Pastor Joju Dairo and his wife were requested to proceed immediately to Onigba-Iwofa and take over the mission there for a period of six months. Morakinyo, supported by Barrister Olaoye was to go with him and introduce him to the remaining and old members of the Church at Onigba-Iwofa the following day in order not to leave the sheep there astray and unattended to.
After all the decisions of the board had been conveyed to him, Morakinyo went flat on his chest and prostrated. He tearfully asked for forgiveness and begged for the prayers of the church leadership. Immediately, the Pastors and elders that made up the Board of the Church joined hands and prayed for him profusely.
Pastor Kalejaye laid hands on him and showered God’s blessings on him. As he prayed for him, tears streamed down the eyes of Pastor Kalejaye. Other members of the board also wept as the Senior Pastor prayed for him. After the prayers, Pastor Kalejaye lifted Morakinyo from the floor and embraced him tightly.
Dasofunjo drove into Shipeolu Street at exactly 10.45am. The traffic at Ojota was thick and moved very slowly until they got to Maryland when it eased off. Making a U-turn under the bridge at Jibowu was another headache as motorist going towards Yaba and Ojuelegba had made a mess of the service lane for those returning to the Ikorodu Road.
When eventually Dasofunjo was able to maneuver Mr. Oyero’s Datsun 180Y out of the jam at Jibowu and headed towards Onipanu, Bamidele heaved a sigh of relief and spoke for the first time since they left Ibadan.
“One day, I will leave this Lagos and come to live in Ibadan…Such a peaceful town, unlike this Lagos” He sighed again.
All through the journey, his mind was on Oyinkan and the events of the last two days. The two days seemed like two weeks to him. Two long days! He recalled often the last words Oyinkan spoke to her at the hospital.
The warnings of Oyinkan reverberated through his heart again.
“Please Uncle; you must handle this with care. I restrained from telling you all these years because I didn’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”
Mr. Oyero had tears in his eyes as the vehicle turned into the Metro Cinema exit and made for Shipeolu Street. Fear gripped him as he remembered he has to face his wife. He wished he didn’t hear all the things Oyinkan told him about his wife, but he knew he had to face the reality of the fact that his wife was into witchcraft and marine occultism.
“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 solution to her barrenness then. She was sincerely wrong and lured into it by her friends. Please don’t fight with her”
“Turn here…Ah!” Oyero was about to tell Dasofunjo where to turn, but he had already made the turn.
“I knows your house now. I am the one that bring Pastor Joju Dairo and Pastor Moraks come here for day before yesterday” Dasofunjo announced gleefully in his barely manageable and stunted English with deep Ibadan accent.
“The Pastors, came to my house…? Are you sure? I thought they called me from Ibadan…They came to my house?”
“Ah…we come together now. That’s why I knows the road fery-fery well” Dasofunjo explained with confidence, completely unaware of the confusion he has caused in Oyero.
Oyero sighed again as Dasofunjo parked in front of his house. He sat in the car and bowed his head as if prayers. He was trying to recall the words of counsel from his friend; Pastor Kalejaye concerning his wife.
Pastor Kalejaye had encouraged him not to exercise fear but return home peacefully. He explained to him that the powers in his wife will bow for him as soon as he returned home instead of the other way round. The words of Kalejaye sounded like that of Oyinkan. As he stepped down from the vehicle, his heart missed a beat. He recalled the cowry-vomiting episode and shuddered again.
Then he remembered the teachings of Kalejaye from the Bible and recalled a particular Bible verse he had emphasized and quoted repeatedly. He muttered the verse to himself ‘1 John 4:4…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world’
He thanked Dasofunjo profusely and gave him a twenty naira note. Dasofunjo stared unbelievably at the money with shock.
“Ah…Mhuri!” He uttered in a loud whisper and went flat in prostration before collecting the money from Oyero. “Thank you Sir!!”
Oyero watched Dasofunjo as he crossed the Shipeolu Street and found his way back towards the Onipanu bus stop via the adjoining street leading to Metro Cinema. He sighed again and said to himself; ‘1 John 4:4…greater is He that is in ME, than he that is in the world’
He bent into the car to take a few things. He stayed there for a few minutes muttering to himself: ‘1 John 4:4…greater is He that is in ME, than he that is in the world’
After what seemed like an endless chanting of “1 John 4:4…greater is He that is in ME, than he that is in the world” a form of confidence came over him, he locked the car doors and made his way towards his apartment. He continued the litany of “1 John 4:4…greater is he that is in ME, than He that is in the world”
Pastor Joju Dairo was at the board meeting where the decision for his transfer to Onigba-Iwofa was made. Although, he was not expecting the outcome of the meeting, he was indifferent about the relocation to Onigba-Iwofa. He was no stranger to village missions. While a student at the University of Ife, in his undergraduate days, he was the Organising Secretary of the Evangelical Christian Union and had joined the brethren of the Mission Unit on several trips to some towns and villages around Ile-Ife including; Ifewara, Garage Olode, Tonkere, Iyanfoworogi, Abiri and a few others.
