SIX YEARS AGO…
He knew why they were there and he was not ready to give in.
They had been coming constantly in the last one year and he wondered when they would realize he was not going to do what they wanted.
He was not going to renounce his mandate.
He took a seat opposite the tall lanky man who was already seated in the dimly lit room he was ushered into.
He had not murdered anyone, he was just a political prisoner but they had regarded him like a murderer and so his legs and hands were bound with chains.
“Please unchain him.” He heard the tall man say as he tried to adjust his eyes to the darkness that surrounded the man in front of him.
He was immediately unchained and for the first time in months, he felt somewhat free. Even though he was well aware of how temporary that state was.
“Do you want anything, Mahmud?” The man asked him.
“No” He responded, he did not want anything. Not when he knew he was going to be asked to renounce his mandate. He was the man of the people, the people had voted for him and the people had claimed him as their president in what was the freest and fairest election in Nigeria’s history.
Yet, he had been thrown into jail unfairly. His crime was that he had been bold enough to declare himself the president after the present military governement at the time refused to acknowledge his victory.
Then they had sent different people holding top positions and who had something to gain from the people who had thrown him into jail, asking him in different ways to renounce his mandate.
And at no point in time had he agreed. And he was never going to. They were all just wasting their time.
“Your wife escaped an assassination attempt yesterday, you should stop endagering her life” the man said.
“I don’t see how I am endagering her life.” He replied, relaxing on the wooden chair he was sitting on.
“She is fighting for you. Tell her it is a lost cause, Mahmud.”
Mahmud scoffed, “Does she look to you like someone you can just talk out of fighting for a cause she believes so strongly in?”
“Her life is on the line”
“Because you and the rest are threatened.”
Mahmund stood, since they had removed the chains, he decided to make most of the little time he had free. He carefully walked in the little space he had. He did not pace, he just walked around the chair he was sitting on some seconds before.
“I assure you that we do not feel threatened by you or your wife.”
“Then why do you all come here, trying to convince me to renounce the mandate?” Mahmud asked, but he got no response. He smiled as if the other man could see him clearly. “Go and tell Ibrahim that I am not doing his bid. He dined with the devil, made a few mistakes and now he wants me to pay for it.”
“This has nothing to do with Ibrahim.” Mahmud’s guest said but he knew Mahmud did not believe him even before he responded.
“I am not a little boy. Ibrahim and I have been friends for over two decades and I know how he operates and how he makes people clean up his mess.” Mahmud hit his fist on the table, “Tell him to come here and face me with this bullshit if he can! Tell him I am not going to be one of those people he can just use.”
“Ibrahim has your best interest at heart, Mahmud. That is why he thinks renouncing this mandate is the best move for you.”
Mahmud stifled laughter, “I thought you said this has nothing to do with him.”
His visitor tried to find words but Mahmud had no patience for that.
“Like I mentioned earlier, he is my friend and I know how he operates. Now go back and tell him to stop sending people to me because nothing has changed and nothing will change.” then Mahmud yelled for the warden who had led him into the room.
“Mahmud you will regret this.”
Mahmud ignored him as he waited for the warden to bound him with the cuffs he had removed earlier.
“Have a great day, Mister.” Mahmud said as he was escorted out of the room.
Chibuzor Obi inhaled the ciga held tightly in his fingers, his eyes on Dapo. The latter felt like the former needed him to be intimidated but for some reason, he was not.
Rather, he was trying to figure the older man out. He was trying to read signs, to understand what he and his partner had to gain in this whole situation.
He had been too angry at limping-sicko like Tiwa called him that he had forgotten to be sensible. But now that his senses were slowly returning, he wanted to know what was in for these guys who for some reason had been too generous to him.
Chibuzor kept staring at him, as if wanting to bore a hole through him. But he sat there, unflinching and unfazed by the older man’s cold gaze.
“Is an attempt on your life not enough reason for vengeance?” Chibuzor asked, he was calm too calm for Dapo. Something was just not right about the man.
“Maybe it is.” Dapo responded.
“Then why are you hell bent on trying to understand why we are in full support of your plans to murder the man that took away your life?”
“You planted this in my mind and made it look like it was all my idea. It was your idea.”
“It was your idea, Obisesan. We just helped you bring it to life.”
Dapo was becoming frustrated, but the more the older man evaded him, the more convinced he became that this was more their plan than it was his.
