A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
Folasade 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” Folasade asked.
Joju shifted forward on the chair and cleared his throat….Just then Folasade 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???” Folasade asked, tears already streaming down her eyes.
“How did you know…My Dear, who told you?” Joju stared at the woman unbelievably. He could not fathom how his wife got to know about the outcome a meeting that just barely ended.
“He told me Himself… He told me three days ago… I was waiting for the confirmation before telling you…I never knew it would come this fast… The LORD told me Himself” She finally burst into tears and ran towards the room. Joju sighed again, stood and went into the room after her.
Folasade was already weeping when Joju got to the room. She knelt at the side of the bed sobbing silently as she prayed.
“Lord Jesus, I surrender to your will…I heard you…You spoke to me clearly in the language I understand, but I didn’t know it will come this fast…Lord Jesus, please go ahead and do what you like with us” She kept sobbing as she prayed. Joju stood there staring at her, tears already streaming down his eyes. Then she began to sing, Joju quickly went on his knees to join him.
Shepherd of my soul, I give You full control
Wherever you may lead, I will go
I have made a choice, to listen to your voice
Wherever you may lead I will fo…llow
Be it in the quiet pastures or valleys that are deep
The Shepherd of my soul will be my guide
Though I face the mighty mountains
Or valleys that are deep
The Shepherd of my soul is by my side
Joju joined Folasade as she sang. Together, they held hands and prayed.
Immediately after the meeting of the board, Morakinyo went with the Senior Pastor to his lodge. Pastor Kalejaye minced no words in explaining to Morakinyo that the Board meant well for him.
“Your resumption at the Bible College in Ikeji Arakeji must be immediate after the expiration of your three-month suspension. I have already sent words to Reverend Dosu Babajide that you’re coming in three month’s time and that you should be given special attention” Pastor Kalejaye said, staring directly into Morakinyo’s eyes.
“Thank you Daddy!!! I really appreciate you so much. I know I have behaved like the prodigal son and you have responded like as a good father to me… I promise to make right all the errors I made while at Onigba-Iwofa. I am still convinced the Lord wants me in that village. I am ready to proceed on the three months of suspension and the Bible College at Ikeji…Daddy, thank you Sir” He prostrated again.
“Morakinyo…The Lord wants to use you at Onigba-Iwofa and I have no doubt about that. In fact, He has already started using you over there. Thank God for that!!! You will go back there and do mighty exploits… Avoid distractions!!!” Pastor Kalejaye started another round of counseling with Morakinyo and did not finish the session until late in the evening.
By the time he returned to the Durotoye’s, it was a few minutes to ten. Mrs. Durotoye was at the door to receive him. She had not seen her brother in the last 48 hours. Since Oyinkan died, Morakinyo had been in the church with Pastor Kalejaye and his wife. It was there he retired to after leaving the hospital on the day Oyinkan died. Pastor Kalejaye had insisted he must not attend the funeral service and interment at the cemetery.
“Welcome Morakinyo…it is well with you! Accept my sympathy on the death of…em, em… on her death” Mrs. Durotoye said expressing deep concern for her brother whom she knew would have been devastated by the death of his “wife”
“Thank you Sister…Thank you very much…I appreciate your concern too. She was not my wife…I only miscalculated and fell terribly…I am surely rising again” Morakinyo said as he sluggishly walked to the sofa.
“Yes I agree with you…The worst that the devil can do is to see the righteous falling” Mrs. Durotoye said to encourage him. She sat beside him on the sofa and placed a hand on his shoulder.
Morakinyo muttered the words of Mrs. Durotoye to himself: “The worst that the devil can do is to see the righteous falling” He repeated it to himself twice and recalled the words of a song he learnt as an undergraduate. A brother in his fellowship, Yomi Onikeku had composed the song.
“The worst that the devil can do
Is to see the righteous falling…down
When he falls seven times …falls seven times
He will surely rise again
He will become…radical for Jesus
Am a radical for Jesus!”
He smiled confidently and asked “How about Lanre and Akinlolu”
“They both slept not quite long after watching the NTA news. I didn’t sleep because you had told me you were coming back here today”
“That’s okay; I will see them in the morning. Thank you ma”
“So, your food is ready…Jollof rice?”
“Ah, Sister, I can’t take anything again” Lanre explained.
“Why, did you eat at Pastors house?”
