Posted in Burning Platform, Literature, Poems, POLITICS

My Country, my honour!

MY COUNTRY MY HONOUR

To Maiduguri we were drafted
Sixty six of us with shaven heads
After six gruesome months in Zaria
We were caged in the land of no return
It was there we went through metamorphosis

In six 911 Mercedes military Trucks
We were sent to six different Battalions
To defend the six Geopolitical regions
And prevent us from splitting into six pieces
Our job was to keep the peace

I went to hell and I survived
I see, I saw and I conquered
For not all that went to the hell I went
returned to tell the story
Of how we were dehumanized to attain glory

I was trained to maim and annihilate
With the bare hands I could strangulate
To endure the pain with eyes on the gain
for the honour and glory of my mother land
Nigeria we hail thee, our home and mother land

As I clutched my Riffle beneath my chin
Waiting to kill or to be killed in the jungle
Flashes of home disturbs my concentration
My mother awaits my return from this limbo
My siblings await the return of their hero

My Casandra expects to see me every tomorrow
And my friends who wait, albeit in sorrow
My inherited lands for too long have fallowed
Loved ones pray and fast and to God they hallowed
That someday they will see me home when peace will follow

But today I am far away from home
Far from the love and care of my own
In the forest of Sambisa we have made home
Our quest is to make Nigeria a home
Where all tribes and faiths will live as one

Ratata! Ratata! Infantry Guns barking
Kabum! Kabum! The sound of the Artillery
Flying shrapnel, writhing bodies, smoking nozzles
Screaming Soldiers, screaming Rebels, the race for life!
Alah Akba! Blood of Jesus! We called before we died

A man who believes in a cause
A cause sworn to uphold without a pause
To lay down his life for his father land
And he turned his back against all he holds dear
For a Soldier is duty bound to serve his country

So I as lay wrapped up in bandages
My legs gone from the exploded mines
I remember my Colleagues
I see their faces as they screamed
I see as they ran and fell to the Enemy
I see as enemies tie them up and slit their throats
Blood and water oozing as life takes leave of them
I see them being charred like goats
And the tears poured down my eyes
And I weep for my fallen Compatriots

Family and friends we will see no more
Dreams and aspirations were cut short
Because we swore to serve and defend
When will this madness stop?
How can this house stand?
When siblings lift up arms against each other!

Who is this enemy? I ponder
Is he a foreigner? Is he an alien?
Nay! Nay! He is our Brother
We speak in the same tongue
We call upon the same God

Suleman killing Solomon
Ibrahim slaughtering Abraham
Daudu burning up David
Maria pointing fingers at Mary
A house divided against itself!

Posted in Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child……Season 17.

bookcoverimage-the-abandoned-child-amazon

 

CHAPTER 28

It was like a mirage at first, I thought I saw her, Modupe! I peered very well through the glass of the Toyota corolla driving me from the hotel to the office that morning. It was like I saw her amongst the crowd thronging to enter the brewery gate but she was gone, in a jiffy she had vanished. Maybe I was hallucinating I thought.

I am the automation engineer at the Kaduna Brewery, having spent six months at the training school Ibadan to familiarize my self with the company and the industry at large. My Boss, the Engineering Manager, Mr. Kelvin Chima, a huge fair complexioned humorous fellow in his mid forties took an instant liking to me when I was handed over to him from the HR department. The HR had inducted me and registered me at the Clinic and Canteen; I was given my safety vest, gloves and Boots including a safety induction card.
My Boss grew up in Ikere Ektiti with his Parents and so he speaks the ekiti dialect fluently, he also drinks Gulder as his favorite beer and when he introduced me to other managers at the bar in the evening they were surprised to see me popping the Gulder bottle, they said they hoped I will not be another Kelvin. My Boss is stubborn but very good on the job.

I was in charge of all the electrical installations and facilities in the Brewery. My job was to make sure there is no power failure or break down in the plant. Production must not stop due to power failure.
The experience I acquired during my industrial attachment work came in handy as I proffered several alternative powers generating media to the company. It was capital intensive but worthy. And for the first time, Kaduna Brewery marked 250 days without power failure. I was the man! I was celebrated at the Bar during the end of year party and my Boss became the best HOD for the year.
I got an excellent appraisal, my appointment was confirmed and new things happened in my new life.

The remuneration and benefits listed on my confirmation letter were awesome. I had moved out of the Hotel accommodation and gotten myself a flat at Angwa Yelwa along Sabo-NNPC road, close to Television Garage; it was close to Kakuri where our office is, just less that ten minutes drive.
I was entitled to a Car grant of two million naira as a young manager. Senior Managers like my Boss gets a status Car. But who needs a Status car? I have Cars at my disposal at home. By the end of January 2002, my Bank account was about to burst. I had received the payment alert for my Car grant mid January, I was still thinking of what to do with the money when another alert entered my phone on my way home from work on a Friday, I thought it was any other SMS but when I saw it was from my bank, I opened it while driving. The figures I saw confused me that I had to veer off the road and pulled up the car to park, I pulled the hand brake.
I read the SMS repeatedly and I wanted to cry. It was not that the money was overwhelming, I have seen money in my new family but my concern was that I worked for this one! It was my sweat, not Baba or my sisters. The company pays upfront of annual leave allowance, annual housing allowance, and annual transport allowance plus my basic salary for the month, I was seeing an amount in the range of over four million naira. I shouted like a deranged man in the car, a passer by fled when he heard me scream, I started to laugh and cry at the same time, the passer by stood at a safe distance looking at me and shaking his head out of pity, I had to drive on when he approached a group of Kuje boys that were discussing by the road side and was telling them something while pointing at my car.
My heart beat was racing as I was also racing to Mummy’s Villa at Angwa Television for a bottle of chilled Gulder and some thing to chew. I drank to my satisfaction and I ate every thing that came to my mind at the Bush bar. It was like I would die the next day. I called my Wife and chatted until she started begging me to go home; she said I should remember her condition.
At 11.00PM I was tipsy but not tired, the next day was a Saturday and the automation activities in the Brewery were on auto pilot so I hit the road that night. I headed for the NAF Club, I called few of my colleagues for a night out together but they did not pick my calls, it was late though so I went alone and when I was at Barnawa area, I parked at a dark spot and beckoned at a call girl amongst those lurking along the street close to Mr. Biggs fast food. Three girls came rushing but I allowed the first into the car, loud music was blaring from the car speakers and we spoke on high tone while I nodded my head to the rhythm of the music, it was a song by Tony Tetuila ’Omode meta n sere’ it was the rave then.
So what is you beautiful name? I asked
Charity! She replied
Good! And how much for the night? I asked
Five thousand naira! She said laughing
Wow! For only one night? I asked laughing too, abi na for the whole weekend? I asked.

Suddenly she stopped laughing and fixed her gaze at my face
Bolaji! She called.
Yes! It me! I said. Do you know me? I asked

Oh my God! Oh my God! She started to panic.
I switched on the inner light of the Car and looked at her but I could not recognize her. Who are you? I asked
She tugged and pulled at the car door.
Don’t bother! I said; it won’t open. I said
Please let me out! Please I beg you in the name of God in the name of God! She pleaded in tears.
I tried to hold her to look at her face very well but she kept pushing me away and hiding her face from me.

I will scream o! I will scream o! Open this door and let me out! She let out a shrill scream that my loud music could not suppress.

I had no choice but to unlock the car from my side, she pushed the door open and ran out of my car. I quickly reversed the car and headed home. It was past midnight and that was a sign that I have had enough for the day.

I went to work on a Monday in March 2002 and during the lunch break I went to the Canteen to eat in the company of Dauda an automation supervisor reporting to me. I carried my tray of food and proceeded to look for a vacant table to sit, Dauda was beside me so he pointed to a table occupied by a lone Lady. I walked towards the table, the lady at the table looked up and saw me and continued eating. I remembered the flashes I had some months ago at the Brewery gate, it was the same dress that she wore that day so I pulled back a chair and placed my tray on the table then our eyes met.

She stared at me with open mouth revealing the yellow morsel of eba in her mouth. I cannot describe the shock on her face. I also had quick flashes of the night I was going to NAF club and a girl had run out of my car, it was the same girl, the same multi coloured hair attachment.

I smiled. Modupe or Charity! So we meet again? I asked.

Ha! Oga do you know her? Dauda asked as he joined us at the table.
Yes I know her! I said as I sat down comfortably to eat my food.
Dupe so you know my Oga? Dauda asked.
Your Oga? She asked swallowing hard and drinking from the glass of water at her front.

Yes nah! He is the new Automation Engineer! Isn’t he cute? Dauda teased.
She nodded and rose up wit her tray of food
Ahan! Have you finished eating? Dauda asked her; or are we the ones chasing you away?
She shook her head as she walked briskly to dump her tray at the remnants table. She had lost her appetite.
Oga what did you do to her, Dauda teased me.
Hmm, it’s a very long story Dauda! But first thing first, what is she here? I asked
But I thought you said you knew her? Dauda asked.
Yes! That was several years ago! The last time I saw her should be about ten years ago when she just finished secondary school and I was in my third year in the same secondary school.
Ahan! Oga you mean she finished secondary school before you? Could she be older that you? Dauda asked.
I should be older than her with at least four years or so, but I did not start my secondary early. I was sixteen years old when I entered JSS 1. Guy! I have come a long way, but leave story for now and tell me about her.

Well, she works for a third party Labour provider. They are in charge of the sanitation of the brewery; they also carry out menial jobs in the brewery. She is a supervisor with the company.
So which section does she supervise? I asked.
The bottle sorting and washing section at the logistics department, Dauda said.
Okay thank you! I said.
I lost my appetite too. My mood became dampened. On one hand I was glad that Modupe had not done better than me in life, at least she would not intimidate me further. On the other hand, I was wondering at what could have befallen her and her mother to have made her to settle for such a job and to be doing ‘runs’ at night.
Memories of the past came flashing back into my head. I could not help but tell Dauda about what Dupe and her mother did to me and how Uncle Goke came to the rescue. When I finished the story, Dauda had not taken more than three spoon full from his plate of rice.

Oga I will personally see that she is sacked! I swear! How could she and her mother be so wicked? Dauda asked.
Don’t do anything to her! Leave her! I said.
She even has a son now! Dauda further offered.
A son? Is she married now? I asked.
I don’t think so! A fork lift operator that was sacked some months ago is the father of the boy. The guy is jobless now but still roams around the brewery premises looking for any job to do.

Which makes Dupe responsible for her child and her man? I asked.
Something like that sir! Dauda said.
Hmm, life, na wa o! I said.
We both left the canteen without eating up our foods; I only drank the can of Amstel Malta I had collected with the meal.

I closed for work at 4:30PM but I did not go home immediately, I went to the brewery bar for some beer and small chops. After gulping down two bottles of Gulder and two sticks of peppered Suya I went to the Logistics department to seek out Dupe. I could not take my mind off her since our encounter in the canteen earlier.

She was on her way out of the Logistics department when I walked in; she saw me and quickly turned around to take another route.
Come here Dupe! I commanded.
She stopped and stood still.
Some workers within ears shot turned to see what was about to happen.
Why are you running away from me? I asked her. I did not move further, I was like ten feet away from her. I was ready for a show down with her, so I raised my voice. I need a moment with you and that moment is now!
Workers started to cluster around us; she turned around slowly and walked towards me with teary eyes.

We went to an isolated area, an area marked for smokers alone; I sat down and told her to sit.
Modupe! I have just a question for you and I would like you to be honest with your answer. I asked you same question years ago In the presence of Akin and your mother and I am asking again! What did I do that made you to hate me so much?

She sobbed for some five minutes during which I was getting impatient:
I was naïve and immature! She finally blurted. You were the first boy to see me naked and it was in a very embarrassing situation, I expected you to have taken advantage of me like boys your age would have done but you did not! Instead you were laughing at me and looking me over with your lantern! I was naked and standing over my shit with your dog staring at me!

I don’t get it! I said: when did this happen?

Do you remember the night when I was defecating in front of your house in the village? I should be about eleven to twelve years old then. Your dog accosted me! I was standing naked and trembling over my shit! My pant was at my ankle and my blouse was above my waist, then you came with a lantern and saw me. You started to laugh at me! You really humiliated me and for that, I hated you! She said.

I can’t believe it! Just that? I don’t believe you sister! Even after that incident, you were good to me until I entered secondary school with you. When Baba Oloro’s children came for me I was in your house for over two weeks for protection! When I discovered the Alabi’s heist, you and your mother were like family to me so how could you have borne a grudge with me and still be good to me at the same time?

Not me! My mother showed you the love, not me. By then, I wished Baba Oloro’s children had killed you! She said.

Jesu Christi o! Just because I saw you naked and did not take advantage of you? Are you not supposed to appreciate me and respect me for that? I asked
Yes! It would have been better if you had touched me or done something that would guarantee me that you would not tell. You know how it was in the village. The village gossip and all that, I never wanted to be a gossip subject. I thought you would tell your friends and they will tell their friends and before you know it, boys will begin to bark when ever I walk past them.

I snapped. You gave me hell in secondary school! You humiliated me at every opportunity you had! You made me feel less than a dog! Okay, lets say you hated me because I saw you naked and God knows what else, did you ever hear it from anyone else in the village? Answer me! Did you hear of it from anyone else?
No! She admitted.
And is that the reason why you and your mother eloped with my money? I asked
She was sobbing silently, she was silent
You cannot answer that? I asked aloud
It is the devil, she said
The devil indeed! I said
So what is your story? You were in UNILAG or so I heard. You are supposed to be a graduate of secretariat studies. Akin your former guy told me, I said.

Ah Akin! She said
You still remember him, don’t you? I asked
She nodded.
He is married with Kids now; he is the biggest Cocoa merchant in the whole of Ekiti.
She flashed me a quick surprise glance and started biting her finger.
Yes! I continued; he has fleet of exotic Cars, his wife runs a complete school from crèche to secondary school in Ado Ekiti, he is also into real estate.
Akin? She interrupted
Yes Akin!
He dropped out of school after the death of his father! She said
He almost dropped! I corrected. He struggled to graduate eventually

Not much was left for him after the death of his father! She added.
Well, yes you are right, but you know, he put the pieces of his life together, he did some restitution and today, he is better off. He takes care of my dad when I am not around!
Your Dad? Or you mean to say your mum? She asked.

My mum is dead now, she came around eventually, we then discovered that Baba Land lord is my biological father! In other words you were my father’s tenant!
Jeez! She exclaimed
Yes o! It’s a long story, but the long and short of it is that I am no longer a bastard you and others tagged me.

She slowly went on her knees. Oh my God! She said; Bolaji I don’t know how to apologize for all the wrong my mother and I did to you, I don’t know.
When things started going sour for my family I thought maybe you had gone to the village chief priest to curse us or your spirit was fighting against us!

It could not have been my spirit because I am not dead. Maybe it was my grand ma’s spirit sha! I said. You know her money was involved too; the clothes and jewelries we sold were hers! And for your information, that money that had my picture with it and the note about my secondary education were actually from my mother.

In fact we could not explain what happened to all we money we stole from you! Every business my mother we ventured into went down the drain! It was so bad that she could not see me through the university. I had to resort to hustling just to meet up and graduate. I ended up graduating with a third class degree and as such I could not get a job. Life has not been easy with me and my mum.
There is no peace for the wicked! I reminded her
Really we have not had peace! Bolaji I am so sorry!
You are married I heard! I told her.
I met Cletus in Lagos, he gave me the impression that he was an engineer with Nigerian Breweries Kaduna, we started an affair and before long I was pregnant for him so my mum and I moved over to Kaduna. It was when we got here that I found out that he actually drives a fork lift machine in the Logistics department. That was when our problem started, he could not meet up with our daily needs because his salary was meager and not regular, he got me the job I am currently on.
And what is your job? I asked.
Don’t make a mockery of me BJ please, I know Dauda must have told you everything about me.
Okay I am sorry! I just wanted to hear from the horse’s mouth, but go on please. I said.
I supervise the bottle sorters and washers; the job is out sourced to our company by the brewery, the cleaning of the brewery premises and the entire environment. We were managing our lives until Cletus went and connived with a Truck driver to steal some crates of beer from the company. He lost his job and the responsibility of the family fell on me alone. Cletus has taken to drinking and mama is loosing her health. The work is too hard for her!

Please stand up! I said. And what does your mama do? I asked
She paused as she cleaned her knees before answering me. She is among the workers that I supervise! She said.
Jesu Christi o! Your mother is among these people wearing hand gloves drenched in water washing and cleaning the Breweries! I exclaimed
Yes! She said, nodding her heads, now she is suffering from pneumonia.
Where is she now? I asked.
She has gone home! I told her that I saw you this afternoon. Her blood pressure rose and she had to go home to rest. She said she cannot withstand the fright of seeing you. If you see my mum now, you will not recognize her again, she is so thin and grouchy, and she uses every day of her life to pray for forgiveness for what we did to you years back.
And you guys think God will forgive you just like that? Did you guys ever think of coming back to Ijan to look for me to apologize? You are asking God for forgiveness when the man you offended has not forgiven you? I asked.
The thing is that even if we come to look for you, we don’t have the money to return to you nah! She said.
That is the more reason to come and beg! Well some people say life is not fair! I continued: but I think life is very fair! It is we humans that are not fair in our dealings with one another. But whatsoever a man sows, he reaps!” to tell you the truth Dupe, I am here today because of you!
Me? She asked
Yes you! You so much humiliated me in school back then that I cried when I am alone. You made me feel like a failure in life! You reminded me that I was a bastard and have no place in the world of your kind! Well look at me today! I think you were right back then when you said that water finds its level! I pushed my self hard to prove to the world and your kind that I was not doomed to failure! I went through a lot to be where I am today, but all is because I dared to succeed. Look at you today! Look at your mother! Look at me! Well, I thank you for giving me attention this evening and most especially answering my question. But the reason you gave was not good enough, I think it was more out of my back ground as a pauper than seeing you naked, I t was a class thing. That is my take on that but all in all, thank you for your time. I am closed for the day, can I drop you off? It seems you were on your way out, I asked.

No I am good. She said: I need to get some food stuff and drugs for mama before going home.
Please tell your mother that I have forgiven you guys. Tell her I thank you guys for what you have made me become today. If not for you guys, I will not be here today.

The fact is that I was happy that nemesis had caught up with Modupe and her mother and she has seen that it is not good to look down on someone that is not dead because no one knows tomorrow. But on the other hand, I felt that if Dupe had not run me down back then, I would not have taken my destiny in my hands and fought to be a man today. I felt vindicated, no more bitterness but pity and compassion towards Dupe and her mother. I imagined the once elegant mama Dupe now washing bottles and cleaning gutters in the Brewery where I am a manager, she and her daughter that denied me my only source for a good a secured life. I cannot wait to tell Baba Fapounda and my father in law of this new discovery of mine. I cannot wait to go to home and narrate the discovery to my pregnant wife, she will be due to deliver next month, Baba does not know of her pregnancy yet! I have not spoken with him for close to a year now.

Feeling good and light in my feet I went to the Car park to drive home and call my wife.

THE END

Posted in Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child. Season 16

bookcoverimage-the-abandoned-child-amazon

 

CHAPTER 26

 

I traveled back to Owerri mid January to collect my call up letter; I was posted to Kaduna state. There was no time to tell family back at home about my posting immediately so I wrote a letter to my dad and my prospective father in-law.

 

I was at the naval base with Commodore Aboderin, he congratulated me for achieving yet another mile stone in my life. He told me not to be bothered about my posting to the north as he has a lot of friends in Kaduna. I could also easily hook up with my mates at NDA who are now serving officers too.

 

Amara was all over me when I came for my call up letter. I went to the Executive Gardens to greet my former colleagues. There were mixed feelings when I got there, Emeka my fellow Bar man was ashamed at the way he had treated me before my arrest, The receptionist Chinwe, who refused to give me the keys to my room was remorseful too. I did not come to condemn them but to make peace as I was leaving the east for good. I hugged them individually and made peace by buying drinks for all the staff present at the hotel as if I was celebrating my birth day. Amara was so happy that I was getting suspicious. I had left Owerri the last time for Kaduna without even telling her and she had forgiven me so easily when we bumped into each other at school now that I came for my call up letter. No woman does that!

I anchored the wheel of steel at the DJ stand that night and thrilled the customers, I knew all the selections that Slam played so I played them in the sequence of DJ Slam. It was like bringing back the old nights. I introduced my session with the intro of DJ Slam. The Customers sprayed me money as they danced to my rendition. Even Amara that I had never seen dance before was dancing happily and drinking too.

 

At 2.00AM I retired into a VIP room upstairs with Amara. Amara had changed somehow as she was the first to come on me immediately we closed the door. She tore up her clothes and came at me like a sex starved woman. I thought of Yemisi and my conscience pricked me. I was about to do something bad.

Which kind something bad? That voice again? DJ Slam!

I shook my head vigorously to clear off any alcoholic inhibition to my reasoning.

She was completely naked before me; she sought for my mouth and dug her tongue into my mouth seeking.

