A Novel Written by Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
Morakinyo sat there not sure whether to take the handshake or not. Finally, he took it lightly, wearing a non-challant expression. To say the least, that was the greatest surprise Adarabioyo was receiving that year. Not even the envy-induced criticisms of Professor Obasan shocked him as much. He stared blankly at Morakinyo, expecting to hear some form of explanations. After ten seconds of silence, Professor Adarabioyo spoke.
“Is it because your Doctorate has been delayed for two sessions?”…ehy… ah! You ought to be happy after all. May be you don’t know that only yours was approved in the whole of this faculty of the thirteen who had their defence at the same time with you”
Adarabioyo stopped to see his reaction to that… there was none. He looked straight at him now.
“In fact” he continued “there were some candidates whose results have been delayed for up to four sessions… I think you should give glory to God… Together, we worked towards the realization of the Department of Aerospace Studies. Now that the Senate has approved it, I expect you to be happy or what else?”
Morakinyo adjusted his seat and cleared his throat.
“Sir I must be sincere, I was not expecting this news now, it has only added to the confusion in my life”
Adarabioyo removed his glasses, strained his eyes to see if was speaking to the right person. He stood up and surveyed the young man from head to toe. “Morakinyo are you in your right senses” The Professor whispered.
“Then what exactly do you mean. How can such good news like this bring you confusion?”
Morakinyo adjusted himself again, cleared his throat unsure if the right words will come out.
“Sir, I’m glad you’re a child of God and you‘ll be able to understand my plight” He started, his eyes trying to avoid Adarabioyo as he returned to his seat. “It’s been up to three years now that I’ve received the call of the Lord into a ministerial assignment. I have got several confirmations from the word of God at various times”
He paused and looked straight at the Professor as if to see what he was saying had any meaning to him. Convinced he was communicating, Morakinyo continued “Several dreams and prophecies have confirmed the call. Ever since this started I have never had peace of mind, every time it comes to my memory, I become sad. I have tried asking God to allow me do some other things, but he has not responded…”
Adarabioyo stared at him, bewildered, though he would not allow that to show on his face. He was scared. He knew what Morakinyo was driving at, but secretly he prayed in his heart that his suspicion would be untrue. He listened carefully, weighing each of Morakinyo’s words.
“The most disturbing aspect of this issue is that the call of God appears to be somehow related to a village mission work” Adarabioyo breathed what seem to be a sigh of relief, but was really a sigh of tension.
‘A village mission work, Morakinyo wants to go on a missionary work in the village! How about the new department he was to start with him?’
Morakinyo was the only lecturer apart from himself in the whole Department of Engineering Physics who specialised in Aerospace and Aerodynamics.
“I thought the Senate had forgotten about my Doctorate, why is the approval now coming at a time like this when I have decided to obey the call of God”
Professor Adarabioyo was sweating already; he knew the implication of Morakinyo’s decision. The new department of Aerospace Studies cannot take off with only one Senior Lecturer. At least there must be one other expert in the field to start off with him.
Already, he had decided to postpone his sabbatical leave due for the next year in order to ensure a smooth take-off of the new department. Now this! He pretended as if he had not yet got the meaning of Morakinyo’s excuses. He tried another trick.
“Well…working for God is a good idea…you know the pastor always encourage that in his sermons, but you see, I don’t understand what the call of God has got to do with the award of your Doctorate…I mean why should that cause you confusion” said Professor Adarabioyo, hoping that he had said the right words. He relaxed easily trying to force a smile that was nothing but tears inside him.
“Prof, I thought you understand Sir” said Morakinyo knowing that Adarabioyo was trying to avoid realities. He was determined to have his way through. This call of God into the field of mission was real. He had prayed, fasted and waited upon God concerning the issue. He had discussed with some brethren who had prayed along with him and confirmed the call. That morning, he was determined to make a determination of the issue.
