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#SocialLeague: Story Twelve 

The Vice-President could not sleep. He listens to his wife snoring beside him and realizes that if he indeed becomes president, he will be stuck with her for another four years. That will be one of his biggest regrets. He had been planning to divorce her secretly before he was picked as Vice President and now providence was going to make him president.

He really should be asleep. Everything is working according to plans and the president will not know what hit him when the senate reconvenes in two days and he is impeached. The Maestro has worked everything out including ensuring that the perception that the president is ineffectual does not affect the party. They have based all their criticisms on the person of the president and used his own media team against him. The only person they have not been able to get is Nasir, but even that is about to change. He really should sleep, tomorrow is going to be a long day. He has to go through the list of cabinet members and decide who to keep and who to let go. Left to him, he will sack them all and get in his own people. But this is politics, interests need to be protected. He gets into bed and shuts his eyes. He knows that soon enough, sleep will come

                                         **********

Nasir is going through his email. If someone has managed to hack into his mail who knows how many emails they could have sent. He clicks on sent items and begins to go through the mails one after the other. He is very tired and wonders if it will not be better to go to sleep and do a more thorough check whenever he wakes up. The knock on the door startles him. He automatically looks at the time. it is 1.42 am. The knock becomes a more urgent bang. He looks at his phone. There are no missed calls. He rises and goes to the door and peeks through the spyhole. Maria. His eyebrows furrow as he wonders what she can possibly want from him at this time of the night. He unlocks the door and lets her in, a query in his eye.

“The President will like this visit kept below the radar,” Maria begins the minute she steps in, “when was the last time you swept this apartment?

Nasir wrinkles his nose wondering what smell she is referring to. “swept”.

“For listening devices? Bugs?”

Nasir feels like a child who is about to get a scolding. 

“That will be since inauguration,” he answers.

“Then I suggest we talk outside,” Maria concludes already leading the way out.

Nasir turns slowly wondering if he should throw on his just discarded shirt.  He decides against it and walks out topless.

                                  ******************

Niyi sits hunched over his laptop. Just as he suspected the header of the email terminates in Shenzhen China. He tries to remember something he had read about the city and decides that whoever wrote that email does not want to be found.  Niyi stops to think of the handful of hackers he knows that can execute something like this and he can only count them in one hand. He cannot decide on a process of elimination. At this point he does not even know what the criteria will be. One thing he knows for sure is that the person knows Akata and perhaps has a personal beef with her but also knows Nasir and may be looking to settle scores as well.

Niyi massages his temple with his fingers. Perhaps those on Twitter may know Akata but what could she have possibly done to make anyone so upset as to keep attacking her. The only thing he can think of is perhaps someone in the presidency is upset about a story she did and hired a hack to deal with her. He can’t even think of the Social Leaguers, they are the ones most likely to be used by someone in government. But, he has also come to know that things are not always what they seem.  He goes back to his laptop, time to rewrite the algorithm.  

                              ****************

The President sits on his desk going through some papers, reports from various Ministers just as he has directed. He is particularly interested in the Minister of Education’s report. He sorts it and begins to read. The Minister has some revolutionary ideas for the sector but he can’t seem to concentrate on reading it. He keeps wondering if he is one of those that are for him or against him. He shuts the report and wonders whether Maria  has carried out his instructions.  He knows he should have asked for Nasir to be brought in so he can speak to him directly. He deserved that much.  But he has again allowed his aversion to conflict to make him ask Maria to do the job. He needs to concentrate on fighting his political enemies and not be wondering if his Chief of Staff is still on his side. The hard part of this fight is that he is fighting members of his own political party without being aware that there are even factions.  Maria is the only person on earth he trusts at the moment. She had suggested that he make Senator Jimmy Vice President.  He closes the report and rises from his seat. His actions in the next 24 hours will be the most crucial. The first thing he has to do is replace his Chief of Staff and he knows the woman for the job.

                                  ****************

Maria makes her way towards her car. Nasir hadn’t taken it so well, not that she expected him to. She knows he loves the President like a father but what had to be done, had to be done. She wonders if she should go home and take a quick nap before flying to Lagos to complete assignment number two. Her phone beeps as she gets into the car and she checks the notification.  It is a message from Osi. She reads it quickly and shuts her eyes.  They are moving faster than she expected. How did they know to go after Senator Jimmy. If you found him so can anyone else. It was time for her to activate her Twitter network. She has left it dormant for years.  She seeks out a number and hits send. 

