A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
“So thank you Sister” the lady interrupted her thoughts “I‘ll tell your sister how everything went” She said smiling flashing her gap tooth. Gbayike would have appreciated her beauty but the fact that she came at the wrong time.
“Oh I should thank you” Gbayike quickly snapped not knowing what to say. “Please tell her to expect my phone call on Monday”
“It’s alright!” they parted at the bus stop. The lady crossed the road towards the buses en route Lagos at Challenge. Gbayike saw her entering one of the buses, she waved, the lady waved back. Gbayike turned around and let out a loud hiss.
The trip to Onigba-Iwofa had been sacrificed!
Morakinyo enjoys sitting in front of the parsonage to read the Bible in the afternoon. Apart from the harsh heat inside the house in the afternoon, the verandah allows for a serene view of the village. While reading the scriptures, Morakinyo would intermittently look up and imagine the glory of God upon the village.
“Good afternoon Sir” Morakinyo was too engrossed in the portion of the Bible he was studying to notice that Oyinkansola was coming in. Oyinkansola had gone to the central market to buy some items needed for the kitchen. As usual, she came back with two times what she had planned to buy. Each time she goes to the market, the women would not allow her to pay for whatever she buys. Some would even give her more than what she actually wanted to buy. The people loved her so much.
The Co-operative Union she started was yielding fast results. Through the efforts of the women Cooperative Union, new market stalls were built and contributions have started for the construction of a maternity centre.
“Ah, sorry Sister Oyinkansola, I was so engrossed in this part of the scriptures I’ve been studying for some time” he said.
“I see, may be you’ll share what you have studied with me as soon as I finish in the kitchen” Oyinkansola responded. Morakinyo always take time to share whatever new thing he discovers in the bible with Oyinkansola.
“You may suspend the cooking for now I actually wish to discuss with you”
“With me?” Oyinkansola knew what the discussion centre on. She however feigned surprise.
“Just a minute Sir” The use of ‘Sir’ persisted. “I want to drop the items inside… our people gave us several items free of charge again.” She said as she strolled towards the kitchen.
“Oh, God will bless them tremendously” A few moments later, Oyinkansola was back. “Please have your seat… you won’t stand while I share the word of God with you.” Oyinkansola smiled and sat.
“I was just reading through Proverbs Chapter 31, and I discovered some new things there. From it, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Lets read together.” Morakinyo was speaking with enthusiasm. Oyinkansola smiled.
Everything was working according to plan. Her heart missed a beat as she remembered Princess Sapientia. She hoped Sapientia was keeping a close watch on Gbayike. She wished Morakinyo would go straight to the point. Time could not be more precious than now. Morakinyo finished reading the whole chapter. It seemed like eternity to Oyinkansola.
“Em… Sister Oyinkansola, before I met you, I had some problems in my marital life” Morakinyo started. Oyinkansola breathed a sigh of relief, though her heart beat increased rapidly.
‘I hope this is the moment I’ve been waiting for’
“When I came to this village, I saw clearly that I need a helpmate. So I started praying”
‘Will you go straight to the point please?’
“Less than a month after, I started praying, God heard my requests and gave answers to my prayers?…God revealed a sister to me, I have prayed about her, now I know that definitely, the sister is the will of God for me”
“Ah! We bless God for that” Oyinkansola’s response came almost too quickly. Morakinyo thought she knew what he was going to say.
‘Goodness Lord how did she know?’
“If that is the case” she continued “May I know the sister, so that when she comes on a visit, she won’t be a stranger to me”
‘Ah… Praise God…she doesn’t know afterall’ Morakinyo smiled “Sister Oyinkansola, you don’t seem to understand what I’m saying… who else could be my wife but you… by God’s grace you’re the sister”
“Oh my God!” Oyinkansola said, the shock on her face was too real. She bowed her head and kept silent for a few seconds; by the time she lifted her head, the eyes were tear-soaked.
‘Oh no…I hope I have not hurt her, such a sincere and holy child of God’
“Myself?” She asked again.
“Yes… you Sister Oyinkansola” Morakinyo was moved.
‘She’s so sincere, such thoughts had never crossed her mind, she was only working zealously for God… what a wonderful daughter of Zion!’
“Please Sir, you’ll allow me to pray over this issue very well. Marriage is more complex than the way you have just spoken now” She said.
