. It brought to mind the likes of Ken Saro Wiwa, Fela kuti, and especially, of Dele Giwa, a popular journalist then in Nigeria who was mysteriously killed by a letter bomb because he wrote and stood against what the administration then, did.

    This story though fictious is a true picture of what has and is happening to our political systems, how to-be governments promise all they can during electoral campaigns but does nothing compared to the magnanimous promises made earlier, thereby making the populace suffer greatly from their perfidiousness. The people who are brave enough to question the government are sanctioned, imprisoned or at worse cases killed with no one saying anything about it. Who could even say a thing about it when their wills and consciences were bought over with money, food items and a lot more during campaigns.

    This story brings gushes of mixed strong feelings to anyone that reads it and I love it so much for how it relates real life political issues that happens in our daily lives. It has again proven right the quote by Oscar Ameringer which says ” politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each other from the other” but we know that the ones who are least protected as promised are the people who voted them in.

    I loved the bravery depicted in this story by the characters though I dislike the path of bravery the gentleman, Nicosa took. It reminded me of coups especially the most recent coup that happened two months back in Mali. I appreciate how the citizens finally stood up to realize that these governments were voted in by them and could also be removed by them but I really don’t fancy the path they took.

    The author’s purpose for this story were multiple yet unifying and he achieved it in this story. In this story, he brought the reader’s mind back to the kind of politics played in these times; wherein an impossible or a seemingly unsolvable act is done and the people are made to be believe that the politicians are the only one who can fix the mess. This confirms the quote by Ivern Ball which says ” A politician can make waves and make you think he’s the only one who can save the ship”. Reading this story reminds the reader of the current dilemma faced in different countries especially in African countries.

    One crucial point the author hammered, which if possible should be copied to all governments is the need to know that a heart that always understands also gets tired. This is to say, the people who have been oppressed, shun, trodden on, looked down as senseless, lacking zeal and seen as timid would one day surely reach their limits of tolerating the government’s inefficacies and react. This has and is still been seen countless times, example in Mali and the author portrayed this part beautifully.

    The author also made the reader understand that all things should not only be left to praying and fasting, practical efforts needed to be taken. I begin to wonder if the gentleman Nicosa didn’t come out from his Mazda, or was mellowed on by the area boys, then there wouldn’t have been any revolution. A practical example is Nigeria my country, I wonder if the forefathers had resigned to only praying to God for our independence, I am so sure we would have still been a colonized country. The author made it distinct and clear that prayers without actions would never bring the change we desire and these above purposes above were fulfilled in this story.

    This story took place in Akuoye, a typical state ran by democratic process wherein the government was voted in by the people and should be for the people and with the people. But what do we see in this story, we see the usual backstabbing of the government to its people, we see the embezzling of funds with no infrastructures built during their tenure and the ones built keep depleting as seen in the dilapidated Akuoye highway. It perfectly showed the grief of the people and their indifference to politicians when politicians with the same political agenda (to engulf money) but different grammatical jargons are elected into office. The settings to me was so real and it looked just like my country.

    The Characters— reading through the story, I was able to feel what they felt because they played it so well. I could feel all of them so well with the emotions they underwent. Amongst other characters, I really loved how the main characters made us feel what they felt. They acted in a believable and realistic way especially Mrs Iksa.

    Mrs Iksa wasn’t only pathetic as any woman whose husband had suddenly gone missing but she showed her apprension beautifully in how she was relentless in going to the police and the governor and in fasting and praying for her husband. At first, she didn’t look like a brave woman who could do something mind-blowing without her husband who was her backbone but wow, she did far beyond what I presume her husband would have. It was very courageous of her to stand up for what she wanted and didn’t allow the Greek’s gift blind her up. She also didn’t allow her grief make her cower from being a pillar to her family and city. I loved how she played her part gently yet wisely. She was a good example of ‘slow water runs deep’.

    Nicosa, the gentleman— one would never have thought his gentleness was that kind. It was amazing to see that one could still be very cooperate, groomed, calm, reserved yet still stood against injustice in a ‘wild’ manner. His wildness was in his gentleness and I appreciate this part of him. He wasn’t a coward yet he wasn’t rude. He just knew his rights and did not let anyone excessively violate them. He was truly a different kind of ‘gentleman’.

    This is one story that from the stables of the author that was suspense filled, exhilarating, breathtaking, emotional yet wasn’t predictable. It had its suspense and the reader wouldn’t see any of these events coming. It was surprising to see Nicosa turn out to be bullheaded at heart despite his gentleman qualities and bewildering to see Mrs Iksa act in that rugged manner. One would have thought she had resorted to accepting fate like others did but boom! She did what I would term breathtaking.

