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Home  ›  Suspense/Thriller  ›  Night Of The Long Knives
Night Of The Long Knives
by Udeme Umoh   (Author)
Read First Three Chapters

CHAPTER 1
He sank deeply into the luxurious feeling of the black leather divan. The split unit air conditioner hummed softly. He unbuttoned his jacket and loosened his tie but he was still sweating nervously. He could hear his heart pounding furiously against his chest. He had driven like a demon through the chaotic Victoria Island traffic to get here. His father, Otunba Adewale Ibikunle had summoned him for an impromptu meeting in his palatial home.
This was the reason he was sitting nervously in the waiting room of his father’s private office cum study in his palatial home. He was nervous like a naughty school boy being summoned to the Principal’s office.
His father was a ruthless businessman. A larger than life figure in business circles. Conservative estimates put the value of his wealth in the billion. He had started out as being a timber trader in the early 1970’s, then moved into cement importation, selling building materials and construction. Now almost four decades later, he was now exclusively crude oil lifting, mining and prospecting. He also bankroller politician and that was where most of his high level connection in the oil industry came from. Oil money greased the wheels of politics and commerce.
His father had three wives and twelve legitimate children, numerous girlfriends and if rumours were to be believed, plenty of bastards. The only family living with him were his youngest wife, Remi and their three kids Jimi, Kayode and Sade. In her previous life, Remi had been Otunba’s personal assistant. He had made a generous settlement for his second wife, Morenike, when he and Remi had married seven years ago. He had bought her a palatial house in Wuse Abuja. There had been no talk of any acuminous divorce. He had done the same thing when he had put away his first wife, Tolulope and married Morenike. There had been no dissension then. Otunba ruled his family the way he ruled his business empire, with cunning and an iron hand. That was why when he snapped his bony fingers, the world stopped and everyone came running. In his own case, he had dropped an important client’s file and driven over. It was absurd that a bony seventy something year old man could have that sort of power over him – a forty something year old man. Otunba kept the purse strings tight and close to his chest. He was not above blackmail, threatening to disinherit any of his children.
Dimeji’s mind wandered to the reason for his summons. Had Otunba discovered the uttering of his cheque? At the time, it had seemed like an ingenious way of sucking a couple of millions from his father’s enormous cash machine. But now, it didn’t. The colour drained from his rudding face as he imagined the ramifications of such a discovery.
His father was ruthless when it came to dealing with money, his money in particular. At the very least, he would disinherit him and maybe get him disbarred from practicing Law. Why had he done such a foolhardy thing like that? Maybe the thought of finally putting one over his father pushed him to do it. His ego had landed him in plenty of hot water before Damn!
The bullet proof door to his father’s private office cum study swung open suddenly and interrupted his thoughts. He sprang up to his feet, reflexively.
‘Ah welcome Dimeji’
It was Remi, his youngest step mother and his father’s current favourite. She was a beautiful lady of petite stature but robust bust. She measured 5 foot 6 inches to his 6 foot 3 inches. She had borne three children in seven years of marriage but had maintained her trim and shapely shape. She had always been very vain about her looks. Even when she had been just his father’s personal assistant and one of his numerous girlfriends back then. She had certainly come a long way since.
He hated her then and more so now. She was a money grabbing, scheming and wily seductress. She had his father eating out of the palm of her hand. He suspected that on a certain level she hated him too. He would have to be careful about drawing her into open warfare. She kept the gates, in a manner of speaking, of his father’s vast business empire. A wise Chinese General and Scholar said:
‘A wise General only goes to war when victory is certain’
“Good evening, Aunty Remi. How are the children?” He greeted her Even though he was more than a couple of years older than her, he deferred to her publicly.
“They are fine. They are in their rooms sleeping. How about Bukky and the kids?’ She asked about his family in turn.
“They are fine”
“How is your law practice?”
“We are struggling. All those old lawyers have cornered the whole market. We, up and coming young ones are left to fight out scraps and morsel” he replied. This was his standard reply whenever anyone asked about his law practice.
“Don’t worry… your time will come. Those old men cannot live forever” she said, sympathetically.
‘Otunba wanted to see me...’
‘Ah... yes... he is in the office, you can go in’ she said, and opened the bulletproof door leading to her husband’s inner sanctuary.’
‘Thank you’, he nodded and walked past her into his father’s private office cum study.
It was a luxurious setting. His father spared no expense furnishing his private office cum study to his taste. The long flowing linen drapes covering the burglary proof windows were imported from France. The Persian rug lying in the centre of the marbled floor was weaved in Pakistan. There were book shelves on either side of the 8 by 6 sq metre room. Arranged on the cream walls were framed citation and business awards of Otunba Ibikunle.
Otunba was sitting behind a massive mahogany desk, dressed in his blue silk pygamas and poring over what looked like files from a distance. Dimeji figured them to be prospectus of companies, Annual Reports, Land valuation reports.
Otunba looked up from the papers in front of him. He was wearing prescription glasses.
‘Ahh… Dimeji, come in’ he spoke in a small voice, that behid his power and status.
