After two weeks in the guard room, Tope was discharged from the army for disorderly conduct and sent back to Lagos. He arrived Lagos on a wet evening. He held his shirt close to his body as he shivered with the cold. He entered the rain and trekked until he got to his father’s compound. He entered the compound and walked up the stairs. Suddenly, someone raised alarm
Mr Efetori: “Who is there? Leave there before I call the police.” The man said from his window.
Tope ignored the voice and got to the door of his father’s flat, only to find it locked with a chain and padlock. He looked at the padlock for a moment then he walked wearily downstairs. He went to Alahaji Haruna’s flat and knocked. The man opened the door and looked Tope curiously.
Alhaji Haruna: “Yes, can I help you?” he asked.
Tope looked at him in surprise.
Tope: “you do not recognize me anymore? It is me, Tope.” He said, getting angry.
Recognition dawned on Alhaji Haruna’s face. He smiled and welcomed Tope into his home. He offered Tope a cup of juice but Tope asked for gin. Alhaji Haruna told him he doesn’t keep alcohol in his house. He went on to tell Tope about his father’s death. Tope listened in silence. After Ahaji Haruna had finished his story, he handed over the key to the flat to Tope. He also informed Tope that several letters where forwarded to him and he gave them to him. Tope thanked him and went to his flat. He opened the door and entered.
He sat down and sort through the letters; two were from Chidinma. These he threw away without opening them, one was from Seyi and the last was from his father. He opened Seyi’s letter. In it, she gushed about the baby and how he would love him when he finally meets him. She also wrote about missing him and how she can’t wait to come to be with him in Nigeria. At the end of the letter, she told him that she is not feeling too well but she is excited and happy about the future. He laughed while reading it. “Seyi will never change. I will write a letter to her later. I am a father now, wow.” He thought to himself.
He looked at his father’s letter for some minutes then decided against opening it. He opened a bottle of gin and poured himself a drink. “I will go and see Mr. Adetola to inform him that I am back.” He thought to himself as he downed the drink.
Chidinma ran from inside the hut to where her father, who had recovered from his shock was seated with other men playing a game of draught. It was late afternoon, the sun ready to leave the world.
Chidinma: “They have surrendered! Biafra has surrendered. The war is over!” she shouted at the top of her lungs.
The men looked at her in astonishment then her announcement sank in and all of them jumped up. People were hugging and some were crying. Chidinma hugged her father-in-law, Mr Okunola then Gladys. Mr Okunola hugged his wife and everybody was celebrating.
Chidinma: “Will they release Biodun now?” she asked quietly.
Everybody became quiet. Gladys went to meet her and held her
Gladys: “Have faith. God can do all things.” She said.
Biodun stared at the soldiers as they inspected the released prisoners. He sat on the ground because he could no longer stand for long periods. His body was thin as a rake and he was sick. He stared as they came to him. he called his name, his platoon and battalion in the army. After the necessary checks, he was carried with other sickly prisoners by airlift to Lagos. Immediately he was rushed to the hospital in the intensive care unit. As the nurse finished arranging him properly on the bed, he held her hand and told her to help him deliver a message. The nurse listened to the message and wrote it down then she left. When the ward was quiet, Biodun looked out through the window then he burst into tears. “I am free.”
Two weeks after the surrender and the end of the war, Mr Okunola and his wife left the village with thanks to Papa John and his family. They had received a letter from a hospital saying Biodun was alive and had been admitted there, so Mr Okunola was eager to go and see his son.They promised to visit the old man and off course exchanged letters. Chidinma, her parents and the other families that had left Lagos with Mr Okunola remained back. They did not know the state of their properties and jobs, so they entrusted Mr Okunola the job of finding out and sorting whatever issues that may be on ground as a result of their disappearance. Mr Okunola promised to do his best for them. Chidinma told Mr Okunola that she will come when her father was completely strong.. Mr Okunola looked at her and shook his head
Mr Okunola: “you are avoiding him, right?” he asked.
Chidinma: “it has been a while now. Besides it was the baby that made him marry me then, well the baby is gone. I know I am not beautiful, I saw the way Tope looked at me at the river bank. I don’t want anyone to take me out of pity. No sir, I prefer the peace and quiet here. Say me well to him when you meet him.” she said and she turned and walked away.
