The footsteps coming towards the door brought me back to the room. I couldn’t process all the things Kassy had just told me. It all sounded too surreal. Like she was making it up. But she couldn’t have thought all of that up just then. Princess was nothing like she had described. I strongly doubted she killed Tomi. Princess was too kind. I couldn’t understand any of it. Especially how I had anything to do with this mess. I just wanted to leave, I wanted to get back to my life as it was before …. before I met Kassy and as the door to our holding room opened, I hoped in my heart that our abductors had realized their mistake and had come to set me free.
Two men walked into the room and without saying a word, they pulled us up and marched us out of the room. As we walked, Kassy looked at me and whispered, “I’m sorry Azeez.” She was barely audible and sounded very defeated. I didn’t acknowledge her even though a part of me felt she was really trying to reach out to me. I drew my attention to where we were. I was blindfolded when they brought me here so I couldn’t make out much but now I saw we were walking down a long lobby. Initially I thought it was a hotel but as we walked past a couple of portraits hanging on the wall, I realized it was probably a private residence. I didn’t recognize the people in the pictures. One was that of an elderly woman – late sixties and the other, a pretty young lady – probably in her thirties. I couldn’t make out the faces even though they somehow looked familiar and the fact that I was even thinking about them when I was being marched off to God-knows-where amused me.
We got out of the lobby and walked down a short flight of stairs. We went past more pictures and even a mantle, which had awards and more pictures and then we finally stopped outside a huge arch door, which had two hefty men standing on either side of it. Both men standing by the door had absolutely no expression on their faces. They were both obviously armed and even had one of those CIA-type earpieces on. Naturally, anyone who got to experience this kind of thing would feel some form of fear, excitement or adrenalin rush, as this was only the kind of thing we got to watch in movies. I felt neither. I guess I was too tired to feel anything. I took another look at Kassy and seeing her head bowed told her story. She was resigned to whatever fate awaiting us behind the door.
After what seemed like hours, one of the hefty guards pushed open one side of the door and we were walked into a huge living room area. It looked like something out of the pages of a magazine. I didn’t need to look up before flashes of gold fittings caught my eyes. The floor we walked on felt so soft and relaxed – that was because we were walking on a rug piece I can’t even begin to describe. Grand piano, chandelier, in-door fountain… all in one room. We were definitely in some kind of palace – it had to be.
And who are they?
The words brought me back to reality. I hadn’t even bothered to look ahead of us to where we were being taken. I looked up then and for the first time since my abduction, I felt a huge wave of fear run through my body. In front of us were eight men, two other hefty guards and one young lady. I identified most of them instantly and so did Kassy. I could tell by the way she reacted. Some of the men also knew who we were and even though they didn’t voice this immediately, you could tell from their reaction as well.
The man who had spoken earlier looked round the room and then focused on a middle aged man – probably in his early forties, dressed in a perfect while linen traditional attire, standing not so far away from him.
Junior? Talk to me.
I looked at her just then. She was the only female amongst them and she was standing beside the man in the white attire. A smile grew on her face as “Junior” began to speak.
Your Excellency. It’s just as I’ve told you. It’s sad but the traitors in our midst are people you’ve considered allies for a long time. But it’s even more disturbing knowing that MY FATHER is one of them.
He seemed to stress the words “MY FATHER” and as he did so, Chief (Otunba has Kassy had referred to him) jumped off from his seat and began to rain abuses in Yoruba on Junior. Senior, who had also been standing behind them, walked up to him, with one hand on a pistol, which was tucked into his trousers and merely gestured to Otunba to sit down – he did.
I noticed Chief George, who was seated right beside Otunba, shifting inconveniently in his seat. Junior continued speaking:
Their plan was simple. Chief here, offered his daughter to my father who was in charge of providing girls for entertainment during one of our gatherings. She and her partner there, together with their fake contractor (he said this pointing to where I stood with Kassy), were instructed to take pictures of you with them in indiscreet positions using hidden cameras at the Lekki three house.
