© Oyinloye Oluwatosin Emmanuel
April 29, 2017
Different thoughts ran through James’ mind as he walked from the garage where his car was parked into the Vice President’s house. He held the file Samantha had given him the last night in his hand and was going in to demand an explanation from his father. Not that he was ready to accept his father’s denial of the allegation and denial of evidences against him but he wanted his father to be aware of his possession of the documents and warn him to begin to thread more carefully. Though he and his father were most times not on the same sides, he didn’t think he would like to see his father labelled as a criminal or sent to prison. He also knew that his father would try to buy justice with money but he didn’t want it to get to that level. If it were several years ago when the level of corruption was higher in their nation, the Vice President would certainly go scot-free after several court hearings but with the low level of corruption in the country presently, it would only take luck for the man to be able to scale through except of course he went through another means of involving in more deadly crimes to absolve himself.
‘Good morning sir,’ one of the Vice President’s security officers greeted him as he stepped into the living room.
‘Good morning, can I see my Dad?’
‘I’ve not seen him this morning, he hasn’t stepped out of his room yet,’ the security man replied.
‘Can you help me check him or preferably get Benson,’ James requested before locating a sofa where he sat comfortably. Benson was one of his father’s closest assistants and James was sure Benson was the right person to get his father to attend to him quickly.
Benson soon arrived. ‘Agent James, good morning.’
‘Good morning Benson,’ James replied, offering him a handshake.
‘I heard you want to see your father,’ Benson enquired.
‘Yes, I want to have a word with him.’
‘Does he know you’re coming?’
‘No, it’s kind of an emergency. I just have to see him this morning,’ James said, displaying the file in his hands.
‘Okay, I’ll try to get him for you. He slept very late last night and I’m not sure he would like to be up this early but I’ll still try.’
‘Thank you Benson,’ James said and returned to his seating position.
It wasn’t until after twenty minutes that Benson left that the Vice President came out to see his son. The man was still dressed in his night gown and held his walking stick as usual, beating the ground playfully with it as he walked.
‘James, it’s a surprise seeing you here this morning. The last time I saw you this early was immediately after your graduation from the university,’ the man said as he walked to him from behind.
‘Good morning sir,’ James rose and greeted with an unsmiling face.
‘Good morning, what brings you here? I can see it’s not something pleasant,’ the man replied, noticing his son’s serious face. He sat on the adjacent sofa close to James.
‘Here,’ James picked the file from the chair arm which he placed it on top and stretched it forth to his father.
Chief Elvis knew what it was at once. It was the same type of file with the one that was given to Vivy and also had the same title on it.
‘What’s this?’ he asked as he collected, feigning ignorance. He didn’t want to give James an impression that he had seen it before.
‘Open it Dad, the message is for you.’
The Vice President opened the file slowly, his heart was beating fast even though he already knew what was there, he pretended to be going through it again.
‘I don’t understand this?’ he spoke after two minutes of total silence.
‘Dad, come on. You’ve just seen the first page out of sixteen, open it and you’ll see that it’s more than just one.’
The man opened the document just like his son had suggested. It was exactly the same with what Vivy brought home.
‘But James, where did you find all these? Who in the world manufactured these kind of false documents and why are they doing it?’ the man asked, feigning an angry tone.
James closed his eyes and took in a deep breath in an attempt to control himself, he didn’t want to find himself in a heated argument with his father.
‘Dad please, I’m not a kid and I know when something is manufactured and when it is real.’
‘So, what are you insinuating? That I did all these things truly?’ the man asked angrily.
‘Sir, I’ve not come to argue with you. The documents are explanatory enough for everyone to see. Your signature is on every letter and deals signed in your name and the photocopy of your fingerprint is on one of the letters.’
‘Everything there can be forged and you know it. In today’s world, people’s signatures are being forged everyday and you can’t tell that the fingerprint there is mine.’
