Governor Mofe Chukwudi Abe, paced round his well-decorated office – his right hand tightly clenched into his left hand, his eyes scanning his office, but his mind a million miles away. He had been expecting an altogether different phone call when his wife’s aide, Bunmi, had called and within minutes of her phone call, his office had become filled with a squadron of government officials. Some were taking notes, some frantically talking on the telephone, others were discussing among themselves, and some simply watched him as he paced up and down the now tightly occupied office.
“Mr Governor, Sir”, “Mr Governor Sir”!
Governor Abe had been hearing this particular voice call on him for the last five minutes, but he had no interest in answering. What could they possibly want to ask him? He had no answers; all he had were questions. His eyes finally settled on the large bay windows at the back of his desk. He stared out the window and watched various Lagosians drive by on the bridge. Could Bayo be in one of those cars? he asked himself. He felt a tear threaten to slide down his face and quickly flicked it off with his index finger. This is not the time for tears, he said to himself. Ever since he announced that he would be running for President, he had been receiving various threats. But he paid no attention. He knew he had enemies, but he never imagined it would come to this. His hands pressed tightly into the frame of the window as his mind scanned through a list of possible culprits. If this was indeed a political move by one of his competitors, there was a huge possibility he may never see his son alive again.
Mr Governor Sir!
“What is it?”, Governor Abe finally answered the voice without turning round from the window
“The Chief Inspector General is here to see you Sir”
Governor Abe turned round to see a pot bellied man, with three dark tribal marks across his face, sitting on the spare chair in front of his desk. He almost let out a depressed sigh as he made to sit on his chair. How will this pot bellied man find his son, he asked himself?
“Your Excellency”, the uniformed man began, “I assure you, we will do all that is in our power to bring the culprits to justice”.
“I am not interested in the culprits. I just want you to find my son.”
“Yes Sir. When was the last time you saw your son”?
An exasperated sigh escaped Governor Abe’s lips as he begun to answer a series of questions from the Inspector. He prayed silently that his son was still alive.
Morenike Abe scooped the last spoon of jollof rice into her mouth as she switched off her television. She had just finished watching today’s episode of the Bold and the Beautiful and all she wanted to do now was sleep. But of course she couldn’t do that. It would be too suspicious. Everyone had expected her to go straight to the Governor’s office, after she had recieved the phone call telling her about Bayo’s kidnapping, but she insisted she would go home instead. As soon as she got to her house, she ran to her bedroom in tears and locked the door. She didn’t want to speak to anyone except her daughter. She picked up the intercom in her room and told Ngozi to use the connecting door to bring her food into her room. Now she could hear footsteps outside. She was certain that the whole world had now gathered in her private sitting room, waiting to see her. Her phone had rung so much in the last 30 minutes she had to put it on silent so she could concentrate on her TV show. Now that the programme was over, she went to her bathroom and washed off all her make up, taking care to only smudge her mascara. She undid her bra and packed her hair in the most unflattering way she could imagine. She took one look at herself in the mirror and smiled. Ever since she was in primary school, Morenike had been part of an acting group. Her father had told her she was wasting her time acting when she could be studying to be a doctor or something of more repute. But, what did he know? All those acting attributes were the key skills she had drawn on throughout her life. She had played the Christian damsel when she met her husband, Mofe. Then she had gone on to play loving mother to Bayo, a son who was never hers. And now it was time to play woman-in-distress. She opened the large oak door that separated her bedroom from her private sitting room and three of her friends rushed to her side.
“Morenike”, they screamed as soon as they heard the heavy doors open. “It is well! God will protect Bayo”.
“Ah! The God that gave you a son, will keep him alive for you to enjoy!”, another screamed.
Morenike shook her head in misery, her lower lip trembling as her friends circled round her and dragged her to the couch.
“Ngozi and I have been praying”, she said in between tears as the noise from the crowd finally quieted. “I have to seek God’s face because I don’t know what I have done to deserve this”, she said as she stretched both hands outwards and tilted her face upwards, towards the ceiling, new tears gushing from her eyes.
“Madam, the police would like to speak to you”, Bunmi said as she ushered two uniformed men to into the private room.
“Your Excellency”, they said half-bowing their heads.
“We are sorry, but we have a few questions to ask you……”
Mrs Abe stifled her urge to smile as she began to recount her rendition of events which she had carefully prepared well over three months ago.
