30th November 2015
Nicholas had never been so confused. He knew managing CyberCorp would involve taking some pretty tough decisions and he had taken many of them. Appointing Faruk, a man he knew had no good in store for him had not being the least of the tough decisions but he was about to make the toughest one yet. Each share at Logged-In had gone up by twenty two percent and it had been sparked by a journalist releasing the news about the possible takeover. He had no idea how she knew about the takeover. He had no idea what to do about it.
“Look, we can sit here all day trying to know how this information got to the press but that will do little good now, we need to make a decision.” It was his father’s widow who seemed to be leading the men. She had insisted on being at the meeting, Faruk had agreed with her, she knew more about shares at Logged-In than they did.
“We need to make a decision, true, but what good is it if our decision once again gets leaked to the press, huh?” The white-haired Chukwu was asking. He had a point too, whoever had leaked the information was highly placed.
“What are we going to do then? Sit down and mourn our leaked secret? So Logged-In learnt of our planned takeover, knew they couldn’t stand us and are now offering us their shares at the market price, and what we’re discussing is something we have no control over?” She was pushing her point and Nicholas did not like it. The way she used ‘us’ made him even less convenient.
“Don’t you even find it odd the way they gave up? It was too easy, don’t you think so?” Faruk asked, looking round the table. Of course it was too easy, but it was a smart move, Logged-In were never going to get a better deal.
“Think about it, they started a business, six years later they’re big and a bigger company wants to buy their company…well, kind of, of course they want to give up. So the question is, are we doing this?” She used ‘we’ again, Nicholas was not enjoying the meeting, he was too quiet, he had to say something.
“Gentlemen and lady, we will launch an investigation into the leakage to the press but right now, we need to take a decision about this offer, do we take it or do we forget about Logged-In totally?”
They all looked at him and almost as if on cue all looked at Mrs. Babatunde. He knew they did not like her, they had shown it but she looked to be the leader on the deal, it did not seat well with Nicholas.
“I’d say yes.” She started. “Owning Logged-In makes us even bigger players in the market, guys like Al Mubarak will respect us again. He’s signed a contract with Logged-In, so he becomes our client again and this time we’ll make sure he doesn’t go anywhere.”
“No offense but you sound like you’re sold on this deal. Any particular reason?” Chukwu had just asked the question on the mind of his colleagues.
“I’m not sold on the deal.” She sounded shaken, she obviously did not expect the response. “That’s why we are here to discuss it. I just think it’s a good one.”
“I don’t think it is.” Faruk said, and they all looked at him. “It sounds fishy is all I’m saying. Apart from Al Mubarak, what other big client do they have?” He had a point.
“Business is not all about the big clients, the small clients – clients CyberCorp have not paid attention to all this time is what they have built their company on.” She replied him.
“Why don’t we just go after those clients instead of buying Logged-In?” Faruk asked again.
“They already have a company they trust, why would they come to us?” It was getting pretty intense.
“Are you saying that CyberCorp cannot get these clients? Are you saying Logged-In stands a better chance at getting clients?”
“Okay, okay, I hear you both.” Nicholas cut in, they were already raising their voices. “This isn’t the National Assembly, we’re here to talk and discuss not fight. ”The atmosphere was tense, people were already picking sides, he had to do something. “We are going to take a fifteen minute break, when we come back we will decide on this, alright? Thank you.”
Nicholas watched them walk out of the boardroom, he felt pride at being the boss of some of the nation’s top business minds. But he also felt confused, weak and vulnerable. He had tried his best to learn as much as he could about running a big business, he was even taking an online business management course but he still felt uncertain and inadequate to make a decision on the Logged-In matter.
His phone rang, it was a strange number.
“Hello, good afternoon.”
“Good afternoon, my name is Tola, I own the blog that broke the story about your potential Logged-In takeover.”
He sat up. “You are? I have a lot of questions for you but I’ll ask this first; what do you want?”
“I know you probably don’t like me right now but I would like to speak with you in private.” This is a joke, she wants to meet?
“You want to meet me? Well, I want to win a Grammy, it’s not going to happen. Why would I meet with you?”
“You would because I have information you need. Don’t you want to know how I’ve been accurate in my reports about CyberCorp?” she had a point, he was curious, but he was not going to answer to her.