Akata picks the call at the third ring. She had fallen asleep trying to figure out how to resolve her issues and nothing seems to be working. The number displayed on her phone screen is not familiar to her.

“Hello”

“Katie”

Akata holds her breath. There is only one person on earth who calls her that.

“Marie?”

The laugh at the other end of the line is unmistakable.  Akata remembers a time from long ago when they had been friends and had adopted those names. She also remembers a more recent meeting.

“Yeah, it’s me,” Maria responds. 

“You sound so awake…it’s 2 o’clock you know.”

That laughter again, followed by a clearing of the throat. Akata could tell this was going to be important.

“I need your help,” Maria begins. “I need your help with pushing a counter narrative.

“A counter-narrative?”

“Yes, you will be going head to head against the Social Leaguers.”

“I don’t understand,” Akata says, sitting up in her bed. “You know I’m non-partisan.”

Maria looks at her watch.

“You know what? I will be at your place in 15.”

She hangs up before Akata can protest.

Akata gets out of bed naked as the day she was born. She always sleeps naked. From as long as she can remember, she has always been comfortable looking at her naked self in the mirror. She once made a joke about being able to identify any part of her body if it goes missing. She picks out a chiffon gown and throws it on as she makes her way to the living room. She knows that Maria will stop at nothing to get her to be involved in this war, but she is determined not to be drawn in.

The knock comes exactly 15 minutes later and Akata is ready for it. She had boiled water before Maria arrived and she used the first five minutes to break the ice. She avoids looking at Maria, concentrating painstakingly on the measuring: a level teaspoon of cocoa, a teaspoon of sugar, two teaspoons of milk, hot water to fill the small cup.

“Would you like something to drink?” Akata asks unexpectedly.

“Maybe after we talk,” Maria answers a smile on her lips. Akata misses the smile. “You know you can look up at me,” Maria continues. She wants to add something else but changes her mind.

“You know my answer is no. I know we have been friends and I know it’s probably for a good cause. But my answer is still no. Besides, I don’t even know if my blog is going to recover from the last spate of continuous attacks. So I really am of no use to you”.

Akata finally looks up and finds Maria’s smile, firmly in place.

“But I haven’t asked you anything…yet,” Maria responds.

Their eyes meet and hold and then the two burst out laughing.

“My God, Akata,” Maria begins, “You are so uptight, you are seated bolt upright like we used to do in Madame Coker’s French class.”

Akata relaxes as she continues laughing. She remembers how it used to be in Madame Coker’s class. Everyone seated bolt upright hoping they don’t get called to answer any of her questions. She never said anything in English from the moment she steps into the class to when she leaves adding to the general confusion.

“On second thoughts, I will have a beverage. Do you have any coffee?”

They both walk into the kitchen and Akata picks out the unopened tin of coffee from the shelf and gets out a cup.

“Sugar? Milk?’

“Black.”

Akata hands her the cup but she makes no move to leave the kitchen.

“I have no intentions of dragging you into politics. But I know how much you love this country. And no matter how non-partisan we may be, there comes a time when we cannot afford to be neutral.” Maria pauses but Akata can tell the pause is not meant for her to respond .

“What I am about to tell you will shock you but I swear to you on my honour that it is the absolute truth. When I’m done you can decide if you still want to sit on the fence.”

@akatablog was first to tweet the breaking news. The Presidency had relieved Nasir of his duties with immediate effect. Wale almost had a heart attack when he saw the tweet. He reached out to Etim Immediately but Etim was unreachable.  Etim was on a flight headed out to meet with the Maestro and the rest of the Social leaguers. Things had reached the point where phone calls could no longer do and the next few days would be crucial.

The rest of Twitter received the news with mixed feelings. The Fencists tried to analyse the news and what it could portend. Some predicted an imminent cabinet reshuffle. The lower rung of the social leaguers were at a loss what to say, without their leadership actively tweeting, some decide to just ignore the information. Wale tweets that it was difficult to tell if this news was true or the handiwork of some disgruntled bloggers and advised that everyone calmly wait for the presidency to release a statement. A few tweeps took exception to Akatablog being referred to as “disgruntled bloggers” and soon there was a full blown twar between the social leaguers and the supporters of Akata blog with each trying to outsub the other. It was in the midst of this cacophony that Zainab opened her Twitter.

(Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)

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Posted by on August 9, 2016 in Series

 

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#SocialLeague: Story Eleven

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Niyi is quite surprised at the information he gets from the email header.  He had thought it would be pretty straightforward. Find the IP address from where the mail was sent and with that the location from which it was sent.  Then he would be able to pin it to Nasir.  But what he is seeing is that someone has gone to great lengths to ensure that both pieces of information will not be found.  At first,  the IP address took him to a remote District in Ghana,  then to Belarus and now he has ended up in the Philippines. He is quite sure that he will be redirected from the Philippines to another location in God knows where.  He has no doubt in his mind that either Nasir was hacked or he has taken a lot of precautions to ensure that he is never found out.  Niyi smiles.  What whoever is playing these games did not factor in is how determined he is to get to the bottom of this matter.  If push comes to shove,  he will write a programme that will reverse engineer the process. Whatever it takes,  he is going to get to the bottom of this.

                        ************

When it rains it pours. Those words play in Akata’s mind as she reads through her TL. Zainab’s tweet has dragged her into the middle of the Nasir controversy.  Her techie has just called to tell her he is tired and will allow the blog stay down for a while. She has been on the phone almost nonstop to her clients and advertisers who wanted to know why Akata Blog has been down and then to cap it all, someone is launching Twiga Games a full week before they are supposed to launch TTM, short for Twitter Tele Match. What is more, Twiga Games is a replica of TTM. There is nothing she or her crew will say that will make anyone believe they have been working on TTM for close to three months.  They will look like the copy cat. Akata let’s out a huge sigh.  She has no way of telling who is behind the @TwigaGames handle. All she can gather from her TL is that it is very popular among the overlord minions section of Twitter.  She will have to call the attention of the crew to find out if they have heard anything.  But all she really feels like doing is calling everything quits.  It seems to her that  someone is targeting her.  Someone wants to run her out of business and she is chuffed that she has no idea who the person is.  All she has is Nasir. Nasir must be fronting for someone.  She has no idea whether the person is in the Presidency or elsewhere.  But perhaps it is time she put her journalistic prowess to work.  She will no longer wait for them to bring the war to her,  she is taking the fight to them.

                       **************

Victor had not paid attention to how powerful Senator Jimmy was growing before now and that is because the Senator is in the ruling party.  Such people ordinarily did not constitute persons of interest but these are no ordinary times. If The Maestro had picked him out,  it simply means that he will turn out to be clog in his presidential ambition wheel.  The Senator is in his early 50s and has an Obamaesque look about him. He looks like someone who will fit right into the Presidential seat. Their mandate is to rubbish him and his so called intellectualism.  Victor decides he will pick on him first.  He has read about a scandal involving his first wife. He feels  a twitch of conscience going so low but The Maestro has taught them that there is no low in politics,  nothing is off limits. Tonight,  he will ask him about why his wife left him. And heaven help whoever is handling his account if he begins to respond. Victor knows he will keep bugging the account until he gets a response.  It’s actually a case of damned if you do,  damned if you don’t.  He should order a drink.  This is going to be an interesting wait.

                           **********

Nasir finally turns in for the night.  He wishes the President goodnight and begins to head home.  It had been a bitter sweet day for him. When he had seen that email his heart had literally skipped a beat. He knows nothing about the email and he is glad that the President does not have the time to check social media.  He would have been done for. Even then, he is still very interested in knowing how someone hacked into his account to send that mail.  Hopefully,  Niyi will find out.  He can count on that.  He tries not to think that perhaps The Maestro has something to do with this.  He knows he should never have got involved with the Maestro to start with. His loyalty belonged to the President and he had told The Maestro as much. As long as he works with the President,  he will not only defend him but ensure that whatever plot they were working on with the Vice President does not work. But he is just one man and The Maestro  had something on him so he can’t go to the President…yet. He needs to find out who hacked into his email and maybe then he will have something concrete to go to the President with. For now,  he can only wait and hope that there will be some delays in their setting their plans in motion.

                    ************

The President completes his toilette and gets into bed. His wife is already in bed but she isn’t asleep yet. He wonders why but is not in the mood to ask her. He needs to sort out how tomorrow will go in his head. He will have to confront the Vice President.

The President can see the First Lady is scrolling through her phone. Whatever is holding her interest at this time of the night?
“Tough day?” She asks without looking away from her phone.
“Everyday is tough.”
She drops her phone and looks at him. He had hoped she would not detect the sadness in his voice.
“What is wrong?”
“With Nigeria?”
Perhaps his attempt at a joke will throw her. It doesn’t.
“You know there is something bothering you and it goes beyond the normal day to day running of your office…Is it the Nasir issue?”
“Nasir issue?”
The President is alarmed. Maria had said she was unsure if Nasir was part of the conspiracy.
“Some people on social media think he has not been using his office properly.  They even called for his sack.”
“Really?”
“He has been threatening some bloggers. I was even going to ask you what that is about.”
“Do you have the story?”
“I can find it, ” she answers. ” You mean you don’t know anything about this?”
The President sits up as she hands him her tab.  He scans through the story without a word. Then he gets out of bed. “Where are you going?” The First Lady asks.
“I need to make a call.”
The President walks into the toilet. He feels behind the tank of the WC until he finds what he is looking for. He turns on the phone. It is fully charged. He sends a number.