He prostrated, in the cold marble floor, in the traditional fashion. He greeted his father in vernacular
‘Baba E ku se o’
‘E di de.., Ejoko’ Otunba replied in vernacular, telling him to have a seat.
He rose from his prostrate position and sat down in the leather divan reserved for visitors. It was the identical twin of the divan outside in the waiting room. They had imported from Italy and smuggled through customs.
‘How is your practice?’ Otunba asked per functionarly.
‘Baba, I wouldn’t lie to you. Things are very tough’ he complained.
Otunba shook his head dismissively. It was the only indication that he gave that he had heard him otherwise he remained silent.
‘Things are tough with me. I have lost some money on my Wema Bank shares. I don’t think that the Board of Directors know what they are doing.
Dimeji kept quiet. He knew better than to throw his two cent in. He didn’t want to get Otunba started on moaning about losing money on shares or importation of petroleum products. It was a private joke shared among his siblings that their billionaire father cared more about not losing money than making money. Nobody really took him seriously when he moaned about losing money. It was a ply to discourage the faint hearted and lily livered from asking him for money.
Otunba look up from reading his papers
‘What do you think about Dangote Cement?’
‘I think they are doing well’.
He knew next to nothing about Dangote cement or any other company or commodity for that matter.
Otunba was silent in reflection for a moment before he asked
‘What about your partners?’
‘Emeka and Eze. They are at Abuja, trying to sort out some papers at the Supreme Court…’
The three of them had been friends right from their days at the religious Kings College, Lagos. They had been known by the moniker as the ‘Three Musketeers’. They studied Law at University of Lagos and did a Masters Degree at the London School of Economics.
They worked for three years at Chief Akinjide’s Chambers before setting up their own Law practice: ‘Odigbo, Onyia & Ibikunle’. It was exclusively with rich clientele. Emeka Onyia was the Managing Partner and handled Banking, Insurance and Corporate Department. Dimeji handled Litigation and Arbitration department and Eze Odigbo handled Marketing and Client Services Department. The firm had a staff strength of fourteen people which comprised ten lawyers and four auxiliary staff that served as secretary, litigation clerk, practice manager and officer messenger. Like most law firms in Lagos, they made enough money to run the office, pay salaries and throw an end of year party with plenty of change left over to share among the three partners.
‘What about my matter that Emeka is handling?’
So that is what he phoned me to come and see him about, Dimeji thought, almost relieved. Better that than altering a cheque.
‘He is going to file the papers at the Federal High Court next week’
He said, the first sentence that popped into his head.
‘I have paid you people money, so you shouldn’t waste my time...’ he said, matter of factly. Billionaires always spoke matter of factly.
‘I will make sure that he files it’
‘Would you like something to drink? Dinner is not yet ready… tea…coffee?’
He opened his mouth to ask for a hot of brandy but at the last moment held his tongue. Otunba looked up and prompted him
‘Hmmm’
‘No thank you… I am fine’
‘I forgot to ask you about your mother’
This was usually a sore point between them. Usually he sided with his mother. It as a potential mini field so he would have to be careful where he stepped. He chose his words very carefully.
‘…I expect that she is fine, though I haven’t seen her in a while’
Otunba grunted and continued leading through his stack of important papers.
‘You must be wandering why I had you come over impromptu’
Dimeji kept quiet. His heart was literally in his mouth. There was certainly more coming.
‘It is about your wife’ Otunba said solemnly and put away the file of important documents away. It was time to get down to business. Dimeji swallowed and sat up erect. This was very important. Things had never been rosy between him and Bukky ever since they got married eight years ago. Infact, now things were going downhill. His wife was the biggest bitch in the world. He had been forced to marry her by his father.
Bukky Ibikunle nee Lawal was the second daughter of one of Otunba’s business partners, Chief Tokunbo Lawal. He too was a billionaire. Ovation and City People Magazine had dubbed it a match made in Heaven and had devoted several pages to covering the wedding.
Everything else about the marriage was depressing except for the children. Bukky was always nagging him about one thing or another. Like when he snored. When he came home late from work. When he went out with his friends nite clubbing. She complained about everything. He believes that her father, Chief Tokunbo Lawal, must have been very glad to get rid of her by marrying her off. Now she was someone else’s problem. His own father had forced him to break off his blissful relationship with Jenifer and marry ‘Lady Dragon’ instead. This was done under the threat of disinheriting him. That was one of the many reasons, he hated her. If he could call his father bluff, he would divorce her in a beat. That time might still come but not right now.
‘What did she say that I did this time?’
‘…She came to see me yesterday’
No wonder, there was no dinner for him when he came home last night. She must have spent the whole day painting him black before his father.
‘Bitch’ he muttered under his breath
‘She complained that you assaulted her’
Preposterous! He wanted to give him the legal definition of the word ASSULT but thought better of it. Instead he said
‘…I don’t know what she is talking about. I work very hard so that we can have a roof over our head and live in relative comfort. But she is always nagging me’
‘She said you almost beat her up the other night’
A bombshell. She always had a knack for exaggerating things. She should have been a journalist for a gossip magazine rather than a Chartered Accountant. Her sharie would have made excellent reading.
