Every prayer meeting is hyped higher than the previous one. It is the only way to keep the customers/congregation satisfied. Miracles, super miracles, mega miracles, super deluxe miracles, super duper miracles, awesome miracles, every prayer meeting needing a new adjective, a new combination of adjectives. The young lady, Mrs. Lola Ojuoloju, was happy to be attending the prayer meeting. After all, the reverend pastor had prophesied that everyone who attended would have their wishes for riches fulfilled. So she went and thereafter waited for her own miracle.
When it came it did not surprise her. There was an alert on her cell phone. “YOU HAVE BEEN AWARDED N275,000,000,000.00 FROM OURS AND YOUR FAVOURITE BRAND OF HONEY ANNUAL AWARD REF NO: NIG 13P CONTACT MRS, NWOSUWO ON 0101 139 9113 FOR YOUR CLAIM.”
Lola is a frail-looking young woman, just over thirty plus. She had been married for three years and they were expecting their first child. Against that eventuality, Lola, her husband had been saving money, giving LolaW so much per month towards welcoming the new member of the family. LolaW would smile as her husband gave her the money and told her not to spend it on anything other than preparation for the baby. LolaH would detail the things they needed in the baby’s room. Then the baby’s day clothes. The baby’s night clothes. The graded toys for the baby from day one! LolaW would smile and murmur that God would provide.
Be not anxious what ye shall eat. Or where withal ye shall be clothed. The birds of the air plant not nor do they reap. The lilies of the field do not weave but look at their colours. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
It would be the turn of LolaH to smile and insist that when the Saviour is on the move, beseeching the Lord not to pass us by is not a prayer you say on your knees! Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. For the Egyptians whom thou has seen today, ye shall see them forever no more. The Lord shall fight for thee and ye shall keep thy peace. This would come from LolaW. They would trade Biblical texts until LolaH became impatient and put down his foot and order his wife to put the money in the savings account for the baby until the eighth month when they would begin to disburse the fund. LolaH worked in the bank.
What could be better than an Alert from God? LolaW said in her mind addressing her husband as he put down his foot. But he could not say aloud, not yet. There would come a time when they would look back on this moment and you my dear darling husband would kiss me and thank me for my belief and my steadfastness in my faith in the Almighty Alert, usually superior to the ordinary bank alert. And as she believed, she began the process of claiming her award.
Mrs. Nwosuwo instructed her to meet at the bank premises as soon as possible. LolaW was on maternity leave and so she had all the time in the world to pursue her claim. Three days after receiving the Almighty Alert she was at the designated bank to meet a man and a woman. These two people were the faces of Honey Annual Awards. The man was short and small, incredibly short and almost self-effacing. The woman was no bigger either, both dressed impeccably in the latest of English suit for the man and Nigerian mixture for the woman. The overarching impression they gave was of subservience to their winner. For them she was already a billionaire.
The three of them were welcomed to the office of the bank manager. They were served tea and coffee and akara, named bean cakes. LolaW was nervous, she was hesitant but she was self-assured that the voice of God was speaking to everyone involved in this Almighty Alert. The award woman was solicitous, touching LolaW on the shoulder, re-assuring her, pampering her. LolaW wondered if she should have told her husband. She was in a bank. What if this bank manager told her husband that he saw his wife at his bank? She did not need to bother. This bank manager was in no position to know her husband. As they sipped their tea or coffee, LolaW preferred tea, they began the process of presenting the award to LolaW.
First of all they needed processing money. The bank manager brought out a-10 page form that had to be filled in triplicates. Every page of the thirty pages had to be initialled and the first pages and the last pages had to be signed and counter-signed by a witness. LolaW was worried that they might ask her spouse to countersign. Once more she needed not to have worried about such a small thing. Yes, this money was not small but she had won it and she had won it. There was no going back. They asked her to provide one point five million naira to process the award of two hundred and seventy-five billion naira.
Quickly LolaW did the sums in her head. She had exactly that amount in the baby’s savings account. She did not hesitate before she made the money available to the two people from the Honey Award and the bank manager. She filled the forms and returned them to the bank manager. The forms were taken away and she waited. The tea was now tepid and the akara not so tasty as it was in the beginning. Were they going to bring the money? How many Ghana-Must-Go bags would contain such an amount of money?
It was the bank manager who came and told her that her payment would have to be made from another branch of the bank later at 3pm. This would allow Honey Awards to arrange for television and other press coverage. LolaW was advised to go home and come back, perhaps bring some family member? When she arrived at fifteen minutes to three at the other branch of the bank, there were no media there. It was a refuse dump. LolaW asked for the bank that was here? There is no bank here? There was never a bank here? Where is the other bank?