A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
He reached for the gun and checked to be sure it’s loaded. Satisfied that’s its loaded, he drew it closer to himself with the nozzle of the gun fixed directly to his forehead. ‘Death is better than shame’
He adjusted his legs carefully, struggled to get of the big toes to the trigger. It was midnight. He sighed heavily and said to himself.
‘Only two things befit the brave… He won the battle… He died on the battle’
Gradually, the great toe found its way to the trigger and he pulled!
It was a hard one; he missed the trigger as the toe veered off. He set the toe to the trigger balancing the gun to his forehead again. The toe hanged carefully to the trigger… then… he closed his eyes tightly and pulled the trigger!!!
The loud explosion woke the entire town!
The Queen of the Coast saw everything! He saw the blood, the mangled brain and the lifeless body of the priest. Her meeting with the Daughters of the River was under way. It was just a quarter after two. In the next forty-five minutes, the skull clock will beep off to signify the end of the meeting.
Her anger rose violently as the trigger put paid to the destiny of one of her strongest allies in the region above the sea level.
“This is nonsense!” She roared with rage. “You all goofed! What is this that you’ve done” Were you sleeping when that man started the deadly mission in the town? She roared violently again causing an angry storm to blow the river. All the agents bowed in worship.
“You have utterly disappointed me! What explanation do you expect me to give to the Lord Lucifer?… Princess Virginia!”
Princess Virginia rose silently from her kneeling position and walked towards the throne shaking with fear as she approached the Queen.
“Your Highness, it was not our fault” She started, still shivering, unsure if her defence would ever convince the Queen. She knew what punishment awaited her if she failed to convince the Queen; several rounds of rape and torture from the imposing male agents with long fingernails and sharp teeth which they use to bite their victims.
“We tried our best to stop the man from getting to the town. We attacked him but all failed. He has a stubborn nature, he refused all distractions” The rest of the marine agents in the Onigba-Iwofa mission rose and joined Virginia in front of the Queen bowing their heads as they approach the Queen, afraid to look at her eyes.
“Oganranganjan came to give us word that he could not harm him. He said two swords rolled around him while emissaries of the Greatest One stood beside him” said Sapientia who stepped forward next and spoke.
“We even set Olojongbodu the great demon to task concerning him but, no sooner than the man entered the shrine that the demon had to escape from the building”
The Queen still boiling with anger looked menacingly around. She cast a glance at the male agents behind him who were waiting eagerly for her to give the command that they may pounce on the female agents. She turned back at Virginia and her mates.
“But then, what kind of power is the man using? Have you investigated and found any strategy to bring him down?” None of the group spoke.
“Your Highness, may I speak?’’ Princess Hagatha rose from her kneeling position.
“Yes, speak Princess Hagatha”
“I was in the town last week on a stroll…. As I moved closer to the former shrine of Olojongbodu, I heard him praying…”
Her report was brief and full of useful details. The Queen nodded. Hagatha’s suggestions were useful and worth making use of.
“Princess Hagatha, you shall proceed to the Onigba-Iwofa to commence work on the new plan”
“Mother! Have you forgotten, I am deeply involved in the campus operation and I have not finished. Am I to suspend that for the Onigba-Iwofa operation? “
“No! You shall handle the two together. A man with that spiritual level needs somebody like you. This is just one of the responsibilities that go with your promotion”
“It is well Mother; wherever a stone is sent, there it goes’’ She curtsied and returned to her position.
“You must start immediately. I give you six months to complete the operation. Sapientia will go with you. She will be your emissary back to me here in the palace’’
The Queen glanced at the skull clock, two minutes to three. She waited for another sixty seconds before she disappeared with her attendants. The skull clock moved gradually towards three. The seconds dragged away slowly as silence reigned everywhere. Soon it was three o’clock and all the Daughters of the River cleared off the meeting ground.
The village church conducts baptismal services every month. The number of converts was increasingly encouraging. During the last baptism at the River Oniwaraka, seventeen adults were baptised.