Mrs. Durotoye was not really asking a question. She knew Morakinyo must have eaten at Pastor’s House. There is no way anyone will spend an hour in their house without being offered some food or at least light refreshments. Except the guest insists otherwise, Mummy Kalejaye will ensure some food is taken before leaving the parsonage.
“Anty, you know Mummy Kalejaiye won’t let me step out except I eat. I have taken lunch and dinner in the parsonage”
“Accept my sympathy once again on the passage of your.. em ..sorry, that …. that…lady”
Morakinyo simply smiled. He knew what Mrs. Durotoye wanted to say. “Thank you Sister. That phase has passed in my life. One horrible phase I wish never happened…But…what can I say” He said and clasped his hands.
“But…how come, Morakinyo…Did you know her before she joined you at Onigba Iwofa…”
“Sister, can we leave this for some other time…I really wish to put this behind me” He said wryly.
“I understand… Sorry if I am bringing you back to some unpleasant memories” Mrs. Durotoye apologized.
“Thank you Ma” Morakinyo stood and bade his sister goodnight and dragged himself to the guest room. He simply prayed and went to bed.
On Friday, three days after Oyinkan’s death; Morakinyo went with the Church evangelism team to Onigba-Iwofa. The team, led by Barrister Wole Olaoye was to assist Pastor Joju Dairo and his wife gradually settle down at Onigba-Iwofa. Morakinyo went with them to officially hand over the mission to Pastor Joju Dairo and his wife. The team went with two buses; one was loaded with welfare materials for the people at Onigba-Iwofa while the other bus carried brethren.
As soon as the buses entered Onigba-Iwofa, the brethren proceeded to the palace of Oba Folagbade as suggested by Morakinyo. In the six months of stay in Onigba-Iwofa, Morakinyo and the King have grown so fond of each other.
The normal weekly personal bible studies and follow-up that holds in the palace were not just moments for spiritual edification but afforded the old King an opportunity to relieve old memories and share thoughts on issues ranging from governance, international relations and culture with Morakinyo. In the whole of Onigba-Iwofa, he could not find such an ally. Not one of his chiefs was educated. They all simply listen to him with mouth agape each time he spoke glowingly about his years of service as a court clerk with the white men.
On his part, Morakinyo had also become attached to the king. He had found a father-figure of some sort in Folagbade. Although, a spiritual mentor to the King, the age difference kept Oba Folagbade ahead of Morakinyo especially in the issues of culture, traditions and world history. Each time he shared historical events with him, Morakinyo could not but marvel at the brilliance and intelligence of the old monarch.
As soon as the two buses parked in front of the palace, news went round the town that the Pastor was back! Before the brethren could finish praying and step down from the buses, a few children had gathered round the buses staring with wonder at the contents of the second bus. From the transparent windows of the bus, bales of clothes, cartons of biscuits, beverages and other provisions were clearly visible.
Oba Folagbade could not hide his joy when one his local aides came to his room to inform him of the presence of Morakinyo and others in the palace. He managed to change into some robes and quickly stepped out to meet them. So many issues raced through his mind as he stepped out the room. He tried to imagine what could have gone wrong between Morakinyo and his wife when the woman left Onigba-Iwofa abruptly without telling her husband. He wished the pastors in Ibadan must have settled the matter amicably amongst them.
He smiled broadly as he stepped out of the inner chamber to the palace. He was pleasantly surprised as a crowd of men and women went down to pay him obeisance. He was expecting to see only Morakinyo, Oyinkan and probably the Senior Pastor but he counted the heads, they were about ten…no…eleven…Twelve!!! Twelve people came from Ibadan with Morakinyo!!!
“Something must have gone wrong” He thought!
Since Morakinyo left for Ibadan with the Senior Pastor about a week ago, he has not heard anything from him. There was no way he could have communicated with Morakinyo. The closest NITEL office was at Shaki which is about half an hour from Onigba-Iwofa.
As he quickly counted the heads that came with Morakinyo, his eyes roved around them searching for Oyinkan. He took a second glance through the faces as they rose from kneeling and prostrating to greet him.
He went round them and exchanged handshakes with everyone. He did that deliberately to circumspectly inspect their faces to be sure he has not missed Oyinkan. In the last three months of Oyinkan coming to join them at Onigba-Iwofa, Oba Folagbade and his wife had grown fond of her. Not only was she jovial and cheerful, she was equally dutiful and pleasant.
Oba Folagbade moved near Morakinyo and whispered to him.
“Where is she? Your wife?”
