A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
Morakinyo dropped the receiver and stepped out of the booth. Three persons had already formed a queue outside the booth waiting to take their turns to make call. Morakinyo stared at Pastor Joju with amazement. He was already moving towards the bus.
Once they were inside the bus, Morakinyo opened the issue of the mystery phone number again as Dasofunjo eased the bus to join the slightly building up traffic of the Ikorodu Road towards Anthony.
“Pastor Jay… Please tell me, how did you get the man’s phone number…How?” Morakinyo was almost pleading now.
Pastor Joju burst into laughter this time around.
“Okay, I will tell you now…”
“Okay, I am all ears.” Morakinyo had become virtually impatient with Pastor Joju now.
“Okay…the moment we entered the house, my eyes went roving around, checking for possible clues and information. By nature, I do that a lot. I am an ardent student of the environment. Fortunately, my eyes settled a calendar of African Petroleum in the living room. It bore the name Bamidele Oyero as the Manager of the AP Filling Station on Oba Akran Way, Ikeja. The phone number was conspicuously written under the name”
“Pator Jay!!!” Morakinyo saluted Pastor Joju.
“When I noticed the change in the attitude of the woman and her hostility, I paid more attention to the calendar and crammed the number. Thank God I did that” Pastor Joju smiled again.
“Waoooh, Pastor Jay, in addition to ministry work, you have added the job of a detective to your CV… I celebrate you Sir” Morakinyo said and laughed. Pastor Joju just smiled.
The bus arrived at the church premises at around 4.15pm. Pastor Joju and Morakinyo went straight to the Senior Pastors lodge and gave him a feed back of the journey. Pastor Kalejaye was happy that at last Morakinyo was able to establish a contact with Oyinkan’s relatives.
“So when did the man say he will come to UCH?” Pastor Kalejaye asked.
Morakinyo sighed. He did not ask the man that particular question.
“He did not say specifically but he said something like… I will surely be on my way…Am afraid; he might get to UCH before us” Morakinyo said.
“Daddy, maybe we call that number again. Just to confirm if he has left Lagos” Pastor Joju opined.
“That’s a good idea” Pastor Kalejaye said and pointed to the telephone box.
“Pastor Jay, you still have the number up there…?” Morakinyo asked jokingly as Pastor Joju moved towards the phone box.
“Ahhh, trust me it’s up there, bubbling live and direct!!! His number is 01-2340472” Pastor Joju said as he dialed the number. The line rang severally but nobody picked it on the other end. Pastor Joju dialed the number again. This time, it rang three times before somebody picked it up. The receiver on the other end did not wait for any other formalities. It was a cleaner at the petrol station. She simply picked the phone and shouted crudely.
“Oga, e no dey office…Oga..o ti lo si Ibadan!!!” The woman replaced the receiver quickly.
Pastor Joju smiled again and reported to Pastor Kalejaye and Morakinyo. “The man is most likely on his way to Ibadan. The receiver on the other end said Oga has gone to Ibadan. Daddy, I think it’s good we go straight to UCH from here. If care is not taken, he will get to the ward ahead of us” Pastor Joju warned.
“That’s okay, but I think you should take your lunch, Mummy has made provision. Please take something before you go. Your food is already on the dining table” The Senior Pastor counseled.
Pastor Joju smiled again and said “Brother Morakinyo, if you will not disobey Daddy, join me at the dining table” Everyone laughed as Pastor Joju sauntered to the table. Morakinyo joined him laughing at the mischievous comic of Pastor Joju.
Pastor Joju was right; Mr. Bamidele Oyero was driving into the UCH when they arrived. However, since they did not know him, he parked and walked ahead of them towards the Female General Ward. While he asked a few persons for direction, Morakinyo and Pastor Joju walked past him and got to the Female General Ward before him. It was already time for visitation, so they had no problem entering the ward and went straight to Oyinkan’s bed.
Oyinkan was praying when they got to her side. She closed her eyes tight and appeared to be completely lost in the spirit. The duo of Morakinyo and Pastor Joju stood a few metres away and waited for her to round up. One of the nurses moved closer to them and tapped Morakinyo. “Sir, you had better call her attention, she could remain like that for the next one hour. She has become our official prayer warrior here!” The nurse explained, smiled and walked off.
Morakinyo and Pastor Joju drew near and sat on the chairs beside her. She heard movements and stopped the prayers. There were tears streaming down her eyes already as she prayed. She smiled as she saw Morakinyo and Pastor Joju.
