Chapter 9: Demoted and Dwarfed!


….The story of how God showed up in my life

After the encounter, Johnbull tried to calm himself. But he was restless; he wished that the woman meant well for him. Judging from past experience, he did not want to jubilate yet. He sat down in his house in Lagos wondering why his life was up and down. He raked his brain but there was no answer. His mind dwelt heavily on past misfortunes, especially what he went through in his last place of work. Many people thought his client was going to set him up big time. But to their dismay, nothing like that happened. Though he was placed on a very good level at his place of work because of his age, his client withheld good things from him. He thought he would proceed from there to become a Director-General or something at that same level.

His mates at the same level who worked with reasonable people were later promoted Honorable Ministers, Executive Secretaries and all that. Then in an effort to change the course, Johnbull applied for British Visa; he thought of leaving the country in 2005; there again, he was promptly denied. He didn’t know whether to attribute this to anything else but as he pranced up and down he reluctantly came to the conclusion that luck may not be on his side. To prevent himself from being depressed, he decided to go for walk. He didn’t know how to draw conclusions whether it was his luck or that the country was bad, but his friends who had long travelled one after the other returned with juicy stories to show. At a point Johnbull thought of joining one of the many cult societies to achieve fame.

But the thought quickly perished from his mind for fear of the repercussion. Yes, he was a struggling man, but to add the unknown to it was beyond him. He had watched Home Videos of people who did money rituals and how they ended up. He was sensible enough to know that having a peace of mind and freedom was better than all the money in the world. His upbringing wouldn’t have allowed him to tread that part anyway. Was he to blame some of the pastors he had met for not being able to deliver? They always tell him that he was going to be blessed; he too had dreams of financial breakthroughs which up to then, never materialized.

A particular verse crossed his mind in the book of Zachariah 13 verse 5 drawing allusion to pastors who prophesy lies instead of truth. That verse says God has not sent them! And they are many of them trading with His Name! His spiritual observation was that over reliance on men of God may not be ideal afterall. Johnbull remembered when Baba Niyi at the Prayer Link Evangelical Church, introduced them to a mountain deep in the heart of the Bwari town. The prophet of the mountain otherwise known and called ‘Shepard’ was prolific in marathon prayers. They would commence prayers 7am and would not stop until 7pm in the evening.

They prayed until Johnbull’s throat was dry and his voice hoarse. The Shepard took so much delight in such prolong prayers that members began to faint either from standing for long or failure to observe break. He would drill Johnbull telling him that his own case was special and that he should pray very well. To reinforce the practice, Baba Niyi, who was also a professional, joined hands with the Shepard to bombard the enemy camps. For a long time, Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays were singled out as days for special prayer meetings. Maybe as a result of the prayer rain some kind of reprieve began to show.  When he met the Shepard, he operated under a tree, up a lonely spot in the mountain.

Within a short time, the bushy paths, and the rocky environment had become conducive for habitation. That was the routine until he left for Lagos where he had the chance meeting with the Dr Ngozi Birabi. On his return, he called her cell phone and she answered; she told him to come straight to the office the next day where they discussed a job in the government agency. Johnbull accepted and left. When the letter offering the job eventually arrived, it was a shocker! Johnbull had been demoted, brought down 4 steps from the grade level 16 position he was. The woman explained that she did that because there was nobody to speak for him, to support the action in the event of petition! Johnbull tried to reconnect with his client who rebuffed him.

Johnbull’s hope began to fade. His interest died down immediately and for 3 months his fate dangled. The woman called afterwards, pleaded with him to resume and promised to address the situation—which she never did anyway. That position meant that Johnbull would start from the scratch, and at his age, it was bad luck. Whereas his mates were already directors, Johnbull was going to start as a Principal officer! What a horrible strike! That was sheer limitation—a severe one at that. Johnbull took the letter and ran to the mountain for succor. The Shepard advised that he take up the job and leave the rest to God, promising to battle it out spiritually.

It was on that note that Johnbull relaxed and thus began another phase in his life. He managed to raise some money and rented a beautiful flat where he began to live and work. Matters took a dive for the worse as the woman became a different person once Johnbull resumed work. She turned hostile and fulfilled not a single promise she made to Johnbull. With the battle line drawn, Johnbull retreated and began to strategize on how to bale himself. The Doctor who was so friendly prior to Johnbull’s resumption suddenly became a wolf depriving him the smallest of benefits. He became so incensed that his love for the woman dried up. At the mountain, prayers were launched ceaselessly; Johnbull was determined to crack the puzzle and break whatever jinx exist.

After two years, Johnbull decided to look for another job; he applied and got employed as a lecturer in one of the Federal Polytechnics. He lectured for 6 months but did not find satisfaction. His fellow lecturers took delight in drinking and womanizing; Johnbull wasn’t cut out for that. After a while he got tired and resigned. Meanwhile, his boss in the government agency intensified her oppressive stance bringing Johnbull’s juniors to lord over him. Johnbull persevered and continued to look up to God. The Shepard in the mountain made him to understand that someone like him from a polygamous background was bound to have such problems and that it would take the direct intervention of God to handle it. Nevertheless, as time progressed, Johnbull slowly climbed in the ladder, but without any extra benefits.

On a rare occasion, his name was included among those scheduled for training in South Africa and Ghana. Johnbull was happy at least for a change of scene. For 8 years Dr Ngozi Birabi stunted his growth, ensured his progress was restricted until her time expired and left. Johnbull felt so sorry for her and asked God to forgive her. The woman succeeded in helping people she considered close to her while dumping others like Johnbull. The new appointee came and swiftly lifted Johnbull to the next grade, thus balancing the rubbish the erstwhile boss did. But that was where it ended; the new boss did not proceed further; he concentrated on his own welfare and went AWOL in his job. Upon the prayer efforts of Johnbull, nothing concrete came out.

He had no house of his own, no new car, only an official one. He collected a federal loan to build a house for himself; the matter ended up in litigation. Too bad, for the fellow that did the field work became a debtor to scores of prospective home seekers. Now his time in the service was coming to a close—only two years remained! What was he going to do? Panic set in and his mind began to race…. Among his peers Johnbull was clearly dwarfed. He couldn’t measure up to their standards, drive the kind of cars they do and worse, they were not ready to help him! Once, Johnbull shook his head and for the first time and  thought of death!