His name was Jonathan Iwedinobi. He must have been six feet six inches tall. Everywhere he went, eyes fell on him. He would typically wear those Hawaian beach shirts and leave the topmost button undone, exposing his oiled “breasts”. They were so big it was not out of place to call them breasts. Today he was on the campus of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, alone in a one-door sports car without a roof. On this particular campus, it was a rare sight. Glamour was a very distant concept to most people here. The slang for the typical nature of students here was “Jacobian” “Jacker” both derivatives of “Jacking” which could have been defined as “Intense and deliberate focus on an academic material with the intent of understanding things difficult to understand” assuming it existed in any dictionary.
He stopped his black sports car on the road side just a few blocks from the Administrative Block. It was a busy Monday morning with students thronging the entire area, moving from one block to another attending lectures or labs. Everyone was moving quickly in groups of two, three, four or more and carrying all sorts from books to Engineering drawing boards. Joe as most of his friends called him stepped out of his car and slipped on his very dark glasses to cover his bloodshot eyes. His face was hard, contours all over like someone who had been through a lot. His lips were dark from years and years of repeated use of Indian hemp. He had no smile.
“Excuse me,” he began attempting to speak with a tall gentleman who passed by his car and stared curiously. The fellow didn’t stop. He tried another and another before giving up and walking towards the group of makeshift restaurants half-built of wood and referred to as Bukas on campus. He met two men smoking cigarettes by a photographers stand and attempted again.
Neither of them responded but both looked in his direction with some level of caution. He stared back.
“Forgive the disturbance but I am new in the area. I would like to know if there are any telephone booths on this campus where I can make a call”
There was a pause for two or three seconds but the stare did not cease. The first gentleman let loose a long puff of smoke and responded:
“We definitely have a number of telephone booths on this campus and they are ALL … VERY … EFFICIENT”
He let out the last three words very deliberately, needing Joe to hear them clearly. It seemed to be some kind of secret code. Joe watched his lips closely as he finished the answer to his telephone enquiry. He was satisfied with the response. Relieved.
Jonathan smiled. “AVE”
“AVE” the two gentlemen responded.
“My name is Jonathan Iwedinobi”
“I have a target. I must hit him tonight and return to my campus,” he said as all three began walking away from the crowds, “He is a Black Axe and he took out one of ours up north. Justice must be served and it must be served hot!”
When Jonathan Iwedinobi spoke, he spoke gently, like an even tone, no words sounded louder than others but some words sounded firmer than others, telling the listener which words he would repeated even if he had to make the same statement four hundred times. Black Axe. Justice. Hot. Those were the key words in his last statement. They were an inevitable part of what he needed to communicate.
“Give us a name and we shall give you an exact location in an hour” Iweha offered.
“Ebere, let’s get to it”
Ebere nodded and left the duo to keep talking. He quickened his steps away from the administrative area towards the male hostels in search of the target.
“You came with a car?” Iweha asked when Ebere was long gone.
“It would be better to keep it out of sight. Near the hostels”
“True. But fear of men is not something we are used to where I come from”
He glanced at Iweha very briefly and paused. “However, I will listen to you. We are in your territory and I would rather not put you in danger.”
He turned and Iweha followed, towards his unregistered sports car.
Later that evening there was an eerie atmosphere in the hostel area. Something was not right. Everyone who was sensitive enough could sense it. Death was looming. Everything seemed rowdy, in disarray. The noise from the female hostel common rooms was unusually high and it was not just because of that evening football match, there seemed to be too many unwelcome visitors on campus. Just outside the first female hostel groups of cultists lurked dressed in symbolic clothes. One group had the Black on Black uniforms, another group wore yellow T-shirts with skull inscriptions, another group were not in uniform but chanted their songs inside a buka. On top of all the noise was the sound of a young 300 level student preaching about Jesus Christ through a sound system. He was in the company of a few other Christians from a campus fellowship and this was their routine on Monday evenings.
“Jesus Christ can give your life a new meaning. Jesus Christ will give your life purpose. No matter how deep in sin you are, Jesus can save you. He is waiting for your consent…”
He preached his heart out but no one seemed to be listening except those whom he came with. The girls in skimpy clothes walked passed him as if he wasn’t there. The cultists keep chanting and unmarried couples carried on with their public flirting and caressing. Then everything stopped. Something caught everyone’s attention. A loud gunshot. Followed by screams and an outbreak of fighting. Students ran in different directions, the preacher and his team quickly packed up and got themselves out of the scene, Jeremiah Daramola’s body lay on the centre of the walkway and Jonathan Iwedinobi drove off in his sports car. The target had been hit. Justice had been served hot.