“Ah…thank you Sirs. How was your journey? Were you able to locate my uncle?”
Just then, a Nurse brought Mr. Bamidele Oyero to her bed. Once he saw her, Mr. Oyero nearly screamed.
“Medayewa!!! What are you doing here….What did you to go do in Oyo!!! Ah thank God!!!” He touched Oyinkan and checked all over her body. “Are you alright?”
“Yes Uncle, am alright. I will tell you everything later” Oyinkan said amidst her sobs.
Mr. Oyero appeared to have seen Morakinyo and Pastor Joju for the first time. He turned towards them.
“Haa, sorry gentlemen, sorry I didn’t take note. Thank you Sirs. Are you the ones I spoke with this afternoon?”
“Yes Sir, we are…we actually…” Pastor Joju knew Morakinyo was going to speak about the trip to Lagos; he quickly pinned down his left foot with the right big toe. Morakinyo got the message quickly and changed the line of his words.
“We actually did not know you could make it today, we thought you will come tomorrow!” Morakinyo adjusted his words.
“Haa! Never, Oyinkan is my niece, the only daughter of my senior brother. She has been living with me since the age of eight. She is my daughter!!! I have been bothered that she didn’t come home after the campus closed. We had expected her back in Lagos since last week, but you know these young people, they have their own ways of doing things… So she went to Oyo, only God knows maybe she went with a boyfriend…Ehn?? You see your life now…Medayewa…Ehn??” Mr. Oyero spoke pitiably.
Oyinkan smiled and sat up on the bed.
“Uncle I am sorry. I will tell you everything” Oyinkan pleaded, exhibiting some pains as she spoke.
“We will excuse you” Pastor Joju said and stood immediately, holding Morakinyo. He didn’t allow any form of resistance from either Mr. Oyero or Oyinkan. They left immediately. Mr. Oyero thanked them and drew his chair closer to Oyinkan.
“Medayewa, what happened to you? What did you go to do in Oyo? Where were you coming from?” Mr. Oyero asked looking very troubled and worried.
“Uncle, I will explain everything… Just give me time. I will explain. You may not be able to return to Lagos today”
“Okay…I will stay. Worst case scenario, I will get a room in any nearby hotel…Go on, talk to me my dear”
Pastor Joju and Morakinyo waited in the church bus till around 5.45pm. They did not see the traces of Mr. Oyero and it was time for visitors to leave the hospital. Morakinyo advised that they go and remind Mr. Oyero that visitors are to leave by 6pm.
“Ah, no need, the Nurses in the ward will soon throw him out now, but all the same, let’s go and bid Sister Oyinkan farewell” Pastor Joju counseled.
Oyinkan had told her uncle, Mr. Oyero everything including the role played by her wife.
“Please Uncle; you must handle this with care. I restrained from telling you all these years because I don’t want to tamper with your marriage. Uncle, get a good Bible believing Church to attend in Lagos, now that you have given your life to Jesus. What Mummy Foyeke needs now is deliverance from the power of darkness and not confrontation” She spoke with passion with tears in her eyes.
Mr. Oyero also had tears in his eyes. He was completely broken by the things Oyinkan told her, especially about his wife and what she did to the pastor at Onigba-Iwofa. Oyero was not only scared but completely worried. He had not heard such stories in his life. When Oyinkan led him to Christ, he kept wondering if Oyinkan was the same kid niece he brought into his house about seventeen years ago.
“Please don’t confront her, but you can insist she goes to Church with you. God will expose many things to you. She joined the marine cult when she was busy searching everywhere for t solution to her barrenness then. She was sincerely wrong and lured into it by her friends. Please don’t fight with her” Oyinkan concluded.
She was praying with her Uncle when Pastor Joju and Morakinyo returned. Morakinyo was shocked to see the scene as Mr. Oyero bowed religiously and Oyinkan prayed for her. They stayed a few meters away again and allowed the prayers to end. Mr. Oyero rose and sat again. He brought out and handkerchief and wipe his tears. He turned around and saw the duo of Morakinyo and Pastor Joju staring at him. He stood up spontaneously and embraced Morakinyo.
“Thank you for everything…Thank you Pastor!!! My niece has told me everything. She told me to ask for your forgiveness on her behalf. She told me how you have showered him with love despite all. She has told me about Jesus. She has prayed for me too. Thank you Pastor…Thank you Sir” He sobbed as he held on to Morakinyo tightly. Pastor Joju could not bear it any longer, he began to sob too. Oyinkan was weeping freely!