I was trying to get hold of my self and bid for time. My body is sticky! I said. I needed to use the shower.

Then let’s go into the shower! She said, pushing me towards the bath room.

She helped me to pull off my shirt and my pants.

The problem was that even though my spirit was not willing, my flesh betrayed me. The erection I had was massive that it was a little difficult pulling down my boxers. Amara exclaimed when the third leg came out free from the boxers.

Omo Yoruba! She exclaimed. No wonder all those girls were dying for you! She said as she held the third leg with both hands. I betrayed Yemisi, I tried to give Amara some excuses but they all sounded stupid to my own hearing. Not with my third leg in her caring hands. She guided me into her from the rear. Wire am biko! After all you never marry Yemisi yet! The voice said. Old boy na true o! I replied as I rammed into Amara like a bull. She screamed out and quickly covered her mouth with her hand grunting hard as I pumped hard under the waters of the shower.

 

 

I went to the orientation camp along Abuja-Kaduna express road and spent three interesting weeks there. I was the platoon leader of 3rd platoon. I had introduced my self to the Camp Commandant, Captain Kefas Dalong immediately I got to camp and I got acquainted with his soldiers too. We usually drank beer together at the camp mammy market every night. Most of my fellow corps members respected me because they thought I was a serving Army officer who came for the NYSC programme. Two of my serving Colleagues visited me while still at the camp in their military uniforms, they were with me in my room and at the parade ground until we went to the mammy market at night, I invited three of my platoon girls to join us in the fun at the mammy market at night and with the permission of the camp commandant, we all left camp for town that night to club and afterwards we went to the Officers quarters in the barracks. We did not return to the camp until the second night.

 

After three weeks I was sent to the command and staff college Jaji for my primary assignment as a junior instructor. One of the Officers that visited me while on camp was also an instructor at the college Jaji.

 

The marriage introduction slated for February 3rd was done while I was at the camp. My dad had insisted on rushing everything as if he was about to leave this world. The traditional marriage was slated for April during the Easter holiday.

 

Now, Baba landlord my father is a man of enormous wealth by the layman’s standard. He is a pensioner and has little to spend his money on. His six daughters are happily married to wealthy men in different fields. The women also own their own businesses and showers Baba with material and monetary gifts. They pay monies into his account at random trying to impress baba, it was like competition among the ladies. Meanwhile Baba was tired of buying Lands and building farms. He does not brag nor show off his wealth for fear of the Village witches and wizards. He has four Exotic cars parked in his compound at home. The cars were given to him by his sons’ in-law. But he told the Villagers that they belonged to the husband of the second daughter who happened to be a popular car dealer in Lagos.

My proposed wedding was to be the first Baba would sponsor as the grooms father and not as usual. He brought out an old custom of ours and told me that it is the father’s responsibility to sponsor the first son’s wedding. There was no need to argue with Baba because he still has that Nigerian police thing in him.

Aiye agbo! Orun a gba! The earth will hear! The heavens will concur! He kept boasting about the day of my wedding day. But in all of this, Baba was more interested in his grand children or sons as he preferred. I told him yemisi and I preferred a girl as our first but he insisted it must be a boy! He said I must not start like him. So we said okay.

 

My father had given me all the keys to his cars and every land document in his possession; he took me to his mechanized farm lands at Akure, Ado-Ekiti and Ibadan. His palm plantations, plantain plantations, Cocoa plantation, rubber, cotton, and cashew plantations, he introduced me to the managers as the new owner, his son and heir. Baba pays a total of two hundred and thirty seven workers wages on weekly and monthly basis yet most people in the village thought he was a stingy man. This man that looks so simple in the Village is actually a millionaire.

On the other hand, my step sisters were all inviting me to their homes. Each wanted to use me to brag to their friends as their last born and an Engineer for that matter. Luckily I am one guy that any one would like to flaunt as a younger brother because of my natural endowment and my academic achievement. For example my father cannot introduce me as an engineer to any one without telling them that I am an engineer with ‘first class’ he pronounces the ‘first class’ with emphasis, and the same goes with my sisters too.

I had problem adjusting to this new life. I had never being a family person so these guys were really encroaching in my space. I had my life planed out but my father is now planning my life for me too and he is too domineering. He was all over me.

Baba wants me to settle down at home and set up a company of my choice. He also wants me to be over seeing the affairs of his farms. He wants us to build a clinic in Ado Ekiti for yemisi immediately she graduates from Medical school; he wants us to start having children like from yesterday.

For me, I do not want to come home and settle down for now, I want to secure a paid employment and work for some years, I want to work with my certificate, I want to acquire more experience as an employee before becoming an employer. I even want to further my education but Baba wants none of this. I have learnt not to argue with him, but I will do what is on my mind

 

After reporting the Command and staff college Jaji, I was granted one week pass to travel home and bring my belongings to Jaji. I was given accommodation at the Boys quarters of the School’s commandant in the barracks officer’s quarters.

I went straight to school to meet Yemisi. I went putting on my NYSC uniform. She stays in the hostel; I went to meet her at the lecture room and waited for the end of an ongoing lecture. I saw her when she and other students were leaving the lecture hall, our eyes locked briefly but she did not recognize me. I stood smiling from ear to ear like some one who had eaten enough mushroom. When she walked past me, I started following her, some students noticed the way I was grinning behind her, and they started watching out for what was to happen.

 

Hello pretty damsel! I called from behind. She did not answer; she kept walking on at a faster pace.

The love of my life! I called again with a strange voice.

 

She stopped abruptly in her track and turned back to face with. With wide eye, she opened her mouth to scream but I quickly covered her mouth with the back of my palm as I hugged her. She jumped on me and I spun her 360 degrees round. There was a round of applause from the students watching me earlier.

To say she was flabbergasted is an understatement as she kept jumping on my back and hitting me on the shoulders.

I got to meet her friends and toasters on campus and they were pleased to meet the elusive first class Engineering graduate of FUTO. One cranky guy actually told me that I do not look like a first class material; he said I looked like a guy man! He asked if I used money to influence my result. I told him that if I was like this five years ago, then I would not have made a first class. Told him poverty and hunger made me to come out with a first class because that was the only hope I had for a secured future. The Guy wanted to ask more questions but his colleagues shouted him down to let me be.

There was another male friend of her, Obiora, we shook hands when she introduced us and I spoke igbo language to him, he was surprised, we chatted briefly in flawless igbo language to the bewilderment of the other students. They clapped their hands and hailed Yemisi, they asked if I speak Hausa language too and I said not yet but I will learn it in my one year in Kaduna.

I lodged at Babatola Hotels along Ilesha road. I invited Yemisi’s friends for a night out at the hotel. It was like a mini party as they came with friends and we partied until mid night before they dispersed.

Yemisi and I retired to the room fagged out. We took our baths separately and talked in bed until we both slept off.

 

The next morning she went to school from my hotel room, having brought her things with her the previous day I was indoor all day watching movies on the television until she returned in the evening from lectures.

I opened the door to let her in; the faint smell of her perfumed did something to my senses as I hugged her and gave her a welcome kiss.

Let’s go and bath! I said; I have not taken my bath since morning.

Hmm! Dirty man! She teased

I know! I agreed.

I was wearing only my boxers so I quickly pulled it down before assisting her to take off her clothes. I stepped away from her and looked her over from head to the feet. She stood there with her hands across her breast, waiting for me. I was burning.

I love you yemisi, I said

I love you too BJ, she replied

We went into the bath tub and washed, I washed her while she washed me. Even though I was inside cold water, I was feeling very hot all over. The smoothness of her spotless light skin, the softness of the skin when I touched her naked body was giving me fever.

Now I was really having a strange fever all of a sudden. I started hearing voices in my head.

Omo youruba! Wetin dey worry you again?

I shook my head vigorously and wiped my face with water

You dey fear this small girl or wetin? The voice.

Slam, na Uncle Adegike daughter o! I said

And so? No be the girl wey you want to marry? He asked.

Yes! But I never marry her yet nah? I answered.

You dey craze? Wetin dey worry you? Slam challenged

Its not good nah! I said.

Idiot! See you head like coconut! All my sisters wey you don wire for Owerri nko? E good? He challenged.

Em! ones different nah Those! I said.

Old boy wire this girl! Mumu!

The Dad will not be happy with me! I said

Na who go tell am? He asked.

My conscience dey prick me! I said.

Thunder fire that conscience! Wire this girl before one of those boys wire am for you before your marriage! He cautioned.

Get behind me Slam! How can you say that? I said.

 

Yemisi noticed that I was some how hesitant as I stood up in the bath tub staring down at her. She stood up and pulled me into a tight embrace.

Obiora! That my class mate that you spoke igbo with! She said

What about him? I asked.

He is asking me out! He has been disturbing me! She said

Hahahahahahahahahahah ! Dj Slam laughed a long one.

I shook my head clear.

Wire this girl before some one else does! DJ Slams warning rang in my head.

I held her tight as my third leg rose to the occasion with angry veins. I knew the limit of my resistance was broken as I lifted her up and took her to the bed. I was gentle with her because it was her first time.

 

 

 

 

 

I travelled home the next morning and spent three days in the village preparing for my traditional wedding in April. My dad ensured I walked the length and breadth of the village in my NYSC uniform and with him by my side, he said by so doing, none of them would come up in future to doubt the fact that I am a confirmed Engineer recognized by the federal government. He mentioned a couple of families whose Children were purported to have gone to school but no one saw them in their NYSC uniforms, he said they did not graduate that was why.

Baba wanted me to return to Jaji with a Nissan path finder but I declined. I did not know how too drive by then. He also started calling me by my professional name instead of Mobolaji that he calls me. I had no input to make towards the wedding except to be there physically.

 

I returned to my place of primary assignment and worked as a general purpose staff as well as a graduate assistant until the Easter break of 1999. I came back home for my traditional wedding with my heart throb Yemisi.

The whole pages of this book would not be enough to narrate what took place on my wedding day so I will simply summarize it. It was ASP Fapohunda’s day.

After paying the bride price and fulfilling every other traditional rite at the home of the Adegoke’s, we moved to the reception ground which was the football field of the Holy Trinity grammar School, Agodi in Ibadan. We used the school hall as well as the foot ball field to accommodate our guests.

Baba invited the Nigerian Police Band to entertain guests with music, the popular comedian Gbenga Adeboye A.K.A ‘fun wan tan’ was the master of ceremony rendering rib cracking jokes. I simply arranged for security from the Eleyele Army Barracks. Gun wielding Soldiers where deployed to the venue.

 

Coca cola and a Nigerian breweries retailer took care of the non alcoholic and alcoholic beverages respectively. Every thing was contracted out. My elder sisters and families invited their various club members and each had a large canopy on the field to carter for their guests, again it was competition amongst them as per who has the largest number of guests and what quality of souvenirs were they giving to their guests as gifts. These Women made sure all their guests purchased and wore the Aso-Ebi that was chosen for the occasion. Baba chartered five Coaster Buses from the state transport company to convey my Village People to and from the event.

 

When it was dancing time by the couple, the occupants of each canopy took turns in dancing with us and spraying us money. My father repeatedly warned our Village women not to come to the dancing floor to help us pick money. He physically chased them away with treats, but some of them whose face he could not recognize sneaked in and stole enough money. Aunty Esther, Akin, Tunde and Gbadebo packed up eight full ‘Gana must go’ bags of money.

 

It was Baba that gave the vote of thanks for me. He talked for almost one hour until people were getting bored with his speech. It was Auntie Esther that went and collected the Microphone from him and called me up to say a word or two. I simply went and thanked the crowd and wished them journey mercies back home.

Daddy told me not to take a dime from the money that we realized from the wedding, he told me they belonged to Yemisi my wife. I did not have a problem with that, so I told her mother to take all the bags home and pay the money into Yemisi’s account.

Almost all the beer drinkers that attended the wedding were drunk. The Police Band at one time lost focus and started playing a dirge at my wedding, I guess they were used to attending burials. My dad screamed with rage and warned them to stop the music and put them selves together, he insisted on them changing the led vocalist as he was obviously drunk, how could he be singing song made for the dead at my wedding ceremony? They apologized and changed the man.

I was very happy when I saw my old secondary school friend and class mate at my wedding. Hakeem came with his fiancée all the way from Eket where he works with Mobil oil. He had grown tall and huge and looking very handsome. I used to protect him from bullies way back.

At 6.00PM, it was getting dark and we left the venue for the hotel, Akin drove us in the brand new Toyota Prado Auntie Debora’s husband gave us for the wedding. He did not collect the Car again, it was our wedding gift. All my sisters paid varying amount s of money into my bank account as wedding gifts. All the gifts we received for the wedding were taken to Uncle Adogoke’s house pending when we would need them. We got two Motorola mobile phones from Tunde’s mother who flew down from London for our wedding. I did not have a house to keep all the wrapped and unwrapped gifts or so I had thought.

We slept off immediately we entered our room at the Premier Hotel Ibadan. We were exhausted from the dance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 27

 

The first move we made was to rent and furnish a three bedroom flat at Ife, a bungalow house with a gate and other necessities like light and water, I bought two male Alsatian puppies and I recruited an Igala man as security guard, he lived in the security house by the gate. We also enrolled at a driving school and in two weeks we were driving around Ife. Gbadebo gained admission to study Law at the University of Ife; he was to live in our house with Tunde who was admitted into the university staff college for his secondary education.

 

The next two years happened so fast with a lot of activities, I was so overwhelmed with my new family especially Baba. Let me try and highlight on the major happenings within teriod.

 

Baba ensured I went to court to obtain affidavit for change of name as well as getting it published in the Guardian newspaper, he bought several copies of the newspaper when it was published and gave to the people that mattered in the Village and in his life. He highlighted the paragraph that announced my change of name to Mobolaji Fapohunda before giving the papers to those that mattered.

 

I was always traveling to and from Jaji and Ife because of my wife. My place of assignment was a school and so whenever the school is on break, I am also free. I was always with my wife who was in school. I ensured all house chores are done and the likes of Obiora are kept at bay.

 

Another thing I did during that period was a tour of my sister’s houses except for Tunde’s mother that was based in the UK with her husband and three other kids

 

I visited Auntie Esther on my way from Kaduna; I stopped at Asokoro in Abuja and spent two days with her family. The husband made my stay enjoyable by taking me out to cool joints to drink and feed my eyes. The Guy is a chronic womanizer, even in my presence; he was flirting with the waitresses at the joints we visited. I was not surprised when he introduced a girl to me and advised that I enter the chalet of the hotel where we were drinking for a ‘short time’ rendezvous with the girl. I declined. I know his type. He will be the one to go home and tell my sister that I had a short time with a call girl and I will not be there to defend myself. After spending two nights with them, I understood why the man flirts. My sister is one heck of a company, she nags endlessly.

 

I left for ilela in Sokoto to visit Auntie Sumbo, Baba’s third daughter whose husband happened to be a custom officer, he was away on duty at the border between Nigeria and Niger republic, The husband is from Kano state and theirs is a Muslim family. I could not drink beer here, in fact I planned to spend at least two days here but the atmosphere was too holy for me. My sister covered her body totally except for her face, even the way the husbands relation were staring at me as if I was one randy fellow in their midst. I was the only different person there by my dressing and disposition. My nieces could not play with me freely unlike Auntie Esther’s Children. I received an emergency call in the presence of Auntie Sumbo and I told the caller that I would be around the next day.

 

I am needed back at Jaji tomorrow morning I lied to her

Haba mana! This your work sef! They can’t even allow you to drop your bag before calling you back? She was disappointed.

Don’t worry ma, I will be back as soon as possible.

 

I traveled to Lagos to visit AUNTIE Deborah and her family at Lekki Plase 1. I have heard so much about Lagos that I was disappointed by what I saw when I got there. Lagos had been over hyped by every Lagosian I have met in my life that I was expecting to see a city made of marble, a city where people mind their own businesses and a city liken to the streets of Paris that I see on movies. I was greeted by the display of madness by warring factions of motor park touts at Ojota Motor Park. I saw men wielding machetes with blood stained bodies chasing each other, I saw another holding his amputated arm in the other hand while running away from an assailant, I saw a man chanting incantations and urging the other to cut him very well, the other was actually cutting but the machete did not inflict any injury on the voodoo man, the voodoo man pulled out an object from the pouch around his neck and touched the head of the man cutting him , then he walked briskly away while the cutter went on all fours running and barking like a dog. People in the night bus that I entered were shouting that only the urine of an old woman administered directly from the source into the man’s mouth can restore him, while this was going on outside, we were locked up in our bus waiting for the intervention of the Army. The Police had been there for hours but they kept a safe distance as they too awaited the back-up from ikeja military cantonment. Meanwhile a lot of drama was going on in the bus I was locked in. An early morning preacher had entered our bus at Ojota to preach and at the same time a drug peddler was waiting to advertise his products to us. The peddler ran out of patience when the sermon of the preacher was taking too long. He went and told the preacher to wrap up and allow him advertise his product too. A squabbled ensued and the two of them were pushed out of the bus only for another preacher to start another session of praise and worship. That was how Lagos welcomed me. We left Ojota at 1:00PM when the Army arrived and chased the miscreant away and removed the barricades on the road.

 

I actually planed spending two days with Auntie Deborah but I ended up spending one week.

Auntie Deborah has four Kids through caesarian sessions; she has three girls and a boy. Her Car dealer husband wants more male children, Auntie’s doctor had warned her against another pregnancy since she could not deliver her children naturally, and consequently the husband was threatening to marry a second wife. That was the scenario I met in Lagos. I warned my sister against another pregnancy but she said she would rather conceive and bear the husband another son instead of the man to marry another woman, I told her that she already had both sexes of children, what if she takes in again and it is a girl? All efforts to make her see reason fell on deaf ears that I had no choice but to call Baba and tell him that his daughter was contemplating suicide.

 

Baba was in Lagos the next day in the company of Akin and the DPO of the lekki-Ajah Police station, the man was in plain clothes but has his pistol tucked beneath his shirt.

 

Immediately he entered the gate, Baba ignored all the greetings and summoned every one to the sitting room. There he bore his mind out to all.

Look! Josiah or whatever your name is! If anything happens to my daughter, I will kill you! I swear by Ogun the god of iron! I will shoot you accidentally! Bet wit me! Bet nah! Uncle Josiah shifted away from Baba as he approached him hand outstretched for the bet. I was a police man and I have killed criminals like you in the course of my career!

Haba Baba! Kilode na! Uncle Josiah protested.

You are pushing my daughter to have another baby abi? Even after the doctors have advised against it! After four operations? Ha! Josiah! O fe pa mil’omo! Baba was talking on top of his voice. You want her to die so that you can bring in your concubine abi? Look! I have investigated you before coming here! Bring the woman home! Marry her and let her give you all the sons in this world but I promise you one thing, you and your stupid wife here! The day I hear that she is pregnant mistakenly, ha ha ha, Sango will bath wit your blood! Bet with me! I have brought the Police as a witness today! Baba went on venting his anger while my Sister was crying.

You are there crying! Baba faced Auntie; can’t you read between the lines? Can’t you see the hand writing on the wall? Didn’t you have a male child for him? Are these not his children? Baba pointed at the kids in the sitting room as they surrounded their weeping mother.

See their heads like their fathers! Yet he says he needs more boys! Don’t worry, you will get more boys! But not from Deborah!

Excuse me sir! Sir please let me explain things to you! Uncle Josiah was raising his fingers to be heard.

 

Okay speak! Baba said and paused

 

Sir, I did not force her o! It was her that said she wanted to give it another try because I said I was going to marry another woman to give me more sons! He said. Baba, the truth is that I need more sons, at least two more! A man of my stature should not have just one heir! I have worked too hard that what I have is too much for only one boy!

 

Ye! Ye! Ye! Baba screamed jumping on one foot. I was shocked but I know Baba with his drama. So all these ones are not Children? Simply because they are girls abi? Ha! May they use you to sacrifice to Ogun instead of a dog for you are not better than a dog! Look at Josiah o! Look at Josiah talking of stature! Baba was prancing about the suiting gesticulating as he spoke on top of his voice.

 

You are a very wicked fellow this Josiah! And you! Deborah, are a very foolish woman! This man wants you dead! And when you die, he will bring in his concubine. No one will blame him then, we will all blame you for not heeding your doctor’s advice! My daughter let him marry ten more women if he likes! Thank God for the ones he has given you and live your life to the fullest! Don’t allow another woman to come in and maltreat your children when you have gone! If you are pushed to the wall in this house, my dear come back home! Or look for another house and start afresh if you do not want to leave Lagos! I am there for you and you know it! Nonsense!

 

The Police DPO went close to Uncle Josiah and started talking to him but Baba’s voice would not let us hear what he was telling him.

Baba interrupted: is it not this same boy that had only a pair of jumper trousers and rubber slippers when he married you? He was talking to Auntie Deborah, was it not after your third child that you people came and paid your bride price and he married you properly? Was it not me that introduced him into the ‘faya wo’ smuggling business at Ilorin? The first set of cars he smuggled into this town was by my assistance! I financed it Deborah! Is it true or false? He asked.

