Chapter one Summary (Pg. 1-15) Fathers of Nations
The Four Strangers with the Same Mission
It is evening, four strangers check in at The Seamount hotel in Gambia’s capital” Banjul
None of them knows the other three The first to 69 Years old, Karanja Kimani, a professor in the Institute of Development at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He’s assigned a room on the fourth floor, east wing.
Ngobile Melusi, about 70, a comrade and a citizen of Zimbabweis second to check in and is allocated a room on the fifth floor of the south wing.
Third to clock in is about 50, Chineke Chiamaka, a pastor at the Church Inside Africa (CIA) in Lagos, Nigeria. Chiamaka is booked on the sixth floor of the west wing.
Last to report is another stranger, about 40, his name is SeifTahir, an Engineer formerly employed by the Ministry of Defense in the Tripoli- Libya. He is assigned a room on the third-floor north wing.
In less than an hour after the booking all the four “strangers,” receives a call from the same caller who declines to divulge details about himself, He only identifies himself as the guide and gives the same set of instructions about opening their briefcases using a similar code: one, one, two, four. The code number fails to open the briefcases in all the four cases.
Meanwhile, Dr. Abiola Afolabi, another guest at the hotel hears someone call him from behind. From the introduction, Dr. Afolabi meets Fiona McKenzie, a reporter with Gambia News, a Gambian who was adopted by Ian and Elspeth McKenzie- Scottish missionaries. She was brought up in Edingburg, Scotland and is now back to Banjul.
An interview ensues.
Dr. Abiola Afolabi, is disclosed, he schooled at Harvard University in the US and currently teaches at the University of Ibadan. He’s forty-five and is an advisor to the heads of state.
Africa’s heads of state are soon to start a debate at Pinnacle Hotel, a hotel that is two streets from The Seamount Hotel.
The Heads of State are soon to discuss a document titled Way Omega. If adopted, Way Omega is expected to change African politics drastically; there are to be no more military coups, no more rigged elections, no more foul play.
Dr. Abiola Afolabi is the author of Failure of States in which he is so pessimistic about Africa’s state of affairs and yet in Way Omega he’s very optimistic, He was invited by the presidents.
The interview ends prematurely after her boss calls her to the office.
On the other hand, 49 foreign heads of state are in Banjul for the summit. They still look happy.
For Gambians, the presence of so many visiting dignitaries isn’t fun. Here, before dignitaries came, bull dozers were dispatched at night in slum clearance ‘exercises,’ demolished road side kiosks on which whole families depended upon. Roads got rare layers of tarmac at times of maximum traffic. Checkpoints sprouted everywhere. Water taps dried up because all water had to go to the new water foundations built to mesmerize visitors.
Catastrophes can happen even at summits. All heads of state are to be put in one hotel; Pinnacle Hotel so that security is concentrated at the hotel instead of having fifty places to be manned.
A few challenges are noted on how well to take care of the dignitaries in terms of sitting arrangement at the summit and the hotel arrangement.
Fathers of Nations: Chapter Two Summary (Pg.16-20)
At the Seamount Hotel
A mobile phone rings at The Seamount Hotel – west wing and pastor Chineke Chiamaka answers it; it is 9:00 p.m.
The caller wants to find out the progress. Pastor Chiamaka affirms that everything is fine. The caller inquires whether the briefcase is open and further asks what Pastor Chiamaka has seen in the briefcase. Pastor Chiamaka confirms that he sees a letter from Agency for Governance and Development in Africa (AGDA) and a copy of a document dubbed Way Omega. He also says he sees a copy of Path Alpha, the development strategy that AGDA believes is superior to Way Omega and that it hopes to slip in and replace Way Omega.
Pastor Chiamaka also confirms to have seen leaflets, pamphlets and brochures from AGDA. He further confirms to have seen the mobile phone he is using.
The caller/guide is still reluctant to give his real name. The caller is the only one to initiate the conversation between them. The guide tells the pastor that they are on the same mission, so he should not worry. The caller further says he cannot share his name because he feels their mission is still at a very delicate stage.
AGDA asks Pastor Chiamaka to be fully familiar with both documents: Way Omega and Path Alpha. The caller reminds the Pastor that he had seen him at the bar at The Seamount hotel taking pepsi.
Meanwhile, another mobile rings at The Seamount Hotel’s south wing. Comrade Melusi answers. Another phone rings in the east wing. Prof. Kimani takes the call.
Still another phone rings in the northern wing. Engineer Seif Tahir responds.
The time is now 11:00p.m
Fathers of Nations: Chapter Three Summary (Pg.21-45)
The Story Behind Agency for Governance and Development in Africa (AGDA)
The chapter unfolds with a flashback into Prof. Kimani’s life. Prof. Kimani joined the University of Nairobi directly as a senior lecturer straight from the University of Oxford where he studied.