                  ****************

Maria unlocks the door and walks into the expansive living room. The painting on the opposite wall,  the first thing she always sees once she walks into the room reminds her of where she is coming from.  She makes it straight into the bedroom and kicks off her shoes.  She should have a bath and then go to sleep. Tomorrow will be one of those days. She has to be on standby just in case the President needs her.  She knows he will need her.  She begins to undress as she heads towards the bathroom. She has to do something about her singleness.  It would be great to come home to some love sometimes although she knows that she likes her independence too much.  The arrangement she has now works for her – younger guy,  only shows up when she wants him to. Her mother would cringe if she ever found out.

She steps out of the bathroom wrapped in her towel.  She pulls out the oversize t-shirt from her wardrobe and gets into it. She yawns, tired. All she needs to do now is to respond to some mails,  set her alarm and go to bed.

Maria’s phone begins to ring. Maria looks at the caller ID and furrows her eyebrow. This number is supposed to be inactive. She picks the call and listens. The President’s instructions were clear.  The call ends and she gets up and begins to get dressed.  Her day has obviously begun.

                      ************

(Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2016 in Series

 

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#SocialLeague:Story Seven

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Niyi watches his phone ring out.  He had been stunned by Osi’s revelation and was still trying to process it when Akata’s call came in. He shuts his eyes for a few seconds.  Osi is a girl? 
“I know this is a lot to take in but there is an even bigger reason why I’m here.”
Niyi looks up at her not allowing his mind to even contemplate what the bigger announcement is.
“You will not be hearing from John anymore after…”
“Wait…you know John?” Niyi cuts in.
“Yes,  I do. And I’m afraid that channel is closed. He gave you an assignment?”
“Excuse me?”
“John. You were supposed to report something to him…”
Niyi rises from the table and for just a few seconds Maria looked confused.
“Listen Maria,  Osi or whoever you are,  I’m sorry but I have to leave now. This very minute. Have a great day.”

Niyi walks swiftly out of the restaurant. His head swimming in confusion. All he wants is to put a lot of distance between him and whoever this person is.  He quickly gets into his car and checks the rearview mirror to be sure he  isn’t followed. Then he chides himself.  This is Nigeria not a Hollywood movie.  The engine turns and he drives off.

He remembers how he had met John. He had found John,  not the other way round. So,  how possible is it that they chose him? Chosen for what? He shakes his head vigorously as if that can clear it. He approaches a traffic light and has to slow down. He needs to think. “Think,  think,”  he commands himself.

He voice dials John and gets a programmed response: The number you have called does not exist on the network. He tries again.  Same response. He turns off at the next exit and parks the car. He should send Osi aka Maria a DM,  apologising and saying he is coming back.  He needs to get to the bottom of this. He searches her name. Her account has been shut down.

Niyi’s phone shows an incoming call.  Akata. He had not got round to returning her call yet.  He picks it.
“Hi!  Sorry,  I couldn’t take your call earlier.”
“It’s okay,”  Akata responds.  “I need your help.”
Niyi exhales. “Shoot.”
“I have this mail I want to send you, please confirm the mail is from Nasir.”
“Presidential media aide?”
“Yes. And if it is, then advice me on what to do.”
“Okay, send it.”

                                *****

Zainab unlocks the door to her one bedroom flat and walks in. She is beginning to feel claustrophobic in this environment but she can’t afford anything else at the moment.
“Why don’t you come back home.”
So many times she has felt like giving up and going back to her home,  her mother’s home. Like now.

She sits on the bed and lies back. Her personal life is such a mess. She hasn’t had a boyfriend in forever and it is not because there has been a shortage of candidates. She just feels an emptiness inside that she knows a man’s love cannot fill.  She has tried a number of times but only ended up hurting people that truly love her.  She had since stayed off love, off men. 

The shrill of the old phone ringtone shatters the silence in the room. Zainab is startled as her heart does a small jump. She realises it is the phone.  She takes the call at the second ring.
“Talk to me, ” she says in lieu of hello.
“No one here is aware of such an order.” “Are you sure?”
“Absolutely.”
“Thank you, ” Zainab says and hangs up.
                    
