So whilst I’m on break, fiction here on tlsplace is not. I’ll be posting a 4-Part series over the next weeks. It’s a collaborative work of three writer – Oladimeji (@iStalkWriters), Harold (@haroldWrites) and Femi (@disFemiSef). It’s called Boiling Pot of Madness, and I must tell you, it’s something. Read and enjoy. This 1st Episode is by Harold.
The Bayelsa State Coordinator of the NYSC, Mrs. Osarodion Eboma arrived as early as 5.30 am at the NYSC secretariat, Yenagoa to give a quick pep talk to corps members who were successfully recruited as ad hoc staff for the elections. Today was a memorable one in the history of the nation. Apart from it being the most anticipated election in the annals of the country’s history, it also marked exactly one year since the Islamic Militia sect, Boko Haram embraced the amnesty package given by the Presidency in 2014.
The international community had lauded the wisdom of the President in being proactive in packaging an efficient amnesty deal with the Islamic sect, even though till date no one knew the exact terms of the deal. Whatever it was, no one really cared anymore since the deal had proved to be successful. Ever since the leader of the Islamic militia sect announced on Youtube in 2014 that they had agreed to cease fire sine die as a sign of embrace of the amnesty deal, the country had experienced unprecedented safety. Boko Haram actually kept to their word; they went into oblivion – like they never existed. And as a sign of support for the country’s election today, they had posted a Youtube video the day before, wishing the country a successful election. Such was the harmony which existed between them and the country.
Mrs. Eboma kept her talk short, simple and straight to the point. She admonished the corps members who were awaiting vehicles to take them to their different polling units to shun electoral malpractice of any form. She charged them to make their country proud as history would forever remember this day and relegate June 12, 1993 into eternal abyss if today’s election could manage to surpass the standard set by that election. She made them understand that they held the future of their country in their hands.
After the talk, corps members were led to different buses within the premises and each bus on being filled up, departed for neighboring local governments.
At the large compound of Junior Boys Grammar School in Otuoke, Ogbia local government area, Bayelsa State, the crowd which covered the field as early as 7.00am was like sand at the river bank. Everyone came this early in anticipation of the President’s arrival. It was earlier announced that the President would be casting his vote here in his home town in Otuoke. Personnel from the various security outfits in the country manned different spots. The NSCDC controlled the crowds, the Police escorted INEC officials and staff, the FRSC controlled vehicles, the soldiers stayed in nearby bullion vans…
The international media also made their presence felt, not just in Otuoke or Bayelsa, but throughout the country. The CNN, BBC, Aljazeera and CCTV were amongst the most visible international media houses spotted in different states.
Here in Otuoke, the CNN had their bus stationed within the compound of Junior Boys Grammar School. A reporter was seen interviewing a host of people.
Voting materials arrived in no time, and accreditation of voters began. There were widespread reports of peace, calm and decorum in different states. The turn outs were also quite impressive across the federation. Local media houses were already reporting that history was truly being made. By 9.00 am, most pooling units in different states had concluded accreditation of voters and the voting process had already begun.
Governor Godswill Akpabio was captured on NTA as he cast his vote in Ukana Ikot Ntuen village, Essien Udim LGA. His face beamed with smile and happiness. It was as if he had foreknowledge about something positive.
Senator David Mark had earlier in the day commended the efforts of the INEC on TV. He confessed to never experiencing such efficiency exhibited by the electoral body. Governor Babatunde Fashola was seen with his wife casting his vote in a community square in Isale Gangan, Lagos State. Governor Jonah Jang was also captured dropping his ballot paper into a box somewhere in Plateau State.
Some minutes before 11.00am, it was announced that the President had arrived Junior Boys Grammar School in Otuoke, Bayelsa to cast his vote. All local and international media switched attention to him. History was about to be made. The President that would be responsible for the freest, fairest and safest election in the country’s history was about to exercise his electoral franchise.