 

Baba faced Uncle Josiah: so now you have stature abi? And your stature needs sons abi? Ha ha ha! Oloshi olori buruku! Koni da fun stature!

Look Deborah! If I hear that you are pregnant again for this big headed idiot ehn? I will kill him and then disown you before you die! I will not bury any of my children! Lailai! Look at his head like Olumo rock! No woman can deliver a child that looks like him normally! All the children are having his head shape and that is why you could not push them out naturally! The heads of your babies alone weighs half of their entire body weight! Olori nla! Akin! DPO! Let’s leave this stupid house joor! Baba marched out with his entourage.

I quickly ran inside and carried my bag and joined Baba without saying good bye to my host of one week. We dropped the DPO at his office; Baba gave him an envelope and spent about ten minutes with him talking. Akin drove us back home.

 

I was shuttling between our farms just to please Baba and make happy that I was taking charge of the agro allied companies.

Baba was also visiting us intermittently during the year 1999 at Ife. In the year 2000, I rounded up my NYSC programme and came back fully to the west to think of what next to do. My wife was in her fifth year in school, Gbadebo was already in second year and Tunde in JSS 2, My dogs have turned to giant dogs that keeps neighbours awake when they start barking at night. Whenever I walked them through the streets of Ife, children follow me about while other Bingo dogs scurry away with tail tucked between their legs. I lock them up during the day and let them loose at night.

 

Yemisi and I started building our own house along the University road Ife; it was a block of two flats separated by a common wall. Yemisi did not know that the second flat was her Hospital to be.

On the 3rd day of August 2000 Baba paid us a visit at Ife, he drove himself. Akin was not around as he went for a Cocoa dealers association conference in Accra Ghana. Akin was the biggest Cocoa dealer in Ekiti state.

Baba came with a keg of herbs for my wife.

My dear wife! He said after all greetings and pleasantries. This herb is from the best ‘Iya elewe omo’ in our village. It is very potent! Take a cup at night before going to bed and first thing early in the morning! Anything blocking your womb from conceiving will be washed away in one week!

Jesu Christi o! I exclaimed; haba Baba!

 

Kilode? What is the matter? He asked me looking surprised

What is this nah? I asked irritated by his encroaching attitude.

What is what? He fired back.

Yemisi immediately started to cry

Baba you see now? You see what you have done? I asked angrily

Ha! What did I do nah? He asked looking exasperated; I am only acting as a concerned father nah! He said; you have been married for close to two years now without any sign of pregnancy! Kilode? I should sit down without doing anything? He looked sad.

Yemisi got up and left our presence in tears

Baba we are okay!

No! No! You are not okay! Else you should be getting ready for your second baby by now! You people are still very young!

 

Oh my God! I said sadly; I looked at him sternly; Baba I will run from you o! I will just relocate to the east and change my phone number! Are you a woman? This is what a woman should be doing nah!

My dear! He said: I am a man as well as a woman! My wife died over thirty years ago and I single handedly took care of your sisters until they all got married. When they were having similar issues in their marriages it was my call to help out and I did!! He continued; I did not come here to stay, I simply came to help.

Baba! My wife is a medical doctor! I said

Medical student! He corrected.

Okay! Yes medical student! I concurred; but we have our own plans. We are not ready now; my wife is still in school!

Oh! Why did you think I wanted you to marry and settle down quickly? Do you even know your own age now? You are above thirty! Or you want me to die before you start having children?

Daddy at least you should have discussed with me privately before spilling everything out before her like this nah!

No! No! No! That is not my style! I don’t indulge in gossip! That would be gossiping! He said

Ha!

Yes ke! I don’t do hide and seek games even as a child. I have been and always will be very blunt. I did not come to stay, I am going back home now, I will leave the herbs with you. When your wife finishes shedding her tears ensure she starts taking them today and if you like, pour it away after I have gone, I will be back in three weeks to know how far. He stood up and left my house.

 

 

That was when I made up my mind to relocate and leave familiar environment. I started looking for a job. I went through the internet and Tuesday Guardian newspapers applying for jobs and before long I started getting invitations for examinations and interviews, this took me severally to Lagos and I stayed in the house of Auntie Deborah.

 

The new wife of the husband gave birth to a set of twin girls through caesarian operation. The woman almost died during child birth. Auntie Deborah has a fabric shop at the ‘Eko Idumota’ market. My sister was always very happy whenever I visit her house; she said I saved her life for telling Baba about her plans.

 

I got job offers from Nigerian breweries Plc and Diamond Bank at the same time so I opted for the Breweries partly because of my love for Gulder beer and the fact that it was an engineering job.

I resumed at the company’s technical training school at Ibadan breweries on 15th of November 2000. I was accommodated at the company’s guest house inside the Brewery, my feeding and laundry was free for six months. I changed my SIM card because of Baba and Yemisi’s mother’s incessant calls about Yemisi and pregnancy.

 

I had gone to visit the Adegoke’s on my resumption an Ibadan breweries to intimate them of my employment, everything went well until Yemisi’s other started singing Baba’s tone.

It was time to start thinking about a child after all. Yemisi was twenty three years old and rounding up her fifth year while I was already thirty one years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Literature, Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child…Season 15

CHAPTER 24

 

It was a small crowd that followed me home from Akin’s house. When my village people saw me and Akin walking towards my house with my travelling bag on my back, they knew I did not die after all. There were salutations from every compound we walked past. We walked past the front of Baba Land lord’s house; it was Tunde that opened the door when he heard the noise from the people following me home. He screamed when he saw me and ran into my arms, we hugged passionately.

Brother you are alive? He asked

Yes my dear, God protected me! I replied

Wow! I thank God you are alive o! Brother do you know you are my uncle?

Yes I know now! I replied

Baba land lord is your father! He said enthusiastically

Yes my dear! So I just heard.

You are my uncle, brother BJ, you are my blood! He said as we all marched towards my house.

It was at this point that those following us started arguing about the striking resemblance between Tunde and me.

No wonder Bolaji loved this boy so much! One said

 

Hmm! Blood smells! Another said

 

 

Hmm! Blood is thicker that water indeed! Another offered

 

They were saying a lot of things to my hearing but in my mind, I was troubled. My emotion was running wild. How will I react when I see the woman that brought me into this world and abandoned me? Hate or love? How will I react when I see my friend and drinking partner who has suddenly turned out to be my elusive father?

Akin! I called my friend

Yes BJ! He answered

I feel like a bottle of Gulder!

No nah! Not now please!

I am scared! And why are these people following us?

You are a miracle! You returned from the land of the dead, and people follow miracles!

Hmm? I asked

Hmm! He hummed.

Brother! Daddy will get well if he sees you! He thinks you are dead! Tunde said as he ran into my house through the front door.

 

We got to the front of the house, I could not move further, I stood looking at the closed door and opened windows. Normally every opening would have been locked up awaiting my arrival. Although I had given Baba landlord the spare key for contingency sake, he would not ordinarily open my door or windows.

While I was still outside looking at the house, the door opened and Baba land lord limped forward with the aid of a walking stick, Tunde was beside him beaming from ear to ear. He stood looking at me.

Eniyan tabi ebora? Is this a human being or a ghost? He asked

Eni yan! Akin replied

Mobolaji! He called

Baba Landlord! I replied.

He placed his walking stick by the wall and tightened his wrapper securely around his waist. He picked his walking stick and limped towards me.

Mobolaji! He called again

Baba! I replied

Every one was quiet.

You are not dead? He asked.

God rescued me sir! I was killed but God rescued me! It’s a long story! I said.

Ha! Mobolaji!

Baba!

We embraced as he got to me; we both broke down in tears as my escorts shouted in jubilation and cheers.

After crying together for three minutes.

Mobolaji!

Sir?

Has Akin told you?

Yes sir!

I am your father!

Yes sir!

It is strange!

Yes sir!

We used to drink together!

Yes sir!

We were friends’ o!

Yes sir!

Please come with me! Let’s go inside the house

No, I can’t! I said. Let’s sit outside at the terrace

Okay, let’s sit out at the terrace; he concurred

 

As I moved to sit on a Chair at the terrace, Baba landlord turned to address the small crowd that had gathered.

 

He is my son!

Yes we know! The people replied

He is an Engineer!

Baba Engineer! The father of an Engineer! The crowd cheered!

We used to drink together!

I have always loved him as the Son I did not have!

But he is actually my Son! A product of my loins!

I met his mother twenty eight years ago in Lagos!

I wanted to marry her after my late wife but fate separated us

I knew she was pregnant for me but I thought she would have aborted it because she was leading a rough life then in Lagos

But she changed o! Yes! She actually changed when we were together but you know back then nah! There was no telephone so when I was drafted back to the north I forgot all about her!

Go! Go and tell the whole world that ASP Bamidele Fapohunda has a son! An heir! If I die today, I will die happy because I have not labored in vain! All my daughters are in their husband homes and none is interested in the vast portions of lands I own in the Village, Akure, Ibadan, Abuja and Kaduna!

Ha Baba Modupe o!

He went down on his knees carefully and with arms stretched upwards

Baba o seun! He said looking up to the heavens

God you are indeed faithful and merciful

How am I to know that you would bless me with a Son in my old age? So my lineage will not end with me? I am an only son to my parents too so I was supposed to have a lot of sons to carry on the Fapohunda name but I had none until now! Oh God you are wonderful

He started a song

Baba Baba Baba Baba!!

O se o Baba!

O se o Baba!

Mo wa dupe Baba!

The crowd took the song from him as he struggled to get up with the aid of his walking stick; he limped towards me and sat on an empty plastic chair

Tunde! Baba called

Get us palm wine o! My son has come home! Get every one here something to drink!

Tunde! Get your uncle a bottle of Gulder! Akin said as Tunde was about to leave for the errand.

God bless you Akin! I said. Em Tunde! Chilled one please! And make it two bottles! I shouted as Tunde sped off.

 

Mobolaji! Baba called me: what happened to you? I came to Owerri and heard a very terrible story about your death, I went to the Police station for your corpse but I knew better since I was one of them before! Your Corpse was government property because you were killed as a criminal. I left Owerri broken hearted and suffered a stroke when I got home.

Baba, it is a very long and painful story! I will tell you everything later, but first, where is my mother?

She is sleeping, she just took her drugs, it makes her to sleep, he said.

So what is wrong with her? I asked

It is Cancer my dear! She has Cancer in her bones!

Jesu Christ o! I exclaimed.

So it is not H.I.V Aids? I asked

No! No! It is Cancer!

Is she going to make it? I asked

No! She has a week or two, she has done several operations in Lagos but the disease kept coming back.

Can money save her now? I asked again

No! The Doctors said no amount of money can save her now. Mobolaji! I have the money! I would arrange for her treatment abroad if there was hope. The Cancer had already taken parts of her body in previous operations! Now it is the bones!

Hmm! So it has to take Cancer to bring my mother back to me? I asked Baba.

Mobolaji take it easy! Do not be hard on her. She has her reason for doing what she did.

What? I asked. She has her reasons for abandoning me all my life? Twenty eight years!

Mobolaji! Look at you! Akin intervened. Look at what you have turned out to become! Would you have turned out this way if she were around? I don’t think so! Of all the Youths in this Village how many of them cam beat their chest when you stand and talk? Yet most of them have both Parents alive! Even me here that had a rich father and my Mother was doing well, was it not you, the so called Orphan that came to my rescue?

So my boy! Baba continued; just thank God for your life! Forgive and forget! She is dying so let her go in peace. Thank God also that she came home alive instead of her Corpse being brought back home, the two of you can sort out your selves before she dies. I have not left her side since she returned home and told me about you, every one is afraid of coming close to her because they thought her sickness is contagious. She said she told your grand ma about my affair with her in Lagos and how she bore me a Son but before I retired and came back home, your grand ma had died. She also has been battling with Cancer for over fifteen years; she could not come home when her mother died because she just had an operation then. Mobolaji! Your mother’s two breasts have been cut off due to Cancer!

Jesu Christi o! I exclaimed.

That was even some years back before the thing came back into her bones! Do we cut of her bones too? She is destined to die by this Cancer I must admit! Baba said. Your mother is not as terrible as portrayed by the Villagers here! She was simply looking for the Golden Fleece that the Village does not have to offer. Many people ran to the City in pursuit of greener pasture, some made it and some did not! Your mother belonged to the later.

 

Tuned and one of his friends returned with buckets of drinks and every one present had something to drink before dispersing to their homes. I gulped down a chilled bottle of my ultimate beer, gave out a large belch and dropped the empty bottle on the floor before opening the second bottle.

You and this Gulder sha! Akin said

My brother! It is the Ultimate of beers o!

I was by her bed side when she woke up the next evening; we stared at each other for about three minutes before I broke the silence.

 

I don’t know what to call you! I said

Who are you? She asked with a raspy weak voice

You tell me! I said

I should tell you? She asked as she squinted her face trying to figure me out

Ha! My God! They said you were dead! She said. Have you come to take me with you?

I did not die! I am alive! I came back home two days ago! I came here yesterday morning but you have been asleep until now! I said without emotions.

Mobolaji! She called

Yes? I answered

I am your mother!

Of course I know! I snapped

I have struggled through life trying to do things my own way without success! She said

By being a prostitute abi? By giving me a bad name! Do you know what I have been through in life? I started fending for my self as long as I started walking. I grew up being ridiculed as a bastard in the village. I ate from the refuse; I struggled with dogs at the butchers slap for pieces of bones! I started hunting at five! All by myself! No father! No mother for me to emulate! I was a burden too big for grandma because she could barely take care of herself! Your mother died in this house and I did not know for three days! I was sleeping in the same house with her corpse thinking she was asleep! I took desperate risks in life that a guided Child would not take! The fact that I am alive today is a miracle! I was killed! It was just God that still has a use of me that is why he brought me back alive! Look at me! Look at my body!

Tears filled her eyes as I ranted on. Baba came in and pulled me out of the room, I was crying and yelling on top of my voice, my mother was crying too.

 

Mobolaji take it easy with her! Baba said; the tears you are making her shed is killing her! She is suffering already. You have a right to be angry but please be lenient with a dying woman! Your mother!

Baba pulled me close and rubbed my naked rough body. Let’s go back to her, put on your clothes, please be a man! You have said more than enough.

 

She was struggling to leave her bed when we entered the room.

Where are going to? Baba asked her

She was sobbing as we pulled her back into the bed. She held my hand by the wrist. Her fingers were very skinny, like raw bones clasping on my wrist weakly.

I am sorry! I am sorry for everything! Please I beg you in the name of God to forgive me. I do not deserve your forgiveness but for the sake of the almighty that commands us to forgive one another. Because of that God that brought you back from the land of the dead! Please find a place in your heart to forgive me! She begged amidst tears.

But it is not easy nah! I am not God nah! How will I just forgive you like that? After abandoning me all my life! What if I had died? What if I had joined a bad gang and become useless in life? What if I had not gone to school? I asked

You were supposed to be there for me! To nurture, protect and direct me! You were not there! I grew up a nuisance and a scavenger!

 

I know my son! I know! But if we do not forgive one another we would not have friends to play with! She said; I have done terribly wrong in my life and today look at me! Look at where I have landed myself! I would have returned home long before now but I have nothing to fall back on! Absolutely nothing! All I had was spent on my sickness for the past fifteen years! Look at me nah! I don’t have anything any where to offer to you. But I was sending money home to mama for your school. I told her to be saving the money until you are entering secondary school, I sent your picture and a note to her, she was to keep the note and picture in the box where the money is kept

Jesu Christi o! I saw the money o! I saw the money years after mama had died. So it was you? I exclaimed.

 

I have only come home to be buried, I am a born again Christian now, I have repented of my sins for over ten years now but Cancer had tied me down in Lagos. I knew you were in School at Ibadan, I knew of your discovery of the Alabi heist, I knew you were in the University in the east. I was too ashamed to come around you and also I did not want to come and distort your progress in life. My sickness required a lot of money and my presence would have spoilt things for you.

You knew everything about me? I asked through teary eyes.

Yes son! I had my informants, but the only mistake was that I had thought it was your father training you all the way. I did not know that mama did not hand you over to him before her death.

 

But why did you not come back to him? At least you have a son for him, I asked

His daughters hated me! They said I was not fit to be their step mother! They said I was a prostitute. They promised to stop me with everything at their disposal. I had to stay clear for your safety. They did not know I had you for their father. When their father was working in Lagos, they came for holidays and they saw me in their fathers house. Their mother had died by then. They drove me out of the house and threw my luggage outside. There was no telephone to call their father what the children had done so I went my way and when I returned weeks after hoping the Kids might have returned to boarding school, the father had been transferred out of Lagos! I did not hear from him again but he knew I was some weeks pregnant for him already. We had met at a party organized by the police officers in Yaba, we recognized each other as being from the same Village. One thing led to the other and we started an affair. I was ready to change my life style as he promised to take care of me but it was not to be.

I am tired she said.

She had gotten exhausted by talking with me.

Sorry Mummy! Please rest! I advised

You called me Mummy, she whispered with a wry smile as she released my wrist.

I moved towards her head and rubbed her shaven head, she closed her eyes and slept.

I wished she was strong enough to hear the things I wanted to tell her.

Mummy! I called softly: she was snoring softly already

I forgive you! Even though you were not there, you were still there! You decided to stay away so as not to alter my progress in life? We could have spent the money used for my education for your treatment! Perhaps the Modupes’ would not have had access to my money and we could have used it for your sickness. Perhaps if you had returned much earlier, my father would have spent all his money on you without having extra for my school so you stayed back!

You sacrificed your life so as to redeem your image. You are a hero mummy! You are not selfish! And I don’t care what people say about you because they really do not know you. I love you mother and I thank God that you have found peace with him. I pulled up the cover cloth and wrapped her well before following my dad into the sitting room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 25

My mother died the next week that I arrived home just as her Doctors had said. She died in her sleep. I spent only nine days and nights with the woman through whom I came into this world. But those nine days are indelible in my memory, I was with her every moment she was awake. I told her about my adventures at FUTO including my relationships with the girls, I told her about Modupe and her mother, I told her about Uncle Agegoke and his family, I told her about Commodore Aboderin. Anytime I am with her, my Dad always wanted to be present too so as to listen to whatever story I had to tell mummy. I told her about how I survived as a teacher, a Barber, a Bar man and as an IT student. I told her about my love for Yemisi and my desire to marry her as soon as I am settled but I am afraid of her father. I asked her if she would not want to see her grand children before leaving us. My stories excited my mother; she laughed and cried all together as she listens to the adventures of her only Child BJ.

 

We bonded so much that she did not want to die again, she wished for a miracle to save her life so we started praying for restoration. I personally fed and bathed her daily and changed her clothes and cleaned her up as she defecates and urinates on the bed. But God knows best as she died on a Sunday morning, we talked into the night on the Saturday and prayed with her before going to our rooms to sleep. It was my dad that came and told me around 8.30AM that she had gone.

Your mother has gone to meet her maker at last! He said as he came and slumped on the couch in my room.

I screamed and ran to her room, daddy had covered her face with the cover clothe but I pulled it up and carried her in my arms.

Mummy! Mummy! I called but she was gone. I hugged her body and cried bitterly.

My dad came and joined me and together we knelt by her bed and prayed.

 

We notified the church and her family before burying her in the evening, a lot of people turned out for the burial ceremony.

 

During the vote of thanks speech after the interment, I addressed the people present. The people were busy eating and drinking under the canopies reserved for guests. I collected the microphone and went to the centre of the field.

 

You are all welcome to bid my mother a final farewell to the land of the dead! She might have been a prostitute, she might have committed untold numbers of abortions, and she might have slept with the married, the single, the poor and the rich! She might have done untold evil before God and man but she was my mother! And for the times I spent with her, there is no better mother in this world! All what you people say about her are her past! I did not know her like that! I know her as a repented born again Christian that sacrificed her life for me! She has been sick for the past fifteen years and had purposely stayed away so that I could go to school and become somebody in life, she could have come home with her sickness so that we rally round for money and treat her but she refused! She was suffering while I was schooling. That act of hers means a lot to me!

My mother was a product of her environment! She was not given an opportunity for a good life as we all know the story of her mother too. As a child she was not given the privilege of a better life so she took that choice which was available to her, her mother’s foot steps! And what most of you do not know is that, that prostitute! That runaway woman! That woman not fit enough to marry my father! That pig! Did not die of HIV but of Cancer! And she is today in heaven with her maker! She repented of her sins years back and had been serving God. You that is condemning her, where will you be when you leave this world?

 

There was murmuring in the crowd but I continued.

If anyone should bear this woman any grudge in this village then it should be me! ‘The abandoned Child’! But I do not! Rather I love her so much! I love her so much it hurts me to loose her. I wish she had lived long enough to allow me take care of her. My mother is resting in the bosom of the lord. Where will you go when you die?

