A Novel Written by: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
Two hours later, about 18 armed men burst into the gyration venue and shot sporadically and indiscriminately to disperse those at the Keggites’ festival. The information they had was that Lanre will be at the gyration to honour Akin Sewanu who was due to become an Honourary Comrade of the Keggites Club. The sporadic shootings continued as the gun-throttling men kept shouting “Where is Larry Bee Odgjidga?
Within two minutes, the cultists were done at the gyration of the Keggites Club. About nine students had been murdered in cold blood. As they shot, they kept asking for Lanre. Unknown to them, Lanre was fast asleep in his Presidential room at Awolowo Hall.
Realising that their efforts in tracking down Lanre had failed, the cultists moved to Awolowo Hall wher Lanre resided with a mission to gun him down at all cost. Within a few minutes, some of them were already on the Presidential floor where Sewanu and Lanre resided. About the time they fired the first gunshot downstairs; Lanre woke up and ran outside the room.
The light on the corridor had been switched off. They had attacked a student by name Yomi Ajileye who was sleeping outside on the corridor. He had slept there with his girlfriend. He was a final-year student. As soon as Yemi heard the gun shot, he and the lady ran into downstairs. Unfortunately, they ran into a hail of bullets as the cultists marched up menacingly towards Lanre’s room. Lanre had also rushed out of the room and was running towards the stairs when he had the shots.
Lanre was lucky to have come out when he heard the first gunshot as they opened fire on Ajileye. Miraculously, the lady with Ajileye escaped. She had ducked under the staircase and was not seen by the cultists. Immediately Lanre saw the gory sight, he ran back into his room grabbed the walkie-talkie and began to scream into the device.
“Attention!!! Attention!!! Awolowo Hall under heavy gun attack!!! Rescue immediately” He shouted into the walkie talkie, speaking to no one in particular but hoped the Chief Security Officer of the University will at least be at alert to receive the message.
Jumping out of his room, Lanre ran into the next room between his and Sewanu’s. He quickly alerted the medical student living in the room and together they jumped to the back door through the balcony to connect the last room on the floor. It was a two-storey building, so Lanre and the Medical Student had to precariously move on the railings of the balcony to connect the last room from where they could make good their escape. Any slight slip on the railings would have sent them crashing to the concrete floor several metres below. Lanre who was sleeping a few moments ago had suddenly become extra alert. Thanks to the training he had received when he joined the Cadet Corps during his first year on the campus, he scaled through successfully, guiding the medical student as they climbed on together.
When the cultists entered Lanre’s room, they didn’t see him, so they went straight to Sewanu’s room. Unfortunately for Sewanu, he was sleeping in the room. Another student; Bamidele Ojo was also in the room with him. Curiously, they were both fast asleep and completely unconscious of events around them. Information has it that Sewanu and Bamidele had drank themselves to stupor in preparation for the Keggites night out before they slept. They shot Sewanu right there on his bed and Bamidele, who was by his side and hacked at their bodies as well.
When the medical student and Lanre got to the last room, they met some other students there. They were completely frightened and shivering with fear as they listened to the sounds of sporadic gun shots going on. At a point, Lanre struggled to come out because as the cultists were going from one room to another they were shouting his name.
“Larry Bee, if you’re bold, come out” Their voices rang out again.
Lanre felt the right thing was to go out and confront them, but the guys in the room held him down as the shooting continued. The cultists ransacked all the rooms except the last one.
Mrs. Durotoye yawned again. She was already fagged out and wanted to sleep desperately. She had a busy day. She wanted to round up the prayers but she had a strong urge to continue the prayers.
When the cultists left, Lanre came out and went straight to Sewanu’s room. Others simply bolted through the opposite direction and fled the hall in great fear. As Lanre raced towards Sewanu’s room, several wild thoughts went through his mind on what could have happened to Sewanu. His wild thoughts were confirmed as he entered the room and met the lifeless body of Sewanu on his blood-soaked bed. Sewanu was dead but Bamidele was still alive, although in a pool of his own blood.
Bamidele stared at Lanre as his lips moved calling out Lanre’s name and stretched his hand towards him for help. Lanre quickly grabbed Bamidele and tried to help him. He immediately ran outside again to see if he could find another student to assist him carry Bamidele, but he couldn’t find anybody. He went up and down. As he paced up and down the corridor, a student jumped out from one of the already ransacked rooms and ran into Lanre. He froze as soon as he saw Lanre thinking he was a ghost, so he ran back into the room. He had heard the cultist entered Lanre’s room shouting his name, so he could not imagine how Lanre would have escaped being murdered. Lanre followed him into the room to convince him that he was alive. He told the student, a squatter in one of the exco rooms about Bamidele and convinced him of the need to help the poor boy. Reluctantly and jittery, he followed Lanre to Sewanu’s room to help him but before they got to Bamidele, he had lost so much blood and had died.
