About me

Posted in Prose, Stories

The abandoned child

CHAPTER 11

 

 

My overall performance in the first year endeared students to me in the second year. Many students that never as much as said a “hello” to me in the first year were now coming around me and seeking for space in my schedule. Maduka was the only friend I had in my first year but in my second year, “Omo” became the “man”. I was not carried away though because so many friends meant distractions.

 

There were two guys and a girl that were being viewed as the best three in the class while we were in year one. They were quick to answer questions in class; they were always handy to give assistance to students who had problem understanding certain topics. They were good but the overall result at the end of the session showed that I was better. I was a recluse because of my Yoruba accent; people laugh when I speak so I do not ask or answer questions in class.

 

The trio became my rivals in school, they watch out for the kind of books I read, they monitor the times I read. Whenever I am asked a question by the lecturers who have now known me, they interfere and want to show superior knowledge on the subject. One of the boys called Chukwuma even told me to my face that any brilliant person who cannot teach others is not worth the name. He said I was hoarding knowledge. I did not reply him, he did not know that outside the school, I was a teacher and my students are proud of me.

 

In my last letter to my mentor, I had updated every happening at school to him including the rivalry. He replied and said it was very natural, he then advised me to make friends with one or two equally good senior students in the faculty, a year and two years above my level.

 

I went to the four hundred levels and met with Samuel Ajibo who was the overall best student and Jane Nwankwo in three hundred levels. To these two I took academic problems to and I gained superior knowledge from them.

 

Towards the end of the first semester, I had just come out from the examination hall and was walking towards the hostel when Maduka cornered me and handed a bag to me and walked away.

Maduka na wetin dey inside? I asked but he did not reply, he simply waved me to go on.

I opened the bag and saw clothes, I called him to ask what it was meant for but he had gone far, he did not look back.

I took the bag home and emptied its content on my bunk. It contained three pairs on Jeans trousers, three Polo shirts, two Chinos short sleeve shirts and a pair of sandals. All were exactly my size. It couldn’t have been Maduka’s because while he was sturdy, I was lanky and the clothes matched me when I tried them on.

My bunk mate Chinasa, a weird fellow from Isialangwa in Abia state walked into the room from the examination hall, when he saw the clothes he started screaming “thank God o”! Thank God o! Bolaji don vex o! Make una come see o! Omo Yoruba don vex o! He don go charter Boutique o!

I hurriedly tucked away the clothes inside my box and locked it up, and then I ran out of the room as curious students started to troop into our room.

I went behind the hostel building and sat on the terrace to reminisce.

So people have noticed that I do not have clothes? Imagine Chinasa screaming and calling the whole dormitory to come and see my supposed new clothes! What a pity! What an embarrassment! How was I to know that anyone gave a damn about what I wear? I never gave a damn about whatever anyone wore so long it was clean.

I have a Jeans trouser and two shirts, a three quarter short, four boxers and two singlet. I wash anything I wear daily but for my jeans that I wash on Saturdays or Sundays.

My classmates also would have noticed my material deficiencies else Maduka would not have offered to clothe me. I wondered how much the Lad must have spent to procure the clothes for me, even though I would have preferred the cash equivalent because dressing was the least of my problems; however I was grateful to Maduka. I got up after thinking and soliloquizing for one hour and went to visit Maduka at his hostel.

 

There was as uproar when I walked into the examination hall the next morning. The hall was turned upside down. The hullaballoo was due to the new pair of black and red stripped shirt I wore on a new black Jeans. One of my class mates actually attempted to lift me on his shoulder and I ran out of the hall as the examination was yet to begin. That was when I shed tears. I cried because I was emotion laden by the fact that my poor condition was opened to all while I had thought that no one gave a damn!

 

I could not go back into the hall until the guy that tried to lift me up came to meet me under tree where I had run to, he saw the tears in my eyes and he hugged me. I cried the more.

Easy Omo! Easy! He said; I am so sorry for embarrassing you, but the fact was that I almost did not recognize you! You know I am so used to seeing you in your blue baggy jeans and green shirt! Seeing you like this today blew my mind and the mind of others as you could see in the hall. I am so sorry, please forgive me, he said as we hugged once more.

Wipe your tears; let’s go back into the hall for the invigilator has arrived with the examination papers.

Thanks a lot Godwin! I said.

But my guy, see as you fine! He teased; you be fine boy o! You come dey behave like a Jew man! Which babe you go toast now wey no go trip for you?  He asked jokingly as he pulled me along laughing.

 

I got the same reaction from every where I went to that week. I used to be referred to as “Omo baggy Jeans” behind my back.

The first semester examination ended well and the school went on break.

 

I had no where to go to so I stayed back in the hostel and when the hostel was almost empty I went to town to the school where I taught during the last long vacation. There was no vacancy. Very few students registered for extra moral lessons so I was not needed. The proprietor told me to come back by the next holiday when students would have started preparing for GCE and JAMB examinations. The implication of what the proprietor told me did not hit me until I got back to the hostel and checked up my money. I was left with seven hundred naira only.

 

Seven hundred naira would hold me for one week if I managed it well by sticking to a meal daily and drinking enough water. I needed a job to take care of my second semester needs. I was tempted to sell off some of the clothes Maduka gave me but I immediately dismissed the idea. The embarrassment I got concerning those clothes was an eye opener. I even need money to get more clothes and shoes before these ones becomes like a school uniform also. I need another shoe, I have a wet looks shoe and a palm sandals. The sole of the shoe had worn off badly that I wondered if I was bow legged. It can not survive the next semester. I would need to change the sole or get another shoe. I also realize that some students must be waiting to see the day that I will change my shoe. The best thing was to get another shoe and start wearing it immediately.

 

I hit town once again. I walked through the length and breadth of Owerri looking for any job that could pay anything. I ended up at Executive Gardens Hotel at Okigwe road. I got the job of a Bar man on a monthly salary of two thousand naira. I was quite happy at first but after working there for a week I almost abandoned the job and run away. But run to where nah?

 

I resumed for work as early as 7AM and because people do not come out to drink in the morning hours, my job was to join the room cleaners in cleaning up the rooms and dressing the beds, we change toiletries, disinfect the toilets, scrub the tiles on the walls of the bathroom and so on. The kind of stains I saw on bed sheets in some rooms after the guests have checked out are better left untold.

 

After working in the rooms until 1PM, I go downstairs to the bush bar and begin to clean up and set the tables and chairs in readiness for the day’s business. I stock up the Freezers with drinks; I take record of the opening stock of drinks and cigarettes in the bar. It was a Bush bar with DJ and life band facilities.

 

At 6PM I go back upstairs to take my bath and change into the hotel uniform of white shirt on black trousers then I return down stairs to join my colleague to begin the night’s activities. I do not rest until 2AM or 3AM when the last drunkard would have left. What actually bring business to the bush are the girls that come to hustle. I have never in my life seen such a careless and shameless display of immorality. The girls come from every where claiming to be students of the several higher institutions in eastern Nigeria. They come in varied shapes and sizes dressing seductively to woo the male, any male, as long as he has got cash. Many students from my school, including my lecturers come to patronize the bar and the girls. The girls were on take away basis or short time basis at the chalet in our hotel.

 

By 9PM the bar is at the peak of activities with either the DJ or the Life band entertaining and customers dancing. Men and ladies drinking and smoking, bar men running hitter titter to attend to customer’s need. The girls dance to every music showing themselves while the men sit and watch and eventually pick their choice girl by sending us the bar men to invite the girl to their table

 

By 12 midnight, they begin to fizzle out in twos’, some go into the hotel to spend the night together and others to “God knows where”. I then sit down after the last person has gone to count my tips which I had tucked into my back pocket to avoid adding it to the company’s money that I collect from customers.

 

Till this day I still wonder how some ladies came to the hotel every night and went away with different men each night. Some would have had three to four short time sessions with men in the hotel before finally going home with another man. They called it hustling and they don’t give a damn.

 

An incident I will never forget at the hotel happened the night a fine gentleman was brought to the hotel by his friend just to prove to him that his fiancée was not whom he thought she was.

The so called fiancée in the company of her friends and five men were on a round table setting eating Nkwobi, drinking assorted spirits and smoking cigarettes. They were chatting loud and having fun.

The fiancée was high on spirit and she stood up to dance to entertain her client for the night. With her cigarette in her left finger, she zoomed into the client who was seated; she pulled his chair backwards so she could have a space between him and the table. She then came between him and the table dancing seductively and rolling her back side in his face. She then sat on his crouch facing him with her full breast under his nose. Her cream coloured mini gown slipped up revealing alluring thighs. The randy client dug his head into her bosom and did things with his mouth. Her mates on the table were cheering, we were watching.

It was when Mr. Randy grabbed her butt and squeezed that hell was let loose.

The gentleman fiancé screamed “chineke me ee”! awunanam ee! (My God, I am dead) the man screamed stamping his feet as he charged towards the table: Nkechi! He shouted: Nkechi! Ihe a, obu ilo k’ogini! Is this a dream or what?

Jesus! Jesus! Was all Nkechi kept muttering as she jumped off her client sending the client and his chair tumbling over and she ran out of the bush bar leaving her bag and shoes behind. They were engaged to be married in a weeks’ time

 

CHAPTER 12

 

We did not resume for the second semester as stipulated in the academic calendar, we rather resumed into a long session of industrial strike action embarked upon by the academic staff union due to non payment of salaries and allowances accrued over five months. Students went back home after waiting for a week without resolution between the government and the academic union.

 

I continued my routine work at the Executive Gardens. I was paid my first salary of one thousand seven hundred and fifty naira after deducting the amount I incurred as loses due to breakages and forgetting to collect monies from some customers. Many cunning customers sneak away without paying for their drinks. Some would have finished drinking and eating pepper soup before remembering that they forgot their wallets at home. We also have the “book me down customers”, these are regular customers who drink through the month and pay off at month end when they collect their salaries.

 

But I was okay, my accumulated tips for the month was about one thousand five hundred naira so I had over three thousand naira with me.

We stayed home for two months before the strike was finally called off by the academic staff union and school resumed in earnest. I had worked for three months and I could boast of over seven thousand naira. I felt very rich and so I boarded a bus to the popular Ariaria Market in the city of Aba. I went with a colleague at the hotel, a cleaner who had told me a lot about how one could get very cheap commodities at the market.

 

I purchased four trousers, four Polo T shirts, two short sleeves shirts and two long sleeve shirts. We later left Ariaria Market and went to “School Road” street to buy a brown Timberland safety Boot and a black brock’s shoe. I spent two thousand five hundred naira on all the purchase. I never knew clothes and shoes could be that affordable even though the shoes were fairly used they were rock solid that one could easily take it for brand new from Italy. I bought a lot of food stuff too and I was ready for the second semester of my 200 levels.

 

Within two weeks on resumption of the second semester, I had redeemed my image. Maduka bought more clothes for me again, I told him I have enough as I narrated my holiday experience to him, he however dropped the three trousers, four shirts and one canvas on my bed. Chinasa watched as I changed into different clothes daily for two weeks stretch. He could no hold his tongue as he shouted again on a Monday morning when I wore white Polo shirt on a fitted blue Jeans and Canvas;

Old boy! Abi you go rob Boutique? Make una see Omo o! I just dey look you all these days I no want to talk! Omo na who provoke you nah?

 

Guy leave that yarn o! na God dey do am; I replied

 

There was also mixed reactions from my class mates, but I noticed that I got more friends, especially the ladies.

 

I stopped going to the Hotel daily except for weekends that I went to help out with work. I was not being paid salary but I earned my tips.

 

Our first semester result was released mid way into the second semester. My total CGP was 4.80. I was still the best in class. I wrote a letter to Mr. Adegoke and gave him update of what I did during the holiday till date. I got his reply after two weeks and as usual after reading his mail, I was charged the more. I dug into my books harder. He reminded me that I should never take my tests or assignments for granted. He said if I could score the whole forty points in my test and assignment, all I need is forty more point s out of the 60 examination points to make an “A”. He said majority of students take their tests and assignments for granted and begins to struggle to score the whole 60 points in examination which is always not possible. Those are the average students, I was a first class material, he had written.

 

My self esteem rose higher in the second semester as I got several compliments from Guys and babes alike when I dress. I had grown into a 6 feet 3 inches tall young man. I have good stature with hard hands developed over the years farming in the Village. I have a gap between my incisors and when I smiled or laughed my cheek dimpled. I have dark eye brows, dark shinny hair and moustache. My stomach was flat with six packs and my waist is narrow upon long tapering athletic legs.

 

Poverty had not made me to realize my natural endowment until in my second year in the university at the age of twenty three

 

Towards the second semester examinations, I became involved in several tutorial lessons organized by year one students. I was paid by the students at the end of each session. They imposed levies on all attendees to pay me.

 

 

 

 

 

bookcoverimage-the-abandoned-child-amazon

Posted in Literature, Prose, Stories

The abandoned child

CHAPTER 11

 

 

My overall performance in the first year endeared students to me in the second year. Many students that never as much as said a “hello” to me in the first year were now coming around me and seeking for space in my schedule. Maduka was the only friend I had in my first year but in my second year, “Omo” became the “man”. I was not carried away though because so many friends meant distractions.

 

There were two guys and a girl that were being viewed as the best three in the class while we were in year one. They were quick to answer questions in class; they were always handy to give assistance to students who had problem understanding certain topics. They were good but the overall result at the end of the session showed that I was better. I was a recluse because of my Yoruba accent; people laugh when I speak so I do not ask or answer questions in class.

 

The trio became my rivals in school, they watch out for the kind of books I read, they monitor the times I read. Whenever I am asked a question by the lecturers who have now known me, they interfere and want to show superior knowledge on the subject. One of the boys called Chukwuma even told me to my face that any brilliant person who cannot teach others is not worth the name. He said I was hoarding knowledge. I did not reply him, he did not know that outside the school, I was a teacher and my students are proud of me.

