Nothing has changed much since the past few weeks, the estate was noisy as usual from generating plants all over the place, it was just a little past five o’clock in the morning, the streets were empty except for some early risers here and there making haste in different directions, some heading towards the main gate, others making short trips from one location to another within the estate and some like the various private security personnel, sat outside their primary point of assignments which were the houses they watched.
From the third lane an Audi saloon car drove by, it was a little too fast and the driver a bit reckless, more so unrepentant even after almost running over a dog, the screeching tyres were fading away now as the car drove on towards the main gate leaving in it’s wake, dust and exhaust fumes “Animal!” came an angry voice from a nearby security post but no one else paid any attention, then the car was gone.
From around the corner, a lone figure walked out of the third street heading for the main exit gate, it was quite a stretch to walk but Lara had no choice really, this was because the popular commercial motor cycle operators were banned from entering the estate.
She had risen early as usual though now a bit accustomed to doing so, she however still felt cheated of her sweet sleep, perhaps that is something she may never get used to because Lara loves to sleep given the opportunity, sadly, her schedule has changed lately over the last few weeks as she is now a workaholic trying to create an impression on her new job while avoiding the dizzying office politics and unhealthy battle of the sexes that came as a huge shock to her.
Half way to the gate, Lara straightened her skirt unconsciously and adjusted her collar, she touched the left pocket of the black jacket she wore feeling the envelope within, her mission this morning was crucial for the sake of preventing the suffering of an innocent person, she was deep in thought now, going through the events from the past few weeks.
“Good morning Lara”, a deep male voice startled her from her reverie, she immediately turned in the direction of the voice and saw that it was Bennie who lived on the second street.
“Oh good morning Ben”, she said visibly relieved. He made no attempts to slow down, he simply gave her a smile and waved as he walked passed in the opposite direction, perhaps sensing her haste. Lara was glad it was a friendly face, God knows she can’t start screaming thief, thief and dramatising if it had been a purse snatcher, she was strangely amused by the thought.
By the time Lara got the the bus stop, she was deep in her thoughts again, she remembered vividly how she was given a thorough induction on her first day at work, she remembered she was quite nervous attending the general meeting for the first time because everyone seemed so straight faced and serious. Her first assignment was to assist in creating and organising interview schedules for shortlisted candidates meant for their various client companies, this she did without difficulties working with the head of her unit alongside five of her colleagues.
She was in a commercial bus now heading towards Anthony, her destination was a place called Illupeju somewhere between Oshodi and Ikorodu Road. Traffic at this time was manageable at least it was moving so far, a bus had broken down just before Anthony bus stop causing backlog of traffic, her bus eventually got to the point and she saw some traffic officials around the broken down bus, a small crowd stood some feet away from the bus close to the towing van, apparently they were passengers from the bus now looking for alternatives, a young man with a frown was running around in traffic near by trying to flag down other commercial buses, he must be the conductor of the broken down bus trying to save cost by getting another bus to pick the passengers and splitting the fair instead of returning the full payment back to them, Lara thought to her self.
Lara did not take the regular staff bus because the timing was different and she didn’t want anyone to know she was making this trip, she had simply called the driver earlier to inform him that she was skipping the bus that morning, so there she was, sitting just behind the driver in a fourteen seater bus, trying to take her mind off work at least for the time being when a voice startled her from her figurative ruminations “I greet you all in this bus in peace!” the loud almost angry sounding voice came from the rare seat, everyone on her row including herself turned to see the owner of the voice which belonged to a very thin looking man.
This man introduced himself as a preacher and commenced to preach, his first point of call was to start attacking women who work in offices and dress like men according to him, he claimed they have lost their virtue and that they should resign and return to God, he then focused on female dressing and began to link it with the character of Jezebel the Hebrew Queen in the Bible, he condemned every form of fashion both regular and extreme… It was clear no one wanted to listen to this version of attack on women all in the name of preaching and mixing up unrelated issues, Lara felt both disgusted and disappointed in what she was hearing she felt people like this gave preachers a bad name as she searched her bag for her earpiece like others in the bus already did.
They had passed the bus stop where the broken down bus was, the driver had just connected with Oshodi express heading towards Oshodi-Oke, it was then Lara protested, facing the conductor.
“I am going to Illupeju, where are you taking me?”
The conductor, a young dark and skinny fellow dressed in blue tattered shirt and carton brown shorts initially ignored her but when she repeatedly quarried him he responded, “cool down Jor, you go drop for Oshodi abi wetin dey do you?”
His response sparked up multiple angry responses from other passengers before Lara could even reply, “are you alright in your head?” came an angry male voice from behind followed by two other female voices “Is that how to talk to your passenger, or you are already drunk this early morning?”
The conductor was responding apparently trying to defend himself when the second woman cut him off “your head is not correct you hear, you better shut up your mouth, you people don’t even know how to talk, tomorrow you will claim that some witches in your village are killing you meanwhile it is your bad manners following you about” they quarrelled on…
The driver had tried to cut in, defending the conductor but more than half of the passengers in the bus shouted at him to face his front and focus on driving, he threatened to stop the bus and the passengers threatened no walk away without paying, in fact several of them began asking to be dropped that they were no longer interested in the trip and that they are not going to pay.