When you point an accusing finger at some one, three of your own fingers point back at you! So check yourself before you wreck your self instead of being busy indulging in malicious village gossips! Most of you that are here today did not as much as visited her when she was sick! You stayed back spreading rumour that she has a contagious disease! None of you came around to offer a cup of herb as help! No one! But today you all have come to drink and eat and shed crocodile tears as if you cared! The dead woman was contagious abi? But the food and drinks at her funeral are not contagious abi? I never knew my mother was so popular! Hypocrites all of you! Don’t you people have shame? Some of you even came to me two days ago to demand for certain rites to be performed before my mother is buried! You claimed you were her family members! Jesu Christi o! So my mother has family in this village! Wonders shall never seize! Where have you been all these while? You said I should provide a big Ram and a gallon of palm oil for the rites abi? Don’t worry I will give you an Elephant! Thieves all of you!

 

One after the other the crowd dispersed leaving their foods half eaten. Some turned their foods into nylon bags and left with it, some hid the wraps of moi moi, amala and pounded yam inside their agbada while they poured the thick egusi soup with orisirisi meat into their caps and left with it. Some did not even bulge; they sat there and ate to their fill while some others were busy pouring left over foods into sacks before scurrying out of my presence.

 

My mother was buried on my fenced plot of land given to me by the community. I wished she had brought her things from Lagos as I so much desired to have her old pictures, her pictures when she was young and beautiful but all I have are the ones I took as I met her at home sick. Those are the pictures my Children will see. The sick face of their grand mother who sacrificed her life so their daddy could get an education.

 

ASP Bamidele Fapohunda invited all his children and grand children for the Christmas holiday with the sole purpose of introducing me to the family.

I did not start up well with the eldest daughter who should be fourteen years older than me, Auntie Esther who lives with her Police husband at Abuja.

 

I greeted her when I entered the sitting room upon invitation by Baba and she mistakenly asked me a question that annoyed me.

Hope you are not still mourning the death of your mother? Sorry o! She had said

Why are you sorry? I asked her. Do you have a hand in her death?

 

Ha! Every one in the room was shocked at my reaction. Baba was not in the room then.

What sort of answer is that Bolaji? Do you have something against me before? She asked.

 

Yes I do! I said angrily. You chased away my mother out of your dad’s house years back in Lagos! You said she was not good enough for your dad!

Yes we did! She retorted. Your mother was a prostitute!

 

And what were you? I asked. A saint abi? Have you never slept with any other man apart from your husband? Did you do it for free or with a little gratification from the man? Have you never had a boyfriend that sleeps with you and gives you money or gifts? If you have, then you have no moral right to call another woman a prostitute! I challenged.

 

Meaning what? She asked.

Meaning the kettle should not call the pot ‘the black one’

Your mother was a professional! She said.

You were an amateur! I fired back.

There was noise in the house as everyone started complaining and cautioning us until Baba himself came and shouted every one down

 

What is happening here? He demanded from no one in particular.

This boy is so rude! Auntie Esther said.

Which boy? Tunde? Baba asked.

No! This one behind your back! She said pointing at me.

 

You must be very stupid to point a finger at me and refer to me as ‘this one’! Who the hell do you think you are? You must have a loose nut in your brain box to call me a boy at my age! What arrogance! Are you feeding me? I challenged her furiously. If not for the presence of your husband here and for the presence of Baba you would have seen the mad side of me today! How dare you call my late mother a prostitute in my presence? My own mother! If you had not chased her out of your fathers house in Lagos years back who knows maybe she would be alive today? She was ready to turn a new leaf and settle with Baba after the death of your mother! Why did you not give her a chance? I asked shouting.

 

When did this one happen, Esther? Baba asked; did you at anytime chase his mother away from my house in Lagos?

 

Yes we did daddy! The second daughter answered; we were young and the death of mama was still fresh on our minds. We did not welcome the idea of another woman coming into our family at that time. We were teenagers!

 

But that was about three years after we lost your mother nah! All of you were in boarding school then and I was lonely! But how come I never learnt about it until now? Baba asked.

 

They threatened her never to come back to your house. They were on holidays then so my mother waited until resumption of school before going back to check on you but was told you had been transferred back to the north, she made several attempts to reach you at the office but you were always on patrol. She had her baby alone and she later came to drop me with my grandma in the Village. She told grandma I was your son. My grandma did not reveal your identity to me until she died after which you retired and came back home. I explained.

 

I am sorry! I am sorry for all of these! Baba said; it is my entire fault and I accept full responsibility. Em, Mobolaji, these are your elder ones! Please accord them the respect they deserve! I have never known you to be rude or arrogant as a youth. And you Esther! You don’t call a twenty eight years old man a boy in his father’s house! It is not done! Now, Mobolaji! Oya, apologize to your sister!

 

I went before her and prostrated

E ma bi nu ma! I am sorry ma! I apologized to the husband too and to other relations present.

The Introductions were done and I was inducted into the Fapohunda family. Baba was to go to my mother’s family home and carry out some traditional rites before claiming me fully. In my part of the world, the man owns the child no matter the circumstance of birth, married or not.

I suddenly became a part of a larger family, I have six elder step sisters and their children, my nieces and nephews that followed me about where ever I went in the Village. I was their only maternal uncle and the kids were all over me with loads of questions. My sisters try to please me one way or the other to cover up for the past years that I was alone. Bu I did not need their help, I was self made. No gap for them to fill so they remained indebted to me some how and I liked it that way.

 

My father shed fresh tears on the day I narrated my ordeal in the hands of the Police Officers at Owerri to him. He screamed again when I pulled off my clothes for him to see my body as I was narrating how I was burnt with hot pressing iron while dangling naked from the ceiling with legs tied. He swore to consult the oracle and send Sango the god of thunder to them, he was furious but I had not finished the story then, when I told him about the rescue by the Navy and the VIP treatment of Oga Dan and my so called girl friend Chioma by the naval police and the eventual arrest of the police officers and other culprits, he was happy that justice eventually prevailed. He was saddened by my sack from the NDA, he would have been more proud to be the father of a military engineer. But he thanked God for my life all the same.

 

My dad insisted we visit Uncle Adegoke’s family before I proceed for the national youth service exercise in January. He felt indebted to the man.

So my dad, my two eldest sisters with their husbands and my friend Akin went to Ibadan in three Cars to pay the Adegoke’s a surprise visit. The boots of our Cars were filled with Yams from Baba’s farm.

Uncle Goke was not expecting us that Saturday morning around 10.00AM, he was dressed in his farm clothes in company of his son Gbadebo and was about entering his car when I pushed the pedestrian gate open and greeted him hastily as I made to open the bigger gates for our small company. Our cars drove in one after the other and parked while he stood with his machete handy looking at us.

I prostrated and greeted him before introducing my people to him. He was confused at first until I told him that the much talked about Baba landlord is actually my biological father! He was happy and he prostrated and greeted my father.

We spent the whole Saturday feasting with the Adegoke’s. It was like a family re union. Like both families have been friends for ages.

My new dad thanked Uncle Adegoke for his efforts in my life; he went into one of the Cars and came back with an envelope.

Please take this as a token of my appreciation. I understand you are into Agriculture, this is the document of my land at Old Ife road, and it is a five hectare parcel of land. Take, it is yours.

Ha! No sir! I can’t take it sir! Please I can’t! Uncle Goke refused

Look! Adegoke! I have forty hectares of land in different parts of Ibadan alone! Common take this thing from me joor!

Uncle Goke collected the envelope and prostrated in gratitude.

 

In the evening, the men sat outside under the Car port to discuss and drink while the women were indoors preparing dinner. Around 7.30PM there was a knock at the pedestrian gate, Gbadebo rushed to attend to the gate. It was Yemisi who had just returned from school. Gbadebo jumped on her and ushered her into the compound carrying her traveling back on his head. She came into the compound and was shocked to see cars and strange men seated with her father. She knelt down and greeted every one before coming to hug her father. Our eyes locked and we smiled at each other before she proceeded to the house.

 

Is that your daughter? My father asked Uncle Goke.

Yes sir! My first daughter! He replied

Is that the girl you told me about? Dad directed the question at me but I pretended not to hear him

Mobolaji! He called.

Sir! Sir! I replied feigning surprise

Is that Goke’s daughter you told me about? Is she the one that is studying medicine in the university? He asked

Yes? She is studying medicine at the university, Mr. Goke offered, and what did Bolaji tell you about her?

They are in love! He wishes to marry her if you would allow him! My father said.

 

Jesu Christi o! I shouted as I got up and ran out of their presence. I opened the pedestrian gate and ran to the nearest beer parlour. This man had killed me!

 

I was at the beer parlour consuming my third bottle of Gulder at 8.00PM when Akin and Yemisi came to meet me there

Ol boy! You no go come house? Akin asked

Guy! Which kind man be this my Papa nah? Who send am message? I beg na wetin happen back there? I asked. My love, are you okay? Hope you were not embarrassed in any way? I asked.

Everything is okay! She said. They called me out and asked if what your father said was the truth!

Jesu Christi o! And what did you say? I asked

 

She was confused at first when they introduced Baba to her as your father, Akin offered; she was just looking at her dad and Baba until I explained to her that you just discovered your father recently and he has come to shoe gratitude to her family for their role in your life. But BJ, I like this your Babe o! she did not give them an answer, she insisted on speaking with you first until her father asked her if you guys are in a relationship and she said yes.

Then what happened? I asked

Your father jumped up and started to sing and dance! Akin said

My God! Come here my love! I pulled Yemisi closer and apologized for my fathers behavior. I paid the bills of my drink and we walked out of the Bar.

 

I am sorry for the embarrassment my love, please I am very sorry! I was not prepared for this at all that was why I ran, I did not know how your dad would react. I should have known that old man had some tricks up his sleeves when he insisted we came to Ibadan with other family members! He had it all planned out! I tried to explain.

 

It is okay! She said; I was equally shocked because you would have informed me some how before bringing your family to meet mine for marriage talk.

 

No! No! Far from it! I said, it was supposed to be an appreciation visit! After I narrated the role your father played in my life to my new found dad, he insisted he must see them! Of course I told him about you too, I said you were still in school but I will wait until you graduate. He said delay was dangerous! He said we can get married while you are still in school, I told him we would need to discuss it and agree together, I mean you and I. that was all we discussed about you and I until he came and embarrassed me. In fact my love, a lot has happened in my life since the last time we saw, it’s been about a year now abi?

Yes! There about. She concurred

My love, I would have been dead! In fact I died and resurrected! A lot happened! Quite a lot! I even ventured into the Army! I would have come to visit you at school in military regalia as a lieutenant!

Ha! For real? What happened? She asked as we approached their gate.

Yes dear! But it was not to be! I could not withstand the vigorous training at NDA. I said.

Oh! Why nah? She asked.

I was broken into pieces by some disgruntled Police men. The men that killed me! My dear, it’s a long story joor! But I will tell you all of it tonight.

 

We entered the compound through the pedestrian gate only to see my father dancing to the music of Orlando Owo while telling them of his escapades as a police officer. Every one was outside listening to him.

I wanted to sneak into the house through the side of a car parked close to the front door when Yemisi’s mother called out.

 

Our inlaw! Run away in-law! Come here o!

Jesu Christi o! I exclaimed. I wanted to turn and flee again but Akin held me back launghing.

Iro ni o! It’s a lie! You are not running away again! He said as he grabbed me by my belt.

Yemisi’s mother got up and danced towards me.

Oko mi! My husband! Don’t worry! Don’t be embarrassed! It is all settled! Your father is a very wonderful man, he had it all planned out without telling you, but we have discussed in detail now.

What did you people discuss please? I asked.

Everything about you and my daughter’s marriage! She said.

What of your husband? How did he react? I asked.

Will he marry his daughter? She asked. Meanwhile I had told him to expect such move from you in no distant future. My daughter does not keep any secret from me so I have of your relationship from the day you had your eyes on her when you saw how matured she had grown! Remember that last time you visited?

Mummy I remember o! Phew! Jesu o seun o! I exclaimed.

She laughed heartily and pulled me to her husband who got up and hugged me passionately.

We need to talk sir! I told him. I need to give you an update of what has happened to me since we last saw each other.

So while my dad was busy telling the people about February 3rd, I followed Uncle Goke into the sitting room, I beckoned at my love to follow me. We sat down around the centre table and I told them everything that I had been through in the past twelve months. The high point was when I pulled off my clothes and showed them my body. Those outside ran into the house when they heard the screams from Uncle Goke and Yemisi.

Yemisi however went through the scars and promised that she would help me get some ointment that would clear the scars appreciable. That’s my Doctor speaking! I said while the whole house laughed. She was twenty years old and just finished her three hundred levels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “The Abandoned Child…Season 15”

Posted in Literature, Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child …Season 14

CHAPTER 22

I finished my clearance from school and collected my result. I still saw some of my mates who did not graduate immediately at school running around as normal students because they had “carry over” courses. Many thought I had “carry over” courses too when they saw me around the administrative office.

I traveled to the Army 82 division HQ in Enugu to meet with the GOC with a letter from Commodore Aboderin. He was expecting me and he gave me a hand written recommendation letter sealed in his official envelope “Office of the GOC 82 Division”. I was to submit the letter to the commission panel at NDA.

Amara and I had started to date naturally; she had spent most of her free moments with me. She is a very nice company and I wished I had consented to DJ Slams advice earlier, not to wire her o! But to enter a relationship with her because she was so different from Chioma and her crazy crew.

After two months of training at NDA Kaduna, I could not continue with the exercise, I was not fit to go on! I was not qualified to be an Army officer. I cried from night till dawn the day I was given my discharge letter base on medical complications.

It had started from the first day I arrived at NDA for screening, everything had gone well until it was time for medical check up. Everyone in the Clinic that saw me remove my clothes screamed when they saw my body. If not for the quality of my referee, I would have been disqualified immediately. The chief medical consultant was invited by the resident Doctor, a major in the Army to determine the progress of my screening. The Chief consultant, a brigadier general said I should be given a pass because of my referee. He asked me about the scars on my body and I told him how it came about and how Commodore Aboderin came to my rescue. He felt sorry for me. He said if I had incurred the injuries while serving as a Soldier, it would not be an issue, but to be so battered when I have not even joined the Army was unacceptable especially for the fact that I have been operated upon. He told me I would not be able to survive the six months training here if really my joints were dislocated and my bones broken. However I will be an exception because I have an outstanding result.

The Medical Doctor made his recommendation on my form and presented it to the panel but the members of the panel waved it aside and I was eventually short listed but the police brutality I suffered almost year ago had done too much damage to my body.

I could not stand for long on the parade ground, my ankles and knees begins to shake, it started gradually at first and I was enduring it but it worsened with time.
I could not do much “push up” exercise, initially I was doing up to forty push ups but as time progressed, it reduced until I could not do more that ten pus ups before my shoulder pulls off and I will just lie on my belly like a snake until some one pulls me up and my shoulder is pushed into place again.
On the obstacle crossing exercise where we cross over a deep ditch filled with bottles and stones by pulling on a strong rope tied across the ditch, we use our hands and legs and pull across the ditch without looking down into the ditch.
Every time I tried to climb the rope, I fell into the ditch half way because it reminded me of the day I was hung on the ceiling and secondly my shoulder pulls off the Socket midway and I ended up falling into the ditch and sustaining injuries that led me to the clinic. I was always in and out of the clinic. I was a complete mess and I was always in pains.

The Army had no choice but to call back the person on the awaiting list from my state to replace me and I was advised to go back home and take care of my self and avoid rigorous activities for at least five years so I could heal up completely.

To say I was sad is an understatement! I was broken down and out! I was depressed. Not after seeing the bright future the army had for me! Not after wearing the Army uniforms that fitted me so much like I was a model! Not after enjoying so much respect from soldiers and civilians in the NDA barracks! I had planned on going for a conversion course two years after I pass out so that I would become a regular combatant instead of a short service officer. Short service officers are those that joined the army after graduating for Polytechnics or universities to be come officers and cannot grow beyond the rank of a Colonel. They are mostly retired after spending fifteen years and not exceeding the rank of a Colonel, they stay very long at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. But if such an officer goes for a conversion course and passes, then he looses one step seniority, that is, his mates move a rank ahead of him while he marks time at a rank for almost xix years but after then, he begins to grow and leaves his mates at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel to become a general. I had it all planned out.
I did not write to tell Uncle Goke because I wanted to appear in my uniform to surprise the family. I had fantasized on marching into Ijan Ekiti in my military uniform. My God! I was depressed.
I returned every military property with me to the Army and left with my nap sack on my back on a Friday morning in December 1997. The only thing that reminds me of my sojourn to NDA was the pictures I took while I was there. Outside the premises I turned back and looked at the gate of the NDA with teary eyes, I sat by the gate and began to cry like a hungry baby and I cried my eyes out shamelessly. Why is my own luck different? Must I suffer gravely before I succeed? I am an Orphan by every right but I have not allowed that to pull be back, then why is life so unfair to me? Have I not suffered enough in this life already? From the loss of Grand ma to the death of Pharaoh to the humiliation form modupe and eventual rip off by modupe’s family. To the hustling for survival at Owerri, teaching, barbing, bar man, burning the mid night candle! All in the bid to dare to succeed and now that I think I have succeeded, this is where I find myself. I wish I could kill myself but I know that was not possible, I am not a white man. If I kill myself I would go to hell fire! So I have grown to understand.
I was seated at the NDA gate until 6 PM when one of the instructors Major Chudi was about to drive in and saw me dozing. He called me and invited me for a drink. We drove down to the Officers mess in NDA barracks. He advised me to go back to my school and pick up my NYSC letter as another bath of youth corps members would be hitting camp early next year 1998. He told me to take what has happened in good faith and move on with my life. He told me that I already had the military connections and my mates in NDA are my colleagues for life, he said wherever I am in Nigeria, one of them must be in a barracks close to me so whenever I need any military assistance, I should walk into any barracks close to me and asked for any member of my intake in the barracks. I drank six bottles of Gulder in the mess before he drove me to the airport to catch a 7.30 PM flight to Owerri. That was my first time in a plane, I wished the plane could crash and kill only me; at least it would not be suicide. But I slept off immediately the plane took off.
I took an airport Taxi that drove me straight to the Naval Logistics training school at Owerrinta. Commodore already knew what had happened to me. He pulled me into a hug and held me close as I started to cry all over that night. He brought out a bottle of brandy and we shared. He reminded me that it was not the will of God that I become an Army officer. He said I should move on by going for my National youth service corps programme, he said he would call the NYSC commandant to post me to Owerri so I could be close to him, he said he can influence my posting into the Navy training school to teach or to work with their engineers.
I told him I would prefer the engineers.
I told him I could no longer stay with him in the barracks because all his boys that have been respecting me because they knew I was going to become an officer soonest would now be laughing at me when they realized I was sacked from NDA. He said we have many non commissioned Officers in the barracks that have gone to NDA and returned without success, it was not a big deal but a way of life. He said I should nit think about what people think about me but to focus on how to climb up to a grater height. He said that as long as I am a graduate, I will always drink in the officer’s mess and not the petty officers or soldiers mess! He felt bad though, especially for the fact that he had blown the GOC’s slot. The GOC will never give him any opportunity to recommend someone again. That is how it works. I felt worse.

I went o visit Amara the next day, she was at her off-campus home so I went o meet her at school, she was so happy to see me at first but there was no joy in my face so she knew all was not well. We went outside and sat beneath a tree and I told her the whole story and she became very sad too. She said she had told all her friends that when I would come to see her, I would come with a military uniform with the rank of a second lieutenant. I told her that that was my plan too. Some of her friends came around to meet her as we sat under the tree and when she introduced me to them as Bolaji her Boy friend, they saluted and stamped their feet in the military way “Shun sir” they said. These made me sad and I left her with tears in my eyes.
I suddenly fell home sick, I was done with Owerri for now, I needed to be where no one knew of my military exploits, I needed to go home and come back for my NYSC call up letter in January 1998. Meanwhile Oga Dan and co are being held at the state CID facility awaiting trial. They will definitely go to jail for murder and aiding and abating.

I told the Commodore that I was home sick and would love to travel home and return in January, it was already eight days to Christmas. He said I could go with one of his Cars but I declined. I do not know how to drive yet and it was not necessary. I did not tell Amara that I was going home. I felt I had let her down. Meanwhile with her brother and co about to go to jail because of me, there was not going to be a smooth sail future between Amara and I. how can you marry the man that sent your elder brother to jail? This is Africa. Her family will never accept me. Our people have a saying that “A bad wife is tolerable but not bad in-laws”.

