He’d recorded everything. Even the noisy Wizkid music in the background while Chris Owambe boasted about his next move and when the package he had ordered with the next batch of gadgets woud arrive.
And he had made sure the man’s face was very well captured by the camera he had positioned carefully in the office.
So when Chris took an excuse and said he had to go and attend to some things, he took the video, uploaded it on Youtube and then called his contact at the Nigerian Police Force. A contact one of his well connected Uncles had given him just two days before.
“Good. Good job, Chima. We would handle it from here.”
Chima smiled and relaxed on the seat in his office. The next thing was to buy Chris out of his company and that was going to be possible now that his Uncle had agreed to loan him money, and that he knew Chris would need the funds for his upcoming trial.
He might have lost Tiwa, but he hadn’t lost his precious company.
“I insist on going with her! I insist on going there because I want to ask them both who they are really and why they are like this. They owe me a lot of explanation, Dapo, I did not even know they knew Daddy.” Tiwa was not going to stop. She wanted to follow Halima as she made ready to leave Dapo’s house for Chibuzor Obi and Lanre Ige’s to fix the cameras they needed to know everything that was hidden to them.
Dapo held her firmly, holding her arms tight so that she could not move them and so she could not get away and follow Halima.
“Calm down, Tiwa. We would all know from here after Halima is done fixing the cameras.” Dapo said calmly, hoping his voice would soothe her raging nerves.
Halima was done dressing up in a leather ensemble and she was excitedly checking herself out as she looked forward to the mission ahead.
“Remember, fix the cameras as soon as you can and get out without being touched.” Bode repeated and Halima nodded. This was exciting for her. She loved to do exciting things. She loved to do dangerous and exciting things, things that made her heart race, her pulse quicken and that were exhilarating.
“I look like black widow” She said as she posed for a selfie before slipping into a pair of comfortable heels.
“Alright black widow, I need you to be careful.” Bode said to her, scared for her and the next few hours.
It was early in the morning, the day after the night Dapo had run out of Lanre Ige’s presence and they wanted to get things done fast and unravel the mystery that shrouded IGE&OBI.
Tiwa was weak, she had been weak since the day before. For a long time, she had thought the enemy was Chris Owambe and the military Government that ordered the assassination of both parents.
She had hated all the people who had pressured her father to denounce his mandate and she had refused to acknowledge them even when they had extended what she felt was a pretentious arm of comfort to them.
But never had she known that her enemies were closer than she thought. Her enemies were the ones who kept her close, who she worked for, who put food on her table.
She gasped as she realized how in danger she had been for a while now. Were they watching her, waiting for when to strike? Had they positioned her around Dapo so they could destroy them both when the time was right?
She swayed and Dapo held her from falling. He placed her head on his chest and muttered comforting words.
“So guys, I will see you later.” Halima said and caught the keys Bode tossed at her. She winked at them, opened the door and disappeared into the car in seconds.
Dapo looked at his cousin, “Would she be fine?” he asked, concerned about Halima.
Bode nodded. He walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water. He might have nodded when Dapo asked about Halima’s welfare but he was scared shitless.
And he hoped Halima would be fine.
She blasted Seyi Shay’s Murda as she sped into the estate that housed Chibuzor Obi’s duplex.
“She say she wan murda, she say she wan do that tin yeah…” she chanted the lyrics enthusiastically while manouevering her car into a parking spot in front of the man’s house. She turned off the music and then got down from Bode’s car that she had been given for this purpose.
As she made her way to the front gate and knocked, it occurred to her that she should have put a tracking device on herself and made the others know where to find her if anything went wrong but she shrugged off the feeling that something would go awry away as she knocked the gate again.
The cameras would come on when she fixed them anyway, she thought to herself as she felt her handbag which was housing the tiny gadgets that would be revealing a lot of secrets to them in a short time.
The security guy was a young teenager with heavy tribal marks that made him seem like he’d been warring with a lion.
She shook her head as she eyed him and his tribal marks. He certainly was not Yoruba because his tribal marks did not look familiar. It looked like someone had picked a blade and just angrily made marks on his face without thinking. She wondered if he’d cried a lot as a baby when that injustice was being done to him.
