Etim shakes his head in wonder as he reads through his Timeline. Wale has just called his attention to the ongoing onslaught. He wonders whether sending Victor a DM telling him to back off will be a good idea but the trend has already taken a life of its own. Even if Victor tweets to say he made everything up, the crowd will still bray for blood. Too bad Nasir has to be sacrificed this way. But Victor has to be called to order. Etim knows that he has a soft spot for Akata but that does not mean he should take rash decisions because of her. Victor should have consulted with the rest of them before starting the hashtag. Think solutions, he says out loud to himself. There is only one person he knows that can call Victor to order. Etim picks up his phone and dials The Maestro.
Wale paces about in his room. He has done all he can online to fight back against Victor. He really wishes this did not have to happen. He liked and had a lot of respect for Victor but this is really his source of income and he cannot allow Victor trifle with it.
Last time he checked, the two hashtags were trending side by side. Nasir is slightly pacified but it doesn’t look like he is out of the woods yet. What he really wants was for this to go off the trends completely. But how can it go off when they are talking about it? How can they stop talking about it when Victor’s people are still leading the offensive?
He has to do something about Victor. Knowing him, even if this trend goes away he will create another one and then another. There is no way he can truly have peace if Victor continues to tweet. It would have been good if he got some government appointment to keep him busy but it does not look like he ever will. He had been such a complete idiot during the last elections that politicians on either side did not want to touch him with a 10 foot pole. Wale has to figure out a way to make him stop. He hopes that Etim will be able to get through to him. If he doesn’t then he will have to take matters into his own hands.
Victor gets off the phone from The Maestro. He had been surprised to receive his call. Nasir is fortunate to have someone like The Maestro protecting him. The instruction had been clear: delete all your tweets against Nasir and do not contribute any further to the conversation. He didn’t have any choice but to obey. But he had received another assignment. They were supposed to begin attacking a certain member of The Senate. His instruction is to disparage him in every and anyway possible. He had been sent a dossier on the senator which he is supposed to begin studying immediately. That means that he has to stay action against Wale for now. He can’t think of any way to go after him right now without it affecting Nasir. He gets two mail notifications at once. One is from his bank and the other is from The Maestro. Victor has never paid any attention to Senator Jimmy before now but if he has been declared a person of interest then he needs to study him. He opens the mail and begins to read, he might as well get his mind off Wale’s betrayal. He will revisit him later.
Etim considers all The Maestro has told him. He is happy that Victor will be called off but the assignment he is being given bothers him. He cannot ask anyone else to handle the Twiga Games and he needs time to study the dossier on Senator Jimmy. Sometimes he hated the fact that he cannot say no to The Maestro but this is what he has signed up for and there is nothing he can do about it.
He checks Victor’s TL and sees that he has deleted the tweets. He knows that Wale’s people will see this as victory of light over darkness. He laughs. If only they knew how exactly these things work. They are simply pawns in this chess game. He considers himself a Bishop and it upsets him when he is asked to do the job of a Castle…like now. He ignores the mail he just received. He will get to it later. On this Twiga event he is The Commander and it is time to make the second move…
Zainab calls Akata’s attention to the deleted tweets. She notices it immediately after their blog is attacked again. It’s difficult for her to believe the Presidency has nothing to do with this. How come when Victor’s tweets were up their blog was up too? SK must have missed something. Everything points to the fact that Nasir is not acting alone. What she does not know is who he is working for.
Zainab considers her options. She cannot sit back and let this go. She picks her phone and drops two tweets. One contains a screenshot of Nasir’s email and the other asks why the Presidency wants to shut down blogs. We helped you get here Mr President, why are you repaying us this way. She DM’s a few of her friends to help her retweet the tweet hoping it will gain some traction. She hadn’t bothered to tell Akata she was going to tweet it. She is tired of all the games and she doesn’t care if Wale and his group come after her. She has tweeted evidence. She will like to see them wiggle out of this one.
Zainab gets the first notification. Someone must have seen her tweet. Before long she is in the middle of the storm. Someone had copied the President’s handle and the Fencists were out in full swing now that they can seen some concrete evidence. Zainab smiles as she sees the first traditional news handles made it into a news story. Her phone has been ringing nonstop but she has refused to pick it. She feels the rush of adrenaline as she checks the trend list and sees that Nasir’s name is trending worldwide. She pops two tablets and shuts her eyes. Whatever happens now, she doesn’t care anymore.