CHAPTER 23

I was tempted to stop by at Ibadan and see the Adegokes’ on my way home to Ekiti but I was not in a good mood so I brooded on my misfortunes in the bus until I got to the Motor Park at Ado Ekiti. I trekked to the mini park where our Village Cabs parked and boarded a cab. I entered the Cab and there was my friend Akin with his wife and a new born baby already in the cab. He was surprised to see me
Eniyan nie tabi ebora? He asked if I was dead or alive with obvious uneasiness as he shifted in his seat away from me
Kilode? Ebora bi bawo? I asked.
We thought you were dead! He said.
Dead? Who told you guys that? I asked
Are you really alive Bolaji? He asked as he felt my flesh with his hands.
I am alive Akin! I said. I had some issues sha! But I survived it! Meanwhile who told you guys that I was dead?
Baba landlord! He went to Owerri to look for you, he located the Hotel where you worked and he was told that the Police had shot and killed you accidentally, he asked for your Corpse and he was told it is government’s property still under investigation. He planned to go there again after the New Year celebration to bring your corpse home for proper burial.
Wow! Well, I survived it. But why did he go to Owerri to look for me? I asked.
Hmm, BJ, a lot has happened since you left o! But thank God you are back, hale and hearty! How far with your NYSC programme? Where were you posted to? He asked.
I have not gone! I will follow the next batch in January, I said. My wife! How are you and the baby? I greeted the wife who had been stealing glances at me as I discussed with Akin.
We are doing well sir! Welcome sir! She said.
Is that my baby? Can I have him? I asked
He is your name sake! We named him after you. Akin said.
Wow! I am flattered! I said. Give me BJ junior please!
Madam handed over the chubby little Lad to me and my heart melted. Akin my age mate is already a father at twenty eight. The child looked brand new.
How old is he? I asked.
Three months yesterday! We went to the hospital for vaccination. Wow BJ! I am so glad to see you o! You must stay in my house tonight! There is a lot to talk!
No wahala! Wow see how cute this baby is! He looks like em, who does he look like? You or Iyawo?
Omo daddy ni o! The wife said. Carbon copy of his father!
Ehen? I have never been privileged to be with kids so it was difficult for me to imagine how this lovely baby could look like Akin with his fat nose.
But his nose is not big nah? I said.
Akin laughed; the nose will grow with time! He is my split image!
Ehen? I asked
Hen! Akin replied.
I held the smiling baby close to my chest as the Cab lurched forward.

We stopped at the front of Akins’s Shop in the Village, the shop was at the front of his father’s compound facing the express road that ran through our Village, and they call the Area “Sharp Corner” because the express road is a sharp bend at that point.
Akin was doing very well in his Cocoa business. Within a year that I gave him money for the business he had grown it over five hundred percent. He had fifteen dried bags of cocoa seeds in his store and while I was there, people were still bringing Cocoa seeds to him to buy. He weighs the seeds on a scale and pays per kilogram. He said his boys had taken some bags to Akure City to deliver to his Client Company that produces beverages, he will be taking another twenty bags there tomorrow. He said he supplies an average of eighty bags per week to different Customers in Akure and Ibadan cities. Sometimes the Customers send their Vans to pick up their supplies from his shop in Ijan Ekiti because the capacity of his Peugeot 404 pick-up van can only carry eight full bags per trip.
Akin had already started the foundation of his personal house in the Village. He said cocoa business is like drug business and advised that I should invest in it. I told him I would think it over.

We discussed over a keg of soured palm wine, which was the best we could get at that time of the day while the wife hurriedly prepared hot pounded yam and egusi soup with bush meat for us. I felt at home, home is home.

There was a lot to gist about as we talked into the night. He told me a lot of things that had happened in the Village since I left in January. He was still talking when I fell asleep, he later woke me up and directed me to a room prepared for me.

The next morning, after I had taken my bath and eaten, I was ready to leave for my house. Akin told me to sit down for a discussion.
Bolaji, there is something I must tell you before you get to your house! He said.
Kilo tu de o! I exclaimed. What has happened again! Who died? Is Tunde okay?
Your boy is doing great, he comes around to work for me at times and gets his pay.
So what is it? I asked. What of Baba landlord?
Hmm, BJ please calm down! Your mother is back! He said.
What? I asked. My what?
Your mother! He repeated; and that’s not all!
What again? I was on my feet covered with goose pimples
Baba Landlord is your father! Your biological father! He said
Jesu Christi o! I exclaimed and sat down quietly.
Calm down BJ, Baba Landlord went to Owerri to look for you when your mother arrived some months ago. He traced you to that hotel you told us about and he was told that you have been killed by the Police, they told him you were a cultist and you killed someone or so, so the police arrested you and shot you accidentally when you were trying to escape. We did not believe that story about you being a cultist but we believed you were killed by the police mistakenly, and that was what Baba landlord told everyone in the village except me. He came back home broken hearted and he has not been well since then, remember he had no son except for Tunde his grandson, so your discovery and loss was like the gods were playing with his head! I have been taking care of him in your absence. He told me he had a brief affair with your mother while he was serving in Lagos some years back but was suddenly redeployed back to the north, his wife had died by then. They lost contact. He said he had been trying to tell you about his relationship with your mother when you came home last time but you were not interested in anything about your mother and he was not very sure if you would like to hear that he dated your mother. He said he was suspicious of the fact that you could be his son because you were conceived about the same period he was with your mother in Lagos but who would he tell? They would think his desire to have a son has derailed him.

Baba Landlord is my biological father! Ha! Olorun o! Jesu o! So I have a father after all? So I am not a bastard? Ha! Akin! I jumped up. So I am not a bastard after all? And I have been drinking palm wine and eating bush meat with my father without knowing he is my father? Those that taunted me where are you now? I have a father! I am not a bastard! I have a surname! My surname is Oguntola! My name is Mobolaji Oguntola! Not Mobolaji Fadipe! Fadipe is my mother’s sur name. I am an indigene of this town! I broke down and cried, I did not know if I was crying for joy or out of frustration at the world. Akin! I called; so I will call someone Daddy in this life? I will call someone mummy also? Hen Akin?
Yes my friend! Akin said as he stood up and hugged me.
Please what does my mother look like? I asked.
Your mother is very beautiful sir, you took her looks! Akins wife who had joined us in the sitting offered. She is dark, tall and slim. She said.
But she is sick! Akin said.
Sick? What is she sick of? I asked
No one answered me, husband and wife looked at each other, silence.
Is it HIV aids or Cancer? I asked.
Akin nodded his head. Yes BJ they say it is HIV aids.
Well, if it took HIV aids to bring her back to me after almost twenty eight years, then I thank the disease, it is better to see her alive than dead, at least she will be able to answer many of the questions I had stored up for her.
I lifted my nap sack and hugged Akin: you are a man Akin! Thank you! Let me go and see my Parents! It sounded somehow to my ear, “my parents” I never used that word in my almost twenty years of existence.
I am coming with you BJ. I need to give Baba landlord, sorry, I mean your father some drugs I bought from Ado.bookcoverimage-the-abandoned-child-amazon

Posted in Literature, Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child…..Season 13

CHAPTER 20

 

 

bookcoverimage-the-abandoned-child-amazon

I came alive with this throbbing piercing pain on my shoulders, I cried out and opened my eyes, every where was blurry at first then I could see light. I sneezed severally before I noticed the person standing by my bed. Even sneezing was a painful activity.

 

Sorry, relax! Relax! He said as he touched my body and checked my vital signs, he opened my eye lids and pointed some luminous instrument into my eyes, and he felt for my pulse as some other person joined him.

Is he back?

Yes! He pulled through!

Wow! Thank God o! After five months in coma!

God still has a use of him

God or Satan?

Well, it is God that gives life!

Let’s hope he will change for good

We don’t know him yet!

What else do you need to know other than he must be an escaped criminal? A fugitive! Let us call the Police now that he is conscious!

The Police? Have you forgotten this is a naval base?

Ehen? Is it not the police’s job to handle such matters?

Then it is not your responsibility to call the police! The Commandant is interested in this matter! The United nation’s attaché that brought him here is interested in him also so please hold your peace!

 

No please! No police! I interrupted their discussion: the Police will kill me!

Why? One of them asked

They did this to me! I said

What? The Police did this to you?

Yes! I managed to say before I fell into another long sleep.

 

I spent a total of six months at Owerrinta naval training school hospital. The Naval patrol had picked my body up from the popular “Boro Pit” along Aba-Port Harcourt express road. Some scavengers picking items for recycling from the refuse dump had seen that I was still breathing, and then they alerted the patrol that happened to drive by at that time. It was about 3.AM. The Navy had put me in their Van and taken me to the emergency ward of their hospital. They said I was naked and battered like a thief who escaped being mauled by a group of community youths. There was bullet wound on my stomach.

The police that arrested me had driven my body all the way from Owerri to Aba and dumped into the Boro pit to rot,

 

I told the commandant of the Base the story of my life, from my birth to my death, and then he told me my story from my death to my resurrection.

 

He said I was taken to the ICU immediately they brought me to the hospital that morning around 3.40AM. My intestine was popping out from my stomach and I was a complete mess. No normal hospital would have accepted to treat me but for a military facility or a teaching hospital. They had cleaned and patched me up. My joints were broken and my shoulders pulled from the sockets with torn ligaments, my penis was like a ball of grape, it was swollen and scorched, my buttocks and thighs were swollen with deep razor blade cuts and scorched with electric iron. My back and stomach were not spared of the same treatment I was better left for dead! There were sores all over my body and they cleaned me up every day, I was put on oxygen life support when I developed a fever and I became very ill while I was still unconscious in the bed.

Commodore Aboderin told me that I was actually saved by a UN attaché who was working with the Patrol team that night. The attaché was in Nigeria, Aba to be precise to monitor the activities of the Bakassi boys at curbing crime in the state of Abia. It was the foreigner that insisted that I was brought to the naval hospital for treatment even though the naval officers in the Van had told her that I was a criminal caught and tried by the Bakassi boys. She had told them that my case is not similar to the way Bakassi Boys treat thieves. The Bakassi boys would tie up the thief, cut him or her into pieces and then burn off the body.

She said I was a victim of jungle justice.

The commandant said I was very fortunate because many people have died innocently in the hands of the Nigerian Police.

 

I poured out my concerns to the commandant; what would have happened to me if the Scavengers had not discovered my body that morning? What if it had rained heavily that night while I was lying in refuse dump dying? What if the pigs and dogs that roam at the refuse dump had gotten there before the scavengers? With my intestines popping out of my stomach? What if the Vultures had gotten to my body first? It was even possible for head hunters for ritual purposes or any of their suppliers to have gotten to the dump that morning and found my body. It was by the mercies of God that I had come out of the police brutality alive.

I could not really place how everything happened because it happened so fast simultaneously. I was not given a chance to defend my self; the police station was a torture zone for the fact that they have such a room at the station that was sound proof. The Police Officers had tortured to kill me and they eventually shot me in the stomach and disposed my body. In my presence I saw the dangling body of another of their victim that was tortured to death. They would also dispose such body! Does it mean no one ask them questions? My case was peculiar because no one would have asked for me. Mr. Adegoke would be waiting forever to hear from me and if he does not hear from me after several years, he would assume I have abandoned him to be on my own. My Yemisi would assume that is the way of men and their sweet talk. I would simply have disappeared just as many others must have been made to disappear by the police. This is jungle justice

It was the third quarter of 1997; I was twenty eight years old and my mates were already into the NYSC programme. This was not the situation I had expected to find myself in life. I know my call up letter must have gone back to Abuja, my friends and well wishers would have expected to know where I was posted to for the service year. My so called friends at the hotel had betrayed me; I was not given a fair hearing as their minds had been poisoned against me even before I returned from home. Oga Dan had gone to call the Police when he excused himself for five minutes during our discussion in his office, Oga Dan could have told me that I was wanted by the police so that I could run away or find a way to go and explain myself at the station, I would have called Mr. Goke via the NITEL pay phone centre springing up in the country and explain the situation of things to him. He would have advised me or come down to follow me to the station. I just kept ranting and repeating myself until the commander asked me a simple question.

Would you like to join the military? He asked.

I was surprise because I was not talking in that direction, I was tongue tied at first.

Would you? He asked again

Sir! I am a graduate of Electrical and electronics engineering. I would love to practice my profession sir! I have never in my life thought of the military as a career!

I am also a mechanical engineering graduate of the University of Ife and I am practicing my profession in the Navy! In fact, there is no better place to practice your profession than the military. Be you a Doctor, a Lawyer, a musician, a tailor or brick layer, there is a place for every one in the military. We do our things our selves here by using our professionals.

Sir! I heard it is a very tough and rigorous process to join the military. I asked.

 

You have been through tougher experience lately! Look! I like you and would love to help you; the present GOC of the 82nd Division is a very good friend and colleague of mine, he has given me one slot to present a candidate on his behalf at the next Officer Cadet short service commission next month

 

Ha! Sir, I am yet to go for my youth service! Won’t the certificate be necessary? I asked

By then you will be serving as a Soldier and you will apply for exception from the NYSC, he said.

Ha Sir! I don’t know how to thank you o!

I got up and prostrated before him; God will bless you sir! May your children meet with divine favour where ever they may be sir!

Amen! Stand up please! He said.

I don’t know what next to do sir, but one thing for certain is that I need to go to the hotel and retrieve my belongings then I need to go to school for my clearance and my result. I will also need to rent a temporal apartment as I sort my self together! I need some time to think over my new life! The twist in my life is so sudden that I still feel like I am in a dream world.

No problem Bolaji, take everything step by step, you can use a room at my BQ while you tie up the loose ends in your life. I have no doubt about your integrity because from all the information our intelligence unit gathered about you, you have been set up!

Oh you investigated me? I asked

We are not stupid! We are the navy! He said

Wow! Did you find out about the girls in my life? I asked shyly.

 

Chioma, Katherine and Theresa? Even the Amara that is dying for you!” he said

Ha! Jesu Christi o! You people have exposed me o!

We think Chioma set you up! Her boy friend or do I say former boy friend was killed along with your friend DJ Slam. It is complicated sha! But we are still working on certain links and the less you know the better. I am offering to help you as an act of service to God and man! If a foreigner could help to save your life as a black man, then I should do more for you as a black brother and fellow Yoruba.

I will assign one of my boys to follow you to the hospital for check up, then he will drive you to Owerri, he will be with you until you go to NDA next month.

I prostrated again: ese pupo sir! Thank you so much sir!

 

 

 

 

The hotel was quiet when we got there at 10 AM, I had been wearing the same clothes for over a week, and I don’t even know who bought the dress for me. I needed access to my clothes. The Orderly assigned to me parked the Toyota Avensis 2.2 at the parking lot and together we went upstairs to Oga Dan’s office. The Orderly kicked the door with his boot as I was about knocking and the door flung inwards startling Oga Dan and the lady sitting on his laps with her breast over his face. It was Chioma sitting on Oga Dan’s laps with her blouse unbuttoned. She jumped out of her skin as she saw me.

Ghost o! Ghost o! You are dead! You are dead! She screamed pointing at me and cowering beside the refrigerator in the office

How can? Oga Dan asked; but you were dead! I saw the picture of your battered corpse!

Is that why you are putting on my clothes? I asked; you are wearing a dead man’s clothes!

He hurriedly pulled off everything he wore save for his boxers.

Please take your clothes if it is what you have come for! I have no hand in your death! He said throwing my clothes towards me.

Put my clothes in my bag and give me the keys to where ever you kept my belongings, I have come to pack my things!

Em em, your things are no longer in the hotel! We shared everything amongst our selves when the police said you were dead!

What? The Orderly shouted; you mean that you people shared his property without his family’s consent? Is that what he wrote in his will?

No sir! Oga Dan said; but please is this man dead or not?

I am not dead Oga Dan! Your plans failed! God came to my rescue for I am more than a conqueror! I don’t even believe I could use that biblical phrase, though it suited the situation at hand.

It was at this point that Chioma came under the attack of epileptic seizure; she started to shake and contort as she fell to the ground.

Help me! Help me help her! Oga Dan shouted

Leave her! I said; just get a metal spoon and put between her teeth then hold her in position until she calms down.

Is that all? Will that do? Oga Dan asked nervously as he got a spoon from inside the refrigerator and forced it between Chioma’s gnashing teeth. He held onto her as she convulsed for fifteen minutes before she was relieved.

By this time, some of the staff of the hotel had come into the office. Oga Dan was half naked wearing only his boxers while Chioma was in his arms with her blouse opened exposing her breast. I looked up at the cabinet in Oga Dan’s office and saw my travelling bag there, the one I returned from home with on the day of my arrest. I brought it down, my documents were intact.

 

Chioma got hold of herself and started to dress up shamefully.

 

Oga Dan and Chioma! I called. How on earth did the two of you start to date each other? My two good friends! I can’t understand! I asked.

 

It is Chioma o! BJ believe me it was Chioma that told me that you were a cultist and was involved in the death of DJ Slam, she also testified to the Police that you were on the run, even when you died, it was Chioma that that told me that you have no relations that would come for your property, that was why I shared it; Oga Dan confessed.

 

Chioma! Is it true? I asked; am I a cultist? Did Slam himself not tell you that I was a Jew man? What did I do to you to set me up even unto my death? And now you are sleeping with my boss? Chioma!

You were sleeping with my friends! She snapped

Oh! Is that it? The truth is that all of you are the same! You and your friends are a rotten lot! Your friends came after me when you left me because I refused to buy the Car for you! I begged you severally to no avail so you have no right to be jealous that I was sleeping with your friends! So is that why you set me up? To the extent that I was killed by the police and it does not bother you? Let me show you something.

I unbuttoned my shirt and pulled off my singlet, everyone in the office screamed.

I pulled off my shoes and pulled down my trousers then I pulled my boxers up to reveal the scars on my thighs.

This is what the police did to me! I turned round for every one to see. Someone pushed her way to the front of the small crowd in the office, it was Amara. She screamed when she saw me, she closed her mouth with her hands when she saw my battered body and she sank to the floor.

I continued; I was arrested for no just cause! I was cuffed and hung from the ceiling naked. I was flogged continuously for one hour! I was burnt all over with pressing iron! My ankles and my knees were dislocated with a hammer! I was slashed with razor blades and the wounds stashed with red hot paper for no just cause! They used pliers to break the small bones on my feet. I cried, I screamed!  I begged but no help came! My shoulder was pulled from my body! Then I was shot in the stomach! My intestines came out! Then I was carried all the way to Boro pit in Aba to die!

Who did this to you! Who did this to you BJ? Amara rose and came over to me crying! They said you were dead! They said you were a cultist! They said you killed Slam but I did not believe them! I did not know where to find you but I did not believe them! Then I heard you were arrested and have been killed too! I was confused! Oh my God so you are alive! Who did you offend? She wailed.

 

You brother and his girl friend set me up Amara!

What? She was shocked; my brother? And his girl friend? Which of his girl friends? She asked

Look at them standing together! I said;

What? This girl? Your former girl friend?

Yes! I said

How? Brother why? Amara asked

It is the girl that deceived me Amara! She had hidden agenda and scores to settle with BJ so she used me!

And at your age you allowed this common prostitute to use you? I have not liked this girl from day one! I knew she was dangerous but I could not tell you BJ, I told Slam but I could not tell you! She said.

DJ Slam told me! In fact he told me everything you wanted to tell me but I was a fool not to be able to read between the lines.

 

Ha! Human beings are wicked o! Amara faced her brother and Chioma; look at somebody’s child! Look! Look! What you people did to him! Look at scars on a human beings body? Can these scars ever wipe off for life? Look at the bullet wound on his stomach! And you people have the temerity to sleep with each other after killing him? God! Human beings! And brother why are you naked? What is wrong with you?

He was wearing my clothes! I said; everything he wore was mine except for the boxers. He thought I was a ghost when I entered his office so he pulled off my clothes as if it was what I had come back for!

Nonsense! Amara said as she packed the clothes her brother pulled and put them back in my bag; put on your clothes BJ and let’s get out of here! God will judge these people! Let’s leave them for God!

Leave who for God? The Orderly who has been quiet all the while shouted. Oya two of you, forward March to the base! When we reach base, then una go sabi the difference between the Police and the navy!

 

 

CHAPTER 21

 

Contrary to my expectations, the navy did not torture Chioma and Oga Dan in order to get their confessionary statements. They were given the VIP treatment.

 

When we returned to Owerrinta base, we went to the commandant’s office and gave him the update of our journey. He joined us in his official car and together we drove to the naval police unit.

Commodore Aboderin went into the office of the Naval Police CO while his orderly took Chioma and Oga Dan to the guard room section and handed them over to the petty officer on duty. I was later called in by an SO and was given a note pad to write my statement.

After writing my statement and submitting the note pad to the SO, Oga Dan requested for the note pad so he could write his statement too.

Not now! You are not ready yet! The petty officer said to him.

Me? No o! I am very ready sir! Oga Dan said.

No sir! The PO said, when you are ready you will know.

 

The CO NP( Commanding officer naval police) and commodore Aboderin met us at the counter of the guard room, the ratings in the Office came to attention and saluted the presence of the personnel that walked in. the Commodore acknowledged the salute.

You are Mr. Daniel kwo? The CO NP asked Oga Dan

Yes sir! I am Daniel Maduabuchi sir!

Kai! You are the man sucking breast in your office kwo? Shege! Dan banza! See ya mouth! The CO said and started to laugh as Oga Dan bowed in shame.

