8, DECEMBER, 2015
The excitement of seeing Lawal pay for his sins had given way to fear. He was about to face the man who had killed his father, and tormented him for months, it was all too much to take. He had entered the compound with Tola without any problem, the guards apparently did not know who he was or did not care. They had been led to a porch outside the main house and had been waiting for twenty minutes. It was a tactic, Lawal was trying to make them stew, and it was working, he was getting nervous.
“There they are; my latest troublers.” Lawal said as he entered, his voice booming through the room. Nicholas jumped to his feet, Tola cast him a disapproving look and he sat down. “You don’t have to stand Mr. Akorede, I’m no longer the governor you know, in fact I have not been the governor for a long time.” Lawal said, pulling a chair and dumping his massive body on it.
“Let’s go straight to business, we know you’re a busy man.” Tola said with a smirk.
“You are right, I am a busy man but there is something I need you to do for me before we go on here. Momoh!” He called leaning towards the door, a huge man with abs like Bruce Lee walked in. “Search the lady and the gentleman here, I believe they are wearing wires. I’m sorry guys, I just don’t trust journalists.”
Nicholas shook his head as Momoh began to frisk him, Tola’s plan of recording the conversation was going out of the window. Nicholas watched as Momoh’s large hands ran down Tola’s body, she just smiled and stared Lawal in the eye. A triumphant Momoh held up the device Tola had carefully hidden under her clothes. The visit now had no purpose.
“I was right not to trust you, wasn’t I?” Lawal asked with a smile, then is face became cold. “What do you want?”
“Well, I told you I had proof of you murdering Engineer Babatunde, unfortunately I don’t. But…“
“Of course you don’t, what do you think I am, a fool? I am only meeting you because I thought I’d have some fun with you clueless kids.”
“Don’t get too excited sir, I have something else that is just as bad, maybe worse.” Tola said handing him a file.
“What is this?” Lawal asked without opening the file.
“Open it but just in case you can’t read, that is proof of your theft.” Lawal reached for the glasses in his bre@st pocket, put it on and opened the file. “Remember the money you stole from your party, well, that’s the proof and I’m sending that to the headquarters, you’re just a few weeks away from jail.”
Nicholas looked at Lawal as he read the content of the file, his mouth was dry, he waited for Lawal to speak.
“Well, this is a very interesting docvment unfortunately it won’t hold up in court.” Lawal said slapping the file close.
“It won’t?” Tola asked. Nicholas was not surprised, of course Lawal would say that, he had to appear unshaken.
“No my dear girl, it won’t. You are a little stupid, aren’t you? Most journalists are, but Nicholas, why did you follow her in here, your father would have been disappointed. He wasn’t a very smart man himself though so I guess the fruit doesn’t fall very far from the tree.” Lawal said with a laugh.
“Tola, let’s go.” Nicholas said through clenched teeth, standing up.
“You leave when I say you can leave, sit down.” Lawal said pointing to the chair. Nicholas knew he was not in a position to argue, he was already beginning to regret the meeting, they had achieved nothing. “He was a good business man, no doubt, you had to be to build a company the size of CyberCorp but he was as foolish as he was smart. When I saw you make the mistake at Logged-In, I thought ‘that’s something Babatunde would never do’ but then I then I saw you walk into my house and I knew you still have some common ground of foolishness.”
Nicholas felt blood drain from his knuckles as he clenched them, his teeth vibrated in his mouth.
“What is the problem Nicholas? Cat got your tongue?” Lawal asked, leaning towards Nicholas.
“Shut up, you fat old dog.” Nicholas shouted. “You don’t know anything about me, you have no right to talk about my father either. What did I do to you that made you come after me? You did not have your hands full already? You were kicked off the ticket by your party, you have several people after you, a man like you probably has a disease or two and you leave all that to come after me? Who is the fool? Tola let’s go.” Nicholas tried to stand but his legs felt too weak, Tola was apparently too shocked to stand.
“Who is the fool, you ask. You know I was quite close with your father when I ran for governor, in fact he was one of my main sponsors but all that changed, why? Because I made a simple mistake, who hasn’t made mistakes, but he was always a self-righteous bastard.”
