Archive | May 2013

Baba Risi’s Court – Teasha Okoh

We put up a deal for purchasing Golden Sands  at a discount on Lushdeals this evening and immediately two copies were snapped up. Na discount una dey wait for? Anyway, if you’ve enjoyed free fiction on this blog and you never buy my book, you better buy it here now without fail here http://lushdeals.com/golden-sands-by-tunde-leye They’ll deliver to your doorstep for a token. The discount is available only for 2weeks. Snoop around the Lushdeals site, they have fantastic discount deals. Alright, so enjoy the rambunctious Baba Risi.

Baba Risi 2

The Aljazeera thing, as well as Baba Risi’s immunity to the gangster’s bullet had made the court even more popular, such that these days, it was full even for the smallest of cases. The entrance fee had gone up to N150 for sitting and N100 for standing and Rosco was not smiling as he collected his money.

The case today was between the teacher at the local secondary school called Bros Okoh and the mum of one of his students. Okoh was a yellow, squat man who had biceps that rivaled those of Rosco, and a Hitler moustache. He was the sports master in the school and well known as the punisher of the school. He was even more feared by the students than the principal or his vice – the fear of his cane was the beginning of wisdom amongst the students.

Mama Collins had brought the complaint earlier and Baba Risi was going to dismiss the case until he saw the boy. Even when his boys dealt with someone, the scars were nowhere near kind of patterns on the boy’s back. He had immediately convened court and the word had gone through the school and neighborhood. The court was packed full of teachers, students and parents who had all had kids flogged ruthlessly by Bros in the past, but had not done anything out of fear of their child being asked to leave the school.

“Bros, na you flog this pikin, Collins like this?” Baba Risi asked, masking how vexed he was at the man who still carried himself like a teacher before his students in his courtroom.

“I am a strict disciplinarian, and I believe that sparing the rod spoils the child. We don’t want our children to grow up into unruly touts, hence I am the iron hand that makes sure they don’t. so, to answer your question, yes, I flogged the sense into that unruly student this morning.”

“Which foolish sense? You wan kill pikin for me, you say you dey discipline am. Even Cele people, when dem wan flog winch commot for person body no go flog am like that!” Mama Collin shouted.

“Woman, will you shut your uneducated mouth!” Bros thundered. “It is when parents like you refuse to do their jobs that leave the hard task of using our iron hand to bend them back onto the right path, so they will not end up as garage touts.”

Rosco seethed where he was. It would seem this foolish teacher had forgotten that he was in a court of those very garage touts he had been disparaging since he first opened his mouth. He made up his mind to teach the man a lesson.

“So, wetin this pikin do wey make you beat am like this?”

“The rule in the school is that students should not bring any mobile phone in. this unruly student, who must have stolen a mobile phone, brought one in. And then went ahead to watch television, IN THE SCHOOL PREMISES on the phone. What umbrum! What rascality!  

“So na because he bring phone come school, na him you beat am like that?” Baba Risi asked. Then he turned to Mama Collins and commanded “bring the boy, make you off him shirt make people see”

A smallish boy of about thirteen came forward gingerly, fear written all over his eyes as he passed his teacher. Bros enjoyed the fear he inspired in the kids. As the boy passed, he growled at him and the boy jumped. He laughed, a hearty laugh, looking around, expecting others to join him in laughter as people in the staff room did when he did such. But here, he was met with solid stolid gazes.

“What is tickling your fancy, oga teasha?” Baba Risi asked and general laughter broke out in the court, drowning Bros’ attempts at responding. The teacher kept quiet after this. Here, in this court, the teacher had to know that it was he, Baba Risi that was his lordship.

When Mama Collins removed the boy’s shirt, Baba Risi beckoned to Rosco “take the boy round court, make everybody see this teasha discipline for ordinary bringing phone come school.”

As Rosco obeyed, various oohs and aahs came from the crowd as they saw the cane scars on his back.

Baba Risi asked the people “this one good so?”

The overwhelming shout of “NO!” startled Bros Okoh. He had thought that his methods were popular with parents who brought their wards to him with lavish gifts so he could be their “guardian” and teachers who brought their errant students to him for punishing.

He turned and faced the crowd, a threatening scowl on his face, trying to muster the fear he normally inspired “What? Who said that!” the whole courtroom was silent, and he smiled a contented smile.

In the time he had turned to face the crowd, Rosco had quietly conferred with Baba Risi who at first was frowning, then broke into a smile. His smile met the teacher’s conceited smile when the latter turned back to him.

e gbo, oga teasha, where the phone wey you seize from the boy?”

Bros reached into his pocket as he responded “interestingly, the phone is right…” he paused mid sentence as his hand hit empty space in the pocket. He began to search frenetically for the phone all over his body, patting himself down, saying “but I had it! I had it!”

“Mr. teasha,” Rosco said jeeringly, “we are waiting o. Abi, if you seize phone from student, no be to give him parents back?”

“Oh shatap, you rascal!” Bros responded in anger. He wished he could cane the imp who dared to jeer at him senseless.

“Teasha, what are you looking for? You are looking for what should not be missing? Ai gbo ifa la nwo oke, ifa kan o si ni para (it is when we cannot understand what ifa is saying that we look up, ifa does not speak from the ceiling)” Baba Risi said.

“Calm down Mr.” Bros shouted.

Baba Risi got up suddenly and leaned menacingly towards Bros “you no get respect. Shay na me be Mr? You get two minutes to produce that phone now, otherwise fire go answer for your ear!”

For the first time, Bros was really afraid.

“You don sell the phone abi? Na so you dey collect phone from children under discipline, dey sell am.” Baba Risi said and then burst into a guttural rendition of Fela’s International Thief Thief, with the crowd forming the backup singers.

Bros Okoh was speechless. He just kept searching for the phone.

Baba Risi then sat down and the clerk shouted “order! Order!” and the court went quiet.

“Na my judgment be this. First, this teasha don show say he no get sense of balance with him discipline. Mr. oga, from now, you no fit beat any student again. Even if you wan punish student, you must carry am go meet another teasha to punish for you. If we hear say you flog anybody, my tout boys wey you been dey yab since morning go show you say khaki no be leather, teasha cane no be like agbero iron rod. Second, I know say you done sell the phone…”

“Haba, oga judge, I no sell am now,” Bros quickly said, guessing what was coming next. His meager salary couldn’t take such a hit. Immediately, four of Baba Risi’s boys surrounded him

“Teasha, so you sabi speak pidgin, na him you dey blow all that your oyinbo since.” The whole court burst into laughter at this and when it died down, Baba Risi continued “since you no get respect and you interrupt judge when he dey deliver judgment, you go pay fine of Two Thousand Naira to this court. The final judgment na say you must refund the phone money to Mama Collins and pay for this boy treatment! Matter don end.” Baba Risi rose, and began the popular Fela song

“Who steal the phone o,” and the people responded “TEASHA!”

“The precious phone o” and the response came “TEASHA”

The thugs muscled the teacher towards the school, and the whole crowd followed him, chanting the song Baba Risi had raised after him.

When they had all left, Rosco went and returned the phone he had picked from Bros Okoh’s pocket when he had gone forward to lead Collins round earlier to a grateful Mama Collins. “Shebi na me be foolish tout,” he said to himself as he went back to his oga, laughing.

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Broken Mirrors – Episode 17 – The Finale

And we come to the end, where the mirrors are finally broken. Enjoy. Don’t forget to visit http://www.lushdeals.com/ for the best discount deals and make una buy ooooooooo, don’t just visit the site.

Thanks for reading Broken Mirrors all the way. For the next two Mondays, I’ll be posting short stories, the first of which will be Miracle’s Manhood (first written for the Oyo State Ministry of Womens’ Affairs). And after those two weeks, we commence another series, Rekiya’s Tale (I read the 1st Episode of this at the Write Right Prize Giving). You should look forward to these. Once again thanks for making tlsplace the number one fiction blog in the country.

TL

Broken Mirrors Finale

“Calm down man,” Kamal said, even though he didn’t feel very calm himself. Derin was pacing up and down, pausing every few seconds, his eyes darting furtively around at each stop, as if expecting Awazi to emerge from the spot he looked at.

Derin had come to him that morning to ask him to help beg Awazi, and he had harangued Derin after hearing the story of what had happened. They had rushed back to the house together, but met it locked from outside. Once in the house, Derin dashed into the open bedroom and met it empty. They had gone through every room in the house, shouting for her, but she wasn’t there.

“Dude, calm down and let’s call her,” Kamal said again to the pacing Derin.

