When Adaku came to, she was in a room filled with people, mostly girls, some younger, while some were older. She was confused, how did she get here? She wondered. Then she remembered being grabbed form off the street, into a bus.
Adaku: “Please, let me go, I beg you. I have suffered too much, just let me go” she cried, waking some of the girls who were dozing off. A man who was huge and muscular like a bouncer and commanded her to keep shut, he pointed the koboko he held in her face, threatening to whip her if he heard her voice again. Adaku began to whimper, what kind of a life was this, she asked her chi.
Adaku: “What kind of a chi are you? Did I offend you in a former life? Why have you made me suffer so much” she murmured under her breath. She wished for death because whatsoever these people who had abducted her, had in mind; she was sure she couldn’t withstand it. She as tired of fighting to survive, she just wanted to die, and go meet her mother.
Then a well dressed man entered with another ‘bouncer’ and they began to go through the ranks, peering into the faces of each of the girls. Some were poked and prodded like beef that was about to be bought. Then the man pointed at Adaku.
Bouncer: “You want this one, good” he said and pulled Adaku up, but when she came close to the man, he held his nose and shook his head vigorously.
Bouncer: “She will smell good when she had a bath” he said but the man still shook his head and began to look for another. When another girl was selected, they left with the girl.
Adaku: “Where would they take her to?” she asked a thin, poorly-fed girl sitting by her side.
Girl: “Probably to Italy, or Paris, or Mexico, they are going to be sex slaves and bring in money for their masters and mistresses, or if you are sold to a ritualist, you would be used for money rituals” she replied.
Adaku: “Ewo, Uwa!” she cried out forgetting that she had been threatened.
Many other buyers came, but they always rejected Adaku, until one Alhaji came, he was the only one who didn’t reject Adaku, he took her and paid the price for her, which was a few pounds. When the transaction had been concluded, the Alhaji tied Adaku up and blindfolded her eyes.
Adaku felt the car she was in moving, but she had no sense of place or time, her eyes were blindfolded, so it was darkness in her world. When the car stopped, she felt herself being pulled out of the car and dragged through a rocky terrain. She knew it was rocky because her feet kept hitting stones, and she could tell they were blistered. She also knew they were in the bush because she could feel the leaves kissing her face as she was dragged.
The man stopped abruptly and Adaku almost fell. The blindfold was pulled off, and Adaku saw that she was before a shrine. The herbalist turned and looked into her eyes and began to shake his head from side to side.
Herbalist: “Are you mad? Why do you bring to the gods, spoilt food? This is rotten food and the gods will not eat such. Can’t you smell her?” he said. Te Alhaji looked at her and anger flashed in his face. He pulled the blindfold on her face and rushed her away. They entered the car and drove off. After driving for a while, the man began to curse in Hausa, he was angry, and he was in no mind to drive all the way to where he had bought Adaku. So he pulled over by the side of the road and removed the blindfold.
Alhaji: “Get out from my car now” he yelled and Adaku jumped out immediately. The car zoomed off immediately.
Adaku: “Wonderful, I don’t know whether I should be happy or sad. I am so damaged that the gods rejected me” she soliloquized.
She kept waving for cars to stop, but they all zoomed by, except one car, she didn’t recognize the car until it stopped in front of her, and the glass wound down. It was Raja and his wife Madam Biliki.
Raja: “Adaku, what are you doing here?” he asked surprised, he looked at the story state she was in, even the smell oozing out from her was repugnant.
Adaku: ‘I was kidnapped, when the gods rejected me, the ritualist dropped me here” she said, happy to see that they were still together.
Madam Biliki came out of the car and came towards Adaku, the latter shifted backward, expecting another slap.
Madam Biliki: “Don’t be afraid my child, my husband has confessed to everything that happened. You have suffered so much and you are just a little girl. Come home with us, you have to visit the hospital. Your sufferings are over my child” she said and led Adaku into the car, while Raja smiled. He was grateful for meeting Adaku; her story opened his eyes to the woes that women went through in the hands of rapists. He had opened a rape victim organization where rape victims could visit and share their pain with professionals who can help them heal. She had also healed his marriage with Madam Biliki, they were coming back from their marriage vows renewal at Ibadan when they saw Adaku.
In Igbundu, the untold suffering was telling on the people, Azagba for fear of the gods banned the worship of their deities. He thought that if no one worshipped the gods or gave them libations, they would become powerless. All the shrines in the village were burnt down by men sent by Azagba. He even sent his friend Ezidemili on an exile, and burnt down the Idemili shrine.
Since Azagba ascended the throne, it did not rain, neither did the soil give up what was planted. The people, who had eaten up their yams in preparation of the princess Adaku’s marriage, were left with nothing to feed their families. The only time they ate good food, was during the burial ceremony of Emelu because, Azagba had spared nothing to make the burial of his brother fit for a king. He had even invited the oil expatriates to come bade his brother goodbye. Some slaves in the palace were buried alive with Emelu.
So it happened that, the people became tired of the hardship, they saw Azagba and his atrocious reign as the cause of the problems they were facing, so the people revolted. They were galvanized by the second best orator after Azagba, the Palmwine tapper. He told them that the house of Igbundu had only brought them, sorrows and sufferings; therefore it was time to overthrow them, and cleanse the land. Despite the sufferings of the people, some were still in support of Azagba, these were the elites, and they ate the oil income, they also imported food stuff from outside the village to feed their families. So while the other villagers suffered, the elites prospered.
So the uprising headed by the palm wine tapper went for the elite class, they gave them a surprise attack. They entered their compounds at night and killed them in their sleep. Nevertheless, there were traitors in the revolution and they informed some of the elites, who fled their homes before the attacks. By morning, there were reprisal attacks from the elites that were saved. There was bloodshed and destruction of properties, Igbundu burned that day.
Even Azagba was not spared. Among the palace guards were people who were sympathetic to the revolution, and they were charged with eliminating the king. When the attacks started that morning, Azagba commanded that the palace be barricaded. He was locked inside the throne room with his sons, and two of his trusted guards. Unfortunately for him, the two guards were sympathetic to the revolution and they wanted to make sure that there were no more Igbundus to rule again.
Azagba: “Guards, what is the situation outside” he asked, but they kept him mute. “Are you both deaf?”
Palace guard 1: “You are both deaf and blind. Did you not hear the cry of the people, or did you choose to ignore them.”
Palace guard 2: “Are you also blind that you don’t see that you are no longer in the position to give orders, in fact you are no longer in control”
Azagba realized that he was locked up with traitors; he looked at his sons and then shook his head. Was this the end of the road? He wondered.
Azagba: “If you have to kill me, do it honorably, because…” he couldn’t complete what he was saying, because one of the guards thrust the sword into his stomach. His eyes went wide, because even though he saw death coming, he didn’t expect it.
Just then they heard the wail of the siren, and the staccato of bullets, and the roar of big vans. The guards looked at Azagba’s sons and they were torn between running for their lives and finishing their assignments. Their assignment was to clean the house of Azagba, but they could hear trouble coming and it was time to run. So they fled. The sons of Azagba crowded around his father, trying to save his life but it was too late, Azagba was already crossing over to the other side.
Azagba: “Emelu, I can see that you are laughing at me. All my fight for the throne amounted to nothing. I lived by the sword and died by the sword. I am sorry about your daughter; I sold her off because I didn’t want her to sit on the throne. I fought with the gods and they have shown me that no man is greater than his God” he said laughing a funny sounding laughter, as blood spurted from his stomach. He died still laughing.
Question: What fate awaits Adaku, will she ever meet her first love, Chike?
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