 

In my last letter to my mentor, I had updated every happening at school to him including the rivalry. He replied and said it was very natural, he then advised me to make friends with one or two equally good senior students in the faculty, a year and two years above my level.

 

I went to the four hundred levels and met with Samuel Ajibo who was the overall best student and Jane Nwankwo in three hundred levels. To these two I took academic problems to and I gained superior knowledge from them.

 

Towards the end of the first semester, I had just come out from the examination hall and was walking towards the hostel when Maduka cornered me and handed a bag to me and walked away.

Maduka na wetin dey inside? I asked but he did not reply, he simply waved me to go on.

I opened the bag and saw clothes, I called him to ask what it was meant for but he had gone far, he did not look back.

I took the bag home and emptied its content on my bunk. It contained three pairs on Jeans trousers, three Polo shirts, two Chinos short sleeve shirts and a pair of sandals. All were exactly my size. It couldn’t have been Maduka’s because while he was sturdy, I was lanky and the clothes matched me when I tried them on.

My bunk mate Chinasa, a weird fellow from Isialangwa in Abia state walked into the room from the examination hall, when he saw the clothes he started screaming “thank God o”! Thank God o! Bolaji don vex o! Make una come see o! Omo Yoruba don vex o! He don go charter Boutique o!

I hurriedly tucked away the clothes inside my box and locked it up, and then I ran out of the room as curious students started to troop into our room.

I went behind the hostel building and sat on the terrace to reminisce.

So people have noticed that I do not have clothes? Imagine Chinasa screaming and calling the whole dormitory to come and see my supposed new clothes! What a pity! What an embarrassment! How was I to know that anyone gave a damn about what I wear? I never gave a damn about whatever anyone wore so long it was clean.

I have a Jeans trouser and two shirts, a three quarter short, four boxers and two singlet. I wash anything I wear daily but for my jeans that I wash on Saturdays or Sundays.

My classmates also would have noticed my material deficiencies else Maduka would not have offered to clothe me. I wondered how much the Lad must have spent to procure the clothes for me, even though I would have preferred the cash equivalent because dressing was the least of my problems; however I was grateful to Maduka. I got up after thinking and soliloquizing for one hour and went to visit Maduka at his hostel.

 

There was as uproar when I walked into the examination hall the next morning. The hall was turned upside down. The hullaballoo was due to the new pair of black and red stripped shirt I wore on a new black Jeans. One of my class mates actually attempted to lift me on his shoulder and I ran out of the hall as the examination was yet to begin. That was when I shed tears. I cried because I was emotion laden by the fact that my poor condition was opened to all while I had thought that no one gave a damn!

 

I could not go back into the hall until the guy that tried to lift me up came to meet me under tree where I had run to, he saw the tears in my eyes and he hugged me. I cried the more.

Easy Omo! Easy! He said; I am so sorry for embarrassing you, but the fact was that I almost did not recognize you! You know I am so used to seeing you in your blue baggy jeans and green shirt! Seeing you like this today blew my mind and the mind of others as you could see in the hall. I am so sorry, please forgive me, he said as we hugged once more.

Wipe your tears; let’s go back into the hall for the invigilator has arrived with the examination papers.

Thanks a lot Godwin! I said.

But my guy, see as you fine! He teased; you be fine boy o! You come dey behave like a Jew man! Which babe you go toast now wey no go trip for you?  He asked jokingly as he pulled me along laughing.

 

I got the same reaction from every where I went to that week. I used to be referred to as “Omo baggy Jeans” behind my back.

The first semester examination ended well and the school went on break.

 

I had no where to go to so I stayed back in the hostel and when the hostel was almost empty I went to town to the school where I taught during the last long vacation. There was no vacancy. Very few students registered for extra moral lessons so I was not needed. The proprietor told me to come back by the next holiday when students would have started preparing for GCE and JAMB examinations. The implication of what the proprietor told me did not hit me until I got back to the hostel and checked up my money. I was left with seven hundred naira only.

 

Seven hundred naira would hold me for one week if I managed it well by sticking to a meal daily and drinking enough water. I needed a job to take care of my second semester needs. I was tempted to sell off some of the clothes Maduka gave me but I immediately dismissed the idea. The embarrassment I got concerning those clothes was an eye opener. I even need money to get more clothes and shoes before these ones becomes like a school uniform also. I need another shoe, I have a wet looks shoe and a palm sandals. The sole of the shoe had worn off badly that I wondered if I was bow legged. It can not survive the next semester. I would need to change the sole or get another shoe. I also realize that some students must be waiting to see the day that I will change my shoe. The best thing was to get another shoe and start wearing it immediately.

 

I hit town once again. I walked through the length and breadth of Owerri looking for any job that could pay anything. I ended up at Executive Gardens Hotel at Okigwe road. I got the job of a Bar man on a monthly salary of two thousand naira. I was quite happy at first but after working there for a week I almost abandoned the job and run away. But run to where nah?

 

I resumed for work as early as 7AM and because people do not come out to drink in the morning hours, my job was to join the room cleaners in cleaning up the rooms and dressing the beds, we change toiletries, disinfect the toilets, scrub the tiles on the walls of the bathroom and so on. The kind of stains I saw on bed sheets in some rooms after the guests have checked out are better left untold.

 

After working in the rooms until 1PM, I go downstairs to the bush bar and begin to clean up and set the tables and chairs in readiness for the day’s business. I stock up the Freezers with drinks; I take record of the opening stock of drinks and cigarettes in the bar. It was a Bush bar with DJ and life band facilities.

 

At 6PM I go back upstairs to take my bath and change into the hotel uniform of white shirt on black trousers then I return down stairs to join my colleague to begin the night’s activities. I do not rest until 2AM or 3AM when the last drunkard would have left. What actually bring business to the bush are the girls that come to hustle. I have never in my life seen such a careless and shameless display of immorality. The girls come from every where claiming to be students of the several higher institutions in eastern Nigeria. They come in varied shapes and sizes dressing seductively to woo the male, any male, as long as he has got cash. Many students from my school, including my lecturers come to patronize the bar and the girls. The girls were on take away basis or short time basis at the chalet in our hotel.

 

By 9PM the bar is at the peak of activities with either the DJ or the Life band entertaining and customers dancing. Men and ladies drinking and smoking, bar men running hitter titter to attend to customer’s need. The girls dance to every music showing themselves while the men sit and watch and eventually pick their choice girl by sending us the bar men to invite the girl to their table

 

By 12 midnight, they begin to fizzle out in twos’, some go into the hotel to spend the night together and others to “God knows where”. I then sit down after the last person has gone to count my tips which I had tucked into my back pocket to avoid adding it to the company’s money that I collect from customers.

 

Till this day I still wonder how some ladies came to the hotel every night and went away with different men each night. Some would have had three to four short time sessions with men in the hotel before finally going home with another man. They called it hustling and they don’t give a damn.

 

An incident I will never forget at the hotel happened the night a fine gentleman was brought to the hotel by his friend just to prove to him that his fiancée was not whom he thought she was.

The so called fiancée in the company of her friends and five men were on a round table setting eating Nkwobi, drinking assorted spirits and smoking cigarettes. They were chatting loud and having fun.

The fiancée was high on spirit and she stood up to dance to entertain her client for the night. With her cigarette in her left finger, she zoomed into the client who was seated; she pulled his chair backwards so she could have a space between him and the table. She then came between him and the table dancing seductively and rolling her back side in his face. She then sat on his crouch facing him with her full breast under his nose. Her cream coloured mini gown slipped up revealing alluring thighs. The randy client dug his head into her bosom and did things with his mouth. Her mates on the table were cheering, we were watching.

It was when Mr. Randy grabbed her butt and squeezed that hell was let loose.

The gentleman fiancé screamed “chineke me ee”! awunanam ee! (My God, I am dead) the man screamed stamping his feet as he charged towards the table: Nkechi! He shouted: Nkechi! Ihe a, obu ilo k’ogini! Is this a dream or what?

Jesus! Jesus! Was all Nkechi kept muttering as she jumped off her client sending the client and his chair tumbling over and she ran out of the bush bar leaving her bag and shoes behind. They were engaged to be married in a weeks’ time

 

CHAPTER 12

 

We did not resume for the second semester as stipulated in the academic calendar, we rather resumed into a long session of industrial strike action embarked upon by the academic staff union due to non payment of salaries and allowances accrued over five months. Students went back home after waiting for a week without resolution between the government and the academic union.

 

I continued my routine work at the Executive Gardens. I was paid my first salary of one thousand seven hundred and fifty naira after deducting the amount I incurred as loses due to breakages and forgetting to collect monies from some customers. Many cunning customers sneak away without paying for their drinks. Some would have finished drinking and eating pepper soup before remembering that they forgot their wallets at home. We also have the “book me down customers”, these are regular customers who drink through the month and pay off at month end when they collect their salaries.

 

But I was okay, my accumulated tips for the month was about one thousand five hundred naira so I had over three thousand naira with me.

We stayed home for two months before the strike was finally called off by the academic staff union and school resumed in earnest. I had worked for three months and I could boast of over seven thousand naira. I felt very rich and so I boarded a bus to the popular Ariaria Market in the city of Aba. I went with a colleague at the hotel, a cleaner who had told me a lot about how one could get very cheap commodities at the market.

 

I purchased four trousers, four Polo T shirts, two short sleeves shirts and two long sleeve shirts. We later left Ariaria Market and went to “School Road” street to buy a brown Timberland safety Boot and a black brock’s shoe. I spent two thousand five hundred naira on all the purchase. I never knew clothes and shoes could be that affordable even though the shoes were fairly used they were rock solid that one could easily take it for brand new from Italy. I bought a lot of food stuff too and I was ready for the second semester of my 200 levels.

 

Within two weeks on resumption of the second semester, I had redeemed my image. Maduka bought more clothes for me again, I told him I have enough as I narrated my holiday experience to him, he however dropped the three trousers, four shirts and one canvas on my bed. Chinasa watched as I changed into different clothes daily for two weeks stretch. He could no hold his tongue as he shouted again on a Monday morning when I wore white Polo shirt on a fitted blue Jeans and Canvas;

Old boy! Abi you go rob Boutique? Make una see Omo o! I just dey look you all these days I no want to talk! Omo na who provoke you nah?

 

Guy leave that yarn o! na God dey do am; I replied

 

There was also mixed reactions from my class mates, but I noticed that I got more friends, especially the ladies.

 

I stopped going to the Hotel daily except for weekends that I went to help out with work. I was not being paid salary but I earned my tips.

 

Our first semester result was released mid way into the second semester. My total CGP was 4.80. I was still the best in class. I wrote a letter to Mr. Adegoke and gave him update of what I did during the holiday till date. I got his reply after two weeks and as usual after reading his mail, I was charged the more. I dug into my books harder. He reminded me that I should never take my tests or assignments for granted. He said if I could score the whole forty points in my test and assignment, all I need is forty more point s out of the 60 examination points to make an “A”. He said majority of students take their tests and assignments for granted and begins to struggle to score the whole 60 points in examination which is always not possible. Those are the average students, I was a first class material, he had written.

 

My self esteem rose higher in the second semester as I got several compliments from Guys and babes alike when I dress. I had grown into a 6 feet 3 inches tall young man. I have good stature with hard hands developed over the years farming in the Village. I have a gap between my incisors and when I smiled or laughed my cheek dimpled. I have dark eye brows, dark shinny hair and moustache. My stomach was flat with six packs and my waist is narrow upon long tapering athletic legs.

 

Poverty had not made me to realize my natural endowment until in my second year in the university at the age of twenty three

 

Towards the second semester examinations, I became involved in several tutorial lessons organized by year one students. I was paid by the students at the end of each session. They imposed levies on all attendees to pay me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Literature, Prose, Stories

The abandoned child

CHAPTER 10

 

1991-University environment was so different from any environment I have been in my twenty two years of existence. It was a case of multi socio-cultural mix up.

 

No one gave a damn about my age! In fact I was not the oldest in my class of seventy students at 100 levels. I had married men and women as class mates! I had my age mates and younger ones too, no one cared about age and that feeling was soothing to me unlike what I passed through in my secondary school where my class mates and the whole school tagged me an uncle.

 

The social life was something else though. I had to adapt. For instance, I needed to stop bowing too low or try to prostrate while greeting someone that is older than me. I needed to curtail the excessive use of “yes sir” while discussing with an older one, be it student or lecturer, I could start a sentence with “yes sir” and end it with “sir” it was strange to the eastern people when I discuss with and older person and show so much respect. They laugh at me, they say I am local.

 

Another thing I observed here was the public show of affection between male and female students. I was always carried away when I see a boy and a girl taking a walk hand in hand or worse still when a girl seats on the lap of a boy discussing in public. I would forget myself and mope at them until they either shout at me or they shy away from my presence. It was not easy for me to stop looking at skimpily dressed ladies exposing their luscious cleavages and thighs in public, people were so free. No class prefect or school prefect to bully you.  The class captains here were mere stooges for the lecturers.

 

There were joints where we go to buy snacks and soft drinks. One could also go to town in the evening to drink alcohol or whatever pleases you. The evenings were my favourite moments as I would go out and sit close the school gate to watch the array of visitors trooping in and out of the school to pick up our girls. I saw exotic cars in their numbers; cars I had thought only existed in foreign movies, porch cars with convertible roof blaring out loud music and occupants dressed like movies Stars.

I would watch girls dressed for the night walk out of the school gate to board taxis to town. My favourite sit out was at Mallam Musa’s Kiosk close to the gate, I normally buy groundnut or biscuit and a bottle of Fanta as I sit and feed my eyes.

