10, AUGUST 2015
Being a C.E.O. had its advantages, it did and Nicholas enjoyed them. His office was one of them. It had been his father’s office. He had been reluctant to take the office, but not taking it would mean wasting good office space and getting another office on another floor. He had made the right decision and he now used one of the best offices he had ever seen. His desk was large enough for computers, beverages and cats. It was a custom made desk. A part of it was height adjustable which made it usable for standing or sitting positions. It was an office on its own and since the C.E.O. had to work on all of a million projects at once, it was always filled. His diligent secretary kept it neat and arranged.
The office also had a lounge attached to it, where he had access to a lot. A fully stocked refrigerator, a chef at his beck and call, sleeping quarters and other distractions. He rarely used the lounge. He did not want to be waited on, he might be the C.E.O. but he was still Nicholas. He made it his habit to eat with other staff members in the cafeteria.
Every coin has two sides and he seemed to be having the other side of the coin that morning. He had read through the company’s financial report for the last financial year. It was not work for the faint hearted. He set down the files, stood up and stretched. His eyes were sore from too much reading, which did not happen to him very often. He smoothened his suit and was about to leave the office for lunch when he heard a knock on the door. His secretary walked in.
“You have a visitor sir.”
“I do? I don’t have any appointments right now, do I?” he asked looking at his watch.
“No, you don’t but it’s the late C.E.O.’s wife.”
Nicholas was shocked. He had not seen or heard from her since the reading of the Will. What does she want? I have enough trouble as it is.
“Send her in please.” He said.
He straightened his tie and tried to look as confident as possible. He tried his best to smile, he did not want to look like he was not pleased to see her. She walked in elegantly. She was not having any trouble looking confident.
“Hello Nicholas.” She said smiling, stretching her hand to shake him.
“Hello Ma’am. It’s a nice surprise to have you here.” Her smile made him relax.
“I’m sorry I didn’t call to tell you I was coming. I don’t have your number and I’m not sure if you kept my husband’s work number.”
“It’s not a problem, I should have called you myself but I’ve been busy.” And scared of you.
The woman seemed nicer than Nicholas anticipated. She even indulged him with ten minutes of small talk, then she sat straight, it was time for serious talk.
“I heard you are looking to appoint a President, that is correct?”
“Yes, it will go a long way to ensure a smooth transition.” Where is she going with this?
“You know my husband was C.E.O. and President before he died, now you are C.E.O. and you need a President, I’ve come to request for the position.”
Of course, she wants to be President. The president’s role was going to be a very important one; he was going to be a conduit between him and the rest of the company. There was no way he was going to allow a woman who probably had it out for him become the President. It was bad enough that a person he suspected to have kidnapped him was going to be President. The devil you know…
He realized he had been quiet for a long time.
“Yes ma’am, I’m sorry but that position has already been filled. We are yet to make the announcement to the public, we are making it this afternoon at a press conference.”
If she was Caucasian, Nicholas was sure she would be going white.
“Why didn’t I hear this?”
“We are yet to release the information to the public…” You are part of the public She apparently was not aware of that. “Ma’am, if I knew you were interested, we would have been able to do something about it.” LIE! ”I’m sure we can still find a position in which you can help CyberCorp.”
He was making promises he did not want to fulfill even if he could.
“You do that Nicholas. I ran CyberCorp with my husband, unofficially of course. I will not be kicked out, okay? I’ll see you next week.”
She flashed him a glorious smile, you would think she had just been told she won the lottery. Nicholas stood up as she went out. He was definitely not going out for lunch, he had work to do. He had to find a very important job for the MRS where he would never see her again.
10, AUGUST 2015
Tola sat among other journalists in CyberCorp’s conference room. It was obviously not the only conference room in the building, but it was the one used for press conferences. A pass had been sent to her house by her mystery informant. It bothered her that this person knew where she lived and obviously knew she was not who she portrayed herself to be on the blog. What bothered her even more was she had no idea who her informant was. They had never met and she could not contact him, he contacted her. He did not reply her emails and his number was never available.
She observed the people sitting on the table; they were the big fishes. Nicholas, the C.E.O. the president being announced; Mr. Faruk, the Vice President, Public relations. Maybe one of them was her informant, or maybe it was one of the people who stood at the sidelines observing the press conference.
The C.E.O was concluding his speech.
“…We are pleased to announce that CyberCorp has made a full transition into this new era. The late C.E.O. did a great job when he was with us and we can only hope to continue the great work. Moving forward, the new president and myself will work together to continue the great work being done by this great company.”
She dug into her pocket as her phone vibrated, she had a text message.
THANK YOU FOR COMING, I HOPE THIS CONVINCES YOU I CAN BE TRUSTED.
He is here. She looked around, no face caught her attention. Trust worthy or not, it was time she found out who her informant was.
11, AUGUST 2015
Adam stood in front of the tall CyberCorp building. It was a wonder, probably the only wonder in Ilorin. It still surprised many including himself how such a big company could be in Ilorin. Most businesses of CyberCorp’s stature had their headquarters in Lagos or the nation’s capital Abuja, Ilorin was not the best option available but CyberCorp had thrived there. The building was of course the tallest building in the state and its beautiful finish did it no harm. Cars spilled out of the underground garage into the car ports located around the building. Flowers decorated the compound. Water spewed from the feathers of a bronze peacock in the center of the compound, it was the most beautiful fountain Adam had ever seen. A huge blue sign displayed the name of the great building; ‘CyberCorp Tower’. The building stood as magnificent as the Trump Tower stood in New York. The Trump Tower was part of a magnificent New York skyline but the CyberCorp Tower stood on its own. Adam breathed deeply through his mouth and walked into the reception.
