THE EXCHANGE – PART 2

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Cont. from part one

Omoniyi finally discovered that Hon. Abayomi Tella, the man who had been using him all the while to perpetuate evil, was his real father. The ball is now in the court of this young man. How well would he play it?

Find out in the concluding part of this sizzling hot story.

Hello, Niyi…I can’t hear you clearly,’ Hon. Tella screamed into the phone, ‘I think there is a poor network signal where you are.’

Niyi covered the mouthpiece of the phone with his palm and had a good laugh at the unintended twist.

‘Hello…sir, can you hear me now?’ he resumed the conversation.

‘Yes…yes…meet me at Papa’s shrine tomorrow…see you later…. bye.’

He that laughs last, laughs best! Omoniyi pondered as he left the bar.

Back in his one room apartment, as Omoniyi looked at the photograph again; he realised that it would require only a person with a meticulous gaze to be able to link the lover boy in that photograph with Hon. Tella.

Thank goodness, he was smart enough to send the  picture to the ‘culprit’ to confirm his curiosity first. And now that he had established the truth, there is no telling the extent he would wield his wand.

Going back to school had always been his desire, ever since he dropped out from the University in his first year.

‘Play on, Omoniyi, the son of the admired Hon. Tella!’ he laughed to himself.

Suddenly, a wave of sadness swept all over him as he recollected the untold pains his poor mother suffered caring for him and his step sister, after the demise of the man he had grew to know as his father.

The deplorable state which he saw the poor woman, the last time he visited, brought tears down his cheeks.

Boda Niyi! Boda Niyi!!’ a familiar voice resonated, followed by a loud thudding at his door.

‘Mulika, go away, I’m not in the mood this afternoon!’ he roared angrily at the voice of a neighbour’s daughter, without opening the door.

‘Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you have heard…’ she replied and was already leaving when Omoniyi hurriedly opened the door.

‘Heard what Mulika?’ he went after her.

The young girl wiped her eyes with the back of her palm.

‘I’m sorry about the news,’ she began.

‘What news?’

‘You mean, you’ve not heard anything about Jade?’ her eyes widened as she spoke.

‘What happened to Jade?’

‘Jade is dead!’ she uttered.

‘What! How? Where?’

‘When I went to Tejuosho market this afternoon,’ she began sniffing in between, ‘and I saw several people gathered around someone, and shouting at the same time…and when I stopped to look…I discovered it was Boda Jade…’

‘My Jade?’

‘Yes…blood was just coming out of his mouth…’

‘Was there an accident?’

‘I don’t know,’ she responded, ‘but one man said he saw him when he was passing by, and all of a sudden, he shouted and then fainted and before they knew it, blood started coming out from his mouth…’

‘That’s enough!’ Omoniyi screamed as he walked back to his room.

Jade, dead? Omoniyi found it hard to come to terms with that reality. The mysterious death of his friend and accomplice pointed to an undeniable possibility that Jade could be one of the scapegoats used by most desperate politicians in the country in exchange for political victory.

‘Before I just die like a chicken, its high time I acted fast,’ he muttered to himself.

***********

Omoniyi felt high as he recites the lyrics of the live Afrobeat which emanated from Papa’s shrine. The music was exactly what he needed at that moment to suppress the grief. As he waited patiently for his boss, he could not contain his bitterness as he recalled the casual response he got from Honourable, when he broke the news of Jade’s death to him.

‘If people don’t die, then the rest of the population would suffocate from insufficient space,’ he had maintained.

After waiting for what seemed like eternity, Omoniyi felt a tap on his back. He turned immediately only to find a weird figure before him. But the moment the latter gave him a familiar sign, he heaved a sigh of relief.

Hon. Abayomi has a thousand and one ways of disguising himself from the public glare. Dressed like a Rastafarian with ugly looking wig dreads, Omoniyi marveled at his expertise.

‘Good evening, sir,’ he began.

‘Good evening, Niyi. Sorry, I’m just coming back from the meeting at the orphanage.’

Hmmm, deadly philanthropist! Omoniyi pondered as he watched him speak.

‘Back to business,’ Hon Abayomi resumed, ‘Deborah Ajayi was my girlfriend right from my secondary school days. But unfortunately, the careless girl got pregnant for me at the point when my uncle volunteered to sponsor my university education. Now, if you were in my shoes, would you disappoint your uncle who believes so much in your education?’

‘So, was that why you denied her?’ Omonyi evaded the question with another question.