A month after his arrival, Prof. Kimani launched a noisy debate in which he dcmandcd that thc Univcrsiy of Nairobi henceforth strive for bcing rclcvant to thc society rather than simply focusing on dclivcring cxccllcncc in work, Six months later, his clarion call prevailed. The University’s official motto became “Relevance to the society.”
After winning this first war, he wedged another one which was even noisier. He wanted the university to be an agent of change not a mere spectator of it.
In the meantime, he married Asiya Omondi. He became a Professor and now felt complete.
A global economic recession hit Africa. Jobs and incomes shrank. To get out of the crisis, Africa had to make changes and donors were the architects of these proposed changes. Donors demanded for change and Africa obliged.
Prof. Kimani had a daughter, Tuni, a name she owes to Tunisia, her country of conception.
Parliament staged an economic coup to improve on their remunerations. When he started teaching, Members of Parliament (MP) earned less. what professors took home as salary. After the coup, an MP rakes up to a hundred times the income of a professor.
A family discussion is underway between a father, mother and daughter. From the discussion, it’s clear that the state has failed terribly in discharging its mandate and therefore the only way is to be the agent of change oneself.
Meanwhile, Tuni shares what an instructor told her on why women are susceptible and fall easy prey to predators as lack of awareness of where women are, a look of weakness & helplessness and a temptation to stray.
A comparison is drawn between Prof. Kimani and Newborn Walomu, professor’s former junior colleague and now a Member of Parliament. From the comparison, Kimani who is stuck at
the university, is doing poorly while Walomu is doing very well after joining politics and having become an MP.
Tuni, the only daughter and child to Prof. Kimani dies in a road accident. Tuni had to use public service vehicle because his father’s car was not in good condition. This infuriated Asiya Omondi.
Prof. Kimani and his spouse Asiya Omondi were inconsolable over their daughter’s death.
• In the evening, Asiya drops a bombshell to her husband that she would be leaving. She says Newborn Walomu, the MP and Professor’s former junior colleague, had asked to marry her. Asiya Omondi feels Tuni would be alive if Prof. Kimani had — she wouldn’t have used the public service vehicle a real car that caused the fatal accident. She left the following morning to Newborn Walomu’s place.
Prof. Kimani goes for Newborn Walomu and petitions why he had decided to take his wife. A scuffle begins at the MP’s office. The police come in and arrest both.
Prof Kimani is charged with “assaulting a Member of Parliament.” His university demotes him from a full Professor to a senior lecturer, the point he started at when he joined the university. A six months’ jail term follows. He’s a dejected man.
Meanwhile, Prof. Kimani hears a knock at the door.
A white man of about 50 is standing outside, ICs Mr. Tad Longway.
After a lengthy discussion, Mr. Longway asks Prof. Kimani to join AGDA whose mission is to question Africa’s status quo.
He further asks him to follow Path Alpha, a strategy built on the idea that a present, public discontent exprcsscs itself in acts that cancel out instead of adding up.
Path Alpha will correct the anomaly by “mobilizing civic discontent into will to change.” Mr. Longway tells Prof. Kimani if he joins Path Alpha he would go down for orientation at their headquarters in Cape Town and he will also attend the next summit of Africa’s heads of state in Banjul, Gambia.
He’s enlisted as a member of Path Alpha the following day. The loss of his daughter, desertion by his wife, mistreatment by his university and state had tested him hard and long. He had reached the boiling point.
Fathers of Nations: Chapter Four Summary (Pg.46-65)
The Voice of America (VOA) Contract
Ms. Fiona McKenzie gets into a taxi, leaves The Seamount Hotel and heads back to her office. She had indicated to her boss that she would be at the office in an hour’s time.
It takes longer to get to the office because of the roadblocks that were basically everywhere.
She is stopped at Arch Number 22. The police wanted a bribe from the taxi driver, an unemployed graduate. So she reaches her workplace/office late.
Ms. McKenzie goes straight to see her boss who informs her that he is pulling her from her assignment at the summit at the Pinnacle Hotel. He explains himself. He seconds her to the VOA. She is now on a two-year loan from the Gambian News to the Voice of America with immediate effect.
In retrospect, there was a time when US policy forbade the Voice of America to broadcast in America. The image was bad for VOA. It had to go. The more reason VOA was employing non-Americans.
Mr. Robert Manley, chief of the bureau, met her at the entrance then led her to the office. Mr. Manley instructed her that because there was a breaking story, she would start her job immediately.
Her new pay is better than what Gambian News was offering and paying.
She is introduced to a staff mate, a new arrival from America, Nicolas Sentinel, a communications Technician.
The breaking story is that a summit of Africa’s heads of state would begin shortly at the Pinnacle Hotel. Sentinel would be handy in her working. She learns that Sentinel has records of many proceedings in Gambia including Ms.