“Why do you want to waste time unnecessarily. I’m sure God must have been speaking to you concerning this issue. Don’t pretend please. God brought you to this village for a purpose.”
Oyinkansola wiped her tear-stained eyes. She kept silent for a few seconds as if disturbed by the proposal. “Well… I must confess” she started slowly, her voice breaking and shaking “I have also heard the voice of God concerning this matter. I simply pretended” She stole a glance at Morakinyo. “I believe you will say it one day… well, since you have said it now, I have no choice than to accept.”
Morakinyo wanted to scream and jump but restrained himself. This was going to be his greatest day ever since he arrived Onigba-Iwofa. He looked at Oyinkansola as if to be sure she was the one speaking.
“God bless you Sister Oyinkansola… so why have you been pretending all these days… anyway ladies are always like that… I believe that since we have stayed together for almost three months now, we must have known each other well enough. So we can start planning for our wedding”
The words were flowing carelessly. Morakinyo was too sure he was doing the right thing. Oyinkansola has proved that in every way afterall.
“Wedding?” Oyinkansola asked with surprise “Don’t you think that’s too early” She asked.
“Not at all! It’s not too early. It’s better to do it once and for all so that our work can continue in the village without delay”
“So when do we fix” Asked Oyinkansola. She was enjoying the whole drama. It was moving faster that she expected. Marrying Morakinyo was the greatest breakthrough she needed. Her plan was to cause Morakinyo to have sex with her, but that has virtually been impossible. All the tricks she tried failed. Morakinyo was a man of high moral and spiritual integrity.
“Well, we may need to go and see my pastor in Ibadan next week so that we may inform him and fix a date that will be convenient for us all… or what do you think?”
Oyinkansola’s brain was working like a computer. She knew the implication of going to see Pastor Kalejaye. She knew him very well. He’s one of the few pastors in Ibadan respected in the kingdom of Darkness. He’s one person no agent of darkness wish to go near.
“Why can’t we do all we want here in the village. I believe we should not waste resources on a big-time wedding. Let’s make it low-keyed. The Bible says we should redeem the time for the days are evil.” Moarakinyo was all ears. “The precious hours which could be used doing God’s work should not be spent on frivolities of wedding. Let’s inform His Royal Highness, he can join us, at least he’s a child of God. All our church members will stand as witnesses, at least the Bible says by the mouth of two witnesses, shall a word be established.”
“ ..and we shall have more than two witnesses.” Morakinyo concluded.
He stopped, kept quiet for some time. Suddenly, he stood up. “Sister Oyinkansola, lets go to the palace” Oyinkansola smiled. The deed is done!
Within seven days, all items had arrived! Tubers of yam, baskets of pepper, tomatoes and onions littered the parsonage. Bags of rice, beans, gallons of palm oil and firewood were sent to the parsonage four days to the wedding.
Although, messages had been sent earlier to Morakinyo and Oyinkansola not to make any purchase, they could not believe the huge pile of foodstuffs that stood in their house. Two days to the wedding, the goats from the King arrived. Twenty five hefty goats in all!
The hunters were not left behind. Six huge deers in addition to eleven fat grass-cutters had been killed and roasted. The animals had been cut into pieces and brought to the parsonage in five big baskets.
The wedding cost the couple next to nothing. They did not have to prepare anything. The whole of the church women were there from Thursday to prepare food for the wedding. They had assumed guests will come from the city. Only the His Royal Highness knew they were not expecting people from the city.
His Royal Highness, Oba Folagbade Lagooku (Ogajafowomeke II) The Adigbaare of Onigba-Iwofa conducted the wedding. Morakinyo only had to give him a little training on how to conduct a Christian wedding. Since the thing was not completely strange to Folagbade. He had been a Court Clerk in Ibadan for thirty-eight years. He had retired from the job to ascend the throne of his fathers in Onigba-Iwofa.
As a Court Clerk, he had witnessed the joining of several hundreds of couples. That made the assignment of joining Oyinkansola and Morakinyo easier. Within two hours, the wedding was over. Morakinyo and Oyinkansola had been joined in “Holy wedlock”
The reception was not the conventional type. The people simply feasted in the open space in front of the church. The feasting was heavy and no one was left unattended to. The left-overs and the uncooked foodstuffs could feed a whole village over and over again. Only those who asked for palm wine went home disappointed. Morakinyo had given a strict order that no one should serve palm-wine. He had on many occasions spoken vehemently against the consumption of palm-wine.
