A Novel Written by: Kolade Segun-Okeowo
Pastor Mrs. Adegoke smiled again. Sister Aarinola we know in parts and we prophesy in parts. God wont hold us accountable for what we do not understandLets dwell on what we know and understand. The rest, God will reveal to us by and byGod bless you
That night Mrs. Paseda had the same dream again!!!
Morakinyo was gathering firewood on a farm. He sang as he gathered a big bundle. He looked around for a rope to tie the bundle of firewood. He saw a good one and pulled at it but the rope would not give way, he tried again and a sharp thorn pricked his hand, he screamed and turned away from the rope.
He looked around for another one; he saw a thin rope not strong but was easy to pull, he pulled it out and tied the bundle all around. He pulled off his shirt and made it into a head-rest. He carried the bundle to his head just then, the rope broke and the bundle scattered.
The atmosphere on the campus became tense following the threat of the Vikings Confraternity to hold her world initiation on the campus of University if Ife. The initiation was fixed for a Saturday.
Before the initiation, some group of strange looking boys were sited in different parts of the camps. A student drove into the car park where some of them were gathering along the road and splashed water on their car. They traced the student to Mozambique Hall and beat him up badly. Immediately, the student who was attacked reported the matter at the Students Union Building.
As soon as word came to Lanre about the presence of strange looking young men on the campus, he mobilised other members of the Students Union Exco, the Man O’ War and Cadet Teams to ransack all the halls of residence to know who those students were and where they came from.
After about three hours of rigorous searching, the teams came to a conclusion that none of the strange looking boys live in the halls of residence.
Larry BeeI suspect some boys living in the Staff Quarters are behind all these Cadet Commander; Bosun Aladeyelu advised. During one of our raids, we chanced upon one of the boys quarters belonging to a Senior Lecturer where some boys of questionable characters live Bosun continued.
“Larry Bee, the Cadet Commander is correct. I know the quarters he is talking about. Its on Road 10. I had reasons to pass by the quarters twice in the last two weeks and each time, I saw a gathering of dangerous looking boys Akin Sewanu, General Secretary of the Students’ Union gave further information.
GreatThank you Commander and thank you too, Akin. We have to move fast and get them all arrested immediately Lanre said with military fiat!
Two buses filled with Students Union leaders, Man O’ War Operatives and Cadet Officials drove to the front of the reported boys’ quarters. The team met the boys quarters locked from behind and total silence reigned everywhere. After moving round the building twice, they concluded that no one was living in the boys quarters.
“Presido, looks like this house is deserted The Man O War Commandant was first to speak after fruitlessly searching for an entrance into the house. I suggest we comb some other sections of the Staff Quarters He advised further.
“Aright, lets leave Lanre commanded.
Immediately the whole team filled up the two buses and were set to leave.
Hold on Lanre told the driver of the first bus. Gentlemen, I see movement in that house just now The two buses stopped and the team alighted again. Lanre and the two Commanders led the way back to the building.
I noticed that there was movement inside the house just as we turned to leave Lanre said affirmatively.
At the word of the Cadet Commander, two hefty looking Cadet officers gave a kick each to the door forcing it to open immediately. Men of the two para-military agencies stormed the house and arrested some boys there, and what they found shocked everybody. They seized four machine guns, among other weapons and several live ammunitions under the bed.
“Gentlemen, it is glaring that these people are planning some dastardly acts and they have to be taken to SUG Building for further interrogations. The issue at hand is now beyond some molestation of a fellow student and cult initiation. There is something deeper they have to tell the world!!! Lanre announced to the entire team who all agreed with him that the arrested foreign students’ be taken to the SUG Building for further interrogation.
Immediately, the seven boys were bundled into the buses and driven to the SUG Building.
Voluntarily, the arrested students made confessions as soon as they arrived the SUG Building. They said they were on the campus for initiation and the weapons were for their initiation. One of them mentioned the name of a very senior staff member and said he knew about their activities and was actually their patron.
Since a senior staff member was implicated, Lanre immediately placed a call to Prof. Barakkah, The Dean of Students Affairs.
It took Professor Barakkah less than ten minutes to race down to the Students Union Building. Although his house is on the Staff Quarters within the campus, Barakkah has devoted himself wholeheartedly to issues bothering on students’ welfare and well-being. His appointment as The Dean of Students Affairs was hinged on his favourable disposition to students related issues and his robust experience as a Students’ Union leader.