 

In my first year, I rarely went to the school joint. It was not meant for my type. I had no money to spare, the two times I went there was on invitation by a friend called Maduka. He had insisted I accompanied him there for a snack. When we got there, it was a beehive of activities. Every table was occupied with students spending money, eating and drinking. We had to wait for some students to finish eating and leave before we took over the chairs they sat on. I saw a student commanding the waitress to serve about seven other students seated around him with whatever they want.

I also saw wastage of food and drinks. Many of the girls that ate at the joint did not eat up their snacks, they barely drank half of the soft drink and bite off half of the snacks, the only item I know they ate up was meat. I hardly saw any left over stick meat. I wished I could pack up all the left over’s and take to my room. It would do me for a couple of days.

 

Year one was like an extension of secondary school. I did so well in my courses because I was already good in physics and other science subjects before entering the university.

 

The school was quite affordable because it is a federal government school. I was in the dormitory and we ate at the refectory while some of us cooked. I did both.

 

Mr. Adegoke and I were still in touch through letter writing and I always looked forward to reading from him.

Yes! Lest I forget, I had problems pronouncing the names of Igbo friends, names that starts with “Chi” I would pronounce as “she” it was practically impossible for me to change that tone, even when I tried to pronounce it right and it sounds right to my hearing, they still laugh at me and said I couldn’t get it right. I would call Ikesukwu instead of Ikechukwu. It irritated some of them and they would rather I called their English names while it amused others. All in all, it earned me the name “Omo Yoruba” in my first year. I am Yoruba by tribe and my accent stood out.

In the hostel I was quiet and reserved. I do not exceed my boundary, I do not mingle. I simply coil up in my bunk and dig into my books. Mr. Adegoke had told me that I needed to start working on my grades from my first day in school so I do no miss classes, I do not miss assignments and tests and when the second semester result was published, the name “Omo” became a force to be reckoned with. I cleared all “A”s and my CGP was 5.0.

 

I stayed back in the hostel during the holiday. I had no where to go to. Few students stayed back also. My money had run down and I was wondering how I would cope in my second year when school resumes. I could still pay my school and departmental fees, but then I would be left with very little to feed.

 

I went into town; I walked the length of Okigwe road to World Bank area looking for anything until I saw a vacancy advert posted on a gate. It read “Holiday Tutors wanted “. I knocked at the gate; it was a private school that needed Science teachers for students on holiday as well as preparatory classes for SSCE and JAMB examinations. I got the offer to teach Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics to SS1 and SS2 students. I started work immediately. It was fun and engaging but the pay was good. I solved every question the students threw at me to test my capability because I looked young and inexperienced.

Within two weeks of my working at the school, the number of students doubled. I have my ways of teaching that it made the student to want to be in my class, I told them that if a Village man like me with the least support in life could clear all “A”s in my S.S.C.E then it should be an easy ride for them that are in the City and have every family support they need. I made the students to solve equations themselves. I gave them home works and the next day we solve it together. The students looked forward to my jokes and my accent too, but in all, they got to love the subjects that I taught.

 

The most important aspect of teaching was that it also opened an avenue for me to research and improves on myself. I had to read wider to prepare for those naughty students who liked to disgrace lecturers by bringing problems that are out of the curriculum for the lecturer to solve. Some will ask irrelevant question just to embarrass the Teacher. These were children of the elites in Owerri. Spoilt Kids.

 

I made more money during the November General Certificate Examination G.C.E. The private school where I taught during the holidays was an examination centre for the G.C.E. The proprietor hired me to assist the students that were writing the examination at his centre. I was kept in a secured room and question papers from the examination hall were brought to me to solve and provide answers for the students. I went on different days to provide answers for Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics questions. I was sure the Students would clear those subjects with “A”s. except the student that refuse to pay up. I was rewarded handsomely for my effort and on resumption for school in 1992 at the age of twenty three, I was ready for school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

The Abandoned Child

CHAPTER 8

 

I997 I was 18 and in J.S.S 3 (junior secondary class 3) according to the new academic calendar. Modupe had graduated from our school and was waiting for her W.A.E.C and JAMB results to proceed into the University.

 

During the last long vacation, I had gone to meet Modupe’s mother and told her about all that transpired between Modupe and I in school. I recounted as many embarrassing episodes as I could to her and finally I told her that I need my money, all of it.

 

She said she had invested everything in her business and I should give her time. I told her I have given her three good years already, she was not training me in school because I was on full scholarship. She does not buy me anything nor gives me pocket allowance. I hustle for my pocket money! How can I have money with her yet she could not spare me some from time to time?

 

I was still discussing with her when Modupe walked into the sitting room accompanied by hey boyfriend Akindele. The mother told her to sit down and she narrated all I had told her to her daughter.

 

It was Akindele that first reacted.

Dupe is it true? He asked her surprised

Is what true? She countered

All that Bolaji said about how you treated and humiliated him at School is it true?

Why are you acting up Akin? She had challenged him: would you believe what this bastard told my mum or you would hear me out first!

What? Akin was shocked; I did not hear you well, did you just call Bolaji a bastard? Is Bolaji your age mate? Are you this rude? Akin queried

 

I can see you are already taking sides! No problem, judge me! Judge me Akin! She said and began to sob. Akin lost his guard and pulled her into his arms; I am sorry, he said; I didn’t mean to scold you that way. Then he turned to me

BJ, he called; how dare you come here and fabricate lies to mama? What is your motive? He asked.

 

I shook my head in disgust as I rose to my feet; listen all of you! I want you people to listen to this bastard very well; I want all of my money that I gave mama to keep for me! For the past three years, this family has been feeding fat on my money yet you call me a bastard! I am a bastard but my money is not a bastard abi?  And you Akin! I feel so sorry for you; see how easily your senses are confused by your girl friend! You can’t think straight as a man and proffer justice! This girl will put you into trouble someday because you are not in control of her. You dare challenge me and took sides with Modupe after all she did to me? If it were my old self I know what I could have done to you! You know me nah! Don’t you? Have you forgotten what I did to you while we were in primary four? I can still do it again! I can still beat you up and stuff your mouth with dried shit like I did years ago! You stand here and asked me stupid questions instead of admonishing your spoilt brat. You no dey fear face? Well, mama I will be going back to school next week and when I return during the holiday, I want my entire money ready in cash! I walked toward the door on my way out of the house.

 

Look Bolaji or whatever your miserable name is! Modupe called: water, they say finds its level! Go and find your level! I am not in your class! I will not bring my self so low as to banter words with you! You are like a pig! No matter how well you are washed, you will always go back to the dirt. Agbaya lasan lasan! Uncle B my foot! Look Bolaji, I beg you in the name of whatever you hold sacred, don’t ever come near me or my family again! It is my mother that has been making me to tolerate you all this while o! I wish the children of Baba Oloro had beheaded you the way they beheaded your dog the last time! You would have been forgotten by now! Stupid local champion! If not for my mother that saved your life and accommodated you in our house you would have been dead by now and you have the effrontery to stand before her now with disrespect over a paltry amount of money that she is keeping for you! Ingrate! If not for my mother and I would you have left the boarders of this village let alone attending the same school with me? Now you can speak English language and you think we are on the same level! She clapped her hands as she hurled abuses at me.

 

I was stunned watching her heap insults at me and no one stopped or cautioned her. When she paused for air I quickly chipped in a question at her; Modupe, where and how did I wrong you? Why so much hatred for me? Please tell me so I can apologize to you!

 

I don’t want your apology! She barked: I hate you! You are a pig! And she stormed out of my presence into her room.

 

 

Once again I went to school and told Mr. Adegoke about what transpired in the village during the holidays. I told him about my money in Modupe’s mother’s custody.

 

Hmm, I have my fears, he said; I have my fears about the possibility of you getting your money back. If she does not give you the money when you go back home, you may have to involve the police in the matter. I can smell sabotage, I for see mischief, he said; but in all of this, whatever happens, I want you to keep your head up and don’t look focus on your sole objective of making it in life! I want you to brace up to the challenges life will throw at you. Life is not fair! He said; I tell you the truth my boy, life is cruel and human beings can be terrible! I will advise that you brace up for dark days ahead because I am sure you have been swindled by those women!

 

 

 

 

I buried myself in my studies in preparation for the junior WAEC examination. I did not go home during the first term holiday; Mr. Adegoke invited me to spend the holiday with his family in Ibadan. I enrolled at an intensive tutorial class during this period and I was able to cover all lost ground and even studied topics ahead and outside the schools academic curriculum.

I was smoking hot when we resumed back to school, as everything taught was not new to me. I was asking and answering questions as if I was Kazeem. At the end of the final exams I cleared all my subjects with ‘A’ and a ‘B’ in Yoruba language. Passing my junior W.A.E.C in flying colours sure made me very happy as I was the second overall best student, Kazeem cleared all ‘A’s and was the overall best.

 

I went back home to settle scores with Modupe and her mother as per my money, I had resolved to collect the money and relocate permanently to Ibadan.

I got the rudest shock of my life when I got home to find out that Modupe and her family had vanished into thin air. Their house was deserted. I went to inquire from the owner of the house and he said he does not know their whereabouts, he said as long as they were not owing him any rent, they are not his business. I went round the village looking for them to no avail.

Modupe’s mother is not an aborigine of our community so she could have relocated to her village, but no one even knows her Village, we all knew her to be an Ijebu woman but which of the Ijebu’s? No one knows. It was like coming to Nigeria to look for a Nigerian woman that swindled you abroad and all you know about her is that she is Nigerian!

After a week of searching with the police, I gave up hope of ever seeing them again, coupled with the fact that the Police men were beginning to exploit me in the name of helping me. I was paying for the fueling their Car; I was buying food for them and giving them tips daily as we drove to places where we hoped to get information about the Modupe’s family.

 

I went back to my house and brought out all grandmas’ boxes of clothes and jewelries. I took the contents to each market day and sold until I sold off all that was left by my grandma. I raised seventy thousand naira from her jewelries and clothes that I sold. I locked up the house, carried my luggage and traveled back to school to resume in senior secondary class one. That was in 1988 and I was 19 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 9

 

Welcome to the real world Bolaji! I saw this coming when that woman started giving you lame excuses about your money. I knew something was amiss! My dear, no one gives a damn if you are an orphan or if you are somehow incapacitated, whether you are duped or swindled, no one cares! You are even lucky you could still raise some money from your grandmas’ properties! Even with the little money with you, you are still better off than millions of people in this country! Some people will still rob you off that money with you after listening to your pathetic story. My boy, this world is a battle field!

 

I was expecting to hear consolatory words from Mr. Adegoke but these words of his were strange and it left me confused.

My boy! He continued; it is all left to you to make a difference! To change your story and your situation! Life is like a relay race competition, grab your baton and bolt! Don’t look back! You may stumble and fall! Don’t look back! The facial construction and determination of the other mans’ face may scare you and you loose hope in your own ability! Even if you fall, even if your baton drops, pick it up and continue the race! Remain focused, gun for the finish line tape and ensure you complete the race!

 

He paused in his pace to and fro the office, and then he looked at me with an expression I could not interpret

 

Bolaji! He called

Sir!

Do you know you can make a difference in this world?

No sir!

Get an education! Never back down! With education, you can make a difference in today’s world!

But sir, how can I get an education with what has happened to me! I have narrated my ordeal in the village to you; I have lost all hopes of survival financially. The scholarship granted to me only covers tuition fees alone.

 

Hmm, Bolaji! Do not focus on the problem any longer, it will build up negative energy in you and that can destroy you. Don’t allow what happened too confuse and throw you back to the dirt’s Modupe said you always fall back to! You will never be able to forge ahead when you wallow too long in the wilderness of negativity and impossibility, in the abyss of sorrow and disappointments! Then you will be stuck down there!

Free your self my boy! They may have stolen your money but not your brains! They may have cheated you but you still have a chance at life! You are alive my man! Use your brains! Sometime ago you could barely speak English! Sometime ago you could barely solve a simple mathematical equation! Sometime ago you could not eat with a set of cutlery except your bare hands! But look at you today! You are refined; you are one of the best students in the school! My boy! Show the world that you are born to succeed! Get an education at all cost! If you must slave to get an education, then slave it! If you have to hunger and thirst to get an education, then so be it! My boy! You have got potentials and I do not want you to blow it! If you have to be humiliated, abused and trodden upon to get an education, face it! As long as it does not kill you, you shall overcome.

Bolaji stand up! He snapped.

I stood up! I was charged. I felt goose pimples all over me.

Say after me Bolaji; I will succeed!

I will succeed! I replied

Say it like you mean it! I can’t hear you!

I will succeed sir!

No! No! No! You are not talking to me! Say it to Bolaji Afolabi! Say it to yourself, you will succeed!

I will succeed! I will succeed! I said repeatedly beating my chest and meaning every word of it and that instant, I made up my mind to let go of the past and move on with my life taking each day as it comes but with a determination to be the best.

 

I moved into Mr. Adegoke’s boy’s quarters during the holidays and I attended extra tutorial lessons. I was a science student. My friend Kazeem opted for the social sciences because he wanted to be an accountant like his farther. I wanted to be an engineer so I stuck to the pure sciences.

 

My senior secondary school years were very engaging as I buried myself in my books. I continued to be the class captain and in SS3 I was made the school’s senior prefect. I represented the school in all academic competitions and we excelled. My spoken English improved tremendously and I lost a lot of my Ekiti accent, though not totally.

 

Mr. Adegoke combined farming with his teaching profession, so during my holidays, I assisted him in the farm. He had a daughter and a son who were still very young and were in primary school. I was like a younger brother to him and he offered me shelter, food and protection. He was not super rich, but he was comfortable, he was also studying on part time at the University of Ibadan for his post graduate degree.