“If they refuse to give us palm-wine here…” Amusan told Labode his bosom friend “…then let us leave their wedding and go to our joint. I trust Iya Ala, palm-wine flows in her shop like the whiteman’s tap!”
“Amusan, I agree with you, let’s leave their wedding for them. They’re afraid that we may get drunk and tell the world the bride is already pregnant!” said Labode.
“By the hands of the Holy Spirit” Amusan added as the two of them burst into heavy laughter till tears flow from their eyes.
“To Iya Ala’s joint we go!” Amusan led the way. Unknown to them, Iya Ala was busy dishing out soup at the parsonage! She had closed her joint for the wedding.
Gbayike could not really explain what kept her from travelling out of Ibadan for a whole month. It was true the school where she taught needed her services greatly as the students were just preparing for their school certificate examination.
Moreover, the school was not government-owned, thus sneaking away from duty was most difficult. Her sister, Mrs. Ojuroye did not help the situation. She ought to have gotten in touch with her since the day she sent her secretary. She had called her office in Lagos more than thrice but the line had not always been through. The last time she called, the line was giving one funny scratching sound. The stress of going to take turns at NITEL office to make calls was another burden!
One thing or the other kept her from travelling to Onigba-Iwofa. A week before Morakinyo’s wedding she had determined to go. She was preparing to take her bathe when she heard Wonuola scream from the kitchen. She had tripped over the watery floor falling almost face down into the boiling pot of water on the stove. She was badly wounded. Gbayike had to rush her to the hospital after administering first aid treatments. She did not return to the house until two days later having to stay with Wonuola in the hospital.
As she strolled across the road towards the NITEL office to make a phone call to Mrs. Ojuroye she made up her mind to get through.
‘I won’t mind staying there for hours, I must get my call through today, I can’t afford travelling to Lagos at this time’She said to herself as she entered the NITEL call office. A long queue was already there and only two phone booths were available. She counted the number of those on the queue; thirty-one ‘Jesus! Thirty-one people to two booths!’ She grinned her teeth and felt like crying. ‘I’ll give it whatever it takes today!’
By the time it was her turn, a longer queue was already behind her. She looked back and shuddered as she thought of the reaction of the crowd if she didn’t get her call through on time. Just a short while ago she had joined the crowd to shout a woman out of the booth. Apparently, the woman was having problems with the line she called. The woman had to step out of the booth when the protest from others on the queue became unbearable. Gbayike had forgotten she was in the same shoes.
Her legs shook as she entered the booth.
‘What if the line does not get through again’ Her greatest fear was that if the people shout her out of the booth she would have to join the queue again from the rear. One after the other she pressed the buttons, her hands shaking. The receiver gave a funny tone and went blank. Gbayike knew she was in trouble. She stole a glance at the people on the queue; two men were fighting over their place on the queue. The first one pushed the other and a fight ensued.
The whole crowd turned attention to the fighting men trying to separate them. That gave Gbayike some more time to try the number again and again. The funny scratching tone was still coming. She closed her eyes and prayed silently, turning her back to the crowd. Peace had now been restored on the queue, a soldier attached to the NITEL office had dragged the fighting men out. Attention had returned to the booth now.
“Hey Madam, your time is up!” shouted the number two man on the line.
Gbayike pressed the buttons slowly now, she knew she was doing that for the last time, if the line gives any funny tone again, then it’s all over. The crowd will certainly throw her out of the booth if she attempts another call.
“Hello …” She almost screamed as the line got through to her sister’s office. A female voice responded.
“Hello … Funland Catering Services, may I know who’s calling please” it was the secretary.
“Gbayike, I’m Mrs. Ojuroye’s sister. I’m calling from Ibadan” she wondered if her sister had changed her Secretary.
“I’m sorry she’s not on seat right now … she went to see the Director of Prisons”
“Oh no!” Gbayike wanted to slam the receiver back in place. She had wasted all her efforts.
“Would you like to leave a message for her?”
“No … em .. Oh … Yes” She was confused “Please, tell her that I have …”
“Oh…excuse me” The Secretary interrupted, “Mrs. Ojuroye has just walked in. Please, hold on for her” Gbayike sighed heavily, placed a hand on her chest, after all, her efforts was not going to be in vain.
To be continued in Episode 16.