His experience as a Students Union leader at the University of Ibadan in 1971 when Kunle Adepeju; a 200 level student was murdered by an overzealous police officer had left him with a very bitter memory. When he became the Dean of Students Affairs three years ago, he had vowed that no student life will be lost during his tenure. Not only did he make the vow but he actually went to pray at a mountain in Ido-Ajinare near Ado-Ekiti, Ondo State where he handed over the entire student population of the University of Ife to God.
As a lecturer, the love and tendencies towards students agitations and struggle never left him for once. In 1981 when the rusticated former Students’ Union Leader who spearheaded the 1978 Ali Must Go uprising, Comrade Segun Okeowo was pardoned and reinstated by the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed forces; Alhaji Shehu Shagari, it was Barakkah who provided him the necessary logistics to make his one year stay on the campus very comfortable. Since then, he has enjoyed very robust relationships with successive student union governments. However, with the government of Lanre Durotoye, he seemed to have found the best of SUG regimes. The recent conversion of Lanre and his testimony at the Christian Union programme last semester has even endeared Lanre to him the more.
As Barakkah approached the SUG building, his heart skipped a beat. Gathered outside was a thick crowd of students chanting anti-cult slogans! He quickly asked his driver to park the car afar off while he trekked to the building. He had a difficult time trying to maneuver through the crowd of students. Fortunately, two cadet officers and some school security men spotted him and gave him covering and escorted him to the building.
As soon as word came to Lanre that The Dean of Students Affairs was around, he quickly rose and went to meet him at the stairs.
Welcome Sir Lanre said as he prostrated for the Dean of Students Affairs. He does that anytime he greets the Professor. Lanre would not forget in a hurry the kind roles Barakkah played during the episode of his mini-madness at the Hotel Diganga when he took Harriet for a night out.
Where were they arrested? Prof. Barakkah did not waste time as soon as Lanre led him to the expansive office of the SUG President. The noise downstairs was deafening as the students continued with anti-cult slogans.
“At a staff quarters on road 9. We found out that the boys quarters was locked from behind but we noticed that there was movement inside the house. So, we entered the house and arrested them. What we found shocked everyone of us. We found four machine guns, among several other weapons and ammunitions under the bed”
Ah! Professor Barakkah exclaimed.
“So it was glaring that they were planning some dastard acts, so we brought them here Lanre explained further. Barakkah stared at him blankly, looking aghast as Lanre spoke. Although cult activities were gradually becoming a menace on the campus, the introduction of arms and ammunitions like machine guns was a fearful dimension.
Satisfied with the expression on the Professors face, Lanre continued his narrative “Voluntarily, they have started confessing. They said they were on the campus for cult initiation and the weapons were for their initiations. One of them mentioned the name of a very senior staff member and said he knew about their activities and was actually their patron” Lanre paused deliberately again to see the reaction on Professor Barakkahs face.
Are you sure of what youre saying? Barakkah was shocked. He stared at Lanre with disbelief.
“Sir, this sounds so unrealistic and difficult to believe. That is exactly why I wanted you to personally listen to them before we hand them over to the school security agencies. We dont want any complications
Professor Barakkah sighed deeply and sank further into the chair as Lanre finished speaking.
May I know who this very senior staff is? Barakkah spoke after a long silence.
Its Prof. Ajayi Olufowobi, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration)
Professor Barakkah stared blankly at Lanre with his mouth wide opened!
Tell me this is not true, Lanre Barakkah whispered. If someone else had told him, he would have disbelieved, but the little time he had interacted with Lanre since he became the Union President has left him in no doubt about the integrity and high moral standard of the young man.
Sir, I am equally shocked too, but that is what they said. We did not torture them and didnt permit anyone to put them under durex Lanre explained.
I am short of words Barakkah sighed again. A ring of sweat had formed on his brow. He used the blade of his right hand to wipe it away. He was alone in the office with Lanre. Can I use your phone?
Yes Sir. Why not Sir Lanre quickly drew the telephone towards the side of the table where Barakkah was seated. Barakkah speedily dialed a number and waited impatiently for the other side to pick it up. It was the exchange operator.
Extension 287 please Barakkah waited another few seconds as the tone changed and he was connected to the number he requested for.
