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Written by AKOGWU JOSEPH CHINONSO…

“Ladies and gentlemen,” a pilot said from the cockpit, “please fasten your seat belts and return your seat backs and trays to their upright positions. We’re approaching Enugu International Airport, Emene and we’ll be landing in just a few minutes.”

Stella turned to her mum, “I can’t believe we’re already in Enugu.” She squeezed her mum’s laps fondly.

Thelda smiled and placed her hands on hers, “You’ll enjoy every bit of your stay here.” She watched a flight attendant walk up the aisle, “I promised you this was going to be a wonderful vacation. You’ll enjoy it.”

“Thank you mum,” She said, “I hope to have a lot of stories for my friends when we get back.”

Thelda said immediately, “Definitely.”

They kept silent for some seconds, “But mum,” Stella said, “how did you come to know Enugu?”

Thelda smiled and explained, “Being the wife of a strong politician like your dad has virtually taken me round Africa. There are just few countries in Africa I haven’t been to. In each of these countries I’ve gone to, I make it a habit to be conversant with at least the major cities there. Nigeria is not an exception. Your dad and I’ve been here dozens of times and Enugu is a city that has caught my attention.” A proud smile appeared on her face, “I can boost of knowing almost every nook and cranny of Enugu.” Stella was staring at her, astonished. Thelda stroked her daughter’s long hair, “So have you seen my secret?”

“Oh I see.” Her lips suddenly twitched in a frown, “I wish dad had come with us.”

Thelda threw her arms around her shoulders, “It’s alright darling; your dad will make it next time.”

“But why didn’t he come with us?” Stella kept twirling her hair.

“He has a lot to attend to. Why not leave your dad and focus on what we’ve come for?” She gave her daughter a pleading glance.

Stella nodded, “Ok.”

The plane landed and began to taxi down the runway. A steward’s voice came over the loudspeaker, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve just landed at Enugu International airport. We thank you for flying DIANAT. You may now disembark. Thank you.”

The doors were opened by the ramp crew and in the next few minutes, Thelda and her daughter had already walked down the steps and were leaving the terminal. Four guards on black suit followed closely behind them and another two were ahead of them. They all headed towards an already waiting government limousine parked at a side entrance to the airport. When they were few paces to the car, a guard walked fast and opened the back door for them. They got in and he pulled it shut. The guards quickly entered through the other doors. The driver, a tall energetic middle-aged man with moustache and long legs started the engine and headed for Palestina Hotel. In twenty minutes, the driver pulled up in the parking lot of the hotel. A guard stepped out of the car and pulled the door open. They got out and went into the hotel. Two guards followed them to the reception.

To Be Continued…

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