CHAPTER 28

Jango called him again that evening. Since their chance meeting four days earlier, the guy had been a pest. He was keen to rekindle the friendship and camaraderie that was years ago, when they were hall mates. Dare shrugged as he saw the caller ID on his phone.

‘Hello Ayo, how’s everything now? This one that you’re calling me, what’s up men?’ Dare answered the call in a breezy manner.

‘Nothing much bro, I was just in your area passing by, so I wanted to hail you. See if you were available.’ Jango quipped.

‘Really, you’re in my area?’ Dare opened his window blind a fraction to look out. ‘Where do I stay?’ His curiosity got the better of him.

‘Come on bro, you told me you’re in Surulere na. I just met a client at Shitta and thought to hail you before leaving your area. Is that such a bad thing?’

Tunde relaxed, ‘so you’re at Shitta. That’s not too far away from my place though. I stay on Bassie Ogamba street, come on over, let’s have a chat.’

And so Jango entered his house. He kept nodding his approval like Dare was a multi millionaire. He allowed his hand linger on the leather couch, feeling the texture. He took in the entire interior design in one look. Approved of the LCD on the wall, smiled at the PS3 game console lying above the home theatre system. Then his eyes roved to Dare’s den. ‘Bros, you are living the dream in this Lagos oo.’

Dare moved his lips upwards as his nose twitched. ‘Says? Abegi. Please have a seat, and welcome to my abode.’

Jango was grinning. I’m glad I called you up. Now I have a new home in Surulere, what’s more, I have clients all over this area; it’ll be like my headquarters.

Dare shook his head, ‘I don’t think my landlord would agree to that deal. I’ll do you one better, you can speak to the man; he has another house down the street. He’ll let you rent a flat.’

Jango waved him off. ‘You’re still annoyingly stingy. Share space with your brothers man, you will be glad you did.’

Dare started walking away, ‘what’ll you have. I always have a bottle of wine chilling for my next visitor.’

Jango sat comfortably and he sat with Dare for over an hour arguing politics and football. Two favorite topics Nigerian men could not pass over anytime. Finally he stood to go. ‘By the way, you said you’re a developer right, as in computer software developer?’

Dare nodded then answered, ‘yes, I am.’

‘Good, I may need your help developing software, nothing major, just anything that would control trajectories remotely. I find the manual work tiresome.’

Dare smiled. ‘I already developed one. He went into his den and brought out a small device as well as its remote. ‘Place this device anywhere on the body of the trajectory, and control with this. The device is magnetic.’

Jango thanked him profusely and left. Dare smiled as he watched his ex-hall mate drive away. Next time he would have to pay. Now, he was happy to test the prototype of his software.

*****************************************

Ayomide Ayoola aka Jango drove away from Dare’s house and headed for the airport. He had an appointment the following day in the nation’s capital city. Their national company was about to go global.

When he got to the airport, he had to go through customs, surprisingly, the device didn’t set off any alarm despite its magnetic nature, he made a mental note to reward Dare handsomely. He had lived up to his billing as the best programmer in the city. Jango headed for the plane. He boarded and went to the front of the plane. He always flew in style.

******************************************

The arrests started in earnest. After Evan McGregor had been arrested and placed under custody for extradition to the US, all his known associates were getting a visit from the secret service. That visit ended in their arrest. There was incontrovertible evidence against the men.

General Musa was visited by his own men, Lieutenant Aloba, Captain O’Brien and a host of other military types. Accompanying them was Efe Charles; he had begged to see how the military men would arrest their boss. He stood stoically behind the uniformed men in his street clothes.

General Musa’s face was hard and expressionless. He looked at all the men who came to arrest him, they reverenced him still because of his rank. He knew he was done for in the military, he realized his life was over. He looked at the two officers and requested to change his clothes.

They allowed him go into his bedroom to change. He took so much time to get dressed and Charles started getting antsy. ‘Maybe we should go see what the general’s about.’ He suggested.

The stares he got told him that it was a military tradition, and so he waited, with the others in the room, not liking as seconds ticked by. Still, he was outnumbered and outgunned. He held his peace.

Nothing happened for a long time, and then suddenly, a loud shot was heard. Charles ducked instinctively. All the soldiers stood still. He noticed that the tension that had been in the room suddenly lifted. They expected the general to end his life he realised. Damn he thought, I should have gone with Tunde.

The officer and their men walked into the General’s room, he was lying supine in the pool of his own blood. Charles noticed that the man had worn his full ceremonial Attire which was why it had taken him so much time to pull the trigger. His respect for the military grew.

*********************************************************

Tunde went with the police to Emeka’s house. His gateman had no option than to allow the policemen in. Emeka was having dinner with his family when they entered. As Tunde saw them, a picture of Yewa and his kids flashed across his face. Damn, he thought, he really needed to change jobs and settle.

He looked over at Emeka, then turn to the policemen in uniform. ‘Gentlemen, please.’ He gestured that they move forward.

As the policemen walked towards the dining table, Tunde settled into the sofa in the living room and nestled comfortably. He had come in a tourist’s capacity. He watched the policemen carried out the arrest.