Derin reached for his phone and came up with empty air. It was only then it dawned on him he had left his phone in the house in his rush to get Kamal. He quickly scanned the living room, but didn’t find the phone.

“Kamal, can you flash my phone? I can’t find it,” Derin said.

Kamal attempted to dial the phone, but couldn’t get through. Derin began searching methodically in the living room and when he didn’t find it, he moved into the bedroom. There on the bed was the phone.

He picked it up but immediately saw it wasn’t his own. He had bought the phone for Awazi on their anniversary when she had kept whining about using an older BB than his own and his own was older than hers.

“She probably took your own phone, thinking it was hers,” Kamal thought out aloud, speaking what Derin himself was thinking.

Derin dialed Awazi a couple of times but the phone rang out.

“We just have to wait, man” Kamal said to Derin.

And so, they waited. Or rather, Kamal waited, while Derin paced.

******************************************************************

Rasheed came out of the doctor’s office, with a small fireproof safe. The weight of the small item made him sweat even in the AC of the corridor. He entered the conference room, with the two women waiting, staring intently at him.

He carefully placed it on the table and then produced a strip of paper from his pocket. From it, he retrieved the safe combination and slowly dialed it. The safe opened with a crack and in it was a plain brown envelope.

By now, they were all standing, gathered around the little box. With measured movements, Rasheed extracted the document from the envelope, waved it a little and simply said “Haruna’s will”. When he unfolded the document, he was in for a shocker. “This is not the will I prepared,” he said.

“So is it genuine?” Bintu asked, raising an eyebrow.

“It is. This combination to this safe was only known to Haruna, and it was only by following specific instructions I retrieved it. The will is dated last week Thursday, the day before that ill-fated meeting. He changed it without telling even me.”

“Well, let’s get on with it now, shall we?” Bintu said.

He went through all the preliminaries mechanically until he got to the meat of the matter – the sharing.

“To Bintu Mogaji, I give my 8flat house in Bodija as well as 12.5Million Naira in a fixed deposit with Wema Bank as well as the lands in Abule Egba, Lagos.

To Hakeem, I give my 5 bedroom duplex in Agodi as well as the 4Flat house in Agungi, Lekki. A trust fund will be set up with my lawyer, Rasheed Sanda and Bintu Mogaji as the trustees. The annual yield of the fund will be paid to Hakeem for his upkeep. When he does decide to get married and have children, 20percent of the fund will be liquidated and paid out to each of his children when they reach the age of maturity.

To my friend, Rasheed Sanda, I give all of my Ibadan land. He has been a true friend and will use them better than I could ever do anyway.

Finally, to Mr. Derin Banwo, I will my hospital, Omega Clinic. From where the elders go, I would like to see how eager Mr. Banwo would be to destroy the hospital, sack all the staff that depend on it and all the patients that have years of treatment and history with it, now that it belongs to him. Maybe he will then understand the cruelty behind his seeking to destroy all that I had worked for all my life.”

The will named Rasheed and Agatha as the executors of the will.

“Wow!” Agatha said, when Rasheed was done.

“How could Haruna name this woman an executor? And give me just one house in this Ibadan? To spite me? Rasheed, are you sure this will is real?” Bintu said indignantly.

“Woman, you better watch that your tongue. If it wasn’t for that tongue, we would still have Haruna with us, instead of being here reading his will.” Rasheed thundered.

Bintu cowered and became quiet after that. Turning to Agatha, Rasheed said “now, we need to get the grant of the Probate to execute the will properly. Congratulations to your son, for now owning the hospital he wants to destroy. My chambers will formally inform him of this development, but you can do so informally.”

With that, he gathered up all that was on the table and left, with Bintu quietly following. They were gone for a full five minutes before Agatha finally got around to calling Derin.

**********************************************************

Awazi was all dressed and racing to stop a cab. Samir had tried to talk to her, but she had just kept pushing him away. She had to get home, and fast, before Derin. If he was already at home before she got home, she would give herself away, she was sure of that.

Then Derin’s phone rang and from the ringtone, she guessed who it was – her mother in-law. Had Derin called her? What did he say to her? Was she calling to tell her to leave her son’s house? These thoughts ran through Awazi’s mind as she contemplated whether to pick the call or not. “I’d rather at home than here in the taxi,” she said out aloud to herself. The phone rang out.

********************************************************************

Derin paused from his pacing at the sound of the gate opening. It happened every time he heard that sound. He was hoping it would be Awazi each time, and had been disappointed all the times so far. This time however, moments after the gate, they heard the burglary proof opening and Derin knew it was her.

The moment the door opened, he said with relief “where under God’s heaven have you been Awazi? I have looked everywhere for you.”

To Awazi however, Derin’s relief sounded like an accusation.

She shot back “and where did you go too Derin? I came out of the room to talk to you less than ten minutes after I’d been in there, and you were nowhere to be found. You run off every time we have an issue Derin, you always run off on me.”

“Babe, I didn’t run off. I was afraid and worried, and I thought you would listen to Kamal if you weren’t going to talk to me. So I went to get him”

“Hi Awazi,” Kamal said, and she noticed for the first time that he was also in the room.

“Oh God, I’ve been such a fool!” Awazi exclaimed.

Kamal interjected “No it’s my friend that has been foolish, but we’ve talked and he would do right now. We…”

“So it was Kamal you went to and not Ope,” Awazi said to Derin, cutting Kamal short.

“Ope? Whatever put that idea into your head that I went to her,” Derin asked.

Derin’s phone rang again in Awazi’s hand, the Sweet Mother ringtone piercing the air. She handed it over to Derin and he took the call.

The conversation was quick, and Derin’s interjections of “What!” “It cannot be!” “When did it happen?” “This morning?” “In the last twenty minutes?” and so on put both Kamal and Awazi on the edge. The moment he ended the call, Kamal asked “what was that about?”

Awazi’s mouth went dry, believing that the only reason Derin could have been exclaiming the way he did in the conversation was because Agatha had somehow found out about what she had done and told him. She blurted out “I’m sorry Derin, it was a mistake, the greatest mistake I have ever made and one that I will regret forever. But please forgive me, I beg of you. For the sake of what we’ve had, I beg you.” She went on her knees.

“Awazi, what are you talking about?” a surprised Derin asked.

“Whatever your mother told you, at least let me say my part,” Awazi began, with tears streaming down her eyes. “I thought you had left me in the room and gone to Ope when I came out of the room and met an empty house. So I went to Samir…”

“What! You didn’t even wait for one moment, no hesitation! So you went racing back into your lover’s arms, yesterday night was too sweet, you just had to go for more abi? Kamal, shay you dey hear wetin I dey hear?”

“Kamal, please help me beg him, it’s the handiwork of the devil. I don’t know how the anger came over me. Please.”

“Derin, please…” Kamal began

“Kamal, don’t let me fight you! What are we even protecting in this marriage sef? En, what? I’ve had it, look, Awazi, it is over, you understand? Go back to you Fulani boy, shebi you people will be speaking language to each other. And look, if you do not leave this house, I will leave the house for you.”

“Derin please, I beg you, don’t do this to me.” Awazi said earnestly.

“You are leaving my house, and not one moment later than now. Your guilty conscience and my God pushed you to confess. My mother only told me about the death of Doctor Ajanaku this morning and you thought she had somehow gotten to know about what you did. My mother’s head is fighting for me.”

“Kamal,” Awazi said, turning to Kamal. But Kamal turned his back. She was alone.

“Derin,” she said “you went to this woman, Ope, years ago, and lived with her for months. I took you back. In what should have been a moment of pain and consolation for both of us after we lost precious Isaac, you went right back into her arms, I didn’t leave, I tried to keep us working. You didn’t see or share my struggles, how I was nearly running mad, how lonely I felt. Derin, I have made this one mistake, and I ask that you forgive and do not leave me alone, this one time. Please.” She tried to reach out and touch him but he slapped her hand away.

“Listen to yourself Awazi! You are a woman! How can you compare? Look, there is no point flogging this horse, it is dead, decomposing and buried. Please go. Just go.”

Awazi saw that she could have been appealing to a rock, Derin’s mind was made up. She went inside, and began to pack a box. She would pack light, and hope to return soon.

She called her cab man, and left the house.

**************************************************************

“Aunty Jamila,” Awazi said into the phone, “he threw me out”

“What!” Jamila said, surprised at the turn of events “What happened? I thought you were going out of the room to sort things out?”

Awazi explained all that had happened to her aunt amid tears.

