Chapter 7: A new door & New Adversaries


….How God showed up in my life

Johnbull and his mother got into the house to a warm welcome. His mother felt happy that their trip was successful. She went straight into the kitchen to prepare food. It was 2 o’clock in the afternoon and surprisingly for her age she was so agile. While calling out to her house helps for assistance, Johnbull went upstairs to try and get some rest.  The room was warm although there was no light. But the solar system installed in the house ensured light was on constantly. Though Johnbull did not take notice, his mind was still heavy with thoughts. He had been to men of God before in his city of residence, and they had prayed for him. He couldn’t understand why his life travails would not go away. He reasoned that at his present age, which was approaching mid-forties, there was every reason for him to be afraid. He had read many books of people who ‘made it’ at quite an early age. He should have been one of them, his brain told him. For real, Johnbull had put his hands in most legitimate ventures, but things appear to go wrong at the last minute. Johnbull then shook his head in dismay as he remembered his friends with whom they had started life together. They used to play amicably until wealth began to separate them. His friends bought cars and built houses; they even travelled abroad during holiday periods.

They already had kids attending expensive schools. Why wouldn’t his own be like that, he questioned himself. This is what tormented Johnbull, for the rest of the day. He wanted to stroll out, but he decided against it. In Lagos, where he resided, he thought of the problems that waited for him. He frowned and shifted his feet. He was clearly restless. Then the phone rang again and this time the voice was clear. ‘how are you’ he heard someone say at the other end. ‘Oh Charlie, is that you? ‘Yes I am’, Johnbull replied. ‘Great; I want you to work for somebody’, his friend, Charlie announced. He went on to brief Johnbull what the prospect was like.

The job meant that he would leave Lagos for a while, settle in another place where most of the ground work for the job would be done. The job was simply image laundering and entails for Johnbull to publish a local newspaper that would sell the image of his would be client, for the local people to accept and elect him as their leader. Johnbull was very proficient at this trade and was no stranger to it. Moving forward, he asked the appropriate questions and soon an agreement was reached. He had been recommended by his friend for the job; he had told the would-be client that if there was anyone to deliver him, Johnbull was the man.

That’s when Johnbull became appeased. His mind …as they say, came down… and began to work on the new initiative. That’s the state he was when his mother walked in and placed a bowl before him to wash his hands. She told him food was ready and he should come down stairs to eat. Johnbull was now happy and patted his mother at the back. ‘ are too hard working…’ he told her playfully. ‘You don’t worry, I will try my best ‘, he assured her. ‘Everything will be good’ she replied…’come eat make you rest. Johnbull, ate and was satisfied.

Two days later, he left to honour his friends invitation in the village of Ozala where he worked with all his might. He succeeded in publishing and running the newspaper as promised; he had the logistics to perform and in the process of time, his client was elected and that meant his aura was about to shine. While at the village, he heard different stories of what transpires especially at nights. By this time, Johnbull was slowly coming to terms with the fact that he had to pray fervently. A man who runs a local church told him to read psalms 2 and 3 always before going to bed—which he did. Curiously, on the day he was to leave the village, his client had told him to meet up with him in Benin city.

Johnbull woke up 6 am on the fateful day to commence that journey. He had not travelled for 30 minutes when disaster struck.  Because all his mind had been fixed on the meeting in Benin, it did not occur to him there could be surprises. So, driving at a moderate speed of 80 mph, Johnbull negotiated a sharp bend only to find himself face to face with gravels that had been dumped and littered on the road by a careless driver.

The deed must have been done in the night and now Johnbull was about to be a victim. Johnbull did not have time to think and before he knew it, he was on top the gravel and his car instantly tumbled into the bush! ‘Oh my God’ Johnbull screamed as the car, a Volkswagen Jetta came to rest miraculously on the edge the swampy environment, at least 20 feet below the road surface! Everything happened in a flash and Johnbull was lucky the door by his side had not jammed; quickly, he pushed open, struggled and dragged himself up from inside the thick undergrowth.