Niyi sees the incoming call. He could tell this call was coming the moment he saw Zainab’s tweet. He knows Zainab means well but she has made herself an unnecessary target. Niyi picks the call.
“Thank God you picked. I need your help.”
Niyi exhales audibly. He can hear the anxiety in the voice at the other end. He doesn’t want to help him, but he just feels a need to hear him out.
“What do you want?”
“Maybe I should start by apologising…about…”
“There’s no need. All of that is in the past. Just tell me what you want.”
There is slight hesitation from the other end. Niyi has not really forgotten the past. No one ever forgets coming home to see one’s fiancée in arms of one’s best friend. He can only forgive, not forget.
“Hello?” Niyi enquires. “Are you still there?”
Was he crying?
Niyi cannot remember ever seeing Nasir cry in the four years they spent at the university or even their one year youth service. Not even when his father died and Niyi had accompanied him to the burial.
“Are you crying?” Niyi finally asks.
There’s another hesitation followed by what sounds like a sniffle. Then Nasir’s voice comes back on.
“I swear by Almighty Allah, I never made up that list and I never sent that email. Today is the first day I’m setting my eyes on it.”
“But it was sent from your mail. What are you saying?”
“I am saying to you and I swear on my father’s grave. I did not send that email.”
Nasir explains again that he knows nothing about the list. He wants Niyi to help him find out if his account had been compromised. He ends the call and Niyi sits back. He is sure the mail was sent from Nasir’s email. He had confirmed that himself. Is there a possibility that his mail was hacked? Who hacked it and why? Niyi navigates to his mail box and looks at the other blogs that were listed alongside Akata’s. Had they also been attacked? Niyi picks his phone and calls Akata. Could there be something he missed?
Wale looks at his watch. Almost noon. He should call his mother. He hadn’t told her about his new position. This is what today’s world has become. Strangers hear your news, good or bad, before family does. He picks his phone and dials her number. What if that Baba can give him a solution for Victor? He can just make him a little mad or make his fingers wither so he can’t tweet anymore. He waits for her to come on the line. He has to tell his mother about the oloriburuku that does not want her son to rest. His mother will know what to do.
Niyi’s call to Akata leaves him even more confused. Her blog had gone back up but one hour later it was down again. It had coincided with when Victor deleted his tweets, but none of the other people in that list had been attacked in anyway. If anything one of them got an invite to be part of The Presidential Media Chat coming up in a month. Something is just not right. Could someone really be setting Nasir up? To what end? And who has ensured that Akata’s blog remains down. Niyi hates puzzles. It’s far easier to just assume Nasir has some sinister motive and weave some conspiracy theory as to why but it just does not add up. Nasir swears he did not send that mail and Niyi is persuaded to believe him. Time to tackle the email header, if Nasir was actually hacked, he will find out.
The President looks up from reading her report. He takes off his glasses and takes a deep breath. Maria can see he has aged. He looks a lot older than his forty years. You wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking he is in his early fifties. Maria understands that he is under a lot of pressure.
“Is Nasir in on this conspiracy?” He finally asks.
“I can’t say for sure,” Maria answers. “He seems clean as far as this is concerned.”
“He has dipped his hand in a couple of cookie jars.”
“Can I be assured of his loyalty?”
Maria goes quiet. She does not know what to say. She has not been able to dig up anything definite on Nasir. But there is no telling how far the cabal has gone. The President is fortunate she had come across this information at the time she did. At least he will find a way of getting the Vice President to resign and then replace him. Maria had recommended three persons. Top on her list is Senator Jimmy.
Maria looks up at the President. She had failed to get Niyi to listen to her. Perhaps pretending that she was Osi was a stretch but she couldn’t think of anything else given the fact that the President didn’t want him to know that he is John. She remembers how sad Osi had been when she told him that he had to close his account. But it is part of the job.
“I couldn’t…” Maria begins.
“No, get him, ” The President cuts in. “I don’t care how you do it Maria. If you have to kidnap him and get him here, then do it. I will instruct Nasir to give you every assistance you need.”
The President hands her back the report. He had a photographic memory and must already have all points stored away. It was for her to destroy the report.
“Thank you Maria, you have been a true friend.”
Maria nods and walks out just as the President hits the buzzer.
(Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)