As Morakinyo returned home from yet another baptismal service at the river, he could not help singing praises to God. Fifty two adults were baptized in the latest exercise. His mission works in the village have really paid off. To say the least, he was enjoying the call. His needs were regularly met by the likes of Eebudola, Odesola’s wife, Oba Folagbade and a few others.
The church in Ibadan has been very supportive too. Thrice, the Senior Pastor had sent offerings from the Missionary Appeal Fund to him. He had been one of those who called for the creation of the Missionary Appeal Fund. He never knew the fund was ever going to serve his needs one day. Recently, he received a bank draft of ten thousand naira from a Christian body in the United States of America with an affiliate body in Lagos. He wondered how they knew about his activities in the village. He quickly dashed to Shaki, the nearest city where he cashed the bank draft.
With the money he had bought musical instruments for the church and bought a hundred bags of cements to plaster the walls of the new church. He dropped the rest at an electronics store where he had been making deposits for a big generating set. That same day he returned to the village with a Yamaha 900w generator for the church.
All these filled his heart as he sang rejoicing towards the parsonage. A few metres away he saw a visitor waiting for him at the door. The visitor, a woman must have waited for sometimes because she had already made herself comfortable on the pavement of the house.
He walked closer to the parsonage and saw the woman clearly. She definitely was not from Onigba-Iwofa or anywhere near; at least her dressing was not in any way like those in the Onigba-Iwofa. She appeared to be in her mid twenties. Morakinyo tried to remember if he had ever met her before, but could not place her in his memory. She rose as Morakinyo arrived the entrance.
“Good morning sir”
“Good morning my sister’’ he responded.
“I came to see Pastor Morakinyo Olagunsoye’’
‘She even knows my name’
“Pastor Morakinyo Olagunsoye? … I hope all is well sister’’ Morakinyo knew she must be a Christian. Her dressing and manners appears christianly. “Em… Why do you want to see him?’’
“The Lord sent me to him’’ said the lady. “I came from Lagos’’ she added.
“From Lagos!’’ Morakinyo was amazed; Lagos was a lot of distance from Shaki, let alone Sepeteri or Onigba-Iwofa. ‘Could she be from the Mission Agency that sent the bank draft’ He wondered.
“Please come inside, I am Pastor Olagunsoye, do come in and have your seat. You need to rest…’’ He led the lady into the sparsely furnished but neat sitting room. Morakinyo did not move all his things to the village. Only the basic necessities and a set of new cane chairs were moved into the parsonage.
“I’ll get you some water” He got a glass and served her water.
“Thank you Sir, God bless you”
“It’s a pleasure… by the way may I know your name?”
“Oyinkansola Oyero, but most of the brethren in our church call me Sis Oyin”
“I see… you have beautiful names. You are welcome to Onigba-Iwofa, God’s own village’’ She smiled. “Thank you Sir…Concerning the message I have for you from the Lord…For about six months now, the Lord had given me a strong burden about a mission he wants me for in a remote part of Yorubaland. Truly, I first rejected totally, but when it became clear that it is the will of God, I made up my mind and prepared to moved ahead’’
Morakinyo adjusted his chair, he knew he must listen carefully to everything this lady had to say. He sensed there was something unique about her.
“God told me, he had sent someone ahead of me to the village, but there is still much work to do there. I got here today and was told you have been here for more than four months now. I believe this is the place God wants to use me’’
“Wonderful… Sis. Oyinkansola, this is surprising. You came all way from Lagos to a village like this just for God… but what about your job?’’
“I resigned last week from my teaching job’’ I had to give it up for God’’ Morakinyo thought he was dreaming. This was too good to be true. Was God answering his prayers or….He tried to resist thinking along that line.
“I see…’’ He said trying to hide the excitement building inside him. “But, how did you get to know that Onigba-Iwofa is the village where God wants to use you’’ For the first time, his curiosity sought deeper explanations for the decision of the sister.