 

And you are the Chioma kwo? He asked Chioma

Yes sir! Chioma nodded her head. Good afternoon sir! She said

 

Yoowa! Em, PO! Please give them the VIP treatment first! You know they are civilians, this one is an Oga in the hotel and this one is a girl, don’t torture them o! Just start with the VIP treatment! The CO said. If they don’t cooperate, then you can torture them.

Yes sir! The petty officer saluted and called on the SO.

Oya get the korofo marshal and his tool box!

Yes sir! The SO who is a corporal equivalent answered and scurried out of the office.

 

Thank you very much sir! God bless you sir! Oga Dan said after the senior officers as they walked out of the guard room section.

Bolaji! You guys can go home from here! I am going back to the training school! The Commodore stopped and told us; and by the way, I hope you got all your belongings from the hotel?

 

Oga! This stupid man here! Pointing at Oga Dan. Don share all Oga Bolaji property finish walahi! He say he think say Oga Bolaji don yamutu! Even the clothe wey he wear when we enter him office na Oga Bolaji own! The Orderly said.

Hmm, life! Commodore Aboderin shrugged and went to his Car.

 

Wetin be VIP treatment? I asked the Orderly; and by the way sef! Wetin be your name? Me and you don dey waka together since yesterday and I no know your name! I said

Oga Bolaji, dem no dey ask Soja man for him name o! My name dey my name tag! He replied.

Oh sorry! Na true you talk o! And I dey with you since yet my mind no go there! I said and saw that his name was Adamu Shuaibu.

Okay Adamu, wetin be VIP treatment? I asked

It means “very important personality” Adamu replied.

I know nah! But how is it like? I asked

You want to know? He asked

Yes! I want to know! I replied

Okay! Make we go outside go wait and see. He said.

 

After about fifteen minutes, the soldiers brought Chioma and Oga Dan outside to the mini-parade ground in front of the NP building. Chioma and Oga Dan had been kitted with military porch bags strapped over their shoulders, helmets on their heads and boots on their feet; they also gave them condemned riffles to carry. Oga Dan looked funny because he wore these regalia on his boxers.

 

They were told to stand apart, they looked confused and terrified. After minutes of standing outside, the korofo marshal, a giant creature came along dragging two ferocious looking Rottweiler’s. Immediately the dogs saw the duo of Oga Dan and Chioma, they charged and started to bark and prance towards them. The dogs knew the drill.

 

Oga Dan and Chioma wanted to run, but to where? They ran into each other and started to scream out loud. The marshal chained the dogs to a pole on the floor close the where Chioma and Oga Dan were told to stand.

 

Now listen to me! The Soldier said; I am the Korofo marshal! I am LS Slaughter or sergeant Slaughter if you like! This is my small parade and I hate people that do not follow my instructions! He used the big swagger stick in his hands and drew a circle on the sandy ground.

Oga! Enter here! He told Oga Dan

He drew another circle on the floor

Oya Auntie! You enter here!

They both entered the circle while adjusting the bags strapped over their shoulders.

Something dey inside that bag? I asked Adamu

Yes! Na wet sand and stones full am!

Jesu Christi o! I exclaimed

Now listen to the instructions of this parade! The marshal continued

Number one! Thou shall not leave the circle under any circumstances! Anything you want to do, either to shit or to piss, to laugh or to cry, never leave the circle!

Number two! Thou shall not drop your armament! No matter the condition, rain or shine!

Number three! Thou shall not sit down!

If any of these rules is broken, there shall be consequences! He said and looked at his wrist watch, then he turned around to leave.

Sir! Oga Dan called

The marshal turned swiftly back and stood at ease to face Oga Dan; yes? He asked.

Biko, please! Oga Dan said softly almost in tears; what is the consequence sir?

The dogs will tell you! The marshal said and turned abruptly to march out of their presence and at that instance, the two dogs started to bark and jump towards Oga Dan and Chioma.

 

Chineke me e! Oga Dan screamed

Awun’a na m o! Nkita a ta gbuo m na barracks ndi navy o! chaii! Ewu ata go m atu n’isi o!

 

Chioma too was crying and calling for help

Bolaji please forgive me o! I am sorry for everything! Eewoo! Mama m o! Please o!

 

Oga Bolaji, I beg me I want to smoke cigarette o! You dey smoke? Adamu asked

No, I no dey smoke, I replied

Oya make we go sidon for under that mango tree there! He said

We moved towards the Mango tree close to the office from where we could watch the VIPs. There was a wooden bench there and a woman with a cooler on a small table in front of her. We greeted the woman and sat down.

 

Akwai kunu? Adamu asked the woman

Akwai sir! She replied

Akwai sanyi? Adamu asked

Akwai sanyi sosai! She replied

To! Bani insha! Adamu said.

She gave him a cup and a chilled bottle of kunu

Oga, you sabi this one? Adamu asked me as he pulled off his beret and clipped it on the shoulder of his uniform.

No! I replied.

It is made from dawa! He said.

Dawa? Na wetin be dat one? I asked

Wheat! It is like pap but made from wheat and it is watery unlike normal pap made from maize. The thing good well well and he dey give blood for body! He said.

What? He dey give blood? I asked; no be wheat you say dem take make am? I asked.

Yes nah! He replied.

Okay o! I said. Is it alcoholic? He dey shack? I asked

Haba! No o! kunu no dey shack person! Na the senior brother pito dey shack! That one na gero dem dey take do am! He said

Wetin be gero? I asked

Kai! I no know the English name faa! But na gero every body dey call am. He was referring to millet.

Walahi if you drink pito ehn? You no go drink beer again! Adamu continued as he brought out a pack of Rothmans from his breast pocket and lit a stick.

You mean am? I asked

Walahi! He replied. Just as Oga Dan started to shout.

 

Chioma o! chioma o! ogini ka m mere gi n’uwa!? Kedu ka isi tiyem n’ime udi nsogbu a! chioma what did I do to you that you would put me in such a situation as this! Chai! I am suffering o! These bags are too heavy o!

Oga Dan was restless; he was shifting the weight of the bags from one shoulder to the other.

Chioma was doing the same but she was not shouting like Oga Dan. The two were sweating profusely and the dogs were getting more agitated.

 

They are lazy people! Adamu said as he puffed out smoke from his burnt lips. They won’t last! He said.

How long do you think they will last? I asked

I don’t know, but they will be there until they break down! He said

Break down? I asked; how will we know they have broken down? I asked

We will all know! Even the dogs will know! He replied.

Ha! Okay! But how long can a normal human being last with the VIP treatment? I asked

Three hours maximum! He said

Hmm, so you mean you can endure this treatment for three hours? I asked

I was able to do eighteen hours in the depot! He said. It was competition for us. He said; the person that won the competition endured it for 48 hours without sleep, but that record has been broken by another set where some one did it for seventy two hours! Three days!

But you said it was three hours maximum for normal human being? I asked.

Yes! Three hours max! He said puffing out smoke into the air above his head. He tossed the butt away and lit another stick.

 

Oga Dan, Chioma and the dogs were all shouting.

 

It was over one hour that we had sat under the tree that Oga Dan suddenly changed the tune of the music.

I want to shit o! I want to shit! A choro m iyu nshi biko nu o! He held onto his buttocks as he jumped about in the circle.

 

How will he shit now? I asked.

Shit for there! Dan bura uba nka! Adamu shouted back at him laughing hysterically; it took me fifteen hours before I shit on myself that day! Adamu said. Everyone must shit under the VIP treatment! He said as he enjoyed his kunu and cigarette.

Walahi this your Oga Dan na lazy man fa! Even the girl strong pass am I swear!

We did not know that Chioma had already excreated in her pants without making any noise about it. She was just crying and stamping her feet on the ground. She was holding her waist and writhing in agony of pain and discomfort.

My waist o! My shoulder! My waist o! Can I sit down please? She was begging and crying.

Oga Dan too started begging to sit down after he had emptied his bowels on his body. The pebbles fell off his boxers while his urine combined with his sweat soaked his boxers. He was shaking all over like some one with cold.

 

Biko o! ukwu m o! My waist o! My shoulder o! My belle o! Biko gbahara m o! ndi navy gbahara o! It is the devil o! Oga Dan lamented.

 

The Korofo marshal came around for inspection after two hours.

Listen! He said as the duo and the dog continued to shout; I am going to untie the dogs now! If you leave your circle, you will be eaten alive!

Why? Why? Oga dan shouted; biko don’t lose these lions o! They will chop us o! we have not broken the rules nah!

The marshal loosened the dogs.

 

Chai! O kam si na? O otua kam si na? Oga Dan kept shouting. O bu Nkita g’ata gbu om? Is this how I will go? To be eaten alive by dogs?

But the dogs did not bite; rather they put more fear into them by sniffing them up.

Chioma closed her eyes and was screaming for her mothers help. Oga Dan made the sign of the cross and started singing a gospel song in tears.

 

Adamu was just laughing uncontrollably, clutching at his stomach. I was scared of what the dogs could do to them. The Marshal marched away.

 

At two hours thirty minutes Oga Dan fell down flat with a loud noise and he lay still. One of the dogs sniffed his face and walked briskly to meet the Marshal who was already on his way with a bucket of water to pour on Oga Dan.

 

That one has broken down! Adamu said; if the marshal had not shown up, the dog would have gone to call him, he said.

Wow! I exclaimed.

At two hours fifty minutes, Chioma collapsed; the dog sniffed her face and barked at the marshal who was on standby with a bucket of water after carrying Oga Dan indoors.

 

Now they are ready for their statements! Adamu told me as he stood up and slapped his back side clean. I stood up too as Adamu paid the kunu seller and we went home.

 

The reason for my death was the most stupid one! Out of her quest to get even with me and her friends when the news of our relationship got to her, she had gone to join the “Black Brazier” the most dreaded female confraternity on Campus. Her plan was to deal with me, katty and messy, but DJ Slam was the obstacle as he would definitely know where the attack is from. The former boy friend of Chioma, Major was given the job to eliminate DJ Slam but DJ Slam has friends every where so the plan licked to him and he quickly organized his men and they took out Major and his number two man “Lusaka”.

With Major and Lusaka out of the way, the Black braziers knew they were in trouble so they used their police connection to kill DJ Slam at an illegal Police checking point, he was slaughtered and his body dumped at the gate of the hotel in the dead of the night while his head was thrown into the bush, the idea was to make it look like a rival cult murder, after all two known cultists were just murdered. Chioma sent emissaries from the Federal polytechnic at Nekede to round up Tessy and Katty, they were beating and bathed with acid. They have left school for good.

The hotel was shut down for some days after the body of Slam was discovered so as to allow the Police to investigate into the matter but Chioma went to the hotel and black mailed me. She told Oga Dan that whenever I am seen he should call her first and try to hold me down until the Police arrived.

 

The corrupt police men at Owerri were arrested and charged to court with Chioma and Oga Dan including some members of the Black brazier confraternity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Literature, Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child…..Season 12

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CHAPTER 18

 

It was a drop dead beautiful svelte that opened the door for me when I reached Mr. Adegoke’s house at Ibadan. I had branched at the shop to greet madam and her girls before entering the main gate into the main compound through the pedestrian gate. The entrance door to the house opened from the inside just as I was about to open it from the outside.

Jesu Christi o! I hissed

Uncle Bolaji? She asked

Yes? I asked as I peered very well into those eyes; do not tell me you are Oluwayemisi! I said

Of course I am! She exclaimed in laughter; you can not recognize me again? She asked

Jesu o! Jesu o! Are you a model at school or some thing? Jeez! Look at you! You have grown into a beautiful woman! Like a super model! I exclaimed; how old are you now? I asked

Uncle BJ, I am just above eighteen now! She said

Look at you! I don’t know if I should lift you up or hug you or even kiss you! I said

Any one uncle! She said

Come here! Come here! I gave her a close hug that affected my crouch once again, I remembered the first day I met Chioma.

Please take my bag to the guest room! I said as I discharged from the hug and went straight into the convenience room at the sitting room to caution my emotion, I stayed in there for about ten minutes. I did not come out when I heard her calling my name from the sitting room.

This is not any other girl; this is Mr. Adegoke’s daughter! My mentor’s daughter! What was wrong with me? I am almost nine years older than her! She is like a sister to me!

Suddenly I heard DJ Slam’s voice in my head.

Shattap ya Yoruba mgati, mgbati mouth there! Na ya mama born am?

But the Papa na my mentor nah!

Ehen? Na her father go marry her? Biko wire the girl! Slam echoed

Chai! But the girl is innocent nah!

Oh no! Oh no! Jew man! Is she not above fifteen years of age?

She is eighteen I said

Then she don ripe be dat! Wire am! Wire am! Slam said.

Dem take wire swear for you? I asked.

If you no wire am! Another guy go wire am o! That’s all! Slam said as he fizzled out of my head.

 

I returned to reality as someone banged hard at the door to the convenience

Ta ni yen? Who is that? I asked.

Bolaji! It was madam

Mummy! I called back

I came out to meet Mummy already dressed to go out.

Thank God that you are around, please look after the house, she said; have you seen Yemisi?

No ma! Yes ma! Yemisi abi? I was confused

Kilode? What is wrong? She asked

Kosi nkankan ma! Nothing ma! I replied. I saw her as I came in, I did not know it was her! I managed to explain.

Okay! She has grown abi?

Yes ma! I replied.

Please take care of the house and the shop! You are the man in the house now. I will be back at night, tell Yemisi to prepare dinner before Daddy returns from work

 

Yes mam! I said

 

Immediately she left the house, I went to my room to loosen up and relax from the stress of the journey.

It was the aroma of the food she brought into my room that woke me up. I was so famished that I jumped out of bed and grabbed the plate of steaming Jollof rice from her

Thank you my dear! I said: how did you know that I was very hungry?

She laughed and said: I don’t know o! You have been sleeping since morning nah, I was knocking at your door but you did not answer so I decided to burst in with your food.

Thank you for bursting in! I said; you just saved a soul! I would have died of hunger from my sleep! I said as I ate up the steaming food in a hurry.

Uncle, take it easy nah! She said

 

Did you cook this food? I asked an obviously stupid question

Yes nah! She said

Who taught you how to cook? Another stupid question.

Who else but mummy! She asked

Oh, yes! Mummy! I forgot, I said; so how is school life? I asked the first sane question.

Uncle wait let me go and get you drinking water. She left and came back with a cold glass of water.

Thank you very much! I said and gulp down some water; so, school life! How is it? I continued.

School life is fine! She said as she sat on the edge of the bed.

I heard you are studying Agric economics! I lied.

No o! I am studying Med- sug! She said

As in, Medicine and surgery? I asked.

Yes sir! She said.

Wow! That’s cool, I am not surprised though, and I am just impressed, I said. I wish you the best, Doctor Yemisi.

I heard you came out with first class in engineering, she said.

That’s true! I said.

I am not surprised though, I am just impressed. She said.

Ahan! I said.

Ahan what? She asked.

You are mimicking me, I said.

She laughed; but it is the truth nah! You have been our inspiration in this house, there is no day my dad does not mention your name while advising us to be the best! You are my role model, my hero!

I wished she could say “my husband”, for I was loving every moment with her until one of the sales girls from the shop came to call her out of my room for an urgent errand.

 

I could not take my mind off the thought of Yemisi. I was already jealous of the possibility of her having a boy friend already. A beauty like her would have been hooked by some stupid campus boys that have made it their birth right to sample every beautiful female Jambite. She was already in her second year and as such would have been devoured by those scoundrels! Yemisi is mine! Imagine the way she served me food in bed, she even knew I had to drink water while eating! What other sign am I looking for? I wish we were alone in the house so we could just be talking. DJ Slam tried to get into my head again and I shook my head vigorously and shouted” Get behind me Satan”! He ran away echoing the words “wire” wire! Wire her”

This is not a girl for wiring but for keeps, a girl to treasure and nurture, a girl that gives one good dreams when she sleeps by my side. A wife material! Her laughter was so inviting and soothing; I wanted to think of her innocence, I did not like to think of those Campus boys and their capabilities. I just wanted to think of Yemisi as mine, untouched, waiting for me.

Waiting for you for wetin? Na you God create her for? Slam interrupted

Yes na me! I shouted. Slam! Leave me I beg! Make I think!

Think well o! But remember that no girl is innocent o! He fizzled out of my head again.

Get thee behind me Slam! I commanded.

I was possessed by the thought of Yemisi. I was thinking of her as a future partner, my wife! I deserve her.

Only you deserve her? Just wire her and go your way! Slam spoke again.

I pretended to ignore him.

If her papa catch you! Your own don finish be that! Slam said.

Mr. Goke had advised me that I get into a serious relationship with a girl that would love me for who I am and not for what I will become. I don’t need to look further! Oluwayemisi knows my story, even though she was very young when I stayed briefly with their family during my secondary school days, I am no stranger to her.

 

The opportunity came on my second night at Ibadan. Uncle Goke and Madam had retired indoors for the night. Gbadebo was reading at the Library, he was preparing for his senior secondary certificate examination.

 

Come and sit here Yemisi, I said; we need to talk.

Okay! She said as she left the seat close to the Television and sat on the two- seater couch I was occupying. She smelled good. The faint scent of perfume came with her. This girl is clean. Her skin is light and smooth without blemish. Her legs, tapering from the bum short she wore were straight and fresh like vanilla ice cream. My heart beat was racing as she sat by my side and focused on the Television. She does not look me in the eyes. I really felt like having a bottle of Gulder at that moment but I have never drunk alcohol in their house. Even when uncle Goke bought beer for me, we were seated outside the house discussing behind the shop.

I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly so that she would not know that uncle BJ is a Jew man. How old are you now? I asked

You have asked me that before and I said eighteen plus! She said still watching the TV.

Have I? I am so sorry, I said; in other words, you are not a baby! I said.

I am not a baby, she said, still focusing on the TV.

I want to ask you some questions; I hope you will not be offended? I asked

I don’t know o! I hope there is no problem? She asked looking at me and removing her face to focus on the TV.

There is problem o! I said

What happened? Did I do something wrong? She asked

You are doing many things to me my dear! I said.

Ha! Uncle BJ! What have I been doing to you that is wrong?

You have been scattering my head since I came around two days ago! I can’t concentrate! I talk and argue with myself like a mad man! I have not been able to take my mind off the thought of you! I think I am in love with you already! I said.

Ha! Uncle BJ! She exclaimed

What?

You are like a big brother to me! She said.

But I am not your brother and you know that! I said. Do you have a boy fiend at school or at any other place?

No o! She said shyly

Are you sure? I asked.

I don’t have the time for that yet! She said.

And why is that? I asked. You are a very pretty girl; does it mean you don’t have toasters?

Of course I have toasters daily but I am not ready for another relationship now. She said.

What happened to your previous relationship? I asked.

Hmm, it’s a long story, we were secondary school friends, he was a sickle cell anemia patient, and he is dead! She said.

Oh no! I am so sorry I said. I heaved a sigh of relieve and a silent prayer of gratitude.

How long was this?

After our SSCE. Over two years ago.

Do you miss him? I asked.

Yes, sometimes! He was a very good boy, he deflowered me!

The laughter of Slam started to echo in my head; hahahahahahah! See your innocent girl o!

I shook my head vigorously to send Slam away.

I love you! I said. I don’t care weather he deflowered you or not! I am not a saint myself. I am glad there is no one in your life now, I would have committed suicide if you had told me you love some one else but me!

I don’t love any one o!

Except me abi? I teased

You?

Yes me! I said

I don’t know o! But I love and respect you like a big brother! She said.

Thank you! But don’t love me like a brother any more! Love me like your boyfriend! Like your husband to be! I said

Ha Uncle BJ! She exclaimed meeting my gaze with surprise.

Kilode? I asked

Husband to be? Like my boy friend? She asked.

Yes! I said. We are not strangers to each other and I will wait for you until you are through with your studies. I just want you to promise me that you will be there for me!

She was silent; you are not saying anything, I said

I don’t know what to say nah! I am confused, she said. How can I bring myself to be calling you by your first name without putting the word Uncle or brother?

Forget uncle I beg! I am not your uncle! Your uncle is the village! Forget brother, your brother is reading in the Library! I said. Call me BJ like all my friends do!

She laughed. My Parents would skin me alive.

Don’t worry, when the time comes, they will support us! I said.

My mother loves you, she will be happy about this if I tell her. But for my father, I cannot tell.

Leave your father! Your mother will get him for us! So am I getting a yes? I asked

Yes! She laughed.

Wow! I suppressed my scream by jumping around the sitting room. I pulled her up and hugged her quickly and left her before an intruder bumped in on us.

I love you! I love you! I was saying.

I love you too, she said shyly.

 

I could not sleep that night, I waited for Slam to talk into my head but he did not come, Satan shame unto you! I said to him. The next morning after Uncle Goke had gone to work and mummy went out, Gbadebo went to school, Yemisi and I were indoors playing and talking, and she could not bring herself to call me Bolaji and I forbade her from calling me Uncle. She will find a name for me in due course.