‘My family’s reputation was at stake…’

Omoniyi pondered a while. This man is wicked!

‘And now, just at the peak of the elections, she now sent me one of the photographs we were together…if I don’t silence her immediately, I’m afraid what would become of my political ambition.’

‘It’s been 25 years ago I last saw her,’ he continued, ‘but I know who to contact that would help in tracing her whereabouts,’ he continued, ‘you just be on standby, I would send her contact across to you soonest.’

‘What if the lady merely wanted your money without causing you any harm?’ Omoniyi added.

‘I can’t afford to take chances; Deborah must die!’

‘Okay, but don’t delay before sending the contact,’ Omoniyi cautioned, trying as much as possible to sound professional.

*************

Madam Deborah was busy arranging some fruits in the tray in preparation for sales when her son arrived.

‘Good morning, mama.’

‘Good morning, Niyi. Hope all is well?’ she asked, as she observed his mood.

‘Please get ready, you’re leaving this village latest by tomorrow.’

‘Why? Where to?’ the puzzled lady asked.

‘I would explain later, mama, but just do as I say.’

‘So what do I tell my neighbours?’ she asked.

‘Leave our neighbours out of this, mama.’

Madam Deborah knew immediately that there was danger in the air.

‘Okay, but at least you would allow me finish selling my fruits for today.’

Later in the day, madam Deborah could no longer contain the suspense, and after much persuasion, Omoniyi opened up, but failed to disclose the nature of the job he does for Honourable Abayomi.

‘And with the next elections few months away, I sent him the photograph anonymously; but ironically, he thought you did. Mama, your life is in danger; Honourable Abayomi, wants you dead!’

Madam Deborah was speechless for a while.

‘Mama, you have to leave as fast as possible…’

‘I don’t even know how to start packing.’

‘No need for that; just pick a few things. Thankfully, Ronke has gone back to her husband, and so you don’t have to bother about anyone…’

‘But where are you relocating me?’

‘Trust me, I know what I’m doing.’

************

‘Here’s the proof of the job I carried out,’ Omoniyi revealed the picture of his ‘dead’ mother lying in the pool of her own blood along the bush track.

‘Interestingly, I left the villagers with the impression that she was kidnapped.’

‘You’re such a genius!’ Honourable clapped, ‘you’re almost like me…’

You’d be shocked when I drop the bombshell! Omoniyi thought.

‘What about her corpse?’

‘Trust me, sir; I did a clean job by burying her immediately after the deed.’

‘Niyi, you’ve made my day. A handsome reward awaits you!’

‘Thank you, sir. I would always remain loyal to you.’

‘That reminds me, where is the original copy of the photograph?’

‘Unfotunately, I couldn’t lay my hands on any; I only got these reprints,’ he handed him three copies of the same picture.

‘You really did a nice job, Niyi, I’m proud of you.’

‘Thank you, sir.’

‘Now, one more thing, you have to look for her son at all cost. Incidentally, I heard he is working in this same Lagos.’

‘Really!’ Omoniyi blurted out with a tinge of fear, as the ‘game’ veered to a dangerous terrain, he wondered.

‘Sir, what’s his name?’

‘Enitan…’

Thank goodness, he doesn’t even know my other name. Omoniyi heaved a sigh of relief.

*******

‘The interview granted him by the BBC was amazing,’ Chief Elegbede reacted to the story in the newspaper before him.

‘That man has become a household name and I wonder the chances our party has in this forthcoming election,’ Olasunkanmi replied. ‘We just have to act very fast, chief; we must not lose that election. Honourable Abayomi Tella, must not be allowed this second term.’

‘Well said, Olasunkanmi, I would put my boys to work immediately,’ chief Elegbede assured, ‘I would see to it that the rally doesn’t hold.’

‘Ah, thank you chief; how do I repay you for this?’

‘Never mind, Olasunkanmi,’ the chief laughed, ‘the godfather knows when best to ask his ‘son’ for favour. No one completes the job on the farm in a day.’

**********

Omoniyi was no longer enjoying the game. And as each waking moment left him with the fear of the unknown, he decided to take the bull by the horn one day.

‘If you meet with your son today, and he demands for money in exchange for silence, would you give it to him?’

‘Why not? so long as he doesn’t interfere with my political ambition,’ he replied.

‘Is your PA nearby?’ Omoniyi asked with a straight face.

‘Not too far. Is there any problem?’

‘I want you to send him fast to the bank for a huge withdrawal.’