                                ******

Niyi looks at the email.  He finds one Nasir had sent him in the past. Match. Obviously,  Nasir is being used to clamp down on anti-government blogs.  He wonders how someone who had been such a strong voice  in opposition using the same blogs to speak up against the last administration could now want to clamp them down.  He is saddened at the whole mess.

Nasir needed to be stopped but he would rather Akata does not do the calling out herself. He sends her a DM stating his position.  He then sends another DM to Yemi. She was one of those who seemed really close to Osi.  In fact,  at some point there was a rumour that they were in a relationship.  They often exchanged tweets laced in double entendre right on the timeline. If there was anyone on Twitter who should know why Osi closed his account, it would be Yemi.

                                 *****

Akata makes her way through the parking lot.  Zainab had called to say they had to meet urgently.  She spots her seated inside one of the payutes and heads towards her.
“Hi,” Akata said knowing Zainab won’t respond.
“Do you have history with Nasir?”
“No,  why do you ask?”
“Well,  whatever he is doing,  he doesn’t have the backing of the President.  Want some ice-cream?”
Akata nods both in answer and in acknowledgement as Zainab waves to one of the attendants.
“I’m having @KitchnButterfly’s agbalumo flavour.  What would you like?”
“Whatever you are having is fine.”
Zainab nods and places the order.  She knows Akata is processing the information she just gave her.
“What I don’t know is whether all of this is somehow connected with the attacks on our site,” Zainab continues.
“Well, it won’t be a stretch to link the two.  Only thing I’d say he holds against me is that I don’t use all the stories he mails me.”
Akata’s phone beeps as the ice-cream arrives.  She picks her phone and reads Niyi’s DM.
“Niyi says the mail is from Nasir. But he doesn’t want me calling him out myself…I understand why.”
Zainab empties the last bit of ice-cream straight into her mouth and then looks up at Akata.
“So,  what do you want to do?”
“There is only one other person I know who has the clout to do the calling out.”
Akata’s eyes meet with Zainab’s and hold.
“No,  Akata.  You are not reaching out to Victor.  How can you go dine with that devil?”
Akata sighs
“I guess I’ll just have to use a long spoon.”

(Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2016 in Series

 

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#SocialLeague: Story Five

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Niyi looks at his watch the moment he takes his seat.  This was one reason he hardly agrees to meet anyone.  He keeps giving people the benefit of the doubt and they keep failing. Perhaps he should join them.  His phone flashes red and he looks at the notification, debating in his mind whether he should read it or not.  He has been receiving some hate mail since he wrote an objective analysis of the current administration.  He had known some people would be angry but he had not expected the type of anger and hate that he got from people who should know better.  He had even considered closing his account after Victor set his followers against him. He had expected much more from Victor. He had expected better.

He looks at his watch again. He wonders if coming here was a good idea. But his curiosity had got the better of him. One thing he knows for sure that Osi is a troll and not the humane type. You could tell from reading his tweets firing salvo after salvo at anyone and everyone.  It was as if each day he wakes up and asks: which group should I annoy today and then he digs right under their skin. Niyi would have been out of his mind not to accept to have lunch with him.

Niyi looks at his watch again and then succumbs to temptation and checks his mentions.  Osi had sent an open message.   “20 minutes”.  Niyi automatically looks at his time. He has another 10 minutes to wait. He goes to Osi’s TL to see what he has been up to.  Apparently, someone had been accused of rape and after playing Devil’s Advocate,  Osi had turned around to troll the living day lights out of the ‘devil’.  “Didn’t your mother tell you that every married man  should keep his jack-in-the-box?” Niyi couldn’t help laughing out loud.  Then he looks round to be sure no one is looking. But who in their right minds would have tweeted such a pun. It has to be Osi. Only Osi.

He keeps scrolling down his TL wondering what really should be the correct order. Shouldn’t older tweets be at the top?  He suddenly realises that he has absolutely no idea what Osi looks like and so he could well be seated across from him and he wouldn’t even know. That was Twitter for you.  The anonymity helped a lot.

The whole of his TL was talking about the adulterous guy which means they had moved on from him.  He heaves a sigh of relief at that.  One of these days,  he really should leave Twitter for good and face his day job. Very few people knew he was a trained doctor who decided not to practice medicine. He had become a doctor just to make his father happy. He switched to real estate because he loved the thrill of a sale and then coding because someone dared him. These days he is delving into fiction writing. His father is still trying to get him to join the family business even if at an administrative level but he wasn’t sure he wanted to get used to the smell of a hospital. His phone rings and he picks it.