 

I continued to top my class, I was an overall ‘A’ student and when I wrote my senior secondary certificate examination (S.S.C.E) in 1990 (The first set to write S.S.C.E) I was very hopeful of a good result. After my S.S.C.E I was living with Mr. Adegoke helping out in the farm and working part time as a teacher at the Tutorial School I attended. I was teaching junior classes and SS1 students.

 

My joy was full the day Mr. Goke came back from work and brought out a sheet of paper from his bag, he stretched the paper at me grinning from ear to ear. See your result! He said; my heart beat skipped an instant as I held my breath and clasped my hand over my mouth in shock. I was scared but for the smiles on his face, then he said congratulations my boy! You made me proud. I quickly glanced at the paper and all I could see was ‘A’ parallel! Even in yoruba language.

You are the overall best he told me as I leapt into his opened arms. I know you could do it! I know you could do it! He said patting my back as I cried for joy.

His wife came out and saw us; she collected the sheet of paper from me and glanced at it.

Jesu Christi o! She screamed; ‘A’ parallel! How come? Come! Come! Come! She hugged me and congratulated me. Wow! Congratulations BJ! You are indeed a genius! She said. My joy was indescribable. What remained then was my JAMB result. I had opted to study electrical and electronics engineering at the federal university of technology Owerri . Mr. Adegoke said that F.U.T.O was one of the best universities to study electrical engineering in Nigeria. I was optimistic that I would also do well.

 

Two months later, the result of the JAMB examination came out and I scored far above the cut off point for electrical and electronics engineering department.

 

The day that Mr. Goke brought home my admission letter from his mail box was the day some banks in Nigeria were announced to have gone distressed and it included the bank that granted me scholarship from secondary to university level, and even promised me a job upon graduation.

All the branches of the bank in Ibadan were sealed up. Security men were detailed at the banks to prevent people that have converged at the banks from having access to the few staff available at the bank. Mr. Goke took two days off work and together we traveled to the head office of the bank at Akure city. We met some officials at the bank and when we presented my case, we were told that the bank had seized to exist as a corporate entity, in other words, the bank is dead! The bank has no obligation to anything or anybody until the courts say otherwise. We returned to Ibadan exhausted and disappointed. Even Mr. Goke for the first time since I met him lacked words to use and encourage me as I cried. He allowed me to cry.

 

It was hard to imagine how my hope that was raised so high was squashed and my life was turning into a quagmire of sadness and confusion. Where do I go next? What do I do? Mr. Adegoke was just managing with his nuclear family and still sponsoring himself at school. I could not afford to be an additional burden to him, he cannot sponsor me in school for he does not have the resources.

 

I fell sick; I was hospitalized and discharged after five days at the hospital. I lost hope, I lost appetite and I lost the zeal to move on. After struggling and burning my candles at both ends in order to gain admission into the university, here I am with no means to survive in the university.

 

I was fully recovered two months going when Mr. Goke woke me up from sleep in the middle of the night and told me to prepare to leave for Owerri in the morning.

He said I should take my destiny in my hands and move on to face the world. He brought out some money and gave to me. It was the money I realized four years ago when I sold of grandma’s properties. I had given it to him for safe keeping but I assumed he must have spent it all these years while taking care of me in his house.

 

Take this money and go to Owerri to claim your destiny! Do not allow any obstacle or force on earth to stop you from being the man God has made you to be. Just go and get your self registered first! Then look around you and find a means of survival. You could survive by teaching your fellow students and helping them in assignments and projects! Write to me regularly and let me know how you are doing, my wife and I will always pray for you. I do not have money to give to you but take my advice seriously and dare to succeed.

“Dare to succeed” that was why I left Ibadan the next day and traveled all the way down to the eastern part of Nigeria on my own. To dare to succeed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

NOTHING TO LOOSE

The next week, I was withdrawn from the private school to a public school with very poor infrastructure. Most of the students are house helps in different homes or from very poor back grounds. The teachers could barely construct good sentences so the lingua franca in the school was Pidgin English. The school is very close to the Woji creek, thus the name Creek view community secondary school. Most of the students come to school very late daily and we have assemblies on Mondays alone.

At ten years plus, I was very smart and tall for my age, I was almost as tall as mummy who is actually a tall woman, she is actually taller than daddy.  At this age I was knowledgeable of happenings around me and I knew that all was not well. The problem was “what was wrong”?

Daddy had not left his job; he still drives to work daily and returned as usual. Everything was normal except for the way I was being treated. But I was doing very well at school all the same. In fact I had no competition in the new school as I came top of the class after the first term examination in JSS 2. My average score was 82 percent while Julius came second with 65 percent. Julius used to be the best in the class before my arrival

Julius Odeh is a year older than me, his father works at Genesis fast food as security opening and closing the door for customers as well as directing them on where and how to park their vehicles. He thrives on tips. He said his father used to be a police officer but was dismissed with some of his colleagues for collecting bribe at an illegal check point from the wife of the state commissioner of police. But Julius is a very quiet and ambitious young man. We became friends and solved mathematics equations together. He used to be in a better school too but after the dismissal of his father without benefits, his mother ran away from the house with a strange man and things fell apart for the family. The mother used to be a business woman that goes to Aba to buy textile materials and other accessories and sells directly to office customers with her car boot as her ware house. She was doing well. But she could not cope when the dad lost his job. The father became temperamental and edgy so she fled.

His father focused all energy towards fulfilling his dream of educating all his children especially Julius being the only male child. His resources are very lean but he became unnecessary friendly with every customer that visited the fast food and took in all insults just to get his tips. The amount he realized from daily tip kept him going and meeting daily family needs.

Julius talked a lot about his father and how he advises them and challenged them to be the best they can and make a success out of life, he advised them to shine their eyes and never let an opportunity to slip by them. Julius has an elder sister and two younger sisters.

The treatment I received from my home did not improve rather it grew from bad to worse, I no longer ate on the dining table, my food was being dished in a plastic plate, the same type we used for the dogs but a different colour. The plates were actually purchased together.

The first day mummy served my food in the plastic plate and handed over to me, I took it to the dog’s pen and came back to her for my food. I used to eat with a ceramic breakable plate just like daddy and mummy. I had to rush back and retrieve the remnants from the dog before they licked the plate. That was after mummy had slapped me hitter thither for giving my food to the dogs. I ate the dog’s left over under her supervision

At thirteen years old in JSS 3 my world had always revolved around my small nuclear family. Extended family seldom visited and as such the way my life metamorphosed from grace to grass seemed normal to me. I gradually adapted to the life of servitude in the house. The kind of stories I heard from my classmates who were mainly house helps in their various homes did not make me feel out of place. The quality of teachers in the school did not help matters either: they did not care, all they do in the teachers office was chew bubble gum, gossip and sell. Our female teachers bring clothes, shoes, perfumes and different kind of commodities to buy and sell among them. No one cared if a student failed or passed an examination, as long as the student paid his or her school fees and other levies.

Julius my new found friend is an exceptional guy, he has this knack for success in life and I dare say he took life too seriously. He had his life planned out; he knew what he wanted to be in future and how to go about achieving it. He always knew he could not rely on his struggling father to see him through to the university so he had planned that immediately after his secondary education, he would be apprenticed in the skill of underwater welding and subsequently seek an employment with which he would see himself through the university to study chemical or petro chemical engineering. He probably would be working off shore which would be taking him in and out of town at intervals. He planned to be buying portions of Land whenever he returned from the rig instead of lavishing his money on frivolities. After buying sufficient plots of lands, he will start to develop them into houses and before he is forty, he would have become a real estate mogul. I liked it whenever I hear him talk like this, like an adult with so much confidence. He knows where he is going and how to get there.

For me, my future was just in front of my nose. I took every day as it came. I had no worries because I had been spoon fed until lately when the page turned. Julius had asked me severally about my future ambition and I could not give a definite answer. I had no future ambition. Every time he asked I gave him a different answer.

“Make up your mind Ceece” he would say. “Stop being a pendulum!”

One day after my daily chores at home, I got to school after ten o’clock: no one questioned lateness in our school. Daily roll calls were not taken. The proprietress would always say” If you like you come to school!” if you like do not come!” it’s not my business” Just pay me my money! That’s all!

We normally chorus the last statement with her “That’s all!”

During the break session thirty minutes after I got to school, Julius approached me.

“Ceece I need to talk to you” he said and “it is very important” he added

Really? Okay nah! I am listening” I said

“I have an eerie feeling towards you” he said

“Me?” what is it about?” I asked

Are you really sure this people you live with are your real parent?  He asked and continued as I stare at him.

I asked because no reasonable parent would intentionally delay their child or ward from coming perpetually late to school every day! No parent would change their child from a prestigious private school to a lousy public school like our without having lost their job or source of income. They stopped driving you to school! They chased their house helps away and replaced them with you, they even relocated you to the BQ! These are things you told me nah abi?”

I nodded my head.

Good! He continued, Ceece shine your eyes o! Something is not right here! Have you seen your birth certificate before? He asked

No! And why? I asked

Look out for it! Get it and go to the hospital to confirm if your birth is actually in their records and who your real parents are!

I am told I was born in Europe! I replied.

Europe? He teased, okay nah! No wahala, but just get the birth certificate all the same, you will know if it made in Europe or made in Nigeria!” he said.

Hmm, Julius you are getting me scared o! Why all these assertions nah? Because you have to know who you are Ceece! You need to where you stand early now, if you are a house maid, then so be it! If you are a bonafide daughter of the Harts, then so be it! But being in between is not good at all, are you a Bat?

Bat! How? I asked

The butterfly and the bird both fly but they are different. Any butterfly that dares to fly as high as a bird will lose its wings. Its better it maintained its own altitude. Ceece, I am from a poor background but I know I will not be a poor man! He said with emphasis eating his chest. “I will work hard and cut my coat according to my size. My father made some mistakes which I have learnt from. I will not follow his footsteps even though he  has learnt his mistakes and is paying hard for it now by bearing the family burden alone, my mother that was assisting him before has run away with another man. My father is still a police man even though he was dismissed some years ago! That police mentality still dey him blood, so I have vowed to be a better version of him. We live in an abandoned building free of charge. We don’t even know the owner of the building but all the families occupying the building know that one day, the owner or his relatives will come and chase us all out of the building! They may even sell it off and the new owner would chase us out! When this happens, where do we go to? He asked

“Ha! Me I don’t know nah!’ “Maybe you people will rent another house”. I said

“No way! I can’t see my father paying for a decent house! I ask my father this question every day and he does not have an answer instead he says when one road closes, another opens!” “Imagine! Such a lazy mans philosophy!” “About twelve different families live in the building illegally without paying house rent. There is no water there! There is no electricity, no toilet or bathroom but we all survive”.

“Ceece, my point is that we know we are poor and we do not deceive ourselves. Ceece you need to know who you are!” with much said, he walked away. I began to think.

 

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At fifteen in SS2 my position in the family was unquestionably that of a maid. No show of affection from my mother at all, she sometimes referred to me as “This girl” or she asks:”What’s that your stupid name again”.

I had withdrawn into my shell. I used to be a bubbling happy girl. I now wear under sized tight clothes or over sized clothes given to me by mummy, there are clothes that were given to me to use as rags for cleaning the floor that I converted to personal wears. No under wear was ever bought for me and I dare not ask mother for clothes because I was afraid of the consequence. I degenerated. All I do is wake up and work, there is always enough clothes to wash from Daddy’s to the Kids who are now in nursery and primary school. Expensive private schools with a car and driver attached to them.

Upon return from school, I change into my domestic clothes and continue to work. Mummy always bags of melon to ensure I am kept occupied until mid night and upon all these I was still tops in my class to the bewilderment of my friends. My parents never uttered a word whenever I give them my school result. So I stopped giving it to them.

I do not have a tooth brush in the house, no bathing soap. I was restricted to the boy’s quarter and nothing is bought and sent there. I only come to the main building to work then I go back to the BQ to sleep. I bath with the bar soap I used in washing clothes, I used my finger to brush my teeth which has lost its sheen. I don’t use cream let alone pomade. It was Julius that gave me the first shaving stick to go and shave my arm pit when he was bold enough to tell me that I smelled.

At fifteen I was I was fully developed in puberty. My first menstrual flow came in the third term examination hall. I was experiencing some sort of stomach disorder and releasing some farts into the air to relieve myself. I did not know that I was stained until I stood up and proceeded to submit my answer sheet when the hall was full of laughter and jests from the boys. Some girl pulled her cardigan and gave me to tie around my waist and I went home in shame. I told my mother about my flow and she gave me some old news paper to use as Pad. I told her I had no pants and she gave me two of her old tights to wearing. The tights have faded and have holes beneath.

When I got to school the next day, the new had gone round that I was stained the previous day. I returned the cardigan to my class mate and went in search of my friend Julius. He laughed and teased me then he observed the way I was walking because of the paper pad I was putting on.

“Why are you walking like a crab? He asked laughing. Is it paining you or what?”

I told him about the news paper I was wearing.

News paper? He exclaimed. Who does that in this time and gage? Not even toilet tissue? He asked

“That is what my mummy gave me I told him. Please keep your voice down “I begged.

Okay o! I have never heard of such in my entire life. At worse you could have used an old worn out clothe or rag instead of news paper. My sisters use old clothes or tissue paper. He said

So did she advise you to stay off men or you will be pregnant now?

“No o! Stay off men like how?” I asked him.

“Didn’t she tell you anything?” He asked feeling genuinely concerned

No! I snapped. What is she supposed to tell me? I asked

Na wa o! Listen let me tell you what my father tells my sisters. Now that you have started menstruating, it means you have started releasing eggs in readiness for pregnancy.

Pregnancy! I exclaimed.

Yes nah! Didn’t you read in biology? They taught us in reproduction nah!

Okay! But I do not really understand it then.