‘What?’ His face flushed with indignation and his eyeballs almost popped out
‘Did you lay a finger in her?’
‘No, she grabbed my by my shirt tails and refused to let go. I had to push her aside to get to my bedroom’.
Otunba exploded in anger and jumped to his feet. All 5 foot 10 Inches and one hundred and eighty pounds of him. He wagged his finger angrily at him and launched into a long torrent of abuses in vernacular. When he had exhausted his extensive vocabulary, he spoke angrily in English. The veins on is neck sticking out.
‘Are you mad? I thought that I trained you better than that. Don’t you know that that girl is a princess from a royal family in this Lagos? Don’t you know how to treat a woman? If you had beaten her, can you imagine the scandal? I would have had to have gone on my knees and begged her father. Do you know how long it took me to beg him to let his daughter marry you? Don’t you have any respect for my white hair?’
‘Baba it is not like that. She is so disrespectful and quarrelsome…’
‘When you don’t know how to treat women, why wouldn’t she feel that you are taking her for granted? What successful man do you know that doesn’t know how to treat women right? And I am not talking about all those University girls that you are always chasing or do you think that I don’t know about your extramarital affairs?’ Otunba accused him.
‘Did she tell you that?’ he shot back at him
‘You think I don’t know about your flings?’
‘From the day I got married, I have been faithful to Bukky’ he said, with a big lump in his throat’.
Otunba sat down. His grey eyes still kindled with fury.
‘Anyway, be careful. You are a grown man. You should be able to control your household. I had to beg her not to report to her father’.
Dimeji swallowed hard to suppress his fusing anger and indignation. His fists shook with rage. He had to bit hard on his lips to preserve them from opening and insulting his father. His father was talking down on him as though he was still a child running around in diapers. Fuck him and his billions!
‘I don’t want any more complains about you. Take her on a pleasure cruise to Bahamas, it would get her off your back’, Otunba suggested but made no offer to bankroll it.
‘I am in the middle of something very important. Besides, I am broke’
‘Alright I have advised you as a loving father would do. A word is enough for the wise’.
‘Thank you, Baba. I will try and do what you said’.
‘You had better’
‘I must be going now. I have some things to tidy up at the office’
His father waved him away and continued reading his file.
Dimeji prostrated again and then walked out. An angry though flashed through his mind, as he stepped out.
He was going to fix that bitch one day, even if it was the last thing that he did.
The elevator hinged opens on the fourth floor. He stepped out briskly. Angry thoughts were swirling around his head. His head was so hot that it felt like it would explode any moment now. He muttered incoherently to himself as he made his way to his office.
Gbemisola, his secretary/receptionist was still at her desk, glued to the computer screen. There was an air of eerie silence. It was 8.00p.m. Everybody had long gone home. She usually worked late into the night, so that the roads would be clear when she drove home.
‘Sir’
‘Yes...’ he stopped in his tracks
‘Mister Garuba called and asked if you were still coming…’
Garuba was one of his drinking buddies and the rest of the crew were waiting for him at Kuramo Beach. It was Friday night and they usually went drinking. Drinking might not be such a bad idea. It would help relieve the pressure building up in his head and squeezing the veins carrying blood to his eyes. It seem like his eyeballs would pop any moment now.
No, drinking would not be such a good idea. He would work furiously on some of the files on his desk instead. It would help get rid of the lots of negative energy.
‘Tell him’ he started out to say, but stopped ‘don’t worry I will tell him myself. Shouldn’t you be on your way home now…traffic would have cleared?’
I will go soon. There was a man from the E.F.C.C. that called asking for you’.
His mind stopped. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission were the anti-corruption police. The press dubbed it ‘The President’ long swore for vengeance. It was widely believed that the President used the agency to hound and prosecute his political enemies. He had never met with the President before. He never criticized any administration publicly before. Why would they want him? He was worried. All his dealings with his clients had been done over board. Except of course, the fleecing of money form his father. Would his father go so far as to involve the E.F.C.C if he had discovered anything? He decided that it must be related to something which either Eze or Emeka did. Tomorrow he would phone them and find out. The year of the E.F.C.C. was the beginning of wisdom, as the saying goes.
‘Did the caller leave a name or a message?’ he asked, trying to appear calm.
‘No, he said he would call back on Monday’
‘I want to do some things. Please hold all my calls’
He meant phone calls from his wife. He was in no mood to be nagged on the phone.
‘Yes, sir’
He walked into his office and shut the door behind him. He thought about reporting this night meeting with his father to his mother but dismissed the thought almost immediately. What good would that do?
He flipped open the Arbitration file that he had been reading. This involved some Canadian Businessmen who had supplied some equipment to NEPA. It was dispute involving millions of dollars. He rubbed his throbbing temples, as he tried to concentrate. It was going to be a very long night. He reached for the packet of Panadol Extra tablets that he kept in his top drawer.

CHAPTER 2

1.00pm
Monday afternoon. The Expansive Pent house suite, offices of ‘Odigbo, Onyia & Ibikunle’, Lekki phase II.
