“In the world we live in, Evil thrives when good people prefer to stay silent”
1st Oct 2016
Walking up the staircase leading up to the podium, Yvonne took each step with a troubled mind. Troubled about what she was about to do, and the consequences her action would bring. She was troubled but not scared. In her present situation there was no room for fear, her only problem now was the doubt encasing the four corners of her mind.
Standing on the podium about to address the crowd of pressmen and civilians, she looked at them then smiled her usual warm smile, the crowd burst out in cheers; they were used to that smile, so genuine & filled with kindness. Yvonne wondered if people would still cheer her smile if she wasn’t president. Her thoughts converged on the word “president” she never thought she would ever be one, but then again the whole country never thought they would have a female president. Her memory darted back to ten years ago, that fateful day when she had decided to take a stand against the evils plaguing the Nigerian society. Now she wondered if she made the right choice because the very reason why she had made that decision was somewhere, in harm’s hold. She was about to lose the very thing she held dear on earth all because she decided to take a stand.
“Madam President it’s time” a voice whispered to her, Yvonne came back from her train of thoughts and focused her mind on the task at hand. “Thank you Edna” she said to her aide. She placed her portfolio holding several sheets of paper on the podium, took the microphone in her right hand then spoke “My fellow citizens of this great nation we are once again here to celebrate our independence, its been six months since i became president, six turbulent months if i might add, there have been several attacks placed at me and my family, both physical and emotional, but through it all i have stood my ground” at this the crowd then burst into another cheer and applause, Yvonne smiled then waved them to quieten down. “These attacks have been placed on me because i have been at the forefront of the battle against corruption in this great country of ours, it has been a bloody war with me sustaining a lot of casualties but still i stand my ground” the crowd once again went into another round of applause and cheers, Yvonne quietened them again and went on with her speech. “Even though the battle has been tedious i am happy to tell you we have finally made a breakthrough as i have right here in my hands a file containing, with enough proof and evidence to convict the members of the so-called cabal, the consortium as they like to call themselves, i am pleased to inform you i have here the names of those members of this consortium of evil headed by” before she could continue a gunshot was heard and then Yvonne slumped to the floor unconscious. “The president has been Shot, i repeat the president has been Shot”!! Yelled her head of Security Musa, immediately the whole crowd went in uproar as everyone was thrown in shock each person filled with pain, anguish, despair and sorrow. Some women burst out in tears while old men shook their heads in sadness. The youths where the most volatile as they all were suddenly restless, Musa was worried because he knew a riot was about to unfold, the barrier made of mobile policemen wouldn’t hold them for long. “Quick” he said to the rest of his secret service team “carry her to the convoy; let’s take her to the nearest hospital, make sure the Vice-president is secure also” “Yessir” came the replies from all ten of them. Using drapes decorating the podium, they made a make-shift stretcher and carried her out. Just then someone yelled “There’s someone running on the top stairs with a black bag” hearing this Musa unfolded his revolver, told three of his men to follow him, while he urged the rest to take madam president to the hospital.
Walking up the staircase of the La rue building, he was cautious, years of being a bodyguard thought him Assassins were sneaky as well as deadly, any wrong move or lack of judgement could lead to you being shot by an unknown shooter. This thought made him worried, he then radioed in for more men in case there was more than one shooter. He was on the steps leading upwards for three minutes when two-dozen of military soldiers handpicked by him came to meet him. “Sergeant Luke, reporting Sir” a gruffly looking soldier armed with guns and grenades spoke sharply to him. “Nice, I’m pleased you’re here. I believe the shooter is trapped in this building because i personally ran a check and there are few places to hide. The la rue was built as a museum, although it’s empty so most of the floors are just wide spaces. There are three floors upward from the one we’re in, whoever our shooter is; he won’t escape” said musa. “Okay sir, so how do you want it? You want me and my men to go first and clear the whole floors while you and yours trail behind?” Said Luke, “No way” said Musa, I’m the commanding officer here and I’m head of the Secret Service, the President is my responsibility, whoever shot her is going to pay once i get him. You and your men trail after me and mine instead” with that he motioned to his three men while Luke and his men followed closely behind.
“We’ve gone through all the floors and we’ve seen no one, sir are you sure the shooter ran upstairs”? Luke asked, musa just ignored him while he made for the door leading to the roof of the La Rue his only thoughts was that Luke was right, they’ve searched all three floors and still no sign of anyone, he wondered if he was chasing a ghost. What was more annoying was that all this was happening when he was in office as head of the Secret Service. A president being assassinated on your watch can be a serious career-ender. If he didn’t get the shooter he would have to face committees and committees all stating his inability to function as head. He couldn’t allow this to happen. At the top step leading to the roof, he gently pushed the door open then walked on the roof of the La Rue his eyes peeled waiting for any sign of movement. He looked left and right, and then his eye caught sight of a figure standing on the edge, with a black bag slumped on his shoulder.