“I want to know that but there’s no way I’m meeting with you.”
“Okay, I’ll just tell you now.”
. “You will? What do you want in return?” He was surprised she gave in so easily.
“I don’t want anything, I’m just sorry I’ve caused so much harm to your company. Okay, here goes; Mr. Faruk Abdullahi is the snitch.”
“What?!” Of course it was him, he should have known all along.
“He has been giving these tips for a while, in fact, I owe him my success. I’ve been feeling used lately that is why I’ve decided to tell you, I’m sorry for all the harm I’ve caused you.” She dropped the call.
Nicholas stood up and paced. It should not have come as a surprise, Faruk was an enemy he knew about, he should never have agreed with the lawyer. Appointing a known enemy as your right hand man made no sense, he knew that now.
He pushed a button on the intercom, his secretary entered.
“Tell them all to come back, the break is over.”
Five minutes later, they were all seated. He entwined his fingers to hide their trembling.
“I have made a decision, two actually. First, we are taking the Logged-In deal.” They all stirred in their chairs, Mrs. Babatunde tried to hide a smile, a couple of them put up their hands. “I’ll take questions later, the second announcement is more important.” He paused for effect. “Mr. Faruk Abdullahi is suspended from his position as President of CyberCorp while an investigation is carried out on his connection with information leakage. Mr. Chukwu would take up the position temporarily.” His announcement had caused more than a stir, Faruk looked at him mouth open.” That will be all, I will be in my office.”
COOKES’ BANK CAFETERIA
30TH NOVEMBER 2015
Kate looked at the lady sitting in front of her, she had read her blog a lot of times; she was considered a celebrity by some. She still did not understand the motive of her visit, but she agreed to it anyway. She knew it was about Nicholas, the lady blogged a lot about CyberCorp and was the cause of Nicholas’ latest trouble.
Her relationship with Nicholas was progressing slowly but steadily. He was almost always busy, Kate did not take it too hard, nobody likes a needy girl.
“Tola, that’s your name, right?” She nodded. “Why do you want to talk to me? You were vague on the phone.”
“Thank you for meeting me, if you’ve read my blog at all then you wouldn’t like me very much. I’m not here to make excuses, I just want to ask some questions about Nicholas. I want to undo some of the damages I have done.”
“Why would I talk to you? Nicholas wouldn’t want me to, like you said, I don’t like you very much.”
“I just talked to Nicholas, gave him my source. It’s not something any journalist would like to do, but I had to do it, it was the right thing to do.”
“Wait, you revealed your source?” She sat up, she was curious. “Who is it?”
“The President; Mr. Faruk.”
Of course, she should have known.
“You don’t look surprised.”
“Of course I’m not surprised. He was involved in the kidnap of one of…”
“Kidnap?” she was cut off by Tola. “Who was kidnapped?”
She was not supposed to talk about the kidnap, she had slipped. The blogger was not to be trusted yet.
“Have you researched Faruk at all? Do you know anything about him we don’t?” she tried to change the topic.
“Yes, I know a few things about him. Born and bred in Lagos, finished top of his class, rose very fast in CyberCorp… I know little things like that.”
“Does he have any political connections? Is he connected to any powerful person, he couldn’t have run the kidnap on his own.” She had mentioned the kidnap again.
“He might, I don’t know yet. What is this kidnap thing you keep saying? Who was kidnapped? I didn’t read anything about kidnaps in the papers recently.” She was now curious, Kate could see.
“How about you find out any political connections and I’ll tell you about the kidnap.”
“Okay.” She stood up to leave. “You haven’t told me much, but I don’t think I deserved much.”
“Well, thank you for trying to make things right.” Kate stood up too, they shook hands and Tola turned to leave.
“Kate, I don’t think Nicholas has much of a chance if Faruk’s political link is involved in this…this thing.”
“Why? Why would you say that?” Nicholas would stand a chance even against the Governor.
“You know Senator Lawal, the former Governor? He’s Faruk’s man.”
Okay, maybe Nicholas does not stand a chance.
