Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 13
…about the information.
The tide was clearly turning; the unity within the C.A was no longer as compact as it used to be. The documentary on Mrs Olatunde, a two hours production, had turned out even more damaging than that on Sir Maigida. Though they still went on occasional attacks, their media department were now more tasked with defending the party.
They slammed the D.A for broadcasting such character assasinating documentaries, when the focus was supposed to be on issues. They called on the ‘drowning’ party to focus on showing the people what they have done and what they intended to do. This, the papers claimed, was lacking, which was why the ‘outgoing party’ was doing everything to drag their challengers into the mud in which they were already wallowing. According to the Patriot Newspaper:
This is the first time that the entire focus of a government in power, while canvassing for votes, would be on the inconsequential while the consequential begs for attention. Their every action has served to reveal how much there is a dearth of plans in their fold to move this state forward. That they broadcasted a pack of lies against Sir Maigida, a man of unassailable integrity wasn’t enough, they have since hung on the elections postponement to produce another pack of lies on Mrs Olatunde, the running mate to the Governorship candidate of the C.A, Chief Mike. It shouldn’t be surprising if tomorrow witnesses another hurriedly put together pack of lies… We know the people are wiser now and will ensure that these lies don’t deter them from voting out a focuss-less party come this weekend. We urge them to be vigilant until we flush out these agents of stagnancy and march on to the New Direction…
Chief Mike read the papers that morning, but didn’t derive the kind of satisfaction he usually got from them. The articles appeared dry, like the efforts of one exertedly flogging a dead horse. He wished for some satisfaction elsewhere, any form of inspiration he could get for that day’s rally.
His wife was on her knees, doing her morning prayers while he sat up in bed, reading the paper. How she managed to derive any satisfaction from her everyday ritual baffled him. He needed that kind of assurance, the assurance that there was a higher being positively disposed to him; a higher being that could guarantee him success in the elections, that could assure him on the fruitfulness of his efforts. His opponent, Chief Umeh had been reported severally of visiting pastors for prayers; the papers had criticized that move, describing it as last minute jerks borne out of desperation and he had thought so too. Then, the C.A was still the favoured party, riding like a bulldozer, crushing whatever stood in its way. He could do same, but would that not be playing into the hands of his detractors? Would the media not be awash with his images, calling him an unprincipled man? Maybe, he could make such a move at night, but would the ever-attentive press not find out and liken his move with that of a sneaking thief? He got his phone from the drawer beside their bed and dialled his friend, Chief Obi’s line. As it was connecting, he got off the bed and moved out of the bedroom; on one hand he was trying not to disturb his wife’s prayers, on the other hand he didn’t want her overhearing the complaint he had to make.
‘That’s a small problem,’ Chief Obi said after listening to him. ‘I have been there before.’
For all he knew, the older Chief Obi had never been involved in active politics, but he obeyed anyway as his friend requested his presence for a one-on-one meeting.
One thing led to another and that afternoon, leaving his car in Chief Obi’s compound and sneaking off with Chief Obi in the latter’s inconspicuous Toyota Camry, they were driven to a village one hour’s drive from the state capital. There, inside a tiny hut lit with candles and with the walls adorned with bones – human bones, Chief Mike drove a knife into the belly of a fourteen year old boy. Chief Obi and a potbellied man clad with only a piece of red material from his waist down to his knees witnessed it. He felt a sick sensation in his tummy, but that was it. The deed was done.
At the rally, four hours later, Chief Mike was at his best. Though the crowd wasn’t as boisterous as those of the early days, his confidence wasn’t dented. For the first time in his political career, he felt the presence of a higher being favourably disposed to him.