“I’m here to see Chibuzor Obi.” She said and then pouted, her red lips inviting.
The teenager would have asked under normal circumstances if he was expecting her and then gone inside to check but when she ran her fingers through his face, teased his earlobes with her tongue and then slipped a thousand naira note in his breast pocket, he had opened the door to the house for her and directed him where he would find Chibuzor.
He told her not to enter the room without knocking, the horrible dog was there.
Halima smiled at him and sashayed into the house. She poked her head out and asked him if there were cameras because she wanted to walk in naked to surprise Chibuzor, he told her No. Chibuzor had no cameras.
She giggled and ran in.
Chibuzor Obi had not slept well. He had a restless night because of two main reasons, his mind was not at rest regarding the Dapo Obisesan issue and he had not seen the girl that was supposed to warm his bed that morning.
He strolled out of the bedroom and stepped into the vast sitting room with his dog. That was when he saw her. He knew the dog would leap for her and would attack her and so he grabbed it and waited for an explanation from the pretty girl standing in his sitting room with a seductive smile on her face.
“They never told me you were this handsome.” she said and then looked at the dog. Halima hated dogs, in fact, she hated all animals. Her and a lot of her friends back at the slum killed other people’s dogs for fun and sometimes even ate them.
But she smiled at this one now, hating its gut every second it howled and barked but plastering the smile on her face regardless.
“Who sent you?”
“I came here instead of…” She suddenly looked like she was going to cry. “See she told me how amazing you are in bed and how generous you were and I wanted some of that goodness and so I snuck behind her and came here. She must not know.”
Halima waited to see if the man would believe her. She hoped he would.
He stared at her for a full minute and then looked at his dog and dragged him out of the room.
Halima hurriedly fixed a camera on the chandelier and then ran up the stairs into his bedroom.
She’d just been done fixing yet another in the room when he walked in. He walked towards her and then told her to strip down.
She was doing that when he heard footsteps. It was the sound of heels hitting the floor.
He frowned and left the room to see who it was. When he left, Halima hurriedly pulled up her zip. She peeped out and heard voices.
“So who is that upstairs?” She heard Chibuzor ask. Her heart began to race.
Lanre Ige pulled up in front of his partner’s house and walked into the building. The teenage security boy who had been so ecstatic at being tipped allowed him in the way he’d allowed Halima and the other woman in.
Lanre burst into the house and called for Chibuzor. Chibuzor Ige, thinking the sudden appearance of his partner at his house had to be more important walked into the sitting room.
Halima made to leave when the Brazilian bombshell strolled into the bedroom, she eyed Halima and began to ask who she was when Halima scrambled out of the bedroom.
The bombshell called her a bitch and relaxed on the bed. Halima ran down the stairs and saw Lanre and Chibuzor in the middle of discussion. She knew she could not go through the front door and so she scanned the area for the kitchen exit.
Bode, Tiwa and Dapo watched as the two men sat. The visuals were clear, the sound, good.
“I am worried about Halima. How would she get out?” Bode asked, getting sick with worry every second. He made to dial her number.
“Don’t call her, Chairmo. If the phone rings out when she is trying to make an escape she would be in trouble.” Dapo said to his cousin.
Bode sighed in frustration.
“Send her a message.” Tiwa suggested and Bode hurriedly typed a text to Halima asking her if she was safe.
Halima was happy to see that the kitchen had an exit she could leave the house through. She opened it and stepped out, determined to make it out of the house as soon as she could.
Lanre Ige had told his friend and partner he had been unable to sleep during the night and that they had to find a way to use Dapo and be rid of him as soon as possible.
“Let him strike tonight.” Lanre continued, “Owambe can die tonight after he must have gotten the documents from him. The documents and ammunitions arrived this morning and we can get them from Owambe now.”
Chibuzor agreed with Lanre for once, “I am getting more irritated by the boy’s presence everyday. He strikes tonight and the black guys can silence him before he gets home. It would be made to look like an accident.”
Tiwa gasped as she watched her bosses discuss Dapo like he was not human, like they did not fight tooth and nail to save him from jail.
“Bastards” Bode muttered as they all continue to watch.
