Election was drawing closer. The people were excited that Bala had returned back as their candidates and pleaded with them not to get violent with the opposition party,
Bala: “We shouldn’t stoop low to their level by taking up weapons and fight. Let’s fight with our votes!”
The people cheered him,
“We are not thugs but good people. Patriotic citizens!”
They sang with his name.
Timothy barged into Captain Nwanze’s office; he was startled,
Captain Nwanze: “Timo, what’s the problem?”
Timothy seemed troubled; he was pacing about the office,
“Calm down and talk to me!”
Captain Nwanze headed him a bottled of chilled water, “Calm down and sit! You look one cursed with dysentery!”
Timothy: “If that was the curse that would have been better aii!”
Captain Nwanze: “shoot, I’m listening!” he sat on the table.
Timothy gulped the water again,
Timothy: “Do you know Bala is back campaigning?”
Captain Nwanze was shocked,
Captain Nwanze: “You’re joking right?”
Timothy: “I’ve never being this serious in my entire village life! The whole villagers have been following him up and down,” he flung himself on the chair.
Captain Nwanze walked around in silence,
“Captain what do we do? I’m so confused!”
Captain Nwanze leaned on the table,
Captain Nwanze: “So that bastard decided to go on in spite of our threat right?”
Timothy: “we should have killed him!”
Captain Nwanze sighed,
Captain Nwanze: “Don’t be a fool Timothy. You don’t do things like that!”
Timothy dropped his head,
Timothy: “I’m sorry!”
Captain Nwanze: “It’s okay,man!” he tapped, “I’ve got a plan. Come closer!” Timothy went closer as they spoke in whispers.
Bala had just finished from a hectic meeting. It was four days to elections,
Bala: “It’s high time I settled with Kyauta. I have tortured her and myself for too long.”
Instead of going home straight he stopped by hers. Her mother was outside when he entered the compound,
“Good evening, mama, “he prostrated,
Kyauta’s mother: “Oh, oh, my chairman!”
Bala was smiling, “You remembered us today?”
Bala: “mama, I didn’t forget you people o o! I have just been busy!” he smiled,
Kyauta’s mother:” I see!” she smiled back, “Kyauta went to get something down the road. You must have missed each other,” as she was talking Kyauta just entered, “Aha talk about the angel!”
Kyauta was shocked to see Bala,
Kyauta: “Good evening!” she handed her mother the parcel, “this is it, mama.”
Bala: “Evening, Kyauta!”
They sat down staring at each other not saying a word; her mother knew her presence was a barrier. She stood up,
Kyauta’s mother: “Nmmm, lemme go and rest I’ve had a long day! Good night,my chairman!”
That was her cue for leaving.
Bala: “Good night,mama!” he bent and bade her farewell.
They continued staring at each other seconds; Bala grunted,
Bala: “I came to see you!”
Kyauta: “Okay” they were unable to look at each other in the eyes. it was like a case of two teenagers in love but none having the guts to tell the other.
Bala Adam’s apple danced and pushed down the word he wanted to spew out as he swallowed spit,
“How’s the campaign going?” she asked.
Bala: Fine, fine. We thank God but it’s stressful.”
Kyauta: “I have been worried about you! “she had did let it out; it was no use lying to him. When he was abducted she felt like killing herself and the day he was released she rejoiced more than any other person even though he behaved like he had never seen her when she went to greet him.
Bala’s heart melted; he felt terrible and that was when he realized truly that he had been unfair to her.
Bala: “Thank you, “that was the only thing he could say.
Kyauta: “I can see that you’re happy without me!”She said with tears in her eyes, Bala looked away. That wasn’t true but he didn’t have the courage to tell her, “ so you’d know I can never love any other like I have love you and still love you! I have decided to get married to Captain!”
His heart skipped; it felt like a cut. He couldn’t believe what she had just said,
“Yes! I cannot continue to be like this! I don’t want to end up being the scorn of the village….”
