POLICE DIVISION HEADQUARTERS
2, AUGUST 2015
It was a Sunday morning. Adam knew his boss was not a religious man. He was a Christian but he went to church only when there was a celebration; Christmas, weddings, burials. But fixing a meeting for a Sunday morning was going too far even for his boss.
Adam was sitting in his boss’ office. The office was not big but the boss did not seem to care as he rarely stayed in it. The table was dusty from lack of use. There were stacks of files on the table next to a desktop computer. The boss had insisted on the computer being on his table. He rarely used it, Adam could not recall a single time he used it but nobody dared suggest removing it. He had a large portrait of himself hanging behind the table. Adam always wondered when the picture was taken. He could not believe his boss once looked that lean and fit. It was hung next to the faded portrait of the State Governor. When you were in Inspector Odudu’s office, you could not mistake who was in charge.
Adam stood up as he heard his boss come in. Quiet was not a word you would use to describe him. A hawker seemed to be the object of his loud rebuke that morning. He heard him as he greeted his poor secretary. The young woman had endured everything from sexual harassments to verbal abuse. It was a surprise to Adam how she could still greet the man. The door of the office opened as he stormed in.
“Good morning sir!” Adam greeted, saluting.
“Adam, how are you?” he looked up and noticed the salute. ”Adam, today is Sunday, and we are alone in the office. And I’m not saluting you, so just sit down.”
“Yes sir.” Adam sat down surprised. He had seen an officer receive a tongue lashing for not saluting him.
“How are the people of Arandun? It’s been a while since I came around.” His chair was dusty. He did not seem to notice as he sat and set down a newspaper on the table and began to flip through.
“They are fine sir.” He answered and kept quiet. Nobody disturbed the boss when he read his paper.
“So Adam, what is the update on the missing girl case?” he did not look up from his paper.
“There are few leads already on the kidnap sir. A corper…”
“Kidnap?” he stopped him, looking up. “How did you conclude on a kidnap? Couldn’t she have run away?”
“Oh, I thought I told you. We found duct tape at the scene and an empty bottle of anesthesia.”
“And you concluded it was a kidnap?”
“Duct tape marks were found on a chair in the room. The assumption is she was taped to the chair and injected with the anesthesia. We also found muddy foot prints in the room that did not belong to the girl sir. For now kidnap seems to be the best case scenario. And that’s what we are working with sir.”
“Okay.” He went back to his paper. “How much progress have you made?”
“I have two leads I am pursuing right now sir.”
He told him all the information he had on the case. He was done with the newspaper.
“The man works for Cybercorp? Who was interested in the girl? Was it the man or the company?”
“I’m yet to find out sir.”
“Didn’t their C.E.O. just die? I have a few friends who knew him. It’s a huge company with really strong political ties. I don’t want you poking around in the wrong place.”
“I won’t be poking around. But the company is all I have on this man sir.”
“I hear you Adam. Any trouble you get in will definitely bounce on me. So, before you start accusing anybody at CyberCorp, I have to authorize it. Find out who this man is, but that is all you can do. Okay?”
“This Corper you mentioned, why is he not your main suspect? You said he was hiding something.”
“Well, my gut tells me he is not the person I should be looking for.”
“Your gut?” he chuckled. “ Your gut. Anyway where is he now?”
“I heard he is not town. He has been away for a while sir.” He had almost ruled him out as a suspect. He was already deep into the idea of a kidnap orchestrated by the mystery man from the school.
“How can he be away? He is a suspect in a major crime like this and he is out of town? Adam, you should be covering all your bases.”
The boss went on to give a twenty minute lecture on criminal investigation. He had admitted several times that he had never investigated a crime even though he studied criminology and had a lot of knowledge. Knowledge he was not willing to put to use but was always ready to share with anyone who cared to listen. His arrogance and lack of respect for superior officers had made sure his degree had no effect on his posting.