I left Ibadan two days after. I gave my new found love all the gifts I had bought for Katty and Tessy, Perfumes, wrist watches, hand bags and T shirts. I will buy their gifts when I get to Onitsha. I gave Yemisi some cash but she refused it. I asked her how she will conceal the gift items from her parents; she said she will tell her mother what transpired between us once I am safely on my way to the east. I did not know what to say but to hope for the best.

As she came into my room to help carry my travelling bag to her Mothers Car, I quickly closed the door and pulled her close, the scent of her perfume charged my senses as I planted my mouth on her luscious lips, she responded, she held my head, I almost cried.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 19

 

JANUARY 1997; I met a very complicated situation on my return to Owerri, strange things had happened while I was away.

I entered the Hotel premises at 4.PM with my luggage strapped on my back. I was expecting a warm welcome from my colleagues and a subtle reprimand from Oga Dan for staying away longer that I was permitted. I met people wearing long faces as they went about their duties. No one paid me any attention rather they were starring at me as if I was a stranger.

 

I walked to the bar and brought out a chilled bottle of Gulder from the Gulder branded Chiller to calm me down after a long journey. The DJ Cubicle was closed; it was unusual for Slam’s office to be close at such hour when the business of the day was gearing up. He normally plays blues or roots reggae at such hour. Emeka walked into the bar to collect some drinks so I greeted him and asked after DJ Slam but he pretended not to hear my question.

Emeka! Is it not you that I am talking to? I asked

I should be asking you! He snapped

Asking me? As how? I asked

You no know? He asked

Know wetin? I asked

Okay! Dey there dey pretend, when Police come carry you go, you go confess! He said and walked out to attend to Customers.

Something was amiss, so I gulped down all of my beer and carried my luggage to go to my room upstairs, I entered the reception and asked the receptionist for the key to my room.

Go and ask Oga Dan! The receptionist told me.

Oga Dan? Why? I asked.

He has to authorize the release of the key to you! She snapped.

Haba Chinwe! It is me o! Bolaji! Am I a stranger here? I asked

Please go and ask Oga Dan nah! I am busy please! She snapped and started tapping the key board of her desk top computer all of a sudden.

I dropped my luggage behind the door and made to go up to Oga Dan’s office.

Hey Oga! Chinwe called out.

I looked back at her not sure who she was referring to. She pointed at my bag

Carry am go I beg! She said

You mean my luggage? I asked

You heard me! She snapped

I quietly walked back and carried my bag.

 

I knocked and entered Oga Dan’s Office; he was surprised to see me.

Omo! He called out

Oga Sir! I remain loyal sir! I saluted him

Where the hell have you been to all this while? I expected you to be back after one week but you have been away for three months or there about!

I am very sorry sir! I had a lot of family issues to sort out sir! And since my NYSC programme is still far away, I decided to take out time and sort certain things out. I explained.

You are welcome! But there are problems here o! I don’t think you are welcomed here any longer o; he told me as calmly as he could.

What happened sir? No wonder every one I have met had been some how cold towards me. I said.

Excuse me for a minute! He said and left the office to return after five minutes.

Yes BJ! Welcome back! He said with an enthusiasm that was not there few minutes ago. Are you a member of a secret cult? He asked.

Ha! What? Me? No o! How can? I was confused.

Are you sure? He asked suspiciously.

Haba Oga Dan! You no trust me? I asked him.

Hmm, trust you? I used to trust you but from what I have heard about you so far I don’t know if I can trust you any more.

Oga Dan, please talk to me! What is all these about? And where is Slam? At least he will tell me what happened if none of you what to tell me. His Office is closed at this hour and I asked Emeka about Slam but he said I should know better, me that have been away for some time now! Biko dede, ogini n’aeme ebe a? I asked in Igbo language.

You and Slam disappeared about the same time last year; he said he was going for political runs while you said you were going for family visit. Is that not so? He asked

You are right sir! I replied.

Slam has been dead and buried! His headless body was dropped outside our gate. This happened the second day you left, and since then you have not come back here! What have you come back here to do now when you are a wanted criminal?

Jesu Christi! Jesu Christi! Headless corpse? I asked.

Yes! That was what his people buried. He said

Oh my God! Slam is dead? Goose pimples came all over me and I began to cry.

There was a loud knock at the door of the office as I asked him

So what are the Police doing about it?

Oh! The Police? He asked; come inside please! He shouted for the person knocking to come inside.

The door opened and three armed uniformed Police men entered the Office.

Good day Officers! Oga Dan stood up: this is the man we have all been looking for; he is one of the suspected Cultists!

My bladder gave out its content immediately and a feverish feeling over came me. I was feeling burning sensation from inside me as I felt the cold hands of raw fear. I looked from Oga Dan to the Police. I felt like a Dog whose owner is selling it to a Calabar or Ondo man.

Are you Mr. Bolaji? The one with the pistol asked.

I nodded my head.

 

You are under arrest for involvement in cult activities which has led to the death of one Nnana Ogbuike popularly called DJ Slam, Onyekachi Chukwuma popularly called Major and Onyema Iloh popularly called Lusaka! You have the right to remain silent as anything you do or say here shall be used against you in the court of law.

 

Nigerian Police don’t read you your rights before arresting you! For these People to read me my rights means they meant business and were not the every day Nigerian Police.

Oga Dan! I called out.

Please follow them! Murderer! Your Parents sent you to school but you came here and turned to a dare devil! Wolf in sheep’s clothing! Onye oshi! Oga Dan said.

Oga Dan! I called again as my hands were cuffed and I was whisked out of his office.

A small crowd had gathered downstairs as the Police escorted me into the Peugeot 504 station wagon they came with. I was crying as the Police men were hitting my joints with their batons even though I offered no resistance at my arrest.

We got to the Police station at a quarter past six o’clock as indicated on the wall clock at the police counter. The DPO was not on seat when the inspector that led the team asked the constable at the counter.

I was given a sheet of paper to write my statement. I asked the Corporal in the team to tell me how to write the statement as I had never had any reason to write a statement in a Police station before. The corporal relayed my request to the inspector who then called the sergeant that came with him to arrest me to take charge of my case.

The sergeant said I should write everything I know about the death of DJ Slam and other dead Cultists and about my involvement in the secret cult.

I told him that I know nothing of both. This annoyed the Police officer when all efforts to make me indict myself failed.

By 9.45PM, they dragged me to a room inside the station. The stench from the room was awful, the door was closed, and the room was sound proof. They told me to pull off all my clothes, and then my hands were cuffed.

On a wooden table close to the wall were pressing Iron, needled syringe, pliers, hammer, koboko, cable wire, a pack of Tiger head razor blade, and some other strange instruments of torture.

I was lifted up and hung on the ceiling fan anchor, the hand cuffs bit into my wrist and I screamed, my legs were tied together with a hard wire. In two minutes it felt like my hands would pull off my body. Words cannot describe what these men did to me. I went to hell.

The Police flogged me with cable wires and koboko for over forty minutes; they flogged every part of my body with emphasis on my private part. At a time one of them grabbed my legs to prevent me from struggling while another inserted a long and thin iron into my penis to and fro causing me the most painful agony man could endure. They plugged the electric Iron into the socket and when it smelled hot, they unplugged it and pressed my buttocks and my thighs with it, the room smelled of burnt flesh, my flesh. I screamed and screamed, I begged them and told them the story of my life but it fell on deaf hears as they were threatening to kill me unless I tell them the truth.

They also used the razor blade to cut randomly on my buttocks and my legs, then they rubbed a substance which I think was dried pepper, I screamed, the pliers on their table was used on my toes, my bones were cracked, my ankles and my knees were knocked out with a hammer. That was when I stopped feeling any more pain.

 

Are you ready to cooperate now? I heard the question from afar.

Pour am more water! I head some said.

I woke up with a pounding pain in my head as water was poured on me. I was on the floor of the torture room; I was lying on slimy substance on the floor that smelled like death.

Get up criminal! Someone snarled.

I tried to sit up but I could not. I could not feel my hands as they just lay limp by my side.

You no dey hear word? Some one barked. I say get up!

I can’t! I said. I can’t feel my hands.

You never see anything yet! He said. Look up! I say turn your back and look up!

I turned to lie on my back; every movement sent excruciating pains all over me.

You see this guy wey hang there so? The voice asked me.

I looked up to where I was hung and saw the lifeless body of a young man dangling from the ceiling with blood dripping from his body.

He don die! The voice said to me. Na the same treatment wey we give to you we give am but he no survive am! For you to survive am mean say you be hardened criminal! A confirmed cultist! But what we did to you is just step one! By the time you still refuse to cooperate with us, we shall proceed to step two! You hear me?

Yes sir! But wetin una want me to do nah? I asked. Make I lie upon my self? Una no even bother to investigate wetin I tell una, the very day wey I leave this town, I was at Ibadan! i..

Sharrap! Someone shouted and kicked me in the groin. I saw flashes of light as I screamed my guts out.

I will cooperate! Anything you want I will do it! I said as I cried. I could not bear to take any more of the torture.

Oya, sign this statement! He dropped an already written statement on the table and pulled me onto a chair. He dropped a pen by the paper and told me to sign the paper. I tried to move my hands but I could not. I was reading the content when the man shouted.

Oh! You dey read am abi! There was an explosion, something tore through me. I felt myself falling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child..Season 11

bookcoverimage-the-abandoned-child-amazon

 

CHAPTER 16

 

Final semester in FUTO, I was on my project writing which involved a lot of researches. I had to visit several Libraries and nearby higher institutions to get materials for my project. I choose a fresh topic for my project and as such I have a lot of inputs to make.

 

The strain in my relationship with Chioma deepened and after several visits to make her see reasons proved abortive, I had to focus more on other things, more over Katty and Tessy were taking her space. She said I was uncaring and selfish; she accused me of being stingy and lots more.

On one occasion that I had gone to her hostel room to plead with her, she was not at home and Tessy attended to me. I explained my position on our issue to Tessy and she saw reasons with me. She said I should move on with my life and get another girl that would be more appreciative and understanding, a girl that could give me double of the attention and care Chioma was giving me, a girl that does not want my money, a girl like her!

I was not surprised, DJ Slam had prophesied it. She slept in my room that night; it was one hell of a night!

The next morning was a Saturday and we were cleaning the hotel premises when I gave Slam the gist of who slept my room the previous night. He laughed and jumped about, then he came and gave me a hand shake and said “Welcome to Owerri” the “O” town! Na now you dey do like a guy! Just dey wire dem de go! BJ the bad guy! Now na Amara remain o! You got to wire Amara so that the equations go complete!

Which yeye equation be that? I asked.

Omo my Man! He saw Emeka walking by and he called him; Mekus “lekwa”! Omo yoruba a bukwa a very bad nigga! You are here selling beer while Omo is here eating all the meat! He laughed hysterically and hugged me! Nna men! You have made me proud today omo.

Ogini k’a Omo mere? What did he do? Emeka asked

Look at you! So you want to know? Jew man! Common get away from here! Go and bring your sister so Omo can show you what he did! He rebuked Emeka.

DJ Slam, please stop insulting me! You were the one that called my attention to your gist! Emeka said.

Who is insulting you? Have you been drinking soured beer so early in the day? Or don’t you know your mates again? Common si ebe a puta kita! Get out from here! Small boy! I invited you to a senior joke and you are already feeling like a senior boy!

Is that why you said I should give him my sister? Emeka countered

Oh! Is that your problem? Okay don’t give him your sister! Give him your mother! DJ Slam said.

Chineke mee! Mma m? My mother? DJ, Mmam? I will report you to manager today! Emeka ran off crying towards Oga Dan’s room upstairs, he did not know that Oga Dan had travelled to Enugu the previous evening.

Look at him whining like a baby! Slam said after him; small boy!

 

He was so happy and I could not help feeling like I did something heroic though I don’t revel in such things.

 

I defended my project on the 17th of October 1996, I was twenty seven. It was a memorable day. As I came out of the project defense hall to the open field where students were gathered rejoicing, I was immediately picked up by my friends. I was raised up high and carried to the center of the field where DJ Slam was waiting with his instrument in his Car boot blaring aloud. I was stripped to my boxers alone and bathed with wine, water and beer, some guys pulled off their belts and whipped me. It was the ritual and it was fun coupled with the sound coming out of Slams car. Every other student that defended their project joined the party as they came out of the hall.

Amara was around to congratulate me, Katty left her school to FUTO to rejoice with me. Chioma was invited by Slam but she did not turn up, she was the one that told her friends and Katty alone came.

We moved the party from the school arena only to join another party being arranged in my honor by Oga Dan and the management of Vita Logistics and Construction Company. It was crazy, I was bathed over and over with alcohol, there was enough to eat and drink. I woke up the next morning in DJ Slams bed with Katty and Tessy by my side and we were all unclad. Till date I cannot remember how that happened but one thing I know for such is that it was one hell of a night.

 

Two weeks after my project defense I was summoned by the school’s senate board to defend my result. I got a cumulative average of 4.68. First class. It was not difficult defending my result because I worked hard for it. I demonstrated complete theoretical and practical competence expected of an electrical engineering graduate and I impressed all the academic professors and Doctors on the board. I was adjudged the overall best graduating student and I set a new record in the department of electrical electronics engineering. I left the office walking in the air.

 

I wrote a letter to my mentor and gave him an update of happenings in my life. I continued working at the hotel as an all-rounder. By this time, my proficiency in Igbo language had improved tremendously. Katty and Tessy are still friends and they share my bed individually. I still wondered what they did to me on my project defense night. Chioma had finally abandoned me because I refused to part with a huge sum of money and buy her a car.

Amara on the other hand was still crazy over me, I do not love her, even Tessy and Katty are mere bed mates with mutual understanding of the limits of our relationship, my hand was full already and I was not ready to add Amara to the mix. This was the scenario I painted to DJ Slam inside his Cubicle on a certain night while he was entertaining our guests at the Bush Bar.

Why you no just wire Amara so that her body go calm down? He asked

Haba Slam! I protested; why your own no dey pass to wire? You mean I should take advantage of the girls love for me? I asked

Who tell you say she love you? He asked; ever heard of the word infatuation? She just wants to wire you! So wire her! He advised

How you take sabi say na wire she wan wire me? I asked

Listen BJ! She knows you and Chioma have issues now and she is not happy that Chioma’s friends are closing in on you. It would have been her opportunity to get you! Look! Don’t be a Jew! Wire her! You don’t even need to toast her, just grab her hand and say; Amara follow me! And you will see how she will follow you like mumu to your room! The girl dey melt for you my guy!

Slam, I beg my hand don full already! I no want any more girl! I said

Stupid Jew man! So all these your muscle and six packs na for fashion! I beg come wear head phone biko make I go ease myself! He handed the head phone to me and left the cubicle while I took over the wheel of steel mixing sounds for the peoples delight

 

It was Mr. Goke’s reply to my letter that helped me to retrace my steps. He wrote in his letter that I have graduated with the prospect of a good job at sight, he said I should not rest on my oars. He wrote that I should not forget where I came from, he reminded me of my home town, he reminded me of my mother whom I do not know, he reminded me of my house in the Village and he reminded me of the need for a serious relationship with a responsible girl who would love me for who I am and not for what I would become. He reminded me of Modupe and her mother. His letter took me back through memory lane as I reflected back to secondary school days when Modupe made school unbearable for me, I remembered my dog Pharaoh that was beheaded in his sleep, what a way to die! I reflected on the adventures I had with Pharaoh as company, we had scavenged together, we hunted together and we slept together on the same mat back then. I remember the house on the hill top, Alabi and his family and the encounter with Baba Oloro. I remembered my Village in the suburb of Ekiti land.

 

So many years have passed; I left the village a seventeen years old Lad and now I am almost twenty seven. A full grown man with prospects. I now could speak good English and Igbo languages and a graduate engineer. I really have weathered the storm and all thanks to my mentor that brought out the best in me by mere words of mouth! He challenged me years back! He dared me to change my life situation and make a name for myself. I smiled as I imagined that I, Bolaji will now be referred to as Engineer Bolaji, I went through school and of course school went through me. It felt good but I felt a vacuum still needed to be filled in my life. My mother was still aloof, I never knew my father or his back ground. Am I Yoruba for real or not I mean biologically, where is the man that impregnated my mother from? How absurd it would be if I finally find out that I am not a Yoruba boy? There are some tribes I never wished to come from. I could even be from one of these small neighboring countries.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 17

 

I took a short vacation and traveled west. It was an impromptu decision I took after reading the last letter from Uncle Goke. I felt home sick; I was done with every academic activity except for my clearance that would be done before the NYSC programme. The only people I told about my journey were Oga Dan and the Manager of Vita Logistics. DJ Slam was away on political rally; he mobilized body guards for some politicians and had to be on ground to keep his dogs under close supervision.

 

My first point of call was at Mr. Goke’s house at Ibadan, a four bedroom bungalow with a two room boys quarters at Apata area of the city. He lectures at the sociology department of the University of Ibadan, he also owned a two hectare of land along old Ife road where he farms, he goes there on public holidays and week ends.

He was visibly surprised at the transformation he saw in me. I had grown taller and muscular compared to how I was five years before.

His first child Oluwayemisi had gained admission into the University of Ife and was away at school when I came. The son was in final year in secondary school and the wife runs a Grocery shop built at the front of his house.

I was with Madam at her shop after all morning chores and Mr. Goke had gone to work and the son to school. Madam left the shop at mid day to the popular Dugbe market to replenish her stock. I was with the two paid sales girls she employed at the shop. Customers were trooping in and out of the shop from morning till evening. It was more hectic in the evening because the house is strategically location at a junction of three streets and as such returnees from work make their last minute purchases at the shop before getting to their home after the days activities.

Mr. Goke had three cars in his compound. The Mitsubishi Van used by the wife for her business, a Toyota RAV 4 used privately by the wife and a Toyota Camry 2. 2 used by himself. I was proud of him as he had steadily climbed up the success Ladder over the years; he has even developed a budding pot belly. He does not drink and he does not smoke but he entertained me with my Ultimate Lager when I came around. “Gulder, the Ultimate”. The wife sells chilled beverages in her shop.

I got to his house on a Thursday evening; I rested on Friday though I helped out at Madam’s shop then on Saturday we went to the farm with his son Gbadebo. When we got to the farm we changed into farm clothes, I wore an old cloth of his though it was under sized, it suited the purpose, we went plucking ripe maize and cutting down the stem of the plant, we later went to the Wife’s Garden and plucked the ripe Okra, pepper and vegetables, the harvest was reasonably large because the back of the Mitsubishi Van we went with was full.

After working for three hours, we settled down and roasted some fresh maize. We made a big fire and threw the maize in it without peeling of the shaft. The fire cooked and roasted the maize, and then we pulled the burnt shaft out and peeled it off the maize revealing well cooked and delicious fresh maize grain. I ate six pieces and I was full. We drank from the chilled water bottle we brought from home before proceeding on second round of work which was tidying up the farm and the area we cooked. We gathered all the maize stems that we cut down and the shafts of the maize we ate and kept them on a plane ground to dry up for burning by the next visit to the farm. This would allow enough air into the farm land for other crops to thrive.

 

We got back home around 4 PM and went to off load our harvest at Madam’s shop. She immediately displayed the maize and vegetables in smaller portions on a table outside her shop. She sold off everything before retiring into the house at 8 PM. People returning home from work in the evening bought off the fresh farm produce. Madam shared the proceeds of the sale into two halves and gave her husband a portion. That is how they live their lives; there was mutual love and understanding. Uncle Goke then gave Gbadebo his pocket money out of the money. He offered me some money but I declined. He was feeding me free of charge already. I owe this man my status today.

 

I left for Ijan Ekiti on Saturday morning to return to Ibadan in four days before going back to the east.

My house was as I had left it. I had to break the padlock because I had lost the key. I got there at 9 AM and started to clean up until after noon. There were dust and thick cobwebs all over the place. I opened all doors and windows as I cleaned

Villagers came around when they noticed that some one was in the house. Every one that saw me screamed out their surprise at how much I have grown over the years, my physical features had changed save for my eyes. I left as a boy and returned as a man.

 

On Monday morning I went to my land. The two plots given to me by the community some years back. It has been left uncared for all this while and has been over grown by trees and weed. I decided to keep my self busy while at home by clearing the land and fencing it.

I went round my home town. Some of the old butchers were still alive and selling. I saw some urchins on stand by waiting for the butchers to throw something away. I greeted the butchers, they were happy to see me; the old women that sell vegetables and fruits remembered me and prayed for me as I gave them some money.

I went to greet Modupe’s Landlord “Baba Landlord” who happened to be my name sake. Another tenant had taken over Modupe’s house. He was very surprised at my transformed self. He asked if I ever ran into any member of Modupe’s family. I said no. He sent some fresh curses to them where ever they were and I said Amen.

 

Akin, Modupe’s boy friend years back came to my house the next day Tuesday, I was at my plot of land working in company of Tunde, a young Lad that was born just before I left for secondary school years back. He is the grand son of Baba land lord and has taken an immediate liking to me. He saw me going out of my house with my Cutlass in the morning and had run to pick up his own Cutlass to join me; he thought I was going to farm. He was named Babatunde then because he was born a day after his father died. The pregnant mother died out of high blood pressure which had led to a forced labour that produced him. He had been with his grand father since then. He did not suck his mother’s breast. Baba Landlord has three daughters while in active service. His wife had died of cancer several years back and he lost his first daughter who gave birth to Tunde. The other two daughters are in their husbands houses.