“Hello!” Niyi injects all the excitement he can into his voice. The man at the other end of the line had become a good friend and had even become instrumental to his selling a few luxury properties.
“What’s happening on Twitter today?”
“No ‘hi’ back? Just what’s happening on Twitter?”
“This is important… any political issues making the news?”
“Not that I know of.  The entire TL is talking about a tweep who left his wife and shagged another.”
“TL?”
“That’s Timeline…the space where we read tweets off.”
“Oh.”
He sounded worried and Niyi wanted to know what the problem is. He remembers how when he just started real estate business and wasn’t making much of a headway,  he had randomly generated some numbers for the sake of direct marketing and his was one of them. They hadn’t met physically but were always in touch. Sometimes such as now he spoke with so much authority,  Niyi could feel the power he wields.
“Is anything the matter?” Niyi finally asks.
“I’m afraid there is but I can’t talk about it now. Give me a ring if anything appears on your TL.”
“Anything?”
“You’ll know when you see it”.
He ends the call and Niyi is left with an uneasy feeling. He knows his friend simply as John who lives in Abuja.  Last time he travelled to Abuja  he had thought they’d finally meet. They hadn’t. Something had come up that took John out of town.  He had a weird feeling then and he is having the same feeling now.

“Are you alone?”
Niyi looks up to see a dark skinned woman standing before him. She looked early thirties,  wore little make-up and had this lovely smile. She had this aura around her and her eyes looked like she always got anything she wanted.
“I’m..er…waiting for someone.”
“You must be Niyi then,” she says as she takes her seat before him.  “My name is Maria, but you must know me as Osi.”

                                 ***

(Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2016 in Poetry

 

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#SocialLeague: Story Four

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Zainab is pissed.  She paces back and forth in her 10×10 room wishing she has more space to vent.  She picks up her phone and drops it.  She should never tweet in anger but what she had just learnt was burning in her soul.  “Calm down Tiger, calm down,”  she says to herself and then sits at the edge of her bed.  Her hand shakes,  she wishes she hasn’t stopped smoking.

The things she has discovered about the Social League over the past one week have been too much for her.  She is thankful that she has a medium to expose them for the true enemies of Nigeria they are.  So called intellectuals whose only concern is the food on their plate.  She hated being annoyed.  When she is annoyed,  she misses things.  She doesn’t want to miss anything this time. The last time she had missed something,  her best friend had died.

She opens her laptop and reads the mail again. One of the Social Leaguers was being sloppy.  Or maybe it’s not what she thinks. She runs her hand through her hair trying to figure out what this was all about.  Perhaps she should forward the mail to Akata. Akata would know what to do.  She clicks forward and hits send trying to ignore the feeling in her mind. Red flags are going up in her head,  she has to ignore them.

Zainab is aware there are now factions among the Social League  and that is partly why she has this mail but they were all still working towards one goal. They had all framed and pushed the narrative that led to the ousting of the last administration.  It is not as of the government did not commit grave errors themselves but they had a mission and the top four were paid well to get that job done.  That was what annoyed her.  As far as she is concerned,  it is deceit to pretend to be working for the people when you are getting paid by politicians.  This is why it is so important to her that Akata’s blog goes back up before tomorrow morning.  She had to break the story that would expose Uche for what he really is. Funny thing is he still thinks he is relevant. No one deals with a thief with no honour. So why did this mail come from him?

Zainab hated puzzles. She picks her phone and this time scrolls to a number she hardly ever calls. It is saved simply as SK but he is the only member of her family she maintains any type of contact with.

Zainab grew up as a troubled child.  Her father died when she was just four and her mother remarried less than a year later. Zainab had never forgiven her for that betrayal.  Worse still, he step father was anything but a decent man. He attempted to rape Zainab when she was 10 and she scorched him with an iron. He couldn’t explain that she had scorched him in bad faith but had convinced her mother to send her off to boarding school, a solution which further alienated Zainab from her mother.

“Hello, ” the bouncy voice at the other end of the line says.
Zainab loved the way her brother answers the phone and would sometimes call just to hear him say “hello”.
“Can we meet?” Zainab hates pleasantries  and discards of them whenever she has the opportunity. 
“In about an hour,” he responds and Zainab can feel him looking at his watch.
“Fine.”
She hangs up. 

That was settled.  If the content of the mail is really from the Presidency, SK would know.

