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Captain Nwanze dragged the last smoke and dropped the tobacco on the ash tray,
Captain Nwanze: “What should I offer you?”
Maigari: “Nothing,Kaptain! I’m fine thank you!”
Captain Nwanze: “Noo,I won’t take that! You can’t come to my house and not have even if it’s drink!” they both laughed.
Maigari: “But seriously, I’m okay!”
Captain Nwanze: “Snap Ku zhi ko?” he code mixed in his not so fluent Gbagyi, “hope I tried?” he smiled.
Maigari: “absolutely, Captain! Where did you learn how to speak my language?”
Captain Nwanze: “Have you forgotten I served in Bosso? Angwan Gwari to be précise!”
Maigari: “Oh, that’s interesting!”
One his domestic workers served Maigari a snap, “thank you!” as he gulped down the hot drink.
Captain Nwanze moved closer to Maigari,
Captain Nwanze: “Why I sent for you, “Maigari moved closer too as he spoke in low tone, “ Diko, I have noticed that is a green land; a land flowing with milk and honey. And I want to bring you in on how to maximize the riches of this land, “he grunted I didn’t come here to count stones but to also make money, he cackled,
Maigari laughed too,
Maigari: “That’s true!” nodded his head.
Captain Nwanze: “there are many lands here and as the village head or chief you can turn them into government allocations and sell them in millions of naira!”
Maigari looked disturbed,
Maigari: “won’t the owners of these lands raise eyebrows?”
Captain Nwanze: “That’s where you need me. I could use my office to shut them up. You know no civilian dares to challenge the military government!”
Maigari: “That’s right, captain!”
Captain Nwanze: “So what do you think?”
Maigari: “I’m in aiit!”
They shook hands,
Captain Nwanze: “I knew you were a smart man!”
Maigari: “Aiit I’ve been praying for such a district administrator like you!”
He smiled, “Ehen, we can also increase taxes on the people. The people of Diko especially the business people make very good profits!”
Captain Nwanze: “This calls for celebration!” their glass cups click against the other.
Captain Nwanze that time drove himself to Kyuata’s house in the company of Maku. He parked the Peugeot 404 by the house and walked in,
Captain Nwanze: “Don’t worry I’ll go and fetch the girl myself!” he walked to the gate and knocked.
Kyuata’s father was about sniffing his snuff it was past dinner time,
Kyautas Father: “Ah, Kaptain, what a surprise visit, “truly he was surprised and couldn’t hide it, “hope all is well,Kaptain?” the old man offered him a chair.
Captain Nwanze smiled,
Captain Nwanze: “No,thank you! I came to see your daughter.”
Kyuata’s father: “my daughter? Hope all is well?”
Captain Nwanze nodded,
Captain Nwanze:”Of course, I just want to inquire something from her!”
Kyuata wondered who had come to visit her father at that time of the night when she heard him call her,
Kyauta: “Yes,baba!” she ran out and was shocked to see the Captain Nwanze who had a head in his growing belly- it was on its way to becoming pot, “Good evening, “ she greeted coldy.
Captain Nwanze smiled and asked her to walk him to the car; he seemed very excited as he couldn’t help but stare at her.
Captain Nwanze: “why have you been avoiding my call all these while?”
Kyauta feigned ignorance,
Kyauta: “Me? Avoid? Can’t remember doing that, sir!”
He leaned on the car as she stood with folded arms looking away,
Captain Nwanze: “Has anyone told you are very pretty?”
Kyauta:”yes, my husband to be!” she said rather rudely.
Captain Nwanze: “who could that be?” he pretended as if he didn’t know who she talked about.
Kyauta: “Bala! My Bala!”
Captain Nwanze gave an awkard smile,
Captain Nwanze: “ I see! I’m a man who knows what he wants and go all out for it. I want you,Kyuata, I have all it takes to make you happy!” he said arrogantly.
Kyauta: “You don’t know what makes me happy!”
Captain Nwanze, he cackled; his cackling annoyed her. It was more like mockery,
Captain Nwanze: ‘aren’t you a woman? What makes a woman happy rather money and good sex?” he continued giggling.
Kyauta: “then you don’t know my kind of woman. There is something called love, something you don’t have or can’t give, “that changed his countenance, it got to him, “please, I’m not interested! Good night!” she walked away.
He bite his lips, smiled threw the car keys in the air and caught them, got into the car and drove off.
THREE WEEKS LATER
Life in Diko was becoming unbearable. There was heavy taxation and the lands of the people were taken away from them. Salaries of teachers weren’t paid. Captain Nwanze and Maigari were the brains behind the abnormalities in the village. Bala had started making plans for a peaceful protest first of all by the youths then the marketers and finally his colleagues, the teachers.
