Abubakar stifled a yawn as he looked at the brown clock on the wall. Exactly 1 hour 30 minutes, he’d been sitting and waiting for an hour and half. The door opened and he looked. Abubakar forced down his fear and stood to greet the older man.
“Ina wuni, Alhaji” He stretched his hand for a shake.
Alhaji Babagana adjusted his Babbar riga and cast a dirty glare at the calloused hand stretched in front him.
With a snort, he ignored him and went to sit.
Abubakar forced down his displeasure and sat. He’d prepared himself for that kind of embarrassment, or worse, when he decided to accept Alhaji’s invitation, despite Hafsah’s pleas cautioning him not to.
“How much?” Alhaji spat, his face looking as though it hurt to talk to someone so far below him in terms of affluence.
“Alhaji,” Abubakar adjusted his position. “I assure you I have enough money to pay for Hafsah’s brideprice and take care of her and before we start having kids-”
“Shut up!!” Alhaji thundered, his veins popping. “Who’s talking about you taking care of my daughter?”
Alhaji took a deep breath and appeared to calm himself.
“Abubakar, I’m asking you how much it’ll take for you to leave my daughter and leave her for good.”
“I didn’t realise you had a good sense of humour, Alhaji” Abubakar laughed heartily.
Alhaji Babagana took a deep breath and once again forced himself to calm down. He knew people like this, he’d handled people like this before. He figured he had to take things slowly. He cleared his throat and continued.
“Have you considered that my daughter here is a soon-to-be neurosurgeon?”
“Have you considered that she is now completing her program in neurosurgery and will proceed to further her studies in the UK?”
“Have you considered, young man, what kind of future you, an illiterate farmer, will have with her?”
“I may be a farmer sir, but I love her sincerely and I’ll remain faithful to her for the rest of my life.” Abubakar put as much sincerity as he could muster into his voice. He truly loved Hafsah, he really did.
Alhaji Babagana scoffed and hissed.
“You think love is enough? Can love afford the Gucci designer she wears or afford the Novage creams and perfumes she uses?”
Abubakar shook his head.
“You want me to give you my daughter? Mr man listen to me, name your price and leave my daughter alone!”
“You would rather wed her off to a rich business man who will leave her in the country and travel out for business trips while spending his nights in the arms of mistresses? She would have all the riches in the world but she would live brokenhearted till the day she dies.”
“How dare you! Maigadi!” Alhaji Babagana jumped up and hollered for the gate man. “Maigadi! Coman drag this idiot out of this house!”
“Shut up!” Abubakar thundered in rage and Alhaji went mute. A still silence shuffled between the two men.
Abubakar leaned back on the cushion, crossing his leg on another and smiled. Things always went that way with his negotiation.
“Now, you listen to me Alhaji…”