“Drop the bag on the ground, put your hands on the back of your head, turn around and go on your knees” Musa yelled while the rest of his team went towards him with their guns levelled towards the man’s head. The figure dropped his bag, and did as commanded. When musa got close he saw the man smiling, he was tall, a bit dark, but looked like every other normal Nigerian. “Oops! you caught me” the figure spoke “Although i must say I’m a bit disappointed, i have been waiting here for ten minutes, i was even considering going over the ledge” he said grinning. Checking his bag Luke saw a rifle, he felt it and saw it was still warm. Looking over at Musa he said “I think we’ve got our shooter” Musa turned away and looked at the figure “Who are you”? he asked the figure grinned again and said “The Name’s Shaka, Monsieur Shaka” he said in a faint French accent. Hearing this Luke brought a black bag and put it over his head.
TEN YEARS EARLIER.
Driving home in her company car, her mind was going over the events that occurred earlier in her boss office, she quit because the only way she was going to get promoted was if she slept with him. Yvonne started to have doubts; maybe she did the wrong thing, maybe she should have just slept with chief and gotten the promotion, just maybe. But then again she always saw herself as someone who didn’t believe in shortcuts but now life just dealt her a terrible blow. Getting to a police checkpoint some miles from her house she was stopped and asked to park, she did so in annoyance. Then the police started with the usuals like where’s your driver license? Your vehicle particulars? Yvonne gave them all albeit absent-mindedly, when the officer saw she was at no fault he started racking his brains looking for an offence to tag her with. He decided to come up with something flimsy “Madam where’s your bill of lading? Your car has no bill of lading” Yvonne was in no mood to argue all she could say was “Sir this is a company car, everything that has to do with its purchase, the company should be referred to” The police officer was dumbfounded by this reply. Seeing he was beaten he said “Madam all that one na story, roger me something” Yvonne just kept mute “I say make u see me joor” the policeman went on. Yvonne just got down from her car, took out her box containing some things from the office, her bag then looked at the officer and said “today has been a very bad day for me, i just lost my job after ten years, i’ll be dammed if i allow you add to my stress levels” with that she handed the car keys to the police man “do what you want with the car, i’m done with it, i’m pretty sure the company will come get their property” she walked off to the nearest bustop as soon as she said those words, the police officer whose mouth was wide open all these while just kept on staring, he had never been so washed down by anyone in his life before. When he regained from his shock he started calling after her to come take her car keys, he reasoned the stress of driving the car to the station and having to explain the whole situation to his C.O wasn’t worth it. How he wished he hadn’t stopped her car, his peers just kept on laughing at him.
Yvonne was in a bus heading home when she began crying, the injustice in the country was overwhelming, first her job, now harassment at the hand of a dumb police man, she just couldn’t take it anymore. “Why u dey cry” a voice seated beside her said, then in a sad voice Yvonne narrated how her day had been like, when she was done the person seated next to her just burst out in a laugh she was shocked at the response she got, she didn’t even bother lifting up her bowed head as she continued crying. “See you, cry cry like pikin, life never finish abeg, ok you no get work, you no get motor, na why you come dey cry? What of me wey be Ashawo, i no get house talk of family, i come get HIV join”. Hearing this Yvonne lifted her head sharply and stopped crying, she took a look at the person speaking and was shocked at what she saw, the girl couldn’t have been more than eighteen. She was baffled to say the least “Abeg no look me that way, no be so i plan my life” the girl continued, she then narrated her own sorry, when she was done Yvonne’s story seemed like a fairy tale compared to hers.
Alighting from the bus Yvonne’s mind kept going over and over the girl’s story; she didn’t even get her name. True she was eighteen, and also a sex-worker, and also an Hiv carrier. But for someone that young and have such terrible history and still have a bright outlook in life gave her a new perspective on things.
When she got home she met her husband Derek, he was an associate professor at a university at Abuja. He had sympathy for his wife’s story, but even more for the mysterious girl she met on the bus. That night while seated at her son’s bedside overlooking him as he slept, she shook her head in pity because this was the world her eight year old son was coming to face, she just couldn’t bear to have him face it, a mother’s love no doubt. But then again her husband had asked her what could be done, the society ills spread across to every part of the country, who was willing to stand against it? She had kept quiet at this question, but now looking at her son, she decided she would be that person who would hold the torch in the dark, who would stand her ground, who would fight against corruption, injustice and the other worms eating at her country. She would do this for her son, people who were oppressed and most especially for herself…………………………..to be continued.