Morakinyo’s countenance changed as he looked away from His Royal Highness…He dropped his head and announced the words that nearly broke the heart of the King. “Kabiyesi, we lost her!”
“Haa…Such a lovely woman…!!! Haa haa!!! Pastor! Please accept my sympathy on this!!! Ha…No wonder…We kept asking what could have gone wrong that we didn’t hear from you in five days…!!!”
Morakinyo smiled uneasily as Oba Folagbade lamented over the passage of Oyinkan.
“Kabiyesi, thank you Sir. The Senior Pastor sends his greetings” Morakinyo quickly said that to take the discussion away from the death of Oyinkan.
Oba Folagbade got the message; he knew Morakinyo didn’t want to discuss the issue of his wife’s death publicly. He knew they would still have plenty of time to discuss alone. Then, he will get all the details of what led to the death of the “petit” young woman he fondly calls “Oyinmomo”
“Your Highness, the whole church at Ibadan, represented by these brethren here also sends greetings to you” Morakinyo continued as soon as Oba Folagbade took his seat. Morakinyo took turns to introduce all the members of the team, starting from Barrister Wole Olaoye, Pastor Joju Dairo, his wife and others. He thereafter called upon Barrister Olaoye to explain the mission for the visit to the palace.
Barrister Wole Olaoye thanked Oba Folagbade profusely for his support and back up for the mission to Onigba-Iwofa. He recalled the last visit to the palace about a week ago and the sumptuous pounded yam meal served the Senior Pastor and his entourage. He explained that before Morakinyo came to Onigba-Iwofa, there were some pastoral courses he was supposed to go through but he didn’t have time to attend because of the urgency of the mission assignment.
“Your Highness, now that God has established the mission here in Onigba-Iwofa, there is the need for our brother to proceed on the necessary pastoral courses at the Theological School… To this end the church has decided that another Pastor should come over to Onigba-Iwofa to stand in for Pastor Morakinyo over the next six months” Barrister Olaoye explained.
He thereafter officially introduced Pastor Joju Dairo and his wife to Oba Folagbade as the couple that will take over from Morakinyo pending his return from The Bible College. Pastor Joju Dairo and his wife immediately rose and curtsied. Mrs. Shade Dairo went completely on her knees as Pastor Joju Dairo bowed totally.
In response, Oba Folagbde thanked the team and sent his best regards to the Senior Pastor and his wife. He appreciated Morakinyo and thanked him most sincerely for the loads of selfless services he had rendered to the community in the six months he had spent at Onigba-Iwofa. He spoke in glowing terms of the many achievements of Morakinyo in Onigba-Iwofa and concluded that the town will miss him and his late wife greatly.
“I quite understand the need for training and re-training. While I was in service, I cannot count the number of times I went for courses and trainings to enhance our work as Court Clerks. I once attended a Course in Staffordshire, The United Kingdom. If those of us administering physical justice can go through such training and retraining, I don’t expect less for pastors who administer spiritual diets” Oba Folagbade said.
“However, I cannot rule out the fact that we are going to miss Pastor Morakinyo Olagunsoye greatly…Please ensure you come back after six months” The king said in a most emotional laden voice.
“Pastor Joju Dairo, we welcome you to Onigba-Iwofa…The glorious land where Jesus has taken over completely” Kabiyesi said as he faced Pastor Joju Dairo and his wife who quickly rose to honour the King.
“Please have your seats” The king continued “We are glad to have you in our midst and we believe that your stay with us for six months will be fruitful and most rewarding in Jesus name” A loud chorus of ‘amen’ welcomed the prayers said by Oba Folagbade.
The team left the palace after handing over some gifts on behalf of the Church to the king. The gifts included a bag of rice, two 25 litres gallons of groundnut oil, some packaged groceries and beverages.
By the time the team got outside of the palace, the crowd of children outside the palace had increased. More children had arrived as word went round that Pastor had returned with plenty of gifts for children. The team had no choice than to distribute some cartons of biscuits, sweets and candies to satisfy the urge of the children with prying eyes. A few adults who had joined the crowd were also given gifts ranging from loaves of bread to different beverages and can drinks.
As the buses moved away from the palace towards the Mission House, the children dispersed into the village bearing the news of Pastor Morakinyo’s arrival. Just as the bus moved into the compound of the parsonage, Natas and Vampiress, two daughters of the River walked across and sat under a tree opposite, to monitor the activities of the new team.