Hannah was in her car along the Abija-Lokooga Road just before the Muritala Mohammad Bridge. They were moving at a speed of 140km/hr. “Madam please go sit down for back seat.” The diver of the GMC Yukon calmly told her.
“Why?” she had asked
“Madam the car brake done fail.”
Her heart skipped a beat as those words came out of his mouth. She didn’t move.
“Are you sure?” she said, turning towards him.
He pumped hard on the brake pedal.
She sat still and wanted to brace herself for the impact that was now eminent.
“Madam I say make you go back.” This time it was with more intense. She jolted out of her reverie.
His words gave her some added energy and she managed to move from her passenger-seat position to the back seat. She sat down and used her seat belt.
“You don use your seat belt, abi?” He asked. He obviously must have heard the click of the belt’s hook.
“Good. Madam pray make God save us from this one.”
“I will.” She said.
She now had to believe in God’s existence more than she had ever believed.
A WEEK EARLIER
‘Alter The Status Quo’ was the slogan of NPA at the national convention of the party held at Abija. It was actually a different party as the fanfare and merry associated with other conventions were absent.
Posters of Adeola Marcus Oladokun-Coker, and other celebrities in the show business world, had been plastered on the billboards at the party’s national secretariat. These celebrities supported the party using the platform ‘Nigerian Artists United For The Best Nigeria’ by holding rallies and using documentaries on TV. Later on, they were replaced with banners of aspirants for the primaries. They didn’t litter the streets with posters as other parties did. They had an agenda and it was remarkable.
Local news media made it their business to make this party known. The ingenious plan to make the party the ruling party was hatching and all hands were on deck to see this through.
The security details had been trained in China. They would never experience another assassination.
A MONTH EARLIER
The national vice chairman of the party, Alhaji Ahmed Adamu, died of a ‘heart attack’ after he drank from a bottle of water at an occasion in honour of the party chairman. The presentation of awards for outstanding achievements, was organised by a new Non-Governmental Organisation, The Youth Of Today. Post-mortem done in the country concluded he died from natural causes. His saliva, blood samples, intestines, stomach, brain tissue, lungs, liver, urine samples, and heart were preserved by an histologist, who was a close friend of Hannah while she lectured at the University of Florida. These were secretly tested in Canada and the toxicological report showed that nicotine was detected in the blood, urine and the contents of the stomach and small intestine. The nicotine concentrations of the blood, urine and contents of stomach and small intestine were 6.3 micrograms/ml, 1.5 micrograms/ml, 30 micrograms/ml and 71 micrograms/g respectively, and enough to be lethal.
Ahmed Adamu didn’t smoke, so it was obvious that he was poisoned. The murderers may have thought, since he was a Muslim, there wouldn’t be any kind of autopsy.
They were wrong.
He died at about 7pm and that gave the party enough time to get what they needed, with the consent of his younger brother, before the burial.
It couldn’t be from the water he had drank since his personal assistant had taken from the same water. His drug cabinet was cleared by the time the secret panel, saddled with the responsibility of unearthing the means by which the vice chairman was poisoned,visited his house. Someone was definitely cleaning out the track.
BACK TO HANNAH
Abdul Oladele was in his Peugeot 406 saloon car when the Yukon zoomed pass his car before the bridge. They nearly had a collision.
“Oloriburuku… ode.” He screamed out of his car at the driver of the Yukon
His wife, behind him with their new-born baby, was shocked at the speed at which the Yukon was moving away from them.
“Imagine how some rich people behave in this country.” She said.
In the car Hannah remembered Rachel. Her smile when she was alive and then the death face. It was an accident that resulted in her death. Was she going to go the same way?
They had crossed the bridge with their hearts in their mouths. Their blood streams were filled with adrenaline.
“Madam I go find tree go jam o because na another car we fit go hit o.”
Her driver must be insane to have had such a thought.
But all she said, with a smile on her face, was “I understand TJ. Desperate measures are obviously needed now.”
He was composed and desperately holding on to the steering wheels. They were about to reach a part of the road that was untarred and he knew handling the wheels there would be an herculean task.
He scanned the entire surrounding, quickly looked back at Hannah for a fraction of a second, returned his gaze on the road ahead and said “Madam… take care of my children and wife.”
“I don’t understand yo….” and then she saw what he was about to do.
He made a straight course. They were facing a cement block manufacturing site and behind it was a gigantic heap of gravel; a road construction site must be ahead.
“TJ what are you doing?”
The sound of the crash against the blocks was deafening. The air bags came out instantly. Blocks shattered the windshield into fragments. From her peripheral vision, Hannah caught fragments of the block smashing TJ’s forehead. The car didn’t stop. It was still moving through the blocks stacked up to shoulder level and clearing a path along it. But it slowed down before it leaped up into the air. They were upside down. Gravity pulled Rachel down and the seat belt pressed into her shoulder. The pain was intense.