By Aba Saheed
“Have you heard?
“Have you been told?”
“I am talking to you, are you deaf?” Ori Iku asked.
“Told what?” Ese Iku countered.
“I ask again, have you heard?”
“Have you been told?”
“Did you see the circular?’
“Have you got any message from the Captain?”
Ori Iku continued his barrage of questions while his comrade in crime looked askance.
“I have not heard anything”
“Nobody has told me anything”.
“Look, tell me what you were told if it’s of any importance to our operations.” Ese Iku was losing his patience as he steadied his deadly AK49 on his tired shoulders.
He had just finished the night’s operations where he boasted of roasting 100 lives alive. He chewed on his weeds while his eyes, virtually popping out of their sockets, surveyed the surroundings in case some victims would miss their way while running for their lives.
“Have you received any message? Don’t tell me you are not aware of the new development.” Ori Iku renewed his pestering.
“Now tell me what it is or I’ll walk out on you even though you are my senior in this field and you have killed more men, women and children than I have done.” Ese Iku threatened.
“Okay. We have been instructed to stop all operations for the time being until elections are over.”
“Who gave the instruction? What is our business with elections? Are we going to vote while we are busy with our raids? Come on; stop the costly joke” Ese Iku was moving away.
“No. No. No. It is a fact. The commander sent words through our usual bush radio that all operations be suspended for now.” Ori Iku said.
“What is going to happen to our weapons? Our machetes? Our hatchets? Our guns? Our swords? Our rocket launchers? Our hammers and clubs?” Our gasoline and petrol? Our grenades? Our petrol bombs?” Ese Iku wondered.
“It’s elections time. We have been instructed to hand over some of our weapons to Party thugs who would be engaged in ballot stuffing and ballot snatching and all that stuff. You know there would be some opponents that need be assassinated and some kidnapped. There will be plenty job for thugs and assassins. Our weapons would be handy for them” Ori Iku sought to explain.
“But were we told all these?” Ese Iku countered.
“It seems you have not been attending your Mosques and Churches. And it must have been a long time you visited any village head” Argued Ori Iku.
“What time do I have to visit anybody or go to Church or Mosque? Do we even have time for prayers? You can’t be shedding the quantum of blood we shed on daily basis and still find time to pray. We have a mission. And that mission must be accomplished to the letter before we take a break, if ever we take a break” Ese Iku ranted.
“Come on. You can’t claim to be holier than the Pope or choose to shed more tears than the bereaved. We are just foot soldiers. Do we really understand the game plan of our masters and commanders? Ours is to wreck maximum havoc on communities and drive them out and pursue them to their graves. So if they say ‘Stop” we sop. If they say “Go’ we go. They own the weapons. They supply the weeds. And they pay us handsomely. Why must you or I argue? And in any case after the elections our victims would still be available for slaughter.” Ori Iku spoke without emotions.
“I can understand if we are the ones that say we cannot continue now because of the rains. We have green pastures now and there is NO convincing need to drive people away from their places of work or dispossess anybody of their means of livelihood. But to say that because there are elections people should not be killed, I cannot understand. Are the people to be killed among those to vote or be voted for? Can people on the run ever have a chance of voting? So, what has election got to do with our assignment?” Ese Iku was at sea.
“Please don’t lawyer me. Am I the one that employed us? Those who press the button know what their game plan is. But if I can make a guess, you cannot be pointing gun at my head and still ask me to vote for you. It is as simple as that. Just my guess. I am not a politician. Politicians are clever rogues. They know when to laugh and when to shed crocodile tears. They know when to cajole and they know when to show their fangs”. Ori Iku, a veteran of Death harvest had been in killing business since he was 11 years old.
He dropped out of school just 3 years after his maternal uncle enrolled him in the primary school. And like thousands of his like, many of whom did not even have the luxury of ever stepping into any classroom, thuggery and vagrancy had been their main occupation. They were always available as dangerous tools in the hands of politicians, blackmailers and ritualists. They have no ambition and no future aside the future of crimes and criminality.
Ese Iku on his part was just a bloody fool. Once he’s given food and weeds, he could do anything. If he was ordered to kill his mother he would not blink his eyelid. He was as cold as frozen fish and he relished the smell and sight of blood. He was at his happiest when engaged in disembowelling a pregnant woman! Such was his bloodthirstiness and callousness. And he had hundreds of his like for company.
“Elections have been called off” Eleti Ofe showed up battling with his breath.
Ori Iku and Ese Iku jubilated and corked their guns. A fearsome thunderstorm with dreadful lightening tore through the sky and all the foot soldiers and their commanders and commanders’ commanders were struck with 1000 watts voltage. They were all burnt to ashes!!!