McKenzie’s interview with Dr. Afolabi. From the recordings, Sentinel confirms that there is a man talking to a total of four other men.
Ms. McKenzie is taken to her new office and Mr. Manley rushes to a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign affairs. Meanwhile, Dr. Afolabi tosses in his bed sleeplessly for nearly an hour before he finally dozes off.
Dr. Afolabi’s phone rings. He answers it is Miss Fiona Mckenzie Ms. McKenzie asks Dr. Afolabi if he could nicet her. He comes out to meet her but does not find her. While he readies to go back to his room, a voice of a woman, about 30 years cries out for help. The young woman is in a company of a man. The hotel attendant looks detached and aloof.
The young woman being whisked away is noted to be McKenzie. She shouts out Dr. Afolabi’s name and this strikes him to rush to her aid.
Dr. Afolabi faces the alleged abductor who says he’s Leo otherwise referred to as Liberian mauler.
A fight between Dr. Afolabi and Leo, the Liberian Mauler erupts. Dr. Afolabi wins the war and whisks McKenzie away to his room. They go to Dr. Afolabi’s suite where she scraps his face and he helps her change her clothing and freshen up.
In the meantime, a phone rings. The caller is Chineke Chiamaka After the call, his mood darkens.
Fiona McKenzie shares a lot about VOA and the story in Nicolas Sentinel’s machine, silent listener, which has recorded so many things in the last two days. They spent the night at Dr. Afolabi’s suite.
Fathers of Nations: Chapter Five Summary (Pg.66-81)
Dr. Afolabi The Guide
Before Dr. Afolabi was invited to Banjul to serve as an advisor to summit of heads of state, he had previously been guest at the Foundation for Democratic Rule in Washington to give a key note address at the annual conference.
Dr. Afolabi was married to Pamela from Boston, US. Dr. Afolabi’s invitation to Washington had given the couple a chance to visit Pamela’s father, a widower who lived in Boston. Dr. Afolabi fondly remembers Pamela’s dad through a watch that could help one check pressure, memory among other things.
Dr. Afolabi while walking about Boston, he bought a razor at five dollars and twenty-three cents. Later, he rejoins his wife at her father’s home.
Later, while in a flight out of Washington back to Nigeria, Dr. Afolabi meets Tad Longway. Mr. Longway is the Director of special projects at the Agency for Governance and Development in Africa (AGDA). The two exchange pleasantries and contacts. From their talk, Tad Longway had listened to Dr. Afolabi’s address and liked it and termed it brilliant.
Mr. Longway says Africa in its present state has two new arrivals: corruption and impunity. HC asks Dr. Afolabi if he would be interested in the adventure that is being sponsored by AGDA whose underlying idea is mobilizc discontent with Africa in its present state into a will to change it. Dr. Afolabi consents.
Dr. Afolabi confirms to Mr. Tad Longway that heads of state had invited him to the summit to give them his views on Way Omega.
Mr. Tad Longway introduces and proposes an alternative to Way Omega, and that is Path Alpha which differs from the former like day and night. Whereas Way Omega istop driven and lacks the will for implementation, Path Alpha is bottom-led and has that will; therefore he asks Dr. Afolabi to guide four Path Alpha travelers and adherents whom AGDA is sending as observers to the very summit he’ll be as an advisor.
Mr. Tad Longway hands Path Alpha document to Dr. Afolabi and asks him to remainwith Way Omega so that they could find a way to they could get to the summit. Meanwhile, Dr, Afolabi and his wife, Pamela, are back in Nigeria. Their houseboy reports that while the couple were away somebody came to their house uninvited. When questioned,
Issa, the houseboy did not give an answer. In fact he says he let the person into their bedroom.
The uninvited man surfaces. Dr. Afolabi and the man converse in Yoruba. Pamela is dismayed at the unfolding. She learns in utter disbelief that her husband and the man in question knew each other very well.
Femi, the uninvited guest and with a scar, is a cousin to Dr. Afolabi. The two grew up together in Kaduna.
Under instructions from the family, Femi had brought a second wife to Dr. Afolabi without his consent because Pamela was not giving bath. Pamela was not happy. Furious and angry
Pamela runs out only to reappear with a broomstick chasing the young girl (Nimbo) she had found in her matrimonial bed. Femi discloses that the folks back at home are the choreographers of the whole scheme.
Pamela is extremely annoyed with the scheme of having Nimbo as her co-wife. She is worked up! She demands that the two (Femi and Nimbo) must leave her house. Dr. Afolabi comes to their defense arguing that it’s late at night and that if the two have to leave then that should be in the morning. Pamela still insisted that they should leave that night. Her demands fall on deaf ears.
Enraged at her husband’s lackluster in handling the matter, Pamela leaves that very night. A week later, Pamela calls Dr. Afolabi from her father’s home in Boston. She informs him that she had filed a divorce.