For three years, he had delayed concerning the call of God. When he spoke with the pastor a week earlier, he knew he had really gone astray. That night in the pastor’s office after the bible study session, he tried another set of excuses to explain off the call.
“Pastor, you’re aware of my profession. I’m a lecturer” he started, his voice laden with emotion. “Presently, I’m supervising the projects of six students, there’s no way I can leave the job without affecting them”
Pastor Kalejaye stared at him blankly for about thirty seconds. The silence was uneasy; twice, Morakinyo avoided his hard stare. Kalejaye had the habit of staring hard at anyone he considered was not doing things in the right manner especially his stubborn counselees.
Having served as a full time pastor for more than twenty eight years, he had learnt never to get too emotionally entangled with his counselees. He gives his counsel in a straightforward manner not minding the personality of the counselee. He was never known to be partial.
Once, a multi-millionaire member of the church approached him with a five million naira cheque for the church planting fund. That was enough to complete the whole massive church edifice from the foundation to the completion and provide enough left over to cater for the official opening ceremony of the building. Pastor Kalejaye sought to know the source of the “blessing”. When the millionaire could not give a convincing explanation of how and where he got his wealth, Pastor Kalejaye simply told him off with his five million Naira!!!
He looked straight into Morakinyo’s eyes and called his name thrice.
“How many times have I called you?”
“Thrice Sir” Morakinyo could not look at him.
“Do you know the woman who went out just now at the time you came in” Pastor Kalejaye asked
“I know her Sir, but I’ve never been close to her, but I know she’s a member here”
“If I knew you were coming to say all these, I would have asked the woman to wait and hear what you came to say”
“Why Pastor?” Said Morakinyo frightened now.
“That woman had come to speak to me concerning the mission work that the Lord had committed into your hands. The spirit of the Lord came upon the woman and caused her to know that God is not happy that you’re been toying with his call!”
Morakinyo stared wildly at Pastor Kalejaye. To say the least, this was far from what he was expecting. He had never discussed any issue with that woman before. In fact, he had only exchanged mere pleasantries with her during the last New Year Eve when the whole church exchanged New Year greetings!
“My son, God cannot be hindered. He is the Omnipotent and Omniscient. He told that woman the secret of your life”
Tears swelled on Morakinyo’s eyes. If the Lord can reveal his life to that woman, then….! “Pastor, I never knew things have got to this extent!…. I’ve come to see you Sir, what should I do now?” Morakinyo said as the tears rolled down his cheeks.
“The word of God for you is contained in Romans 11:29; the gifts and calling of God are without repentance…As your shepherd, I’ll rather counsel you to go and make up your mind. All these excuses are not genuine.. If you answer the call of God, will your students leave school or will the campus be shut down?” He stopped and searched his face for a response, by now the tears had flooded!
“But Pastor…” Morakinyo spoke amidst his tears.
“It is true God wants to use me, but where? Or how do I know the particular place?”
“My son, that is not the first thing, you go ahead and make up your mind… then you can ask for the place of the assignment. That is not difficult for God to do. Do you understand…?”
He understood everything. That incident shook him to the marrow of his bones. He had never experienced such a thing before. He left the Pastor’s office determined never to look back again, no matter what … and there he was, a week later having to defend his decision before Professor Adarabioyo!
“The kind of mission God is calling me into demands that I resign my appointment with the university”
The bombshell! Adarabioyo knew it was coming, what else was he going to say! He sprang up from his relaxed posture as if he just understood what Morakinyo meant.
“But Morakinyo, what led you into all these!”
‘I know what I’m doing’ Morakinyo thought to himself.
“I thought you merely want to go on occasional evangelism into the village” Professor Adarabioyo was already counting his loses. “The Senate will suspend the take off of the new department if they learn of this development. Have you properly considered the consequences of this decision?”
‘Oh sure, I have’ he thought again.
“You’re one of the best lecturers here. It will affect the students if you leave just like that… what about the projects you’re supervising, what do you expect us to do?”