“Adam, next time I see you, I want concrete information on this boy who I believe has more to do with this kidnap than you are willing to believe.” He said standing up.
“Yes sir.” Adam replied as he also stood up.
“See you soon Adam”
Soon usually meant a month.
MS AKOREDE’S RESIDENCE
2, AUGUST 2015
It was Sunday evening and Funke was sitting on the couch in front of her house. She spent most of her Sunday evenings visiting people. Mostly members of her church, but she did visit some of her friends and relatives who couldn’t care less about her church. She was not visiting anybody this Sunday evening. She had to be close to Nicholas. He had been in his room all weekend, coming out only to eat and to go to church. He had been polite when he spoke to her and she could sense he was hiding a lot of what he felt behind his smile. She had learnt not to bother him at times when he felt like he needed to be alone but it was more difficult now when she had a lot of questions to ask him.
She stood up from the couch and walked towards the garden behind the house. She had always loved having a garden but did not always know how to keep one. Now she could afford to pay somebody to keep it for her. She had a flower garden and a vegetable garden growing in her large compound. She had had to sacrifice having a large house to fulfill her dream of having her own garden. Having only one child helped her make the decision without much difficulty. She had grown flowers from different parts of the world. Some of them had survived and some had not but it was all part of what made it a lovely hobby for her.
Her phone rang as she stepped into the garden.
“Hello, good evening.”
“Hello, am I speaking with Ms Akorede?”
“Yes, this is she, can I help you?”
“I just want you to comment on the information we got that your son may be forced out of CyberCorp.”
“A journalist? How did you get my number…? I won’t be commenting on… oh my God.” She dropped the call. “I cannot believe the nerve of this man.”
She knew this was going to happen. Her assistant had already told her he saw some journalists lurking around her office. She had spoken to a few who were bold enough to knock on her door. Her answer was always the same to all questions; “It is none of my business and I will not be commenting on this.” She had been able to say it with a smile too.
Suddenly she felt sorry for Nicholas. He was the center of a lot of press speculation. A newspaper had dedicated their back page editorial to estimating how fast Nicholas could ground CyberCorp. He definitely was not the best person to run a company the size of CyberCorp, if he was going to do it, he needed help.
She had to talk to her son.
BARRISTER THOMAS’ CHAMBERS
3, AUGUST 2015
The weather was hot and he felt it. He was dressed for work in a black suit, white starched shirt and a red tie. The tie hung loose on his chest as he hurried towards the office. He had waited all weekend to have this meeting. This lawyer had a thing with time. He could not stand lateness so Nicholas had arrived at his office twenty minutes early. He had met a secretary who told him the lawyer had an impromptu hearing in court and would be back soon. Soon had turned out to be five hours. The secretary had just announced to him the lawyer was back and ready to see him.
He knocked on the door. He heard a grunt from behind the door and he entered. The office was large and full. A giant desk stood opposite the door. Files, books and binders of different colors and sizes gave the desk a busy look. Very close to the desk towards the right was what looked like a library, he did not believe anybody could read all the books on the shelves. He knew he couldn’t.
Barrister Thomas stood behind the desk as he walked in. He was dressed in a white shirt with the sleeves folded up to his elbows. He was a stocky man with a rotund belly and a bald head. A rimless pair of glasses hung distinctively on his face which lacked any outstanding features. He had a toothy smile and he beamed one at Nicholas as he entered his office.
“You are welcome Mr. Akorede. I’m sorry you had to wait for so long.” He shook his hand as he sat down. “A client of mine needed me in court urgently. It wasn’t planned but I had to be there. I heard the meeting you had with the Vice Presidents didn’t end as planned.”
“It didn’t sir. They actually told me I can’t run CyberCorp. Mr. Chukwu who seems to have a lot of influence on the others declared this without mincing words.”
The lawyer chuckled.
“What did you expect? You are a young man or boy to them. They will not want to take orders from you. Nobody wants to take orders; it gets worse when you have to take it from someone you consider to be a kid.”