He tried his best to blend with the early morning crowd hurrying to their offices. Nobody seemed to pay him and his expensive suit- that Nicholas lent him- any mind. He was not an expert in corporate dressing but according to Nicholas, he was dressed as good as anybody he was going to meet in the tower. He was dressed in a dark grey suit, Nicholas had insisted on him wearing a red tie along with his white shirt. His black shoes shone brightly, its blackness was rivaled only his hair; he was dressed for the part.
“Hello.” He greeted the receptionist, flashing a toothy smile, she returned the favour.
“Hello sir, welcome to CyberCorp tower, how can I help you this morning?” It was obvious she had said that line a lot of times.
“Could you point me in the direction of the President’s office?”
“Okay. Do you have an appointment sir?” she asked, all the while typing God knows what on her computer.
“Yes, I do”
She gave him directions and he walked towards the elevator, punched the buttons and entered. The elevator door was about closing when someone stuck a hand in. A beautiful hand. A lady entered, muttered a ‘good morning’. She struggled to balance two big cups of what looked like coffee, a stack of newspapers and her big bag.
“What floor?” Adam asked with a smile.
“Thirty Second, please.” She replied with an apologetic smile.
“I see you are one of the big boys huh? Or should I say big girls? Can I help with you with that, Miss…” he said reaching for the stacks of newspapers.
“Ese, my name is Ese. And I’m not one of the big boys, I work for one of the big boys.” She said handing over the papers. “Thank you.”
“I’m here to the big boy.”
“You should not be going to the thirty second floor if you want to see Mr. Akorede. He is not…”
“Nicholas? Isn’t Mr. Faruk the big boy now? Since he got announced as the President… so you think Nicholas is still the top dog?” Stop calling him Nicholas, you are not supposed to know him, remember?
“I shouldn’t be saying this as he is my boss, but Mr. Faruk got this position too easily. I’m glad he did, because I’m a top level secretary now, but we all know a lot of politics was involved in his getting that position.” He hmmed and nodded. The conversation was going really great for Adam, he hoped she continued; she did. “This is just a rumour, but it looks like one of the biggest men in this country was behind Faruk’s getting the position.”
“One of the biggest men?”
“Yes. And the weird part is; this man was not a friend to the late owner and C.E.O. so why is Mr. Faruk close with an enemy of the company?”
I should take more elevator rides with more dim witted secretaries who tell total strangers their secrets.
“Who is this big man and why was he…?” he could not finish his question, the elevator opened and they stepped out.
“Thank you very much Mister…”
“Collins, Theodore Collins. And it was a pleasure meeting you.” It indeed was.
“I can see you have met my amiable secretary.” Faruk called out walking towards him. “She’s been with me since I got here. Morning Ese.” She nodded and walked towards the office he looked to have come out from. “Welcome to CyberCorp. Please come in.” He walked Adam into an office he could only describe as great. He tried not to show his overwhelming admiration for the office. He was supposed to be from a company as big as CyberCorp, great offices were supposed to be normal.
He had arranged the meeting a week before. No President will want to meet with a low ranked Cop whose monthly salary is not as much as his feeding allowance. So he had to come up with a story. He was supposedly representing ‘Saturn’, a real estate company. He was a representative of the Human Resource and Public Relations departments. He was there to talk with the leaders of CyberCorp, so they could have an idea of what they would be working with. CyberCorp was one of the companies they had on their shortlist of consulting firms for a major project. His story was not airtight, the President of a big firm like CyberCorp would have direct access to the C.E.O. of Saturn, and a simple call would have put an end to any chances he had. Mr. Faruk had not made the call as his friend in Saturn – who got him a Saturn ID – had confirmed.
“So, is this going to be an interrogation?” Faruk asked with a smile, Adam could see he was a charmer. “Anything I say will be used against me? That kinda stuff?”
“This is not an interrogation, we just want to hear you say all the things we have read and heard about you. I’ll want to get your opinion about other leaders here. In fact, let’s start with that. Tell me a little about your C.E.O. something I’ve not read in the papers.”
“Wow! That will be tough, seeing that the media knows more than I know, probably more than Mr. Akorede knows about himself.” He said laughing and leaning back in his chair.
“He’s been your boss for a while now, you should know a little more than the media.” Adam watched him for his reaction to Nicholas being called ‘his boss’, he seemed to have taken it in stride.
“You are going to have to ask a direct question, Mr. Collins.”
“Okay, you have been brought into this position to help him run this company, the last C.E.O. didn’t need a President, do you think maybe Mr. Akorede isn’t competent enough to run CyberCorp?”
“I think you will find answers to that on the web, mostly wrong answers though. I wouldn’t say incompetent, inexperienced? Yes, but not incompetent.”
Adam asked several other questions but Faruk either was not taking the bait or he did not have anything against Nicholas.
“Let’s come to you then, you rose very fast here. There’s got to be a reason for that, right?”
“What can I say Mr. Collins, I’m a lucky man. And I kind of do my job very well.” Adam smiled. Faruk was a sleek criminal, if he was in fact a criminal.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m just covering my bases. Somebody mentioned at the office that you have some political ties, that it might have gotten you this position.” Adam watched the smile thin on Faruk’s face.
“Look here Mr. Collins, I do my job and I do it very well. Whatever political ties I have or don’t have has nothing to do with me getting this position.” Adam nodded.
“Like I said earlier, I’m just covering my bases. I’m sorry if the questions are offensive but I have this last one.” Adam knew he was about to jump off a cliff with a parachute that had not been tested, but he had to do it. “This politician was said to be involved in a kidnap, one that is yet to be solved. You wouldn’t be involved in that, right?”
Immediately the words came out of his mouth, Adam knew the interview was over. Of course he got kicked out of the office as politely as possible, but now Adam knew he had his man. Faruk was either the kidnapper or he worked for the kidnapper.