“Awazi! How could you do such a thing! What has Lagos done to you? Let me speak with Derin. Do not go anywhere; I will call you back now.”

Awazi waited for Aunty Jamila to call her back. She had bought a ticket for Abuja on her phone. She needed time away from Lagos, from these southerners, from everyone. Irrespective of what her aunt was able to say to Derin now, she wasn’t going back to the house. She was wrong, yes, but his hypocrisy stank to the high heavens.

Fifteen minutes later, Aunty Jamila called back.

“Awazi, he is a man, he is still angry. I will still call back and talk to him, but I want you to come here to me in Abuja, until we sort this out. I’m sure if we give it a week, he will be sufficiently calm.”

She thought about it, in the light of what had been on her mind just as the call came in.

“No, aunty,” she said. “Derin has been doing this to me for years, and even as recently as last night, and I forgave him, repeatedly. One mistake, and he throws me out, him and his friend. Aunty, I will be travelling, but won’t be coming to Abuja,” she lied. She really, truly wanted to be on her own for now.

“Awazi, stop being rash. It is this your rashness that has gotten you here. And now, you are about to make an impulsive decision again. Pause and think!”

“Aunty, my mind is made up. I will keep in touch. They just announced my boarding, I have to go now,” she lied again.

“Awazi, Awazi! Where are you going, you this child?” Aunty Jamila was saying.

Sanu, Aunty. I’m sorry.” She cut the call and turned the phone off.

***************************************************************

“Derin, what will you do now, the hospital is yours.” Kamal asked.

“I’m confused man, I cannot lie” Derin said, running his hands over his hairless head.

“That man was just a shrewd old man. Now, will you be suing your own hospital? Won’t you just look absolutely ridiculous to the court? The two human defendants are dead, and the hospital is yours. No case, my brother.” Kamal said.

“But I can reject the hospital now. I am not compelled to take it, I’m not under any obligation.” Derin said, perplexed.

“And would you still not look stupid? It is within your power to deal with the hospital you’ve always wanted to go to court to deal with, and you refuse to. Will you now go to court to shut the hospital down after you’ve refused the hospital, when you could easily have done it? Look, any path you take, you’ll look bad. If you take it and shut it down, you’ll leave many jobless and be seen as evil, running down such a legacy. If you take it and keep it running, you’ll look like the hypocrite who always wanted to shut it down before it was yours, but now couldn’t shut it down. And if you refuse it, you’ll still look stupid, being handed the chance of a lifetime to have money and refusing it. Kai, these old people are terrible.”

“My mum said to reject it, that it would carry a curse, since the two people who owned it died because of my actions.” Derin said.

“That’s pure superstition bro, and it is not your actions that killed them. Don’t take guilt for what isn’t yours,” Kamal responded.

“So what should I do? If you were me, what would you do?

“I’d take the hospital, and keep it running. That’s the wise, pragmatic thing to do. And get an experience doctor to be the Chief Medical Officer, seeing to the day to day running. You’d retire as you are, instead of trying to get another job now.”

Derin looked up at Kamal, doubt in his eyes. “You’re sure?” he asked.

“You could pass the ownership to me and find out for sure,” Kamal said, smiling.

Derin attempted a smile and then shrugged his shoulders. “Very well, that’s what I will do.”

Throughout the conversation, there was not a single mention of Awazi.

******************************************************************

17 Months Later.

Derin sat in the conference room of Omega Hospital. Around him was his team – the Chief Medical Officer of Omega Hospital, Dr. Omololu Bucknor, the lawyer, Professor Charles Acha and an ashen faced young doctor, Shem.

On the opposite side, a stone faced Korede Adams and his two lawyers sat. They were negotiating a settlement with him. Korede’s wife had come to the hospital to deliver a baby, and eventually, after two days in the hospital, with her blood pressure rising, the doctors had advised that they do a Cesarean Section. And Dr. Shem had performed the operation. The baby had been delivered successfully and the mother closed up, when she began to complain of tummy pains. It was a long time before they discovered that she had been closed up with a scalpel inside her and this had caused the bleeding. Now, her husband was taking the hospital to court for the matter, and asking that their license, as well as that of Dr. Shem be revoked.

Try as they had, they had been unable to convince Mr. Korede Adams to let the matter be settled out of court.

“I want justice, that is all,” he had said, eyeing Shem coldly.

His lawyer had said with some respect to the professor “see you in court sir,” and the professor had told Derin things were not looking good for them. It appeared Shem had realized the scalpel was inside her while she could still be saved, but had kept mum out of fear, and that was what the other lawyers were going to court with.

He went straight from the conference room to the car. He needed to go away from this madness, from Ibadan. He had relocated to Ibadan to run the hospital a month after he had taken it over, after Kamal had finally gone to join his family.

The driver was already running the engine when he got in from the hot sun and the AC felt like heaven. He was having a splitting headache but he just wanted to get away from the hospital, its smells of drugs, its sounds of stretchers and wheelchairs, from all of it. He unlocked his blackberry and saw that he had waiting emails and a series of waiting BBM messages. The old Derin would have checked BBM before emails, but now, he checked his email first. He opened the email. The first was from Awazi.

(I was tempted to end this episode here but you guys would probably kidnap me, so keep scrolling for the rest of it. >=) )

He had not heard from her since she left his house that day. And after the way he had spoken to Aunty Jamila, he had been unable to call her. He tried to call Awazi, but she seemed to have changed her numbers. He quickly opened the email and here’s what it said

“Dear Derin, I hope you are happy. I hear you are doing well with Omega Hospital now. The attachment should interest you. All the best in life.”

Derin opened the attachment, cursing the network for the almost one minute it took to load.

When it finally opened, it was a picture of a smiling Awazi in a definitely European background, holding a little boy to the camera, his smile revealing a toothless mouth. It took only that look for Derin to know that he was looking at his son.

Broken Mirrors – Episode 16

Don’t forget to check out http://www.lushdeals.com/ for your best discount deals in Nigeria

If you missed this, then you should pause now and read this. https://tlsplace.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/bursting-your-bubble/

TL

Broken Mirrors Art

Rasheed collected the phone from Bintu and dialed the last number she had spoken to. The phone merely rang once before it was picked.

“I have been expecting your call, Bintu. I take it that you watched the news, since you are calling back,” Jamila said amiably.

“Madam, this is Rasheed Sanda, SAN,” Rasheed said, trying his best to sound impressive.

“Barrister, I thought I would be speaking with Bintu. Good morning to you,” Jamila said.

Rasheed responded “I wish I could say good morning, but unfortunately, it isn’t. You know that this illegality of an arrest you have concocted and that we will fight you with all that we have if you dare…”

Jamila cut him short “Oh, Rasheed, cut the prattle. We both know what this is about. It isn’t about legality, or you would not have taken away the livelihood of my in-law and threatened to do the same to his wife. It was about power, and vindictive vengeance. So do not tell me about legality now that you taste a dose of your own medicine. Look, if this is what you want to say, I have nothing to say to you. Now good day, Mr.”

“An an, Madam, it’s not like that now” Rasheed said, trying to be conciliatory. “I’m just worried about my brother ni.”

Bintu eyed Rasheed with venom. Why the hell was he begging this woman.

“Your brother will be released temporarily in about an hour. Now, if as much as a hair on Awazi and her husband get hurt by any action or otherwise from you, I’m hurling him in. and I’m sure you know I can hurl you in, and legally too. I don’t have to tell you I mean this.”

“So Arinze will be released today?” Rasheed asked to be sure.

“Stay by your phone, I’m sure he will have a few things to say to you when he gets out. Now, for the second time, good day, Barrister Sanda.”

Once Bintu saw that the call was ended, she said to the lawyer “haba, we gave you phone to handle the issue, you were begging like a student with his headmaster.”

“Woman, shut your mouth, gbe enu e soun. You think I don’t know what I am doing? Let us first get Arinze out of this. All of them, abowaba no oro won (we will return to their matter after that is sorted).

**********************************************************************

Awazi slammed the phone on the couch in anger. “Derin!” She thought. “DERIN” the thought tore through the seams her mind.

“I know what I’m going to do,” she said out aloud. He wanted this? Then that was just what he was going to get. She went into the room and got dressed. Her car was yet to be fixed, so she simply called a cab.

It took the cab a mere twenty minutes to get to Omole Phase 2 since the Lagos roads were free of traffic on this Sunday morning.

All through the trip, Awazi kept muttering to herself and at some point the cab driver had to ask “madam, hope all is well.” Her cold “please face the road,” warned the guy not to meddle any further in this passenger’s business.