1ST DECEMBER, 2015
Adam chewed on the boli with vengeance. It had been an annoying week, it had to be when you had been knocked out twice. His back still ached, his head throbbed, these were not happy days. He counted his blessings though, he could have been killed, he should have been killed. Apparently the men were not keen on cop-killing so they had dumped in a gutter. He had woken up with a terrible headache accompanied by a terrible smell but he had survived.
He had made a promise to Nicholas not to give up on the case, he intended to keep the promise. He was seated in a van, close to the house where he had seen Kemi come out from. It was still too difficult to enter on his own, it was heavily guarded. He had asked his boss for help, he had refused, saying the house belonged to somebody who could not be touched.
He had waited and watched for two days and he had already seen Kemi come out of the house, always guarded by at least two men. He had followed them but had not been able to get close enough. The boli was finished, he leaned back in his chair, boredom and pain did not go very well together. He had just closed his eyes when he was startled by the door of the van opening. It was Kemi!
“Hey, what are you doing here? How did you get out? How did you know I was here?” He had so many questions. He looked around, trying to make sure she was not followed.
“I’ve noticed you for a while, you’ve been following us around town.” She replied with a nervous smile.
“Hey look at me talking, I should be moving.” He stabbed the key into the ignition and started the engine.
Kemi grabbed his hand. “What are you doing?” she looked at him wide-eyed.
“I’m taking you away of course, what does it look like I’m doing?”
“Look here, I just wanted to give you some information for Nicholas. You would not get far before you’ll be stopped. These people are powerful connected people.”
“Which people? Kemi, you have to talk to me if you expect me to rescue you.”
“I don’t expect you to rescue me, James Bond.”
Adam put the van into gear and moved, he had looked for this girl for so long, he was not going to pass on the chance to rescue her. Kemi held the dashboard as he surged into the road.
“You don’t know what you’re doing. Anyway before we are stopped, I need you to tell Nicholas about a man called Faruk. He is a member of CyberCorp, I don’t know his position, he has to be careful with the man.”
“Faruk?” Adam asked. “We have known about Faruk for a while, he was involved in your kidnap, we know.”
“Good for you, you must stay clear of him, he’s very dangerous.”
“Thank you for the advice.” Adam noticed two motorbikes coming behind him, they were hot on his heels. He floored the accelerator, the men were keeping up with him. All he had to do was get his car to the Police headquarters. He was trying his best but the men were gaining on him.
“James Bond, stop this foolishness and stop the vehicle. You can’t escape them, even if you get to the police station. I’ll still end up with them.”
“Why did you escape then?” Adam was confused.
“I didn’t escape, I came to give you some info, that’s all.” She looked agitated. “CyberCorp is trying to close a deal right now…” the car in front of him turned suddenly, Adam cursed, slammed his brakes and skidded a few feet before regaining his balance. ”Ok. I was saying Nicholas is close to signing a deal right now…”
“How do you even know that?” Adam asked, keeping his eyes on the men behind him.
“I overheard. That’s not the point, tell Nicholas he mustn’t do the deal. It is a setup.”
“Set up? What kind of setup? Who is setting him up?”
“It doesn’t matter, just stop the car please.”
Adam was confused, it looked like she did not want to be rescued. The bikes were so close now. He slammed his brakes as the car in front of him stopped. The traffic was heavy, he could not go anywhere fast. He turned the steering but he was too late, the bike were already in front of him.
They both came down from their bikes and moved towards the car. One went for Kemi – who was already coming out of the van. The other man, came towards him.
“Hey Bond, tell Nicholas he mustn’t sign the deal, it’s a trap.” Kemi said, came down from the van and shut the door.
“Look here man…”one of the men spoke to him. ”Whoever you are, this is the last time we are leaving you alive. Next time we meet, you will not be leaving alive. We respect cops but even cops can be killed.”
Adam sighed as they left, he had lost the girl again. He brought out his phone and dialed Nicholas’ number, if they girl knew what she was saying, he was in trouble.
“Adam, hey I’m a little busy right now. Can I call you back?”
“I found Kemi and she has a message for you. She’s not here with me, I got her but she was taken back from me.”
“Is she okay? Who took her back? What was the message?” He could tell he was eager to hear.
“She said you shouldn’t sign the deal you are about to sign, said it is a setup.”
“A setup?” Nicholas’ tone made Adam’s heart skip a beat. “I just signed the deal.”