The next day saw me preparing for my journey back to Lagos. The moment I mounted the bike to the motor park at Iwo road, I observed Mama’s fallen countenance.
‘Always remember the daughter of who you are!’ Mama’s voice trailed as the motorbike sped off.
I felt a heavy lump down my throat. Hearing that slogan from Mama had become a norm whenever I am going back to Lagos, however, the tone of her voice that morning revealed she was already losing confidence in me!
Time alone would tell, I shoved my worries aside and focused on my new job as an international Sales representative…
‘Up National! Up National!!’ The chants of some angry men jarred me as i alighted from the bike.
‘These NURTW guys have started again,’ the bike man remarked as I alighted from the park, ‘these men could be deadly at times
I observed that the group displayed banners and placards with different inscriptions. Chanting solidarity songs, they marched angrily through the major roads.
‘What’s happening?’ I asked.
‘They are the members of the NURTW,’ someone answered from the crowd. ‘ I don’t think it is safe entering that park,’ the bike man added, ‘those men could be deadly at times.’
I hushed him and hurriedly paid my fare.
‘Ee tin ri weere!’ a husky voice resonated at the background.
Suddenly, another group emerged. Two men in their midst bore a coffin and went ahead of the group. Without uttering a word, the men dropped the coffin on the ground and joined their counterparts vandalizing vehicles and attacking commuters.
The sight sent cold shivers down my spine.
The tension sent the entire people within the vicinity into pandemonium as several objects flew all over the place.
‘Jesus!’ I screamed looking for a way of escape. To worsen my plight, getting a bus back home became extremely difficult.
My God, I should have listened to the bike man! I blamed myself, trying to no avail flagging down a bus along the way.
‘African queen!’ I felt a rough arm on my shoulder.
My heart skipped and I turned, I heaved a sigh of relief at the sight of Adio.
Adio was the son of the landlord where my mother lives. Although married with two wives, yet he never ceased to dot on me each time he has the opportunity. I had never liked any of his unwelcoming compliments, but that morning, I was just too excited to see someone I knew.
‘I guess you’re stranded,’ he began, ‘don’t worry, I would drive you home. My bus is parked at the other side of the road, I only came here to catch a glimpse of what was going on.’
‘Thank you, Adio,’ I uttered.
‘Anything for my princess,’ he smiled as he relieved me of my suitcase.
Mama didn’t say much when I came back that morning, but in my mind’s eye, I could see her jubilating. All I heard her mumble was the fact that God had a reason for everything.
Tomorrow is another day! I consoled myself as rescheduled my journey for the next day. Too exhausted to pray that night, I just sat lazily in the sitting room angry at the fact that I had no phone to communicate with my boss. Knowing the type of lady Nana was, I had already begun to imagine the thoughts going on her mind: ‘Dabira, it is so inconsiderate of you to just leave me incommunicado!’
‘The Oyo State Government had finally resolved the conflict between the two factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW)…’ the voice of the Newscaster broke my chain of thoughts.
I froze as I gazed at the gory sights of some of the casualties of the fracas.
‘Thank God for His mighty deliverance!’ I muttered.
Thankfully, Mama was not in the sitting room with me that night, otherwise, her BP level would have risen.
The next news item heightened my curiosity. The pictures of Chief Mbadiwe and his wife, Nana flashed on the screen.
Anxious to hear news of the two successful business moguls, but ironically the couple were both declared wanted for drug related traffic offences!
A mixture of cold and hot air blew over me.
According to the News correspondent, a handsome amount had been declared on whoever provides any useful information leading to the arrest of the couple.
My world went blank!
TO BE CONTINUED…