A wedlock of Rita Dominic and the Governor
From the glossy cover which flashes Rita Dominic's alluring portrait, The Governor's Wife easily cuts the picture of a movie that is newly released to the market. But The Governor's Wife is neither a movie nor a drama script despite the fact that the cover bears the portrait of the pretty actress.
As an award-winning novel written by Bisi Ojediran, The Governor's Wife, was recently revised by the author following its rating as one of the best 25 books in Nigeria by Sprectrum Books. Interestingly, the novel is the third to be so revised by Ojediran whose first book, The Black Godfather was revised with the portrait of another prominent actor, Jide Kosoko on the front cover. In the same way, the second novel, Survival of the Beautiful was revised on the request of the author's agent in the United States.
In the case of The Governor's Wife, the need to revise the original edition came when the United States-based publishers hinted the author of a possible reprint following the announcement by Spectrum that the novel had won the Book of the Year award for 2002.
Essentially, however, Ojediran said the urge to revise the novel was equally influenced by a desire to accommodate current trends in the anti-corruption war in many countries of the world, including Nigeria.
As a social commentary on societal vices, The Governor's Wife had to undergo many changes for several reasons but the author retained the plot structure. According to Ojediran, the novel was increased from a total of 55, 000 words and 29 chapters to 63,000 words and 31 chapters. The new edition is now rich in characters and episodes in such a way that makes it appealing even to non-Nigerian readers.
Centred around an investigative journalist, Peter Abel, the novel traces efforts by the protagonist to unveil the many cases of corruption, greed, mismanagement, adultery, among other crimes by the political office holders in Bammaka State. The journalist, who is bent on writing a good story on the culprits, soon finds himself in a more complex situation as the state governor; Huud, his ambitious wife, Rita, the party chairman, Tiko and others trail him for elimination.
Although certain government officials like Maka and Camp try to educate the leaders on the dangers of impoverishing the state; particularly through desertification, the politicians revel in looting the treasury in order to boost their foreign bank accounts. Eventually Camp loses his wife and children to gunmen while Abel is more determined to bring the murderers and the corrupt politicians to book. But as he moves on and encounters Tiko's wife, he discovers that Comfort Dees (Governor Huud's mistress but a silent lover to Camp) has disappeared. And when Abel tries to question Rita, he meets with a brickwall and a threat to his life.
Following several attacks and a detention in a desert camp, Abel almost lost his life until he meets with a man who claims responsibility for killing of the Camp on the orders of the opposition party leader. Eventually Abel is let off the hook by a good Samaritan, thus leaving Tiko to believe that Abel is no more. Meanwhile, Anel escapes to London to continue his investigation. He trails the politicians who have purchased mansions and estates in England, using the Metrolitan Police to advantage.
On arrival in Bamma, Abel uncovers the plot by Rita (Huud's wife) and Tiko to kill the governor and later take over power. Along the line, with the death of the governor in an helicopter crash, Abel publishes the story in anger thus alerting the entire state about the rot in the land. The story ends with the arrest of Rita and Tiko but with the latter slumping.
On how the author came about the idea of using artistes on the front cover pages, Ojediran explained that unlike before when the novels were illustrated by foreign models, the choice of Nigerian artistes was first experimented with Jide Kosoko and it turned out to be a fruitful decision. According to the author, when Kosoko's choice was found useful for The Black Godfather, it became natural that an artiste of equal virtue like Rita Dominic be chosen for The Governor's Wife.
" Rita is a good and popular actress. She does not live a world of scandals. You can see the value she adds to the cover. I am also grateful to my designer in London, Mr Bradley Green of Rima Design, who designs for some popular artistes around the world…in a country where reading culture is poor, it is good to attract peole to books for the contents to trap them. Then they read on and on," Ojediran said.