Everyday in life, we find ourselves in a situation where we have to take the high road or the low road. Should I steal this meat or should I leave it? Should I slap this idiot or should I walk away? Should I lie or should I tell the truth? And eventually we make a choice, sometimes a good choice, sometimes a bad one. But have you ever wondered what would have happened if you made another choice?
Mr Okafors story is not a strange one. It’s the type we hear from our parents, teachers, and other moral instructors. A story about how honesty pays.
Mr Okafor had been a taxi driver for almost twenty years. It’s because of this poor paying job that he was able to sponsor his three children through high school.
He was an honest man and despite his poor state, was also generous. He donated money when he could and other times, offered free rides to those in desperate need of it. It was at the back of Mr Okafors car that Mama Oyinbo delivered her last born. The whole community loves him, the drunkards, the cultist, our respected “Mama put” loved him too. Everyone called him Uncle O.K.
About three years ago, a strike of luck found him in the most unlikely manner. And yes, It’s exactly what you’re thinking. A briefcase of money was left in the back seat of his car. A sum of almost five million naira. When Mr Okafor saw this briefcase, he did the most logical any father would do. And no, it’s not what you’re thinking, he didn’t return the money to it’s rightful owner. He invested it in his business.
Let me tell you the difference between a story and reality. In a story, the taxi driver returns the money to the nearest police station and it is returned to it’s rightful owner, the rightful owner then gives the taxi driver a portion of the money and they all live happily ever after.
Our reality is quite different. There is only one way of returning a briefcase of missing money especially when you have no idea who the owner might be, you take it to the police station. The police station in a rural community like mine is the very center of corruption. So submitting the money to the police station would benefit nobody but the police.
Mr Okafors business soon started to make crazy profit. He changed all his children to private schools, opened a shop for his wife and the remaining money he had to spare, went into development of our community. Mr Okafor did more for us in three years than the government had done in thirty.
Nobody knew the source of his money and we didn’t bother to ask. With how bad things were, our drinking water making the children sick, our houses filled with cockroaches and all forms of rodents, we didn’t even care if he was a ritualist, so far nobody had gone missing.
It wasn’t until the police came to look for him that we had an idea of the source of his wealth. News of a taxi driver who became rich overnight spread fast and soon the real owner of the money found him. When they came, they asked for a certain Mr Okafor. Everybody denied knowing any Mr Okafor and really, it wasn’t a lie. As far as we knew, there was only Uncle O.K and nobody like Mr Okafor.
Mr Okafor didn’t take the honest road that day, but he saved a lot of lives.