“I think that we should get some of the junior managers involved in this acquisition, sir.” Emeka told Mr. Vincent.
“Why is that?”
“We need to make sure they will be able to handle the pressures they will face. It is better to prune the chaff now instead of when they are in a position to make or break this company. After all, neither you nor I will be around forever.”
“I can see the wisdom of your statement. Alright, bring some of them in on a rotating basis and make sure you supervise them closely. I do not want them costing me any money.”
“Haha, of course, sir. Now, in other news, we have posted a 22% increase in profit as measured against this time last year. What charity would you like to spread the love to this time?” Emeka said looking down at his folder.
“Mr. Vincent, did you hear me?” Emeka asked as he looked up to see Mr. Vincent silently fighting for air.
“Mr. Vincent.” The president shouted as he jumped up and rushed to the old man’s side. “Janet, get some guys in here, we need to rush the Chairman to the hospital.”
Emeka worked quickly, unbuttoning the man’s shirt and checking his pulse while he put his rudimentary CPR skills to use.
“What do you mean……” Janet said as she strolled in to find out what the commotion was all about but stopped mid sentence when she saw what was happening.
“ARE YOU STILL HERE?” Emeka roared. “This man will not die on my watch.”
Janet scrambled to obey orders this time and within a few minutes, a group of the strongest looking young executives had gathered and were carrying Mr. Vincent between them.
“Janet, call Mr. Vincent’s children and tell them we are taking him to St. Nicholas, we have no idea what is wrong with him.”
They arrived at the ground floor and rushed their ailing chairman into a waiting company van and sped off to the hospital. All regard for their own safety was forgotten as Emeka did the best he could to make sure Mr. Vincent kept on breathing.
The hospital was a place that sucked the joy from the healthy and pushed the ill further down the road to death. The smell of disinfectant mixed with the stench of human misery assaulted Emeka’s nose as he handed Mr. Vincent off to the nearest nurses and waited for the man’s children to arrive.
They trickled through the wide doors of the hospital one by one.
First came Dante Jr. a look of forced calm was plastered on his face.
Next to arrive at the hospital was Naomi, her red-rimmed eyes told everything that a casual observer needed to know, she had been crying.
Last to come was Walter, he looked like he had just woken up from a reckless night of drinks, drugs, and sex.
A few minutes after Walter arrived, a nurse approached them and spoke “the doctor will see you now.”
All of them stood on wooden legs and followed her meekly to the physician’s office.
“Welcome, I understand that Mr. Vincent only has three children.” the doctor said while looking at Emeka pointedly.
“Will you stop wasting our damn time and tell us what you have to say!” Naomi demanded as she struggled to keep the last vestiges of her composure.
“Please excuse my sister Doctor, this is a trying time for us and we just want to know what is going on with our father.”
“Yes, of course,” The doctor said, fully chastised. “My name is Dr. Lateef and I have been attending to your father for months now. He is terminally ill and is in the final stages of lung cancer.”
“You are a liar, the man doesn’t even smoke!” Naomi shrieked and would have struck the poor doctor if Emeka had not restrained her.
“Dr. Lateef, is there nothing we can do?” Emeka asked calmly.
“I am afraid not, he has gone across the world and visited the best hospitals and the prognosis is the same. It is amazing he has been able to make it this far.”
“What is the prognosis then?”
“At most, he has six months to live, but those six months will be spent in extreme pain and discomfort.”
“Shit.” Walter cursed as he stormed out of the room.
“Thank you, doctor, can we see him?” Dante Jr asked morosely.
“Yes, you may.”
They were led to Mr. Vincent’s room and looked on as a ventilator helped sustain the life in his body. The man looked like a shell of his former self and the true nature of his condition was obvious to anyone that looked on.
“What are we going to do?” Walter asked
“Pray.” was the only answer Emeka could muster but he knew that the man had meant what they were going to do about the position that the old man would soon leave vacant.
“Emeka, go home, you have done enough and I know your wife will be worried by now.” Naomi chimed in “Don’t worry, daddy will be fine.”
“Thank you, Naomi, if anything comes up call me immediately.” Emeka replied as he got to his feet.
“I will, good night.”
As Emeka took a cab home, he wondered what the next few weeks would bring now that it was apparent a new head would need to be chosen.
He did not have to wait long to see what was on the minds of each of the children. After two weeks of the revelation that their father was on their deathbed, Each one of the children began to lobby for the position of Chairman of the company.
They solidified their individual power-bases and approached Emeka in turn.
Dante was the first. He attempted to cajole Emeka with flattery and bribes; promising to increase his standing in the company as long as he supported him.
Next came Naomi, she attempted to convince Emeka that it was what her father would have wanted because she was his favorite.
Lastly, Walter came and tried to play the camaraderie card and remind Emeka of the times they had gone on trips together.
To all of their pleas, Emeka turned a deaf ear. He was not going to listen to anyone attempting to assume the throne of a dead man. As far as he was concerned, The chairman was still alive and would make his own decision in due time.
Finally, he called all of the children together and told them exactly what he felt about their overtures.
“Each one of you has approached me,” he began. “Some of you have offered me wealth, others have tried to play on my humanity while still others have attempted to make me see the “light”. As far as I am concerned, Mr. Vincent will come back to the office and announce to the world who he wants to take over the position of Chairman.”
“Until that time, I will not entertain the idea of siding with any one of you. Each one of you has unique strengths and also unique weaknesses and I am not the right one to decide the fate of a company that was built by a man who is still in the land of the living.”
“I trust that each one of you will respect my decision and refrain from approaching me on the subject again. Thank you for your understanding.”
With that, he hoped to have put an end to the power struggle but knew in his heart that this was just the beginning of the problems he would face as a result of his actions at Constellation Industries.