Emeka and Tunde reconnected after they both graduated from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) about fifteen years ago. Life has been fair to Tunde. After graduation, he married Lara, his old-time lover and they relocated to Canada. The whole process was seamless, as Lara was a citizen of Canada by birth.
Fifteen years down the line, the financial difference between both guys was mind-boggling.
Social media came to the rescue, as it gave them the platform to reconnect. Tunde was hopeful that Emeka’s financial case would be easily solved as his Canadian firm was opening an R&A centre in Lagos. The target was to grab these young Nigerians making waves in the tech world, to edge out global competitors.
From his discussion with Emeka, he had helped himself, by running some Tech-hubs across the country, and that gave Tunde the believe that it would be a perfect opportunity to change Emeka story for life.
He asked Emeka to fly into Lagos to meet him so he can help him keep abreast with some in-house info, before the Skype interview with the HR team in Canada.
With the happenings in the country, Lara had expressed her dissatisfaction. “With the high spate of kidnapping, robbery, and ritualist, you want to invite someone you’ve not seen for over a decade into your home”, she had protested. Though Tunde refused to bulge, he, however, agreed to fix the CCTV cameras in the rooms and around the compound, to allay her fears. Even at that, she kept calling him from Canada to get updates.
The flight from Enugu to Lagos was seriously delayed. 3 pm flight finally took off around 8:30 pm. By the time Emeka arrived Lagos, he picked him up and drove to a luxurious joint in Lekki. As they were alone together in the car catching up on old times, he could sense the uneasiness in him. He was getting used to such feelings. Most of his old school mates often display the same attitude when they see him.
In all honesty, he knew within himself that he had been one of the luckiest since they left school. He tried to ascribe everything to God and luck, just to make his friend comfortable.
Then he changed the discussion to the purpose of their meeting.
With his wife and children back in Canada, he told Emeka they had to eat dinner outside. The place was luxury at his peak. He placed the order and they ate, drank like men and left. By the time they got home, it was already midnight. He showed Emeka his room and bade him goodnight. “Get some rest and we will continue in the morning”, he said.
His wife called to check on him. He told her everything was fine, but she insisted he check the CCTV to know what the man was up to. Reluctantly he checked the screen and saw that Emeka was not sleeping on the bed. He laid on the ground using his bag as a pillow. He felt like going to tell him to sleep on the bed, but that would be like invading his privacy. “What if he asked him how did he know he was sleeping on the ground?” He thought. He constrained himself from going to meet him and kept watching what he was doing.
Emeka could not sleep and so started praying. He begged God to spare his life till the next day so he can go back home. He was no longer interested in looking for a high paying job. “How could he have missed such signs”, he thought. “Tunde Akogun that was later changed to Tunde ‘Akagan’ due to his very stingy nature in their undergraduate days now want to help him, and he fell for it? Tunde that married an Ijebu woman. How can someone that was already ‘akagan’, also married an Ijebu woman, and he expects him to now be so generous and charitable to help him? Emeka, you should be smarter than this”, he said to himself.
He stood up, looked through the window blind and saw the beauty of nightlife in Lekki. This time he was not interested in the beauty, but how to escape if he was attacked by Tunde and his bloodsucking members. He examined the window bars if he could manoeuvre it should the need arise. He was so certain that the Canada story and the good job and investment Tunde talked about was a ruse! Tunde is a bloody ritualist!
By 4 am Emeka was already dressed. With swollen eyes and a head that aches, he was ready to leave Lagos by bus that morning.
Tunde was scared to his bones. His wife had warned him. He too, could not sleep as he kept wondering what Emeka was up to. “Was his loud prayers a distraction? What was he doing at the window, examining the iron bars? Is he trying to signal his accomplices outside?” The questions kept running through his head. He was certain they cannot work together. This is obviously not the Emeka he knew a decade and a half ago.
As he stepped out of his room to the living room, he met Emeka already dressed waiting for him. He greeted him and put on the full lights in the living room. Before he could say anything further, Emeka had already said he was leaving Lagos back to Enugu immediately. And that he was no longer interested in the job offer Tunde was proposing for him.
Tunde felt a sigh of relief. Thank God, he said it himself. Out of courtesy, he tried to engage him to know why. But Emeka said it was a personal decision. They shook hands and he apologised to have wasted Tunde’s time.
While he waited for Tunde to dress up and drop him off at the closest motor park, he noticed that the wall clock in the sitting room was still red, the dining table covers were red, the throw pillows were all red. He thank God to have made him notice it early enough before they used him for ritual. Somehow, he felt the urge to check what was inscribed on the throw pillows and saw that it was Manchester United FC logo. He checked the wall clock and found the same logo. “Is he a Manchester United fan or it is an alibi to cover his tracks?” He thought.
As they drove to the motor park, he managed to ask if Tunde was a Manchester United FC fan. Tunde was surprised. “Have you forgotten that the only thing that gets me talking in the hostel back then was when it involves the Red Devils? I am a fanatical fan of the Red Devils, and this house is the only place I can display my madness because my wife doesn’t stay here. She hates red as a colour, so she won’t allow me to put so many red emblems in the house back in Calgary. I am surprised you’ve forgotten so soon”, he said excitedly.
“Well, fifteen years is quite a long time”, Emeka replied, apologetically.
Now Emeka is sweating profusely inside the full airconditioned Toyota highlander in a cold morning, as he did not know how to tell Tunde that he has misjudged him due to the colours.
Meanwhile, Tunde is feeling relieved as Naira Marley’s #InsideLife is blasting from the car stereo.
InsideLife #NairaMarley #Fraudsters #WrongJudgement #CostlyAssumptions #BetterNigeria #SocietyofSuspicions #EveryoneIsASuspect
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.