She walks over to the tabletop fridge, pulls out a bottle of water and takes a long swig. No one on Twitter knows SK is her blood relation. He had an anonymous handle and his avi had not hatched.  Those Twitter babes would have orgasms simple by looking at his picture.  Zainab chuckles and finds that she has become quite relaxed.

She picks up her phone again and checks her Twitter. And then she sees Victor’s tweet.  “Fool”, she thinks involuntarily as her stomach lurches  in revulsion. She makes a mental note to make him the subject of her next exposé. People like him always have something about their past they dont want anyone to know of.  She begins typing a tweet about how shameless some overlords are,  has a rethink and discards it. There is no need feeding his narcissistic ego by acknowledging his foolishness.

She begins to get dressed slowly,  trying to go through all the information she gathered that day.  It is obvious that someone,  somewhere is ensuring that most of the news that gets to the media has been watered down . These days traditional media relied on social media for news and information. If social media is under anyone’s direct or indirect control so will the traditional media. It seems plausible enough but something about that email just doesn’t add up. 

Zainab turns off the light and will out of the room.  She has always had a feeling that Akata’s blog is being targeted for a reason  but going by the content of that email, this is a coordinated attempt as using blackmail to silence any voice that is likely to go against the Federal Government. She will talk to SK and then she will know what next steps will be.

(Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this series are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2016 in Series

 

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#SocialLeague: Story Two

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He steps out of the Banquet Hall of the Eko Hotel and Suites and heads towards the car park to hitch a ride with one of his friends.  He remembers the first time he had attended an event here.  He had been so excited and had taken so many selfies which he had quickly uploaded to his Facebook page.  It is almost impossible to believe that he has come this far in the last two years, all because of Twitter and of course his mother.

He says a quick prayer for his mother.  The only person that really matters. He remembers the day over two years ago when after graduation he had gone to his mother for prayers. She had taken him to see one Baba.  That had been the beginning of good things for him.

He had watched young people like him gain relevance through social media. They didn’t have anything he didn’t, except maybe his body odour. He had promised himself that he will make it to the top right after the resident Twitter Troll had told him that he would never really amount to anything. He raises his hand quickly to smell under his armpit. He had used two different brands of roll-ons and half a bottle of perfume cos he couldn’t bother himself with a bath tonight. Anyway,  he was doing well for himself and if all those Twitter chicks who had got down on their knees and sucked his dick weren’t complaining, no one should. His biggest problem now is making money.  Plenty of it.

He has been with Victor for about two years now, doing his bidding and trying to grow in the ranks of the Social League but no matter how hard he tries he seems to be running around in circles.   He had noticed the past few weeks that Victor and the other three no longer contributed to their WhatsApp group conversations and even when he DMs Victor these days he does not even respond.  Maybe he has heard about his plans.  He and two other lower cadre Social Leaguers were offering someone in the Presidency a deal and they are going to demonstrate it tonight.

He sends Victor another DM.  He knows Victor won’t respond but he had to keep playing the fool until the thing with the Presidency works out.  It had to work out.  His mother had made another visit to the Baba and he had said it would work.

He arrives at the car park and sits on the bonnet of the car. He has come far from the days of his first phone. It was a Nokia E5 which his mother had bought for him in his final year at the university. He had wanted to skip university because he felt his mother shouldn’t be paying fees with the little she makes from her fresh fish business, but she had insistent.  All he wanted was to be a politician and make big money without having to really work for it.  And finally his time is almost here.

He taps on the Twitter icon and his TL scrolls out before him.  He checks his @s.  He had various people asking him to retweet one thing or the other,  mostly articles.  He wonders when they will realise he is not on Twitter to do their bidding. His eye rests on a tweet someone has tagged him on.  That idiotic troll was at it again. He should not allow the fool get to him but he can’t seem to help himself.  He sees Victor’s tweet is already riling some people.  In those days he would have automatically retweeted the tweet but these days he is careful about making enemies. Until he gets this job there is no need to make unnecessary enemies.  Someone in the Presidency had told him that Victor and his friends were growing too big for their shoes and demanding seven figure pay for services.  He was willing to start with five or six figures.  But he had to get them the same numbers.  He had recruited 10 others,  their combined followership was just about 100k but he was selling their ability to trend things faster and reach the grassroots Twitter who were more gullible than Victor’s elite. Grassroots Twitter would RT without arguing and quickly spread the message to Facebook without their having to pay extra for that.

His phone rings and he picks it at the second ring. One of his clients was at the other end.  She needed social media push for one of her products but couldn’t afford the big four.  He was willing to take the job and pass it to one of the lesser foot soldiers. He would help retweet and Victor would never know he got the deal. In the past, he would have refused to the deal with this client but not anymore… every man for himself.

