When You left Ilorin, the heavens wept. Sending down it’s tears that got slanted sideways by the wind as it fell. The bus that rattled you to your destination was old, very old. It told from the grumbling engine, the gurgling tyres, as it ate up the uneven road, the leather on the seat you are seated on has sunk in, thereby ushering a host of sharp metal, to pinprick the naked part of your body, especially your buttocks.
It was the cheapest you could afford,and it would take you to Abuja on the pittance you had left, it would even drop you at a park very close to the flat in downtown Gariki, where the others are waiting for you. They would have reserved a room in one of the motels, ordered bottles of ‘shepe’ and packets of Rothmas, and White London.
You will be able to afford it, immediately Alhaji Mubaraq provided the money laden bags at your feet yesterday morning in Kwara Hotel.
You would have shot him on the fore head like you did the others, but that was when Shittu rang you, and ordered you to ‘bounce out’ and get to the bank.
You only took a few pittance from the entire loot, gotten from the five state commisioners you had been assigned to rob – you were assigned because you knew the way, very well…….
Downtown Gariki always smells of waste. From food, to excreta, blending with rotten fruits, especially oranges dumped into the very black and grimy gutters.
The smell transported by the wind can be found in every nook and crany of the ghetto, it even filters into rooms, like it is right now.
The flat you and the others are seated in is owned by Shittu, He aslo owns this movement, but he dosen’t own the monies. Neither do any of you.
And you are content to risk your life , chasing after politicians, Alhajis, Ministers and any other Big man, that would provide the monies you distribute to the homeless children in Kado-Kuchi, the pregnant drop outs in jahi, and Iyanya.
It is what you do with all the money you and your colleagues make, but it has begun to die. That enthusiasm, it became bloody, the politicians began to defend themselves and You in anger you began a shooting spree. You were the first, before the others followed, and the –
“Malik. Are you alright?” Shittu asks, intercepting your far away thoughts.
“I’m leaving for Kaduna soon” You reply. Your eyes studying the mutilated used-to-be red carpet, on the cement floor.
“So?” His voice does not sound annoyed, he never gets angry when he sees money, when you and the others return from your assignments.
“I’ll be gone a long time”. Silence still hung lazily in the room, it is as though you two are the only one in the entire room. The others are unsually quiet, maybe they feel the same way.
Shittu says nothing, he diverts his unnerving gaze from you, his monstrous face with scars gotten from years of operating with a terrorist group, before he repented, and decided to help most of the people he’d killed, stolen from, raped, and many other debauchery.
Even when you abruptly stand up to leave, he still says nothing.
One of the others is the son of a commissioner, another is the son of a Baale, two are sons of well known politicians, on and on like that.
It makes it easier to steal from people you know, you monitor their moves, scrutinize their money transactions, and when the money is finally in cash- you attack!
As you stand outside the balcony, of one of your father’s hotels in Maitama , you think of how to leave this, because you know you have to leave it.
You want to help in some other way, much more better , more dignified. There are many things you must leave.
And amongst them is the press rushing out now to meet you for an impromptu interview, which always starts with : ‘The governor’s son right?’………