Bala: “Bu…” the words didn’t come out.
Kyauta: “I know he isn’t a good man but I’ll bear the brunt of my actions! Good night and thank you for making me know the meaning of true love!” she stood up and walked towards her room.
Bala was glued to the stool he was on; he wanted to run after her but he couldn’t. With teary eyes he watched her disappear into her room. He stood up for the house, since that was the end of their relationship between him and Kyauta.
On his way to the house, the words of his father reechoed,
Baba: “And you’d better stop behaving like a child and go get back your girl. The girl has sacrificed a lot for you…There’s no but. She loves so much and she has sacrificed so much for you! Go and make up!”
The words echoed again and it forced a tear down his cheek,
He turned quickly running back to Kyauta’s house. As he entered the compound panting he saw that she had returned to where they had sat with her head on her laps she was sobbing. When she looked up and saw that it was him- she asked,
Kyauta: “Did you forget something?” she stood up as tears ran down her eyes,
Bala: “yes, I forgot you! I cannot live without you!” he rushed at her and hugged her tightly, “I’m sorry for ever doubting your love and sacrifice for me! I love you! I’m ready to be the father of your baby!”
She hugged him back sobbing-he was sobbing too.
It was now a day to election; Diko was crowded with security personals; the Military and the Police. It was a busy day for Bala and his people. They moved from one village to the other distributing items and talking to them. Clement was his spokesman,
Clement: “Let’s refuse to sell our votes for stipends. Let’s not mortgage the future of our children! Vote wisely!”
Timothy and his people on the other hand, were busy spreading the sermon of violence and giving gifts of cash. They distributed money to all the villages in Gurara local government. And the people welcome them wholeheartedly.
Bala was worried as he retired for the day,
Bala: “Clay, I’m worried oo!”
Bala” Timothy and his men are having upper hand!”
Clement: “No don’t be pessimistic. There’s nothing as such!”
Bala: “But they are giving money to them and it seems the people are carried away by that!”
Clement: “ You’re talking as if you aren’t a Nigerian! My friend, relax; God is behind you and the people are just after the cash. They’ll vote for you! They believe in you!”
As he got home, he met Kyauta waiting for him,
Kyauta: “Guess what?”
Bala flung himself on the bed he was tired all he wanted was a sweet night sleep.
Bala: “I’m tired!” she jumped on him.
Kyauta: “I know but I still want you to g-u-e-ss!”
Giggling as she tickled him,
Bala: “Oh,oh!! Why are women like this?”
Kyauta:”I went to the clinic for the pregnancy test and guess what?”
Bala: “ It is a boy?” he smiled.
Kyuata: “ Yeaa..nope!”
Kyauta: “ Naaah!”
He turned her over,
Bala: “Ooooh! Save me out of my misery now!” it was his turn to tickle, she laughed and laughed and pleaded,
Kyauta: “Please! Please!” laughing.
Bala: “would you tell me?” she nodded.
Kyauta: “I’m not pregnant!”
He couldn’t believe his ears. It sounded too good to be true,
Bala: “Quit joking. It’s not funny!”
Kyauta: “I’m not joking. The test came out negative! It said it was change of hormones in my system!”
He screamed and carried her up as they kissed passionately.
It was the day the country has been waiting for but the local government elections were to be held first before the gubernatorial elections then that of the president would follow. The people of Gurara weren’t left out of the tension that grasped the whole country. No one believed that the Military era was going for good.
Bala’s political party had provided guards for him, mobile police officers that followed him everywhere. Voting didn’t start on time. In some villages under Gurara local government ballot boxes came at noon. Proper voting started around one while accreditation didn’t start until eleven in the morning but the people were very patient everyone wanted to be part of history.
Around two in the evening thugs went around the twenty five wards under Gurara including Diko harassing voters and the electoral officers. In some of the villages there was exchange of bullets between the security forces and the thugs who were well equipped and they injured most of the security men.
