Adamu Babatunde sat in the office for the third day in a roll. This time he came with his wife. He hated what he was doing but it was part of the job. He had to see this man, meet all his demands and he was one step closer to winning the state house assembly seat. He looked around the room; everybody here looked nervous, except his wife. The reason was clear; they all knew whatever the man behind the big black doors said would decide their lives for the next four to five years.
This was his fourth attempt at running for political office. He had been told a straight ‘no’ the first two times. The third time had been different. He was told to step down for another candidate and he was promised a ‘Special Adviser’ position. He didn’t get it. He could not complain though, it was the way of politics. His wife had told him to use his political connections to drive his engineering firm but engineering had its limitations. Politics didn’t.
The big black door opened, a secretary came out and Adamu looked up.
“He will see you now,” the secretary said.
Adamu stood up and sighed, it was time.
“I’ll be back,” Adamu said to his wife.
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
Adamu smiled and walked towards the big black door. He got to the door and pushed it open. The chief was seated behind his chair, his big round glasses on the edge of his nose. He looked small behind the massive desk in front of him. He looked up as Adamu walked in and Adamu felt the aura that made this man powerful. He understood why nobody could go against him.
“Adamu,” the Chief said with a huge smile that communicated a love Adamu knew was not there. “Where have you been?”
Adamu frowned, “I was here last week sir.”
The chief nodded. “Come and shake my hand.”
Adamu bowed low and shook the hand.
“Are you here alone?” The Chief asked. “I told you to come with your wife.”
“Yes sir, she is here. She’s outside.”
“Tell her to come in, I haven’t met her yet.”
This was starting well. Chief never wanted to meet the family of his dependents, it made it easier to take ruthless decisions. Adamu opened the door and signaled to his wife to come in. He held the door as she walked in.
“Wow,” the Chief said.
Adamu turned around to see the Chief on his feet. He must be really fascinated with her, he rarely stood for anybody.
“Good morning sir,” Adamu’s wife said, kneeing down.
“I never knew you were hiding such a beauty from me, Adamu.”
“Thank you sir,” Adamu said.
He was not sure what to do because the chief was still on his feet, starring at his wife. Adamu could tell she was getting uncomfortable and to tell the truth, so was he. After about a minute of uncomfortable silence the Chief sat.
“You want a ticket for the house, right?” The Chief asked.
“Yes sir,” Adamu said.
“My dear, please wait outside, I need to talk to your husband.”
Adamu watched his wife leave. The chief was about to get down to business.
“Sit down Adamu.” Adamu sat. “I will give you the seat you want.”
Adamu stood up and prostrated. “I am very grateful sir.”
“Stand up, I am not done.”
Adamu stood and took his place on his chair.
“You know the financial commitment you have to make, right?”
That was standard. Everybody knew there was a certain amount you paid to the Chief once you entered office. Of course, he was ready to pay that.
“Yes Chief, I am very loyal sir,” Adamu said.
“Well, we will know when the time is right.”
“I promise you sir, I will…”
“It is easy to promise when you don’t have the position yet. There is something you can do now to show how loyal you are.”
Adamu sat up. “Anything sir.”
“Your wife… what is her name?”
“Dunni sir,” Adamu said, a little scared of what was coming next.
“I like her,” the Chief said and waited for Adamu to understand what he was saying.
Adamu understood what he was saying but he also waited, pretending not to.
Finally the Chief spoke, “That is the price you have to pay. I know you will want to think about it but I don’t have time for that. I have another person coming in this afternoon and I have to make a decision. And so do you. So Adamu, how badly do you want this post?”
Adamu tried his best to focus on the road as he drove. But his mind could not focus on anything apart from what he knew the Chief was doing to his wife at the moment. His wife had cried and threatened to run away but he had begged her. Her body was the price they had to pay to change their lives. He knew he would regret this all his life and his wife might never forgive him but at least he was going to be a member of the house. Maybe the money would erase the memory of what they had to do to get it. And who said he was going to be the first person to give his wife in exchange for a better life?
He looked up ahead, the traffic was not moving at all. The sooner he could get home and sleep, the sooner he could forget about this debacle. For now. A few meters ahead of him, he saw a man limp on to the road. What the hell was…?
12 Hours Later.
Newspaper Headline: 30 DIE AND SEVERAL INJURED IN SHOCKING SUICIDE BOMBING.
Adamu Babatunde was one of the 30.