Posted in Burning Platform, Poems, POLITICS, Prose, Stories

MY COUNTRY MY HONOUR

 

 

To Maiduguri we were drafted

Sixty six of us with shaven heads

After six gruesome months in Zaria

We were caged in the land of no return

It was there we went through metamorphosis

 

In six 911 Mercedes military Trucks

We were sent to six different Battalions

To defend the six Geopolitical regions

And prevent us from splitting into six pieces

Our job was to keep the peace

 

I went to hell and I survived

I see, I saw and I conquered

For not all that went to the hell I went

That returned to tell the story

Of how we were dehumanized to attain glory

 

I was trained to maim and annihilate

With the bare hands I could strangulate

To endure the pain with eyes on the gain

All for the honour and glory of my mother land

Nigeria we hail thee, our home and mother land

 

As I clutched my Riffle beneath my chin

Waiting to kill or to be killed in the jungle

Flashed of home disturbs my concentration

My mother awaits my return from the Depot

My siblings await to see their hero

 

My Casandra who expects to see me every tomorrow

And my friends who wait albeit in sorrow

My inherited lands for too long have fallowed

Loved ones pray and fast and God they hallowed

That someday they will see me home when peace will follow

 

But today I am far away from home

Far from the love and care of my own

In the forest of Sambisa we have made home

Our quest is to make Nigeria a home

 

Ratata! Ratata! Infantry Guns barking

Kabum! Kabum! The sound of the Artillery

Flying shrapnel, writhing bodies, smoking nozzles

Screaming Soldiers, screaming Rebels, the race for life!

AlahAkba! Sweet Jesus! We called before we died

 

A man who believed in a cause

A cause sworn to uphold

To lay his life for his father land

And he turned his back against all he hold dear

For a Soldier is duty bound to serve his country

 

So I as lay wrapped up in bandages

My legs gone from the exploded mines

I remember my Colleagues

I see their faces as they screamed

I see as they ran and fell to the Enemy

 

I see as enemies tie them up and slit their throats

Blood and water oozing as life takes leave of them

I see them being charred like goats

And the tears poured down my eyes

And I weep for my fallen Compatriots

 

Family and friends we will see no more

Dreams and aspirations were cut short

Because we swore to serve and defend

When will this madness stop?

How can this house stand?

When siblings lift up arms against each other!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Burning Platform, Literature, Poems, POLITICS

My Country, my honour!

MY COUNTRY MY HONOUR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Burning Platform, Drama, jokes and humour, Literature, Poems, POLITICS, Prose, Stories, Uncategorized

The Abandoned Child Season 4

CHAPTER 7

 

We resumed school in October 1986 for the transitional term in preparation for the new 6334 academic system promulgated by the federal ministry of education. This implied that we would be staying 6 years in secondary school instead of the former 5 years but those students already in forms 4 and 5 would graduate after five years. Modupe would graduate this session.

 

Modupe was appointed the Girls senior prefect of the school and my friends were congratulating because of my supposed affiliation with her. I could not really tell what I did to Modupe that made her change towards me, I have thought it over without any clue so I decided to keep my distance from her to avoid further embarrassment.

 

There was a day Modupe was going from classroom to classroom with her cane in hand looking for noise makers or any non conformer. She entered my class, I was discussing an assignment with Kazeem but we all stood up and greeted her. She waved the class to sit down and she pointed the cane at Kazeem and me.

 

You two! Stand up! Come out here! She commanded

 

We went to the front of the class

 

Why were you two disturbing the class? She asked

Senior, we were not disturbing, we were working on an assignment! Kazeem replied.

Shut up! Big head! She barked. Do you do assignments with hands or your mouth? Oya, the two of you, go and kneel in the sun kia! Kia! (Quickly) she commanded.

 

There was a soft wave of murmuring in the class room.

What is it? She asked the class; or do you all want to go outside and kneel with them? She asked

 

Yes! Yes! The class chorused. Uncle is our Class Monitor and he does not make noise! Someone dare to say amongst the students.

Who is talking? Come outside this minute! Modupe commanded angrily.

 

It was Joseph that came out, the boy I slapped sometime ago.

 

Oh! You have the guts to talk any how to me abi? Modupe queried.

 

But senior, the class was quiet when you came in, and even if uncle B was talking, it was on a low tone and moreover, he is our class captain! Joseph explained.

 

By the way, who is uncle B? Modupe asked him, though she knew he was referring to me.

 

Uncle B! Uncle! The class chorused, pointing at me.

 

Modupe turned to face me; she poked my chest with her cane.

Hey! They say you are uncle B! Are you not ashamed of your self? Your age mates are in the university and here you are with the age mates of your children! And you are happy that they call you uncle! Agbaya lasan lasan! (Old fool) my friend, go out! Go out and kneel in the sun with your hands up in the sky! She screamed as she flogged every part of my body with the cane. We ran out of the class onto the open field and quickly knelt down. Hands up! Hand up! She was upon us flogging frantically. We obeyed even as we tried to block the canes with our outstretched arms.

Where is that other foolish one that has a big mouth to talk to me any how? She screamed as she charged back into out class room. She flogged Joseph out of the class to out kneeling position.

Common kneel down! Kneel down! You know how to talk abi?

Joseph joined us weeping and writhing in pain.

 

She did not come back to release us until the close of school when students were rushing to the assembly ground that my English language teacher saw us and told us to stand up and proceed to the assembly ground.

 

There was another instance when some of us came to class in the morning. The school’s time regulator was the duty prefect and she told us to kneel down as punishment for coming late. Modupe came around and saw that I was amongst the kneeling students: she immediately summoned the Labour prefect and instructed him to take us to the school football field with our Langalanga (long flexible cutlass) to cut grass through out the day. We missed classes that day.

 

Severally I contemplated confronting Modupe to ask her to forgive me in whatever form I have wronged her but anytime I see her, my heart beat skips and I scurry away before she sees me. My social life in class 2 was very poor and bitter because of my fear for Modupe.

I also recall the day she disgraced me in the presence of the whole school during our monthly “social night” gathering that holds in the school hall every last Saturday of the month. I was representing class 2 in the “Mr. Macho” competition and have scaled two rounds of screening already.

 

It was my third and last round of flexing muscles and posing amidst cheers and cat cries from the students. I was sure of victory as my shiny body glistered under the florescent bulbs that laminate the hall. We had rubbed our bodies with Vaseline jelly. After my act, I got a resounding ovation and I was all smiles until it was time for the oral interview. The judges of course were a selection of school prefects. I was given a wireless micro phone to answer questions directed at me.

It was the social prefect that asked me the first and only question that shattered my night.

 

Bolaji! Aka uncle B! He called and the hall went agog again chanting uncle B!

Uncle B!

 

He gestured for the students to calm down and he continued; if you win the 1000 naira prize for this competition and you are told to give it to any girl of your choice in this school, who would be?

 

It was a simple question and I answered quickly;

Of course I would give it to my sister the SP girls!

 

Modupe got up from her seat and walked briskly to snatch the microphone from the social prefect.

 

Who is your sister? She asked me: are you okay?

 

SP! I said calmly, are you no longer my sister? Are we not from the same village?

 

Look! Look! Look! She countered, pointing at me; I know where I am from o! I know my village very well.  My father told me everything about my lineage before he died and you or your family was not mention by my father! Look! I know my father and I know my mother! Do you know yours? Answer me! She challenged, do you know your father or your mother?

 

I was answering her but the words did not come out as I took the microphone to my mouth to speak. My tongue felt glued to roof of my mouth. I desperately struggled to say something but the words weren’t coming out.

 

Oh you can’t talk abi? She continued; please for your information and to set the records straight, I am not from the same town with you! You were brought from Lagos at birth by your prostitute mother and dumped with your retired prostitute grand mother before your mother ran back to Lagos to continue her profession! Is it true or false!?

 

The whole hall went wild with laughter. She handed the microphone back to the stunned social prefect. I wished for the earth to open up and swallow me as I stood there in shame wearing only a boxer and crying with my glistering face. It was Kazeem that came from the crowd and pulled me back stage. Once back stage I broke down and wept like a hungry baby

 

You brought this upon your self uncle B! Kazeem said.

How? I asked crying

You know this girl does not like you! Couldn’t you have called any other girl in the school or any of our class girls? Why someone whom you and I know hates your guts? Kazeem asked

 

Kazeem, how am I to know she resents me that much? I did not do anything to Modupe that would make her humiliate me so badly. Do you know that the fortune my retired prostitute grand mother left for me is with Modupe’s mother? She invested it in her business. I gave her my everything so she could be a mother to her children and me. Her mother and mine were child hood friends.

I also gave Modupe’s mother the reward our state government gave me for helping to recover some stolen bank money. During the last holiday, I asked her mother for some money but she told me my money was put in a fixed deposit and was not mature for withdrawal. She said she put my two hundred thousand naira in a fixed deposit account! What about the raw cash my granny left for me that she invested into her business? Couldn’t she spare me some pocket money while I was on holiday? I did not pry further because I felt she may not have physical cash with her. I had to word as a hired labourer in other people’s farms in other to have some pocket money while on holiday. I wailed as I explained all these to Kazeem. Ha! See how Modupe finished me publicly in my nakedness!

 

I did not return to the stage, I wiped my body dry with a towel and went into my class room to think about certain facts about my life. Like, who is my real father? What is my real surname? Where is my mother? What does she even look like? Why did she not look back and come for me after all these years even after being told that her mother had died? What does she think had become of me? Does she have other children? Who really am I?

 

Those were the questions I asked Mr. Adegoke my English language teacher when I narrated my experience on the social night to him in his office on Monday morning during recess.

 

He felt so sad and expressed his disappointment at modupe’s attitude towards me. However, he gave me some words of encouragement. He told me not to focus on all the negative issues in my life, he mentioned some notable citizens of the world and Nigeria in particle who had very terrible childhood. He encouraged me to try and re-write my story so that my children will not go through what I have gone through in life. He said to me “Bolaji, you do not have any one in this world except your self” the only way you can change your story is to be the best in all that you do! “Failure is a bastard but success has many relatives” you must succeed! You must pass your WAEC in flying colours! You must go to the university! You must graduate with first class honours! With these, you will get a good job! When you get a good job and you are comfortable then you will see another face of the human specie! Once you are successful, you will realize how important you will be! Every one that has mocked you will swallow their words shamelessly! Even the so called Modupe will worship you and she will apologize for all she has done to you. She will try to justify all the wrong she did you. That is human being for you. But do not allow Modupe to shatter your dream rather let it challenge you. I bet you Bolaji, when you become someone in life, your elusive mother will go through the desert to reach you! Bet with me! He gave me his right little finger, I gave him mine and we betted. He gave me a pat on the back as he stood up and walked out of his office. I have a class to teach after the recess, he said.

Mr. Adegoke’s words were like the balm I needed to heal up. I made up my mind then to be more close to Kazeem so he could help me to improve in my academics.

By the end of class 2, I passed with an overall average of 88%. I got an A in English language and a B in mathematics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Drama, jokes and humour, Literature, Poems, Prose, Stories, Uncategorized

The Abandoned Child. Season 3

CHAPTER 5

 

 

At the age of fourteen, most of my age mates were in secondary school while some where learning various trades and skills. I was still living with Pharaoh without a future ambition. I get up daily and go hunting, perhaps I was a hunter, I do sell some of my spoils some times: I was not allowed to use a Dane gun by the hunters association because of my age so I use my snares and my dog as weapons supported by my machete.

 

The money I saw in mama’s box was still there, I do not really know what to do with it and because we were not friends before she died, I felt her spirit could haunt me if I misuse the money.

 

Five months after the incident at the house on the hill top, the children of Baba Oloro came to my house and killed Pharaoh. Pharaoh was sleeping peacefully under the cashew tree beside my house when the eldest son of Baba Oloro beheaded him with one swift; he put Pharaoh’s head in a bag and said it will be used to appease “Ogun” the god of iron. They accused Pharaoh of biting their father on his way to his farm and infected him with rabbis and tetanus; they threatened to kill me if I make further trouble.

 

It was like a dream, why is everyone close to me leaving me alone in this world?, my mum, my grandma and now my dog!, I was just tired. I could not do anything. I was an Orphan and a desolate one at that. I mourned the death of my dog the way I never mourned the death of anyone I ever knew, I felt so lonely in the house without Pharaoh.

 

I began to wonder why Baba Oloro had lied about the venue of his encounter with Pharaoh. Baba Oloro died two days after Pharaoh was killed, it was Modupe’s mother that ran to my house and dragged me to her house so that I could escape the wrath of Baba Oloro’s children, and she said the children were on their way to my house.

 

They went to my house but did not meet me so they left after destroying some part of my house. I was with Modupe’s mother in her late father’s house for fourteen days before I came back to my house. Modupe’s mother happened to be a childhood friend of my mother, her husband was killed during an inter community wrestling competition, his opponent killed him with bare hands by dealing repeated punches to his stomach, he was left gasping for breath till he died  on the pitch at the village square. Modupe’s mother did not remarry; she focused on her business and on training her three children. She took me in as a son and advised me on the way to go about my life, she was shocked to realize that I had no future ambition and I was shocked at her attitude because no one ever showed such care towards me.

 

Modupe was already in form three in a secondary school at Ibadan, she comes home during the holidays, she told me a lot about school and encouraged me to endeavor to go to school, it was while she was encouraging me to go to school that her mother interjected and reminded her that there was no money for anyone to send me to school. I remembered grandma’s money and I told her that I have a lot of money left by my grandma.

 

After spending two weeks with Modupe, I went home with her to see the extent of damages done by Baba Oloro’s children, it was superficial, we went straight to mama’s cash box, it was intact, I upturned it’s content so as to count the money, beneath the money was my picture as a child and a note written by my grandma that the money in the box was for my education. In case she passes on before I entered secondary school. That was the day I mourned my grandma, I cried like a baby, how could I have known grandma had such love and plans for me? In the midst of her sufferings and sickness she still had plans for me, in the midst of the hunger and wretchedness she kept her window’s mite for a better future for me.

 

Modupe tried to console me, she cried with me too as we counted the money. We counted until we got confused at the total amount. I went to Mama’s grave and begged for her forgiveness for all the pains I had dealt her in her life time, I begged her for everyday she had hungered and thirsted for my sake, I beg her to forgive all my pranks and wickedness I had meted on her. If grandma had not died, I would be in my third year in the secondary school. The money in the box could see me through five years in a standard boarding school!

 

Together with Modupe, we took the money to her mother and explained the note and the picture found beneath the box. She contributed her own portion of tears as she blessed the old soul of grandma five years after her death!

 

We decided that I go to my former school and collect my first school leaving certificate and testimonial. I went there at the resumption of school and some teachers were laughing at me when I told them I needed my credentials to further my education. Mr. Makinde even joked about my wanting to sell the certificate to a more ambitious person. I simply told him that it was my property and I needed it for keeps.

 

In my quiet time, I ruminated over the house on the hill top and the mystery surrounding it, most especially why Baba Oloro was there that night, a place dreaded by all, and why anything didn’t happen to me and Pharaoh having been that close to the house.

Alabi and his gang had all vanished into thin air mysteriously after a heist that they carried out at national Bank in Akure. The operation had brought armed police men and soldiers to our small village looking for Alabi and the gang. For six months the gang was living in the farm house of Baba Oloro deep in the forest, it was known to the villagers but no one could tell the police.

After six months, we started noticing Alabi’s presence in his house only at nights. On a fateful night, there were sporadic gun shots and screams coming from the house on the hill top, we thought the police had finally caught up with the gang. People that went to the scene the next day said there were shallow graves freshly dug and the motor bikes coupled with blood stains littering the compound. That was the last we heard of Alabi and his gang followed by the strange attacks on anyone that ventured into the house. We also noticed that the Motor bikes disappeared over the years and grasses took over the compound.

 

What most of the villagers did not notice was that Baba Oloro suddenly came into wealth over the years; he withdrew his children from the village school and sent them to school in the city. Even his first two sons were rumoured to be schooling in the white man’s country.

I now understand that only a juju man like Baba Oloro could manipulate malevolent spirits to attack people as had been happening in the house on the hill top so as to scare people from getting access to whatever was hidden therein.

Pharaoh attacked Baba Oloro because dogs could identify evil spirits.

That morning I told Modupe and her mother about my thoughts and we took my story to the police station at Ado Ekiti. After listening to my story, the police accompanied us with an escort pick up van to the house of late Alabi. After the search, huge sum of money in crisp naira notes were discovered locked up in one of the rooms, it ran into millions of naira bearing the band of the national bank Akure.

 

The bank rewarded me with a scholarship throughout my education and an awaiting job upon graduation from the university. The Ondo state government gave me a reward of two hundred thousand naira and promised to rebuild grandma’s house using cement block. I was also given two plots of land out of the reserved portion of the community land.

Suddenly I became a celebrity, I was loved by young and old and I had many friends.

 

I was almost sixteen years old when I left the village for the first time. I left for Ibadan to start from form one in the same boarding school Modupe attends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 6

 

 

 

I handed the cheque given to me to Modupe’s mother as I have taken her to be my Guardian, she would put the money into her business and train me and her children with it.

 

It was in 1985 that I was admitted into Apata Grammar School in Ibadan as a boarding student. I was sixteen years old and in form one, Modupe was fifteen years and in form four, she would graduate the next year. It was not easy trying to cope at school, my age mates were in form three and above, I had already sprouted a moustache, and my legs were hairy, this made me become a subject of discussion in the school, I clearly stood out amongst my classmates, and sometimes they mischievously refer to me as uncle Bolaji.

 

I was made the class prefect on the first day at school, it was on the assembly ground that the school principal spotted me lined up with form one students, he shouted on top of his voice at me, he said I should leave the line and go to join my mates, he was pointing at the senior students line. The whole assembly rocked with laughter until a teacher went and whispered something to the principal, he then waved the students to a silence and apologized to me publicly, he then asked me the alphabet of my class. Class one B sir I replied. Good! From today, you are the class monitor! He announced and there were shouts of uncle ‘B’ everywhere.

 

Life in boarding school was totally different for me. I had being a free bird all my life, I had lived without bounds or rules and regulations, it was a different ball game here as I was made to wake up at 5.30pm every morning. I was forced to observe afternoon rest daily at 3pm; I was to go to Sunday church service at the school chapel. I had never attended a church or mosque in my sixteen years of existence. We were given portions of food without caring if the ration will satisfy you or not and you cannot ask for more food if you are not satisfied else they tag you ‘Oliver twist’

 

Another challenge I had was that I was too crude and uncivilized, my ways were strange to my fellow students, I was a raw village boy who not speak good English and when I try to speak English my accent made it sound as if I was speaking Jamaican ‘patua’, people laugh whenever I open my mouth to speak and I always had reasons to speak because I was the class monitor.

 

Mr. Adegoke was my English teacher and he took special interest in my reformation, he does not laugh when I commit blunders while speaking, he was quick to correct my errors and made me to correct my self by repeating the words correctly, he personally gave me a book titled”Common errors in English” and gave me home work on it daily. Once he called me into his office and encouraged me to be focused and positive, he said I was catching up fast and I should not take any of the aspersions being cast on me seriously. He said he believed in me. He was the first human being to challenge me and dared me to succeed if I can, he told me that age was just a number and that once I am out of secondary school I will realized that age means nothing at the university or the larger world, he asked after my parent and I told him my story. He then told me that I could rewrite my story if I try, he said he was an orphan too. His words of encouragement moved me and I secretly vowed to succeed in life by becoming more serious and determined

 

Kareem was nine years old and in the same class with me, he calls me ‘egbon’ meaning ‘elder one’. I told him severally to stop calling egbon but he refused. He said he could not bring himself to calling me by my first name because I happen to be the same age with his eldest brother, his father’s first born who was a first year student at the University of Ife, his brother is older than three other persons before him and he reveres his eldest brother. He finally agreed to be calling me ‘Uncle B’ since that has been like a nick name.

 

He was the smallest and smartest in the class and he helped me a lot and in return I protected him from bullies. Every potential bully in the school left him alone the day I slapped Joseph for beating up Kareem at the school farm during Agric practical.

Joseph returned to school the next day with a swollen face and people thought it was because of the slap I had used to send him out of the school farm the previous day. The students had formed a circle with Joseph and Kareem at the centre while they cheered the duo to fight. Kareem was never a match for Joseph or anyone in the class. Kareem was lanky and feeble by stature while Joseph was an Igbo boy that eats fufu three times daily without drinking much water! He was very stout with a barrel like chest. He was sitting on Kareem’s stomach and stuffing dried grass into the poor boys mouth when I came into the farm. I broke the chain formed by the students, lifted Joseph off Kareem and dealt him a blinding slap over his eyes, it was someone else that shouted in pain instead of Joseph himself for he ran blindly out of the farm stumbling and shouting ‘anya m o! (My eyes)

The Joseph incident increased my fame in the school and another ‘alias’ was added to my name ‘Ifoti to gbona’ (hot slap) so the senior students called me ‘ifoti’ while my mates called me ‘Uncle B’ and all these happened in the first term of my first year in school.

At the end of the second term in form one my grade was better than the first term. My total average score went up from 53 to 76 percent. I got a ‘C’ in English language and an ‘A’ in mathematics.

 

Kareem was a wiz kid! His average was 98 percent; he got an A in all subjects but Yoruba language where he got a ‘B’. I got a ‘C’; in Yoruba language even though I spoke the thickest Yoruba in class and knew every adage in the language even more than my teacher.

 

We went for the long vacation of 1986. Modupe and I rarely saw at school because I did not like to be in her company due to inferiority complex. I could not bring myself to call Modupe ‘senior Dupe’ as every junior does. We were from the same Village and I was older than her.

The few times we encountered at the school sports arena, she had tormented me by speaking to me in good English instead of using the ekiti dialect that we were both brought up with, of course she got the good laugh she wanted when I attempted to speak with her in good English also. She even had the audacity to refer to me as her school son once. I warned her in a language only the two of us understood and walked out on her.

 

Our relationship at school affected our closeness when we went home on holiday. I did not return to her house. I went to my grandma’s house and cleaned it up. I went and met Modupe’s mother to give me some of my money for my upkeep, she refused, and she said I should e coming to her house to eat daily. I was about seventeen years old and a boy of my age needs some change in his pocket. She said she had put all of my money in a fixed deposit account at the bank and was not due for withdrawal. I was happy.

 

Modupe has a boy friend. The boy was already in the university, he is from our village and my age mate. He is the son of the ‘Balogun’ a high chief of our village.

Akindele drives his father’s Peugeot 504 Salon Car whenever he is at home and he comes to take Modupe out daily.

I used the holiday period to develop the two plots of land given to me by the community. I planted maize. I was on my way home from the farm one evening when Akindele drove by and stopped to give me a lift home as the farm was about one hour trekking distance from the Village. Modupe was in the car with him and she prevented me from entering the car, she said I was sweating and smelling. She said I was half way home already and would be better I continued trekking. She told Akindele to drive on. I saw the look of confusion on the face of Akindele but I thanked him for his gesture and I continue to walk home with my hoe on the shoulder and my Cutlass swinging in my hands. She was right! I was sweating and smelling, and I was actually half way home.

 

 

 

Posted in Drama, jokes and humour, Literature, Poems, Prose, Stories, Uncategorized

The Abandoned Child (season 2) By Dominic Awoleye

CHAPTER 3

 

Aduke and Larape became the bane in the life of Alabi, the one time best friends became sworn enemies, Larape will not forgive Aduke for her betrayal while Aduke hated Larape for her selfishness. She asks ‘which woman will see the opportunity of marrying a well to do young man like Alabi and not fall for it’? After all, polygamy is not taboo.

 

Competition started among the women. Larape indicated interest in selling “Adire” local fabric, she travels to Abeokuta to make her purchases and she hawks her wares around the city and she had a shop where she displayed her wares on market days, she also visit other villages on their market days.

 

Before long, Aduke also started the same trade, making Larape to be mad. First it was marring her husband and now she had ventured into her trade. Why not choose another trade Larape had challenged her when she first saw Aduke displaying clothes in a new shop at the market square.

Selfish woman! Selfish woman! Was all Aduke kept shouting.

Larape sold off all her clothes and in two weeks, she stopped selling clothes. She left the business for Aduke.

 

The both had three sons each and were ready to have more it not for Alabi that stated running from his wives, he had not planned to have six children in such quick succession but for the women in his life that were trying to out wit each other.

 

Larape started to go round the village collecting money from traders daily for savings and paying them their money upon request or at end of the month after deducting her commission. She uses a bicycle for her trade; she was called ‘Iya alajo’ the mother of thrift.

no sooner had she started the business than her fame went viral throughout the neighboring villages. She had to extend her coverage area to as far as four communities that share boundaries with us. She employed two other women as her assistants she was also a money lender, like her husband, she was notably very rich as could be seen from the glow of her skin and the expensive ‘Aso oke’ jewelries, shoes and bags that she wears.

Aduke’s clothes business did not thrive. It collapsed after six months as the rate of debtors doubled and she did not have any money to continue the trade.

If was when she eventually ventured into the thrift business that everyone known she was really a trouble brewer.

But Larape was far gone into the business, to feel the impact of Aduke’s entry.

Aduke could only muster a handful of clients and after one year in the thrift business, she began to spread malicious rumour about her mate using diabolic means to support her business.

An old woman once asked Aduke to explain how Larape is being diabolic when she collects your money daily and pays it back when due without failing, she advised Aduke to stay off the scandalous path she was taking and mind her own business.

 

Things took a drastic turn when robbers stormed the house on the hill on a fateful night, that night Aduke took her children to sleep in her father house, the thieves’ carted away bags of money belonging to Larape and Alabi. Alabi was supposed to travel into the inter-lands to purchase cocoa seeds by the next day, Larape was supposed to start paying off her clients their dues the next day being the last day of the month, a lot of money was in the house, and as if taking all of money was not enough, the thieves stabbed Larape to death and carried her three children out of their beds and dumped them inside the well full of water Alabi was beaten to stupor but his life was spared.

 

Our people have a saying that “when the witch cried at night and the next day, a baby is dead, every one would know it is the witch that killed the baby” so it was obvious that Aduke had a hand in the tragedy that took place in Alabi’s house.

 

That was how Alabi became a dare devil that tortured the village for two years before he met his own end too.

 

After he recovered from the hospital, Alabi went to his house and strangled Aduke to death, he then took Aduke’s three children and dumped then in the well when they were asleep. He disappeared for two month, only to resurface with his gang, and they began to terrorize the village and other communities.

 

The first operation they carried out was to Baba elemu’s palm wine shop and killed Aremu and his three friends who had suddenly come into mysterious wealth, Aremu was a relation of Aduke and he was a small scale farmer but had suddenly bought a motor cycle and started wearing new and expensive clothes, he also started to drink and throw money around. In a small village like ours, we know everything about everybody.

 

He was drinking with three of his friends one evening at Baba elemu’s when Alabi went there unmasked and shot them at close range on their heads. They died instantly spilling the gray matter in their heads all over the palm wine parlour.

 

That was the night Alabi the Cocoa merchant changed his name to Alabi the Terror! Alabi became the law in the village, he killed without thinking twice, if someone owed you money and refuses to pay, tell it to Alabi and he will get your money for you while your debtor will either be hospitalized or dead.

 

Alabi’s only friend was a wicked native Doctor called Oloro, he was very popular with his evil charms, he lived alone with his wife at the end of the village before entering the sacred forest, there has never been light inside his house even at night. rumour also had it that he had sent his children away to school abroad. Alabi’s relationship with Oloro made people to fear him the more as it was rumored that Alabi was capable of vanishing in the face of danger and that bullets cannot penetrate his body, he was mostly feared because of the fact that he had nothing to loose, A man that could kill his wife with bare hands and drown his own children is a man with steel for heart and poison as blood.

 

Alabi did not stop at killing Aremu and his friends, he went on to wipe off Aremu’s wife and children, he killed them all in one single night and burnt down the house, about thirteen people were killed is the inferno that gutted the Aremu’s house.

 

Aduke’s family ran away from the village, every of her relation left the village for fear of being killed by Alabi. Alabi was like a raving mad lion looking for a kill, it is only the children that do not run when we see him because he gives us gifts of cash and sweets or chewing gun, he moves around with his gang all on motor Bike’s  and he was our hero!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 4

 

After the death of grandma, I was left alone in the world. No one really cared if I existed and my elusive mother was yet to come home. Uncle Ladi a bus driver that shuttles between Ekiti and Lagos told me when he saw me scavenging at the motor park that he saw my mother at ‘eko Idumota’ and told her that her mother was dead and buried, he said my mother had screamed and feigned to be touched and she vowed to be in the village the next day. That was four years ago, she is yet to come home. Uncle Ladi says he still sees her in different parts of Lagos city but she avoids him as much as she could so he now pretends not to see her whenever their paths crossed. No one knows what she does in Lagos, but we know she is alive.

 

I continued schooling, I continued hunting and I continued to scavenge to survive until I finished my primary education. There was no plan for furthering my education, I was contented with the fact that I could read and write at least.

 

My only friend was Pharaoh the dog! We became friends the day we were both involved in a brawl at the butchers end in the market. Our prayer was answered when a butcher carelessly threw away a chunk of red meat instead of the bone in his hands, I had beaten Pharaoh to pick up the meat and tucked inside my pouch but the dog would not accept defeat as he grabbed my khaki pouch with his teeth and we began to struggle for possession. The dog was snarling revealing dirty brown incisors dripping with sticky saliva. I held unto the pouch with both hands as I used my legs to kick at the dog, I was shouting at him to let go and accept defeat because I beat him to it. As if the dog understood, he let go and I took to my heels homeward.

 

I had run for about four minutes and I stopped to trek when I heard the sound of panting Pharaoh by me side wagging his tail and jumping to reach my pouch, I took to my heels again and Pharaoh followed me home. We ate together that evening after I had cooked egusi soup with eba. I dished his portion into an old plastic plate I found in the kitchen. He ate up, lapped up some water from the bucket full of rain water outside the house then he lay down and slept at my door.

That was how Pharaoh became my friend and companion and together we went hunting and scavenging. We were a formidable team when we got the butchers stand, whatever Pharaoh picks, he brings to me and we put our spoils together and go home to enjoy a sumptuous meal. We also went hunting at nights and early mornings as well as check on my snares and traps, we sold our catch to the Villagers operating local restaurants called ‘Buka’. We buy food stuff with the proceeds. I had no future ambition so I took each day as it came.

 

On a Sunday, I decided to turn the house inside out and upside down, it was my house and I needed to know all the contents. The rubbish in the house was more than the valuables therein; I was gradually turning into a mad man without realizing it. It was a three room apartment without a toilet or bathroom. I grew up taking my bath at the back yard and I do my toilet straight in the bush where the villagers dump their refuse. That is where the pigs of the village get their break fast and maintained their robust stature. As early as 6.AM it was common to see many youths and adults positioned at different angles of the bush doing their thing, the pigs are grunting and patiently waiting for us to stand up so they could lick up the pebbled we have dropped. Some impatient pigs would actually eat up the pebbles from the butt of a little boy before it dropped to the ground. It is from these pigs that we all contact Chiggers that eat up the skin beneath our toes or between the toes. When ever one is scratching between toes furiously, it was common knowledge that that one has contacted chigger. The parasite burrow deep into the skin and live on our blood, growing bigger by the day.

 

I enjoyed and actually looked forward to being pressed in the mornings so I could go to the bush and hope some girls my age could come to the bush at same hour so I could catch a glimpse of their round bum. I used to marvel at the roundness and smoothness of their bum and wondered why that of the boys seems so hard and battered with craw-craw and scabies. Woe betides any girl that her bum was discovered to be like that of the boys, her reputation in the village would be ruined.

 

At a stage in our lives, the girls stopped coming to the bush. They resorted to using the ‘short put’ method. They defecate into nylon bags or newspaper and throw into the bush in the morning or at night. So it was common to wake up in the morning and see nylon bag at your back yard or news paper that has been scattered by pigs while eating up its content leaving the green fleas to mop up the rest and deposit maggots on the paper. Such discovery is followed by loud raining of curses on the perpetrator and his lineage born and unborn. It was mostly girls that dropped these parcels in front of peoples house’s probably because they cannot go close to the bush at such unholy hour or because they saw a male who has been wooing them, they quickly dropped the parcel wherever to avoid embarrassment.

 

You could also be unfortunate in the early hours of the day while doing your thing in the bush; a flying wrapped newspaper of nylon bag could land on your head spilling its content all over you! Your day is ruined as there was no way you could leave the bush without meeting one or two persons.

 

I remember the night I heard an unusual sound in front of my house. A twelve year old girl Modupe had squatted in front of my house to do her thing, unfortunately she did not expect to meet Pharaoh. Pharaoh had sneaked up to her and yawned, waiting for her to finish so he could clean up the mess. She was frightened and she screamed and stood up holding up her gown with her pants still down and the pebbles on the ground. She stood rooted at the spot for fear of being attacked by Pharaoh.

 

I came out with my palm oil lamp and beheld a half unclad girl shitting in front of my house; I looked her over with the lamp: Modupe! What are you doing? I asked.

I am sorry! She said shaking amidst tears and staring at Pharaoh who was agitated with anxiety to mop up the ground before another dog or a pig comes around.

 

I took the lamp downwards and beheld her nakedness, I went further to see the shit she had already dropped on the floor and I laughed. I laughed out loud enjoying my catch. This is a girl that acts as if she is from the city simply because she sometimes follows her mother to Ibadan to buy wares for her shop. Some evil thoughts crossed my mind that night because she was at my mercy, but I was like an orphan in the village, I knew my limits. I let her go. I told her to clean up her self and leave and never repeat such again. She did not clean up even though she had paper in her hand for that purpose. She hastily pulled up her pants, stepped over her shit and as Pharaoh took charge of the pebbles, she fled crying more out of shame of indignity.

 

 

 

Grandma had a lot of junk in her room, I did not know what she really owned because we were not best of friends, I always saw myself as a burden to her. Another strange fact was that grandma never cursed me; she would rather curse my mother.

I brought out five heavy metal boxes from her room. The room had been closed for four years and had become very stuffy with dust and cob webs. I opened the boxes and beheld beautiful clothes I never saw her wear, one box contained twenty bundles of unsown fabrics. These would definitely worth some good money so I kept them back.

The fifth and smallest of the boxes was locked with a key so I had to use my cutlass to hack it open. I held my breath when I opened the box. It was full to the brim with crispy naira notes, in a trinket box embedded between the notes is assortment of gold jewelries. I closed the box and ran out to bolt the front door from within, even though I hardly entertained visitors or friends, my instinct just made me to close the door.

I went back into grandma’s room again and opened the box, the money and jewelries were still there. At that instance, I lost every desire to proceed with the clean up exercise I had embarked on. I simply pushed back every box into place and went out for a stroll with my dog

 

 

We strolled aimlessly for about forty minutes before we came to the track road opposite the house of Alabi, the house on the hill top, the sacred house. I stood there staring at the hunted house and the desire to wander into the house overwhelmed me. I was with Pharaoh my only friend in the world. The feeling to reach to the lone building was so palpable that I imagined I was in there already so I started to advance towards the house a step at a time like a Zombie. Under the cover of the night I bent down and crawled towards the house. Pharaoh did like wise and together we approached the house a step at a time.

 

My Heart beat was pounding furiously that I felt sharp pains in my chest, I was breathing with difficulty while Pharaoh seemed excited panting and wagging his tail as we crawl stealthily forward.

 

After about fifteen minutes of crawling in the bush, I got to ten yards from the front door. The door seemed close. The door had always seemed opened and inviting from afar. It was rumoured that the door was always open and inviting to preys. I waited. The wind blew and rustled dried leaves all around me, I was scared, I was sweating in the cold night. Something moved fast in front of the house, it was an animal and before I could stop him, Pharaoh was in pursuit. He ran out of my sight as he chased the animal into the night barking.

 

I buried my face into the ground as the stupidity of the mission dawned on me. I have just discovered some money and jewelries in my house and here I am on a suicide mission! What if I die this night? Well no one would really miss me, I thought. And Pharaoh can always get another master.

 

Pharaoh dashed past the front of the house again barking at snarling at the Animal just within his grasp, they ran out of sight then something happened.

The door to the house opened it opened slowly that I almost did not notice it until I saw a ray of light from a burning lamp inside the house. The door closed before I could decipher if what I saw was a figment of my imagination or reality. It was time for me to bolt, but I stood rooted at the spot where I laid. I closed my eyes tight and opened it again squinting so I could focus properly at the door. Someone was there! He or she stood silhouetted against the wall but I could figure out the human form from the clothes he or she wore.

 

I could hear the sound of myself breathing, I wanted to stand up and run but my legs became vegetables, it was like without bones, I could not move a muscle. I simply laid there and waited of death.

 

Pharaoh was coming back to me with his kill in his jaws, he was half way between me and the house when he dropped the animal in his mouth and started moving towards the house snarling, his mane raised and tail tucked between his hind legs. Pharaoh charged and leapt into the air upon the person in the shadows, there were movements and screams. Pharaoh was biting and tearing, his victim was screaming in pains, swearing and chanting incantations. The man in the shadow got up and ran in two circles pulling Pharaoh along with him before he ran back into the open door of the house closing the door and Pharaoh behind him.

 

I saw him, it was Baba Oloro! The famous native Doctor and friend of Alabi.

I picked up the warm Antelope Pharaoh had killed and together we ran madly out of the bush that night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Poems, Uncategorized

MY FATHER’S ADVICE

My father used to say

Remember the son of whom you are

For twenty kids cannot play together for twenty years

Each would wander his own way, to design for himself, his destiny

Some you meet again, some you meet never again

 

My Father used to say

 

Son! You have to be reborn

I may be poor, but you do not have to be

I may live in servitude, but you do not have to

My palms and feet may be hard and coarse

 

That is me! My life! Not you! I am not you

Boy! You came to this world with me as a conduit

I lent you my name so you can have an identity and a root

But do not tread the paths I trod…..you need a rebirth

 

My father used to say

The world is a battlefield; the world is yours to conquer

Only the brave can conquer, just follow your battle cry

No one really cares about you. No! Not one!

For in reality, all man for himself and God for all

Wake up! Smell the coffee! Clear off your illusions

 

My Father used to say

Son, when I die, bury me here! Here! By my father’s grave

I do not need any funfair at my funeral

Take care of me when I am frail and when I am gone, let me be

Save your silver, save your gold, take care of the living

For the dead is spent, let me rest in peace

What you owe me Son, is that you show your children the way to live

 

My Father used to say

 

Son! Teach your children the truth about life

Do not pamper them, for the world does not pamper!

Teach your children to know how to stand alone

For time would come that friends would dessert you!

 

Teach them to fast seasonally

For time would come when a man would hunger and thirst

Teach them to fight back when pushed to the wall

For bullies abound everywhere

 

Teach your children to be moderate in spending

For the more you spend, the less you save

Teach them to save money

For unforeseen circumstances will always come up

 

Teach your Children my Son; teach them never to trust any man

For man is mere mortal

Teach your children to run when others are running

Let them dock when others are docking

 

For a common dog is better than a dead lion

Teach your children to respect the elderly

For then would they live long on earth

The prayers and blessings from the elderly transcends to the heavens

 

My Father used to say

 

Teach your Children to obey constituted authorities

For then shall you not be labeled “Enemy of the State”

Teach them not to argue or Challenge his master

For he that pays the piper, dictates the tune

 

My father used to say

 

My Son! Fear her, the Woman!

For she is wiser and stronger than you

Do not toy with her heart for she can destroy you

She is like Fire! An obedient servant and a vicious master

Love and respect her and she shall honour you forever

 

My Son! He said; do not lift your hands against the Mother of your children

For her curse in bitterness is eternally indelible

Let the Woman in your life be happy

And Joy shall not depart from thine home

 

My Father used to say

 

My Son! Your Palms cannot fool you, use your hands! Work!!

For there is dignity in labour

He said, Son! Abhor laziness

For the man that cannot feed his family is worse than an infidel

Teach your children never to procrastinate

For Mr. Opportunity is not a patient man

 

Teach your children to get education

For with this, you will break barriers and dine with kings

Teach them to acquire veritable skills

For this will feed them till they are old and frail

 

My Father used to say

 

My Child, tell your children about me

Tell them I did not have parent to advice and counsel me

None to educate or care for me and plan my future

Because I am a product of a broken home

Abandoned by parents and relatives

A poor sage picked me up and gave me shelter and food

While I served him till he died.

 

His words I am passing to you and your children

I will be the last to die in material poverty in my genealogy

As long as you pass these words of wisdom down to your children

and they, their Children.

 

Then shall my soul rest in peace and I shall revel in heaven

For good name, they say, is better than silver and gold

But you my son, and your sons, shall have it all

Good name and silver and gold.