It must have taken Zainab over thirty minutes before she could understand the way the contents of the file were arranged. The file was a collection of four set of different coloured sheets of paper; yellow, blue, green and of course, the normal white. The white sheet of papers which were ten in number, they contained things that weren’t so difficult and she could do anytime she felt like. The yellow sheets contained things she was supposed to do before the end of the day; they were fifteen. The blue contained things that were supposed to be done during the day time, after the lunch break to be specific; they were six sheets. And the green sheets contained things she was to do right away; just three green sheets. “These people are pretty organised!” Zainab thought out loud. She separated the three green sheets from the file and pushed the file away as she started going through the contents of the sheets. The green sheets contained the summary of a thirty minutes sport program she was supposed to go and direct right away since it was being shot in the studio which was at the northern wing of the same building. She had expected something totally different. She had thought it would be one project at a time and probably she could start from learning from the old director to know how things were meant to be done, but here she was, reading files on sports even though she never really had any interest in sport and she could bet the crew were already waiting for her.
In no time, she got the basic idea and stood up from her seat, picked up the few green sheets of paper and headed to the northern wing. “Here goes nothing!” She sighed. * * * She finally got to the right studio after missing her way several times, she had assumed there would be only one studio in the building, but she was wrong. There were four studios in all and so she had to ask for directions. Just as she had guessed, the crew were already waiting for her. Most of them had heard that the old director had been transferred to their new branch in Ghana so they expected a new director today. Zainab stood at the door for a few minutes, staring at the whole room filled with people, cameras and a stage which had been set already. Then she walked in, “hello everyone.” She said hoping to get their attention. No one replied at first because her voice was really low and they were busy trying to put things in order for the supposed new director. “Hello everyone!” She said with a louder tone. Everyone paused and turned to her, she felt shy and unsure for a minute but quickly cleared her mind. “Is this studio two?” She asked. She had seen the number “2” at the front of the door but just needed to be sure first. “Yes, it is.” A fair, chubby man with a “pot belle” replied. He had one of those kind of face that were always smiling, just like a permanent smile. Zainab could bet he had never frowned in his life.“Oh! good. So I’m guess this is the sporting crew?” Zainab asked. “You are right. But may I ask, who are you?” The chubby man replied. Zainab shrugged, “oh, I’m Zainab An,” she wanted to say “Anderson” but realised she wasn’t really an Anderson anymore since she was divorced, but was she going to keep the surname or change back to her former surname?
She asked herself. She suddenly realised the chubby man and about eighty percent of the people in the room were still staring at her, waiting for a proper introduction. “I’m the new overall director, you can call me Zainab,” she finally replied, expertly avoiding the surname issue. The chubby man face brightened, “oh! Nice to meet you Zainab, we have been expecting you. I’m Mr Awoyinka, I’m the assistant sport director.” He offered his hand to Zainab and she shook him. “We go live on-air in ten minutes, so I’m guess we had better start preparing.” Mr Awoyinka replied. “Oh!” Zainab exclaimed in shock, “As in this is a live show? Not recording and broadcast later on?” She asked. She had never done a live show, as an actress, the movies were filmed and then released to the public after all the error had been corrected, so this was a new thing to her, she knew no mistakes would be tolerated. “Yes! It’s a live show.” Mr Awoyinka replied grinning, he had an idea about what was going on in her head. Jummy could have sworn her day couldn’t get a worse after the whole Stephen drama early that morning. She locked herself in her office all morning, swarmed in office work all because she didn’t want to think much about the trip. She just couldn’t believe it. Two weeks without John who she had grown very fond of and two weeks with Stephen who she despised, all alone in a strange land. “Life is a bitch”, she thought. She noticed she was already thinking about it once more and immediately focused on her work, just then, the intercom when live. Without check which office the call was from, she picked it. “Hello,” she said. “Come to my office now.” Was the response she got and the caller hung up.