At that time, 6.30 am in the morning no one could have seen Johnbull; he could easily have been drowned in the swampy waters and his car hidden by the thickets. Back on the road, Johnbull’s mind was so shaken he sat down for a few seconds not to get fainted. Was this how life is? What a narrow escape! He became so nervous and just as his heart jangled. Inthat state of mind he was able to run a quick search on himself whether he was injured. He shook his hands and body; no fracture. He stood up and yes, he was okay! But around him, was that kind of stillness that can unsettle even the bravest. Luckily, Johnbull felt no fears.

The thought of making the trip to Benin had vanished and he was surely going to miss the “stipend” his client had promised him. But Johnbull was yet to know the ways of God. He had gone for prayers alright, but he still did not know how God operates. Unknown to him, God has no vacuum, He is always there—a present help in times of trouble. The problem with Johnbull was that, he thought everything was by physical effort. Because he wasn’t versed in the bible, he wasn’t to know that something like ‘not by might or strength…but by my spirit’ existed.

True to God’s unblemished words. Johnbull was pleasantly surprised that the first car that came his way and saw him was driven by his cousin! He quickly stopped and shouted ‘What are you doing here…. where is your car? Surprised, but overwhelmed with joy, Johnbull pointed at the ditch below. His cousin walked to the edge of the thicket, peered in and saw his vehicle. ‘Accident! So you had an accident…my brother, God just saved you’ he shouted folding his hands. ‘What? This is what they planned for you after you have helped your client win acceptance?

This world is wicked’, his cousin declared and went on to tell the story of a similar fate that befell a young man who had assisted in previous elections. The young man was killed in a motor accident not too far from that same spot when they were celebrating their victory! He did not live to tell his story or enjoy the attendant benefits that go with such victories. But more surprises awaited Johnbull. As is so often the case with life, other people soon joined and quickly, the Volkswagen car was pulled out from the gully and examined. It was in good condition!

No scratch, no oil leakage, no dent! Miracle number two. They started the engine and it came to life instantly! Miracle number three. Together with all those who gathered, they gave thanks to God and Johnbull slowly drove back to his village. Hours later when his client heard of the incident, he grudgingly sent a paltry sum to him through an intermediary. It was an ominous sign; but that cation did not register with Johnbull. He felt whatever was to be given to him could have been done easily without having to risk his life driving to Benin. Many questions, few answers. The next three months was to be testing for Johnbull. He waited for a call from his client to resume work at the Federal Capital in Abuja, but none came.

One day, tired of waiting, he got into a public transport and travelled to Abuja. He saw his client who was already established and reluctantly admitted him. That’s how Johnbull entered a new phase of life and began to function as an ‘Assistant’ in community matters. The job went on for a while and it enabled Johnbull to network and engage new friends. But he had no respite because his client distanced himself from him. He began to show him hatred instead of love. He withheld every good thing from him except those that came his way naturally.

Johnbull drove the same old car he had accident with, lived in a rented one room apartment and became stagnated in that level. Every attempt he made to proffer solutions were rebuffed. Two years into the job, another tragic incident occurred. Johnbull travelled home with his client and on their way back, in a convoy of vehicles, he had a sudden premonition. Something told him to sit up, not to sleep as was often the case before. He was sitting at the back of a luxury SUV and no sooner he obeyed the instruction, then he heard a loud bang.

The back tyre where he was sitting had exploded sending the SUV into a wild spin and eventually hit a road side bridge railings and fell into the dark below. Luckily, there was no water; the river bed was dry! Remarkably, as the SUV settled, Johnbull felt an invincible hand lift him from the back of the car, gently removed the side windscreen and dropped him carefully on dry ground! Above, vehicles and travelers screeched to a halt and gathered on top the bridge to watch and see the extent of damage—and if there were survivors. Johnbull, looked up and saw the people. Amongst them was his client!