“And that’s why you killed him?” Tola asked.
“Have you ever wondered how I knew about you, Nicholas? He never mentioned you to me or to anybody that I know of, so my guess is he did not talk about you a lot, still I found you.”
Nicholas had thought about it, but it was not the time to talk. He stood up and Tola stood too, Lawal just sat with a demonic smile on his face. As soon as the governor came through, the smile would be gone. Men like Lawal did not do well in prison.
Nicholas was close to the door when he remembered Adam.
“Where’s Adam? I know you have him, you have caused enough harm, release him and let us take him.” Nicholas said.
“Oh, I’m not letting Adam go and Miss Tola I would advise you to be careful what you do with the information you have, you don’t want Adam’s blood on you, do you?”
9 DECEMBER, 2015
Adam waited to hear the speakers come on, it was the best time, the only time his plan could work. When the speakers came on, it was followed by a call to prayer and in five minutes all the men would be inside the mosque. Well almost all of them, his door was never left unmanned. He felt flattered by the attention, he was just a local cop not the navy seal but that morning the guard was going to be help him escape.
The day before, he had begged one of the guards for two stick of cigarettes, he did not smoke but the guard did not know that. He really was not interested in the cigarettes but in the lighter that the guard had foolishly agreed to give him.
The guard on duty that morning was a big man, very strong but he was also dumb, so Adam knew he had to smart because he was going to lose if things became rough.
The speakers came on and a voice called the men out for prayers. The men would not spend more than ten minutes in the mosque so he knew he had to move fast. He tiptoed across the room to the window, he brought out the lighter and lit the curtain. He had to hope the guard would smell the burning curtain on time, it was very important to his plan. He crossed the room to the door trying not to make any noise, he drew the curtain at the door to a side and wrapped the curtain around himself. Now he had to wait.
“What’s that smell?” He did not have to wait for long. “What are you burning in there?”
The guard opened the door and slowly stepped in, gun in hand. Adam had not anticipated the gun. He remained still as the guard moved further into the room his gun pointed forward.
“What are you burning?” The room was already filled with smoke, the guard seemed to be more interested in the fire than in finding him, he probably did not notice he was not on the room. Slowly Adam unwrapped the curtain and eased towards the door handle, the guard still had his gun pointed forward but he looked like he was going to turn back. Adam leaped towards him before he made the turn and threw all his weight into the guard. The guard fell, hit his head on the window and lay still.
“Well, that was easy.” Adam whispered, picked up the guard’s gun and stepped out of the room. He ran down the stairs three steps at a time, got to the ground floor and tiptoed through the corridor that led to the front door. His hands were wrapped around the handle when he heard a voice behind him.
“Why are you not in the mosque?” It was Lawal.
“I’m sorry Alhaji, I woke up late, that’s why I’m in a hurry.” Adam answered, trying his best to disguise his voice.
“Useless boy. Tell Momoh to see me immediately after the prayers.”
“Yes sir.” Adam calmly opened the door, he stepped out and shut the door behind him.
“What’s that smell?” He heard Lawal say from behind the door.
He ran as fast as he could towards the gate, it was locked. The gateman was a Christian he was the only one who was allowed to be asleep during the morning prayers. He did not have a plan on how to handle the gateman.
“Julius…” he called banging on the door of the gateman’s room. “Julius, fire…Julius, wake up, fire, fire.” Julius stood up and walked groggily towards the door.
“Who is that?”
“Julius, Alhaji is calling you, fire is burning upstairs. “ The prayer had finished and the men would start coming out any minute, he had to go before they noticed he was gone.
“Fire, where?” Julius was fully awake now, he grabbed a fire extinguisher from his room and ran out. Adam turned his face away as Julius came out.
“Go and meet Alhaji, right now.” Julius ran towards the house. The other guards were already coming out of the mosque. Adam moved into the gateman’s room and looked around for the keys. There were no keys on the wall, the men outside were already running, the fire was spreading.