During one of such outreaches, they spent seven horrible days at Abiri, a village where there was no electricity and pipe borne water. It was Joju who encouraged the brethren whose hearts fainted when they chose to opt out of the mission and return to campus. The words of encouragement spoken by Joju to the brethren helped greatly in the success of the mission to Abiri village.
As he walked back to his quarters within the church, the thoughts of his wife and how to break the news to her filled his heart. Although, Joju’s wife had always supported his vision and given her support to every aspect of Joju’s ministry, he was not certain if his wife will support the idea of going to Onigba-Iwofa for six months. He believed in the necessity and the need for him to proceed to Onigba-Iwofa, but how to break the news to his wife bothered him most.
He prayed silently under his breath as he stepped on the pavement of his house. He stood still and thought of how to present the news to her. Mrs. Folashade Dairo was an ‘ajebo’ (a derogatory name for silver spoons). Her father; Barr. Olagunju Majasan was a former Commissioner in the regime of Chief Bola Ige, the first civilian Governor of Oyo State.
She had attended the prestigious International School before securing admission to The University of Ibadan for her degree in English Studies. She was to proceed to England for her Masters when she met, fell in love with and decided to marry Joju during her youth service days in 1978.
Her father had initially refused the marriage to Joju on the grounds that he was a poor Pastor. The old man succumbed when Folashade insisted she would marry Joju or no one else. Since then, Joju had always carefully treaded when it comes to the path of making hard decisions like this one. He doesn’t want to hurt her feelings at all. For him, Folashade had taken a most painful decision to marry him against the wishes of his dad who wanted her to travel abroad and settle down there to live a most robust lifestyle.
Oyero walked into the living room and sat on the sofa heavily, tired from the journey and the stress of the last two days. The door of the apartment was left open, an indication that his wife must be in the kitchen.
“Mummy Foyeke, am back ooo” He called out to attract the attention of his wife.
“Am in the kitchen O… I will be with you in a minute!” The woman responded from the kitchen. Her voice betrayed no emotion. Oyero was expecting a harsh reaction of some sort but the voice of his wife was rather apologetic and inviting. More surprises awaited him. The woman soon sauntered in to the living room from the kitchen and went on her two knees to greet Oyero, leaving him even more confused. In all his nineteen years of marriage to Asabi, she hardly ever went on her knees to greet him.
“Haaa!!! So Anty Medayewa is gone like that!!! Ahhhh! Anty Medayewaaaa!!!” She began to sob uncontrollably…” Oyero had no choice than to pat her on the back while she continued the crying.
“…and you have buried her? Just like that?” Her tears continued, bringing Oyero himself to another touch of emotion again. Streams of tears rolled down his eyes as he remembered Oyinkan and the things she told him in the hospital. He managed to wipe the tears and encouraged his wife to put Oyinkan behind her.
“Ah just like that. What pains me the most is that Anty Medaa did not leave any child…If only she had got pregnant for somebody before now; at least she would have a child to bear her name…Habaaa…This world is wicked” Her tears were touching and really emotional.
Oyero kept staring at his wife on the floor as she wept uncontrollably. He tried to place the picture of his wife as painted by Oyinkan and Pastor Kalejaye beside the woman crying on the floor, there seemed to be little or no correlation.
‘Was Medayewa right? Is this woman truly a witch…But she has never exhibited traces of witchcraft before’ Oyero thought. When he noticed the woman was a bit relaxed, he shifted himself on the sofa and moved closer to her again.
“Did some people come here on the day I travelled to Ibadan?” Oyero asked
“Oh, did they call you on phone?” Asabi sprang from her seat and joined her husband on the sofa.
“Oh yes, they called me…I was wondering how they got my number” Oyero said looking straight at his wife.
“Yes, they came here. I was even encouraging them to have a little refreshment…No wonder, they looked sad and disturbed. They refused to speak with me… and I tried to make them speak to me Oo…Ahhh. This life… This life… I never knew they came to break the news of her death….” She broke into tears again while Oyero patted her on the back.