 

Things were not too rosy for Akin. His influential father had died six years back and his wealth shared amongst relatives. He did not get much. He had graduated about three years back but yet to get a job. None of his father’s acquaintances could help him. He had believed so much that his father’s connections would pave way for him. He was disappointed in the City so he has come back home to farm, and since he cannot farm alone, he had put a young girl in the family way; at least life must go on! He had said.

 

He apologized to me for taking sides with Modupe years back when we had a quarrel. He said Modupe and her family had relocated to Lagos with my money. Modupe gained admission into the University of Lagos to study secretariat studies while the mother shuttled between Nigeria and Dubai for business. He said they lived in Amuwo Odofin estate. He could not continue his relationship with Dupe after the death of his father because he was short of cash and could not continue to service the extravagant life style he was living with Dupe. He was ashamed of himself as Modupe was then a Lagos girl with high taste and expectations.

He went to my house to get a Cutlass and together, the three of us worked on my land until the evening. We retired to my house and took our baths. I sent Tunde to buy a gallon of palm wine from “Baba Elemu” the wine Taper. We sat outside the house on the terrace drinking and gisting and before long there were about ten youths drinking and gisting. Baba Landlord joined us later with an additional gallon of freshly tapped wine.

Akin reminded the small forum to stop referring to me as Bolaji but Engineer, he told them it was not a small feat to achieve while Baba land lord went into a story telling  session about the white man’s technology called engineering, he held the listeners spell bound with lies that sounded like fact to my hearing.

Baba landlord was a police officer that had worked in several Cities before retiring in Lagos as a superintendant. He built his houses while still in service and till date, his detractors say he built the houses out of bribe money called “egunje

Every time he told a lie that surprised the small audience and they exclaim their disbelief, he told them to confirm from me. I simply said “beeni” it is so! Every one was high on palm wine and would not remember the discussion by the next day. Akin was just enjoying himself laughing at their gullibility.

 

By Friday, the two plots of land was cleared, my friends that came to drink at my house all turned up with their Machetes the next morning and we descended on the land cutting down and up rooting trees. Of course at night we drank ourselves into the night again and this time, there was bush meat and some Village girls too to spice up the forum. Three girls joined us from no where. These were girls that have had at least two kids in their father’s house and were ready to go home with any man as long as you can buy them drink and food and give them a little change to fend for their Kids.

 

I called a brick layer to build a fence round the two plots of land while a contracted a local welder to built a gate for me. He was happy to charge me half of the amount I had expected to be charged for the job.

 

There were no more innocent girls in the Village. All the little girls I left in the Village have become Baby mamas to some elusive boys. They roam the village with their babies strapped to their backs while their boy friends eke out their living by riding commercial motor cycles in Ado Ekiti, the capital City. Their only hope is to be married eventually to a widower or to be second wife to a local rich farmer. It was sad to see how low our girls had degenerated.

 

They were shy to come to my house for fear of being ridiculed by the elderly, especially Baba Landlord who has made my veranda his resting place in the afternoon drinking palm wine until evening.

 

The new house built for me after the Alabi’s gang incident had an extended terrace where one could sit and relax while watching passers by as they go to or return from their farms or market. It is a four bed room bungalow built with modern architecture and the first of its kind in my village. The floors of all the rooms were tiled wall to wall; the walls of the kitchen and the convenience rooms were all tiled. A well was also dug at the back of the house during the construction of the house. I bought a pumping machine and mounted a GP tank so that I could have access to water in my house as the plumbing job was properly done by the builders. I also bought some electronic gadgets and a medium sized power generator to argument the inherent epileptic power supply so my house was always full whenever there was power outage and an important programme was been telecast on TV, especially football matches.

 

My villagers are poor people as we were basically peasant farmers. Money was very scarce and on seeing the way and manner in which I was living in the village, they thought I was a rich man. Apart from those very close to me, none knew much about my life achievement and what I had been through in life. They saw the young boy that was given money by community and government years ago, a young boy that was given scholarship to university level and a good job waiting for him. So they came to me with varied problems.

Some widows would come to my house very early in the morning to beg for money to feed or money to pay their children’s school fees. Some young Baby mamas would stalk me till I am alone or when I am with Tunde alone and fall on their knees begging for assistance to start a business that could help them carter for their children’s needs. Many of the Baby mamas have learnt one trade or the other but needed money to buy sewing machines, weaving machines, hair drier; the list was endless. I was helping everyone that came to me for help and the news went viral through out the Village and neighboring communities that a philanthropist has arrived.

 

It was Baba landlord that spoke some senses to me.

My son! He had said while we were seated outside my house drinking palm wine mixed with legend extra stout; “a fool and his money are soon parted”!

Meaning what sir? I asked

Our people are not good! They will milk you dry! At the end when you are broke, they will say “we wonder what the fool did with his money”! It is good to help people; it is very, very good! But you must help your self first! Not all of these people that come to you for help actually need help! Some are pathologically lazy and have refused to help themselves because they leach on people like you!

Have you started working?

No sir! I replied

Then why are you spending money on people like you are working and your salary is in seven digits? And from my findings, you have not even gone for your NYSC programme!

Yes I have not gone sir! I replied

You worked hard to train your self in school; you disciplined your self to save up some money! Not so?

That is correct sir!

How many of these villagers that you are dashing out your money to would do what you are doing, having gone through what you have been through in life?

Our people say the “it is the oily fingers that people with lick with you! Not the bloodied one” when you were toiling, no one was there! That is why you see that I buy my palm wine while coming to sit down here with you! I hate parasitic human beings! They will ruin you! For your information, my finding is that most of these villagers did not even know that you lost everything to Modupe and her mother; they did not know that you lost the scholarship due to the bank collapse years back! When they come to you they come with the mind set of reaping from what the government has planted in one of theirs! They say it is government money! Our money!

Jesu Christi o! I shouted; I was shocked.

Look! I am a pensioner in this village but no body can come to me for any yeye help because we know ourselves. How can you come to me for money when I know you have a well to do son in Lagos or in Port Harcourt? How can you come to me when I had seen you and warned you to stop frolicking with a never do well boy that keeps pressing your breast under the orange tree every night until he impregnated you and left the village to ride Okada in Ado Ekiti? I know something about every one in this village. That does not mean I do not help o! I do! I help those hospitalized that needs genuine financial assistance. I help those in need and not those in want!

Ha! Baba I am short of words; I said.

Don’t worry my son! He said; just be cautious and learn to sometimes say no!

 

My money was running low; it was time to leave the village. I had planned spending a week in the village but I ended up spending two months. Village life is very exciting especially when you have some money in your pocket.

I gave Akin some money to start a small business; he wants to go into the Cocoa purchase and resale business. I reminded him to be careful not to end up like the legendary Alabi. I gave Baba Landlord some money too but he refused until when I told him it was for Tunde’s education and upkeep, he collected it and prayed for me. He said he feels he owe me something; he said he had gone to Lagos severally to help track down my mother to no avail before he gave up hope. He asked if she ever contacted me, I said I never met her and if I do I would not have known it was her. He said there are things he need to tell me about her but I told him I was not interested, I told him to take care of Tunde, I had agreed with him that Tunde will move in with me immediately I settle down. That was when he told me that “a man can never fully settle down until the day he dies”!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Burning Platform

NA WHO YOU EPP?

I was sipping my second bottle of the Ultimate beer when they sauntered in discussing and gesticulating frantically.

He is a very selfish man! Can you believe that our father trained that idiot to school to the detriment of the rest of us?

Really? His partner asked.

Yes nah! You think say I dey lie? Asked Mr.  A.

But why is he now behaving this way? Mr. B asked.

Mr. A: it is the wife! That witch! Since he married that girl from Okirika things have changed in our family! He has stopped caring for us! Before now he used to send money to us monthly! He visits more often than now! That woman has bewitched my brother!

They sat on my table where I was jejely minding my business. They ordered for their brands of beer and the discussion continued.

Mr. B: that your brother wife must be heartless!

Mr. A: more than heartless! She is a witch! Very wicked Okirika woman! I warned him not to marry from Okirika then! I told him to marry an Ogoni woman!

Mr. B: was he dating any Ogoni woman then?

Mr. A: I don’t think so! But he could have gotten one if he wanted. He has the money. With money you can buy any woman you want from any where!

Now he focused on me and asked: Oga no be so?

He should not have invited me to meddle in his life palaver. They brought their beers and they poured their drinks. My second bottle was almost empty.

Give our Oga here another bottle! Mr. A ordered. Oga abi you don tire? He asked me. Surely this man wants friendship.

I never tire! I fit drink eight bottles of Gulder on a good day and still drive from here to Sokoto! I said.

Chairman! Chairman! The two men hailed me.

Bros you see ehn! People are wicked! My own elder brother has abandoned us because of a woman! Common woman o!

Wetin really happen? I asked.

My elder brother na the chairman of Eleme L.G.A. but he married an Okirika woman! The guy don abandon us! We dey suffer now for the family house! He said.

Hmm, I pondered. You dey suffer and you dey buy beer for me and your friend. isokay!

I asked him for just two million naira to take complete my house project. The guy says he doesn’t have it!

Two million naira? I asked.

Yes nah! He can afford it! I know his worth! Mr. A countered.

Ha! Bros! His brother is a millionaire o! He has a lot of contracts he is handling. He even gives Mr. us contracts to execute from time to time. Like now Mr. A is handling the Obigbo road project worth twenty nine million naira!

 

My beer came, courtesy of Mr. A. I opened and filled my glass. I watched the rich white form head of the beer as it gathered on the tumbler and I wished the hearts of humans are this white. I gulped down a long one and wiped off the foam head from my mustache. I belched out. Nothing like a chilled bottle of Gulder! Time to talk.

My friend! Thank you for the beer. My name is Ayo.

Oh! We forgot to introduce our selves earlier! I am Emeke and my friend is Alalibo.

Good! Emeke! This your elder brother, na which university he go? I asked.

University? He asked laughing out loud.

He no go any university o! Na secondary school he stop!

But you said na only him your papa train for school? I asked.

Yes nah! Na only him finish secondary school amongst us! The rest of us go learn trade.

And today this your brother na millionaire and a Local government chairman?

Yes o! He replied sipping his beer.

Hey! Wey this waiter? Emeke shouted. Bring pepper soup for us I beg! Three plates!

Which trade you learn? I asked

Under water welding! He said.

Wow! That na correct hand work o! You suppose dey one rig dey hammer now nah!

The guy don work for rig tire nah! Na today? His friend Alalibo offered.

Really? I asked.

I don make money for rig tire! Emeke said. I don leave that job for the younger boys now. Na Contractor I be now.

How you take get those rig jobs? I asked.

The L.G.A Chairman get oil servicing companies nah! The guy na multa eh!

So na your brother help you get the rig jobs! In fact na him company you work with? I asked

Yes nah! Emeke said. Hey! He shouted. Una no get music for this bar? Wey the pepper soup nah?

Emeke you don marry? I asked.

They looked at each other and laughed.

Wetin happen? I asked.

Emeka get three Children from three different women!

Hmm! Na wa o! I said. Emeke! Emeke! Emeke! Na how many times I call you?

They both laughed out loud again!

You dey call me like my brother dey call me. He said.

Is your friend Alalibo married?

I am married with two beautiful daughters!

Where is your family? I asked.

They are here with me nah! My wife owns a hair dressing saloon in G.R.A and my children attend private schools.

And where do you work? I asked.

Which yeye work? Emeke asked laughing. Na washer man he be!

I own a laundry outfit on Bonny Island. I have seven staff members.

I poured the remaining beer in the glass and drank. I got up and adjusted my belt. The steaming plates of pepper soup came. It was served. I looked at the robust tempting pieces of assorted meat in the plate. This could go with another bottle of Gulder. But I was angry.

Look Emeke or what ever you call your self, you are a big fool!

What? He screamed. Every other customer in the Bar focused on us.

I pulled the empty bottle of beer closer to me.

Yes! You be mumu! Big fool! You dey here dey heap blames on your elder brother for not helping you or the family! But you are here buying beer and pepper soup for people! Even to a stranger like me!

You have three Children with three women and you think that is life? What have those Kids eaten today? Do you know? Are they in good schools? What is your plan for the future? Your brother helped you to get jobs on the rig! He gave you the contract you are currently working on! Yet you dey complain say the man no try! You! Na who you epp?

Emeke removed his hands from the plate of pepper soup slowly.

Your greatest enemy na him sidon with you so! Alalibo na devil! Alalibo na your bossom friend! He dey help you spend your money on drinks and frivolities! Alalibo Children dey go private schools! Where your own Children dey go? You no know!

Alalibo wife get salon for G.R.A! A whole G.R.A! Do you know how much they charge in such salons? Where your own wives dey work Emeke?

You dey call Alalibo a common washer man! But Alalibo said he has a laundry outfit on the expensive Bonny Island with seven staff members whom he pays salaries monthly! Which company you get Emeke? Yet na you dey buy beer for Alalibo! I am sure that the money that Alalibo used in setting himself and the wife up was gotten from you! Why did he not advise you to set up something for your self?

You dey blame the Okirika woman! Fool! My wife is an Okirika woman! The first lady of this country is an Okirika woman! My dear, if you don’t know, Okirika women are wonderful women! You are lucky she has not banned you from seeing your brother entirely. Look at your enemy besides you!

The Bar was turned upside down. I picked up the bottle of Gulder quickly as Emeke crashed his bottle of beer on Alalibo’s head and poured the plates of pepper soup on his head.

My eye o! My eye o! Alalibo was screaming as Emeka pounced on him.

So to all those lazy Lager louts out there who would rather criticize and castigate relations and friends for their predicament. You! Na who you epp?

Posted in Burning Platform

A stitch in time!

I knew it would come to this! I knew eighteen years ago when I was just a young under graduate. I had made my stand know to the family.

Yes I was the fourth child, yes she was my elder sister! She was older by four years yet I had made my mind known on the issue because it was very salient.

My elder sister had married a widower of forty six years who had three kids already. She was just twenty six years old while I, twenty two was then a year two student at the University of Ibadan.

What on earth could lure her to fall in love with a widower almost twice her age? A man in the age grade of our mother. Is this actually love? I had wondered.

My sister had just graduated with a degree in linguistics from the University of Benin. She was serving at the Nigerian ports authority in Lagos and had met this man. Coincidentally, the man is from the same village with my mother. He was a staff of NPA. So he told her.

I had insisted that she looked for a man her age, a single man, a friend and not a daddy.

They said I was a small boy! They said I do not understand life! My mother wanted her to replace her in her Village since my father is from another state. My father is Ijebu while mother was ijesha. My sister said older men are better and could take care of a woman better because they are experienced.

I had asked them how many more years does this man have to work? What is his educational back ground? What are his prospects? How well is he taking care of his older Kids? What does he do after work daily? What kind of friends does he roll with?

I asked my sister, Auntie what do you discuss together? This Man is old school while you are new school, can the two blend? This Man would be better off with a Widow like himself or an old mistress, the two would blend well together.

She said love conquers all, she said age was just a number.

Auntie! This man’s first child is almost my age mate! What has blinded you? You are young with a full life ahead of you! Why tying yourself to this man? Do you know what killed his first wife? What do you know about him? Is it because he takes you out and buy you petty gifts? What happened to Bayo your campus boy friend? What about brother Kunle our family friend who has been wooing you for years now?

Forget all those guys! They are small boys, she had said. So I let you be.

 

Today you are in my house with four desperate teenagers! Seeking for refuge. The old hag had shown you his true colour. He lost his job two years after you had your first child. He refused to look for another job. I was the one that raised you some money to set up a restaurant. He comes to your shop to eat three square meals daily. He had chased off all your eligible customers either by begging them for money or accusing them of going out with you.

He does not bring any money home, how could he? He has no job. He sits at the vendors stand discussing politics and national economy. He knows the names of all the members of the house of assembly, he knows the name of all the players of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester united. No one wins him in an argument and at the end of the day, he retires to your shop to eat and drink and later at night, he mounts you to relieve his pent up agro.

You have changed from the radiant ebony beauty I used to know to a scraggy looking old woman. You tend him, his Children and your children. You have become a man all of a sudden! For eighteen years you have been living in hell. You weep every night before sleeping. You weep every night he mounts you in drunken orgy. Yet you stayed put. For better for worse you said you signed.

 

So what are you doing in my house? I asked.

I am married with Kid now! I have my own family and personal responsibilities to take care of!

Bridget is sick! You said. Her father wants to use her for money ritual! You said.

How? I asked.

Everywhere I went to, I was told the same thing! You said. The sickness has defiled all medical prescriptions! We went to houses of God and I was advised to go on seven days fasting in other to save Bridget! Her father has submitted her as sacrifice to get rich! Bridget has been sleeping in the church since then! I am advised to leave the man else he might harm me because I am obstructing his mission! Please my dear brother! You are all I have! I have not eaten in two days! Even yesterday when I broke my fast, it was Garri that I drank! Look at my Children! They have been drinking water since yesterday! No food in their stomach! My shop is grounded! My Customers have all gone! My brother, the past eighteen years have been a hell hole for your sister! Look at me nah! See what I have become! Who would believe I am just 43? I look like a sixty year old widow!

But I told you Auntie! Did I not tell you eighteen years back? You said I was a small boy! You said I did not understand the meaning of love! Where is mummy that was edging you on back then? Where is uncle Gbade that was encouraging you to date his friend then? Why did you not go to them now? Why me?

Bayo your Campus Boyfriend then is based in Abuja with his family now, he is doing very well. Uncle Kunle is with NLNG at Bonny Island, he married your friend Aminat, and he is a big boy today! Look at you! Look at your Children! You look like refugees in your own country! You bring your Children to my house, what do you want me to tell my wife and Kids?

I am your sister! I am family!

Yes you are but I have my own nuclear family too and I am committed to them first before anyone else. I do not want a rival for my wife! There is no way you would live with me in my house, my wife would never be comfortable because you are older than me. She cannot serve me and serve you and your children too. She has her hands full already!

Ha! Ayo. What are you implying?

You cannot stay in my house! You will go to our father’s house in the village! That is our family house. This house here belongs to another woman! I will give you some money as I have always done. But I cannot accommodate you. I am sorry.

Ha! Ayo! I will die here o! I am not going anywhere o! You are my blood o! You are my brother! You have to take me in o!

You wept and rolled on the floor, your children joined you. What a pathetic sight. But I know you my sister, I know you very well. You are just like our mother, once I allow you in, you will take over my house. I do not want that.

I knew this day would come. I knew it eighteen years ago and I have firmly resolved to resist it whenever it comes. I do not want to bring my wife into the picture so you do not say she influenced me. I have rehearsed this scene over and over, through the years.

It is either you will go back to your husband’s house and allow him to use his child for money ritual or you go home to meet mummy in the village, after all they put you up to it in the first place. How can the Church advise you to leave your husband? Eighteen years ago it was the same Church that encouraged you to marry this man! You told me you had prayed about it and the pastor said you were destined to be man and wife! You said you saw it severally in dreams, you said it was shown to you in visions. He is your husband.

You are a prayer warrior! You could pray and fast for days!

But you have prayed and fasted amiss! Faith without work is dead.

There are basic natural principles that prayers cannot alter. ‘You reap what you sew’. Prayer or not!

You have been praying for change for the past eighteen years! You had your first child

No change!

You had the second child

Still no change!

You had the third! And the fourth!

Are you normal? Were you bewitched or something? This jobless lazy man had three Kids already!

Why did you not stop procreating after the first or the second? You were praying for change!

What physical effort did you make to change? What did you want God to bless in your family?

Your husband refused every job offer with lousy excuses, you became the bread winner, working tirelessly and praying endlessly. The Kids were growing, responsibility was increasing, you husband was aging, you are ageing also.

Now you are running out of your home abandoning your 64 years old husband. He did not use your Child for ritual when he had a full life ahead of him! At sixty four he has few more years to live so why would he kill his own daughter now?

What you should have done my sister is to cry to his family with the church revelation. Tell them that if your daughter dies, your husband should be held responsible! Tell them that if he comes into sudden wealth after the death of your Child, the whole world should know the source of his wealth!

The truth is that you cannot take it anymore! You cannot see any ray of light at the end of this unending tunnel. The fantasies of your youth have given way to the realities in life.

The church advised you to run away from your husband! The church said no one should put asunder!

The church has hit the brick wall in your matter! They cannot help you get a miracle after eighteen years of fasting, praying and tithing. Why did your church not establish a business for you? Why did they not help you to secure a better job? You are a graduate for God’s sake! The G.O of your church has two secondary schools! Why did they not recruit you to teach in one? Don’t you think? My Sister what has come over you? Why are you so blinded to reality and the way things work?

To be continued..