Captain Nwanze: “Maigari, I think you have to call your boy to order so he wouldn’t fall victim of my wrath!”
Maigari: “Oh, Bala, such a stubborn child. Please Captain I beg of you give me time I’ll talk him back to his senses.”
Captain Nwanze: “It’s better he gets back into his senses or he’d dance to the sound of my bugle! I know the problem of such village over zealous champions. Poverty !” Maigari laughed, “Once he sees good money he’d keep quiet!”
Bala who wasn’t happy with the way things were done in the village summoned for the meeting- youth meeting. It was held in his compound after dinner.
Bala stood up to address the full compound,
Bala: “Good evening my brothers and sisters. I welcome you all!”
They chorused, “Thank you!”
Bala: “I feel honoured that you all have answered my call. To be candid, I wasn’t expecting such turn up. I’m speechless but elated. Without mixing words or wasting time we all know where I called for this meeting. Things are gradually falling apart in this village and this is triggered by the selfishness and high level of greed shown by our leaders- those who are supposed to look after us, “they sighed, “our lands what has been our major source of income has been taken away from us using the wieldy and atrocious hand of the present system of dictatorship. And we are heavily taxed from our crops down to our domestic animals!”
Someone cried out, “Let’s take a fight to them!”
Bala: “I understand that you are angry but let us not get carried away if we employ violence as a way of solving these issues we are faced with then we would be like the wicked leaders who have brought this suffering upon us. I called this meeting here so we can agree and stage a peaceful protest starting in two days time. Do we all agree?”
“Yes!”was thrown in the air.
Bala: “Then we would march to the Maigari’s palace then the district office!”
The meeting came to a close by eleven at night. The youths dispatched that night happy and enthused.
Maigari sends for Bala a day after the meeting with Captain Nwanze in his palace.
Bala: “May you live long Shekwomwosa!” he knelt before him.
Maigari nodded and directed him to sit,
Maigari: “Have your sit, teacher Bala!”
Bala: “You sent for me, your highness!”
Maigari: “Yes I did. I want to discuss something very important with you. You know there is a saying that no matter how wealthy a young man is he cannot have more rags than a wretched old man.”
Bala: “That’s true,your highness!”
Maigari: “What an elder sees lying on his back a child cannot see even if he climbs the tallest mountain!”
Bala: “Very true but why is your highness talking to me with proverbs! You know I am but a young man who no matter my qualification in life cannot be as wise as you, your highness!”
Maigari smiled, Bala had massaged his ego.
Maigari: “Since as a child you’ve always distinguished yourself among your equals. You’ve always being a smart child. I heard you are organizing the youths to stage a protest against the district administrator!”
Bala: “Yes, your highness! But it’s a peaceful one!”
Maigari: “I want you to discourage them for the district administrator has warned that he wouldn’t tolerate that! And you know how intolerant the military government is when it comes this like this!”
Bala kept quite for a while with his head dropped down, “I suppose that your silence means you’ll do as I’ve told you right?”
Bala raised his head up and asked,
Bala: “what then would I tell them?”
Maigari: “It’s simple as A-B-C aii. Just tell them it’s been called off to avoid the wrath of the administrator!”
Bala: “wouldn’t that be known as cowardice?”
Maigari: “Noo, cowardice, is when you refuse to call off the protest,” he pushed a nylon to Bala, “this is small Kola from the administrator. He wants to make you an acquaintance!”
Bala: “Your highness if I tell you that I am disappointed at you then I have lied!”
Maigari was shocked as he gawked at Bala,
Bala: “You’ve joined forces with these wicked leaders to oppress your own people. Turning Diko into a place called hell. You have sold all our lands and taxed us heavily. Aren’t you supposed to be our guardian and protector? But instead you’ve joined the vultures to eat our flesh!”
Maigari: “Do you realize you’re talking to your “His Royal highness!”
Bala: “Is the royal highness above been told the truth? Please, take away from me this evil parcel I am not interested!”
Maigari: “Bala, the stubborn fly that follows a corpse into the grave would be buried with the corpse!”
Bala who was angry stood up,
Bala: “so be it!”
A military truck drove into the compound of Bala. The night of the day he had the meeting with Maigari. On the truck was “Nigerian Army” scribbled on. One of the military men went straight to Bala’sroom and knocked politely on the door. Bala opened and they spoke in less than a minute he entered his room got dressed and followed them.
Diana woke up that morning and ran out. She was throwing up. For a week and some days she has been feeling nauseous. She rinsed her mouth and went into her room smiling. She was smiling; she knew she had taken in.
Would Diana still accuse Bala of impregnating her? Was Bala been arrested?
To be continued on…
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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