He drove his metallic blue BMW X5 jeep through the gates. The gateman cum security guard, Malam Mohammed greeted him enthusiastically.
‘Good afternoon, Oga’.
His mouth was wide open and it exposed his kola stained teeth.
‘Mohammed, how you dey?’ he returned the pleasantries.
He packed the BMW in his allocated parking space. Between Emeka’s Black Toyota Prado jeep and Eze’s Silver Honda Accord IVteci. Packing space in Victoria Island was at a premium. He switched off the engine and tossed the keys into his pocket. He picked up his large black lawyer’s box from the back seat. It weighed almost like a ton. It contained his worn out wig and gown, a tattered case file held together by a twine rope, numerous case reports and leading text books. He shut the backseat door and locked it. He had gone to the Lagos High Court Annex, Revenue Division, Tafawa Balewa Square for a hearing on a matter. His client, Alhaji Labaran had been there since 9 O’clock in the morning. The opposing counsel, Gboyega Ashaye had also been here with his client, a representative of Sterling Bank. The matter had been listed for hearing on the cause list. It had been number one on the lengthy list. The honourable Judge did not bother to show-up. It was getting too frequent nowadays, lawyers were always complaining about lazy judges who did not bother to show up or showed up late. He and about a dozen other lawyers had waited patiently for close to two hours before the Registrar belatedly announced that the Lordship was in Abuja for a Judges’ Conference and that parties should take alternative dates.
Alhaji Labaran had been livid and he had spent the better part of half an hour calming him down. This of course had been energy sapping. He was getting fed up with all these good for nothing judges and their no shows and frivolous adjournments. He had good mind to hands off litigation and stick exclusively to Arbitration. Nduka one of the more industrious and brilliant associates would handle the matter from hence on.
‘Oga, make I carry your briefcase’ Muhammad requested, hurrying over from the gatehouse/kiosk.
‘No worry…’ E no too heavy’ he replied in Pidgin English, waving him away. He was probably after a tip.
The sun was blazing hot, so he walked briskly into the reception of the six storey building that housed his office. He had to jostle with six other users to use the air conditioned elevator.
“Pent house….please” he said to the elevator operator.
‘Yes, sir’
The elevator stopped on the second, third and fourth floors before it reached the Pent house. It hissed open.
‘Goodbye sah’ the elevator operator man greeted him as he stepped out. He probably wanted a tip, too.
‘Goodbye’
He walked through the revolving door that cordoned his officer from the long corridor.
Gbemisola was at her desk. She greeted him with a warm smile.
‘Good afternoon, sir’
‘Good afternoon Gbemisola, how was your weekend?’
‘Fine thank you’
His weekend had gone unbelievably well. He had worked late into the night on Friday night and gone home around midnight. The road was free from here to Dolphin Estate. Bukky had been in one of her better moods which was a rare experience. She had prepared a sumptuous dinner of Eba and Egusi soup. And it was still warm when he got home. She probably sprinkled love medicine in it too, Bitch! He walked in and wondered whether he had missed his way and ended up in the wrong home. She behaved like a loving wife (which of course she wasn’t) and apologized for her unseemingly behaviours which she blamed in period. She always blamed everything on PMS. They made love that night and she gave herself willingly to him. He couldn’t remember when last they had made sweet love like that. It must have been during the first year of their marriage. It was that far back. The kids came and so had stress. Since the first year of marriage, love making was rare, mechanical and per functionary. More often than not, either party would roll over from their side of the matrimonial bed. A few quick taunts and grunts. A climax then it was over. Almost as quickly as it started. Matrimonial obligation fulfilled. All throughout the weekend, she turned on the sweetness and charm. She tried to jinagle him into agreeing to sponsor a holiday cruise to Bahamas, it would be a second honeymoon, and we could leave the kids behind, she implored. It went like that all through the weekend.
‘Do I have any message?’
‘Yes, Sola called’
Sola was his younger brother. He was in his second year, Sociology at University of Lagos. He was always calling for pocket money. He would phone him later.
‘Anybody else?’
‘Yes, your mother called and your wife’
‘If my wife calls…. tell her that I am stuck in court’
Bukky had suggested that she come over for lunch. He was still suspicious of her motives.
‘Are the other partners back?’ he asked
‘No… they rang to say that their flight had been cancelled. They would fly in first thing tomorrow morning’.
‘…Get Sunday to go to Mr. Biggs to get me a plate of fried rice and chicken. Take the money from imprest’
Sunday was the firm’s messenger and odd jobs man.
He walked into his office and shut the door behind him. Finally some peace and quiet, he thought.
He collapsed into the comfort of his back luxurious Executive Leather Arm chair. It squeaked under his weight.
He had hardly settled down when the telephone rang, and shattered the tranquillity of the moment. He snatched the receiver off its cradle hence it could ring again.
‘Good afternoon’ he spoke into the coner, trying hard not to sound annoyed.
‘Ah…Dimeji, how are you? Long time’ the familiar voice of his mother came on line.
‘Mama... how is everything?’
‘My son, it is not easy. We are managing o!’