    The central theme of this story is courage — the courage to know when to be calm and do seemingly nothing and the courage to know when to arise and contend for what is yours.

    One lesson that can be extracted from this story is the need to know when to do nothing and the need to know when to stand up and do something. Many a times, people don’t understand the times. They need to understand that there are times where you could pray and everything changed with little or no efforts but there are also times, where we need to be fierce and take what we want by force.

    Another lesson was not to judge a book by its cover. Nicosa was a perfect example. Who would have thought he was that much of a ‘rugged one’s beneath his reserved nature.

    Furthermore, it resounded the fact which people including governments need to know that some times, the way to a better life may be out of the path of peace for in war is peace.

    The story had an unexpected end, I didn’t see the way it ended coming. I expected a subtle story but well, it went a really different way. It was surprising to see how it ended.

    I can’t categorically say there was use of literary devices because the story to me was an irony of its title and a paradox as a whole. it is a great story I would gladly recommend

    This story doesn’t only call us to be courageous but it reminds us that apart from being social brings, we are also political beings who shouldn’t just fold our hands and pray the change we desire but rather, stand up and work out that change we need in our lives especially in our governmental affairs with our actions. As Bernie Sanders said ” …….given the enormous crises facing our country, it’s just too late for the same old establishment politics and establishment economics”, this story has proven that the old ways of wishing, hoping and praying for a change not always be the way to all situations we face. There is a need to stand up and be another gentleman.

  6. ‘Another Gentleman’ by Uwem Ubot is a story that represents the reality of many especially in 3rd world countries. From fake promises and embezzlement of Public funds to oppressing the same ‘Cow that produces the milk’. Its a story that 
it describes the horrible state of the people of Akuoye state whose Government is so “indifferent to the infrastructural decay of the source of economic earnings for the State that they looted; and lived such luxuriant lifestyles from same”.



    The Setting of this story is in Akuoye state an oppressed society that is continuously impoverished as its God-given Resources are being exported and their leaders grow fat on them.

Mr. Ikunni the Journalist’s disappearance sets off the plot of this story.

Chief (Dr) Elder Ntutue the Executive Governor of this noble state did not notice the change in music. Ironically things did not continue as usual. As the saying goes, when you chase a goat to the wall, it will turn around to face its oppressor in-spite of his fear. His Excellency, failed to realize that even in Akuoye (which represents many oppressed societies in this world), there are still some errands that money can’t run.

Societies like Akuoye would surely produce miscreants like Area Boys who did not know not that fate will one day bring them to meet a strong character/game changer like Mr. Nicosa.

    

To some, this story may seem absurd or simply impossible. However, I think the writer’s purpose is to let such people into cognizance of the existence of such society like Akuoye.

    As the plot of this story intensifies, the writer creates an awesome suspense that crescendos with so many questions in the reader’s mind making this a story you must read to the end. A story that leaves the reader thinking even after he or she is finished reading.
    As the theme of Heroism jumps out in this story it leads to Mr Ikunni’s death. Then one may wonder if he should have
 played safe and live long with his family?
 Will his death encourage or frighten other Journalists who live in this kind of society?
 Should these people in Government to go on unaccountable to none?
 Do we blame those who play along with them?
 Are the people that make up this ‘Government’ truly evil or are they simply following the system they met and making the best of it for themselves? 
Do we think that there is anything they can do about it?



    How does His Excellency Mr. Governor, kill a man and then be very nice to his wife?
 Here the writer brings out the theme of Hypocrisy. And then could it be that maybe Mr. Governor isn’t really a bad man.
 Maybe he was merely protecting the system. Maybe Mr. Ikunni went too far and had to pay for “his sins”. As was his defense later: “No, not so my dear, you see, the state could sponsor some executions at times. Nothing personal you know.” And he expects a hurting widow to accept this explanation?
Then we see the Governor offer Iksa some money. How would a Woman forget her husband over a large sum of money? Maybe some Wives would?

    
What made Iksa suspicious about this whole situation? Have there been such disappearance among Journalists in the past? Well, we did not see that in the story. According to the writer, the history of the government of this noble State was that of lies, deceit and neglect. So what influenced her suspicion? The writer employs this writing skill to bring the reader’s imagination alive.