What don’t you understand? He asked. You don’t know that if you are indulged in a sexual intercourse with a man now you could become pregnant? That is if you have eggs waiting in your ovary or is it uterus sef! He said

That is biology nah! I said

“That is reality! My sister!” He added

“Ceece! At this stage of your life you need a mother figure to guide and advise you”. “There is a lot you need to know now about life!” About men!” He said.

“But you are a man nah!” I said.

“Yes! Men like me!” He said

“Please tell me nah! What is it about men?” I asked

“Ceece, I can’t teach you about men! I am still a boy. Get your dad or mom to tell you about men please”

The bell rang for the beginning of the day’s examination paper.

 

 

 

Nothing to lose

Posted in Prose, Stories

NOTHING TO LOOSE

NOTHING TO LOSE

 

I heard that my parents were married and childless for eleven years before I was born

My mother had to leave town when I was conceived and she returned with me months later. The child dedication ceremony was a big do at the Holy family catholic church Woji in Port Harcourt city of Rivers state. That is the church I grew up to know as our house of worship.

I was christened Cecelia at baptism, my surname is Hart and we are from the historic kingdom of Opobo. The great King Jaja of Opobo is my ancestor so my family is one of the ruling houses in Opobo and my Dad, heir apparent.

The prolonged childless state of my parent had caused a strain in the family. My mother was at daggers drawn with my father’s family members especially my grandma. It was my arrival that brought them together. My grand ma had at one time told her son to get a second wife who would bear him a child. My dad had discussed the idea with his loving wife and hell was let loose. My mother traveled to Opobo the next day when Dad had gone to work and brought the roof of the ancient house down on the occupants. She insulted every member of my father’s family and dared thNothing to loseem to come visit their son in the city. She promised to mix rat poison in their food.

She returned to Port Harcourt before dad returned from work and pretended as if all was well. She even seized grandma’s GSM phone, she had bought it for her after all: that was when they were still friends.

It took my dad two weeks before he knew of the havoc the wife had gone to wreck in the village. Daddy happened to be the only child of his mother, he has step brothers and sisters though and as such he love his mother so much and did not take it lightly with my mother when he returned to Port Harcourt. He swore to take another wife after all; his dad had four wives before his death.

Granddad was into boat transportation business, he had several boats that plied the water side villages and islands. From the great waters of Bonny island to Opobo. His four wives are from four different riverine villages, a woman each from Opobo, Okirika, Ogoni and Bonny Island. He had a total of twenty eight children and my Dad happened to be the ninth child and first Son.

When daddy came back from Opobo, there was a serious quarrel between the two that daddy vowed never to host any of my mother’s relation in the house, mommy also vowed to do the same so no relation visited them for several years until my arrival.

I grew up being pampered as an only child. I had all the toys I wanted and ate everything that pleased me. I grew up as ajebo and when I came of age, I was registered at Kiddies international school; the best and most sophisticated private school around. I started reading and writing in nursery two and I had to skip nursery three into primary one at the age of five.

At church, mummy was the head of the children section and she was always proud when I go to the podium and recite bible passages off hand during children presentations on feast days, I usually get a standing ovation and cash gifts on such occasions. I was every one’s delight.

At six, I had started fiddling with musical instruments in church so that daddy had to buy me a key board to play with at home. I was loved by everyone and my parents were proud of me. I came fourth position in the first term examination in primary one having skipped nursery three but by the second term until I finished my primary education, I came tops in the class

Mummy became pregnant in my primary three, I was seven years old. It was awesome watching as her stomach grew inch by inch until it was very protruded just like other pregnant woman I used to see. I was happy I was going to have a baby in the house. I told mummy that I wanted a baby girl like me but she said that daddy wanted a baby boy since I was already a girl. So I changed my mind, it has to be a baby boy.

I was in primary four when Oprie my baby sister was born; I was almost eight years old. We were all happy especially my mother. The child dedication was done with aplomb, she was christened Anita. Our house was full with guests from every where

Two years after the birth of Anita, mummy conceived and gave birth to a baby boy, I was about to be admitted into secondary school at the age of ten plus, he was named Fenibo Prince Hart. The arrival of Prince started the dark days of my life in the house.

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Daddy wanted me to go to the Federal government girl’s college having passed the entrance examination but mummy would not support the idea, she needed me around to help out with the Kids, after all I was of age and she had no house help. She declined even after daddy got two house helps to help her with home chores, she put them in the BQ, and she said she does not trust any external body with her children. So I was registered in a private secondary school two streets away from our home at Woji.

 

The change in my parents’ attitude towards me was so fast that I did not seeing it coming, I had been a good girl all my life. I had never taken any thing not given to me. I had no reason to steal or pilfer. I was happy and spoilt. I was called “Aje butter”! So it was very strange and surreal the first day my mother called me inside her room as I just returned from school, she started to frisk me, she searched my school bag and brought out all the contents. I asked her what she was looking for but she did not utter a word until she was done.

“I am looking for my money”! She said finally.

“Mummy is that why you are searching me”? “You should have asked me first nah” I was feeling sad

“Answer my question with a yes or no”! She snapped: did you take my one thousand naira?!

I was shocked: she had not spoken to me in such a manner before.

“Mummy, are you serious”? Have I ever stolen anything before? I asked

She smacked my face “Idiot! Answer me now before I slap you”!

I screamed “Mummy”! As I rubbed my palm over my cheek. “You slapped me mummy”!

And that was it, she pounced on me and dealt me several slaps, it was a festival of slaps on my face. I was screaming in pains and I tried to run out of the room but she had locked the door. Before I could turn the key to unlock the door, she was on me with her shoe in one hand and a broom in another. She beat me with both until I collapsed on the floor. That was the first beating I got in my life and it was epic. I slept off afterwards and woke up hungry in the middle of the night in my bed.

I went to the kitchen for my food but every flask was empty and all the plates clean. No food. I opened the refrigerator and the micro wave oven, no food, so I peeled some sliced bread from that in the refrigerator and applied jam then I took a can of Maltina and went to the dining table to eat. It was after ten o’clock.

I was chewing the second slice of bread when mother walked in and saw me eating.

“What are you eating”? “Who gave it to you”? Thief! Bastard thief! She shouted and charged towards me, she snatched the bread in my hands and slapped the chunk out of my mouth. I tasted blood from my lips.

“Mummy I am hungry”! I cried. I have not eaten since I returned from school!

“Don’t mummy me”! “Who is your mummy”? “I am not the mother of a thief”! “Idiot bastard”! She cursed and took all I was eating into the trash bin.

Daddy! Daddy! I shouted.

Daddy ran out of his room upstairs, “what is wrong Ceece”? He asked.

“I don’t know what I did to mummy o! I cried. When I returned from school this afternoon, she accused me of stealing her money and she beat me, I don’t even know what happened to me afterwards but I woke up in my bed this night hungry! Now I am eating bread and she has collected the food from me again, look at my mouth bleeding daddy”! I cried and cleaned the mucus from my nose and mouth with the back of my palm. Mummy had walked out while I spoke to daddy.

It’s okay!”It’s okay”! Daddy said and he prepared another bread and butter for me. “Your mother is going through a hard phase” he said.

“She even said I should not call her mummy “: I reported.

“Don’t mind her dear”! How could she? Daddy asked

And she called me a bastard! I said

What!? Daddy asked surprised. What has gone wrong with this woman! Don’t worry dear, come! I will deal with her, don’t worry. Oya eat! Eat and go to sleep ehn? There is school to attend in the morning.

I went with him to the sitting room and ate my food until he retired upstairs. I heard their voices quarrelling before I went to my own room to do my home work and read my book.

 

A couple of hours later, when I was beginning to enjoy my sleep, I heard mother’s voice so I opened my eyes.

Wake up silly girl! Oya! Go and take a broom and sweep the whole house! Start from the sitting room”!

I looked at the wall clock; it was four o’clock in the morning. It must be a dream. So I turned over and spread very well on the bed. The sound that woke me up was louder than the impact of her hands on my back. I screamed out of bed. My hands could not reach my back to properly rub the spot she had slapped. As I rubbed my back against the wall, I was looking at her hands to see if she has hit me with something but no, it was her palm.

“My friend, go and sweep the parlour”! She screamed.

I pointed at the wall clock with one hand while I covered my mouth with the other

Ehen? She asked

“Four o’clock in the morning”! I managed to say. My back was burning.

“Yes! It is time for you to start your daily chores”! She said.” From today hence forth, you must wake up at this time and clean up the whole house before going to school”! “If you do not finish it, then no school for you”! She said.

I was suddenly scared of her. Is this the mother that raised me up? Had an evil spirit taken over her?

Daddy! I screamed but she was upon me in a flash. She grabbed my mouth and pinched it until it bled. I spat out bloody spittle. I touched my lips. It burnt. “If I hear any sound from your mouth I will skin you alive”!” Do you want to wake my baby”? She scolded.

I scuttled out of my room towards the kitchen and got a broom to sweep the parlour then she went upstairs. As I began to sweep the parlour I had to sit down and think if all that was happening was indeed reality of hallucination. I fell asleep on the couch again.

It was a double barreled slap that woke me up at after six o’clock on the couch.

“You are sleeping”? She screamed

As I opened my eyes, the lights in the sitting room were blinking at me. I was confused.

“You have not even started sweeping at all”? “I swear I will kill you today”! “I will skin you alive”! She pummeled me, she stamped her feet on every part of my body as I lay on the ground trying to get up and run upstairs

“Please mummy”! I begged. Daddy! I screamed to no avail.

I finished sweeping every room in the house and went to the bath room to take my bath so as to be ready to leave the house with daddy as he leaves for work at seven o’clock.

I was in the bath room with lather all over me when mother opened the door

“Look! Make sure you wash and scrub the toilet and bathrooms before you go to school o!

Mummy! Daddy leaves for work at seven! He has to drop me at school; the time is almost seven o’clock! I said while wiping lather off my face.

“I have told you that this mouth will kill you”! She retorted.” You like to argue with me”! ‘If you like don’t do what I told you”! “Then we shall know who is who in this house”! She said.

“But mummy, what of the maids”? I asked

“Look” ! “One more word from you, I will pour this kettle of hot water on you”! She threatened.

 

I opened on eye and saw a smoking kettle in her hands, she was preparing to bath the baby. So I kept mute. After bathing and dressing up in my school uniform I went to the BQ only to discover that the maids had been laid off. The doors to the rooms were all open and empty. That was when it dawned on me that all was not well at all. I pulled off my uniform and washed the three toilets and three bathrooms in the house. I finished washing at after ten o’clock and proceeded to school. I had to trek to school for the first time. When I asked my mother for transport fare to join a Keke to school she said I should come and pull her teeth and use as transport. She asked if I was better that all other kids that trekked to school. I wanted to remind her that she once said I was special and different from other children but I thought it better to keep quiet so I carried my bag and went to school with an empty stomach, no pocket money and no transport fare. It was the first day that I went to school late and when I returned home from school on this same day, all my belongings had been moved to a room in the BQ. I did not go to school the next day as I was told to cut the weed surrounding the compound and so it was for the rest of the week.

Posted in Prose, Stories

The End

ACT 16 SCENE 1

Dandy’s bar: morning. Workers are cleaning up the mess of last night activities: Tombra saunters into the environment looking very unkempt, she looks around and beckons at one of the workers in Dandy’s Bar. Worker approach her and they talk then worker points at Dandy’s office.

Tombra walks briskly towards the Office as Dandy emerges and sees her, he gives a long hiss and turns to go back into the Office but Tombra runs and pulls him back, she falls on her knees

Tombra: Oga Dandy please don’t walk out on me! Please I beg you in the name of God!

Dandy: (Barking) see me see trouble o! Am I your husband? Why did you not say that to Lanky when he walked out on you? So you can kneel down before me now! Me! Another woman’s husband! But you could not kneel before your own husband! What do you want here please, I am a busy man!

Tombra: My husband sir! My husband and my Children! Please help me to locate them!

Dandy: shuo! I should locate them? Am I a compass or am I goggle map? Am I your family’s keeper? Why come to me? I am not even related to Lanky! Don’t you know his relatives?

Tombra: I know Ogiri is your friend and he comes here! Oga help me please! (Crying)

Dandy: woman why are you just coming for them now? Lanky left home about eight months now! You have not seen your children for about six months now! Are you just waking up from a drugged sleep? Something must be wrong! What happened to you madam? Even the way you look shows that all is not well! What happened to you?

Tombra: em, em, yes! Yes o! Something terrible happened to me! I was duped, I lost everything to fraudsters! I lost everything! My shop, my Cars and my building in Okirirka! Even my father’s lands were all confiscated by the Bank in order to recover the loan I collected to finance a business deal that turned out to be a farce! I am kobo less as you see me here! I can’t even go back to my family! My father has sworn to beat me to death if he sees me! My brothers are also calling for my head as they were hoping to inherit my father’s lands!

Dandy: (feels sober) hmm, what a life! Pride goes before a fall! So what do you need Lanky for now? Have you forgotten he does not have a job?

Tombra: I just need to see him and apologize for all I did to him; I know it is nemesis that has caught up with me! My father and my friends misled me!

Dandy: I don know their where about please!

Tombra: Oga Dandy, please nah! I am begging you in the name of God! To ere is human and to forgive is divine!