“She wasn’t even dead by then; I still met her in the hospital….Terrible!” Oyero said and shook his head pitiably.
“Ehhhhhh….You still met her…What a pity? But what happened to her in the first place?”
Oyero started another round of explanation, narrating what happened in the hospital to his wife although he carefully avoided the part that has to do with what Oyinkan told him.
Folashade had just arrived from her shop when Joju stepped in. She had a mini-mart store at Mokola and just got a sales-girl to monitor it for her so she could close late afternoon to attend her husband and their two children. The aroma of food that met Joju as he stepped in was indescribable, his wife had just concluded preparing lunch and was dishing into warmers.
Joju dropped his bag in the living room and tip-toed to the kitchen. Completely engrossed in what she was doing, Folashade did not know when her husband came in until he grabbed her from the back and gave her a warm embrace.
“I didn’t know when you came in” Sade said smiling broadly.
“The door was unlocked… Waoooh, today’s lunch is out of the world. This recipe must have been made in heaven” Joju said smiling.
“Thank you Darling…Am glad you like the aroma, you will surely like the taste when you eat it. Go and relax, I will soon join you in the parlour”
“Nooo. We will serve the food together and I will assist you too carry the dishes to the dining table” Joju said jokingly.
“Thank you….that’s a good omen…Something good is about to start happening again. It’s been long you joined me in the kitchen” Sade blushed and started serving the dishes.
There was silence between Oyero and his wife for few moments. Each remained in different worlds. Suddenly, Asabi spoke “Ah…Anty Medaa… Did she ask about me…Did she tell you anything about me?”
The question rang like a bell on Oyero’s head. He least expected the question from his wife. His mind raced quickly to the things Oyinkan told him about his wife and began to calculate what to say. Suddenly, he started coughing and requested for water.
“Oh my God. Am sorry, I should have offered that first” She stood and quickly went for a jug of cold water from the fridge and served Oyero. Meanwhile, Oyero was busy calculating and thinking of how to avoid answering that question. As he drank from the cup he remembered how Kalejaye told him to be as wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove in order to handle the situation.
“Sorry, what were you saying…Am completely disturbed by the trend of things. My mind is not articulating well” He managed to say something.
“I was asking if she asked about me or said anything about me…I am just disturbed that she did not even say a goodbye to me despite all the years we spent together” She started crying again.
“It’s alright Mummy Foyeke, you know, it was an accident, she was still struggling to get better when I got there. She was in great pains, so she couldn’t say much. She only encouraged me to start going to church” He explained again.
“You…go to Church…?” She laughed derisively. “You, go to church?”
“No, not only me…All of us, including you and the children…Those were her last words to me…She died the following day” Oyero explained with a sense of finality.
“Really…That’s a good one ooo…So Anty Medaa started going to church before she died?…Ah God can do wonders ooo!!!” She said smiling pleasantly.
“Praise God…So we have to start going to church…All of us in this family…We must go…That is Medayewa’s last wish for us” Oyero explained again, this time his voice became low.
“Waoooh…that’s good…!!! So which church, do you want us to start going?” Asabi asked with serious interest.
“Me, which church do I know…I don’t know any church” He smiled “…But I heard one of our classmates in Mayflower School, Folorunsho Kumuyi is the head of a fast growing church called Deeper Life…May be we can join them. He would be glad to meet me…After so many years”
“Ahhhh!!! Deeper Life…That’s good…It’s a good Church…I have also heard much about them…Let’s go, at least in honour of Anty Medaa”
“Thank you Mummy Foyeke. Please get me something to eat” He said and yawned tiredly.
“Ah, just a minute” The woman said and quickly walked away to the kitchen.
Folashade listened carefully as her husband gave a detailed report of the meeting of the board. When he got to the aspect of someone having to take over from Morakinyo at the Onigba-Iwofa mission, Pastor Joju Dairo sighed deeply and relaxed on the sofa. Shade stood and walked to the window. Her countenance dropped as she walked back to sit beside her husband.
“So what was the decision of the board? Have they concluded on who will go to Onigba-Iwofa to relieve Brother Morakinyo” Folashade asked.
Joju shifted forward on the chair and cleared his throat….Just then Folashade interrupted him.
“They chose us for the mission… I know they chose us… Don’t pretend… Don’t hide it. Just tell me as it is. We have been chosen…Right???” Folashade asked, tears already streaming down her eyes.