‘How is business?’ His mum was a general contractor based in serene Abuja.
‘’Business has not been moving o!’
‘E pele’ he sympathized in vernacular
‘How is practice?’
‘It is not easy’
‘Don’t worry… It would be easy when they make you a Senior Advocate’
‘Amen. How is Titi?’
Titi was his younger sister. She work with Zenith Bank and lived with their mother in Abuja.
‘She is fine. The only problem is that this her bank work does not give her time for herself. She leaves home early and comes back very late. The other day, she said that armed robbers attacked her bank but luckily she was out on movement’
‘Thank God for that’
‘…this her work sef, you know that she is not getting any younger. She would be twenty-nine this year. I want her to settle down soon o before she becomes old cargo’
‘Mama, don’t do any match making. Titi is a grown up woman. She should know what she wants. What about that her boyfriend?’
‘Bayo. That boy is a good for nothing womanizer. He is always chasing all the small small girls about’
‘Have they broken up?’ he inquired
‘I don’t know o. She doesn’t tell me anything and I don’t want to poke nose’
‘Why doesn’t she resign from her bank work?’
She doesn’t want to go and work for your father. You know that she hates him’ She paused for a moment and then asked
‘How is Otunba?’
‘He is fine. He was complaining about losing money’
‘Such a Godless man! Isn’t that all that he cares about and marrying all those small small girls?’ There was no mistaking the veiled reference to Remi and the bitterness in her voice.
‘How are Bukky and the Kids?’
‘She is fine. The kids are fine. They keep asking me when they would see their Granma.’
‘My poor darlings! Send them over to me during mid-term or holidays’
‘We will see’
How is Shola?’
‘He called my office today but i was in court. I am sure that he is broke again’
‘I am sure that he needs money to fix his car’
‘He is a club boy. He would always need money’.
‘What about Emeka and Eze?’
‘They are in Abuja. I am expecting them back anytime from tomorrow’
‘So they can come to Abuja and couldn’t branch to see me, ehen?’
‘I am sure that they had a very tight schedule’
‘What else would you say? All you Lawyers are the same. You always stick together’ she teased him
‘Mama, it is not like that’
‘Don’t mind me jare. My credit is finished’
‘I will call you before the week runs out’ he promised.
‘I will be waiting o’
‘Give my regards to Titi. Tell her to take things easy o’
Í will do that’
‘Bye’
‘Bye’
Click! The line went dead. He replaced the receiver gently on its cradle. His stomach growled and rumbled. He had left home early and skipped breakfast. It had been all for nothing. The honourable Justice had seen to that. Now he would not be able to get any work done on an empty stomach. He pressed the intercom button. Gbemisola’s voice came on.
‘Yes sir’
‘Is Sunday back?’
‘Not yet, Sir’
He looked at his Omega Seaman’s wrist watch. It was almost twelve minutes since he had sent Sunday out on an errand.
‘No problem’ he said and removed his finger from the intercom button.
Damn! He would have to tarry till Sunday came with his food.
He flicked on his Dell Laptop while he waited. The intercom buzzed. Sunday must be back, he thought.
‘Yes, Gbemisola’ he answered.
‘Sir, there is a gentleman from the EFCC here to see you’
The EFCC? It must be the same man whom Gbemisola had told him about on Friday. He had forgotten to call and ask Emeka and Eze about it. It was all Bukky’s fault. Her erratic behaviour over the weekend had disconcerted him. May God save him from her clutches. He realised that Gbemisola was still on the intercom and expecting an answer.
‘Give me a moment then send him in’
‘Okay sir’
It wouldn’t do for the EFCC to see him flustered in his own office. It would look like he was guilty of something. He walked into the private toilet adjourning his office to see the mirror in there to smarten up. He looked at his reflection in the mirror. He looked every inch of his forty years. He was still young but his eloping grey hair. He straighten the wrinkles on his face. He walked back into his office and sat down.
A short dark man dressed in a black suit sauntered in.
‘Good afternoon. Are you barrister Dimeji Ibikunle?’ the man asked matter of factly.’
‘Yes and who might you be’
‘I am Kunle Adekunle, Team leader, Team ‘A’ CTGI, EFCC, Lagos’
The man introduced himself and fished out deftly his ID card from his pocket with practured ear. What did he want? A bribe?
‘Please have a seat’ he offered and took the man’s outstretched ID Card. He stared at it for a moment. It looks genuine – and the picture bore an uncanny resemblance to its owner. He returned it.
The man sat down and swept the office with his gaze, as though seizing up its owner’s power and importance. Like the old saying goes, ‘you can tell how important a person is by the size of his office’.
‘So what can I help the EFCC with?’ he asked, getting down to business. He was always like that with all these Law Enforcement types. No pussy fooling around. No small talk.
The man returned his ID card to his jacket pocket before he commenced.
‘Do you have any client by the name Razak Bello?’
‘Yes, I do’
Razak Bello was a long time client. One of his firm’s first clients. He was a fabulously wealthy individual. He claimed to be into Shipping and Maritime. However as with all wealthy individuals in Nigeria, one could never vouch for the source of their wealth.
