It took a moment for Deji to come to terms with the event that just transpired between himself and Solonzo. He had decided to lay low after he was released from prison, however the people from his ugly past wouldn’t let him be. The re-appearance of Solonzo left him at crossroads. Even though he was offered choices, in reality Solonzo had left him with no choice at all.
If you were entering 5, Otolorin street Lawanson for the first time you might as well think you are in cemetery. The whole compound had gone has silent as a graveyard following the unexpected and unusual visit of Solonzo. All the tenants present when Solonzo and Pharrel invaded the compound with just a 48-caliber enforcer pistol in their possession had locked themselves up in their apartments, and most probably went into hiding though they were within the four walls of their homes. At some point you would want to guess that they most likely held their breaths throughout the entire duration of the invasion. Now that the hoodlums were done with Deji, the only sound one could hear in the compound was that of Deji’s footsteps as he retraced his steps to Jamiu’s flat.
Uju and Nneka were the first to walk stealthily out of their apartments. The duo held each other closely like Siamese twins that had been joined around their wrists.
“Deji you dey alright?” Uju was the first to talk
“I gallant, the gbege no serious”
“But who dem find come?”
“Which person you meet outside as the gbege end? You don start to they ask these your dumb questions again. You finish primary school at all so?” Sylvanus had also come out of his apartment and gradually everyone in the compound except Runo and Martins were outside in the twinkle of an eye.
“Sylvanus no make I curse you and your entire generation oh! Abi who put your mouth for this matter now? Na my life you come monitor for this compound?” Uju voiced out furiously, Sylvanus was on her case yet again.
“Taa! Ah no get work again abi? Even if I wan be monitoring spirit, to dey monitor person like you go be waste of precious time”
“Ermmm, Sylvanus hol am there, he don do you,” Nneka spoke in defense of her room mate. Deji had almost made his way into Jamiu’s flat when Martins stepped out of Runo’s apartment but it was wrong timing because Uju, Nneka, Sylvanus, Mr Obong, Madam Ekaette, Jamiu and even Deji who was barely 5 feet away from Jamiu’s flat saw him step out of Runo’s apartment.
“Ahn! Ahn! Oga Martins you dey here since?” Sylvanus was forced to speak
“Ah talk am! I say I see Oga Martins car inside compound,” Mama Ekaette lent her voice
“Oga Martins na there you been sleep?” Uju’s question was laced with sarcasm.
“What kind of question is that? Does it look like I slept here or have you forgotten am a married man. Please Uju stop that rubbish insinuations of yours. You should know me better by now,” Martins was furious.
“At least thank God our caretaker is here. Oga Martins, we need to hold a meeting concerning the security challenges in this compound. I know you do your best to ensure law and order in this compound but you know what they say about “what is good for the goose being good for the gander too. A law should not apply to one person alone or some group of persons, it should apply to everybody.” Madam Ekaette, who stood close to her husband poked his ribs, signifying that he was saying too much already. “Leave me let me talk abi have you forgotten how he spoke to us after the naming ceremony we had in the compound?”
“This is not about Martins, those guys you wish to expose are dangerous,” Madam Ekaette spoke under her breath.
“More reason why we should expose them. You think we are safe in this compound by keeping quiet or have you forgotten we have children?” Mr. Obong replied his wife in similar fashion.
“Mr. Obong what is your point exactly?” Martins finally spoke
“Let us have a meeting to discuss the security challenges inherent in this compound. At least this one happened right under your nose,” Mr. Obong was determined not to let the matter slide
“Okay, let’s do that next weekend. I’ve got to run along now”
“Mba, let’s do it now,”
“Martins, Mr. Obong is right. Please let’s not shy away from this. No one is safe in this compound anymore not even with what happened this morning,” Runo spoke softly
“Oh, she now calls our caretaker by name,” Uju reasoned.
“Oh keep shut! Busy body” Runo was quick to give her the reply she deserved.
“Who you dey follow talk abi you wan make dem admit you for hospital again?” Uju charged at Runo recklessly but was immediately held back by Martins as she advanced.
“Can you just stop the childishness already,” Uju moved back to her position, though not taking her eyes off Runo one bit. “I got your point Mr. Obong but this matter is beyond me”
“How do you mean this matter is beyond you? Security should be the topmost priority in this compound. It should come first before every other matter you’ve been pursuing. Oga Martins you’ve been doing that from time immemorial, now what has changed? Why should this be any different?”
“It’s complicated Mr. Obong. Moreover I haven’t said we won’t address the matter, all I’m saying is now is not the time”
“No Martins , actually this is the perfect time. I want to be able to sleep in one peace. Life is really becoming unbearable in this compound. It’s from one problem or security challenge to the other,” Runo disagreed with Martins yet again.
“Abi o! when no be say we no pay money collect house,” Uju was at it again.
“See who dey talk like say you no be one of the problems we dey face for this compound” Sylvanus was not done with his tongue-lashing of Uju.
“Amadioha fire your mouth there. Must you always show your foolishness?”
“Okay it’s fine. No curse words please. Let’s just put this to a vote,” Martins had had enough.
“Put what to a vote?” Mr. Obong expressed shock at Martins’ suggestion.
“Whether we should hold a meeting today or not. Since we are all present, it makes it easy,” Martins glanced around him.
“Unbelievable! Oga Martins who clipped your wings?” Mr. Obong could not believe his ears.
“I don’t get you sir”
“You were never like this. Since when did we start voting before we can hold a meeting in this compound?”
“Abi o!” Nneka concured, however Martins ignored them completely.
“If you are in support of holding a meeting today to address the security issues in our compound can you kindly raise your hand?”
Everyone present looked at Martins in awe. He had become a spectacle, and seeing him cower as he spoke while taking occasional at Jamiu and Deji spoke volumes about the situation at hand. Martins was in a dilemma, one glance at the faces of the tenants that surrounded him, he knew they had lost faith and confidence in him.