“He’s the most stubborn we ever had.” Lanre muttered and Chibuzor nodded. Bode’s phone rang, it was Halima.
“Thank God.” Bode said, relieved that Halima was on her way back to the house.
“Where are your security by the way?” Lanre asked, looking around the house for the uniformed policemen that usually guarded Chinuzor’s house.
“I let them go during the weekends and public holidays because I always have company.” Chibuzor said referring to the Brazilian bombshell in his bedroom, he suddenly remembered her and the other girl that had come in earlier.
“That reminds me, I have to go and check them.” Chibuzor said, rising and walking slowly towards the stairs.
Lanre teased him as he left.
Bode watched as Chibuzor disappeared from the camera’s view. He faced Dapo, “I think we should report this to the police.”
Tiwa scoffed, “Do you know how powerful these guys are? I bet they have the police on lockdown. I say, let’s get a gun and kill the motherfuckers ourselves!”
Dapo saw the hurt in her eyes and the anger in her voice. She was angry, livid, enraged at what they might have done to her father and what they had planned for him.
“Tiwa, I took law into my hands once and I paid for it with precious years of my life. We would be reporting this to the Police and nothing more.” Dapo said gently but she just shrugged, none of those words calming her.
They watched as Chibuzor walked into the room with the Brazilian bombshell. She was stark naked, her legs part, ready and waiting for Chibuzor. Dapo looked away, he could not bring himself to watch that with Tiwa sitting beside him.
“Where is the other girl?” Chibuzor quizzed, looking around for Halima.
“Do you want her or do you want me? Where did you find the tramp?” She asked angry that Chibuzor still wanted to see someone else when she was all there for him.
Chibuzor made to talk when he heard Lanre’s voice.
“Chibuzor! There is a problem at the office. We have to go now!”
Chibuzor eyed the beauty in his bed, “Don’t go anywhere. You must be here when I get back and you must be ready to tell me where the other girl went to.” He said and disappeared through the door.
Chibuzor and Lanre walked through the broken glass doors and inspected the office that was in disarray. Chibuzor did not know what to think of what had happened to the office but when he walked into his personal office some minutes earlier and detected that the file was gone, he panicked.
“That file is gone.” He said to Lanre immediately he discovered it was missing.
“The one that had documents on Mahmud. Everything is gone. Even the ones where he signed over some of his assets.”
Lanre paled, “Who do you think did this?”
They thought about it for a while and then Chibuzor said, “But his daughter did not even know we had a relationship with him. Could she have done this?”
“Of course not. It must have been someone who knew. Someone who knew about our visits to him in Prison and what we stood to gain after his death.”
Chibuzor was worried but Lanre was beginning to panic. Chibuzor saw this and became irritated.
“What’s wrong with you. Ige? This is not a big deal, we would figure out who did this and make them pay besides those files mean nothing anyway. We already got the ownership of the things we needed.”
Lanre agreed but he was still uncertain, ” But remember the letter about denouncing the mandate that we typed and you took to him on the day he died… that is there.”
“Yes. But nobody would ever believe we had it. There is no proof it came from us.” Chibuzor said and Lanre nodded slowly.
Tiwa was numb, she could not feel anything. She just sat there and stared at nothing in particular as she realized these two men, the men she had called bosses and respected for so long might have backstabbed her father.
NINE YEARS BEFORE
Mahmud was tired of the trips to the dimly lit room where his visitors pleaded with him to denounce his mandate. He had mentioned it to the last guy that came, told him not to return and told him to tell the people who sent him that he was tired of seeing their faces. Nothing had changed and nothing was ever going to change.
When his visitor this time sat opposite him, he had been shocked beyond words. They had sent everyone and anyone they thought would change his mind but never had he expected to see this man sitting in front of him.
At first he told himself this man had come to check on him, because he had been of help to him during his years of struggle but then, he remembered this was not the room where he received visitors. This was the room where he was forced to renounce his mandate.
“Kash, how are you doing?” He asked with a warm friendly smile but Mahmud knew better than to smile back. On the table was a big brown envelope, Mahmud looked at it, wondering what was inside.