‘Withdrawal? For whom?’ the puzzled Honourable asked.

‘For me; your son!’

‘My son? How could I have given birth to a hoodlum?’ Hon Abayomi blurted out mockingly.

‘I think the opposition party would be interested in my public confession,’ Omoniyi retorted.

‘The name of my son is Enitan, not Omoniyi. You bloody liar!’

‘For your information, sir, I’m also Enitan. Omoniyi, is just my middle name,’ the young man confessed.

‘I was told your parents relocated to Ghana shortly after you put my mother in the family way…’

By then Hon Abayomi, had begun sweating profusely.

‘My mother is hale and hearty. If you insist on seeing her, I would invite her here one day to clear your doubts. If there is anyone you should hunt, it should be me; not her, because I was the one who sent you the photograph in the first place.’

‘If you doubt my story, then you could arrange with your doctor for a paternity test,’ Omoniyi rose to leave. ‘Please call me when you’re ready. If any harm befalls me, then it would be on record that the most ‘honourable’ of the politicians in Lagos, murdered his own son!’

He walked away with an air of triumph while  Hon Abayomi watched in shock.

************

The rally was only a week away. Honn Abayomi could not contain his confusion as the days went by. The look of confidence Omoniyi exhibited that day, frightened him and more so, knowing that Deborah is still alive gave him series of headaches.

‘I just have to pay off this young man before he ruins my career,’ he muttered to himself.

The next day, Honourable Abayomi was on his way for a meeting, and just as he alighted from the vehicle, an unknown gun man shot him and zoomed off immediately.

‘Mission accomplished,’ the gun-man informed his boss on the phone.

‘Well done, my boy!’ Chief Elegbede responded, ‘now let’s see how that rally would take place. No one challenges my political son and goes scot-free.’

Contrary to the intention of Hon Abayomi’s detractors, he merely sustained minor injuries. His stable state notwithstanding, the doctor issued strict orders on the number of visitors to see him.

On the other hand, Omoniyi was eagerly waiting for a call from the Honourable. In his deepest heart, he only wanted to enjoy part of his father’s wealth without interfering with his so-called political career. And while he was considering his next line of action, he got a call from Hon Abayomi’s PA, summoning him for a meeting.

‘Honourable has been hospitalized, but the doctor doesn’t want much people visiting him at the moment,’ the PA informed him the moment he saw him. ‘However, he instructed me to give you this envelope.’

Omoniyi collected the envelope and tore it open immediately. The content suddenly caused his eyes to glister; he was speechless.

‘That’s just a tip of the iceberg,’ the PA continued, ‘the Honourable promised to do much more when he’s discharged.’

‘Thank you. I wish him a speedy recovery,’ he uttered, still astonished.

All through the duration of Hon Abayomi’s one week admission at the hospital, his PA kept him abreast of  the news in the country, especially on the political arena. On the day he was discharged, as he was set to leave the ward, the news flash from the TV screen caught his attention:

Hon Abayomi has been disqualified from the political race, on the grounds of  the lawsuit filed against him by Prof Jacob.

Before anyone realized what was happening, Hon Abayomi Tella slumped. Unfortunately, he never lived to tell the story.

EPILOGUE

Three months later..

‘Everything is just happening like a dream,’ Omoniyi turned at the look of excitement on his mother’s face.

‘Everything had just been destined to happen that way,’ Madam Deborah responded. ‘In the beginning,  your father had to exchange the acceptance of responsibility as the father of our child, for the pleasure of maintaining the reputation of his family.’

‘And in the end, I’ve also exchanged the truth about my father, for the luxurious lifestyle we’re living now,’ Omoniyi added.

Madam Deborah nodded as she gazed at the beautiful flowers overlooking their serene Banana Island residence. Who could’ve imagined that her migration from the village was in exchange for life in a choice area in Lagos.

‘And there’s one more exchange I want in my life,’ Omoniyi lamented.

‘And what is it son?’

‘I don’t want to end up like my father; and with his DNA in me, anything can happen. Oh dear God, my hands are already soiled in the blood of innocent lives.’

‘Innocent lives? What are you talking about?’

‘I killed on behalf of Honourable, I mean, my late father. I also committed several other atrocities!’ he confessed before his astonished mother, ‘I’m not different from my father.’

He broke down in tears. Madam Deborah was too confused to utter a word.

Madam Deborah watched her son spend the rest of the day crying and talking to an invisible being. All she could hear him say was, ‘I need an exchange for my horrible lifestyle!

THE END

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