The gate looked very different in daylight but she remembered the smaller wicket gate that she had gone through the night before and so let herself into the compound. Apparently, that gate was not locked during the day. That also told her that there was someone in the house. She saw the familiar car parked in the compound, and the sight of it strengthened her resolve.

But then, she got to the door, and stood before it. The sight of the door drained her of that resolve. Knocking on this door meant she was crossing a point of no return. Her hands trembled and she began sweating.

The door opened and Samir stood before her in nothing but shorts. He eyed her with raw lust from head to toe and then asked “were you going to just walk to my door and turn away?”

The sight of him and the way he looked at her caused her blood to race. A sense of guilt tried to creep into her heart, but she pushed it back with an effort, reminding herself that Derin had done this with Ope yesterday, and then left her in the house today to run back into her arms. She pushed Samir lightly back into the house, startling him.

“First, you are going to shut up Samir. I’m doing this for me. Do not annoy me with your jabber.”

With that, she undid the bow at the shoulder of the satin dress she was wearing and it slid off her shoulders without any help. She stood naked before Samir. A bulge rapidly formed in his shorts, but he stood there, immobile, disbelieving that this was really happening until she said “are you just going to stand there and stare, Fulani boy?”

He didn’t need a second invitation. He went over and kissed her hungrily, as if to satiate the many years of hunger. This time, unlike yesterday night, there was no resistance on her part. Her hands reached for his shorts and yanked them down, freeing his erection totally.

********************************************************************

Arinze stepped out of the Ikoyi office of the EFCC. They had detained him for only an hour and from the amount of journalists and photographers on hand, he had guessed it was all staged for the benefit of the press, for the public who condemned people as corrupt by what they saw on TV and read in the papers. So substantial damage had been done already to his public image.

They had actually treated him with courtesy once the photographers were gone. They took his handcuffs off, and then the small man who had chaperoned him since the arrest ushered him into an office where he had spoken quietly

“Mr. Kilanko, do you know why we brought you in?” the man had said.

“You are the ones that came to bring me in, so you tell me,” Arinze had retorted.

“Very well,” the man had answered, with a smile tugging at the corners of his small lips. “I am not going to beat about the bush. You are victimizing a poor boy whom you think has no one. Derin Banwo. I’m certain you are familiar with the name.”

“What? How is Derin involved with this? Not any of the other importers? How can this be about Derin?”

“Oga, I cannot categorically tell you how, but I’ve been told to tell you that you and your cohorts at Omega Hospital had better stopped the witch-hunting of Mr. Banwo and his wife Awazi for the reasons you know, otherwise, you will be coming back to EFCC and your visit will definitely not be as pleasant as this one. And we both know that we can make this happen. The activists will feast on you.”

Arinze knew that even if the EFCC brought charges against him, he could wriggle out of it if he spent enough money. But the battle would be messy and the money would be much. He didn’t need all of that.

When they released him, they had made sure it was through a side exit, with no press.

Rasheed’s phone rang and when he checked the caller ID, he heaved a sigh of relief. It was Arinze.

“Omo Ibo, thank God you o, we saw what happened on the news…”

“Rasheed, don’t omo Ibo me, please! What kind of thing is all this that you have gotten me into sef? You know how delicate times like this are for my business, with all the subsidy report boys running up and down, and you drag me into an issue that has brought the EFCC on me, publicly! You want to ruin me abi? Wo, I just said I should call you to let you know that you better leave that boy alone, for your own good. And don’t call me on this Derin matter again!”

“Ah ah, Kilanko, ko to be, it hasn’t reached all this now,” Rasheed said.

Ko to kini? E no reach wetin? Wo, if you were not my brother ni, this conversation would not have gone like this. Do you have any idea how much I will have to spend on PR to clean this mess up and assure my partners both foreign and local that all is well? The kind of money I will spend on this en, you cannot understand.”

“What are you trying to say Kilanko? You better watch your proud tongue. Me I cannot understand money? No matter the clothes a child has, he cannot have as much rags as his elders!”

Arinze snorted. “Abegi, I have sha said my own. Don’t talk to me on this your Derin matter again! O dabo.”

With that, he cut the call.

“This one that we took from the gutter, see as he is now talking to we, the real owners of the house. It is not his fault, it is me that needed his help. It is my yam that has put my hand in the oil.”

He had stepped into the lobby to receive the call and when he re-entered the doctor’s ward, he couldn’t recognize it as where he had just left minutes ago.

Different medical personnel were hunched over him, and others were running helter-skelter.

“What is happening here,” he asked no one in particular. None of them took any notice of him, they just kept at what they had been doing. He did a quick scan of the room and saw Bintu in a corner.

He weaved through the bodies and made his way to her side with some effort. “What is happening here?” he repeated, now to Bintu.

As an answer, Bintu pointed to the ICU monitor. The green lines on its screen that had been an irregular up and down pattern had become a flat line.

****************************************************************

Awazi had enjoyed the sex with Samir much more than she thought she could. It must have more to do with the way she channeled all her anger into energy. Now, she lay on the couch though, the nagging sense of guilt was beginning to gnaw at the edges of her mind again.

She reached into her bag and pulled out her phone. It had three missed calls. She selected the View option and the phone displayed the missed calls after a few seconds of the annoying rotating bb hanging clock. Something was not right. The phone told her that the missed calls were from her. But the more she looked at it, the less it made any sense to her. How could she have called herself? But as real as the couch she was lounging on, the number whose call she had missed was hers. The guilt began to gnaw deeper and translate into dread.

She quickly went to the home page and typed “SAM” expecting Samir’s number to pop up, but it didn’t. only a Samuel came up.

She recalled that she had not dialed Derin’s number when Ope had picked his call earlier; she had used her speed dial. She held down three on the phone to speed dial. Immediately, the caller ID showed on the screen. Ope. The truth was obvious to her, from the moment she had seen the missed call, but she had struggled and hoped it wasn’t. In her anger at home, she had not realized that Derin had picked her phone when leaving, thinking it was his own. And she had simply dialed Ope from Derin’s phone, thinking she was dialing Derin from her phone.

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!” she screamed in anguish, sending Samir running in from the bathroom.

**********************************************************************

Agatha rushed into the ward where they had told her she would find both Bintu and the lawyer. She sensed something was amiss when she got there and saw the crowd. Derin had called her to tell her what had happened yesterday night and she knew she had to see these people today, before things got out of hand. These Ibadan lawyers were known to fight both in the physical and by spiritual means. She didn’t want any strange things happening to Derin.

She asked one of the nurses if the lawyer was there and the breathless young lady pointed towards where she saw his grey head. She called out “Mr. Sanda,” in a loud enough voice for him to hear above the din.

Surprise registered in his eyes when he saw her, but he made his way out of the room to her. Agatha saw that Bintu had followed him out – the hawk.

“Mr. Sanda, sorry to bother you, it seems I have come at an inopportune time. Can we talk somewhere?”

“Sure,” Rasheed said, and led them towards the conference room.

Once they were inside and the door shut, Agatha fell on her knees and began to plead

“Please leave my son alone. You have taken his job already, but please, let it not be more than his job. It is not every chicken that turns over our medicine that we break their eggs because we ourselves might need those eggs in future. I beg of you.”

“Madam, your son didn’t tell you that your in-laws have fought for him abi. His wife’s aunty our own person arrested this morning. Please get up and stop these crocodile tears here,” Bintu said harshly.

That was news to Agatha. She hadn’t suspected there was any issue between Derin and his wife, since he had called her with Awazi’s number, but with this news, she couldn’t help but wonder what was going on with her son and his wife. She quickly got up.

“Sorry about your person o, I did not know at all,” she said, more to the doctor, for fear that if he felt backed to a wall, he would attack Derin with diabolical means.

“Agatha, Dr. Ajanaku just passed on, a few minutes before you came in.

“Wow. I’m so so sorry,” Agatha managed to say.

The tears were flowing from Bintu’s eyes now.

“Well, he requested that his will be read as soon as he passed on, since he survived his wife and first son. He had assumed that Hakeem would be the only audience I would read it to.” Rasheed said.

“I should be on my way sir,” Agatha said to Rasheed, and began to gather herself together to leave.

“Actually, you should not be going anywhere. The doctor specifically requested that you should be at the reading of his will, in the event that he passed on while this case was on.”

“He did?” Agatha and Bintu asked simultaneously.

“Yes, and there is a copy of that will in his office, sealed by the police. But we will get in to retrieve and read it, here and now.”