He missed his wife, Kuburat and he missed his two children, Tiwa and Ewa. He wanted to go home to them, he wanted to see them more often, especially his kids now that his wife had been assasinated. He wished he could leave but he could not stop fighting, he had won the elections, he had won the people’s heart and he was not going to stop fighting. Not now, not ever.
“Lanre, why are you here?” Mahmud asked the man in front of him, his tone was cold. He hated that Lanre Ige, the man whom he had helped because he thought he was a good person was now being used by the enemy against him.
“You did not answer me, Kash. How are you doing? Are you well? You do not look well? They said you were sick last week.” Lanre continued to say but Mahmud had no patience for his words.
He coughed as he tried to speak. The cough was normal at first and then it became violent. His strength was failing him, his health was not the way it used to be. He needed urgent medical attention but they were not granting him that.
He folded his frail hands and looked at Lanre, waiting, watching, expecting him to say the words.
Lanre pushed the envelope forward, “They want you to sign this. It has already been typed. It is a letter announcing your renouncement of the mandate.”
Mahmud said nothing, his heart ached. His heart ached because of his country, because of his family, because of the knife that had been driven through it so many times by people he trusted.
“Lanre, why? Why did you let them talk you into this?” He asked, wanting to know what was at stake for him. What must have made him take the decision to come there and betray him.
Lanre looked away, “They said its the best thing for you.” he said.
“And they promised you position, power, money…”
Lanre could not look at the face of his benefactor. He had gone to one of the big men in government to ask for help and they had told him that he had to do this. He had no choice.
“Go back and tell them nothing has changed, I am not going to bend.” Mahmud said and stood. Lanre nodded and watched him leave. Then he pulled out his phone and placed a call.
“He did not budge. Yes. Yes. Yes.”
And later that evening, Mahmud was called into a meeting that had three men he did not recognize and Chibuzor and Lanre. They told him he would be released after passing the test of refusing to renounce his mandate for a long time. Lanre had been supervised by Chibuzor as he prepared the tea that eventually killed Mahmud Kash Abiona.
He had served it also. He had served the tea that killed the man who saved him once.
BACK TO PRESENT
Halima and Dapo were doing a lot of work holding Tiwa down but she was not letting it. She was not letting them calm her down.
“They backstabbed Daddy, maybe they also killed him too. I want to find out!” She yelled.
Dapo’s heart broke for her. It broke because he did not know what to do to make her feel better, because he knew she was going through a lot of pain and disappointment and because he wanted to do something to ease her pain but he was confused.
“You cannot do anything to these men.” Halima said, “But you know people. Get them to deal with them.”
Bode eyed Halima, “No Halima. She will do this the right way, she would hand them over to the Police.”
“The system is messed up, Chairmo” Halima said and Bode agreed but he was not going to allow Halima believe she could always deal with every situation through jungle justice. She already believed she could use violence or the ways she had picked up from the streets to fix things, he did not want her to believe so much in it she preached it to others.
“The system might be messed up, but we are not messed up.” Bode said and raised a hand to silence Halima when she made to argue. He faced Dapo, “Dapo, you are vacating this premises now. Pick your things as soon as you can, we are leaving here. Then we take the evidence we have to the Police ASAP. Your life is in danger.”
Dapo dashed into the room and picked the few things he had brought into this house when he came. As he packed, the last few months went through his mind. They had lied to him from the very beginning, telling him they wanted him to be here to train and be fit because Chris Owambe was a tough nut to crack.
All the while just feeding him fat till the day Chris would ship in the things they wanted and then he would be told to hijack them.
He sighed as he wondered in what hands the future of the country was. IGE&OBI were part of the powerful people, the ones who sat in the corridor of power and the ones who were feeding the government with poison.
They had all agreed to go to Tiwa’s house. It was where she would feel relaxed and safe and where she could not just disappear without them noticing.
They had asked her whom she knew that knew an officer in a top position in the force and she had mentioned Chima. He was the only person who she was close to that had the connections. Even her Uncle Sam was a civilian who made his money away from politics and its dirty game. So he knew nobody unlike his half brother, her father, Mahmud Abiona.
Halima turned on the TV in her room where they sat and flipped through the channels. Chris Owambe was trending, he had been arrested because he was trying to bring guns in, a video of him had surfaced on Youtube earlier, there was no way he was getting off this one.