Dandy: oh! So you know that now? When we were all begging you to assist you husband, did you agree? You turned your back against the Father of your Children; you prefer your family to the family formed by you and your husband! You sex starved your husband! You denied him food in his house! You denied him the use of his matrimonial bed! You disrespect and embarrass him constantly in the presence of his Kids! Lanky was confined to sleeping with the Children or in the sitting room! You became a colossus in the house! Giving orders and instructions! Lanky became less than nothing before you! Do you know who Lanky was before you married him? (Shakes his head) go and research very well then you would understand why we respect him so much! Lanky was deceived by your churchy attitude! That was why he picked you for a wife because there were so many girls in his life and when it was time to settle down, he became confused. If not, who know you? And like a thief in the night, you talked him into establishing you, we thought it was a good idea, some of us warned him not to give you total free hand in the business, but Lanky has always been a big boy with a good heart and a lover of his women so he let you be. But you had your ulterior motive! Building a duplex for your family without carrying Lanky along! Is that what your learnt from all the fellowships and church services you attend?

Tombra: what God has joined together, let no man put ASUNDER!

Dandy: ehen? Are you blind? Or you simply refused to see! So all the so called church activities you partake in are for nothing? Can’t you see you allowed your selfishness and your money to put asunder in your marriage? For your information, you got what you deserve! You are not a good woman let alone a good wife! I think you are better off the way you are now! You cannot come and reap where you did not sow! For your information madam Thatcher! Lanky has bounced back better and bigger than you ever knew him to be!  Your Children are in one of the best schools in Ghana and they are doing great! And for lanky, we shall invite you very soon for his traditional marriage!

(Dandy walks out o her: she collapse on the floor)

END OF DISCUSSION.

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

Asunder! Acts 14-15

ACT 14 SCENE 1

Ogiri and a beautiful young Lady are sitting together under a tree in a local setting, they sit side by side, the lady has a tray containing melon seeds on her laps, and they both scoop from the tray to peel.

Ogiri: Kate, are you always this quiet? I don’t know of any school Teacher that is this quiet o!

Kate: (Laughs) I am not quiet o! Go and ask from my Parents. You can even ask your Uncle’s wife! I am not quiet!

Ogiri: (pushes her softly on the shoulder) na lie joor! Mama J said you are a quiet and humble girl! But I don’t like quiet girls’ o! They will be hurting inside without voicing out their minds! Are you like that?

Kate: no I am not o! Ha! Me I speak my mind o!

Ogiri: Okay! If na so, speak your mind now!

Kate: ahn ahn! (Laughs) just like that? What is there to speak?

Ogiri: I can see that you have a lot of questions to ask me

Kate: (Laughs out loud) ahn ahn! Are you a prophet? Who says I have a lot to ask you?

Ogiri: of course I know! I can see it in your eyes!

Kate: (Laughs) oh Uncle Ogiri! You are too funny!

Ogiri: (feigns surprise) what was that? What did you just call me?

Kate: (Surprised) ahn ahn! I called your name nah! Or have you changed your name? I know your mates call you Lanky, but to us younger ones we call you Uncle Ogiri!

Ogiri: I beg you in the name of every thing you hold dear; I am not your uncle o! I know all my Nephews and nieces and you don’t fall into that category at all. Call me Lanky! Call me Ogiri! But I beg, I beg  no call me Uncle! I no be your uncle! In fact I have a better name for you to call me!

Kate: a better name?

Ogiri: yes nah!

Kate: and what would that be?

Ogiri: (whispers into her ears)

Kate: (Laughing uncontrollably) oh my God! Oh God! So you are this funny?

Ogiri: no be joke o! But please don’t call me Uncle again!

Kate: okay! Okay! I won’t call you Uncle again!

Ogiri: Oya call me my new name let me hear!

Kate: (Laughs out loud and shakes her head) no! No! Not now nah!

Ogiri: Okay you are shy abi?

Kate: No o!

Ogiri: Oya call me nah!

Kate: (More laughs and she whispers into his ears) are you okay now?

Ogiri: (Smiles) Okay that will do for now, but later I want you to say it loud! So back to the matter, ask me what is on your mind!

Kate: (smiling) Okay, what do you want from me?

Ogiri: (Taken aback) shuo! Wow! Well, em, em, I was not expecting that line of question! As in, it came too direct!

Kate: You said I should speak my mind nah!

Ogiri: My dear you get mind true- true and you no dey beat around the bush! Okay listen make I tell you my own mind also. Kate, I want a serious relationship with you! One that would lead to marriage!

Kate: ha!

Ogiri: na wetin?

Kate: that’s too direct nah!

Ogiri: na so!

Kate: But you are a married man with Kids nah! What sort of joke are you playing on me? For the records, I want you to know that I cannot be a second Wife to any Man no matter your worth!

Ogiri: cool down, calm down please and don’t be offended. Perhaps I was too direct. It is a long story but I will cut it short, details will follow as we get to know each other better. I am no longer a married man and talking about my worth, for your information, I am not worth anything again o! I have been out of Job for close to a year now! I am in the labour market as I speak with you. In fact if there is a vacancy for a teaching job in your school kindly contact me! I can teach Agric science, Biology, Physics and even Mathematics! (Kate looks shocked) see! Help me talk to your school Principal! I am ready to do anything!

Kate: What about your Wife? We know she is well to do!

Ogiri: My dear, she abandoned me several months ago when I lost my Job! She said her money is not to be shared with me but with her nuclear family! Her marriage to me was “for better, for better” She was not ready to suffer with me! Can you imagine that I have not touched a woman in almost a year now?

Kate: (Surprise) shuo! For real?

Ogiri: yes nah! Please I do not want to rush you; I just need a shoulder to lean on at this time of my life! I am not a lazy man, I will rise again, and when I rise again, I will need a friend and a companion, not a lone ranger like Tombra my so called wife!

Kate: hmm, na wa o! So the rich also cry for real!

Ogiri: My Sister! I am wailing! Not just crying. I thank God for friends that I have helped in the past, I thank God for my Uncle and his wife! They have been sustaining me since I exhausted my savings!

Kate: what about your Children?

Ogiri: They are now schooling in Ghana! They are both in Secondary School there.

Kate: But you came here with a brand new car? I know your Car but this is different!

Ogiri: I told you I have Friends that are good. It belongs to a Friend!

Kate: Do you still drink?

Ogiri: By the grace of God, yes! I still drink once in a while. But for now, I don’t have the money for beer.

Kate: well, I am sorry for all you have passed through. By the grace of God, everything you lost will be restored in Jesus name!

Ogiri: Amen o! Amen!

Kate: Everyone here in the Village know you as a kind hearted and generous man! Even my elder brother Fubara use to speak of your magnanimity.

Ogiri: Which Fubara? Do I know him?

Kate: Yes! You were classmates throughout your secondary School!

Ogiri: (Exclaims) wait a minute! Jesus Christ! Godspower Fubara! Is Godspower Fubara your brother! The honourable member of the House of assembly!?

Kate: (Nods her head smiling) Yes! He is our first born! I am the last! I am Kate Fubara!

Ogiri: Kate Fubara! Oh my Gawd! Your bros na my G nah! Na my main man! Do you know we were very close?

Kate: of course I know! Why do you think I gave you audience in the first place? Besides, Mama Joe has told me everything that befell you.

Ogiri: Mama Joe? Are you serious? Wow! Well, they have been wonderful People. Uncle and Mama Joe, they spoke well about you too. I will call Fubara  and introduce my self as his in-law!

Kate: which in-law? Don’t bet on it o! (Pushes him softly on the shoulder)

Ogiri: This one no be bet matter! This one na confirm! Wow! It’s like I have Butterflies in my stomach! I have not felt like this in a long while. I never knew that meeting with you could turn out this way! I feel like I have known you forever!

Kate: me too, I feel so free with you. I will talk to my principal tomorrow as per the vacancy. I think we need a physics Teacher in S.S.2, Mr. Johnson has entered politics so the School needs a replacement.

Ogiri: (Hugs her) wow! Thank you! Thank you so much!

Kate: (pushes him off) not yet nah! It’s too early to celebrate when I have not even told him yet, what of if he has other plans for the position?

Ogiri: (relaxes) Okay, okay! But it is comforting enough to even hear that there is a vacancy somewhere! That statement has been scarce to my ear! Every where I went it was ‘no vacancy’

Kate: (Looks at her wrist watch) Uncle Ogiri! Its time for me to go and meet my mother in the shop!

Ogiri: wetin you call me now?

Kate: (covers her mouth to supress a laugh) Oh I am so sorry!

Ogiri: oya call me again make I hear!

Kate: uhun! Not now (She stands up and begins to tidy up the work environment)

Ogiri: don’t worry! By the time my twins will be kicking inside your stomach, I will see if you will still be calling me Uncle!

Kate: (Laughs) don’t bet on it o!

Ogiri: (Mimics her) don’t bet on it o!

Kate: Please wait for me let me go inside and drop this tray in the house and change my Clothes too. Hope you don’t mind?

Ogiri: Shuo! I dey craze? If you say I should stand here till you go to Sokoto and return, I will stay! (Kate laughs and runs off)

(Ogiri walks around the tree; he hails someone greeting him from afar. He brings out his Phone and begins to fiddle with it as Kate re- enters, she goes straight to him and plants an envelope in his hand)

Kate: Don’t open it until you are alone please. Please manage whatever you see inside; you know I am just a School teacher!

(Ogiri stops and looks at the envelope in his hands, then he looks down into her eyes, pulls her close and plants a kiss on her lips)

 

Fade

 

 

ACT 15 SCENE 1

(Police station: D.P.O’s office. The D.P.O is seated while Tombra stands opposite his Table; two Bank Officials are seated opposite the table facing the D.P.O)

D.P.O: so Madam! Who is your guarantor? Who was your surety while collecting this loan?

Tombra: My Father Sir!

D.P.O: Your Father? Can he help you to repay the loan now?

Tombra: (Shakes her head) no sir!

D.P.O: why? Did he not sign an under taking to help you out in case of your inability to service the loan?

Tombra: (Crying) he can’t pay o! He can’t. He is a retired Soldier! He lives on his meagre pension with my Mother in the Village! They are just managing o!

D.P.O: we may need to bring your Father here! As long as he had signed to surety you, then he is liable! Do you People know the implications of signing a document at all? What Properties does your Father own?

Tombra: he has Lands! The Lands are to be bequeathed to my brothers!

D.P.O: where are the Lands?

Tombra: He has two plots at Port Harcourt town and a plot at Rumuodumanya! He has some plots in the Village too!

D.P.O: the lands in the Village don’t have economic value! (To the bankers) did you copy that? We shall confiscate the document of those lands except those ones in the Village. We shall call an estate- valuer to ascertain their worth! You already have the documents of her house in Okirirka abi?

Bankers: yes sir!

D.P.O: what of the particulars of the house she is living in presently?

Banker 1: it is her husband’s property and was not tied to the loan from inception.

D.P.O: Can’t it be tied to the loan now? After all he is her husband! We will get him here! Madam, where is your husband?

Tombra: (Crying) I don’t know o! He lost his job and he ran away from the house since last year! I don’t know where he went to! He ran away with my two Children! I have not seen my Children since he took them away o!

D.P.O: what kind of talk is that? Your husband lost his job and he ran away! Is he a mad man! What sort of man would do that when he has a well to do woman like you as wife? And how can a jobless man run away with your Children? Well, that’s your personal palaver! (To Bankers) I hope you have taken possession of the Shop and her Cars?

Bankers: yes sir! We have the keys and documents sir!

D.P.O: good! She will remain in custody until someone comes to bail her! I would like you People to be here tomorrow or next so we can summarize all the recoverable money from her properties and her father’s properties so that we can settle this issue quickly and out of court as she pleaded!

Banker 1: next tomorrow will be appropriate sir!

D.P.O: but from what I see the money won’t be fully recovered! Nine million naira is not nine thousand naira!

Banker: you are right sir, but let see what we can gather first! Em, the documents to the father’s property, how soon can we get it sir?

D.P.O: I am drafting a team to Okirika now to go and bundle her father back here! And he is to come with the land document. She will go with them but she will be in cuffs so as to show the father that we mean business, I know old Soldiers! They are more stubborn than serving soldiers!

(Banker stands up to leave; they shake hands with the D.P.O)

Banker 1: we appreciate your assistance so far D.P.O! Thank you so much!

D.P.O: you are welcome! It’s our job! (Bankers exit) madam! Your case is different o! I have heard of women leaving their husbands and running off with the Kids but not the other way round! I am sure you are not telling us the truth but like I said, it’s your personal palaver! (He dials the intercom on his table and picks the receiver) Corporal Amachree! Come and remand this suspect back to custody! (Drops the receiver)

(Corporal Amachree comes in and whisks Tombra away)

 

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Posted in Prose, Stories

Asunder! Acts 10-13

ACT 10 SCENE 1

Exterior: Ogiri parks a brand new Toyota Camry 2.2 at the front of his Uncles house, the Children rush out to meet him as usual and he dishes out snacks to them. Uncle and Mama Joe were seated outside peeling melon seed from a big bowl placed on a small stool, they look up to see Ogiri and the Kids, Uncle Joes begins to hail)

Uncle Joe: yes o! That’s my Boy! That’s my Son! The true Son of his father! O God! O my God how I wish your Father my brother is alive to see this day! (He begins to cry) the Wife consoles him) I know Ogiri is not a failure! The spirits of your father and your mother are not sleeping! (He looks up and raises his hands) Thompson my Brother! You no dey sleep! You and your Wife don try! Una don commot shame from our eyes! Make una sleep well o! Make una rest well! Oh God almighty! I thank you! I thank you o! (Falls down crying)

Mama Joe: na dream I dey dream? I no understand wetin they happen! Ogiri na who get Motor? Who give you this fine Coat to wear?

Ogiri: Mama!( He hugs her and pulls Uncle Joe up and hugs him too, brings out a handkerchief and wipes Uncle Joes, face, they hold unto each other for a long hug , Uncle continues to sob while Ogiri consoles him patting his back). Mama no be dream, na the work of God! Na God use my friends to change my story o! That na my official Car! I get driver o! Today na Saturday so I release am to go do other things for himself!

