Bayo sank tiredly into the sofa in his bed-sitter. Thank God my break starts tomorrow, he thought. If the management of the plant where he worked had not so designed things that workers went on alternating one-week breaks he would have simply collapsed on his feet.
‘‘You are lucky,’’ boomed his friend, Obi, as he collapsed on the mattress opposite the sofa. ‘‘Wish my own break starts tomorrow.’’ He glanced towards the refrigerator. Bayo caught his gaze.
‘‘Grab two bottles there.’’
Obi shot up like a 9mm bullet. He bit the caps off two bottles of Star and passed one to his friend. Both men uplifted their bottles and the cold beer flooded their throats. Bayo set down his bottle. He reached for his radio. Obi snorted:
‘‘Who will be on air now but all those big-bellied politicians promising heaven on earth?’’
‘‘Make we listen to the news.’’ Bayo switched on the radio, fiddled with the knobs until he tuned in to Horizon F.M. and flopped down beside Obi.
‘‘Will you vote?’’ he asked abruptly, already guessing his answer.
‘‘Vote ko, vote ni. That day I will invite Sophie over and we will conduct our own election.’’ Sophie was a co-worker he had fallen for two weeks ago.
‘‘Woman go kill you for this Lagos,’’ Bayo said. They roared hilariously. Then he continued soberly. ‘‘Seriously, your vote matters. We can’t continue moaning about the system.’’
Obi shrugged. ‘‘What does my vote mean when those fat cats have already shared positions in Abuja? Look at the madness going on here in Surulere. If it is a foretaste of April abeg make I stay for house that day.’’
Bayo knew he was right yet he could not help being deeply disappointed. These bastards could not learn from history. The bitterness between Kassim Kolawole and Remi Adisa was disillusioning. Both men, hitherto intimate friends, had come out smoking as contestants for the Lagos State House of Assembly for Surulere Constituency 1; Kolawole as the candidate of the ruling Citizens Party, Adisa on the platform of the opposition Central Congress.
The nasty struggle came to a head two days ago following an undercover destruction of Kolawole’s posters and other campaign materials in an Adisa stronghold. In the clash that followed a pregnant woman was killed.
The voice on the radio interrupted Bayo’s reverie:
‘‘Listeners, with us in the studio is Chief Remi Adisa of the Central Congress.’’
‘‘Wetin the butcher wan yarn?’’ sneered Obi. Bayo’s glare shut him up. Adisa’s tone was solemn.
‘‘Listeners, good evening. I will be brief. After deep thought about the tragedy at Iyana-Itire I have decided, after consulting with my wife and advisers, to:
apologize to Chief Kolawole on the mass media;
sack Ali Mago, my strategy chief, immediately;
reprint and repost all of Kolawole’s posters in the area they were defaced;
cooperate with the police in their investigations into this matter;
step down as CC’s candidate for the Lagos State House of Assembly in Surulere Constituency 1. I have already written to my party‘s executive. No political position deserves the loss of life. Kolawole is my brother and politics should not break our bond. I broke my promise to run an acrimony-free campaign. Forgive me. I beg forgiveness of the family of late Biola Adigun. May Allah console you.
You will hear more from me in due course. Thank you.’’
Ten years must have passed before the radio-induced paralysis that seized Bayo and Obi released them. Obi whispered:
‘‘Was that for real?’’
Bayo could only nod.
Obi sighed. ‘‘Then I will vote in April.’’