He was going down.
Halima chuckled, “This guy just has misfortune written all over his destiny. Just when he was going to run for Governor, he got into this mess.”
Tiwa watched him numbly, his arrest had also been televised. He looked miserable as he was pushed roughly into a Police van. It served him right, people like him deserved this type of ending but she still wanted something bad to happen to her bosses.
They backstabbed her father and probably knew about his death seeing as they stood a lot to gain after his death.
She wondered if they would have acquired the inheritance her and Ewa got if they had found out about it too. But all that had been in Uncle Sam’s name. Her father had done that when he suspected that some people close to him were backstabbing him.
Tears trickled down her face, her poor parents. They had fought for a country where there would be free and fair elections, where life would be easier, where corruption would be far from but they had died, losing the fight, losing everything.
Halima saw her crying and she patted her, she was not one to be emotional, neither was she one to know what to do when someone got emotional but she patted her anyway.
Tiwa faced her, “You know who can help me, don’t you, Hal?”
Halima looked away, Tiwa was asking her to disobey Bode and she would never do that.
Tiwa held on to her as if her life depended on it, “Please Hal, help me. My heart aches, this hurts. I have to be able to fight back. The system would release them because these men are the system, they are part of the rotten system. Please help me.”
Halima shook her head, she stood up and walked towards the entrance of the room, “I want to go and get a drink. Excuse me.” she said without looking back.
Bode had dropped Dapo off with Chima where they were supposed to talk about what to do regarding IGE&OBI’s arrest.
He told Dapo he was going to watch his back. Dapo had trusted him and had gone to face a cold Chima.
Chima looked at Dapo with disgust, as if he would shoot him if he could but Dapo did not care. Chima only felt that way about him because he found him intimidating. Chima was a man with insecurities, a man who tried to cover up his insecurity with his wealth and authority but Dapo was a man who had been born to know that he did not need money to battle insecurity.
“Shebi you took her away, protect her now.” He spat but Dapo ignored him.
“Chima, I am not here to try and be friends, I am here because of a woman that I love and that you love. And if you decide not to help me because of your bruised ego, because you have chosen not to see this is about her not me, then I would go somewhere else and find help. Because unlike you, I would protect the woman I love by swallowing my pride. I won’t think of my ego or my interests where her life is concerned.”
Chima looked away, maybe Dapo was right. He would give them his contacts at the force, the one who had made sure Chris Owambe paid for his sins.
He was in a good mood anyway, Chris was getting ready to sell his shares as he sat with Dapo, so he would save Tiwa. He would help save the woman he loved.
BODE HAD TOLD CHIMA HE WAS GOING TO WATCH HIS BACK and by that, he meant every single word of it.
He had made a lot of contacts with the underworld when he was a cultist and he knew many powerful people in the country. Powerful people his cousin could never dream that he knew.
When Dapo had been locked up because he dared to fight for justice seven years before, Bode had done nothing and for that, he did not forgive himself.
But like he had told himself countless times in the past days, he was not going to watch history repeat itself this time.
He parked his car in the familiar spot he had met Bombastic in the past. Bombastic hopped in and they drove to the house of Maroof Adelabu, the king of touts, who lived in Oshodi.
Adelabu owed Bode one and he was glad to see him again.
“You sure say you no wan shack anytin?” Maroof asked in his thick voice, a voice that had thickened over the years because of a heavy intake of weed.
Bode shook his head, he was impatient.
Maroof shrugged, “Those people you talk for phone, I sabi dem sef. Dem be omo ale. One of my boy wey go prison and wey comot, na dem comot am, one time e dey follow dem work but I no trust dem. I tink say dem get hand for his death.” he said, his voice showing anger but his face an unreadable expression. His eyes were red because he was high from sniffing weed and his face were bombarded with scars, different scars he got from different fights in the past.
“Saheed!” He called one of the boys who ran to him immediately. Saheed was a petite man with mean eyes. “Go call Michael. You go follow Bombastic and Chairmo go do dis job.”
“No” Bode said, he did not need the whole of Oshodi to follow him to do it. He could handle this himself.
“wetin happen?” Maroof asked him in surprise.
