Written by: Victor Chinoo
“What is going on here?” Biola asked with a frown on his face. He was holding the door to his office while peeking into the lobby. “I am sorry sir, I tried to hold him back but he would not listen to me,” Cindy, Biola’s secretary explained. “Are you Biola Awe?” The short, chubby man asked. He was as dark as charcoal with facial marks that ran in deep channels. “Yes, I am but I am busy now. Make an appointment with Cindy, my secretary to see me. You can’t just barge into the building and demand to see me on short notice. We do things in an orderly manner here,” Biola instructed the man.
As he turned to return to a client in his office, the man threw an envelope at him. “That is your eviction notice. I no get time for you and your long grammar (I don’t have time for you and your long grammar). If you are not out of this place by next week, I go (will) throw both you and your belongings out the window!” The man said rudely. Biola turned and stared at him. He let go of the door and walked towards the man. “You have guts…you really have guts. If you don’t want to sleep in jail tonight, then get out of this place right now!” “I don tell you wetin I need to tell you (I have told you what I needed to tell you),” the man maintained as he waddled away from Biola’s accounting firm. Biola’s firm, Billdow and Co Accountants was perched on the top floor of a ten storey building on Hameed Kasumu Street in Ikoyi, belonging to his father.
As the man walked out of the office and headed for the elevator, Biola picked up the envelope casually. “Don’t let that riffraff into this place again,” he instructed Cindy, who nodded submissively. Suddenly, he turned halfway to his office. His frown grew more intense as he stared squarely at the piece of paper in his hand. “This is actually my father’s signature, unless someone forged it. Is he actually trying to throw me out of the building?” Cindy said nothing in reply, pretending to be engrossed in her work in front of the computer screen.
Biola quickly returned to his office and dialed his father. “I was expecting your call,” Seyi said. “Dad, what is going on? Are you actually threatening to throw me, your son out of your building?” “Yes!” Seyi replied emphatically. “What is going on?” “Since you have grown wings, I have decided to clip them, Biola. Despite my incessant pleas to you, you still went ahead to call of your engagement to Bimbo. You are right, you have the right to do what you want, and so do I. You have until next week to move out of the building. I have provided for you, helped you to the very top of your field, but now, I am pulling the plug. Go out there and do it all by yourself. Let’s find out what stuff you are made of.”
“I can’t believe this…I really can’t believe we are having this discussion, dad. Bimbo was to get married to me and not you. What is in it for you? You should be happy for me. Do you want me to marry just for the sake of it? What if we divorce shortly afterwards? Does that not imply more pain and shame to you, potentially?” “This is about honor, my son. This is about character. When you say you’d do something, you should stand by your word. You and Bimbo have dated for ages. Her family and ours are best of friends. Her father, Dayo gladly offered her to you in marriage long ago because we all had an agreement. You said you loved her.
“You young generation; you have no resilience…when things get tough, you run and hide. You gave your word, Biola and you have to honor it. Let me tell you; all those big clients of yours, NNPC, Chevron, Shell, Cadbury, WAMCO, NASCO, Nigerian Breweries, Guinness etc. I will make sure they all walk away from you…just like that. You cannot bite the finger that fed you, my son. You think you are too smart? The smartest accountant in town? No, you get those clients because someone makes that happen – Me!!! I will make them take their business elsewhere. Besides, when you no longer have a luxurious office in Ikoyi, you’d be less likely to attract high-end clients!!!”
“I have no idea what you are saying, dad. If you are bent on throwing me out, then so be it. I am not going to be bullied into marrying a girl I no longer love…perhaps never loved. You had an agreement with Bimbo’s father…I was not a party to such an agreement, so please leave me out of it. I have no idea what they are offering you to force me to marry their daughter. Whatever that might be, I want none of it!” “You agreed to marry the poor girl. Don’t you feel anything for her? You have broken her heart. Does that not bother you?” “She is a spoilt brat. I am through with her, period!”
“Do you think Seyi will be able to convince Biola to marry Bimbo,” Akin asked his father, Dayo. They were seating on the terrace of one of Dayo’s restaurants in Lekki. Dayo raised his glass to his mouth and sipped on his beer with delight. He closed his eyes for a moment as he savored the taste of Gulder lager beer. Then, he opened his eyes and took another sip of Gulder, staring into the Atlantic Ocean. This was his favorite place. The cool Ocean breeze gently caressed his skin as he watched seagulls dropping majestically out of the sky and onto the beach in a desperate hunt for victual.
“He does not have a choice. The stakes are far too high. He will do anything possible to convince Biola to marry Bimbo,” he answered with a sinister smile on his face. “What makes you very sure, dad?” “I will tell you when it is time.” “You have been saying this for years, dad. It is about time you told me. I am a man now. At twenty-eight, I have two sons of my own. I have grown the family business after my study in the US to an enviable height. I have done all that you asked of me. I think it is time you told me what you have up your sleeve.”