The boxes were aligned in a secret room in hideout; as the men stuck into the boxes fake voters sheets; a car arrived and they all stood at alert with their weapons ready for a shoot out,
Captain Nwanze appeared with Timothy following behind; he was on mufti.
Timothy: “Captain you’re smart ooo! How did you even discover this place?”
Captain Nwanze laughed,
Captain Nwanze :”Do you think they call me the viper for nothing!”
One of the men yelled, “Who goes there!?”
Captain Nwanze and Timothy appeared,
Captain Nwanze: “Easy boys!”
“Shun sir!” they hailed him.
Captain Nwanze: “How is it going?”
They gave him situation report and he was pleased. By four in the evening, the men returned the boxes and threatened the people and the electoral staff not to say a word about what happened.
Bala after receiving situation report shrugged and said,
Bala: “well, whatever happens that is what God wants it,” he said to the people he was with.
Clement jumped in and said,
Clement: “That’s nonsense! Why would humans just choose to be evil?”
Another man sighed and said, “Bala is right there’s nothing we can do!”
After the elections before the declaration of results. There was dancing and singing in Timothy’s compound. The compound was filled to the brim with supporters singing his praises. When Timothy entered the happy supporters left him up and threw him up as they were screaming and dancing.
Captain Nwanze: “ I told you that Bala would cry! He is but a loser!” they were having a drink in Captain Nwanze”s house. It was all merriment galore for them.
The part of Diko and most of the wards that supported Bala were gloomy. That day everyone went to bed early. If that was the democracy the elder statesmen were gunning for then they preferred the autocratic Military era.
Bala entertained many visitors; they all came to console him,
An old man said: “I know this election was rigged in my village, ballot boxes were snatched and later returned at gun point. I even heard some officials were bribed.
Bala smiled and said,
Bala: “I leave everything in God’s hands!”
After everyone had dispatched, Kyauta stayed back.
Kyauta: “Baby, don’t let it bother you, please,” Bala sighed.
Bala: “I won’t deny I’m worried!”
Kyauta: “I know but just as you have been telling people God has a reason for allowing this happen!”
Bala sighed again,
Bala: “when all this is over I’d seek for a transfer to Kaduna where I really need a change of environment!”
She nodded her head,
“the next thing on my mind right now is getting married to you,” he turned and look at her she became cold and quiet, he knelt down holding her hands, “will you marry me?”
She couldn’t give him a definite answer; tears spoke for her. It was a definite yes!
That night a day before the announcement of result, a young Military officer worked into the office of one of the colonel, who was the personal assistant to the state’s sole administrator,
Colonel: “Yes, can I help you?”
The young Military officer marched in and saluted,
He said: “I have a confession sir about the Gurara local government elections. It was rigged!”
Colonel: “How do you mean?”
“I was the one who spearheaded it. I was in charge!”
The news was everywhere especially on radios. Bala was declared the winner. The officer who confessed gave evidence and Timothy was disqualified and arrested.
Captain Nwanze was arrested charged with murder and corrupt practices; he was to be hanged while Timothy served ten years in prison. And the officer who confessed was given a year. It was Maku that was the officer; Captain Nwanze had threatened him when they had a dispute over a girl.
Bala became the first democratic chairman of Gurara local government and Clement became his P.A the two friends on the same day got married to their wives,
Pastor: “Clement, it is okay!” the congregation smiled as he didn’t want to stop giving his wife.
After a year, Bala and Kyauta gave birth to a very handsome son, who was nicknamed Chairman for he looked very much like his father,
Kyauta: “You ba? You stole my son from me right?” I’m the mother, i have him in my tummy for Nine months, yet he came out and look exact copy of his father. Na wa oo. she said at the hospital and they all laughed.
Nigeria returned to Democracy and things were doing just fine. After three years of being Chairman, Bala was awarded as the best local government chairman in the country and Gurara was called the small London of Nigeria because of how he developed the local government. All the villages had light, water and good schools. He was working tirelessly so the state university would be situated at his local government.
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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