That same night, he was driven in another of Chief Obi’s cars to a part of the city he had never been to all his life. There, in a big white-painted mansion, he was given a black robe to wear and made to lie inside a casket for thirty minutes. When the casket was opened, now inside a different room from that in which he had entered it, he saw himself surrounded by fourteen faces, faces of men clad in red robes. One of them was Chief Obi. At the far end of the room, seated on a dias, while all others were standing was a man holding a red robe apparently his; before he could express his surprise, he was pushed down by strong hands to lie prostrate before this man. Seated was Sir Babagana Maigida!
A changed man he became after that. Every obstacle had to be cleared, every barrier had to be broken and every means had to be employed to grab the mandate of the people. Ezekiel was a cultist too; this Chief Mike learnt from Sir Maigida. Theirs was a patron cult of Ezekiel’s. Now he knew why the young man had always been so confident, now he knew why he had severally suggested what he termed better usage of the boys. Now Chief Mike gave in and two days after, the state owned television house went up in flames. It wasn’t a perfectly executed act as only some files and furniture in the General Manager’s office were affected before the fire was put out. The next target was the state owned newspaper company, which was burned down completely. This time, they went as far as fabricating an accident at the gate of the Fire Service, such that the firefighting vans, for over thirty minutes, couldn’t exit their premises. Ezekiel counted this as a big victory; there was no way the paper would be able to publish any propaganda against the opposition until after the elections. They would go on to kill a female Local Government Chairmanship aspirant and burn two campaign buses belonging to the D.A.
The sudden rise in the spate of violence got Governor Igbobia seriously worried. While he was sure the opposition was responsible for the attacks, neither his private investigative team nor the police were, yet, able to gather any reasonable clues. He went on air to condemn the attacks and assured the people of ongoing investigations to unravel those responsible. He even claimed that the police had gotten some leads, which would lead to nabbing the culprits; this was a barefaced lie to calm the agitated minds of the people and take the wind out of the sails of those responsible.
…out of the sails of those responsible.
It turned out a fruitless move, for unknown to him, some D.A party chieftains were planning reprisals. Two days later, some gunmen, who confessed to having been sent by a D.A party chieftain were nabbed in the premises of The Patriotic Voice Newspaper house. It was a big goof on their part for, while they initially claimed to be there on their own accord, the police soon discovered that there had been series of calls between them and a chieftain of the D.A; swift investigations soon revealed their mission which was to kidnap the Manager of the company and torch the building. It was a failed move, a shameful one at that, one that really annoyed the Governor. He knew the opposition would capitalize on it and that they did the next day through the Quarterly Herald:
We are ruled by a desperate bunch; a set that must be kicked out by all, though peaceful means. We have witnessed the recent spate of violence in the state, and have reached the single conclusion – the D.A is really desperate for power. This explains why morality has been, so far, lost in their move to retain it. Like the case of an unrepentant robber, who wouldn’t mind shooting himself in the arm to prove his innocence when nabbed, the so-called Democratic Alliance – of which we don’t see any democratic pointer – will not mind burning down the whole state just to misle a few more and garner a couple more votes.
The recent arrest by some gallant policemen of daredevil bandits, determined to add the Patriotic Voice’s building to the list of other media houses that have been visited by their baptism of fire, aptly showed that justice, no matter how delayed, would always eventually catch up with the criminally minded.
The big question now in the hearts of many is why; why did Governor Paul Igbobia embark on that shameless attempt to absolve the D.A of any blame in the attacks? Could it be that he was clueless as usual or that lying had become so ingrained in the D.N.A of the Desperate Alliance?…
The paper went on to allege how the D.A had intended to misle the people of the state by attacking the same state owned media organizations that had been their ready tools for misinforming the people, only to garner some sympathy, before proceeding to the real targets – opposition sympathetic media organizations. It was a failed plan, the paper declared, like many previously failed plans of theirs which had ensured that the state remained stagnant and even retrogressive on many fronts.