‘We are investigating a certain matter concerning fraud. Mister Razak Bello is one of several individuals that we are interested in’
He tried not to betray any emotion and kept a blank face.
‘Can you be any more specific?’
‘We would like to go through his file and trace some assets of his’
He ignored the legal implication of the statement for a moment and asked instead
‘What is the matter that brought all this about?’
‘I am not at liberty to say’
He couldn’t believe his ears. Had he heard this pompous arse correctly? What a check! This pompous arse had waltzed into his office and demanded that he hand over confidential files of a very important client without as much as any quid pro quo.
‘I am sorry. I don’t believe that I would be able to assist you in your enquires as you are no doubt well aware that the relationship between counsel and client is one of a very confidential nature. I cannot hand over any files without a subpoena from the court or a waiver from the client’
This wasn’t entirely true. If Razak Bello had been anyone but a very rich client, he would not have hesitated to hand over all the files on him. After all after what the EFCC did to Tafa Balogun and Alamaiesgha who needs any grief from the Almighty EFCC.
He saw what passed for anger flash for a moment in the eyes of Mister Kunle Adejulu. The beast was stirring. The man was probably a bully who was always used to having his way. It seemed like an eternity before the gentleman from EFCC spoke. He spoke in a measured tone.
‘You must realise that the provision of the EFCC Act supersedes your client – Attorney privilege’
‘And which Supreme Court decision are you talking about?’ he taunted the EFCC man.
He would ask Nduka, to do some research on the matter.
‘You are not helping your client one bit by your abstinence’
‘Unless you have a court subpoena or waiver from my client then you are in no position to ask for any files’ he repeated.
‘....in that case, there is no point in my wasting your precious time anymore. I must be going’
Mister Kunle Adejulu rose to his feet
‘Goodday and Goodluck in your enquiries’
‘The next time I come here, I wouldn’t come alone and wouldn’t be this diplomatic’ he advised.
‘Just make sure that you come with a subpoena’
Mister Kunle Adejulu straighten his suit then turned on his heels and walked out, shutting the door with a loud thud behind him
What a cheek!
The intercom buzzed
‘Yes Gbemisola’
‘Can I send Sunday in?’
In all this excitement, he had forgot about his hunger.
‘Yes tell Nduka to come in. Get Sikiru to bring in all the files that we have on Mister Razak Bello. Also get Mister Razak Bello on the line for me. Tell him that it is a matter of great urgency’
‘Yes sir’
The intercom went dead. The sides of his head began throbbing again. He reached for the sachet of Panadol Extra in his drawer. He kept it for such emergencies like this.

CHAPTER 3

14 Isale Eko Street, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi. Same day. Lunch Time.
Bukky was sprawled across the leather divan in the living room of her four bedroom duplex. She glanced at the wall clock. The kids would be home any minute now. She had taken the rest of the day off from work so that she and Dimeji could go to Jade Gardens, Chinese Restaurant for lunch. It would help rekindle the fledging Love and Romance. As if there had been any in the first place to begin with. She really longed for Otunba. He was strong and................
‘Madam, the children’s food is ready’
Bimbo, her housemaid /nanny said, cutting through her thoughts. She stirred from the divan and sat up.
‘Scoop and put it into the food warmer’
‘Okay, ma’
‘You can go’ she dismissed her.
She had better call Dimeji to confirm their lunch date. Sometimes he could be so formal and so cold. She fished out her Nokia 6500 handset from her handbag and dialled his GSM line. His line was silent then his voicemail came on. She cut off the call instinctively. She wasn’t the doting wife type that left voice messages for her hubby. She was the type that stormed the office and brooked no nonsense from the staff especially where she felt that she was being toyed with.
The Chandelier lights in the living room blinked on and off for a fraction of a second and then went out.
She heard someone in the vicinity shout out
‘NEPA’
She called to her housemaid/nanny
‘Bimbo’
‘Yes ma’ Bimbo hurried over
Tell Musa to switch on the generator’ Musa was their mai guard cum ....man
‘Yes ma’
Bimbo courtesised and hurried out
She dialled her husband’s office number. It rang once. Twice. Thrice. Then somebody picked it up.
‘Good afternoon. Odigbo, Onyia & Ibikunle Law firm’ the voice on the other end of the line answered in a professional manner.
She recognised the voice. It belonged to Gbemisola, the Law firm’s secretary cum receptionist.
‘Gbemisola, how are you?’
‘Good afternoon, madam’
‘How is work?’
‘Work is fine’
‘Is Oga in?’
‘No, he hasn’t come back yet from court’
She was lying. More to the fact she knew that she was lying. Women usually know these things. She had an invisible antenna that detected lies. Gbemisola was probably lying under orders. Was she sleeping with her husband? She would have to find out. She would let the lying bit slide for now.
‘Alright, if he come back, tell him to phone me immediately’
‘I will do that, madam’
‘Okay, Goodday’
‘Good day, Madam’
The line went dead. It was only now that she remembered that she should have asked if any of her husband’s partners was around. That would have given the game-up.