The driver parked the bus and aggressively came out, he turned round the bus, his intension was to lock the passengers in but before he could pull the sliding door shut, two large hands gripped his neck and lifted him clean of the ground the next thing everyone heard was gbam! The driver was on the side pavement like a sack of rice, he was motionless for a while and everyone panicked for his sake, the bus was emptying out now as some passengers, though surprised, were already off looking for another bus while others stood nearby watching the spectacle, Lara was one of them.
Some people were appealing to the huge man that silenced the driver to take things easy. The driver on the other hand was now making small movements but no attempt to stand up, the brown khaki pants and military style boots of the towering giant gave him away as a soldier and interestingly now that the other man was out of the bus and on the pavement, his outfit also gave him off as a military personnel, perhaps a junior officer because on seeing his assailant he made no attempt to stand up.
The giant was on the phone now and the conductor was no where to be found, at least Lara could not see him anywhere, she was still shaken by the incident especially how what started out as a simple exchange resulted to a fight, though brief but someone could have been seriously hurt or killed for that matter.
A small crowd was gathering now but many of the passengers were leaving and some already got into other buses while the remaining were walking down to Oshodi-Isale from the spot they were which was close to the LASTMA headquarters, she had no choice than to join the trekkers in the absence of another bus to pick them.
On getting to Oshodi-Isale panting and visibly in a hurry, she asked for directions from a corporately dressed young man standing with the crowd at the bus stop, close to the pedestrian bridge, she was told she could walk depending on the exact location she was heading to at Ilupeju although it would be better if she walked a short distance and then take a bike to the place he said.
She thanked him and proceeded on her way, Oshodi was busy with human and vehicular activities, people were every where moving in all directions, there was a large garage for commercial buses under the bridge and she could see several men yelling destinations in an attempt to attract passengers heading their way. Women, girls and little boys with small plastic basins on there heads were all about, hawking various brands of soda, some of the hawkers sold water in plastic bottles and others sold bread, there were those who sold local concoction in plastic bottles amongst the countless different things being hawked in and around the garage.
She was turning now facing the direction she was told to follow when her phone rang, it was Dr. George the recipient of the letter she carried, he wanted to know how close she was in order to ascertain how much longer it would take her to arrive. Lara described her location to him after which he directed her to take a bus that will drop her at the nearest bus stop to the Ilupeju office instead. She got a bus easily enough and in a few minutes she was there standing in front of the nine feet iron gates, she had pushed the bells and a security personnel ushered her in after she filled the visitors form.
As she sat at the reception, letter in hand, she recalled the events that had lead to this moment, Bryan the tech guy was in deep trouble and about to be sacked along side others, this was simply because he had stumbled upon a discovery that implicated some senior staff. The sad part though was that his discovery was also discovered and those who were implicated ganged up to frame him in order to protect themselves.
Lara now holds evidence that will vindicate Bryan and provide irrevocable proof of criminal activities by those involved. Bryan had brought the letter to her the night before with clear instructions on what to do, no one was to know she was making the trip not even the MD.
Two people were walking down the corridor now but Lara could only here footsteps. She was given a tag and asked to go up stairs, naturally as a staff of the company she didn’t need a tag but her visit here today was slightly being covered up to protect her, it was also her first time here at the Ilupeju branch so nobody would recognise her.
Dr. George was the company’s senior consultant and an ally, he was the one to received and use the letter she carried to clear Bryan and bring the real criminals to justice. Lara was cleared by the Secretary and asked to go in, she opened the door, stepped in expecting to see Dr. George alone but there were two people there, she was visibly surprised and when she recovered she greeted both men who responded in turn.
Dr. George made a gesture in the direction of the vacant seat and she sat down. Her mind was racing, it was then the second man asked her “do you have the letter?” Lara didn’t know what to say, she was not expecting the MD to be there but there he was in the flesh, he asked the question again “The letter, do you have it?” Dr. George on the other hand, had an unreadable facial expression. Lara, trying hard to hide her distress opened her mouth to speak but she was not sure what would come out.
To be continued…
About The FirstSonar:
Sunday Imonah, also known as First/Lord Sonar because of his good music ears and vocal prowess, is an enigmatic Presenter on Drive Time belt, the Weekend run as well as other belts on Metro FM, He is a voice Actor and writer at heart. He has produced, written, and directed creative works for the Station and beyond. He has voiced Commercials for Companies like Afrab Chem, Cornoil, numerous pharmaceutical and beverage companies as well as religious houses to mention but a few. Sunday is a social critic who uses his writings to proffer solutions for social good. He was recently nominated in the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards [NBMAwards] for Outstanding Radio Programme Presenter, Midday/Lunch Hour Category.
GENERAL SUMMARY OF SONAR’S BELTS
Afternoon and evening during week days 2:00PM – 7:00PM
Afternoon and night on weekend 1:00PM – 2:00PM and 7:00PM – 1:00AM