‘Of course, it can be forged but I hope you know that the person who has access to these kind of documents will definitely have access to the or copies where your thumb print can be verified from?’
‘Damn it James! You’re a cursed son,’ the man flared up and rose to his feet. ‘What makes you think I’m scared of them? I’m innocent of all these rubbish, so my mind is at rest.’
‘Dad, I’m not here to point fingers or quarrel with you. I’m here to deliver the file as I was asked by Samantha Osman,’ James said and got up to his feet, ready to leave.
‘Oh! Samantha Osman,’ he turned slowly to face his son. ‘So, you now run errands for her?’ he asked in a more or less of a mocking tone.
‘She brought this to my house yesterday night and asked me to investigate it and also ensure that you get punished if you’re found guilty,’ James replied in a cold tone, giving his father a thin stare as his jaw moved slightly from side to side.
There was silence for some seconds.
‘I advise that you do everything possible to ensure that this doesn’t get to the public, you may have a hard time proving your innocence.’
‘What are you going to do boy? You plan on taking this false document to the public or taking me to court?’ the man asked.
‘No father, I don’t plan to use them for anything nor do I plan to carry out any investigation on them because I’m terribly scared that I may find you truly guilty. But I’m also scared that Samantha Osman would not stop at this, she might release it to the public soon and that’s why I’m advising that you do everything possible not to allow it go public.’
‘And what am I supposed to do not to make it go public?’
‘Father, she’s coming with a blackmail soon, I’m sure of that, that’s why she must have sent this document ahead.’
‘How the hell can she blackmail me with something I’m innocent of? How can she blackmail me with something I know nothing about?’
James took in a deep breath, he could see that his father was still trying to feign innocence. ‘Good day father, I have to get to the office in few minutes.’ James bowed and proceeded to the door.
‘Shi*t!’ Elvis Richards slammed the file on the floor after his son stepped out. He needed to act fast, he needed to stop Samantha from whatever her plan was. He wasn’t ready to stop her from blackmailing him or to give in to her conditions if she eventually did, he had never been at the mercy of anyone and wasn’t going to put himself at hers. He needed to plan a showdown and total disgrace for her. It was an opportunity to show her that he was the boss of the system and she couldn’t intimidate him by bringing up his past, not in his country!
‘You’d be live in ten seconds, are you ready?’ Tarasha asked with her fingers on the mouse. She was standing by the side of the table where the laptop was while Dr Martin Ekwueme was sitting some distance in front of the table. The man nodded in response to her question and she tapped the mouse with her fingers and moved away. A video chat began.
‘Martin,’ The doctor said as a video of his ex-wife’s house in Anambra showed, the expensive ceiling decoration was the only thing that could be seen on the screen, making it obvious that the device that was connected to was placed on a flat surface with it’s camera facing upwards. ‘Martin,’ the man called again, hoping that his son was close to the device and would be able to speak with him before his time elapsed.
A female face showed some seconds later, she looked into the camera and seemed to be wondering what was going on the device screen.
‘Uncle Martin,’ the doctor could hear the girl call. He recognized her, she was his ex-wife’s niece. ‘Were you playing music on your phone?’ Dr Martin heard her ask.
He heard nothing else until after ten seconds. ‘No of course, I’ve not touched the phone for close to an hour now.’ he heard his son Martin speak but it took sometime for Martin to show in the video
‘Martin!’ Dr Ekwueme called as his son picked the phone and stared at the screen.
The son turned to someone at the side, he could tell it was his niece who looked into the phone’s camera earlier. ‘Are you playing a video with my phone?’ Martin junior asked the person in the living room with him.
‘Look here son, I’m talking to you live.’ Dr Ekwueme said before Martin could get a response. The niece still answered with a loud voice but the doctor didn’t hear what she said.
‘Dad, you?’ Martin asked, with a surprised tone with his gaze now fixed on the device screen.
‘Yes, Martin. How are you?’
‘Dad, where are you?’ Martin ignored his question and asked his, with his voice full of concern.