Dayo scrutinized his only son for a moment. Then, he took another sip of Gulder. Some of the foam from his glass of Gulder latched onto his mustache. As the sea-powered wind blew gently by, the foam deflated, revealing his black and grey mustache once again. His eyes appeared to be peering deep into his son’s mind. “You have to tell me dad. I deserve to know. Bimbo is hurting and I can’t help her. If you insist that Biola is the guy for her, then you must tell me.”
“If you think you have come of age, then listen to me. Bring your seat closer. Open your eyes and your mind. Your mouth must never say a word of what you are about to hear.” “You know me more than that, dad.” “If you reveal this to anyone, I will not spare you…you heard me right, I would not spare you, Akin.” “You have my promise dad.” Dayo leaned back, took another sip of Gulder, cleared his throat and began to speak in a low tone.
“Years ago after your mother passed away, I remarried. I married your step mother, Funke.” Dayo stopped. He stared into the open sea again, while sipping his glass of Gulder, which Akin refilled for him. “She was such a beautiful girl. I fell very hard for her and she for me…or so I believed. We married and had your sister, Ibukun. After her birth, the economy took a nosedive, so things were not as smooth as we would have liked, but we were not poor by any means. Funke wanted a Jaguar, which would have cost me a fortune, given the economy at the time. I told her to hang on for a while. I had some deals that I was hoping to close on the stock market.
“A friend had told me about some companies whose shares were about to nosedive – you know; it was an inside job – an insider on the stock exchange had provided the information at a price. The shares would fall for a while and then, pick up in a year or two. I was ready to invest millions…a lot of millions in those shares to eventually make billions when I sold them off. Sadly, someone beat me to the deal – all of it!!!” He paused again to get a drink of Gulder. “Who was that?” Akin asked. “It was my best friend, Seyi. He had been sleeping with Funke…my own best friend. Funke stole my file on the stock market deal and sold the idea to Seyi who was screwing my own wife behind my back. With the money she got from the deal, she bought herself a Jaguar. When I asked her, she told me all sorts of lies as to where the money came from. Seyi Awe’s wealth is worth probably twenty-eight, thirty-five times more than mine today. It is all down to that single stock market inside trading deal. He netted at least, five billion naira from that deal…and he was sleeping with my wife.”
“Are you serious? I never knew that anything of that sort went down between you and Seyi.” “Yes, we kept it quiet. No one knew about it except him, myself and Funke. One day, my gateman informed me that Seyi was sleeping with Funke. I set cameras everywhere…hidden cameras and travelled to the UK. By the time I returned I had enough recordings to make a porn movie. With the tapes, I confronted Seyi. He could not deny it. The tapes were damning. He begged me to forgive him. For two years, he begged and finally, I forgave him.” “You did?” “What makes you think I’d do such a thing? I told him that I had forgiven him, but that was a hocus pocus, my son. I offered to have his son Biola marry my then little daughter, Bimbo, whom I am very sure is not actually my daughter though. It was my olive branch to Seyi to restore our friendship – his son would marry my daughter to keep the bond between both families alive. Now, Biola wants to deny me my sweet revenge.”
“How do you mean?” “Biola must marry Bimbo. She is the sacrifice from her cheating, lying mother. After she and Biola are married…” Dayo paused and looked around. Lowering his voice further, he continued, “I will poison Seyi, leaving his wealth to his only son, Biola. Then, I will have Biola wiped from the face of this earth. Then, their wealth will return to our family through Bimbo. After Biola’s death, everything goes to Bimbo. Bimbo knows nothing, so we will take over Seyi’s empire and before Bimbo knows it, while offering to help her run the empire. Who else would she go to, but her father and brother – business moguls in every right? Soon, all the documents will be changed to my name…and yours. We will take over Seyi’s entire empire”
“You have been waiting for this all these years?” Dayo nodded merrily sipping on his glass of Gulder. “Revenge is a dish that tastes best only when it is served cold, according to Don Vito Corleone in Mario Puzo’s classic, The Godfather,” Dayo said philosophically. “Ever since that whore, Funke died, I have been waiting for this moment. I made sure she did not live much longer after I found out what she had been up to. She confessed to me on her sick bed that Bimbo is not my daughter. She had multiple sidekicks, one of whom is Bimbo’s father. I ran some tests when Bimbo was younger; she is not my daughter – a perfect sacrifice to reclaim our wealth from that cheating rattlesnake, Seyi.”
Akin had known all along that his father was deadly. Now, it sank in. “Are you in on this?” Dayo asked him, distracting his train of thought. “Yes…yes…yes, I am in dad,” he answered smarmily. “Good. I warned Seyi along the line that if he does not get his son to marry Bimbo, then that would mean that the bond is broken…then I can go public with those tapes. He would stop at nothing to keep those tapes secret forever.”