3 Months Ago …..
Yeshidi was hardly ever in a good mood. He usually never had anything to celebrate. Yet, today he had invited Douglas and his boys over to Hotel Du Paris, a secluded guest house on the mainland and had been plying them with Hennessey and coke while he and Douglas talked in hushed tones by the bar. There was no way he could handle this deal by himself, he needed someone else who he could trust, but also someone who could take the blame if the plan went up in smoke. To Yeshidi, Douglas and his three men did not have an iota of sense combined, but they were perfect executers. They did as they were told and asked no questions. Such was what Yesidi was in the market for.
“Douglas, this deal will make us rich men”. Yeshidi said as he bent over and whispered into the back of his ear. “We will no longer have to kill and steal. After this, we can buy a plot of land in Lekki and sleep with all the rich men’s daughters.”
Douglas smiled at Yeshidi, the thought of sleeping with a rich man’s daughter with her soft and supple skin while she screamed out his name in pleasure now clouding his mind from the precarious task Yeshidi was about to discuss with him.
“Yes, bros Yeshidi! That would be sweet”, he said simultaneously licking his lips as he brought his glass to his lips.
“One week ago I met with Governor Abe’s aide. I have done many deals for him in the past”, Yeshidi continued, irritated that Douglas’s mind was easily distracted by something as simple as sleeping with a rich man’s daughter. “He wants us to kill his wife”.
Douglas squinted his eyes and shifted closer to Yeshidi, all thoughts of sex with supple skinned young girls now firmly gone from his mind. “Kill his wife”? Douglas repeated.
“My friend, are you deaf?” Yeshidi asked, quickly losing his temper. “Are you a baby? Is this the first time you have heard of a man wanting to cut a woman?”
Douglas straightened up immediately. He didn’t want Yeshidi to see him as a small boy. “No, no.” he replied. “But why does he want to cut her, she is a beautiful woman now?”
“How does that concern us? You are full of stupid questions!” Yeshidi hissed, his once quiet tone now rising to a loud whisper. He was beginning to doubt his choice of inviting Douglas and his men here. “What you should be asking is how much he is willing to pay us for killing his wife”.
Douglas’s ears perked up. “How much? Five hundred thousand naira?” he asked as he leaned in closer to Yeshidi
Yeshidi dipped his head in frustration. Did this clown think five hundred thousand naira split 4 ways could buy a square inch of land in Lekki? He decided to be patient, perhaps Douglas wasn’t used to high-level jobs as he had initially thought.
“No. 40 million Naira.” he replied, looking past Douglas. From his side eye, he could see his lower jaw drop with shock. “We have to kill her and frame one of his political opponents. It must be a tidy job and we have to do it in exactly three months from now, just before the primaries begin.”
Douglas rubbed his face with his left hand repeatedly. He had never held a million naira in his hands before, the prospect of holding 40 million brought both excitement and fear. He wasn’t used to deals with such high amounts. The highest he had ever been paid for killing anyone was N250,000 and that was because the woman was pregnant and he had argued that it was equal to killing two people. But this particular deal had much more at stake. If they failed, he knew without question that they would be shot dead right in front of the police station. And even if they succeeded, there was the possibility that Yeshidi would kill him and his men and take the loot for himself. Why else would Yeshidi need four extra hands to kill one person, even if it was the Governor’s wife? Surely, one bullet in the head was all he needed.
“So what’s the plan”, Douglas replied hoping to somehow hide the fact that his stomach was now in knots.
“That’s not all. If it was to cut only one person I wouldn’t need your help.” Yeshidi replied as if sensing Douglas’s thoughts. He glanced sideways, making sure no one was within earshot. “Yesterday, a former client of mine introduced me to the First Lady herself. She has a different job for us”.
Yeshidi drew breathe, unsure of what Douglas’s response would be to his next sentence. Even he had been quite shocked when the First Lady uttured the very words he was now about to deliver to Douglas. “She wants us to kidnap and kill her son.”
“What!?” Douglas shouted as his knees jerked forward.
The vein on Yeshidi’s temple tightened as he clenched his jaw and placed his hands on Douglas shoulder. “My friend sit down and listen.”
Douglas stood completely still. He was contemplating walking right out the door.
“Forget that we are talking about the governor’s family. They are human beings like the others you have handled in other deals. There is no difference.” Yeshidi knew he was lying. The difference here was huge. The implications were also quite different. He decided to try a different tact.
“She is offering us 30 Million Naira plus full ownership of the ransom money which will be paid by the Governor. We are not talking small time anymore Douglas. After this deal you can give your life to Christ and live a sinless life in Lekki.”
Douglas sat down. “So she doesn’t know the governor has asked you to finish her?”
“No”, Yeshidi replied with a smile content that Douglas was now fully willing to comply. That’s the beauty of it. We can kill two birds with one deal. He lifted his glass for the first time since the conversation started. He was finally going to be a rich man.
To God be the Glory