Hello Sir A male voice responded on the other side. Office of the Chief Security Officer
Thank you, this is Professor Barakkah, Dean of Students Affairs I need the attention of the CSO at the Students Union Building please Barakkah panted as he spoke. The situation at hand was becoming more critical than he expected.
He just left now for the SUG Building. His attention has been called to the crisis brewing there a few minutes ago. I guess he must be close by now, that is if he has not entered the building already The voice on the other side explained.
Good. Thank you Barakkah hung up the receiver, pushed the telephone back to Lanre and faced him.
“The Chief Security Officer of the university is almost here. We must handle this together Barakkah paused and waited for Lanres reaction. There seemed to be none. So, Barakkah continued. Before he comes, let me ask, Lanre, what does the Student Body want? Barakkah said silently.
“Thank you Sir. Since a senior officer of the university is already implicated, we have decided to hold on before we take any further action Lanre was on his feet now, addressing the DSA.
We are of the opinion that the case be first reported to the school management so that it could clarify some things. We feel in an intellectual community like this, that is the most befitting way of addressing the issue” Lanre continued.
“What we want is for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) to immediately deny the relationship he allegedly has with these boys that we have arrested and then allow the rule of law to take it’s course. That is my submission on this issue Sir, on behalf of the SUG Exco” Lanre rounded up, drew a chair nearby and sat opposite the Professor.
Thank you Lanre Barakkah started after he had sighed again. “I am indeed proud of you. This is the height of responsibility and decency in Students Unionism. I wish all students leaders will take a cue from you. Your request on behalf of the students body is noted and I shall work on it immediately.
Just then, the Chief Security Officer walked in. Akin Sewanu, General Secretary of the Students Union and Cadet Commander; Bosun Aladeyelu accompanied him into the Presidents office. Immediately, Lanre stood and bowed to acknowledge the presence of the University CSO. Barakkah also offered the CSO a handshake.
Thank God you are here. The leadership of the Students Union have been able to manage the situation to a large extent Professor Barakkah started as soon as the CSO sat. “The President has briefed me appropriately. However, he wants both of us to listen to the apprehended suspects
Thats OK Sir The CSO said as he stood promptly to follow the DSA. Lanre led the way towards the Students Parliament Hall where the suspects were kept. A crowd of Man O’ War Officials and Cadet Operatives surrounded them. One of them who appeared to be the ring leader had bruises on his mouth. A thin line of blood flowed from the left corner of his mouth down his chin leaving a messy pattern on his goatee.
Lanre was annoyed at the sight. He had given instructions to them not to torture any of the suspects.
Whats the meaning of this!!!” Lanre thundered like a wounded lion! Who tortured him. Why the blood in his mouth? I gave clear directives that no one should torture them
Presido, no one tortured them! The Director of Socials offered explanation.
So what happened? Why blood all over him Lanre was becoming impatient now.
“Eaaasy, Larry Bee One of them It was the turn of the PRO, Habeeb Poroye to give further explanation. This dark complexioned one actually attacked him with a head butt. He was angry with him for saying those things he mentioned concerning the DVC. It was rather too sudden, by the time we held him, he had wounded his friend badly. We struggled to prevent a revenge fight” Habeeb submitted.
I see Lanre sighed and relaxed. He turned to the DSA and CSO. Sirs, these are the suspects we apprehended at the Staff Quarters. We are sure you will find their statements useful Lanre said confidently while the elderly men nodded in agreement.
Lanre walked closer to the boy with the bloodied mouth and squatted before him. His head was bowed as he sat on the flow.
The Dean of Students Affairs and the Chief Security Officer of the University are here. Both of them are men of impeccable character and integrity. We need you to repeat before them what you told us before their arrival Lanre spoke assuredly.
Gradually, the boy lifted his head and stared at Lanre menacingly. He gave Lanre a hateful look. He stared around the hall to see the faces looking at him expectantly, all waiting for him to re-affirm his earlier allegation about the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Again, he returned the hateful look to Lanre and declared confidently; I dont know what you are talking about!!!
Haaa The whole hall of students leaders and security operatives erupted in shock and gasps.
Lanre stared at the boy with surprise and bewilderment. He smiled to cover his shock. He looked back to see the expression on the faces of the DSA and The CSO. They were both taken aback. Only the CSO smiled confidently.