Mr Okunola looked at her and shook his head again. “The poor thing; A man dares enemy fire to come and save you and you think he pities you…” he thought to himself.
Tope could not understand Mr Adetola any longer. The first time he had gone to see the man, he got a shocker; Seyi was dead. That had not hurt as much as he thought it would have. The next thing he hears from the man is that the baby was not coming to Nigeria now. “What is that? Why would he keep my own son as if he is his? The man better be careful o.” He thought as he got to Mr Adetola’s house. He went to the door and knocked but got no response.
He walked around the house but saw no sign to show that anyone was at home. He left there angrily. On his way out, he saw Mr Adetola coming in.
Tope: “what is the problem sir? I have been patient with you about getting my son but you have been playing tricks with me. My patience is wearing thin. When is the boy coming to Nigeria?” he asked angrily.
Mr Adetola: “actually he is in Nigeria. I just dropped him off with Biodun.” He said, amiably.
Tope: “You did what? Is Biodun’s house my house?” he asked.
Mr Adetola: “you can take the matter up with him. I am going to sleep.” He replied, walking passed Tope into his compound.
Tope stood staring at the man in surprise. “No…this is a joke. Biodun again?” he thought to himself. Coming to a decision, he turned around and hurriedly boarded a taxi.
Biodun read Seyi’s letter in amazement after her father left, leaving her baby with him. Gladys had taken the baby inside to get him fed. He read it again,
As I write this, I do not know if I will be opportune to see tomorrow. The doctors are not hopeful about my recovery. That is really sad because I really had big plans for my return to Nigeria.
Since I fell ill, I have been doing a lot of thinking. Illness seems to make one see things in clearer light. I am sorry for the way I treated you. it is never right to play with people’s emotions. You know, funny enough, Tope never really cared for me. Looking back now, I should have let him and Chidinma alone. He took after his father, please warn Chidinma. Behind that handsome and cool visage, he is a monster.
Well our baby is coming home, yes, don’t be shocked. He is the product of our send off romp that day you were getting ready for your journey to Kaduna. Take good care of him and find a good woman to take care of him.
So many things I want to say but there is never enough time. Please check on my father from time to time and tell Chidinma that she was the best. Let me stop here. Do have a good life.
Biodun sighed as the door burst open and Tope entered the sitting room, his eyes red with anger.
Tope: “where is my son?” he shouted.
Biodun looked at him and handed over the letter he had just finished reading. Tope snatched it and scanned through it with great speed at first then he slowed down. He finished reading and he sat down slowly on the chair
Tope: “I have nothing.” He said. he realised from the date of the letter in his hand that the one he read at home was an older letter.
Biodun: “you are still a young man, you have enough time to make a difference.” He said trying to console the depressed man.
Tope: “I don’t need your pity. I am going to be a great man. Mark my words, I will be great and then you will come to respect me and wish you never crossed paths with me.” He shouted then he stomped out of the house.
Biodun looked at the seat Tope just vacated sadly. “Indeed the only constant in life is change.” He shook his head again. Gladys came with the baby and gave it to him. Biodun held the boy and lifted him up.laughing. “
Chidinma waded the river, drawing a gallon after her. Papa john was seated in the boat, singing and drinking gin. the sky was blue and the sun was bright. her limp had reduced and she didn’t bother herself about the scar anymore. “over here nobody cared about how you looked.” she thought to herself. she dropped the gallon and went back for another. The boys drew their own gallons through the waves to the shore. Chidinma went back for another gallon and after dropping it on the shore,she went to a tree and rested her back against it. she drifted off to sleep
Biodun:”so he has recruited you to his smuggling operations eh?” he asked, smiling.
Chidinma jumped awake and stared at Biodun in surprised. he stood there as big as a house.
Chidinma: “stop bringing your ugly face where nobody wants to see it.” she said, in order to hide the tension she was feeling.
Biodun smiled and picked her up. chidinma screamed in panic. Papa John opened his eyes and smiled then he went back to sleep
Chidinma: “Papa John a stranger is kidnapping me and all you do is smile and wave. God, put me down Ugly face.” she said
Biodun dropped her and his face became stern.