The man who had been seated asking the questions snapped and moved forward whilst still seated. It was then I saw him clearly. The man was the President himself. Yes. I was in the same room with Mr. President. I could not bring myself to process what was going on. I tried not to think too much. I couldn’t even think, as I didn’t know where to begin. It wasn’t just me. I noticed the change in Princess’ countenance as she processed what Junior had just said. She took a couple of steps away from where she had been standing beside him and the look on her face was that of a person who was unimaginably shocked and confused.
That isn’t all your Excellency. Both women have been confirmed to be HIV positive.
HA! Exclaimed the president. Otunba! Chief! But what have I done to deserve this. So this is how you would have killed me just like that.
Chief George remained quiet in his seat while Otunba sprang up once again to defend himself but he almost instantly sat again when he noticed Senior reaching for his gun.
And just then, he spoke for the first time. All this while, even after we walked into the room, he had just sat there staring, listening. He had not even moved or made to talk once but now he spoke. Uncle Mufu simply gestured towards the president and said:
Johnny, calm down. Let us take it easy.
I will not take it easy Mufutao. I WILL NOT. Can you imagine these… these traitors. Acting like they are enemies in public meanwhile all they’ve been trying to do is … is…is spoil what we have spent so much and so long building. Just imagine what would have gone wrong if these .. these riff raffs had succeeded.
At that point in time, I felt an anger I had never felt before. I still didn’t understand how I had come to be involved in this mess and here I stood listening to a man I had so much respect for calling me what I wasn’t. I couldn’t understand a lot of things and I had a million questions but I just wanted this to end. I wanted to get out of the room and maybe then I could harass Uncle Mufu for some answers.
Just then, Junior produced a brown envelop out of nowhere and pulled out some pictures and some documents from it.
Here, your excellency. The pictures and the HIV Test results.
He said as he handed the documents to the president. Even before he examined the contents, the look on his face showed the story he was telling in his mind. He was disgusted.
Seconds later, he rose to his feet, took a good look at Chief and Otunba and then turned to Junior. He walked up to Junior, patted him on the shoulder and said: Good job. He then turned towards Uncle Mufu and said.
Mufutao, I need this mess cleared up immediately. You know what to do to those two and please dispose of them and the evidence. He said as he stormed out of the room.
By ‘them’, he was referring to I, Princess and Kassy and as he walked away, I watched to see what would happen. I didn’t have to wait too long. It happened too fast. The moment the door shut behind the president. Otunba grabbed Senior’s gun and shot at his son…
It’s all your fault he yelled as he fired the gun… and then, he turned to Princess with contempt written all over his face.
I watched him closely and I really can’t explain what happened next. It came out of nowhere. I found my legs moving faster than my mind. Senior moved to stop Otunba, I moved to push Princess and in the corner, I could also see Uncle Mufu moving towards Otunba.
I felt cold all over. I held the side of my stomach as the blood gushed out uncontrollably. Senior had tackled Otunba to the floor but only after he had pulled the trigger. Uncle Mufu was slowly walking towards me even as the room began to blur out. The last thing I heard was from Uncle Mufu:
Ha! Otunba, o ti pa mi lomo. Omo okunrin kan soso ti mo bi laye yi.
(Ha, Otunba, you have killed my child. The only male child I have in this world).
*TO GOD BE THE GLORY*
Better take some time off and go and visit Kassy in Cameroun. It’s not as if you have anything you’re doing here.
So she can rape me to death abi? (I said laughing)
And how is that a bad thing ehn Azeez.
No o. It is bad. Please let me keep chasing my Fadeke. I know one day, she will forgive me and we will be together.
Well, if you say so. My own is that you must not dull sha.
With that he got out of the cab and closed the door. He looked extra dressy today. That was probably because of the date he had later on tonight. Tobi was quite the charmer and I bless the day I called him after all the drama my life had brought the past few months. You’d never know he had anything to do with helping me get my brand new Fashola cab. He still pays me every time I take him anywhere. It was a hard decision to leave behind Uncle Mufu who I still can’t believe is my real father and even Princess and all the comfort they could provide me, but it was the right decision and one I had so far not regretted. As I drove off I took another look at Tobi my banker financier, my friend… and I just knew everything would turn out well.