Emeka stood willingly, kissed his wife, hugged his kids and walked with the policemen. Tunde rose from the sofa, and followed the policemen out. They already had their prize.

*******************************************

The leader paced the floor of his country house. To say he was anxious was a misnomer. He was pacing, deep in thought. He had backed the President’s campaign into the Aso Villa; he had been with the President for lunch the previous weekend and was billed to attend the UN summit the following day with the first citizen.

Now, his plan had unravelled, his generals had been arrested so he knew it was a matter of time. Emeka’s wife had called him, weeping sorely, asking him to use his relationship to appease the President. What she didn’t realise was that President Anozie was at peace with them, they were the ones who took the war to him.

He hung his head low, thinking, so how would it read in the papers? He had contributed thirty percent to the presidential campaign, now he wanted his man dead. He raised his head and stared at the ceiling deep in thought.

He sighed. He knew they would come for him too. They must. He didn’t expect Emeka to last long under interrogation, the secret agents would drill him hard and fast and he would give he up. Then the whole country would know that he – Chief Augustus Ajisafe – was the man who almost crippled the country.

He shook his head, there’s no way he was going to allow them take him. No, he belonged to the old school creed just like General Musa. At least his own men gave him the courtesy of ending his life. The Leader knew he wouldn’t be getting that. He strode over to small table beside his chair. He picked the gun, shook his head and said in Yoruba, ‘iku ‘ya j’esin.’ He pulled the trigger.

That was how the men that went to arrest him found him. Lying sprawled on the floor of his private quarters in his mansion. His blood had congealed, and his body was becoming stiff when the operatives broke into his quarters after discovering it was locked.

Tunde hung his head and stood akimbo after seeing the man’s corpse. He had hoped to ask a few questions. ‘Get him off the floor to a goddamned morgue,’ he barked when his operatives were dilly dallying, unsure what to do with the Leader’s body.

He shook his head, ‘such a shame.’

******************************************

President Osita Anozie was billed to give the main speech at the UN summit at the Nicon Hilton hotel Abuja. He was dressed and ready to go, when his chief security detail informed him of the arrests of high ranking government officials as well as other citizens, the President paused for a while.

‘You mean arrests were made last night and early this morning and I heard nothing of it?’ He was royally ticked.

‘Yes, Mr. President.’ The security officer stood at attention.

President Anozie’s rage simmered. ‘Take the cars, go on before me. I have a call to make.’

‘Sir!’ The officer had learned that arguing with the president was a waste of time. The man did as he saw fit. One of the reasons he was president. He went out the room and got into the president’s limousine. The number one citizen would get to the event centre via other means.

President Anozie picked the handset from the phone console in the room. He dialled Colonel Bala’s personal number. The spy chief answered on the second ring.

‘Mr President sir,’ he started. ‘Shouldn’t you be on your way here?’ He was referring to the summit.

‘What gives you the right?’ President Anozie blurted. ‘Arresting members of my cabinet and I’ve just been informed that General Musa took his own life. What the heck are you doing keeping me in the dark?’ He was indignant.

‘What if I told you that I heard of the sting operations this morning? I briefed your security chief and that is why you know about it the events. It is not my desire to keep you sidelined sir.’ Colonel Bala explained.

‘Good, I want to see all the men involved in the fiasco in the Aso Villa when I’m done at the summit today.’ He replaced the phone on its cradle and breathed heavily. He would hear the men defend themselves before he passed his judgement. He started out of the room.

******************************************

Damilola had hustled and pushed her way to the front of the pack. She was standing in front of other journalists who were covering the events arrival. Since she wasn’t authorized to enter the main hall, she had contented herself with the entrance where she took photos of the dignitaries as they came in, forming an idea of a story in her head.

Soon the president’s Motorcade approached. Everyone pushed, they wanted the best photograph of the man as he stepped out of his car. Damilola stood still; she couldn’t believe she had turned into a paparazzi photographer because of a goddamned story. She raised her head and looked aroun.

She saw someone she thought she knew. She squinted her eyes refocusing her eye lens to capture a better image of the person. Someone stepped in front of her. She sidestepped the man, hissed and pushed her way again as she went after the person.

The President’s motorcade was arriving, she didn’t seem to notice it, and the man walking away from her was the only object of her interest. He stopped, and turned round, he was smiling.

She recognised him instantly. ‘Ismaila Arigbabuwo!’ The words were scarcely out of her mouth when he produced a small device and pressed. The smile was still on his face.

The President’s limousine exploded, it felt surreal as everything went in slow motion. She watched as he turned and ran off dropping the device on the ground, the explosion felt like it started miles away, and like a tsunami sucked her into its vortex. She had been temporarily deaf, suddenly her eardrums rang with the noise of the explosion. She saw the limousine rise into the air, turn and catch fire, she saw as the fire spread to other cars. She tried to run, but her feet stayed rooted to a spot.

Suddenly she moved, she exulted and tried to run for it. It was not to be as she got lifted by the force of the explosion, she struggled against it, tried to stand her ground. It pushed her away, the fire trailing her wake. She landed forcefully, rolling many times on the ground. She tried rising, but her body felt weak. She watched the fire approach, then blackness. She was thrown into an eternal abyss.

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