Adam got on his knees and searched frantically, in a few minutes they would know the fire was coming from his room. He heard a jingling sound as he moved across the bed, it was the key; a bunch of keys. He grabbed it and stepped out of the room.
From the shouting and extra commotion in the house, it looked like they had noticed he was gone. He fiddled with the keys, any one of them could open the gate. He inserted the first key, it did not turn, he tried inserting the second but his hand shook too much.
“Hey, who is that at the gate?” He heard somebody shout.
He inserted the key, it turned and the gate slid open.
“Hey, stop!” He heard the voice say again.
“Shoot him.” It was Lawal who spoke this time. He jumped out of the gate and slammed it shut.
9, DECEMBER, 2015
Nicholas had not slept a wink, the meeting with Lawal kept running through his mind. He had blown his top and the meeting had produced nothing good. The only product of the meeting was the deep hatred he now felt for Lawal. The governor was his only hope of seeing Lawal go to jail, and nothing would satisfy him more than seeing him rot in prison.
His phone rang, it was the governor.
“Are you at the hotel?” The governor asked.
“Okay, Faruk will meet you there in a few minutes. I spoke with him last night and I threatened him sufficiently, he is willing to testify against Lawal in exchange for a reduced sentence. I want you to speak to him, you’re closer to this case than any other person, so get all the information you can from him”
“Okay sir.” Nicholas said as he ended the call.
Fifteen minutes later ,Faruk was sitting by his side in the car.
“This is really awkward for me.” Faruk said.
“I bet it is, I’m glad you and your boss are finally going to pay for all you have done, unfortunately you won’t be paying full price.”
“Don’t be vindictive.”
“Very funny.” Nicholas started the car. “We’re going to Tola’s place, she’s going to ask some questions, I’m sure you know who that is, right?”
His phone rang again, this time it was Kate.
“Babe, how are you? I’m sorry I didn’t call you last night, it was…” Nicholas started.
“Nick, Kemi is dead!”
“Oh my God! Are you sure?”
“Of course…hey, I gotta go, I’m expecting you, okay?” Kate said and ended the call.
“Did you hear that, huh? Kemi is dead! What did she do to you people? I kind of understand your interest in me, but Kemi, why?” Nicholas said, blinking away the tears.
“This docvment that proves Lawal guilty of fraud, your Dad had it and it was our belief at the time that he gave it to you.”
“Gave it to me? Why? We never spoke, why would he give it to me?” Nicholas asked, he was surprised, how did they even know about him?
“We were led to believe that he did.”
“Who led you to believe that he did? What has Kemi got to do with anything anyway?”
“Well, we contacted the DPO at Arandun and he told us about Kemi so we approached her in school. She didn’t know what she was asked to do at first, we just told her we needed to find out something from you. She didn’t agree willingly but you have to know we have our ways.”
“Okay, so at what point did you decide that kidnapping her was the best thing to do?”
“We had reason to believe she found something, we could not prove it but when the boss says something, you have to believe it. Unfortunately during the kidnap some things went wrong and she landed in the hospital”
“You know what? Just forget about it, can you prove all these? That’s what matters now.”
“Yes, I can. Are you guys sure, you can get Lawal behind bars? Because if you fail to, I’m a dead man, totally dead!”
“I don’t care if he kills you honestly, but I want him more than I want you, so you will survive this.”
Ten minutes of silent driving later and Nicholas pulled into a petrol station. He parked away from where any of the attendants or customers of the station could see him.
“Stay in the car, I just want to use their rest room, just two minutes okay?”
Faruk nodded and Nicholas headed for the rest room. He had a bad feeling about leaving Faruk alone although he had no reason to run, he had come to him on his own and he was under orders from the governor. But he could not shake off the feeling as he entered the bathroom, it was empty. He suddenly lost all desire to use the bathroom, he had to get out as soon as he could.
He half ran to the car, he opened the door and got in.
“We need to leave this place.” Nicholas said. Faruk was looking out through the window but he sat a bit too relaxed in the chair. “Faruk!” No answer! Nicholas pushed his arm and his head fell on his chest, Nicholas stifled a cry, there was a hole in his head. Faruk was dead.
To be continued