‘I told you before that I only decided to take a break,’ Dr Ekwueme replied.
‘Take a break? By putting everyone in panic?’
‘No son, I didn’t mean it to be like that…’
‘Call mum…’ Martin said as he took a quick glance to the side.
‘Son, no need to involve your mum in this. I wouldn’t like for her to even make me feel worse than I feel now.’
‘She needs to hear about this Dad, everyone has been worried about you.’
‘Look son, I have very limited time to talk to you. I just want you to assure everyone that I’m fine and I’ll return home at the due time.’
‘Dad, where exactly are you?’ Martin asked.
‘Sorry boy, I have to go now. My five minutes is up. Tell your siblings and everyone not to worry about me, I love you all.’
The laptop’s screen went blank just after he finished speaking. Tarasha stepped forward to the laptop and tapped the escape key on the keyboard. She looked at the doctor, he was wiping off tears from his eyes.
‘Don’t worry Doc, very soon you’ll be with your family again.’ she said as she proceeded towards him. She dragged a chair closer to him and sat on it facing him directly. ‘So, were you able to do your assignment while I was away?’
The man wiped his eyes with the back of his palm and sniffed in gently. ‘I made my research and studied those documents,’ he said and paused to look at Tarasha’s face. ‘There’s a sealed document which contains the original copies, both hard and soft where Elvis Richards’ signature and thumb were printed.’
‘Ermm…’ Tarasha put on a frown. ‘How do we get these sealed document? And what do you really mean by “sealed”?’
‘I don’t know what being sealed means, that’s the term I found in the documents you gave me.’
Tarasha stopped to think for a moment. The man was talking about the documents she had gotten from Chief Gab which she gave him to go through and draw out meanings from. She had read through it herself and couldn’t make any meanings from it as she couldn’t relate to the terms used and history behind the documents. Even the man who had given her claimed he knew so little about them because he wasn’t involved in the deals as most of them were done secretly by Elvis Richards.
‘But these sealed documents, is there anyway we can unseal them? And how and where can we get the documents from?’
‘I don’t have an answer to any of those questions but there’s one man I know who can have the answers,’ he said and took in a deep breath. He turned his face to the wall.
‘Who’s the man?’
‘Eze Okafor, he was the Minister of health during those days and he’s also the elder brother of the late Nnamdi Okafor.’
‘Where can I find him?’
‘He stays in Anambra State.’
‘Oh shi*t!’ Tarasha clenched her fists gently. She thought of discarding the need for the sealed document. She hadn’t planned for it before as she had no idea that there was a sealed document anywhere. It was after her return to Abuja the doctor had told her that there was something they could get that would make the Vice President not to be able to defend himself at all.
‘I think acquiring the sealed document will help us in nailing Chief Elvis Richards quicker, he won’t be able to prove himself not guilty.’ the doctor said.
Tarasha stared the ground in silence for some more seconds before she turned and focused her eyes on his face. ‘Who else knows about this sealed document?’
‘I don’t know if so many people know about it but it’s obvious the Vice President knows, he signed them.’
‘Then, I have to get there before he does.’ Tarasha said and sprung up to her feet. She returned the chair she was sitting on the the previous position. ‘You may now go back to your room,’ she said to the doctor.
5 minutes later
THE CONTROL ROOM
‘Boss, the only flight from Abuja to Anambra for today took place by 8am this morning.’ Cole reported to Tarasha.
‘When is the next?’ Tarasha asked, taking her busy hands from the computer keyboard for a short while.
‘Tomorrow by 7am,’ Cole replied.
She took a quick glance at him. ‘That’s quite far from now. How many hours drive to Anambra is it from here?’
Cole quickly typed the query and clicked the enter key. He got his answer in less than thirty seconds. ‘It’s approximately seven hours and ten minutes drive to Nnewi from Asokoro.’