Jummy didn’t need to check who called, only one person could speak to her that way in the office and she knew it. But judging from the tone of the call, she could sense trouble. She tapped some buttons on her computer and put it to sleep, she stood up and headed to Mrs Ogbanaya office. Jummy got there and knocked, without waiting for a response, she walked in to the office. “You sent for me ma,” she said as she noticed Mrs Ogbonaya didn’t even look up at her. Mrs Ogbonaya didn’t reply, Jummy was wondering why Mrs Ogbonaya always had to play the hard-core boss, can’t she just free herself and be friendly for once? Mrs Ogbonaya kept on doing what she was doing and Jummy kept on staring at the woman, not sure about how she was supposed to react. After about two minutes of silence, the only noise that was made was from the keyboard as Mrs Ogbonaya typed something. Mrs Ogbonaya looked up at Jummy and asked a question which nearly threw her of her balance. “I’m going to ask you this just once and it would be in your own interest to answer with the truth.” Mrs Ogbanaya started and stopped typing, she looked up to Jummy and asked, “What is going on between you and Stephen?”
The stage was set, the cameras were rolling and the presenters were good to go. On the stage, was the presenter who was to anchor the show and ask the questions, and two invited guests. They were all clad in sleek black designer suit that would make even James Bond blush. Someone who probably saw them when they were leaving their houses that morning would have thought they were going to a very important meeting with the president of the United States of America. The main presenter was a well-built man of roughly twenty six, he was dark in complexion and of average height. The guests were both retired famous footballers. “Good morning viewers, you are tuned in to ‘Thirty Minutes of Football with Osi’. What we do is break down and analyse everything that’s been happening in the world of football in thirty minutes. Today I have two special guests who don’t need much introductions, on my left we have retired Manchester United FC forward, Musa Adamu and on my right we have two times Africa best player, Iheanacho Kelechi.” Osi kept quiet for a micro second and continued, “so let’s get down to business. We start with topics making round here in our country Nigeria. Before we do that let’s go for a short commercial break.” Zainab didn’t need to yell cut before an advert was put on play, Zainab watched in silence, not because she was scared of things going wrong but because she had never been a fan of sports, let alone football, she hated football as a matter of fact and here she was, directing a football show.
How ironic, she thought. The advert ended and the cameras started rolling once again, “So Musa,” Osi – the presenter started, referring to one of the guests, “what’s your take on the current Nigerian football scene, do you think we are doing better compared to your days in the national team?” Without much hesitations, Musa cleared his throat and replied. “You don’t compare two generations in football so I can’t give you a direct answer to that question.” His accent was a mixture of the ideal Hausa accent where “Fs” and “Ps” are mixed up and a slight British accept which he adopted during his years of playing for Arsenal in North-London. He continued, “take for example, Lionel Messi and Cristaino Ronaldo have both collectively broken almost all the football records the likes of Pele and Maradona set back in those days, would you now say that Messi is better than Pele?” Musa asked and waited for an answer but got none, so he continued, “no! You can’t, and the reason is simple, the rules of the game has changed, the training facilities has changed, the stake and bars have been raised so comparing isn’t really going to be fair. All I can say is, the super eagles, the super eaglets, the super falcons and all other national team are currently doing very well. Just this year, the senior male team won the CAF and the U-17 team won the World cup.” The presenter was frustrated by the answer, he had hoped for a simple yes or no reply but instead he was being asked if Pele is better than Messi. What has that got to do with my question? He silently wondered. He smile at Musa and turned to his other guest, “Iheanacho, during your time, you were nominated twice for the world best player, ever since then, no other Nigerian player has been nominated let alone win the prestigious award, does this mean that the standard of football in the country is falling?”
Iheanacho gave an enigmatic smile which made the presenter wonder what was behind the smile. “I don’t think it’s falling, rather, like Musa said, the bars and stakes has been raised.” He replied, and the presenter now knew what was behind the smile. He wanted to ask more about it but something in him advised against it, so he moved on. He turned to the front camera and he saw Mr Awoyinka who stood behind the camera, signalling him to move on to another topic and leave the Nigerian football scene. “We are going to quickly move on to the foreign scene, the biggest matches we have this weekend are without any doubt, Arsenal versus Manchester United, Napoli versus Juventus and Real Madrid versus Barcelona.” Osi turned to Musa, “Musa, what are your predictions?” “You can’t be hundred percent correct when predicting football, but I think the winners this weekend would be Arsenal because they are in top form and are having a wonderful season so far and on the top of their league table, Napoli. And of course, I expect Real Madrid to take the el classico win because they are in pretty good form and Barcelona is short of Messi, I think we all know what that means.” “Nice analysis Musa, how about you Iheanacho, what’s your prediction?”