“That is a great miracle! I left Lagos very early in the morning today without knowing where I was going. I simply told God to direct my steps. I entered the vehicle going to Ilorin. When the vehicle got to Oyo, we heard reports that two tanker lorries collided along Ogbomoso-Ilorin road rendering it impassable’’
Morakinyo listened with rapt attention. “Our vehicle then decided to detour and pass through Shaki. A few kilometers after Shaki, the vehicle broke down, so we became stranded there. Just then the Holy Spirit ministered to me to start moving towards an untarred road opposite us. I did so, since I had told God to lead”
Morakinyo was all ears listening with rapt attention.
She continued “Less than fifteen minutes after I started trekking, a lorry passed by me and called Onigba-Iwofa. I stopped the driver and simply followed the lorry down here!”
“Ha, that is a great testimony. The Lord orders the steps of his children, you know?’’ The testimony was worth sharing with the congregation, so Morakinyo sought more information “Sis. Oyinkansola, I must confess, I’ve never heard this type of testimony before. I believe it is not a coincidence but the plan of God. Certainly, it is the will of God for you to come to this village. I am equally convinced more than ever before. I hope your husband is somehow in support of this vision, how do you intend to cope…’’
“Ah no! Not really’’ She interrupted. “I am not married. I am still praying about it’’ Morakinyo felt something tickle inside him.
“What is happening Lord!’’ He smiled uneasily and quickly stole a glance at her. Their eyes met…she blushed and smiled innocently.
“I’ll like that you meet the King of this village. He has helped so much to ensure the success of my mission here’’ He said, to ease the tension.
“Can we go now? I hope to return to Lagos today and get my load down here’’
“Today! No way! This is already three o’ clock, it’s definately too late. Besides, the only vehicle that leaves this village moves by six in the morning. You have to wait till tomorrow. You will stay with one of our church members, Mama Derombi. She’s a caring woman. You’ll love her’’
“Let’s get to the King so that you can have enough time to rest… If you travel tomorrow, when do you hope to return?’’ Morakinyo was already making calculations.
“If possible, I want to return tomorrow. I really don’t want to give way to any distraction no matter how small’’
“That is a wise decision…however you’ll need to wait until after tomorrow, it’s not good to travel late around this paths…besides, vehicles move only on schedule. It’s a miracle that you got here from Lagos at this time…On my maiden visit from Ibadan; I got here around 11pm”
“Jesus” She screamed!!!
Morakinyo led the way as they go to Folagbade’s palace.
The news of Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru’s death met with wild jubilations in the village. His children tried as much as possible to hide the news of his death, but the whole village heard the early morning gun shot. The neighbours knew where it came from and became extra vigilant as soon as it was morning. Before noon, the whole village had heard the news.
At first, women talked about it in low tones whispering to one another. No one was sure if it was real. Some said he had only pretended to be dead in order to identify his real enemies and later deal with them. Others said he would rise before sunset.
By late afernoon, the town crier had arrived the market square and broke the news. Folagbade ordered the news to be broken immediately contrary to tradition. Normally, the death of a Chief Priest is not announced until after three days. Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru’s death was different, it was a big relief that he passed away.
As soon as the town crier broke the news, the market women broke into loud jubilations. Some women carried leaves and sang victory songs to the palace congratulating Folagbade over the death of his arch-enemy. Another group of women danced towards the parsonage to rejoice with Morakinyo. They met him and his visitor, Oyinkansola as they left the parsonage on their way to the palace. They sang:
O ti se o, Baba ti se o He has done it
Ohun to n ba wa l’eru Our greatest fear,
Baba ti se o The Lord has done it.
They danced around Morakinyo almost forming a circle around him.
“E ke Halleluyah!” Said Morakinyo. The loud chorus of Halleluyah was deafening.
Morakinyo knew he had to do that to get their attention and let them know it is not right to be jubilant over an enemy’s death. He spoke for about ten minutes and convinced them to simply give praise to God and not jubilate. They listened to him. One after the other, the women dispersed dropping their leaves and emergency musical instruments.
“Why are they rejoicing?” Oyinkansola asked.
“The village Chief Priest died this morning. Only God knows what killed him. Though many people believed he committed suicide’’
“He must have been very wicked?’’
“Very wicked and notorious. He lived on sacrifices prescribed by him in the name of the gods!’’ They laughed and continued walking towards the palace.
To be continued in Episode 13.