    

The theme of absurdity is highlighted as we read on.
 Take a look at this: “Makeshift bars and beer parlors were set up along the sides of the road. It was common to find drivers leaving their vehicles to grab a beer or two and some pepper soup while the traffic lasted.”
 Is it ok for Humans to accept whatever life throws at them? Or has the situation these people found themselves lowered them to a state of hopelessness with no single zest to hope, expect nor fight for Change?

 How can you set up Bars and beer Parlors in a death trap like the road to Akuoye?
 Do we also call this “Business Opportunity” Or “Taking advantages” or “Making the best of bad situation”? 
These drivers patronizing them, are they in their right minds? Drinking beer in such situation?
 Or maybe we should not blame them? After all, what can these poor Drivers do? Do they have the money? Do they have the voice? Are they even educated at all or enough to articulate their thoughts and desires in a protest? Or has the society failed them so much that no one wants to end up like Mr Ikunni? So they grab a drink and move whenever the traffic moves.

    Or were the Drivers waiting for a “golden moment”?

 To manifest the saying that Power belongs to the people. We see the writer takes this story to its peak with this theme that is characterized with Courage and bravery. One cant help but wonder if this was all planned or Fate was simply at play? Did Providence decide to help the helpless?
 Are the people of this “noble State” allowed to carry guns? How could the drivers of the different vehicles readily handle a gun or did they have military trainings in the past? What prepared these people for a moment like this? Or have they been pushed to the wall and so much that now they had no choice but to face this moment come what may?

    Was it mere incidence that Mrs Ikunni was present at this defining moment? It was indeed her moment because we see how she makes the best of it.


    What if it had backfired? What if more state military trucks had arrived which is what would have happened on a normal day?
    What if the people were overpowered and what if Mrs Ikunni had died in this open fire leaving their kids orphaned, would it have been worth it?

    
What will be the reaction of the Federal Government or the Judiciary when they get news of this event? Will the people go to jail for taking laws into their hands? 
Or should we say that no matter how this story ends, the government of Akuoye will understand that Power truly belongs to the People .
Thanks Mr. Uwem


    Great piece indeed.

  7. ‘Another Gentleman’ by Uwem Ubot is a story that represents the reality of many especially in 3rd world countries. From fake promises and embezzlement of Public funds to oppressing the same ‘Cow that produces the milk’. Its a story that 
it describes the horrible state of the people of Akuoye state whose Government is so “indifferent to the infrastructural decay of the source of economic earnings for the State that they looted; and lived such luxuriant lifestyles from same”.



    The Setting of this story is in Akuoye state an oppressed society that is continuously impoverished as its God-given Resources are being exported and their leaders grow fat on them.

Mr. Ikunni the Journalist’s disappearance sets off the plot of this story.

Chief (Dr) Elder Ntutue the Executive Governor of this noble state did not notice the change in music. Ironically things did not continue as usual. As the saying goes, when you chase a goat to the wall, it will turn around to face its oppressor in-spite of his fear. His Excellency, failed to realize that even in Akuoye (which represents many oppressed societies in this world), there are still some errands that money can’t run.

Societies like Akuoye would surely produce miscreants like Area Boys who did not know not that fate will one day bring them to meet a strong character/game changer like Mr. Nicosa.

    

To some, this story may seem absurd or simply impossible. However, I think the writer’s purpose is to let such people into cognizance of the existence of such society like Akuoye.

    As the plot of this story intensifies, the writer creates an awesome suspense that crescendos with so many questions in the reader’s mind making this a story you must read to the end. A story that leaves the reader thinking even after he or she is finished reading.

    As the theme of Heroism jumps out in this story it leads to Mr Ikunni’s death. Then one may wonder if he should have
 played safe and live long with his family?
 Will his death encourage or frighten other Journalists who live in this kind of society?
 Should these people in Government to go on unaccountable to none?
 Do we blame those who play along with them?
 Are the people that make up this ‘Government’ truly evil or are they simply following the system they met and making the best of it for themselves? 
Do we think that there is anything they can do about it?



    How does His Excellency Mr. Governor, kill a man and then be very nice to his wife?
 The writer brings out the theme of Hypocrisy. But then could it be that maybe Mr. Governor isn’t really a bad man.
 Maybe he was merely protecting the system. Maybe Mr. Ikunni went too far and had to pay for “his sins”. As was his defense later: “No, not so my dear, you see, the state could sponsor some executions at times. Nothing personal you know.” And he expects a hurting widow to accept this explanation?
Then we see the Governor offer Iksa some money. How would a Woman forget her husband over a large sum of money? Maybe some Wives would?