Mama Joe: My husband! I happy for you o! Ha! I thank God o! (Dances and sings in Kalabari) yes! Satan shame on to you! All power belongs to Jesus! Shame don catch them! God pass them! Oya! Sit down food dey for fire!

Ogiri: Mama no vex I no go fit wait to eat, my waka still plenty, I just say make I show make una see me! E don reach two months wey una see me nah!

Uncle Joe: na true! Na true!

Mama Joe: no o! You no fit just go like that nah! Make I put am for Flask for you! (She dashes off)

Ogiri: (Removes his wallet and counts some wads of naira notes and tucks into his Uncles wrapper) hide this one first before mama show back! (Uncle removes the money, raises his wrapper up and puts the money into the pocket of his short pants beneath the wrapper)

Uncle Joe: Thank you my Boy! Thank you! God go bless you! Old boy na plenty money you give me so! No be one one thousand naira notes be that?

Ogiri: Uncle, forget that thing! You be like a father to me! No amount is too much for you and mama!

Uncle: na true! Na true! (Mama Joe returns)

Mama Joe: ehen! (Hands over the food flask) oya take! Put am for your Motor, when you reach house you eat am! Na Starch and banga soup with correct Stock Fish!

Ogiri: Mama de Mama! You too much! Oya take your own (removes his wallet again and counts wads of naira notes, he hands them over to mama and then count a smaller quantity and gives to Uncle Joe again)

Mama and Uncle begins to jubilate and pray for Ogiri

Ogiri: Uncle, I de go Abuloma to carry my Children, I hear say them go spend weekend there with Tombra Cousin, I de go kidnap them! They will live with me in Okirika and I will change their School!

Uncle Joe: Yes! Yes! Na so!

Mama Joe: Tombra no be better Woman! She no be wife at all! She be witch!

Ogiri: I no do Tombra anything O! The only crime wey I commit be say I lost my job! Just for her to be patient and support me, she no gree! She don forget say the down fall of a man, (Uncle and Mama Joins to end the proverb) is not the end of his life!

Uncle: Very selfish, greedy and wicked woman! Imagine her building a duplex in her Village out of the proceeds of a business you set up for her yet she could not pay her Children’s Schools fees let alone give you some money to start up something or at least to survive with pending when things would improve! But come o, Ogori, how far nah! You know nah!

Ogiri: oh! Uncle, that side? Na me dey run now o! They dey rush me like cold beer! (Laughs)

Uncle Joe: (Laughing) I trust you! I trust you! Look just relax make my Wife help you find better woman from here, a well-educated and well trained Kalabari Girl wey go love and value yoy!

Mama Joe: My husband no worry, trust me nah! I go get you my friend daughter, she be graduate too but na better girl, she sabi cook well well, I go teach am all your favourite dishes!

Ogiri: (Jubilation) yes o! (Hugs Mama) thank you! Thank you! I trust you! So when I go meet the girl nah?

Mama: No worry, the next time wey you want to come here, just call us in advance so that I go take style invite her come here.

Ogiri: Okay I trust you! Mama de mama! (Hugs her, hugs Uncle and dashes to his car) make I dey run go Abuloma! Una bye bye o!

 

Exit and fade.

 

 

 

 

ACT 11 SCENE 1

Dandy’s bar: Night: The Bar is full with Customers: beautiful coloured revolving lightings adorn the bush bar. The tempo is high and some Customer are dancing to the music of Patoranking  ‘Girlie o’ featuring Tiwa Savage. At the far end of the Bar, the Boys are gathered around two plastic tables placed side by side so as to accommodate more persons. The Boys are in a celebration mood as there is assortment of drinks and eatables on their table, they also have five beautiful Girls from Campus to spice up the Table.

 

Tope:  Old boy! Ta- ta- ta (Others chorus, Tamuno!) ehen! Tamuno! Ta -Thank you fo- for the life of our friend o! I mean La –la- la (Lanky! Others chorus) ehen! Lanky! Yo-  you try I beg!

Tamuno: (Puffs out Cigarette smoke) Na God o!  He was just lucky the opportunity came at the right time (Puffs out more smoke) you Guys should help me to thank Lanky also o! The Guy has turned my Company around! In fact he is the man with a Midas touch! Every one in the Company praise him for his leadership style, our Market share and profit margin has risen significantly since he took over Tamuno farms  six months ago! (Applause and cat cries from all presen; Dandy approach the Table with his Heineken Bottle handy, he drinks straight from the Bottle, he greets every one on the table a pulls a Chair for himself, Lanky rises to speak)

Lanky:  Gentle men and Ladies!

Tope: Sho-sho- shut up! It is ladies fe- fe- first! Oya rephrase!

Lanky: Oh my bad! Ladies and gentle men! Let me use this opportunity to say a big thank you to all of you here, what would I have done without the likes of you Guys in my life?

Tope: yo –yo- you for don die nah! Na God sa-save you fro- fro -from your Wife! Ma-madam Thatcher! (All laugh)

Lanky: Like seriously, na God save me true true o! He saved me through Friends like una. I thank my Oga here (refers to Tamuno) na my Friend before- before o! But now levels don change! He pays my salary now so he is my Boss! I respect you sir! (Bows before Tamuno) he saved my life and brought me out of a shameful situation! May God bless you sir! And I promise to continue to work hard to take Tamuno Farms limited to greater heights! (General applause)

Tope: You -you get cho-choice? If you do any how, you go- go see any how nah! (All laugh)

Lanky: Dandy! (He leaves his seat and goes round to hug Dandy, he held unto Dandy and he begins to Sob)

Tope: na- na wetin dey do am? He don drink?

Njoku: Tope can’t you be quiet? Must you talk? Are you the only one here? Nna, na wa for you o!

Tope: sho-shut up your mouth! Na na your mouth I dey ta-take talk? How a whole man go -go just start to- to dey cry like mumu and yo- you say make I- I no talk? You dey craze? Abi yo-you don drink too?

Brian: Yoruba Man, shut up your mouth! Na only you dey here?

Tope: (Stands up angrily) you? You dey craze! I dey talk, you day talk! (He sits down and pours himself a glass of drink, he pulls a plate of Chicken and begins to gnaw) yeye People! (Mouth full) is it normal to see a man cry?

(Lanky is taken back to his seat by Brian, Lanky shakes hand with Brian and continues his speech)

Lanky: I am sorry, I got emotional, I am very sorry, but you will not understand. When I was down and out, it was Dandy that took me in, I came here every night to eat and drink free of charge!

Tope: (Interrupts) Idiot! Is that why you are crying?

Njoku: Tope!

Tope: Na wetin nah?

Lanky: make una leave Tope I beg! Na him way! As I was saying, Dandy never for one day made me feel like I was a liability to him! Even when I had some change to pay for a meal, he refused to collect any dime from me. His Staff and even his Wife never knew I was eating and drinking free of charge else they would have given me a polite insult some day, but it never happened! They still respected me as if I was still working and spending large as usual.

Tope: yo-you are lucky I-I did not know yo-you were eating free all these da-days! I -I for no dey dash yo-you Money nah! Oloshi! (Gulps from his bottle of Jack Daniels)

Lanky: Tope, you don dey drunk I know!

Tope: Idiot! Yo-you get mouth to-to dey call me drunkard now abi? Yeye man!

Brian: (Exclaims) Kai! Na who give this yeye Yoruba Man Spirit to drink this night? Una no know say Tope no dey drink Spirit? Na who give am?

Njoku: Na small Pikin? Anybody force am? No be for Table the Drink dey? No be him choose am by himself?

Brian: I no want make wetin happen for Casablanca last Month happen here o! I no fit carry person o!

Tope: wetin happen for Casablanca? Idiot! Hic!

Lanky: gentle men! I owe Dandy a lot! That I could fuel my Car, that I had a little change now and then was courtesy of Dandy and I owe my new come back to Dandy! Dandy spoke to Mr. Tamuno about my situation and here we are today! I beg a standing ovation for Dandy!

(All stand up to appreciate Dandy except Tope, as others sit down after clapping, Tope gets up and begins to clap)

Njoku: (At one of the Girls on the Table) Come! Babe oya carry your Guy comot for here! This Man go soon embarrass you here I swear!

Brian: He will embarrass himself, not the poor Girl!

Tope: (Stops clapping and clutches his Stomach) ye! I beg wey the road to Toilet here? I want shit!

Brian: (Shouts) kai! Wahala don set! Oya come quick! Njoku, oya help me carry am I beg! You sabi wetin wan happen so o! Na Casablanca part two wan happen so o! (Brian and Njoku help Tope off the scene hurriedly)

Fade.

 

ACT 12 SCENE 1

Ogiri’s House: Tombra is pacing to and fro while talking on the phone

Tombra: Hello! Hello! Akpors I don’t understand what you are saying o! When are the goods arriving nah? It is over a month now and I am yet to take delivery! Remember I collected Loan to finance this business o! My banker is already on my neck! (Silence…..)

No! No! No! I can’t wait any longer! Things are hard for me already! My Sales van has Engine problem, I need to change the Engine! Sales are poor these days and I cannot Stock all the necessary goods because I diverted money into this business! (Silence…….)

(Shouts) Me? Why? I can’t spend any more money! Even my project in the Village has been suspended! I used it as collateral for the loan! (Silence….)

From where do I get it? I paid in Nine million naira and I am yet to see the goods! How do you expect me to pay in more money? I don’t have it! Hello? Hello? (She looks at the phone; she redials the number and puts phone to her ear) Switched off? How can it be switched off? (She redials and puts Phone to her ear, and then she shouts) Lie! What’s wrong with this network? Someone that I just spoke with now?  (She storms out of the scene.)

Fade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT 13 SCENE 1

Interior: provision Shop- products are scantily displayed on shelves, two sales Girls standing by as Tombra  moves to and fro  looking agitated while dialling her Phone ceaselessly.

Tombra: (Soliloquizing aloud) Chai! One chance! I don enter one chance! Ye! Ye ye! (Hands on her head) my own don kpafuka for Port Harcourt! Ha! My own don finish! (To the girls) Did you girls say you have not seen Akpors!

Girls: No Madam!

Tombra: (Tries the phone call again) Chai! I don die! I don die! (Stamps feet on the ground) her Phone has been off for over a week now! I went to her Office, it was locked up! People around said she has relocated, relocated to where nah?! No one knows! Ye! My own don finish! I do enter correct one chance! (Walling) where do I start from? I collected a load of six million naira from the bank, plus my own three million naira! (To the girls) No be nine million naira be that?

Girls: Na so Madam!

Tombra: All my savings are gone! Look at my Shop! (Gesticulates) look! Look! Na wetin remain here? Every thing don finish! I used my building as collateral; I also used my family land at Rukpokwu as Collateral for this loan! Ha! Family land! What do I tell my Father and my brothers? My Bank will confiscate all these properties! Ha! Which kain wahala be dis o! Where or whom do I run to now? So this is how I have become a victim of 419? A whole me! Kai! Water don pass Garri o! (Wailing continues as two plain clothes detectives and two bank Officials enter the Shop)  hey! Dem don come o! (She collapses on a chair crying.)

Man 1: Officers, this is the woman! Mrs. Tombra Ogiri!

Police Officer: Madam! Madam! Are you Tombra Ogiri? (Tombra looks up and nods her head)

Police Officer:  Please you are wanted at the Office in respect of the loan you collected from your bank over six months ago! Please close the Shop and come with us!

(Tombra  keeps nodding her head in affirmation, she stands up and looks the Shop all over, the Police ushers her and her girls outside and close the Shop.

 

Fade

 

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Posted in Prose, Stories

Acts 7-10

ACT 7 SCENE 1

Dandy’s bar- Tamuno and Lanky are drinking together

Tamuno: so Lanky! I understand things are pretty rough with you right?

Lanky: My Guy! I never knew women could be so selfish and wicked! Well it’s just a temporal set back sha, I will bounce back! I am still young and strong.

Tamuno: (Puffing out Cigarette smoke) I understand your Company is waiting on the Government for new Contracts? What if the new Government does not favour you guys? What would you do?

Lanky: How?

Tamuno: how what? Are you not listening to what I am saying? You see, don’t you have a plan B? No wonder your wife dey sex starve you!

Lanky: oh! So Dandy has told you that too?

Tamuno: yes he told me, he also said I should try and see what I can arrange for you.

Lanky: (Grabs Tamuno’s hand) Guy can you do anything to save my face? Please! I will be forever grateful to you! Things have turned from bad to worse for me! My wife has gone to the extent of changing the Locks and keys to the Kitchen and our bed room! All the Cupboards and Freezers in the house now have new locks! Old boy I cannot hide my shame from you o! Na die I dey so o!

Tamuno: but wait a minute! How could your Wife be so cruel? Were you mean to her when the going was good? (Dandy joins the duo with a bottle of Heineken beer in his hand, he wears a three quarter length Jeans and blue denim short sleeves Shirt with a blue Papa’s cap to match)

Lanky: Dandy how far nah? I see say you don tell Tamuno wetin my eyes dey see with Tombra! He is asking if I was cruel to her when the going was good! I beg help me answer that question!

(Dandy sits down)

Dandy: ha! No o! Lanky na the ideal husband o! He established the Woman and even got her two Cars! One for the business and the other for her private runs. Lanky is the only Man that hardly come here with other Women unlike You and Brian and co..(Tamuno interrupts)

Tamuno: Shut up!

Dandy: Lanky is one of the few stupid men I have seen that still put his wife on monthly pocket allowance even after opening a business for her, a business that she runs solely without giving accounts to him! What does she do with her money? Dandy used to pay up his Kids School fees in advance! He pays for all three terms upfront in January. But unfortunately, he lost his job in January this year. No! Lanky was never cruel to Tombra, not at all.

