The morning sun rose overhead as Unimke Ashipu climbed his motorbike and waved goodbye to his beautiful wife, Aloye. He was due to receive his boss of forty years, Chief John Ushie in his mansion in a few hours. He knew what the chief expected of him and he was only pleased to do his duty. When chief arrived from Abuja, he wanted to know everything was in order. He would eat a light meal and then Unimke would sit with him while he received guests. That would go on till the late hours of the day, and then he would retire and Unimke would feed him on what had been going on in the home front. Though they communicated often, chief would expect him to give a day-to-day detail of the occurrences in the Calabar home front. Chief expected to hear every detail, from who ate what to who visited who. It was a duty Unimke had done since he started working for his master at the age of fifteen. When he stayed in the same compound with the chief, it had been easier. But now, he stayed in an estate chief recently completed, as caretaker. Chief had given him the caretaker job as a promotion for all the years of service. It did little to improve Unimke’s loyalty. He was a sworn bondservant to the renowned politician.
Unimke Ashipu was an indigene of Ukambi, a small village in Obudu local government area of cross river state, in the west coast African country, Nigeria. He had spent fifteen years in the village before Chief John Ushie, then a bachelor, took him to Calabar, the state capital. It had been a serious step-up for him. John Ushie had started as a young politician and successfully won the election as the chairman of his local government area at the green age of twenty-six. His mother had been worried that he needed a companion and boy to run errands for him when he moved to live in Calabar as the publicity secretary of the party in the state; someone he could trust and who would wait on him for his every need. Unimke had seemed very appropriate and the years had proven his worth. Unimke at the time was the son of the Ushies’ village farm hand. Unimke’s father as a farmer worked on the twenty-hectare palm estate that belonged to the Ushies. He had endeared himself to the elder Ushie and when it was time to send someone to Calabar, Unimke seemed the most appropriate.
First page of first draft of my finished novel Thy Neighbour’s Keeper 2006.