“Bombastic go do am.” Bode responded.
Maroof raised a eyebrow as if to question his decision and Bode nodded, “Trust me, baba”
Maroof shrugged, if Bode said he could do it then he could do it.
When they were done collecting the weapons they needed, part of it a silencer, Maroof shook hands with Bode.
“You know say anytime you wan do politic, I don lock Oshodi down for una.” Maroof said and Bode laughed, it was the same thing he said everytime.
Bode and Bombastic left with the silencer and headed towards IGE&OBI.
Bombastic perched on the roof of the building in front of IGE&OBI, he had entered there under the guise of the plumber and they had let him but before he could get caught, he needed to act fast.
Lanre Ige was dialing Dapo for the thousandth time that morning and Chibuzor Obi was standing by his side, waiting for the response.
They had not expected it. None of them had. The blow was fast and immediate and it threw Chibuzor into the wall, hitting his head against the brick wall and killing him instantly.
He could not survive it. He stood no chance.
The police had appeared in time to invite Lanre Ige for questioning and found the corpse. They had been dazed and they had asked Lanre Ige what happened. He had been too shocked, too stunned.
For the first time in years, he came to terms with the fact that he was a monster and he had hurt people and some of those people might actually want his head. His head and Chibuzor’s head.
As he rode in the backseat of the police van, he wondered if they would free him soon. They had no reason or proof to keep him in custody for long.
Lanre Ige and Chibuzor Obi had once been friends with Chris Owambe, they had used Chris for some of their dirty deals because they were they guys who dressed in expensive suits while they used other people for their dirty jobs.
But one day, Chris Owambe grew the proverbial wings and they got irritated. He wanted to run for Governor, he wanted to have their contacts, he dared to go behind them to do deals and that pissed them off.
That made them threaten him and when he did not seem to care, that made them want to show him who called the shots.
And that was why they had gotten the people he had locked up out so they could kill him.
But Lanre Ige was telling nobody that, it was his business, his secret.
At the police station, he had been shown the video of him and Chibuzor talking about Dapo and he’d barely said anything. He was a lawyer, he knew better than to talk.
And they had released him because of who he was. He got into his car and was driven home by his driver, they had underestimated Dapo and he had tried to get even with them.
He was angry, he picked his phone to make a call. Dapo had to die, he had to go. He did not even care about him doing the job he was freed for, anymore.
As he the call connected, he noticed his driver was swerving, a look of panic on his face.
“What’s going on?” He asked
“The brakes. The brakes.” the driver cried
Lanre Ige knew then that the end had come. The end had caught up with him and he paid no attention to anything else, not even the voice that was now speaking through the phone in his hand.
He opened the door and jumped out of the car, diving in front of the car that sped by. When his driver manouevered the steering wheel in front of a traffic light and the car eventually stopped, crashing into the light, he alighted and tried to find his boss.
He saw in shock the remains of Lanre Ige’s mangled body as he laid there on the express way, only identifiable by the clothes on his back.
A YEAR LATER….
She was a vision in white. He watched her with pride, with so much joy swelling inside of him as she approached him in the hands of her Uncle.
Every step she took closer made him realise how much in love he was with her and how much he had made the right choice.
When she finally stood beside him and she smiled at him, he muttered the words, “I do” even before the preacher said asked, causing the church filled with their few friends and families to laugh heartily.
BODE HAD done it for him, given him a few millions to start his business. Dapo had chosen to go back to school, while he started his farm and while he constantly remembered his late friends and his late parents in law.
Tiwa had tried to give him money but he would not take it and when she complained to his mother, she giggled and told her that was how the African man was. He would rather provide for his family with little than take a lot from his wife.
But Tiwa was grateful for the man she had, the one who was deserving of her and who she was deserving of.
When he got a grant from the government months later, she knew it was a further proof that their lives would be blessed and they were meant for each other.
After they were done making love one night, she remembered everything that had happened to them since they got together and how she was the woman driven by revenge and who had wanted him close because of that purpose.
She was glad she allowed love take its place and that through it all, they both got justice for the wrong that was done them.
“I love you.” He whispered.
“I love you” She answered.
And they held each other tight, each knowing that the other’s tomorrow was safe with them.