Chidinma: “what are you doing here Biodun?” she asked, her face devoid of emotion.
Biodun: “I came to take my wife home.” he said simply.
Chidinma: “Is that all i am to you? your wife?” she asked, frowning.
Biodun:”Ha…little one, you are the centre of my universe, my anchor in stormy seas,my compass when am lost. you set me straight when i stray. you are my everything.” he said.
Chidinma smiled and walked into his arms. they hugged and kissed.
Peterson held his mother’s hand and he continued praying.
Peterson: “God has given us authority over serpent and scorpions. In the Mighty name of Jesus, i bind you demon from the pit of hell!” he said.
the goddess dropped the gun to the floor and tried to leave the house. she started to transform…
Peterson:”i am an overcomer in Jesus. all your powers over my life were destroyed on calvary. whatever evil plot that has tied me down; that connects me to you, demon, i break today in the mighty name of Jesus!”
The goddess screamed….and fell to the ground, rolling and twisting in obvious pain. Then she bent to a squat and looked Peterson with her eyes red. she started to call names. As she called them, demons started appearing all over the house. a darkness covered the house and the darkness pressed him down but he refused to relent.
Peterson’s mother started singing praises to God even as Peterson was praying. At that same moment, the pastor, Peterson’s mother had gone to visit woke up from his with prayer on his lips. he got p from his bed and took his car keys and started driving to Peterson’s mother’s place that night.
when he got to the door, he saw the congregation of demons and he laughed. he brought his anointing oil, still praying he anointed his head, his hands and his lips. he then stepped into the house with his bible raised high, praying loudly. the house groaned with the weight of powers manifested there.
Peterson who had been weakening suddenly felt divine strength enter him and he picked up his prayer.
Pastor:Holy Ghost fire! Any evil incantation, any calabash or pot, any coven or covenant,be destroyed in the fires of the holy ghost in the mighty name of Jesus!”
The house groaned again and a cloud gathered above it. wings were heard flapping all over the place. Peterson fell to the ground in tears
Peterson: “Every chain that holds me captive i break, every agreement i destroy, any spiritual wife or children i destroy in the mighty name of Jesus!” he screamed
a thunderclap was heard inside the house and everything became still. Peterson sweating profusely got up and looked around. There was nothing. as he walked to meet his mother, he saw the old woman who had first disturbed his dream. she was on the ground dead, her eyes open.
Peterson started thanking Jesus with his mother.they both walked into the sitting room to find the place scattered. the pastor was seated on a chair smiling. Peterson’s mother rushed to thank the pastor.
Pastor: “Peterson, you are not lucky, it is God’s grace that has spoken for you. Stick to the path of salvation through Jesus, and every other thing will be added to you. You see, the devil is always after people with great destiny. He will put pressure on them to pervert their destiny. You would have remained a captive and a candidate of hell but Olowo Gbogboro’s outstretched hands saved you.” he said before he left.
The next day, Peterson heard that the babalawo had drowned in his shrine. there was no rain or any sign of flood but when he was found, he was swollen and his stomach and lungs filled with water.
Tope never married and he never had a child. He became afraid of his anger and his propensity for violence when angry. Despite the wealth he amassed, he lived a quiet life and was known to be antisocial. The only social event he was known to attend was the birthday of certain Seyi Okunola, the son of Mr Biodun Okunola.
Chidinma and Biodun went on to have children of their own. they lived and loved each other until they grew gray and wrinkled.
Peterson became a pastor spreading the gospel all over Nigeria. He was assisted in his ministry by Margaret who became his wife. She gave birth to three children for him
The Biafran War is a testament to what can happen when we forget the consequences of ethnic bias, religious differences and the manipulations of the elite who seek nothing but power. Let us never forget the horror of that war and do everything humanly possible to prevent it from happening again. God Bless Nigeria!
God is always ready to stretch his hands and bring about change in your life. It is up to you to let him in. the earth will pass away but his word will remain forever. Olowo Gbogboro! God whose hands is ever extended to help those who call on him. Call on him today, you will not regret it.
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