The Chidinma/Ataga tango
The story is growing wings in the public space and as all such stories go, there is likely to be ample embellishment. But even without anyone adding onions, crayfish and pepper to the story, it is a story fit for the eggheads at Nollywood to turn into a box office sensation. I am referring to the Chidinma Ojukwu/Usifo Ataga tango. It is not a “boy-meets-a-girl story and they lived happily after.” It is a familiar story of greed on the one hand and infidelity on the other.
Let’s start with the basics based on what we know so far. A man called Usifo Ataga who is the CEO of Super TV checked into a service apartment in the Lekki area of Lagos with a beautiful 21-year- old girl called Chidinma Ojukwu on June 14 this year. June 14 was just two days after June 12, a day that things went right and wrong 28 years ago. On that day a presidential election was won and then annulled. That day has remained iconic in our history. Sorry for the digression. Chidinma is a shy-looking, innocent-looking, beautiful 21-year old lady who wore no severely fried hair and no wired wigs. She is said to be a 300 level Mass Communication student at the University of Lagos. Her father, Ojukwu is said to be an accountant who is separated from his wife. Chidinma lives with her father in Yaba.
In the other corner is a very handsome 49-year-old who spots a white beard and is the Chief Executive Officer of a little known television station called Super TV. He is said to be the son of a Professor and is married to a beautiful woman called Brenda who is a senior staff at NNPC. They have two children. Brenda lives in Abuja while Ataga lives in the highbrow area of Lagos called Banana Island. Banana Island is the expensive Island of bliss where you need a password to be able to get into if you are visiting. Only the very rich live there.
The story is not told yet as to how Ataga met Chidinma but they are said to have started some romantic arrangement some five months ago. He must have seen her and gobbled her with his eyes and those eyes may have grown hungry. Shafts of electricity must have coursed through his veins because he may have liked the textures, juices and spices of her. In short the magnetic pull of her femininity must have been a definite turn-on. Since the man had this rugged, masculine appeal, her eyes must have glinted with pure feminine interest. She must have been aware of the hunger in him and she must have felt herself flowing towards him or his money.
Let’s cut a long story short. One thing led to another and both lovers, master and mistress found themselves in a service apartment and they did what men and women do in the other room. According to the girl who has been singing like a canary in the last few days both of them did three things: drinking, smoking, sexing aka “knacking” in street lingo. Then the man wanted more but she, not having fully or satisfactorily enjoyed the first one, resisted. Apparently to pacify her, the man gave her his ATM card and the pin. It is uncertain what was the sequence of events that led to her stabbing him on the neck with a knife. She left him in the pool of his blood, rushed to the ATM and punched the pin numbers and money flowed into her wallet. She ran with her loot, and took his I-phone too. The man died. His limp body was found the next day. The police traced Chidinma to her father’s residence in Yaba. She is now cooling her feet in a police cell while her lover lies in a cold place called mortuary, unable to do anything for himself or anybody else because he has gone over to the other side of the world.
This story is tragically interesting or interestingly tragic. The man fell when he was planning to mark with appropriate pomp and panoply his 50th birthday. Now the mood has changed from party mood to mourning mood. As for Chidinma she would have loved, as a reporter, to report this story that has a lot of sensation in its womb but she can’t because she has now become the story. Now her classmates will be the ones to report her story as she makes appearances in court with paparazzi feasting on her beautiful face. All of these will be happening to her because of the sinful trinity, booze, drugs and sex. They have become her Bermuda Triangle, the triangle of death. Now instead of finding money for her fees the distraught parents, whether divorced or separated, will have to cough up money for some smart lawyers. Both parents must be jointly or separately distressed about a daughter on whom they had pinned their hopes for a different and better station in life than where she is now. That decent job, that decent life, that the parents hoped would happen on her graduation from UNILAG is now merely a pie in the sky. How did things go so awfully wrong for a girl who was brilliant enough to gain admission into a famous first generation university? And Mr Ataga’s television station will be mealy-mouthed in the way it will report the story if indeed it will report, as the story unfolds.
The world has been made a fascinating one in matters of the heart because of the Internet and multiple dating sites that dot the cyberspace. They ask if you want to be hooked up to the young and sexy ones or the mature and matronly ones. But outside of these organised settings there are loads of sexily dressed beauties that parade the streets wanting to be picked up by men and given a good slice of upper class entertainment. They are called various names by Nigerians: sidekicks, side chicks, runs girls, handbags, conference papers, research materials and slay queens. You can add other names you can find in the dictionary of sin.
This girl, Chidinma, must be a gold digger operating on life’s fast lane, one who wanted her life transformed overnight not by being a famous broadcaster like Christiana Amanpour but by wearing seductive clothes and showing off her tempting assets to men who can’t keep their equipment in one place. Her classmates say she was quiet, an introvert and someone who would not hurt a fly. If that is their characterisation of her, it is clear they were wrong. She is a green snake in a green grass. When such snakes bite there is no remedy. They kill. With drugs she called skay and loud, it is clear that she was operating in the high octane world of sophisticated criminals, using a fake driver’s license, a foreign phone number and probably giving different names to different men.
A few things don’t add up to something sensible. Was she out to kill and defraud him? Probably yes because if that was not the case she would not have killed him and then rushed to empty his account. If she didn’t intend to kill him why did she go for his neck, his jugular, which made possible his quick death. Why didn’t she stab him on the hand or leg? If she stabbed him more than once then she had the intention to kill. Did she do the job with the help of an assistant? The police should check this out. Then after the deed was done she rushed out to the ATM to cart away his money, blood money and took the next available get away car from Lekki to Yaba. She was dumb enough to believe that once she had left the crime scene with the man’s phone she would not be traced. But technology did the magic. Besides, she was the one who phoned to book the apartment so her steps could still be traced. This young girl has shown that she is three evil things at once: a fraudster, a thief and a murderer by her own admission.
Mr Ataga must be a generous man to surrender his ATM card and the pin to her. But couldn’t he have simply transferred the money to her? Well, maybe she wanted cash, sharp sharp, quick quick. Mr Ojukwu must be a very unhappy man. He thought he knew his daughter to be prim and proper, someone who walked on the straight and narrow path not someone who plied the criminal highway. That was why he tried to block the police from arresting her. He thought it was probably a case of mistaken identity. As an accountant if the man had paid his daughter’s fees for three years in the university he could still afford to pay for the remainder of her period in the university. So his girl didn’t need to tread the path of crime to become a graduate.
Now the girl has brought shame and stigma to the Ojukwu family undeservedly. The crooked girl told her father on the day in question that she was going for an “ushering job.” The old man believed her. She ran off to do what in street lingo is called “short time” and after that she shortened the life of her partner. From the photographs published, Mr Ataga’s wife is very beautiful and according to reports she has a high profile job so people have been asking what else her husband was looking for? The answer is probably that stolen sex must have its irresistible enchantment. Period. If Chidinma was interested in sex for cash was she also interested in sex for marks? I have no answer for it.
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