    
What made Iksa suspicious about this whole situation? Have there been such disappearance among Journalists in the past? Well, we did not see that in the story. According to the writer, the history of the government of this noble State was that of lies, deceit and neglect. So what influenced her suspicion? The writer employs this writing skill to bring the reader’s imagination alive.

    

The theme of absurdity is highlighted as we read on.
 Take a look at this: “Makeshift bars and beer parlors were set up along the sides of the road. It was common to find drivers leaving their vehicles to grab a beer or two and some pepper soup while the traffic lasted.”
 Is it ok for Humans to accept whatever life throws at them? Or has the situation these people found themselves lowered them to a state of hopelessness with no single zest to hope, expect nor fight for Change?

 How can you set up Bars and beer Parlors in a death trap like the road to Akuoye?
 Do we also call this “Business Opportunity” Or “Taking advantages” or “Making the best of bad situation”? 
These drivers patronizing them, are they in their right minds? Drinking beer in such situation?
 Or maybe we should not blame them? After all, what can these poor Drivers do? Do they have the money? Do they have the voice? Are they even educated at all or enough to articulate their thoughts and desires in a protest? Or has the society failed them so much that no one wants to end up like Mr Ikunni? So they grab a drink and move whenever the traffic moves.

    Or were the Drivers waiting for a “golden moment”?

 To manifest the saying that Power belongs to the people. We see the writer takes this story to its peak with this theme that is characterized with Courage and bravery. One cant help but wonder if this was all planned or Fate was simply at play? Did Providence decide to help the helpless?
 Are the people of this “noble State” allowed to carry guns? How could the drivers of the different vehicles readily handle a gun or did they have military trainings in the past? What prepared these people for a moment like this? Or have they been pushed to the wall and so much that now they had no choice but to face this moment come what may?

    Was it mere incidence that Mrs Ikunni was present at this defining moment? It was indeed her moment because we see how she makes the best of it.


    What if it had backfired? What if more state military trucks had arrived which is what would have happened on a normal day?
    What if the people were overpowered and what if Mrs Ikunni had died in this open fire leaving their kids orphaned, would it have been worth it?

    
What will be the reaction of the Federal Government or the Judiciary when they get news of this event? Will the people go to jail for taking laws into their hands? 
Or should we say that no matter how this story ends, the government of Akuoye will understand that Power truly belongs to the People .
Thanks Mr. Uwem


    Great piece indeed.

  8. Introduction:
    Corruption is the canker worm that has eaten into the governance of Akuoye community. No one is safe. Dilapidated link roads, death toll increasing geometrically, untruthful leadership, lives no longer matters. In Uwen Umana’s Another Gentleman, the present state of the African community was perfectly reflected. Corruption thrives when dissenting voices are silenced, fear now became the order of the day. The Ikunni family wasn’t exempted.

    Summery
    Mrs. Iksa Ikunni was the wife of a former journalist Mr Ikunni, who lost his life during the bad governance of the Akuoye community. Her husband disappeared one day without a trace, she did all she could to find out her husband’s where about , she even asked for help from the current governor who rather offered her a huge some of money than helping her out.
    Meanwhile, the governor’s unsolicited generosity further increased Mrs Ikunni’s curiosity about her husband’s disappearance.
    However the bad road condition causes unbearable traffic jam in the town. To satisfy her curiosity, Mrs Ikunni with arms took advantage of the uncontrolled traffic condition and besiege the Governor forcing him to confess the whereabout of her husband.

    Personal Reflection:
    The story was quite intriguing, it raised my curiosity from the beginning to the last punctuation because every line in the story represents the current happenings in our communities today. It reminded me of the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi- a Saudi dissident, journalist, and columnist for The Washington Post. Instead of the world knowing the truth about what happened to the journalist, his family was rather rewarded handsomely .

    Critical analysis:
    The Author did very well in bringing out the current condition of our present African society.
    The whole story is metaphorical, as the we see in the world today where journalists are silenced for standing as the voice of the people.
    Secondly, the dilapidated roads talked generally about the present road condition of our black African states and politician make empty promises to construct it all to their selfish gain.
    Moreso, the story was quite dramatical and the writer was able to carry the audience along. The suspense was so good that Mrs Ikunni’s action at the end of the story was astonishing because to me, she was presented as a weak person at the beginning of the story.
    Finally, I’d theme the story “Injustice” because, from the nonchalance of our government towards infrastructure, the campaign lies, disregard on human live, to the elimination of Mr Ikunni was all due to the inherited injustice of our government.

    Conclusion:
    This is my first time in contact with Uwem Umana’s Articles and it so captivating that I could recommend it to any literature lover.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *