Only time could tell what Kunle’s fate entailed. He had refused to further his education having sat for his Senior School Certificate Examination (S.S.C.E) in spite of the fact that he hailed from a revered academic home; his 56-year-old father was an astute Professor of Linguistics, and 53-year-old mother – a Masters degree holder in History Education – was a teacher of a reputable government owned secondary school in the city of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.
The couple, Prof. and Mrs. B. O. Ola kept wondering what had came over their first child who was supposed to take the lead among their five children in terms of academic quest. What baffled them most was that Kunle wasn’t a weakling academically, thus shouldn’t be marred by apathy in that regard.
Rather than thinking deeply on how to add a crown to his shoulders, education wise, he had chosen to desperately pursue a career in music, forgetting where he was coming from or the background he was linked to. Hence, they were of the strong notion that the 19-year-old chap who concluded his secondary education two years back was being faced by a hallucination. Indeed, Mr. Kunle Ola was academically and morally sound, and had tried to remain one of the best among his peers throughout his primary cum secondary schools’ time.
But, how his psyche abruptly became so fixed to pursuing a musical career was something that kept his friends and relatives in a serious sober mood. To him, attending a tertiary institution was a complete waste of time, energy as well as resources since there was no white-collar job that awaited any undergraduate.
His parents had employed several avenues for the umpteenth time toward urging him to jettison the ‘weird’ idea, all to no avail. “Kunle.” Prof. Ola called as he was seated in his home lounge alongside his wife who sat very closely to him, in a sofa. “Yes, daddy.” He answered from an adjacent side. “Please, can you tell us,” the don rode on. “What exactly prompted this your sudden quest?” “Sudden quest?” the chap reiterated.
“Yes,” said the Prof. while his wife listened attentively leaning on the settee. “Your sudden quest to pursue a musical career?” “Dad, I have been into this for almost a year plus..” Kunle argued. “So why tagging it a sudden quest?” “I know,” the Prof. concurred. “But all these brouhahas started after your SSCE.” He said, paused.
“I could recall that you were so passionate about finding yourself in the university all through your secondary school time.” There was a brief silence. “So, why the unannounced change of mind?” the don supplemented. Kunle was quiet, speechless. “Were you influenced by some friends or what?” quoth Prof. Ola. “Dad,” Kunle called. “I was not influenced by anybody.” He clarified, paused. “Rather, I am only pursuing my dream.” “But son,” Mrs. Ola interrupted calmly.
“This wasn’t initially your dream, like your father pointed out” “Mum, what did you mean by initially?” “Meaning,” Prof. Ola came in. “This was not your earlier plan.” he said, paused. “You have always dreamt of becoming a workclass engineer.” Kunle dished out dazzling smile. “Dad,” he called, looking at the don. “Mum,” he added, turning to his mum. “With your level of understanding, you should know that change is constant.” “Hmmm…” Prof. Ola released a deep gas, shook his head. “Son,” said Mrs. Ola. “I still believe, you can have a rethink.” She asserted, paused.
“Remember the son of whom you are.” “That is the problem.” Kunle ranted. “Every time, remember the son of whom you are.” he said, frowning. “Am I a criminal, or have I done anything unlawful?” “What has come over you, Kunle.” Prof. Ola inquired furiously. “Am I not old enough to nur-ture my own dream?” the chap thought aloud. “Or, don’t I know what is good for me?” he continued, not minding his dad’s tantrum.
“Will you shut up?” roared the don. “Do you realize you are seated right before your parents?” “Na wa ooh…” Mrs. Ola exclaimed, marvelled. “Or, have you lost your senses.” the Prof added. “Dad, I am sorry.” tendered Kunle. “Mum, please I am so sorry.” He supplemented. There was tranquility. “Just that, I don’t see any reason I shouldn’t be allowed to pursue my dream.” He broke the silence. “As my parents, I expect you to support my ambition rather than discouraging me…” He enjoined submissively. “Support you?” his mum interrupted.
“Support you in what?” “My musical dream, of course.’ “Is that a dream?” she quarreled. “Who told you that you can get anything done in this twentyfirst century without obtaining a basic education?” “Mum, I have acquired basic education.” “S.S.C.E?” “Yes mum,” replied the chap. “That remains the standard basic education anywhere in the world.”
His dad shook his head sympathetically, remained calm and silent. “My dear,” Mrs. Ola called tenderly. “For your information, First Degree is currently the required basic education anywhere across the globe.” She informed strongly.
“The era of SSCE has gone.” “I totally disagree with you, mum.” “Will you shut up?” the don came in again, in a weird mood. “I can see, you are really sick.” He observed, paused. Kunle was completely cold over the roar. “Have you seen your son?” the don ranted, fixing his eyes on his wife
. “You better talk to him.” He added in a jiffy. “My son..?” Mrs. Ola said, surprised. “So, he is no longer your son?” “How am I sure he is?” He thought aloud, sighed, looking at Kunle. Kunle was shocked, remained in cold mood. “Prof…” the wife calmed him down over the last utterance.
“What are you up to?” She supplemented. “Dad,” Kunle broke his silence. “So you have disowned me, simply because I have chosen to pursue a career of my choice?” “What stupid career is that?” the Prof. queried, stood up fiercely. “If you must continue with this strange quest of yours, then be prepared to relocate to your own house.”
The wife was so bemused over the outburst, couldn’t utter a word. “Dad…” Kunle exclaimed, flabbergasted. “Are you actually sending me out of your house?” “You heard me right,” the don reiterated. “Didn’t you?” He said, frantically walks straight to his matrimonial room. “Son, you better have a rethink.” Mrs. Ola conscientised, stood up and joined her hubby.
“Mum, so you are siding him?” quoth the poor chap as he watched his loving mother take a bow. What transpired afterwards ought to be a narration for subsequent edition, so keep a date with us. Meanwhile, if you were in Kunle’s shoes, what would you do thereafter? Think about it!
- Nwaozor – novelist, playwright and poet, is Chief Executive Director, Centre for Counselling, Research & Career Development – Owerri
VFS TasHeel to process Tourist Visas for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 30 countries
I want my playful wife back, Mercy Johnson’s husband cries out
The equation at the home of Prince Odi Okojie, husband of popular Nollywood actress, Mercy Johnson, seems to have shifted as Okojie had revealed a sudden change in his wife’s behaviour since her mother passed on.
There is no doubt that the vivacious mother of three is having a hard time getting over her mother’s death.
Prince Okojie who could no longer endure his wife’s change of behaviour, took to his Instagram handle lamenting.
He made this known while responding to a fan’s question on Mercy Johnson’s sudden weight loss.
His post reads: “Wife isn’t herself yet, she’s still trying to heal after mum’s death. She asked to see @hopefashion today since it’s her birthday so I had to support her. I want my playful best friend/wife back ooo.”
He added that it was the first time the actress would leave the house since her mum’s death.
Standing alone (II)
The crook, Femi was silent, never bothered to utter a word as the DPO conspicuously boiled over his seeming threat. He wasn’t disturbed or intimidated by anything as the other cops in the room violently showcased their pistols, not even the eye sockets of the DPO that appeared not unlike that of a hungry owl.
It’s noteworthy that the culprit, whom was still single, was acquainted with most of the corrupt politicians in the town and beyond. He was their accomplice during electioneering eras.
Every thuggery activity as regards electoral matters within the arena was solely piloted by him and his men. Due to this connection, each time he was arrested by the past DPOs, he would surely be released through the efforts of the politicians.
Apparently, he was yet to realize that the current DPO in charge of the Division, DSP Rasaq Ahmed was totally a different police personnel. And, the said boss wasn’t ready to compromise his determination to disabuse the detainee of his silly notion. “I bet you,” the DPO furiously exclaimed. “You will rot in jail.” Femi dished out a deep and annoying smile. “This man must be a joker.” He thought as he fixed his gaze on the DPO. “Take him away.” the DPO ordered in a very loud voice, dashed out of the room for his office. Within a twinkle of an eye, Femi found himself in the cell. In five minutes time while the DPO was bitterly seated in his office chair, his cell phone rang. “Hello..!” He said the moment he took the call. “Good day, my dear.” the caller greeted in a thick voice. “Good day, sir.” responded DSP Ahmed. “Who is this, please?” “Please, am I unto DSP Rasaq Ahmed?” the caller verified.
“The DPO of Osungule police station?” “Yes sir.” “Okay,” said the caller. “This is Honourable Bayo Ologun.” The DPO was calm and amazed. That was the least of the names he expected to hear. “The Honourable representing Osungule state constituency.”
He landed. “Oh,” the DPO exclaimed. “My Honourable!” Both parties were yet to meet since DSP Ahmed was posted to the Division. Hon. Ologun got his contact from someone else as soon as he received the news of Femi’s abrupt detention. “So, how is work?” the lawmaker enquired. “Very fine, sir.” “I am glad to hear that all is well.
”“Thank you, honourable.” “Please, don’t be offended we haven’t met.” Hon. Ologun pleaded. “I will surely make out time for it.” “No problem, honourable,” DSP Ahmed said. “I understand.” “I learnt one of my constituents is in your custody?” the lawmaker tendered after five minutes of exchange of pleasantries. “What’s his name, sir?” “Mister Femi.” he replied. “But they call him Bale.” “Oh,” the DPO exclaimed.
“That criminal?” “Calm down, my DPO.” “So…?” DSP Ahmed curiously dished out as he sensed something fishy. “Please, release him,” Hon. Ologun urged. “Okay?” “I don’t understand, sir.”
Don’t worry,” said the supposed honourable. “When we see, we will discuss extensively.” DSP Ahmed was silent, couldn’t utter a word. “Just release him, okay?” “Hmm…” the DPO murmured. “I will be in your office by tomorrow,” Hon. Ologun assured. “Unfailingly.”“Is not as easy as you think, sir.” the DPO politely notified. “You mean, coming to your office?” He verified, confused.
“No sir,” the DPO replied. “I meant, releasing the culprit as you demanded.” “Why are you stubborn?” the legislator quarreled. “I thought you are familiar with the system?”
“I beg your pardon, sir.” “Okay,” Hon. Ologun chipped in. “We shall see then.” He hinted, angrily banged the call. The previous DPOs had been complying with the corrupt politicians.
All the latter needed to do was to ask and their demand would be instantly granted to them. Hence, Honourable Ologun was deeply surprised to receive such ill-treatment from DSP Ahmed. He was yet to realize it was no longer business as usual. Subsequently, he and his fellow politicians of like minds couldn’t bear the circumstance. The general elections were fast approaching and they could do nothing without Femi alias Bale. Consequently, they were left with no choice than to take the case to the state Commissioner of Police (CP). Five days later being August 18, 2002, DSP Ahmed who was seemingly standing alone was suddenly transferred to another Division having refused to comply with the commissioner.
The man who replaced him was mandated to release the culprit unconditionally. The aggrieved DSP Ahmed wrote to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and thereafter was retransferred to the Osungule Division having been promoted to the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP) for his uncommon charisma.
Within same period, the state CP was suspended indefinitely, and was immediately replaced with another police personnel who was posted to the state to act in his capacity till further notice. Afterwards, SP Rasaq Ahmed – formerly DSP Ahmed – once again apprehended Femi and charged him to court. Verdict was consequently served, thus the so-called Bale was jailed for twenty years.
The jail term brought endless jubilation in the entire Osungule land. At the time, encomiums were poured on the fearless and no nonsense SP Ahmed by the good people of the territory and beyond.
The rest is history, please.
- Nwaozor – novelist, playwright and poet, is Chief Executive Director, Centre for Counselling, Research & Career Development – Owerri
“Sergeant Okoro!” DSP Ahmed furiously called in a very high tone while standing in-between his office executive chair and table the moment the said sergeant hastily stepped into his office. “Yes sir!” Sergeant Okoro responded accordingly, facing the boss as the ethics demanded. He stood seriously right before the DSP, posing not unlike one of the soldiers that fought the Second World War. Both were in their uniforms. DSP Rasaq Ahmed who was in his early forties was the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of one of the notable police stations situated in one of the South- Western states in Nigeria.
He was widely and famously known for his unrelenting vibrant and dogged approach to issues pertaining to security of lives and property from the very day he joined the Police Force. To say the least, he was unarguably a no nonsense police personnel, that, he became the role model of any police officer that intended to discharge his/her duties or serve the country selflessly and efficiently without any iota of fear or favour, as might be the case. On that day, precisely 13th August 2002, he had earlier sent for Sergeant Ekene Okoro within a twinkle of an eye he received a report on one local ‘champion’ in the neighbourhood named Femi who was accused of rape.
The notorious Femi who hailed from the locality had been terrorizing the residents of the area and its environs, and his dastardly acts coupled with other misdeeds were condoned by the previous DPOs. He was popularly known by his accomplices as ‘Bale’, which literally implied the Monarch of the territory, based on their native language Yoruba. DSP Ahmed who was barely one month old in the Division had vowed to deal ruthlessly with anyone in the area of any questionable character having been intimated on the unwarranted anomalies that were on the rampage in the locality. He was actually posted to head the quarters owing to the ordeal.
“Go and get me the so called Bale.” DSP Ahmed ordered. “Right now.” He supplemented, stood still, looking like one who just lost one of his own. “Yes sir!” replied the seriouslooking sergeant who was already aware of the ugly incident. “Don’t keep me waiting.” He warned. “Yes sir!” He signalled the sergeant with his left hand as he frowned, urging him to leave immediately.
The sergeant hurriedly tendered his last salute positioning his masculine chest forward and dashed out of the office like a breastfeeding monkey as requested. “Non….sense!” the DPO exclaimed as soon as the sergeant departed, quickly resumed his seat, looking pale and anxious. Considering his physiognomy, it was obvious he couldn’t wait to behold the accused person. Within three minutes, Sergeant Okoro organized a 5-man team comprising no nonsense and well experienced cops including him, and headed for the consignment with their black patrol vehicle. * * * * * “We have him, sir!” Sergeant Okoro disclosed in a high tempo the moment he dashed into the DPO’s office, posing as usual.
This was taking place barely twenty minutes after his departure with the team having successfully apprehended the culprit as instructed by the boss. “Good job.” the DPO applauded, nodding his big skull. “Where is he?” He added while standing from his chair.
He was instantly led by the seeming fearless sergeant to the room where the hooligan was kept in handcuffs. Femi who could not be confronted by anyone, not even his King, couldn’t believe he was in the police net.
“So you are the Bale?” said the DPO in a mean tone within a second he found himself in the room. The boss stood directly in front of the suspect who was seated on an Iron back-chair. Among everyone in the room – including the DPO and his men, he was the only one who had a seat. As he felt relaxed in the chair, he calmly looked up to the DPO’s face and remained mute. The huge, dark-looking and about 5.5-foot tall Femi, who seemed to be in his mid-forties, was clad in black jeans, blue polo and dark-blue trainers.
The stylishly carved beards on his chins and lower jaw were enough to form a forest within his skull. By merely taking a glance at his appearance, you needn’t be told that he was a kingpin. That was the first time the DPO would set his eyes on him. Prior to that moment, the former was only familiar with the latter’s names especially his sobriquet. Aside DSP Ahmed, there were other three cops in the room, which was virtually empty. They included Sergeant Okoro and one female officer.
The DPO, DSP Ahmed who was in his police uniform alongside his junior colleagues signalled the female cop who stood adjacent to him to uncuff Femi. She hastily complied with the instruction and returned to her initial position. She was standing by the left side of the detainee, Sergeant Okoro stood directly at his (Femi’s) back whilst the other male cop was by his right side. It suffices to say that the hoodlum was surrounded by the four cops present in the room.
“I learnt you have been terrorizing the whole town?” the DPO proceeded. “And now, you have diverted to rape.” Femi remained speechless, looked mean. “Are you dumb?” DSP Ahmed shouted. Femi stylishly glanced at him.
“I promise,” he said. “You will surely regret this.” “What …!” the DPO exclaimed in a high voice. The other male cop rushed to hit him but he was resisted from doing so by the DPO via a commanding sign. The cops including the DPO became preoccupied with extreme rage.
They, excluding the boss, kept their pistols handy; the DPO’s was lying on his belted waist. “So,” quoth DSP Ahmed. “You are threatening me?” The other three cops simultaneously shook their heads in disappointment. “Even in my office?” the DPO added, looking bitter. To be continued, please.
• Nwaozor – novelist, playwright and poet, is Chief Executive Director, Centre for Counselling, Research & Career Development – Owerri
Suicidal fugitive (II)
Afam was seated adjacent to the couple who was making use of the only two-in-one upholstery chair in the lounge. The couple was dressed in Pyjamas of different colour patterns while Afam put on dark-blue jeans, purple T-shirt spotted with strips of white colour as well as black shoes. Ujunwa stood up, leaving only Chief Okeke in the seat. “So what do we offer you?” She asked Afam. “Don’t bother yourself, ma.” “How?” she said. “You don’t care for any drink?” “No ma.” Afam responded, waving his right hand. “Afam, what did you mean you don’t care for any drink?” Chief Okeke quarreled, frowning. “I am Okay, sir.” “What about food?” Ujunwa chipped in, stood still. “Or, have you taken your breakfast?” “Ma, I am Okay.” reiterated Afam.
“Thank you very much.” He added, smiling in false pretence. It was obvious that the young man wasn’t looking bright. He conspicuously seemed pale. “Na wa ooh!” Ujunwa exclaimed, calmly went back to her seat. “Afam,” Chief Okeke called. “You don’t look happy.” He observed. His wife nodded in agreement. “What is wrong with you?’ quoth Chief Okeke.
“Sir, that is why I am here.” The couple looked each other in surprise on hearing the last clause. “Madam, please excuse us.” Chief Okeke urged. It appeared the chief host was already aware of what was on Afam’s mind. Sure, even a blind man could spot the bitterness written on the latter’s physiognomy. On receiving the request, Ujunwa hurriedly stood up and walked to her matrimonial room leaving only the two in the parlour. Afam abruptly became mute as he sat quietly in his seat, couldn’t utter a word. “Is it about your trade?” Chief Okeke guessed. Afam looked at him amazingly. “How did you know, sir?” Chief Okeke smiled.
“Because I saw it coming.” He succintly replied. “Saw it coming…?” uttered Afam. “How, sir?” “Never mind, my boy.” There was absolute silence at this moment. “Sir,” Afam truncated the silence. “My business is really giving me troubles.” “Like I said earlier,” quoth Chief Okeke. “I saw it coming.”
“I don’t understand, sir.” Afam said, profoundly confused. Chief Okeke became speechless. “Afam,” he eventually broke the muteness. “There is more you need to know about this trade.” He disclosed hesitantly. Chief Okeke who was densely rich was a member of an occult confraternity, but Afam was not yet aware. And the tradition of the cult was that any apprentice who was settled by any of its members having concluded his apprenticeship would never be successful in his trade unless he joined the group. Afam quickly left his seat for that of his boss, sat very closely to him. “Sir, is there anything you are not telling me?” He anxiously enquired. “Meet me tomorrow at Braxton Hotel,” Chief Okeke enjoined. “Room 116.” He supplemented in a jiffy. Afam was shocked. He apparently least expected the invitation. Braxton Hotel was one of the most exotic hotels in the city. Afam was yet to know how its interior parts looked like because he had never been privileged to be there.
“We need to talk.” Chief Okeke landed. * * * * * * “Young man, remove your shirt,” the Grand Master of The Classic mandated Afam in a thick and frightening voice. “For you are in the presence of Ogbojiji.” He added. ‘The Classic’ was the name of the confraternity in question. ‘Ogbojiji happened to be the name of the god or the Supreme Being worshipped by the members of the cult.
This was taking place at about some minutes past eight at night of Wednesday June 29, 2011 – exactly three days, or the fourth night, after Chief Okeke met with Afam at the ‘Braxton Hotel’. During that meeting, Chief Okeke succeeded in cajoling him into joining the secret society. There were about seventeen men, including Chief Okeke, uniformly clad in black overall in the enclosed hall. They were all on their feet creating two parallel lines among themselves, and were facing each other as the tradition demanded.
The two lines were about two metres apart. The arena was undoubtedly fearful that even the blind could testify to it. Afam, a plump, chocolate and about 1.7-metre dude who wore corporate native attire, hastily complied with the directive. Chief Okeke who stood directly opposite Afam, nodded in appreciation to Afam’s knee jerk reaction. “Come forward, my son.” the Grand Master as he was addressed, urged. “It is time for you to be cleansed and duly initiated into the big family of Ogbojiji.” Afam immediately stepped toward the beast-like creature (the grand master) that was standing ahead of the group and was equally facing the entire members. The initiation, which was accompanied with series of incantations, lasted for several minutes.
“My son,” said the Grand Master. “Congratulations!” He excitedly applauded the moment Afam went back to his initial position. There was some seconds’ silence afterwards. “By this time tomorrow,” he proceeded. “You shall bring your mother to Ogbojiji for the final ritual rite.” He ordered, pointing at a huge basin filled with water that was positioned at the centre of the gathering.
The white-coloured container was displaying the image of Afam’s mum to his greatest shock. It’s noteworthy that the master pointed at it with the symbol of authority he held in his right hand. Afam who became astonished on hearing the demand, couldn’t believe his ears as well as eyes. It was like a mere joke until the reality dawned upon his person.
Prior to this period, right from when his boss joined the cult about fifteen years back, he had sacrificed his both parents and two siblings apart from the non-members of his family he offered as requested by the confraternity. More so, based on the cult’s norm, he – likewise other members – was not entitled to have or boast of any male child. After several days, in spite of the series of importunities from Chief Okeke, Afam insisted not to comply with the weird and ungodly request. He remained resolute to the extent that he began to avoid his boss who was functioning as the cult’s delegate or intermediary. Two weeks on, having exhausted the grace given to him by the occult group, the fugitive who felt not unlike taking his own life was eventually overtaken by madness. The rest is history, please.
• Nwaozor – novelist, playwright and poet, is Chief Executive Director, Centre for Counselling, Research & Career Development – Owerri
“What kind of trade is this?” Afam thought sadly. “Every day, same story.” He added while seated on the main chair situated in his shop. Afam, a thirty-five year old young man who was of Anambra State origin just rounded off his apprenticeship on sales of building materials six months back. Since his boss settled him immediately after his seven-year old apprenticeship, things hadn’t been going smoothly as anticipated; there had been slow pace of sales as well as constant nightmares experienced by him. “I pray God will deliver me from this bondage.” he continued. To worsen it all, a lot of responsibilities awaited him being the first born of his vulnerable parents who could boast of eight children including himself. “Afam, how far nah?” Ugo exclaimed amidst the lamentation the moment he walked into the shop. The supposed recipient of the greeting was obviously outside minded. “Afam…!”
He repeated in a loud voice while still standing. He was standing directly opposite him. Their positions were demarcated by a wooden table. Afam quickly became conscious owing to the gravity of the last call. “Hey Ugo,” he eventually responded in a very low tone. “How nah?” Ugo hurriedly sat on one of the single seats sited adjacent to Afam’s. “Guy, what is eating you up?” He enquired.
“My brother,” Afam said. “Just tiredness ooh.” “Tiredness?” Ugo chipped in. “Did you go to night vigil?” “No,” quoth Afam. “I have been very busy since morning.” It was about some minutes past two in the afternoon on Tuesday June 21, 2011. Ugo was Afam’s closest friend and neighbor.
They lived very close to each other at their place of residence in Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra State, and their shops were also located closely. He was also a trader but he majored in motorcycle spare parts. Both of them were of the same age, though Ugo appeared older. “Afam,” Ugo called tenderly. “When did you start hiding things from me?” “How?” “You and I know that you are not happy.” he observed. “Even a blind man can see it.” Afam became mute and calm, didn’t know what next to utter. “If you don’t share your burdens with me,” continued Ugo. “Who would you?” Afam immediately took a very deep and noisy breath.
“My brother,” he said. “You already know all my worries.” Ugo became attentive as he looked into his eyes. “What else do I need to tell you?” Afam added. “Is it about sales?” “What else, my brother?” replied the frustrated dude. “Since morning, only one customer has walked into this shop.” “Is that why you want to kill yourself?” scolded Ugo. “You can’t continue like this, my man.”
“So what would I do?” he uttered inquisitively, seemed confused and pale. “My dear,” Ugo proceeded. “I have been into this before you.” He said, referring to trade. Ugo was almost a year old in trading, and he was doing well. He commenced six months before Afam joined the trend. Afam became attentive and curious. “You see,” said Ugo. “I was like you when I started mine.” Afam seemed intrigued, filled with mixed feelings.
“I was almost frustrated just as you are.” “Bros,” Afam broke his silence. “I don’t think you can compare yours with mine, even though I was not there when you started.” “Since you were not there,” Ugo argued. “How would you know how serious was mine?” “Because mine appears to-tally different and strange.” Afam responded. “How can one not experience even a patronage for a whole day?” Ugo abruptly became silent and submissive.
The last statement apparently struck his lips, thus he threw in the towel. “Honestly, I think there is something wrong somewhere.” Afam finally insinuated. “So, what’s your plan?” “I want to go and see my boss before the week runs out.” Afam thought aloud. “He might have something useful to contribute.” His boss, Chief Okeke was equally a resident of the city, Onitsha and the headquarters of his trading empire was situated there. It was at the main branch (headquarters) that Afam did his apprenticeship. Ugo nodded. “I think you are right.” he encouraged. “But you must not let this thing weigh you down.” He added.
“Thank you bros.” Afam appreciated. * * * * * * “Good morning, sir.” Afam greeted lowering his head as soon as he stepped into his boss’ sitting room at about some minutes to eleven on Saturday 25th June, 2011. The entrance to the room was let open by Chief Okeke’s female house help having received an alert via the doorbell. Afam had earlier informed him that he would be at his place on that very day during the morning hours and Chief Okeke welcomed the notice wholeheartedly.
Chief Okeke who was in his middle fifties was married with four female children. His last child was about ten years old. On that very day when Afam visited the family as scheduled, he alongside his wife Ujunwa was watching television at the sitting room. “Good morning, ma.” He added instantly, focusing on Ujunwa. “Good morning Afam.”
The couple responded concurrently, smiling. “How are you?” Chief Okeke added in a jiffy. “I’m fine, sir.” replied the guest, stood still. “You are welcome.” Ujunwa exclaimed. “Please make yourself comfortable.” She cheerfully urged. “Thank you, ma.” Afam appreciated, majestically walked to one of the single upholstery chairs in the parlour and got seated. To be continued, please.
• Nwaozor – novelist, playwright and poet, is Chief Executive Director, Centre for Counselling, Research & Career Development – Owerri
“Mister Ken,” Adamu called. “Why were you not on seat yesterday?” He furiously queried.
Mr. Adamu Danjuwa was the Human Resources Manager (HRM) of Capricon manufacturing company.
Between late eighties (1980s) and early nineties (1990s), Capricon was undoubtedly a very notable firm across the federation that everyone, even an imbecile that existed within the stated period, could testify to the fact. Even beyond the period in question, Capricon Nigeria Limited as it was fondly called based on what was inscribed on its major signpost in line with its incorporation, never relented in making the general public and the society at large feel its impact to the extent that it was rated and widely recognized as the best among equals. To say the least, it never tolerated any excuses from its staff when it called for business right from when it was incorporated in 1985, June precisely.
The company, which was mainly into cosmetics production particularly soap, cream and perfume, understood that the consumers come first before any other person or thing. This was why their products which were popularly known as Danza soap, Danza Cream, Danza perfume as well as Danza body spray remained cosmetics that any rational being wanted to behold.
To assert that Adamu was one of the brains behind the prospect of the company is an understatement; Adamu who was one of the pioneer members of the firm, was one of the best three personnel, if not the overall best, the company could reckon with owing to his outstanding and brilliant contributions toward its enviable growth.
On his part, Mr. Ken Okafor who joined the firm barely a year back was a staff of the Marketing department. On that fateful day, he was being queried due to truancy; he couldn’t make it to the office the previous day as a result of circumstances beyond his control and Mr. Adamu Danjuma was really mad over the attitude. Ken was actually ill on that day, so he decided to take a rest without even making effort to notify the management.
“I was sick, sir.” He responded apprehensively.
He was standing directly opposite Adamu who was seated in his office.
Mr. Danjuma’s furious physiognomy was not really prompted by Mr. Ken’s absence but owing to the fact that the management was kept in the dark by the man in question. He absorbed the nonchalant act as a letdown which was tantamount to dismissal based on the company’s rules.
“Yes sir,” Ken replied, remained jittery. “I suddenly fell ill and there was no way I could reach the company.”
Though there was nothing like GSM during the era but Ken was meant to send a message across through any available means, probably a relative or friend. The fact was that he took the consequence of the act for granted.
“You amuse me, Ken.”
Ken quickly adjusted himself, stood still.
“To start with,” Adamu rode on. “Were you not supposed to be treated by the company’s clinic?”
“Sir, I didn’t even have the strength to…”
“Will you stop amusing me?” interrupted Adamu, kept mute. “If our staff don’t use the clinic, then what was the essence of establishing it?” he supplemented after a brief silence.
Ken remained speechless and calm.
“When you came into this company twelve months ago, February 1994 precisely if I am not mistaken,” Adamu rode on. “I painstakingly read the riot act to you.”
Ken became jitterier.
“And in that very act, you were categorically informed that this company doesn’t condone truancy or laxity.”
Ken who was dressed in corporate attire felt like defecating in his boxers.
“And as I speak to you right now,” Adamu proceeded fiercely. “I want you to know that you have abused that directive.”
At this juncture, Ken needed not a seer to disclose the fate that awaited his person.
“The most confusing part is that,” the boss said, paused. “You are yet to realize that you belong to one of the most sensitive departments in this highly reputable firm.”
There was maximum silence.
“It will interest you to know that,” he continued. “Since 1986 I joined this company till date, I have never for once missed my duty post.”
Ken couldn’t believe his ears.
“The records are there,” boasted the HRM. “You can check for yourself.”
“I am very sorry, sir.” Ken hesitantly dished out, lowering his head.
“There you go wrong,” Adamu chipped in. “In this company, you don’t rob Peter to pay Paul.”
“Sir, it won’t repeat itself.” He assured fearfully.
“Mister Ken Okafor,” Adamu called ruthlessly in a high tone, hitting his right hand on his table.
Ken became extremely attentive and perturbed on hearing the mode of the call.
“Give me one reason you shouldn’t be fired.”
At this point, Ken was actually seeing a totally different creature, which implied that the HRM had been speaking in a friendly manner all those while he was revisiting the company’s Act.
The unexpected oral query wasn’t just confusing and devastating but threatening; it was no doubt a rhetorical test no matter how clever the offender was. Hence, there was an undiluted tranquility.
“You can leave.” the angered boss instructed, demonstrating with his left arm.
Ken who was dumbfounded, stood still, appeared like an electrocuted gorilla.
“I said, leave my office.” shouted Adamu who was also clad in corporate attire.
Consequently, Ken complied, thus left for his office in the marketing department.
First thing in the morning the following two days being 15th February 1995 – barely one year after he received his employment letter, Ken got the sack having attended to the written query issued to him on the day he left Adamu’s office; he received the disengagement letter in his office from his Secretary.
The scenario yielded a very painful mood, but all he could do was to move on with his life; after all, life continued.
“What’s the name?” Mr. Steven verified as soon as one of the interviewees assumed his seat.
Steven was a member of the 5-man committee set up by the Management of Capricon to conduct an oral interview for their prospective staff. The company’s HRM, Mr. Adamu Danjuma was one of the members of the committee and happened to be the head.
That day being 2nd of March 1995 marked the commencement of the assessment exercise.
“My name is Olatunji Seun.” The interviewee replied.
Seun who walked in with a plastic file in his left hand happened to be the third applicant to be assessed by the team. The team was already with a copy of his Curriculum Vitae prior to his entrance, and they were perusing it right before him.
Something remarkable transpired on that very day; the moment Seun walked into the complex room, he observed that Mr. Danjuma’s face was very familiar, but on the contrary, the latter never recognized the former.
Adamu happened to be Seun’s course mate in the University of Ibadan (U.I) nine years back but the fascinating part was that Adamu was a dropout. He quit his studentship during his first year (100 Level), which was 1986, due to financial challenges.
He secured his job same year with a forged degree certificate but since his engagement with the company, he had never been found wanting in any way because of his natural brilliance.
While the interview lasted, Seun continued to look at Adamu who alongside his junior colleagues was dressed in the company’s white T-shirt, black jeans and black plain shoes, with a view that the man in question would reciprocate to the gesture, all to no avail. Hence, it became obvious to him that the boss didn’t recognise his face even a bit.
To be continued, please.
Greater days ahead (II)
One week later, as God would have it, his church raised the required fund on his behalf. In consequence to this, his Pastor accompanied him to his school for the awaited registration. It was indeed a miracle just like his mother kept telling him.
Prior to the exam period, Uzo left no stone unturned towards ensuring that he made distinction in all his subjects. He was thoroughly determined to make his mum who he regarded as an ‘angel’ proud. He was a notable science student in his school that in every interschool exhibition/competition involving the school, he must be the school’s representative or one of the representatives as might be the case.
When the results were released in August 1994, he came out with flying colours just as he anticipated. More interestingly, he was not just the best candidate among his set/peers but was the overall best in the whole of Lagos State. As regards the amazing performance, he was granted a scholarship by the state’s government to study his dream course, Medicine and Surgery in any university across the federation.
His mum, Ugonma couldn’t hold her joy. On hearing the latest development, she felt like running from Lagos to Abia State – her home state. She alongside her entire family dedicated the rare victory to God. And, she challenged her other four children to follow suit. They were made to realize that their elder brother had laid a tremendous foundation for them, hence had no reason to fail.
The following year being 1995, Uzo sat for the University Matriculation Examination (UME) – now known as the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). He enrolled for the University of Lagos (UNILAG) to study Medicine.
Consequently, he made an excellent grade when the result came out later in the year, and he successfully secured admission in the university on merit toward the end of the year in question.
Before he departed for the campus, he had an indoor one-on-one meeting that lasted for several minutes, if not hours, with his wonderful and darling mother.
“Uzo my son,” Ugonma called. “I have always told you that God makes a way where there seems to be no way.”
Uzo grinned, visualizing the memory lane.
They were seated on separate plastic chairs situated in their humble room. Ugonma who was plump, about 4.8-foot tall and chocolate, was putting on a pink casual dress and barefooted. On his part, Uzo was clad in multiple-coloured knickers, green polo spotted with white colour and equally barefooted; he was slim, fair and about 5.5-foot tall – he was a reminiscent of his late father. They were seated directly opposite each other, but very closely.
“Now you can see for yourself.” she proceeded. “Of course you have seen how miraculous our Lord is.”
“Mum, you are absolutely right.” he responded. “He is indeed a miracle working God.”
“I am happy for you, my son.”
“Thank you mum.”
“Now that you are in the university.” she proceeded, calmly grabbed his two hands with hers respectively. “You must not forget where you are coming from.”
She continued relentlessly till both of them became saturated. It was a holistic counselling section.
The following three days, Uzo left for the campus. While in the university, as an ardent and gifted singer as well as one who could play an organ perfectly, he never abandoned his artistic talent rather he became more devoted to the calling.
A first year medical student and a well brought up chap, Uzo was taking three major things very seriously; they were – his prayers, studies and talent. He resisted everything that was liable to make him a failure.
Amazingly, his singing talent took him round the state and beyond owing to uncountable public functions as well as competitions he was engaged in, that at a point, he was chosen to represent Nigeria in one international singing competition that involved students of various tertiary institutions in the world.
In the aforesaid competition, Uzo emerged as the overall best. In addition to the astonishing prizes attached to the award which included hundred thousand US dollars, a duplex in Lagos State and a Range Over Jeep, the organizer of the event – the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – issued him a scholarship to study his discipline in any university of his choice across the globe up to any level. But Uzo chose to remain in UNILAG so he would not be far from his beloved family.
On receiving the incredible news, his mother Ugonma passed out due to overwhelming euphoria but regained her wellness after forty-eight hours in a hospital bed.
Little did the poor widow know that, there was a greater day that lied ahead when her son was granted a scholarship by the Lagos State government.
From that moment onwards, their family’s life changed overnight. Everything including food, clothes and adequate shelter became available. To assert the least, they never lacked again.
The rest is history, please.
Greater day ahead
“When would this suffering end?” Uzo soliloquized. “Or, could it be for eternity?”
Uzo whose father died four years back after a brief illness when he (Uzo) was barely thirteen, was lamenting alone right in his family’s bedroom. He was obviously an exemplarily brilliant chap who was about sitting for his Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) which included WAEC and NECO. Apart from his academic excellence, he was an out-and-out child every parent wished to behold.
Uzo who happened to be the first child among him and his four siblings, was residing in Lagos State with his family. It’s noteworthy that the whole family was living in only one-room apartment. That was where they had been managing since two years back life became tougher and unbearable than it was.
What actually prompted the above lamentation was owing to the fact that the poor boy was yet to register for the aforesaid exams because the needed fund was not available. What else could he do than to wallow in anguish?
His mother, Ugonma who just obtained her National Certificate in Education (NCE) via in-service programme was a primary school teacher, and was in Grade Level 5. She actually entered the Civil Service few years back with her Senior School Certificate. Life wasn’t in any way easy with her; taking care of a family of six including herself was not unlike asking a palm wine tapper to ensure that he produced at least five kegs of palm wine from a particular palm tree on a daily basis.
Indeed, the poignant state of the family was seriously telling on every of its member.
“God,” Uzo called sorrowfully. “Please, come and rescue me from this unending bondage.” He cried, looking at the ceiling.
“Why can’t I be like Musa?” He wondered. “Or, Segun?”
Musa and Segun were his classmates whose parents were well-to-do; their respective drivers drove them to school daily. Just like the saying invariably goes ‘all fingers are not equal’.
Hence, he kept on wondering if his own world was different from that of his aforementioned colleagues, but more pitiably, his candid questions were left unanswered.
He therein began to sing frantically. He was an ardent singer since his childhood. In his church, he happened to be one of the gifted and respected choristers in spite of his tender age.
The soliloquy continued unabated not until his mother who was busy in the kitchen entered the room to checked on him having sensed his absence, unknowingly to her that her precious and lovable son had almost committed suicide.
Uzo’s face coupled with the pillow that was lying on his thighs was covered with fathomless tears. He was helplessly sitting on a bed.
“Uzo…!” His mum exclaimed as soon as she walked into the room, hastily walked to the bed and sat very closely to him, tenderly placed her left arm on his shoulders. “Uzo my son.” She soberly called.
“Mum,” He managed to dish out.
“Why are you doing this to yourself?”
It was on Saturday morning at about some minutes past nine O’clock, and a very sunny moment. His siblings were as usual busy catching their funs outside.
“At 17, you are not meant to bother yourself so much about things of this world.” Ugonma asserted, paused.
He adjusted himself a bit.
“Besides,” She rode on. “That you are poor this year 1994 doesn’t imply you remain poor by next year.”
“Who knows if I would be alive till next year?” He thought aloud.
“Stop saying that.” she scolded. “Where does your faith lie?”
Uzo remained calm, couldn’t utter a word.
“Is this what I have been teaching you?” she queried, frowning. “I keep telling you that God knows everything we are passing through in this family.”
He seemingly became sober.
“And only He knows the expiring date.”
His calm posture that abruptly metamorphosed into a pensive countenance was really absorbing the opium.
Ugonma’s pious nature had obviously helped in her children’s upbringing. Each day that passed in the family was loaded with the needed recipe as regards faith uplift. That was the only gold the poor widow could offer them come rain come shine.
“That you are yet to register for your SSCE does not mean you won’t sit for the exams.” She faithfully assured.
This time, Uzo became stronger emotionally and psychologically.
“Don’t worry,” Ugonma continued. “God will surely provide the money, okay?”
He nodded passionately as he remained seated on the weary bed.
“So, wipe your tears.”
Ugonma who was only putting on a single purplish wrapper, partially untied it and used it to assist him in wiping out the tears in his face.
Thereafter, she made effort to rise him up from the bed and he complied accordingly. “Come and help me in the kitchen.” she urged the moment he rose.
“Okay mum.” He wholeheartedly concurred without hesitation.
To be continued, please.
Derailed homosapien (II)
On their part, Mr. Adesokan’s colleagues who were seated at distant locations weren’t aware of what really went on or what was discussed between them, though they weren’t interested either since such meeting wasn’t unusual among teachers and students or mentors and mentees, as the case may be.
Besides, being a new teacher, they were of the opinion that Mr. Adesokan needed to meet privately with some of his students, especially the serious-minded ones, to intimate him on the journey so far.
The close relationship between Yetunde and Mr. Adesokan who was happily married with four kids – three males and a female – commenced as planned. It successfully metamorphosed into an intimate one, and continued unabated for several weeks to the extent that her fellow students became envious. She was obviously enjoying the togetherness.
None of his colleagues, or any member of the school management, fathomed the actual motive that informed the closeness. When any of them decided to think otherwise, he or she would be beclouded or lobbied by a notion that the tutor in question was a very decent and respectable man.
Subsequently, the intimacy became juicier to Yetunde that her innocent mindset never foresaw any pranks. It proceeded until one fateful day when her fantasies yielded a rude reality. On that fateful day, the awful but hidden truth dawned upon her person.
On the aforesaid day, Yetunde paid a scheduled visit to Mr. Adesokan at a lodging spot. He had during the weekdays asked her to pay him a visit by the weekend, Saturday precisely, and she obliged. But he lied to her that she was coming to his family house; she was told that he wanted her to meet with his family especially his wife towards ensuring that she became a friend to not only him but his entire family.
The moment the vulnerable creature arrived at the proposed venue for the meeting at about 3:15pm on Saturday, 11th June 2011, she needed not an interpreter to notify her that she was within a hotel arena. Though she was initially nervous but was later consoled by a perceived presumption that the hotel could be just a place where her intended host wanted to receive her before proceeding to his family house to enable her locate the address with ease.
The curiosity and perturbation continued till Mr. Adesokan majestically walked out of the bar where he was relaxing having received an alert from the august visitor via phone call, and signalled her to come over. As soon as she got to the point where he was standing, which was the main entrance to the bar, he ushered her into the building and took her to the position he was chilling with a bottle of stout beer.
“My little angel.” he cheerily tendered. “You are really looking pretty and gorgeous.”
She apprehensively replied with a smile.
“Now I know,” he said. “The uniform I have been seeing you in has been hiding your real beauty.”
His dubious compliment was not unlike pouring water on gravel. She wasn’t moved by it not even a bit.
“Please have your seat.” He urged, smiling.
The 14-year-old teen sluggishly sat on one of the seats sited at the corner, looking pale. “Have I been deceived?” She thought.
Other guests, who were equally catching funs at the bar, were seated at strategic locations.
“Pretty,” Mr. Adesokan who was putting on a pair of black jeans, blue T-shirt and brown lather slippers tenderly called. “You are not looking happy.” He observed.
Yetunde who was clad in a pink skirt, white polo and ash sandals, slightly adjusted herself, still sceptical and quiet. She was chocolate, plump and tall, and unarguably a very pretty girl that her beauty could be felt by the blind.
“What is wrong?” The predatory creature calmly enquired in false pretence.
“Sir,” she called in a low tone. “I thought you said I was coming to meet your family?”
“Yes, my dear,” he answered. “But…”
“But what?” she curiously interrupted.
“They travelled to the village yesterday.” he lied. “Something urgent came up.”
“Okay ooh!” She grunted sceptically.
“I’m sorry I didn’t inform you earlier.”
After some minutes coupled with persuasion, she agreed to take a soft drink. In the long run, her host poured some of his drink into her glass and both drinks mixed instantly. He convinced her that the mixture was more appetizing and nourishing, although his sole intention was to drug her. Therein, she was cajoled into taking drink.
When she became dizzy as a result of the concoction, he hastily took her to one of the hotel rooms, took off her wears and defiled her. Every action perhaps took place in accordance with his evil plan.
One month later and incidentally the third term of their academic session, Yetunde took in. Prior to this phase, she never disclosed what transpired between her and Mr. Adesokan at the hotel to anyone. He had promised to shower her with gift items if she remained mute about the outing.
When her parents noticed the abrupt weird idiosyncrasies she was displaying, her mother took her to a medical laboratory to confirm what was actually wrong with her. She consequently tested positive to pregnancy. The physician rightly informed the mother that her beloved daughter was four weeks pregnant.
Thereafter, the parents exhorted her to tell them the truth about the unforeseen pregnancy, and she confessed. The young couple, who became devastated by the unthinkable revelation, trembled with rage.
The moment the news got to her school, the derailed homosapien was outrightly suspended by the school authority, hence was issued with a query. He eventually received a sack letter from his employer, the government.
Later on, the culprit was arrested by the police, and was charged to court for paedophilia, bestiality and attempted murder. He afterwards got a jail term.
The rest is history, please.
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