He was escorted into the school premises by a host of dignitaries, security personnel and loyalists. He waved at cameras as he made his way to the ballot box. The crowd applauded and sang his praise as he inked his paper. They hailed the bravest president the country ever had; the man who fought the Boko Haram epidemic with charisma rather than with combat; the one who gave Nigerians back their lives.
Just as the President was about to cast his vote, an orderly could be seen hurrying towards him. He handed a phone to the President. The President placed it by his ear. In no time his face was wrapped in a frown. He looked disturbed. The crowd stopped clapping. Everyone wondered what the person on the other end of the call was saying to the President.
In that silence, some could hear the President mutter, “What?” He wiped his face and said, “When?” Then he signaled to the I.G of Police who was in his entourage. They both whispered to each other in disturbing silence. Some members of the crowd could however make out some words like “Alausa” “Government House” “Attacked.”
The I.G appeared to be nodding to every question the President asked.
The electronic media houses started running the news. The Government House in Lagos had just been attacked. Gunmen who had infiltrated the premises had taken the security by surprise. They had burst through the massive gate with a tanker and launched a missile immediately at the Government House. Sporadic shootings rented the air as scores of bodies fell to the ground. The Ikeja Shopping Mall which was situated close to the government House was also hit in the attack. Masked gunmen had rushed into the venue, shooting uncontrollably at every living thing within sight.
After about fifteen minutes of sporadic shootings, the Mall was razed and brought down with grenades. The CNN reported casualties to be in the region of 3,000 bodies.
Somewhere in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, children were playing football at the Methodist Church field by Oron Road. Their ball rolled off the pitch on to the busy road. One of the children waited for the vehicles on the road to slow down before making an attempt to pick the ball up. As he bent over, a bullet whizzed through thin air and struck him in the centre of his head. His mates panicked and scampered towards his lifeless body. At that point they saw a car screech to a stop before them and the doors opened. Some masked men with cutlasses rushed and lashed at the boys, slitting every one of their throats.
At the central roundabout of the city popularly known as Bipers, a bomb detonated, dismembering over 200 bodies in the process. The Ibom Tropicana, a leisure resort experienced a similar happening. The twenty-story edifice was brought to unidentifiable debris with bombs.
Somewhere in Plateau State, a group of people gathered under a shelter, watching a football game between Chelsea and Wigan. The score line was obviously favoring one side as the lowly-rated Wigan side was running with a 4-1 lead, and with less than five minutes of stoppage time, the Chelsea faithful felt they had had enough for one day. They slowly made their way to the exit door as fans of rival clubs, Arsenal and Manchester United chanted, “one by one, them don they go!”
As the door screeched open, the shelter exploded in flames. A bomb had earlier been planted at the spot. 132 bodies scattered all over the place in unidentifiable pieces.
Four other attacks were reported in Jos, Wase Town, Riyom Town and Miango.
Al Jazeera reported over 5,000 deaths.
The President stood shell-shocked at the revelation from the I.G of Police. The country was under some siege. There were numerous attacks in different states at the same time. The country’s borders were also reported to be breached by unknown forces. The securities at the borders were caught unawares and consequently overpowered.
Across the nation, market places, community squares, tourists spots, worship centres, election polling units, school boarding houses, and even the very roads where commuters plied were suddenly overtaken by blood-seeking masked men.
“What’s going on? Tell me you have everything under control,” the President whispered. Before the I.G of Police could respond, some gunshots not far from Junior Boys Grammar School rented the air.
“Your Excellency, we have to leave now!” the I.G screamed. “We have to get you away from here!”
The gunshots drew nearer. The crowd at the school field scampered in different directions. The President was being surrounded and hurriedly led towards a chopper by a group of fierce-looking security personnel.
In the scuffle, he yelled at the I.G, “What’s going on?! Talk to me!”
“Your Excellency, we can’t say much for now,” the I.G mumbled. “But I can confirm to you from information reaching me that some state governors have been reported missing….”
“What? What do you mean “missing”?”
“28 and counting, Sir.”
They were now by the door of the chopper and the President was being assisted into it. Then it happened. An explosive rocked and everywhere was in flames.