One of the nurses stood behind them and tapped Pastor Joju to signal that time was up. Pastor Joju got the message and conveyed to the two men who were locked in a seemingly endless embrace. They hearkened and bade Oyinkan farewell. She drew her bible closer to her chest, closed her eyes and sobbed away silently.
Mr. Oyero followed Morakinyo to meet pastor Kalejaye at the church premises. Pastor Kalejaye was excited to meet Mr. Oyero. They exchanged greetings. As the greetings continued, Mr. Oyero looked at pastor Kalejaye with some feelings of nostalgic familiarity. He stopped the greetings and moved a little away from him.
“Pastor, sorry, by the way, did you attend Mayflower School in Ikenne?” Mr. Oyero asked.
Pastor Kalejaye too stood back and reviewed Mr. Oyero properly from head to toe. He seemed to see some familiarities in the man standing before him.
“Yes I attended mayflower School, Ikenne. I was a foundation set student in 1956 when Dr. Tai Solarin started the school. I am Student Number 56”
“Oh my God….Kaleeejooo!!!! This is Bamidele Oyero; Student Number 47!!!”
Pastor Kalejaye stepped back a bit and took another careful glace at the man before him and shouted “Abandijooo!!!!”
They embraced joyfully and began to sing some songs… The rest, including Mrs. Kalejaye watched gleefully as the two old school mates began to joyfully relieve old school memories. They sang:
“Knowledge is light and so the sages say
Forever it will be the light
To guide humanity
Knowledge is light
As ignorance is darkness
Equip yourself with armour of light
For our mission to the world
Is to bear the torch aloft
And cry with all our might
That knowledge is light…3xce
Just as ignorance is darkness
That knowledge is light”
Then they sang another song joyfully:
“I shall pass through this world but once.
Any good thing I can do, any kindness I can show
To any woman or man alive
Let me do it now
Let me do it now
Let me not defer
Let me not neglect it
For I shall never never 2xce
For, I shall never pass this way again!!!”
The joy and happiness continued as they exchanged more pleasantries and discussed more about Mayflower, Dr. Tai Solarin, his wife Sheila and their classmates.
“Have you heard from Folorunsho your very good friend?” Oyero said.
“You mean Kumuyi? Haa, we have been in touch, God is helping him greatly. The fellowship he started; Deeper Christian Life Ministry has blossomed into a fast growing church now…Deeper Life”
“Oh, so you mean Folorunsho is the same W.F Kumuyi that people have been shouting all over Lagos…That is good. I knew he would end up a great pastor. You remember the day I stole his meat in the dining hall. Haaa!!! I can’t forget that day!!! He closed his eyes to pray over food and prayed for such a long time. By the time he finished, his meat had disappeared”
“May God forgive you” Pastor Kalejaye said laughing.
“I cannot forget the look on his face that day, when he said, ‘Bamidele, who took my meat?’ I replied by telling him to ask either of the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit since he is the one who invited them to come and eat with him” Oyero recounted, laughing heartily!!! Pastor Kalejaye also joined him as they exchanged more banters.
When Oyero announced his intention to check into an hotel in town, Pastor Kalejaye refused and insisted he spends the night at the Church Guest House within the Church premises. Oyero agreed without further argument.
Morakinyo and Pastor Joju had left the parsonage when pastor and his old school mate Mr. Bamidele Oyero settled for dinner. Although tired, following the long day, Morakinyo drove straight to Sister Gbayike’s house. It was a few minutes to eight. Morakinyo knew, he should not be visiting a sister at such a time, but that evening, he felt an urge to see her and greet her. The last time he saw her was when she came to visit at Onigba-Iwofa.
The circumstances that surrounded the visit still haunted Morakinyo. He felt, he needed to apologize to her. Moreover, ever since he returned from Onigba-Iwofa on Sunday, he had not set his eyes on her. He wondered why Gbayike did not come to church. When he knocked, it was Sister Wonuola who came to open the door. Wonula was not only shocked to see Morakinyo, she least expected him at such an odd hour.
“Good evening Sister Wonuola”
“Ahh, Brother Morakinyo, welcome. Quite an age”
“Thank you Sister Wonuola. I am sorry I came at such an odd hour. I came back from the mission base yesterday and it has been from one issue to the other. Is Sister Gbayike at home?”
To be continued in episode 39