Bursting Your Bubble

This story came to me after a conversation with my friend, Tolu Adeleru of Nigeria Info. NB: This is Fiction.

bubble bursting

Friday – October 3, 2012.

Chudi was getting dressed. Today had been a day of mixed feelings. Two lists had come out at work, two very significant lists. The first was a 115man list, announcing disengagement of staff. The other, the promotion list had just fifty names. His name was on the latter, but a lot of his friends were on the former, hence he really couldn’t celebrate his promotion at work. He intended to celebrate it tonight however and had called up his guys Moody and Kess. Kess was the organizer, and he had promised three hot Unilag girls for the occasion. He linked up with them at New Hall in Unilag and his jaw nearly dropped. The girls were kum faya kum, as he liked to say. He quickly took charge of the one with the ukwu of life. Tonight was going to be the night men.

Minutes later, they were out of the Unilag gate and racing towards the new improved Road Runners. This was the first time he was going to the club since they had added the top floor to the building and men, it would seem half of Lagos was here. It took them a good fifteen minutes before the found a parking spot along the road. He still had to wait for Kess for another five minutes before they were set to go in. the bouncers hailed them as they went in and Chudi, feeling generous tonight  squeezed a thousand Naira bill into one of their hands and the moment they saw it, they three their hands in the air, stomping their feet in salute. Then the first explosion rocked from within. Then the gunshots began. That was the last thing he remembered.

Saturday – October 4

Boko Haram releases Youtube video, taking responsibility for the attack on Road Runners

On the news, the death toll is reported at fifty.

On the ground, two hundred people are dead.

Sunday – October 5

Deacon Lazarus Duncan was preparing to read the announcements. Pastor’s message today had been the usual Five Ps of Prayer types. Even though he, a deacon of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Surulere Baptist Church was bored with the message, since he sat on stage, he had to act the part of an attentive deacon. He had perfected the art of falling asleep while looking attentive, and relying on the cue of congregational responses to wake him up.

As he gathered his agbada to go and pick the microphone, he rehearsed the joke he would use as an icebreaker in his head. Today, it was going to be the one about Songs of Solomon he would use. The thought froze in his heard as the explosion occurred, and the flames raced towards him. Hell had come down into the church of God.

That afternoon, the reports were that Boko Haram had struck in coordinated attacks in four churches in Lagos – Surulere Baptist Church, The Latter Rain Assembly, The Redeemed Christian Church of God Christ Church and St. Dominics Catholic Church. Death toll at the time of the report was put at 1,250, with another 4,000 injured.

Sunday – October 4 – 6:00PM

Governor Fashola came on TV and condemned the attacks, calling on the police to fish out the perpetrators

Monday – October 5 – 8:00AM

President Goodluck Jonathan released a press statement, condemning the dastardly act and promising to leave no stone unturned to bring the perpetrators to book.

Monday – October 5 – 8:00AM

In Igbobi College Yaba – Notice on the school notice board

We, the true worshippers of the prophet warn you to stop attending the school of the great Satan, for we have declared Jihad on it. Be warned and stay in your houses. Abu Qaqa.

All over Shomolu Local Government Area, such notices were pasted on the school notice boards. Most of the pupils didn’t know how to find their way home. Pandemonium as the news filtered through twitter. But twitter is blocked in the offices of most of their parents. So they did not know. The police was overwhelmed with the number of schools and deployed sparsely, overstretched.

When Boko Haram struck, they came to four schools. Igbobi College Yaba. The police there were quickly overpowered and the militants were about to gain entry when they were engaged by soldiers from Mayon Barracks, directly opposite the school. In the firefight, 100students died. 25 Boko Haram Members were killed, and 5 soldiers lost their lives.

The other schools were not so lucky to be located near an army barracks. At the popular Our Lady of Apostles School, after a brief shootout, the policemen took to their heels. Their bullets had no effect on the fighters, and the fighters mowed them down. The girls were lined up, stripped and their necks slit brutally. 250 of them. It was the same story at Queens College, Yaba and CMS Grammar School.

The total death toll of this attack – 700students, 74teachers, 100policemen, 50Boko Haram fighters and 5soldiers.

Tuesday – October 6

Parents refuse to allow their children go to school all over Lagos. Teachers stay at home too and do not come to schools.

President Jonathan deploys Joint Task Force to Lagos, and roadblocks are set up all over the town, at virtually every major junction.

Wednesday – October 7 – 10PM.

Boko Haram fighters break into the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons and free the inmates, killing all the wardens and police in the process. No single Boko Haram Fighter lost his life in this attack.

Saturday – October 10

JFT and Police go on a joint operation into the Idi Araba area. They have received intelligence reports that many of the Boko Haram Fighters pose as Okada Riders by day.

After the fighting, 50 students at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital as well as 10 doctors are dead. JTF recovers a cache of weapons including AK-47s, RPGs and IEDs. 150 Boko Haram Members are arrested, and a leader of the sect is killed. Every news organization carries the news in a celebratory victory mood. Very few question the extent of collateral damage. Only the Okada riders see this. After the JTF leaves, Boko Haram members come in and recruit the survivors for an operation.

Wednesday – October 14 – 6:00AM

The Idi Araba riders who lost their families, homes and means of livelihood to the raid and now a part of Boko Haram returned to their community. They went straight to the houses of the four JTF informants, and killed every living thing in the houses.

Wednesday – October 14 – 7:15PM

A trailer has fallen across the 3rd Mainland Bridge and massive traffic has built up, from the big Star billboard all the way to Obalende. Tempers are flaring and horns are blaring. Suddenly, the trailer explodes, destroying the bridge at that point. The flames engulfed the row of five cars closest to it and several rows further, the glass from the mirrors and windscreen shattered and flew all over like shrapnel.

As soon as that signal was given, four other cars, in the traffic at different points exploded and the carnage was devastating.

Wednesday – October 14 – 10:30PM

Five container ladden trailers parked in front of Mayon Barracks. The area boys were following its movement, to know where it would park so that they could go and collect their “boys money” once they stopped finally.

Suddenly, the the container doors flew open and armed fighters jumped out of them and poured into the barracks. The soldiers were caught totally unawares and the militants were armed with sophisticated assault rifles and Rocket Propelled Grenades. They overran the barracks.

By the time JTF reinforcements arrived, they had killed 400Soldiers, their wives and their children. Then they herded the rest into the armory, from the officers down to the lowest recruit and then they blew themselves and everyone else up.

That night, Boko Haram released a video stating that they had exacted vengeance for their members killed in the Idi Araba raid by JTF.

After this incident, JTF went brutal on Lagosians.

 *************************************************

 TL’s Note

I have painted the pictures above vividly, because I observed that we the Lagos based middle class cannot understand what life is in places like Maiduguri. I have not done a complete job, merely selected certain reported instances of Boko Haram hits and translated to Lagos settings and scaled up casualty figures for population differences. What I have done is to attempt to burst our bubble, and make this threat a real, living threat to us. WE NEED TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM NOW, DEMAND THAT OUR LEADERS FACE IT WITH ALL SERIOUSNESS AND SOLVE THE PROBLEMS. This is what life is like for people in certain areas of this country, on a daily basis. I lived briefly in Yobe during my NYSC and visited Maiduguri. When I hear about the attacks, they are locations I once walked in, lived in and knew well. I worshipped in some of the churches hit in Damaturu. They are very real to me, and I can’t help but wonder if I would react differently and more seriously if I still lived there, unable to leave, unable to escape.

Baba Risi’s Court – International Local

Enjoy another time with Baba Risi. 😀

Baba Risi 2

It’s 5PM and Nigerians on the internet and who have cable TV are tuned in to Aljazeera for the broadcast. The host, Femi Oke, knowing she has a huge Nigerian audience today appears in an Ankara outfit and a Chimamandaesque headtie.

“Good evening, and you are now in the Stream. Today, we will be discussing the Nigerian Justice System. We’ve been getting tweets about the recent injunction restraining the country’s number one corruption agency, the EFCC from prosecuting Ifeanyi Uba, oil magnate who is alleged to be involved in the fuel subsidy underhand dealings, as well as owing Three Hundred Million Dollars to the nation’s Asset Management Corporation. Of course Milika Bilal is here tracking your tweets on the matter. Milika, what are Nigerians saying about their justice system”

Camera zooms in on Malika’s screen as she reads out tweets “The tweets are pouring in. This one here from @kazeem says ‘we have an injustice system, there is no justice for the common man’ and this one from @lagosgbajumo says ‘if I steal a governor’s phone, I get 40years, if I steal 48Billion, I get a pardon and a governorship’”

“Thank you Malika. To discuss this issue today, we’re joined by in the studio by eminent Nigerian judge, Jerry Adebayo. You’re welcome to the program sir.”