She despised being lied to, especially by a small girl. Was he sleeping with her? She wondered. That would be a new low for him if he condescended to the level of sleeping with a common secretary. Never mind that she was probably a University Graduate. She was still a secretary.
Whenever he came home, she would show him pepper. How does he tell his secretary to that he is not around? She wouldn’t allow him to touch her unless he apologised and grove... His Shakara was getting too much. He was getting too big for his breeches and she was going to have to cut him down to size. His sleeping around was getting too much for her liking. It was just like the time she had snooped in his pockets and found a pack of condoms with some missing. He had denied her accusations vehemently but had been very careful ever since. She would snoop in his pockets and the glove compartment of his jeep for evidence.
Her kids suddenly burst in through the front door to interrupt her thoughts. Seyi and Bankole came running into her alms. Her cold demeanour changed.
‘Good afternoon, Mummmmy’ they chorused
She hugged them fiercely, as she always did. The driver, Gbenga came in behind them.
‘My darlings, how are you?’
Her voice was almost drowned out by the sound of the 20KVA Perkins Generator starting. The chandelier lights flickered then came on, a moment later.
‘Fine...Mummmy’ they both chorused
‘How was school today?’
‘Fine’
‘Did your teacher give you any homework, today?’
‘Yes...Arithmetic’
‘Okay ....go upstairs and change. Your food would be wating down stairs for you’
‘What did you cook, mummy?’
She smiled at them and said
‘Your favourite dish. Jellof Rice and dodo’
‘Yummmmmmmyyy!’ they chorused excitedly, smacked their lips and rubbed their stomachs.
‘Run upstairs and change’
‘...the last is a rotten egg’ Seyi said to Bankole. They raced upstairs. It was a game which they always played.
‘Good afternoon, madam’ the driver greeted her
‘Good afternoon Gbenga. How was traffic today?’
‘There was no traffic today, madam’
‘Is the car alright?’
She was referring to the Volkswagen Passat that Dimeji bought so that the kids could be taken to school. It was ugly and weather beaten. She wouldn’t be caught dead in it.
‘Yes madam. I took it for complete servicing last weekend’
‘Later, you would take Bimbo to Sangrouse market so that she can buy a few things for the house’
‘Yes madam’
‘Bimbo’ she called out
‘Yes madam’
‘Come and set the dinning table for the children’
‘Yes madam’
‘Dish some food for Mr. Gbenga’
‘Yes ma’
‘Thank you, ma’ Gbenga said, and walked into the kitchen.
She got up from the divan and walked to the foot of the staircase that led upstairs to the bedroom and called out to the kids.
‘Your lunch is ready, come downstairs before it gets cold’
‘We are coming’
They were one of the few consolation she had in this ill-fated and loveless marriage. She decided to call her mum. Mum could know exactly what to do.
She walked up the stairs, past the kids who came running down for their lunch. She went into her bedroom and closed the door behind her, ensuring privacy.
She dialled her mum’s number. It rang once. Twice. Her mother picked up.
‘My baby, how are you?’
‘Mummy, I am fine o’
‘How are my darling grandchildren?’
‘They are fine. They have, only just got back from school’
‘What about your husband?’
‘He is the reason why I am calling’
‘What is the matter again?’
‘Can you imagine that he is using me to play hide and seek?’
‘I thought that your father-in-law had reconciled the two of you?’
‘He talked to him but Dimeji is a good pretender. The other night I smelt a woman’s perfume on his clothes. He denied-----‘
‘What has happened now?’ Her mother asked, cutting her short in mid-sentence
‘We agreed that today we would go out for lunch but he and his secretary have been dribbling me’
‘His secretary?’
‘I am sure that he is sleeping with her. He is a shameless man’
‘How do you know that he is sleeping with her?’
‘When i called his mobile number, it went into voice mail. So i called his office and his secretary said that he was in court’
‘And so?’
‘She is lying. I know that he is in his office. He told her to lie for him. I should go down there and show the two of them my red eye’
‘My dear, don’t make a public spectacle of your marriage. I don’t want to see your name splashed across the front pages of City People Magazine o’
‘And by the way, don’t you know that men like to have their space. Your father is like that sometimes’
‘Leave Daddy out of this. You and Daddy were the ones that forced me to marry Dimeji. You said that it was all for the good of the family. Do you see the insult and unhappiness that I am reaping now’? She complained bitterly.
‘My child, it was for your own good to secure your future. Would you have dared to disobey your father?’
Her father would have disinherited her
‘You should have allowed me to marry Richard’
Richard had been her University Sweet heart.
‘Stop talking rubbish’
‘At least, mama, I would have felt loved and wanted’
‘What do you know about love, my child?’
‘Richard would have made a far better husband than Dimeji’ She stubbornly persisted.
‘...well, that is all in the past. Let us look forward now’
‘When he comes back from work, I will show him hell fire’
‘Bukky, listen to me. Spare your children all these melodrama’
‘No, Mama. He cannot treat me as a rag’
‘You know what?’
‘What Mama?’