“I wasn’t expecting them to bow to me or something, but I definitely wasn’t expecting them to tell me out rightly that I wasn’t the man to run the company. And to be honest I don’t know if I’m the man to run CyberCorp.”
There was a minute of silence. Barrister Thomas looked lost in thought. He shifted in his chair then stood up. He walked to the door and locked it before walking towards a set of chairs which looked to be for informal occasions.
“Come Nicholas, sit beside me.” He tapped on the chair beside him. “There are a lot of things you don’t know about your father. And I don’t blame you or your mother for staying away from him all these years. Now that you want to manage his business empire you should try your best to know him. I believe I know him more than a lot of people, so if you have any questions, I’ll try and give you the best answers I can.”
Nicholas had a lot of questions, too many to ask in a day.
“Why do you think he left CyberCorp to me?”
“That is a question I keep asking myself. And honestly Nicholas, I have no idea why he did that. He was sick for a while before he died so of course we already discussed what would happen to CyberCorp if he died. He was not going to leave it to his wife, she isn’t somebody you want running anything you don’t want dead. Suddenly, one day, he told me he had reached a conclusion; he was going to leave it to you. I asked him why, naturally, but he didn’t say.”
“Did he ever mention me at other times, before he became sick? I’m still trying to understand why he thought of me at all.”
“I’m sorry to say this but he never talked about you. He did talk about you once. And that was to inform me that you and your mother existed. You see, I asked him to tell me about his family and he mentioned you. That was all.”
Nicholas looked up at the beautifully decorated ceiling. Most offices he had visited had simple finishes. Barrister Thomas obviously had other ideas of how an office should look. There were beautiful stones set in the ‘Plaster of Paris’ finished ceiling. Dim light shone from an elegant golden chandelier surrounded by several small, bright lamps.
If his father felt he was the best person to hand CyberCorp to then he owed it to him to do his best.
“Nicholas, I know a lot must be on your mind right now but you must look to the future. CyberCorp is a big company, easily in the top ten in this country and so your father had enemies. He is dead but CyberCorp still has enemies. And believe me not all of them are outside the company. If you are to run this company like you want to and you should, you have to become wiser than your age.”
He stood up to get a bottle of water from the refrigerator close to his desk, and continued.
“First thing I think you should do is hire someone who has experience in the industry. You will be the C.E.O. he will be the President. He reports to you but the Vice Presidents report to him. I will help you clear up all the legal part of this arrangement. It will buy you time till you can run CyberCorp by yourself.”
It sounded like sound advice. But hiring a person who had experience enough to run CyberCorp was not easy, finding one who will be loyal to him was even more difficult.
“Sir, I totally agree. But finding…” he was cut short by his ringing phone. It was Kate. He had totally forgotten about her. He felt guilty. He had not told her about CyberCorp. He had missed several of her calls but he had not gotten around to returning the calls. It was time he talked to her. “Please excuse me sir, I have to take this call.”
“Hello Kate. I’m so sorry I have not returned your calls. I have been busy. How are you?”
“I’m fine. You have been gone for a while. I understand we are on break but you still need to be here.”
“I know Kate, I’ve just been held up here. I’m not sure if I will be coming this week too. Next week, maybe.”
“Next week?” she scoffed. “You remember the Cop who asked you questions about Kemi?” Adam had forgotten about Kemi or the questions he had to answer at Arandun.
“Yes I remember him.” His heart beat a little faster. “Is there a problem?”
“Well, he came to my lodge yesterday with the LGI. They asked a lot of questions. The conclusion is they want you back in Arandun right now. It looks like the NYSC will be involved now”
He told her he would be in Arandun the next day and dropped the call.
“Nicholas, are you okay? You must not let CyberCorp weigh on you so much.”
He looked up at the lawyer.
“Right now, CyberCorp is the least of my concerns.”