Ohita Edozie saw the email from Shata to her husband three hours after it was sent. She had come into the office early to prepare for her meeting about a hotel in Port Harcourt she was interested in acquiring for her personal estate now she had almost unfettered access to EE’s finances. Since becoming Chief Executive Officer of the company, Ohita wanted more. She wanted her own thing, something that gave her absolute control so she didn’t have to report to any board or submit herself to the scrutiny of an audit process, be it statutory or otherwise. She wanted to be like her husband who didn’t have to answer to anyone and she enjoyed being boss. She loved the power it gave her.
The information about the sale of Starlight Hotel came from a trusted friend Ohita told to be on the lookout on her behalf for a property she could buy in Port Harcourt, Lagos or Abuja. She wanted an estate, an office complex, or a hotel, but her preference was always a hotel. Her interest in hotels began during her years as a flight attendant because of the many days and nights she spent in some of the best hotels in the country. Back then, she’d joke to her colleagues that she’d one day own a chain of hotels and that dream was about to become a reality. She had a name already – Ohita Luxury because she wanted to give her guests an unforgettable experience. And even though the papers had not yet been signed, when she closed her eyes, she saw the name in bold lettering on the first of many tall buildings that were going to be hers. She had her pen and chequebook ready on her desk because she was confident that the hotel would be hers before the morning was over. Money was no object.
The owners and their lawyers had come in from Lagos the night before but her meeting with them was fixed for nine in the morning. While going through the profitability projections she commissioned and waiting for the arrival of the team to finalise negotiations with them, she decided to check what new emails had come in for her and for her husband as well.
Since he left for Iperu, Ohita made it a point of duty to read through Chief Edozie’s mails as often as she could. Believing he was dying and knowing how messed up he was mentally since his last trip to Abuja, Ohita feared that he might do something irrational, like having a new will and testament drawn up at the last minute that favoured his children from his first marriage above her and her children. She also wanted to know everything he did and every transaction he was involved in whether he was in self-isolation or not. She couldn’t afford to take things for granted or be blindsided after everything she had done to secure control of the money and the power.
Scrolling through his day-old unread emails, one mail, in particular, caught her intention because of the subject – Final Report on the Investigation of Donald Wakama.
Reading through this mail that wasn’t intended for her, but which she saw anyway because Chief Edozie was too lazy to pick a more complicated password for his account, Ohita instantly knew that her dream of buying a hotel would have to wait. Indeed, her dream of inheriting anything from Chief and controlling the company was over.
The content of the mail made her heart stop beating, and then it started pumping really fast. She had been found out. Shata Anele was truly the genius his father and her husband said he was. He even had several pages of her bank statement attached to the report and she wondered how he got them.
To buy herself some time, Ohita changed the password of her husband’s email account from his late wife’s name and the year she died to the name of her own local government area and a question mark end at the end. She knew no one would be able to figure that out easily, if at all. Besides, she knew Chief was lazy when it came to things like that so he probably wouldn’t bother for days. By then she and her children will be in a safe place and begging for his forgiveness would be easier.
Ohita took a deep breath to calm her nerves but it didn’t work. Several deep breaths later and she was still shaking. What bothered her the most was not knowing just how mad and disappointed Chief would be when he saw the report. Would he want her jailed or would he simply not care because he was in a battle for his life?
They had spoken about five that morning. Chief woke her up just to tell her he couldn’t sleep and that he was worried about his children’s future and the fate of Edozie Express. He said to her, that he didn’t think he would make it past his birthday and that Baba Iperu still hadn’t come up with anything. Not knowing at the time that such a damning report implicating her was already in his mail, she encouraged him to be strong and that she was there for him. She assured him that the pastors he asked her to give money to were still praying for him and the family and that she was learning really fast about the company so he didn’t have anything to worry about.
Realising she didn’t have much time, Ohita sent the cover email and the attached report, together with the supporting documents to the printer. Next, she deleted the original mail so her husband wouldn’t see it even when he regained access to his email.
That done, she immediately shifted her focus on the next thing, which was her plan to flee the country with her children, Kendrik and Kendra. She had the option of running away with them to London or America where they had houses, and the children could go back to school easily. She wanted to be as far away from her husband as possible when the inevitable confrontation took place so she called Tunji, the family travel agent to get her three first-class tickets to Atlanta. The children were born in Atlanta, and she had lots of friends and family there as well for support.
Ohita didn’t bother to send for her driver, she grabbed her beige Bottega Veneta bag and headed straight to the driver’s office to get him herself. Time was of the essence.
“Do you think he has seen the email yet?”
“Pops, you worry too much. I don’t know if he has seen the email, but he will see it eventually and I’m sure he would respond once he does. Remember he didn’t respond immediately to the test email I sent to him a few days ago. It took him almost two days to get back to me after I sent it.”
“But that was just a simple email of you checking up on him. This one is an email indicting his wife in the fraud investigation he specifically brought you in to conduct on his former CFO.”
“Pops, you forget why he is in isolation in that place. Considering what is going on with him right now, I doubt that checking his phone and emails would be the topmost thing on Chief’s mind.”
“Well, I guess you are right. By the way, are you keeping an eye on Ohita?”
“Yes, Pops. I hear she was in the office this morning but I gather she left in a hurry for a meeting or something.”
“Shata, do you think he will call her first if he sees the report? I was hoping you would be the first one he calls, or maybe me. You know lately I have become his confidant and principal adviser.”
“I really don’t care who he calls first, Pops. What I know is that his wife would no longer be MD of EE once Chief reads the report. It’s too explosive to ignore. I’m even hoping he survives the shock of finding out that the person who should have his back the most is the person working the hardest to undo him.”
“That woman is evil.”
“Pops, I have to go. I’m meeting with Klarissa for lunch. She has an exact location for us now. And then I’d be meeting with D3 afterwards to pass on the information to him and also go over his plans for the other thing. He wants my final authorisation today.”
“I will leave that to you. I do not wish to know the details.”
“You shouldn’t, Pops. I’ll let you know when I hear from Chief and then you can contact him so you can start messing with his head. Just make sure you convince him that I would be the perfect replacement for Ohita Edozie.”
Shata Anele hung up the phone and reached for his bottle of scotch. The smile on his face said it all. It was the smile of a man who already saw himself as Managing Director of Edozie Express and he loved it.