He scans the area after the call.  Where was this friend of his? He had left a girl in the hotel where they were lodged.  One of the younger ones with just a few hundred followers.  They were the best to get into “hit and run”  relationships with. Them and those funny feminists.  He laughs as he remembers a one night stand he had with one of the Twitter feminists.  As it turns out,  she wanted the relationship to continue but he couldn’t stand her. She wasn’t even half as pretty as she looked in her avi. He had dumped her after she paid for all their food,  drinks and even hotel and she couldn’t even rant about it, because Feminist.

“What’s funny?”
Finally,  his friend was here.
“Nothing. Just reminiscing”
“Toh. Can we go now? ”
“Before.  No be you I dey wait for?”

His friend unlocks the car and they get in.  He drops his iPhone on the dashboard.
“Ogbeni,  e be like say you wan’ use your phone do sara this night.”
He quickly picks the phone up and puts it in his front pocket.
His friend turns on the car ac and rearranges the air refreshener.
“Wetin  dey happen for Twitter, ” he asks as he starts the car.
“Victor tweet something about Ekitigate…distraction.”
His friend nods in understanding as he weaves the car into the night’s traffic.
“Sebi na this night we go show those Presido people wetin we fit do?”
He nods, getting worried. He really wishes Victor had not chosen this night to tweet his distraction.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2016 in Series

 

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Unpublished Notes Of A Certified Stalker

So I found this post I wrote a while back and I thought it would be a great way to clean out the cobwebs on this blog. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Oh well…I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

P.s I’m still a little confused if I actually wrote this…cos I can’t specifically remember writing it. *sigh

Anyway, enjoy!

Hey,

Did you unfollow me on Twitter? I don’t want to believe you did. I want to believe it is the touch screen phone… I know it can be messy sometimes.

These were the words of the email I was typing. I was thinking of an anecdote to add before hitting send when I got a mention on Twitter and decided to check it out first, hoping it was you noticing and tweeting an apology like I have seen you do to a few but my heart actually skipped a beat when I saw your tweet or should I say your subtweet.

It was not okay that you unfollowed me. You also had to sub me to boot.

“If you notice I unfollowed you, do not mail me. It was not a mistake”
I just stared at the words. I am still trying to make sense of it. I thought we were good…really good together. Just a little while longer and people would get envious of our banter. I envisaged how people would DM to ask me how we got so close within a short period. I was expecting you would take the lead in the DM? I would do my best to match your level of formality or playfulness with every DM. I cautioned myself against abusing the DM privileges.
I took time to comment on every topic you raised. Google became my friend in a bid to sound as intelligent as you do. I went as far as your Twitter allowed me to check out your tweets. I researched on the topics that interested you and started tweeting along those lines. I found your Facebook and Linked-In accounts. I stopped myself from connecting so as not to spook you. But I read up on everything that interests you. I even started following the EPL because of you. I felt your pain when Arsenal lost against Manchester United. I tweeted at all the silly Man U fans on my TL who dared taunt Arsenal. I became your Voltron.

I subscribed to Techcabal, The Naked Convos, Techsuplex, and I have been tinkering with thoughts of following Mashable, Buffer and Techcrunch so I don’t feel so lost each time you go into tech-mode. I tried to create the right balance. It was not like I did not have my own interests, but I put yours above mine… always.  Your tweets showed that you were not a great fan of BBA or NHBi. I watched those shows on a low key because of you. I would follow NHBi tweets without commenting so that I do not mess up your TL.

So, after I endured all your interests you repay me with an unfollow?

True, I may have obtained your follow through devious means. I know that it may have been a little like blackmail when I copied the Reverends style of asking for a followback by tweeting that I am quite comfortable with people like you not following. But you did voluntarily send me your email didn’t you? Okay, so it was because I promised to send you an email containing an information you need for a blog post. God knows I tried to get the info. It just was not available. But I did mail just to check on you when I noticed you were away from Twitter for a few hours. Maybe I overdid it then.

I have read every single blog post you put up. Harvested every personal tweet I could find. I know your best music, best colour, I know what perfume you use now and the last two you tried. I was thinking in the lines of learning to use the new Twitter Custom Timeline just to ensure I didn’t miss anything you have an interest in.

Well, here’s the thing. I do not think I am going to unfollow you. I know you expect me to but I won’t. I am positive that someday you will realize your mistake and follow me back again.

Cheers!

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2014 in General

 

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