“Thanks for having me here, Femi,” the bespectacled, wiry man seated beside Malika responded.   

Also joining us is our West Africa correspondent, Yvonne Ndege who is in Lagos, Nigeria today. She has come upon an interesting justice system running parallel to the formal one, which the regular Nigerian masses, the traders, the market women, the regular people the justice system is meant to serve seem to take most of their issues to. She has with her the man who runs one of such courts, Baba Risi. Yvonne, you’re welcome.”

Focus shifts to an Yvonne who has been part of one of the proceedings in Baba Risi’s Court and is still smiling at the thought “thanks Femi. And Baba Risi is here with me in his courtroom. It’s packed full here, with a flatscreen TV commandeered from one of the viewing centers here to watch us live.” The camera swings to show the cheering crowd in the court who go quiet once the clerk shouts “Order! Order!”

Baba Risi’s large frame filled the screen, clad in his usual white kaftan, but wearing a white skull cap this time. “Welcome Baba Risi to the Stream,” Femi said.

“Tainks Femi. We are happy to be here,” Baba Risi said in his usual booming voice. Femi thought he reminded her of Dele Momodu, the celebrity magazine owner.

“So we begin. Judge Adebayo, it would seem from the tweets that Nigerians do not trust the justice system. Why do you think this is so?”

Judge Adebayo cleared his throat noisly before responding “Nigerians generally prefer to be ignorant of the law. Hence, they display this lack of understanding in their ignorance of due process and expect the law to deliver justice outside the law.”

Baba Risi cut in “oga Judge, learned colleague abi no be so una dey talk am, if the law wey una get no make sense to common man, how una expect make dem trust am? Plus all una appeal, delay and magomago, na why dem prefer to come people like us. Na one time, sensible judgment we dey give.” The subtitles struggled to keep up with Baba Risi’s speech.

The judge said haughtily “can you please wait your turn to speak? And I am by no means the colleague of a quack like you…”

Baba Risi laughed as if the judge had said the most silly thing possible “oga Adebayo, why things dey pain you like this, to reach to dey insult me. Quack sha, na the person wey get customer dey sell market o, and people prefer my own judgment to una complicated matter.”

Femi quickly mediated as she saw the scowl on Judge Adebayo’s face “Judge Adebayo, people on the street seem to agree with Baba Risi. Yvonne interviewed a cross section of Nigerians, ranging from the usual type at Baba Risi’s court, to pretty educated Nigerians. Here are some of their responses.”

Camera rolls and Yvonne is heard asking a woman why she goes to Baba Risi’s court instead of reporting to the police and going to court

“see you,” the woman said as if Yvonne had asked the most ridiculous question possible “even police dey bring their matter to Baba Risi, so why me go go police wey go collect my money and court where dem go dey adjourn till I tire? Abegi, na Baba Risi biko.” She said the last part as if it was incredulous to think of going somewhere else but Baba Risi’s court. Baba Risi chuckled “learned colleague, hehehehehe”.

The camera moved to the upscale Victoria Island area where the suited respondent was saying “people prefer courts like Baba Risi because of the injustice they see our official legal system perpetrate. Injunctions, counter-injunctions, appeal, sections, all manner of things, we get confused, and get nowhere. The commonsensical judgment of the likes of Baba Risi, backed by the community’s approval as well as the power to enforce is closer to the sense of justice that people understand”

Femi addressed Judge Adebayo “would you respond to that sir?”

“What guides the likes of Baba Risi beyond their own haphazard convictions of justice? We in the legal system are guided by carefully thought out and debated laws and systems. And where there’s an injustice in a lower court, there is the possibility of appealing to a higher court,” Judge Adebayo responded.

Femi turned to Baba Risi. “Baba Risi?”

“Oshay my dear,” Baba Risi said. “This ogbeni is just talking book. In Naija, we know as e dey go. Abi, no be dem give Alams pardon recently? And no be them say make Ifeanyi Uba wey thief and all of us know, make EFCC no carry am go court, make dem fit give am governor for Anambra State. And for their court, dem go call person, he no go gree come court. Who born monkey for my court? If dem report you, you must show. And when we give you judgment, my boys go make sure say you perform. Baba Suwe wey dem disgrace for national TV, dem don judge say make dem pay am 25million, till tomorrow dem never give am. If na me say make dem pay person 1million, na instanter o. So Femi, help us talk to the matter, if na you, which one you go take?”

Femi could not help laughing, this Baba Risi had turned the table and was asking the questions. She skillfully ignored it and asked a question “But Baba Risi, how do you know a crime has been committed? Who are the witnesses, and what if your judgment is wrong?”

“In my area? If man dey beat him wife, we know. If boy na thief, we know. If woman dey pursue another person husband, we know. No be like police wey no dey know anything. And you no fit lie for my court o, ayelala go catch you.” He laughed again, and Femi found herself chuckling again.

“Malika, what are Nigerians saying on twitter?”

“Interesting stuff here, Femi.

@sisishewa says ‘Baba Risi for Chief Justice!”

Another @milikiman says ‘Judge due process. Please give me Baba Risi’s Court address jor!”

And the third that got me in stitches is from @rollingblender. He says ‘I was in Baba Risi’s court when he dealt with boys that brought a gun in. That ayelala works o. Gangsta Blasta!”

“Ahhh, Rolling Blender, omo buruku,” Baba Risi interjected when they read the last tweet.

Judge Adebayo shook his head. “This is just sad. Justice in the land has been reduced to the likes of these charlatans.”

“Oga, if una dey give them justice, dem go come meet us? Abeg park well jor” Baba Risi retorted.

“Mr. man, will you keep quiet when your betters are talking? If things were normal, why would I be joining issues with a tout like you” Judge Adebayo shouted angrily

“Emi keep quiet?” Baba Risi laughed. “You get luck say you no dey hear, my boys for show you how we dey do people wey dishonor this court.”

“You see what I am saying? The man is uncivilized. He’s threatening me already!” Judge Adebayo raised his voice even more.

“Ogbeni judge, you wey dey civilized, na him dey shout o. Who be tout?”

Femi tried to mediate “gentlemen calm down…”

Judge Adebayo would none of it. He jumped up and waved a bony finger at Femi “if I had known you were bringing me to join words with this scallywag, I would not have come here. This is beneath my person!”

Baba Risi teased the Judge who was breathing hard now “Scallywag ko, scallykenge ni. Ogbeni sit down and stop threatening the fine omoge in the studio.”

The judge stormed out of the studio.

Broken Mirrors – Episode 15

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******************************************************

There’s a lot going down with what next to do with the series on the blog, and Write Right. I’m dying to share, but would wait until things solidify. Hope to be able to share soon. Enjoy Broken Mirrors today.

TL

Broken Mirrors Art

“Babe calm down, I was going to tell you. I have not had the chance to tell you just yet. I was trying to tell you when Mr. Samir picked up yesterday” Derin said, trying to placate her.

“Tell me which exactly, Derin? That you were jobless, or that you had hurled your jobless ass into bed with that witch all night?” Awazi was on a roll now.

“If you had picked that call, none of this would have happened!” Derin said in a voice he wanted to thunder but didn’t quite turn out that way. Her words stung.

“Listen to yourself Mr. Banwo! You are saying in essence, that the reason you were fucking Ope yesterday night was because your wife didn’t pick your call. So you go around sleeping with someone each time your wife does not take your call? And by extension, should your wife have a quickie each time she calls and cannot reach you?” Awazi responded contemptuously.

“Awazi, stop talking nonsense! I did not sleep with Ope yesterday! No, I didn’t!”

“Ow, she was merely camping in your room all through the night perhaps?” Awazi shouted.

“Madam, if we follow your logic, that by being in my room yesterday, Ope was shagging me, then, by being in Samir’s house yesterday, you were definitely humping him!”

“Oh puleasa! You as usual like to turn logic on its head. It was obvious I wasn’t doing anything with Samir and you know it! And everything you’ve said right now confirms that you were actually… damn!”

Derin turned around “You know what, this is not what I came home to hear.” He picked his key and went towards the door.

“Derin where are you going? We are still talking!” She raced to his side and held him back.

“Awazi, you will leave me alone this minute!” Derin bellowed.

Awazi refused to, maneuvering to face him and standing between him and the door.