‘There’s no indispensable man’ Morakinyo thought.
He remembered the words of Dr. Tai Solarin; the proprietor of the secondary school he attended; Mayflower School, Ikenne. He had always taught his students that no man can ever be indispensable. He penned down the words of a song which had become an anthem for the school.
Sometimes when you are feeling important
Sometimes when ego is in bloom
Sometimes when you take it for granted
You’re the best qualified man in the room
Sometimes when you feel that your “going”
Will leave an un-fillable hole
Just follow this simple instruction
And see how it humbles your soul
Take a bucket and fill it with water
Put your hands in it up to your wrists
Pull them out and the whole that remains
Is the measure of you’ll be missed
You may splash all you please when you enter
You may splash at the water gallon
But stop and you’ll find in a minute
That it looks just the same as before
The moral of this is quite simple
Do just the best as you can
Be proud of yourself …but remember
There is no indispensable man!
Morakinyo recalled the words of the song and concluded in his heart that, even if he dies, the university will find an alternative!
“Have you forgotten that you’re expected to represent the university at the Ford Foundation’s International Conference on Aerospace Technology at Geneva in three months time?”
Morakinyo had forgotten that. For the first time since he made up his mind after the discussion with Pastor Kalejaye, he suddenly realised he was making a great sacrificial decision. He had forgotten about the Ford Foundation Conference. His mind quickly raced back to the Bi-ennial Conference. He had attended the last edition. All the expenses of the conference were paid by the Ford Foundation and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
He was lucky; he had a cousin to stay with in Geneva while the conference lasted. He came back with all the hard currencies meant for his hotel accommodation and feeding, about twenty-five thousand pounds sterling! His cousin had written to tell him he is welcome again to stay with him during next conference.
‘This is tempting Lord!’ he thought
Adarabioyo saw the battles going on in his mind right on his face and proceeded; he was winning, so he thought.
“We are supposed to be eighteen in this department, but presently we’re only seven. If you should resign now, we’ll be having only four senior lecturers left”
‘Why not resign after the conference and make some good money?’ Morakinyo asked himself. He had not heard the last statement of Adarabioyo as his mind was completely engrossed in the calculation of the money he’ll make from the conference.
The last conference was in 1984, just after Major General Buhari became the Head of State. The Naira has just been devalued and had fallen to 13 naira to a dollar. “Twenty five thousand times N13 …waow! N325,000!”
He remembered he had used the money to buy his brand new car, pay a good tithe and an handsome amount into the church planting appeal fund. He also started building a five bedroom massive bungalow in his hometown; Iresa. He had saved the rest for his wedding, but lost his fiancée three months to the wedding. She died in an accident. He had not proposed to any sister again.
‘Ah! That’s another problem’ he thought. ‘How do I say this to a woman and think she would accept to marry me?’
“Morakinyo!” Professor Adarabioyo called him, he did not respond, he was far away from the office. “Morakinyo” Professor Adarabioyo called again.
“Oh … yes Sir, I’m sorry Sir! I was just thinking of some things”
“I wish you’ll go and re-consider this decision of yours, I don’t believe God will allow anything that will cause retrogression in the education of our students here”
Professor Adarabioyo knew he had to spiritualise his arguments against Morakinyo’s decision. He must not mention anything about the newly approved department. He knew Morakinyo would see it as selfishness. Morakinyo was aware of his strong contributions with the dream of having his name in the records of the institution as the founding father of the Department of Aerospace Studies.
“Thank you so much for your counsel” said Morakinyo rising “I have not really made a final decision on the issue, I’ll see you later to give a feedback” Morakinyo said sharply and left almost hurrying out of the office.
Professor Adarabioyo had poisoned his mind. He was confused. Totally confused…
As he hurried out of Professor Adarabioyo’s office, he remembered the words of Pastor Kalejaye; “If you answer the call of God, will your students leave the school… or will the campus be shut down?”
To be continued in Episode 5.