“Well I think Man-U would win the match against Arsenal because it’s Old Trafford and then there is Rooney and Van Persie who as far as history is correct are dangerous to Arsenal, I gave the seria A match to Napoli and I give the el classico to Barcelona.”Osi checked the timer and he saw it was already almost thirty minutes, he need to end the show. “Okay viewers, that’s all we have for you today, if you have any suggestions or questions, you can send an Email to the email address showing on the screen at the moment. Have a splendid week.” “And cut!” Mr Awoyinka said in a low tone. He turned to Zainab who looked bored as hell, “you did pretty well for a first day,” he teased. Zainab just smiled and walked out of the studio, she made a mental note to either bring a bed to the studio next week or leave everything related to the program in the hands of Mr Awoyinka. So much for a first day, Zainab thought. She had expected her day one on the job would be fun, but so far, it had been everything but fun.
Jummy stood in silence for close to a minute, trying to really understand what was happening. How did Mrs Ogbonaya get the hint that something was going on between her and Stephen? She had thought the little stunt he had pulled which earned her the promotion had shook her of the woman’s radar. “Miss Olukoya, I asked you a question,” Mrs Ogbonaya snapped Jummy out of her thoughts. “Err… Huh? You what?” Jummy stuttered. Mrs Ogbonaya looked at Jummy plainly and repeated the question, “what’s going on between you and Stephen?” Jummy decided to go with the risky answer, “nothing ma,” she replied and kept quiet, waiting for the worse to happen. “Are you sure?” Jummy briefly thought about her answer and affirmed it. To Jummy’s greatest surprise, Mrs Ogbonaya smiled and said, “Okay, if you say so. I’m aware you are both going on a trip soon, if he starts acting weird or you have any complaint about him, don’t hesitate to report him to me. I know how to handle him.” Jummy raised an eyebrow and then closed her mouth, she didn’t even know when she opened it, “okay ma.” She replied, it sounded more like a question. “You may return to your work, you are doing pretty well by the way.” Mrs Ogbonaya smiled once again and waved Jummy off. In all her years of working at GNP, Jummy she had never seen Mrs Ogbonaya smile at all, let alone smile to her. Jummy knew there was something fishy about this whole set up, But what was behind this Mrs Ogbonaya smile? Jummy asked herself as she walked back to her office deep in thoughts. She got to her office and checked the date of departure and saw it was two days from now. She took a deep breath, picked up her phone and dialled John’s number.
John wasn’t having the best of days neither. Two of his massive weaving machines which would take nothing less than a week to repair had crashed and he had just signed a contract to deliver a huge amount of materials in two day’s time to a new Federal School who wanted to have a uniquely different school uniform that couldn’t be bought just anywhere. And the thing with contract works was that a percentage of the final pay is deducted for each day the package is delivered, and without those two machines, there was no possible way he could meet up with the dead line. He had to improvise otherwise, he would be so screwed. He paced the length and breadth of his office, deep in thoughts, trying to think of a solution. He could hear the voice of his dad in his head saying, “I trust you would make me proud, so I’m going to give you veto authority of my textile company. You would solely manage it for a while till you have proved that you can take over the entire branch of ADE companies.” That was about five years ago. So far, he hadn’t been doing a good job, just months ago he lost a multi-billion contract with a foreign based designer company and now this?
His dad would definitely be highly disappointed and there was no guessing how his dad might react. Just then, his cell phone in his pocket went live, he hurriedly picked it up hoping it was the engineer with a good news on to see it was Jummy. He smiled and for a split second, he forgot about all the problems he had in his life, he never really understood why Jummy’s presence of any sort made him react that way. He picked up the call. “Hello Jummiana ,” he said excitedly. Jummy chuckled, ever since they both heard a song which went like: ‘Juliana, come take your medicine, o my God, you are my medicine.” He had turned Jummy name to Jumiana to rhyme with Juliana. “Hello John, I have something I need to tell you.” Jummy said with all seriousness. “I’m all ears, you are my medicine so I think I really can’t say no.” “I’m travelling to China in two days’ time.” Jummy replied and waited for a response but she got none, rather, the call went dead as John hung up. He had never hung up on her.