“You are not going anywhere until you tell me what you were doing with that bitch yesterday night!” Awazi shouted, nostrils flaring.

“As much as you are attempting to draw out some physical response from me, I will not descend to pushing you out of the way. I have never hit you and today will not be the first time I’m going to.” Derin tried to free himself from Awazi’s grip and turn into the house, but she held on firm.

“Awazi, let me go!” he said forcefully, but she refused to.

“I said,” he forcefully disengaged himself from her grip and sent her reeling backwards “let me go!”

Immediately she fell, Derin felt a wave of sremorse wash all over him. He knelt beside her “Awazi, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…”

Through teary eyes, she just gave him the “talk to the hand” and gathered herself up and went into the living room, leaving him kneeling.

He quickly got up and followed her into the living room.

“Awazi, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” he tried to go over and hold her but she got up and went to another end of the room, moving as he followed her around. She put the L-shaped couch in between them.

“How could you, Derin? How could you!” she shouted from behind the couch that separated them.

Derin knew she was asking both about him shoving her, and about Ope in that question. He just kept saying he was sorry, trying to get to her. But try as he did, she made sure the couch was always between them.

She had gotten herself to the door of the bedroom, and still had a couch between them. She gave him a look that pierced his heart and then dashed into the room and locked the door behind her before he could climb over the couch to go in.

He banged on the door repeatedly, but Awazi didn’t respond. Derin crumpled into a sitting position in front of the door.

*******************************************************************

Inside the room, a crying Awazi dialed Aunty Jamila. The moment Jamila picked the phone on the other end and heard Awazi’s sobs, she knew something was seriously wrong.

“Awazi, menene?”

“Aunty, my home is falling apart all around me, and I’m clutching for straws. Every other issue we’ve had, I at least had Derin on my side. But this time, it is different. Derin is outside the bedroom and I’m inside. I locked myself in.” Awazi said.

“Calm down and tell me what is going on,” Jamila responded, wondering why her niece would lock herself in except she was under some threat. If that Derin was beating her en. She tried to hide the alarm in her voice.

“Aunty, I did as you asked and went to show Derin support in Ibadan over that court case. It turned out to be a disaster. When I found out that the doctor that killed Isaac was a drug addict, I lost it and went ballistic on him. Before then, Derin had agreed with me to drop the case. But that witch of a lawyer manipulated him using that incident and he decided to pursue the case, even if it meant digging Isaac up for autopsy. I mean how could he agree to anything that would involve violating Isaac like that? I left in anger.” She sniffed

“Go on,” Jamila urged.

“My car broke down at 11PM and I was stranded. I called everyone, but couldn’t get through. I had to call Samir.”

“Which Samir is this?” Jamila asked, trying not to believe it was who she thought it was.

“The same Samir Aunty,” Awazi said.

“The Fulani boy, Awazi! Haba, of all the people under God’s heaven, it had to be him, and at that time?” Jamila said.

“Aunty I had no choice!” Awazi said in exasperation.

“Okay, I’m listening. What now happened?” Jamila knew better than to stifle the flow

Awazi continued “he dragged my car to his house and I went in, just to rest till I could go home…”

“Kai Awazi, you went to another man’s house at that time!” Jamila could not help herself.

“Aunty, where should I have gone? Stayed on the road? Waited for Derin who was in another woman’s arms to finish with her and come for me from Ibadan?”

Jamila wasn’t sure she had heard right “Derin was in which other woman’s arms?”

“That his lawyer. That Ope, the same woman he went to when we had those issues. He accuses me of calling Samir in desperate need, but he chose Ope as lawyer when he wasn’t desperate and went on to sleep with her.”

“Awazi, are you sure about what you are saying or this your hot body is what is talking?”

“Bintu told me, and when I confronted him, he could not deny it.”

“Who is this Bintu?” Jamila queried

“Aunty, she is the doctor that owns the hospital’s second in command. The drug addict younger doctor I told you about committed suicide and his father, the old doctor that owns the place had a stroke as a result. Now they’re blaming us for it and they are out for revenge. Their lawyer is Derin’s oga’s brother and they have made Derin lose his job. She called me this evening to tell me about all that happened, since Derin did not tell me himself. And she threatened to make me lose mine too, and continue to deal with us. Only if Derin had listened aunty. I’m just tired of all this,” she burst into tears.

“What! After they took Isaac from you, because they suffered loss now, she made your husband lose his job? And is threatening you? And you chose to believe this woman?” Jamila asked in quick succession.

“I didn’t believe her, but when I confronted my husband, he didn’t, couldn’t, deny it. He only accused me of doing the same with Samir.”

“How did he know you were with Samir? Did you tell him?” Jamila queried.

“No Aunty. It was that foolish Samir. Derin called my phone while I was in the loo in his house and he picked the phone and spoke with Derin.”

“What! How? And you expect your husband to be calm! Lagos has done something to you Awazi. Which Eggon man will allow that? He will be waiting for you with a machete”

“I explained…” Awazi said.

“You explained what? By going to accuse him of sleeping with another woman? Listen to yourself.”

“But aunty, I didn’t do anything wrong, and he did sleep with the woman!” Awazi felt herself getting angry again.

“I am coming to that your Lagos to talk sense into you tomorrow. But first, I need to deal with the fox and chase it away, before I chastise my chicken. You said this Bintu called you to threaten you.”

“Yes Aunty,” Awazi answered.

“Give me her number. I will deal with her myself.”

“I will text you her number now, once I get off the phone,” Awazi said.

“Good. Now, go and open the door and beg your husband!” Jamila ordered.

Awazi mumbled an inaudible response.

“I did not hear you,” Jamila pressed.

“Okay Aunty, I will do as you say,” Awazi said finally.

“Good. Now send me that number.”

Nagode sose, aunty” Awazi said and ended the call.

She texted the number to Aunty Jamila and then walked gingerly to the door. This was going to be hard, but she would give it a shot.

When she opened the door, Derin was not there. She tore into the living room.

*******************************************************

Bintu did not pick her phone at first. She was in no mood to talk to anyone. Since last night, she had eaten nothing, and she still hadn’t regained her appetite. She had camped in the hospital room where a visibly emaciated Doctor Ajanaku lay, watching him, and sobbing deep, quiet sobs. But the caller was persistent and she eventually picked it up the fourth time the call came in.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hello Bintu,” a female voice responded. It had a slight northern accent but spoke with authority.

“Yes, speaking. Who is this please?” Bintu responded.

“My name is Jamila and I am Awazi’s aunty. And let me be direct. I did not call to chat. You will stop threatening my niece.” Jamila spoke with measured tones.

“She has told you of our loss. After we pleaded and pleaded, they insisted on destroying us and they are on the verge of achieving this. Let them have a taste of their own medicine,” Bintu replied, in equally measured tones.

“They first experienced loss, a needless loss shall I say, and could be expected to be headstrong. They are children. And I’m sorry about your loss, I have heard about it. And the pound of flesh you’ve taken already in Derin’s job. That is not a problem, I will concede that to you, and we will get him another job. You must stop trying to destroy the family. If you touch my niece, you have no idea what I will bring against you.”

“She destroyed my own family, so why should I hands off hers?” Bintu asked

“Family? I thought it was your boss and his son that things happened to? How did that translate to family?” Jamila asked.

“Madam, what are you driving at?” Bintu queried.

“It’s just as I suspected. There’s more involved here than mere employee loyalty. You would not go to such extremes except there was something personal. Let me state the obvious – the doctor was your ‘family’” Jamila said with obvious meaning.

“I don’t have to listen to this,” Bintu said.

“Before you cut the call, let me tell you exactly what will happen. And you will hear the first one of these on the news if you tune in to the 10am bulletins. First, the EFCC will arrest that boss who took Derin’s job. You will hear it in the news. Second, I have personally reached the MD of her bank. Except there’s someone higher in that bank to sack her, you cannot touch her job. Third, if that your lawyer doesn’t want to end up being blamed for the death of that Hakeem boy, you will back down or we will find a way to make it a murder case with the lawyer as the prime suspect. Believe me I can make it happen. My full name is Jamila Shehu, the vice chairperson of the EFCC and a policewoman. I CAN make it happen, but will do so only if you persist. I wish for nothing more than for you to nurse your lover to health. Do not push me. Good morning Bintu.” The line went dead.

Bintu was visibly shaken, but she reasoned that it was a threat and anyone could say anything.

Rasheed came in, fresh from the night’s rest.

“How is he?” he asked.

“They say we have to fly him out on Monday. But he is stable now.”