‘I will take you somewhere next week where all of your marital problems would be solved just like that’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘A spiritual home. The kind that helped your sister Fehintola get through the rough patches of her marriage’
‘Are you talking about a babalawo?’
‘Ssssssssshhhhhhhhh! Don’t let your father hear you mention that word. You know that he is an elder in the church. So he wouldn’t want anything to soil his hard earned name and reputation.
‘Okay, I thought Daddy was not at home’
‘He has spies. Anyway, don’t tell anyone about what we have just discussed o’
‘Mama, trust me. I am not a small girl’
‘In this day and age, a woman must be willing to do anything to protect the integrity of her matrimonial home’
‘Okay Mama’
‘I will talk to you later. My friend Bimpe wants to take me to a shop in Lagos Island where she buys her lace.
‘Okay, Mama, I will talk to you later. Greet daddy for me’
‘Okay my dear. Take it easy with the children and your husband o’
‘Bye’
The line went dead. She went downstairs to be with the kids.
The Intercom buzzed. He answered it.
‘Yes’
‘Sir, your wife was just on the phone asking about your whereabout’
‘Did you tell her that I was still in court?’
‘Yes sir’
‘Good’
‘She said that you should call her when you get back to the office’
‘Okay. No problem. Have you been able to get Mister Razak Bello on the phone?’
‘I will try again now’
‘Okay let me know once you get through’
The intercom went dead. He went back to his musing of his meeting earlier on with the EFCC agent, Mister Kunle Adejulu. What kind of trouble was Razak Bello trying to drag the firm into? Already he had enough on his plate to be worried about. This was far too much excitement for him to handle. He would have to find out more about his new adversary. Wasn’t it Sun Tuz, the famous Chinese General, who said?
‘...know yourself and know your enemy and you shall win a thousand battles’
He smiled at the thought of a thousand battles with the EFCC. Now who did he know at the EFCC that could furnish him with precious information. He racked his brain.
The Intercom buzzed again.
‘Yes’
‘I have Mister Razak Bello on the phone’
‘Good...put him through’
A moment later, the unmistakeable coarse voice of Razak Bello boomed in the ear piece of the telephone receiver.
‘The Law. How you dey?’ Razak greeted in Pidgin English
‘I dey kampe’ he replied
‘How Emeka and Eze?’
‘They are in Abuja handling some matters’
‘Yes, I remember they said so’
‘I have been trying to get hold of you since’
‘Don’t mind me. I forgot to exchange the battery last night. So it went off in the middle of a phone call today. I have just managed to recharge the battery.’
‘I received a visit from a certain gentleman from EFCC’
‘Over what’
‘They wanted to look through your files and trace some of your assets’
‘Can they do that?’ Razak asked, alarmed. Dimeji could picture him in his mind’s eyes, jumping up from his settee or whatever he had been sitting down on.
‘I have one of my top associates doing some research on that now’
‘So these people want to finish me’ Razak said. It was more of an aside than anything else.
‘Which people?’
‘There is a Lebanese Partner of mine, Gamah. He is into import and export business’
Every Lebanese businessman was into import and export, amongst other things. He hadn’t met one, who wasn’t into import and export business. The pertinent question was, what sort of commodities did he import and export.
Razak continued.
‘I think he is trying to muscle me out of a business venture. I think this line is being monitored’
Bugged? No, it couldn’t he. Nobody would dare.
‘I will come and see you in the office’ Dimeji offered.
‘I will be travelling to Bauchi tomorrow morning on the first flight. Sosoliso Airlines’
‘So when would you return?’
‘I will let you know’
‘Should I co-operate with them?’
‘No o o o’ Razak Bello was emphatic. Maybe his cupboard was filled up with skeleton. Plenty.
‘I will call you back. I have to go now’
‘Okay. Bye’
He had hardly finished saying goodbye when the line went dead. He stared at the receiver for a moment and the gently placed it on its cradle. Clearly, Razak Bello was rattled. And this was more puzzling. He had always known him to be a cool cucumber.
And he had lied to him about travelling to Bauchi tomorrow morning on the first Sosoliso flight. Dimeji had an invisible radar for detecting lies. Maybe lies were for the EFCC who were ears dropping on their conversation.

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Product Details
Author: Udeme Umoh
Publication date: 7/17/2014
Pages: 167
Product dimensions: 1133 x 1600
More About This eBook
Overview
Night of The Long Knives is a story of contemporary Nigeria. It is a story of a rich and powerful family caught in the throes of abuse of power, infidelity, corruption in high places and destruction. It tells the story of Dimeji Ibikunle, a young lawyer who is trying to throw off the shackles of his overbearing and powerful billionaire father and become his own man. He manages to do that only at very great cost and discovers a mind numbing secret. And it leads to....murder.
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About Author
Udeme Akpan Umoh is a young lawyer based in Lagos. He attended Unilag where he studied Law. He has an LLM in Commercial Law from Cardiff University, United Kingdom. He is married and is expecting his first child. He practises law in the firm of 'Glover & Temple'. He enjoys music, watching movies and television. He loves reading novels, biographies and Positive Thinking books. He supports AC Milan football club. He writes poetry and is currently working on a second novel.
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