There was silence in the room for a few minutes, then Chibuzor stood. “I take it that this meeting is over.” He said the words more like a statement than a question. Then he strode towards the door, “You do not have to feel bad about taking due revenge, Obisesan. I did that once and I don’t feel bad for the people I killed even thirty years after.” He placed his hand on the door knob, “Focus on what’s more important, which is making a man pay for the terrible things he did. For the betrayal, for the heartlessness and for the evil.” he opened the door, “Have a good day, Obisesan.” And then he was gone.
Dapo relaxed on his seat. Chibuzor Obi had said “…for the betrayal…” What betrayal?
Limping-sicko might have wronged him by taking out his friends but that was not in any way betrayal.
Were his fears right? Was he being used to take out an enemy the IGE&OBI family did not want around them anymore? If that was the case? What was going to happen to him after all of these? Was he safe? Was he being set up?
Chibuzor recognized hesitancy and doubt when he saw it. But if there was anything his very few close friends knew him for, it was that he had no patience for hesitancy.
He was at the back of his recently purchased Hyundai and was being driven back to the office from the secret place he had met with Dapo. His phone was glued to his ears as he waited patiently for Lanre Ige to pick up.
“Ige, the boy is having second thoughts.” He said immediately he heard Lanre’s voice on the other end of the phone.
“How do you know that?”
“That is because I just met with him. I don’t want him to have time to figure this out, I don’ t even want him to have time to think.”
Ige got it, “Okay fine. I will handle it.”
He hung up and rode home in silence.
“Sir, if he is having second thoughts then maybe he does not think this is a good idea anymore.” Tiwa said to Lanre Ige as soon as the man updated her with Dapo’s current stance on the matter.
“He cannot think like that. He cannot be afraid.”
Tiwa knew Dapo well enough to know he was not afraid. He was probably just beginning to think clearly for the first time since he agreed to IGE&OBI’s plans.
“I think we should give him time.”
“That is what it would look like. It would look to him like we are giving him time but you would be close to him during this period and make sure whenever he tries to change his mind, you keep in back on track.”
Tiwa nodded slowly, she did not know if her bosses knew but the more the more desperate they got, the more guilty they looked.
“I am giving you time off work for the next few days, go to him, talk to him, have sex with him if you can just stop him from bailing.” He said.
“I cannot have sex with him sir. I am pregant for another man.”
“I don’t care! Just do something!”
Tiwa gaped at her boss. She had never seen him this way, if she had not been convinced about how serious the whole plan was to them before now, she was very convinced now that she watched him in his office, angry.
TEN YEARS BEFORE…
Mahmud Kash Abiona was a very busy man. He sometimes had meetings in two different countries in one day and barely had time to sleep. That was why he did not have time for meetings that went nowhere.
If he was going to sit with anybody then it had better be worth his time.
Today, he was on his way to America to meet with the president to discuss a few important things about a small investment of his in America. He had however been called by one of his top friends in the Nigerian government that he needed to meet with someone before he left.
The someone in question was a man who needed his help to keep his law firm alive.
Mahmud was known to the people as a man with a heart of gold; he was a philantropist who gave everything without thinking twice, he built schools, hospitals and houses for the less priviledged. And he never stopped getting the call to help. In all honesty, he was not tired of getting the call.
He loved to help, he loved to give and he would never stop.
He was supposed to meet with this person in a few minutes and then be on his way to America. He waited impatiently for the person to arrive.
“Sir, there is someone here to see you.”
“Oya let him come quick” He said hurriedly, he had been waiting for so long he had no time to wait anymore.
His escort nodded and then opened the door for Mahmud’s visitor.
Mahmud looked at the younger man in front of him, he was not so young but he was certainly younger than Mahmud. He looked like one of those people who had owned a lot at some point but was now struggling to hold on to the little they could get.
A failed businessman.
Mahmud smiled warmly, stretched his hand for a handshake.
“Mahmud Abiona.” He said.
The younger man hesitated to take his hand but Mahmud insisted by refusing to retrieve the hand.
“Lanre Ige” The younger man said.
Mahmud waved him into a seat, “Kayode said you need my help”
Lanre Ige nodded and got on one knee.
“Please stand, Lanre. You have come to the right place. I will surely help you.”
Lanre Ige sighed in relief. He had not been given the help but something told him he had really come to the right place.