“Better.” Rasheed tried to be cheery.

“One Jamila just called. She says she is Awazi’s aunty” Bintu said.

“We are not listening to any begging. I spoke with Arinze earlier this morning and he has given me his assurances. He will call the MD of the girl’s bank later today and make the demand. I will call him too and make a similar demand. The man will have to bend or we will begin to move funds out.”

“She did not call to beg,” Bintu said.

“Oh?” Rasheed raised his eyebrow, curious.

Bintu checked the time. It was ten o’ clock. She turned the small TV in the room on and tuned to Channels TV for the news. The lady was just about to start reading the headlines.

  • –   20 killed in fresh attacks in Yobe by Boko Haram
  • –   The 2013 Budget yet to be signed as faceoff between the president and the National Assembly continues
  • –   EFCC arrests oil magnate, Arinze Kilanko over fuel subsidy probe report.

“What!” Rasheed exclaimed.

“She promised that this would happen and it has. Rasheed they’re fighting back.”

“What’s her name? Who is she?” Rasheed asked, obviously livid.

“She said her name is Jamila Shehu,” she responded.

“Jamila Shehu? Of the EFCC?” Rasheed inquired.

“Yes, she said she worked with the EFCC.”

“Haaaa! We are in trouble. What else did she say? That woman is not to be toyed with. She has the presidency’s ears. She said she’s the girl’s aunt?”

“Yes. She threatened you, the hospital, and myself,” a visibly shaken Bintu responded.

“We have to call her back. You still have her number, yes?” Rasheed said.

*************************************************

Awazi had checked everywhere in the house but Derin was nowhere to be found. She felt the anger rising again and she clenched her fist, counting to ten. “Awazi, calm down,” she said to herself, and took deep breaths. She had carried the fantasy of falling upon her grieving husband waiting to beg her outside the door and then begging him profusely until they both fell into each others’ arms crying their sorries until they ended up making sweet love. But all that greeted her was an empty house.

She dialed Derin’s number. And he had better answer this call.

The phone rang out the first time and she dialed again, angrily this time.

It was almost ringing out when someone picked it up. She was almost going to go into a tirade about why he had left and why it took him so long to pick but she breathed and calmed herself down. Her calm was shattered when a female voice said

“Hello”

Awazi answered furiously, “and who the hell are you picking my husband’s phone?”

“My name is Ope.”

Constitutional Keg of Gunpowder

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History, they say often repeats itself, especially when we fail to learn from it. I am often fascinated about how much illumination our pre-colonial history can bring to our present issues, hence I study it earnestly. Recently, I was studying the collapse of the Oyo Empire, and it would seem that the consensus was that the empire more or less imploded, due more to internal collapse in administration, that to external threats.

As a background, one needs to understand the way the Yoruba governed themselves. Ife is the ancestral home of the Yoruba and all the subsequent Yoruba states are believed to have been dispersed from there. Irrespective of size, the subsequent Yoruba states followed a model that was remarkably similar for governance, buttressing the point that they must have dispersed from some central point. There was usually a king (an Oba or a Baale), and a council of chiefs, the ijoye, who had great influence and counterbalanced any despotic tendencies in the king. The council of chiefs selected the Oba from any of the ruling houses. The powerful Ogboni cult played a significant role in governance and gave the general populace a say in how they were governed. If the Oba was one of the primary children of Oduduwa, he was entitled to wear a beaded crown and had his kingship confirmed by Ife.

The Oyo adapted this model and fine tuned it to suit their imperialistic/militaristic tendencies, with the Alaafin as king, the Oyo Mesi as ijoye/kingmakers and there was the Ogboni cult for the young and old, with the leader of this cult being a part of the Oyo Mesi. The Alaafin had to be selected by the Oyo Mesi and could be removed if he was presented an empty calabash, thus balancing power.

Inter and intra group relationship amongst Yoruba states were governed by powerful taboos known as eewo, and no matter how powerful a ruler was, if he contravened an eewo, he was a goner. Examples of the eewo include the fact that no Yoruba state was allowed to destroy a market or market town, no matter the provocation. Any of the other states were forbidden from attacking Ife or any of its holdings. This collective formed the constitution by which the Yoruba governed themselves, and though it wasn’t written down, it was just as binding on the Yoruba as our current Nigerian constitution is expected to be binding on Nigeria

This constitution worked for non-imperialistic Yoruba states. But as soon as Oyo began its conquests, the system that was put in place to govern the conquered territories was the first contravention of this constitutional order. Oyo placed Ajeles in conquered Yoruba states, outside of constitutional precedents. Now, this in itself was not what affected Oyo constitutionally. However, the fact that the Ajeles were appointed unilaterally by the Alaafin, and that the economic wealth of the empire came from those conquests upset the balance of power the constitution provided. Alaafins became increasingly despotic. But rather than attempt to tackle the constitutional issues that caused the problems, each of the Oyo Mesi members went into a deposition spree, attacking the office of the Alaafin. But opposition without deep thinking to solve fundamental problems does nothing different. It only replaced the Alaafin with an even more despotic Bashorun Gaha. Eventually, the royalists under Alaafin Abiodun fought back and destroyed Gaha and his associates, but by then, the problems were at a head – the constitution which worked well when Oyo was a merely metropolitan state could not be used to administer the empire properly without making fundamental changes, which none of the its administrators were willing to make. After Abiodun, his successcor, Awole tried to assert himself and went on to commit the eewo of destroying the market town of Apomu. His chiefs refused orders from him after this and Afonja in Ilorin led what was essentially a peasant rebellion against him, rallying Yoruba and the Hausa who had been slaves and skilled workers in service of the Yoruba. The implosion was on the way, and it was so devastating when it finally happened that Oyo ceased to be, many of the Yoruba towns were obliterated and totally new ones came into being. Ilorin became a Fulani dominated state and the fragmented Yoruba states fought amongst themselves for decades, culminating in the sixteen year Kiriji War.

Nigeria is in the same conundrum. There are fundamental issues, around how we govern ourselves, which if we do not think deeply collectively and agree on solutions now will lead to an implosion greater than that of Oyo and of course much more devastating. Today, we have a constitution that both the leaders and citizens do not respect or do not obey. The very thing that should be the basis of governance is not working for us. We have refused to define a Nigerian identity, and the state is organized around access and control to the oil in the Niger Delta in much the same way the Oyo became towards the end – a struggle between the elite to control what had become its mainstay, the slave trade. However, like the slave trade, oil wealth is one that is not replenishable, doesn’t build the state and that doesn’t last indefinitely. In the same way that the choke in the supply of slaves affected the Oyo economically, a choke in the flow of oil affects us economically (the Niger Delta Militants have learnt this fact well). The same way Oyo depended on external supply of horses to remain a sustainable empire, we depend on the import of virtually everything to keep us running. The moment the Nupe cut off the supply of horses and the economic situation of the Oyo was such that they couldn’t afford sourcing horses elsewhere. Sounds like what could happen to us? Ponder this. The same way Awole lost legitimacy before his people by executing an eewo in destroying Apomu, our leaders continually cut off their own legitimacy by their actions. One day the people will react like the Oyo did and refuse to listen or obey leaders they consider illegitimate. And the same way when the opposition to the Alaafin came into power and turned out to be just as despotic as the Alaafin they replace, events in places like Edo Gubernetorial elections show us that opposition merely kicking PDP out will remedy nothing.

The only way is to address these fundamental issues as to how we want to be governed as a people, and then adhere to it, from leadership to bottom, the kind of deep thinking that happened in places like Ibadan and Abeokuta after the Kiriji war, where each Yoruba state evolved models that worked for them – the Ibadan, a type of republican government and the Abeokuta, a confederation. The model where the Niger Delta subsidizes the rest of the country apart from Lagos needs to stop. It is unsustainable and creates a potentially implosive situation. The constitution needs to be critically looked at and reviewed to reflect the realities of our specific Nigerian challenges, and handle them; that after all is what a constitution should be. Not an idealistic quixotic document, but one which addresses the issues that our coexistence raises and is updated as new issues come, a la all the amendments of the American constitution.

Finally, I’m not one of the advocates of separation in the Nigerian state. Let’s imagine we separate into the West, East and North. The same issues that Nigeria as a whole have now will crop up amongst the various Yoruba sub-groups and it will be even more vicious (fights between neighboring and closely related ethnicities are usually more terrible than amongst distant enemies). And no matter how much the fragmentation happens, we will still need to deal with the issue of living together. Hence, the way I believe would work is for us to identify the issues, and address them. Or we will implode.