Tamuno: wow! Wow! Impressive CV!  Hmm , ideal husband indeed. I bet she knows what you earn monthly?

Lanky: (Grinning) of course! I hid nothing from her!

Tamuno: (Looks Lanky up and down sarcastically and mimics him) of course! I hid nothing from her! Look at you now! Does your Wife declare what she realizes from her Shop to you? Does she tell you how much she realizes weekly or how much she has in her bank account?

Lanky: No! No! I don’t need to know! After all I opened the Shop for her. It’s hers!

Tamuno: chai! Chai! Chai! Lanky, I never knew you could be so stupid! (He throws away the Cigarette stud and lights up another stick, takes a long drag and exhales thick smoke from mouth and nose. Lanky looks shocked, he looks at Dandy for support) yes! I will say it again and again, Lanky! You are a big fool! I hate fools! And if not for the respect I have for Dandy, I would have walked out on you right away! In fact you be Woman Wrapper! Number one! Your Wife is smarter than you are! That is obvious. Secondly, how could you be working for a private construction Firm without having a plan B?

Lanky: Plan B? How?

Tamuno: are you the owner of the Company?

Lanky: of course not!

Tamuno: apart from the house you built and this Car you drive about, what other thing do you have?

Lanky: My wife’s Shop!

Tamuno and Dandy: (Shouts) shut up your mouth!

Dandy: wetin dey do you?

Tamuno: (Takes a long drag on the Cigarette and exhales) look! Lanky or what ever they call you, it is better to be quiet and appear stupid than to open your mouth and clear all doubts!

Lanky: how?

Dandy: how again? You and this your ‘how’ ‘how’!

Tamuno: na you get your wife Shop and owu dey worry you like dis? (Lanky looks at Dandy)

Dandy: can’t you see that you have lost it as the man of the house? (Lanky looks at Tamuno)

Tamuno: your wife sex starves you! She does not prepare food for you! She does not give a damn if you exist! (Lanky looks at Dandy)

Dandy: she has put everything in the house under lock and key! She is building her own house behind your bank! A woman you call your wife! My friend you have been hypnotized!

Lanky: (Holds unto his head as he shakes it vigorously) haaaaaa! How? How? How?

Tamuno:  the next thing she will do is to start bringing her male lovers to your house! And she will lock you out!

Lanky: How can?

Dandy:  dey there dey ask question! When last did you touch your wife? Several months ago! And you live under the same roof! (Lanky stares at Tamuno)

Tamuno:  can you vouch for her that she has not slept with a man all this while?

Lanky: which Man?

Dandy: any Man but you!

Lanky: (Hysteric) how? I will kill some body I swear!

Dandy: you can not do jack my man! How old are your Kids again?

Lanky: twelve and seven!

Dandy: good! They are not too young to understand, you can still change the game to your advantage!

Lanky: really? (Stands up) but how?

Dandy: Mr. How, sit down!

Tamuno: leave the house for her for now!

Lanky: I have thought of that before but where do I go? What do I do? How do I feed?

Dandy: Lanky! Tamuno and I have been talking, he has a large Farm at Okirika, and the Manager of the Farm is running for the seat of the local government area, he will win, Tamuno is sponsoring him. (Lanky stares at Tamuno open mouthed)

Tamuno:  you will be in charge of the farm, you will live there, there is a three bed room apartment there for the Managing Director of Tamuno Farms and Agro allied Industry! The pay is better than what you have ever earned plus the fact that you may never have to buy food, fish and meat again. So when I see you in a month’s time I expect to see a fresher you! (Lanky stares at Dandy)

Dandy: The farm has palm plantation, poultry, Ostrich, Piggery, grass cutter, Cat fish pond, rice plantation and over eight hundred cows being shepherded by Fulani herdsmen! It is a herculean task for you as Managing director! (Lanky stares at Tamuno with mouth agape)

Tamuno: the Fish pond has a capacity of fifty thousand mature fishes with average weight of two kilogram’s, upon maturity the marketing supervisor sends SMS to our existing Clients and in three to four days, the Pond is empty! Then we replenish the Pond! The Cockerels and broilers are booked in advance by over fifty eateries and retail Outlets in out clientele. The plantations are being run by different supervisors, they report to their Managers and the Managers will report to you. You will report there next tomorrow and start your induction; you will need to go round the various sections for two months before you assume your official position.  I will bring your letter here tomorrow and inform them to expect you on Saturday! Congratulations! Lanky you are welcome to my world!

(Lanky falls down and starts to wail like a baby.)

 

Exit.

 

ACT 8 SCENE 1

Ogiri’s apartment, he enters the house to se Tombra discussing on the phone, she is seated on the Couch and facing her on the centre table are bundles of naira notes. Immediately she sees Ogiri she cuts the call and begins th garther the money into her hand bag.

Tombra: (Surprised) ahan! Can’t you knock before you enter the house? (She packs her money hurriedly)

Ogiri: I should knock before I enter the house? Why didn’t you lock the door when you know you don’t want to be interrupted! And by the way why are you packing up your money because I came in? Do I look like a thief? Or have I stolen from you before?

 

Tombra:  that is your business! I can do what I want, when I want and how I want!

Ogiri:: In fact madam! You don’t know how you disgust me! My hate for you grows by the day! You are hiding money from me! The money that is the proceeds of my labour and sweat! So I have fallen so low that you will see me and start hiding your money? You have changed the keys to the Kitchen so that i will not eat! You changed the key to all the Lockers and Cupboards! Even the key to the bed room door you changed it! You turned me to an out cast in my own house! You have sex starved me for almost eight months now! (Raises his voice) well, I know you have a man some where that is servicing you! All your actions since I lost my job show that you have been unfaithful to me all along!

Tombra: yes shout! Shout let the neighbours know that you are a frustrated man!

Ogiri: why wont I shout? What else do I have to hide? I am down and he that is down fears no fall! All the neighbours know of my condition already! They all know about how you are treating me too! Is it not the neighbours that take me in when you lock me out some nights? Is it not the neighbours that feed me some times and give me stipends on which I have survived thus long?

Tombra: I hope you are sleeping with their Wives too?

Ogiri: oh! You think they are like you? No! They are human beings with clean conscience! Haven’t you asked your self how I fuel my Car and still try to look as if all is well? Have you seen me come home drunk at night since I lost my job? No! Yet I still hang out with my friends and they take care of me! The same friends I had before I met you! The same friends that attended our wedding ceremony! They did not abandon me! No! Not for a moment! They have been helpful and surportive.

Tombra: Please go and sit down! You are only jealous of my success! You can not face the fact that I am now richer than you, that’s all!

Ogiri: Jealous of you? How myopic you think! Is it a competition? And how do you measure success? Is it in monetary terms alone? (Laughs sarcastically) woman let me tell you what you do not know!

Tombra: (sits tight clutching her bag to her Chest) what do you have to say? I am listening!

Ogiri: good! I like that! You are listening! Today you go hear word from me! I can choose to chase you out of this house this minute! But I will not do that yet, not now!

Tombra: (Flares up) for where? You can’t! Try it and see!

Ogiri: even your so called business, I can set that Shop on fire without you or any one suspecting me! I can arrange with Boys to burgle the Shop and wreck you! I can pour salt into the engine of your Car and knock the engine! My dear I can wreck you! There are many ways to kill a rat!

Tombra: (Jumps up clapping her hands and shouting) thank God you are confessing! I will report you to my Father! I will report you to the Police in case anything happens to me or my Business!

Ogiri: see mumu! See mumu! If I want to do any of those things do you think I will tell you? I wont tell you nah! You will just be sleeping at home and you will receive phone calls that your Shop is burning, and as you rush out to drive to the Shop, you Car will not start and never will, have you forgotten I am a typical Port Harcourt boy? I grew up on the streets and i dey bam!

Tombra: if you dey bam, I go show you say me I dey well!

Ogiri: oh Tombra, Tombra! You don’t have foresight at all, you no get sense and I think it is because you did not finish your School! So you think I can not rise again or what? Have you forgotten I am still young? I am just forty years old! I have my first and second degree! I am a hustler which means I can do anything to survive! Tombra I am every woman’s dream man! I adored you! I pampered you! I spoilt you! I loved you Tombra! But you stabbed me in the back; you insulted me in the most unforgiveable way! You made me a subject of ridicule in the whole estate, amongst my friends and my family! Even before my Children! You want me t loose my respect before my Children! And by the way, (Calls out) Joshua! Ella! (He goes into the room and comes out) where are my Children? I understand they closed  for the term yesterday?

Tombra: Tyhey are not around! They went to spend the holiday with my Cousin at Abuloma!

Ogiri: when are they coming back?

Tombra: until School resumes!

Ogiri: (laughs sarcastically clapping his hands) Tombra! You sent my Children to spend their holiday with your Cousin without telling me let alone get my approval? Even if I am jobless and broke, you do not have to disrespect me that much! Where and how did I even wrong you Tombra? I do not have a say in this house again because I don’t have a job abi?

But how could you have pretended so well for fourteen years? You are indeed a good actor! Nolly wood must be missing a star! Well I thank God that it happened this way! I thank God that I still have my health intact! What would I have done if I was incapacitated? That means you would have poisoned me for good so that I don’t have to be a burden to you! But I thank God that I am complete and my senses are okay!  You should have waited for a better time to show me your colour! Not now that I am still hale and hearty! Yet every other evening you dress up and go to Church! How am I sure you are not even sleeping with your so called Pastor? I have not been going to Church for over six months now because I do not have money for offering or tithe yet none of the Pastors or Ministers has called me! How daft I have been all this while! Even Pastor Kelvin that I used to give financial assistance never called me on phone for once to say how far? At least they know I am out of Job! Yet you go to this Church every other day! Which kain Church be that I beg?

Tombra: I can see that your condition is beginning to affect your senses! You don dey Kolo Ogiri!

Ogiri: yes! I don dey Kolo! The truth they say is bitter (he walks into the room still nagging, Tombra dials her Phone and begins to discuss on the phone, Ogiri returns with his travelling bag fully loaded) madam heavy weight! Look this Man well, well! Look me! You dey see me? Good bye!

(He walks out while Tombra stood looking wide eyed and dumb founded)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACTS 9 SCENE 1

Office meeting setting: There is a projector beamed on the wall and Ogiri is wearing a smart blue suite addressing a Staff strength of about twenty female and male executives all resplendent in their corporate attires. Ogiri addresses the attendees with the aid of a flip chart and projector.

 

Ogiri: The desire of Management is to take this Company to the next level! Though the Company has had a steady annual growth for the past three years, the marginal increase is small as far as I am concerned! 1.4% annual growth is too small for us amidst the vast market we are operating in. What is out marketing Team doing about this? Prie! You are the head of marketing! What is your plan for Tamuno farms this financial year?

(Prie stands up, a beautiful svelte dressed in black skirt and red blouse. She proceeds to the front of the hall and collects the projector remote control from Ogiri, Ogiri steps aside as she uses the flip chart to make her presentation.)

Prie: two years ago we grew by 1.5%, last year we grew by 2.0%. The growth rate is marginal I know but there were circumstances prevalent in the economy that stalled our growth! There was the devaluation of the naira, there was a fall in international oi price which adversely affected the national G.D.P and consequently the national disposable income was cut down! There was also the issue of the insurgency up north and the havoc caused by the Fulani herdsmen at our Buguma plantation. Unemployment rate is on the increase, our competitors also are not sleeping! It is like a war front there sir!

But there is hope! For Tamuno farms, this year promises to be a favourable one because it is an election year! (Round of applause from attendees)

Yes! First of all, we must congratulate ourselves for producing the new local government Chairman in the person of Mr. Alalibo Adokie, our former managing director! (Another round of applause)

And because we have Mr. Adokie, all the eateries in Okirika Local Government Area and environs will patronize us! It is not by force o! But they have no choice! (Round of applause)

We have also proposed to management to embark on the preparation of Barbecued Chicken and bag it! People are used to frozen Chicken! Let us give them something different! Well spiced barbecued Chicken would appeal to the elite class and most of the Oil workers not living with their families here in Okirika and environs can easily buy this Brand for quick stew or they can use it to drink beer with their friends! (Round of applause and Cheers) we can sell into Provision shops and Super Markets! Big beer parlours and Night Clubs in G.R.A are also our target Markets! We need to plant our products into the minds of people! (Applause). We are having problems meeting our demands for Cat fish! Our forecast for this year was a total of Five million Cartons of fish, but the capacity of our ponds can only produce a total of two million Cartons! The gap in demand created will naturally be taken up by competition and substitute brands! The market is there! The demand is there! We need to exploit these opportunities! We need more Fish Ponds! (There is loud ovation, Ogiri claps continuously as he ushers Prie back to her seat)

Ogiri: Great Marketers! (Chorus, Great!) Wow! Wow! Wow! I am impressed! We are prepared! Yes! We are prepared! But, wait a minute; are we all as prepared as the marketing team? Purchasing department, how far? Do you have the best sources of supply of our raw materials? Do you use the most cost saving channels? Do you buy the best quality? Are you cutting corners? Are the suppliers bribing you to overlook standards and receive whatever they supply to us?

Quality department! What about your end? Do we still live by our watch word “best in quality?” a satisfied Customer will only tell his experience to a friend but a dissatisfied Customer will report you to the whole word! Including witches and Wizards! (Laughter in the house) Are we still maintaining proper hygiene in all our processes? Remember we are a food company!

Public relations department! How far with you and the community youth? Are they happy? Do we still give them preference in labour recruitment? Do we still support them with products during their Carnivals and traditional ceremonies?

Finance department! How are we doing? Are we spending within our budget? Are we still saving cost by avoiding wastages and wasteful spending? Are our workers happy? Are they paid on time and in full? Are we managing our loan facilities properly? (Continues till fade)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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