‘Okay,’ Tarasha said and turned back to her computer. ‘Book a car to take me there and after that I want you to find out every detail about Eze Okafor from the Doctor and his recent activities online, I would visit the man tomorrow morning.’
THE INSPECTOR GENERAL RESIDENCE.
‘Rex is here already sir,’ the Inspector General said to the Vice President as he wheeled himself towards the center of the living room.
The Vice President looked up and looked around the living room for Rex, then he turned to the IG to demand where Rex was.
‘He just drove in, he would join us in some minutes.’ Chief Rikau explained.
‘Okay, are we meeting here or in that room that you allow him?’ the Vice President asked.
‘Here, since the meeting would not last for long.’ the IG answered.
There was silence for a while. The two of them drifted into the realm of thoughts while waiting for Rex. They had analyzed the situation and concluded that the only person Samantha could have gotten the documents she had from was the retired government official, Eze Okafor. The man had been forced to retire from politics when he never had the chance to run for the presidential election which had always been his dream. Chief Elvis Richards and his team including the man’s younger brother Nnamdi had made it their role to frustrate his plans with a secret of his that they knew and he never got bold enough at any point to declare his intentions. It was during his tenure as the Minister of Health most of the fake drugs importations were carried out and he was forced through the influence of their Godfather to sign the papers.
Rex finally walked into the living room noiselessly. He was welcomed by the expectant gazes of the two men. He screened both of them with his eyes as he moved further. He noticed they were both corporately dressed, on black suits. It was a working day and during working hours, so he knew they must have sneaked away from their works to call for a meeting with him.
‘Rex, you have something to do for us between today and tomorrow.’ Chief Elvis Richards began immediately even before Rex could speak.
Rex got to the centre of the living room and stopped in front of them. ‘Can you tell me what it is right away?’ he asked in a calm tone.
‘The first one is to visit the drug agency Headquarters and help us get every archived file between 2008 to 2016 deleted from their database.’
‘Where’s the headquarters and how do I locate their database store there?’ Rex asked.
‘It’s easy to locate, I was in the agency earlier this month and I saw the section their databases are kept. You should be able to locate them through the labels on the walls.’
‘When do you want this to happen?’
‘Tonight, you have another assignment for tomorrow. I’ve made arrangements for your flight to Anambra State tomorrow morning.’
Rex stayed silent for a while and stared blankly. Then he looked at the Vice President’s face again, ‘How am I supposed to delete files within a certain period of time from an unknown database this night? Do you have their system passwords and lock codes?’
‘No… I don’t, ‘ the Vice President replied and squinted at him trying to figure out the reason for his question. ‘If you can’t delete the files of the years I requested for, can you wipe off everything?’
‘No, I still need the passwords and lock codes and it’ll take us more than a day to extract them.’
‘We can’t delay this for that long, Samantha Osman has already extracted some documents from the database.’ the Vice President said.
‘How do you know that?’
‘She threatened me with them.’
‘We can destroy the database totally and make it useless forever,’ Rex said.
‘Are you sure Rex?’ the Inspector General cut in. ‘Their database is hosted on a very strong platform.’
‘Do you know what platform they use?’ Rex asked.
‘No, but I’m sure they host it on a strong platform just like the Police’s database.’
Rex stopped for a while to think, ‘If we start early enough this night, we would attack from their server and change the host to another, the database will still be inaccessible but we’d just destroy it immediately since you want it done tonight.’
‘Is there a way we can leave the database to be accessible to us only after you changed their host?’ the Vice President asked.
‘No, if we want to access their database, we can’t start by changing their host, they’ll be notified the next morning and would work towards retrieving immediately. We can only do that by attacking from their database, but it’ll take a longer time.’
‘Just destroy it totally Rex,’ the Vice President said, getting tired of all the explanations. Rex nodded in agreement. The Vice President took in a deep breath before he continued, ‘You’d visit Eze Okafor tomorrow, what we need is the NOTD sealed deal document, only he can tell where it is.’
…To be continued