It was very bad publicity, something for which Governor Paul Igbobia strongly slammed the party chieftain responsible before secretly securing the boys’ release. They weren’t even intelligent boys, he was soon informed; mere rat poison sellers who had only their bulging biceps going for them. Why the man wouldn’t secure the services of professionals baffled him. Their actions and inactions always came back to it, these party people. The newspapers never mentioned them; it was always him being referred to as clueless, focusless and desperate to install his stooge in power.
Was he really desperate? Could the opposition sincerely assert that he desired Chief Umeh’s victory more than Chief Mike desired it? He remembered the two times they had met; Chief Mike had appeared like a no-nonsense man. He had also sounded ambitious. It hadn’t dawned on him then that the C.A would pounce on the man; he might have done so first.
Chief Mike was restless, the election was only four days away. He had done everything humanly possible to emerge victorious at the polls – he had spent a fortune, so much he wondered how he could recover if he failed to clinch victory. The two weeks postponement had meant fresh election expenses, it had meant the C.A losing more ground to the ruling party, it had provided the D.A more time to effect their slanderous moves against the C.A. It had also meant his foray into the occult, his first human sacrifice, his first advocacy for violence. He knew the violence wouldn’t stop; the killing of the fourteen year old boy had created an urge, an all-consuming urge that had prompted him to order – just that morning – an attack on Josh Alli, who had publicly announced his exit from the Congress for Advancement, despite being a candidate of the C.A to the State House of Assembly. Though the youngman with great followership at his Local Government Area was yet to publicly announce the party he was defecting to, Chief Mike already knew it would be the D.A, thereby further weakening his chances. Ezekiel had advised and he had agreed that Josh was better dead than alive.
Sir Maigida had always appeared calm, but he couldn’t be sure if he actually was. He was sure the man was aware of his responsibility for most of the recent violent acts in the Capital, though Sir Maigida had never questioned him about them. Not during party meetings; not in the cult meetings. And the self-injecting, drug addicted deputy he had chosen for him – yes, he had made investigations and found the documentary on her to be true – he would fix the woman once they got into power. Ezekiel would arrange it, they had discussed the plans already. It would either be an arranged car crash in which her car would be mangled beyond recognition and thereafter set on fire or getting her vial compromised, such that she would ignorantly inject herself with a mamba venom mixed vaccine and quickly meet her death. Ezekiel had further suggested a replay of the stunt at the gate to the Fireservice, such that it would be impossible getting medical help early enough, if at all, such came up. It was foolproof, unlike the poor planning by the boys who attacked the Patriotic Voice Newspapers.
He was getting more hardened every day while appearing more compassionate on the outside. Only the previous day had he slapped his wife; it was the first time in their marriage. Who was she to demand full details of his every outing?
For the first time, he had met her awake on his return from the cult meeting.
She had been waiting for him, she claimed, demanding to know where he was coming from.
He had lied that it was a party meeting, but had been shocked when she informed him that Professor Imonikhe had twice called the house to enquire after him.
‘Why are you looking like that? I thought you were together at the meeting?’
‘What are you insinuating?’
‘That you stop lying and tell me what you’ve been up to, returning to the house around 2 a.m. three times in the past two weeks.’
So she hadn’t been asleep those times he thought she was? Well, it didn’t matter; he wasn’t going to allow her control him anymore.
‘I’ve been busy, the election is close!’ He had said with venom, hoping she will notice this and recoil.
‘And so? Are you the first person contesting for an elective post?!’ She replied with equal venom.
She didn’t see it coming, she couldn’t have expected it – he had never done it before…the sudden swish of his hand as his palm landed on her face. He was shocked himself at the impact, but that was only awhile. He wasn’t the man for nothing, Florence had to learn to respect that.
He had left her in the sitting room afterwards and was in the bathroom when he heard her footsteps in the bedroom. She was out before he emerged and never returned till his exit from the house that morning. She had to be somewhere in the house, maybe one of the guestrooms, though it didn’t matter. That same morning, he had visited a skills acquisition centre where he had donated fifteen sewing machines. The event was covered by four newspaper companies.