When the cultists were coming upstairs earlier on, they met one guy on the staircase and he was also shot. They also attacked a lot of students with machetes and axes. They met another student while going upstairs. One of them slapped him across the face and the guy retaliated, so they shot at him. They used an axe to cut him and he ran behind a door. The guy lost consciousness immediately and passed out. Several other students were injured; some had minor gunshot wounds.
Eventually, the cultists went back to The SUG Building where they had actually sighted Lanre earlier, thinking the information they had about him being in the room was not correct. They broke into his office, shot at the glasses there, and used their axes to damage the fridge, electric typewriters and other electronics before they drove towards the campus gate.
The distress call Lanre made on the walkie-talkie paid off. Immediately the CSO received the distress call, he had swung into action by inviting the police who quickly mounted a blockade at all the entrances leading into and out of the university.
Over the night, Lanre immediately called an emergency congress of the Students’ Union. Despite the odd hour of the congress, over one thousand students attended the congress. Lanre wasted no time to address the congress. He gave a background information on what happened prior to the attacks and the situation report. He talked about the fact that cultists attack was purely pre-meditated and the target was the Students Union Executives amongst whom was Sewanu the Secretary General who they had successfully gunned down. A minute of silence was held for Sewanu and the other fallen students of the one-night massacre.
The Congress quickly set up some committees which included a Search and Rescue Committee that started looking for all the students that were injured in the bushes, on the paths, in the rooms and taking them to the Health Centre. Another committee was set up to look for students and other members of the University community that could donate blood to the wounded persons. A Security Committee was initiated and given the mandate to go round and ransack the campus environment to fish out suspicious looking persons. The committees swung to work immediately.
As soon as the congress dispersed, Lanre stepped to a corner of the amphitheatre and knelt to pray.
“Lord Jesus, thank you for standing in gap to protect me today as you have always done. Although my heart is heavy that I have lost many colleagues and fellow students in this battle, yet I thank you for giving me the grace to see the end of it all. Lord Jesus, I ask for special grace, wisdom and courage to navigate these stormy seas. I also ask that none of these evil minded cultists responsible for tonight’s attack will go scot free. Thank you Lord for answered prayers. In Jesus name I have prayed…Amen”
As he stood up, he felt a sharp pain on his knees. His two legs ached painfully. The dangers of the night and the urgent need for survival and immediate action had prevented him from noticing the pains. A round of applause greeted him as he stepped back to the amphitheatre into the waiting arms of the University CSO, the Students’ Affairs Officer and the other Union Executives.
The Security Committee worked hand in hand with the CSO who provided them with relevant assistance of men and vehicles with which they went round the halls of residence, lecture theatres and the recreation centres. After about two hours of intense search, assisted with intelligence reports and grapevine sources, the suspected cultists numbering about twenty-four were apprehended from different locations on the campus and handed over to the police. When they were arrested, the culprits were caught with clothes bearing the insignia of their cult group with blood stains on them and various degrees of ammunitions.
That night, Morakinyo could not sleep. He had a nudge from the Holy Spirit to pray. He initially felt guilty because of his experience at Sister Gbayike’s house the previous day. He kept asking questions about what happened when he visited her. He felt terribly humbled that he could come that low with a sister and kept blaming himself for daring to visit Gbayike alone on the eve of his resumption at the Bible College. After a few hours of pondering over the incident, he seemed to hear a voice spoke to him.
“That is a reminder that you are only but human: take heed”
He stood from the bed and walked round the room and started thanking God. The words encouraged him even as it came as a warning. He began to speak in tongues and started praying for his mission to the Bible College at Ikeji-Arakeji and the mission at Onigba-Iwofa. Suddenly, his mind wen to his nephew on the campus; Lanre. He felt an urge to start praying for him. He continued to pray until the early hours of the morning and started getting ready for the trip to Ikeji Arakeji, where he would spend the next three months learning how to serve God better.
As he knelt before the Senior Pastor that morning to receive the final prayers before leaving for Ikeji Arakeji, he felt uncomfortable again about what happened at Sister Gbayikes house yesterday. He felt the need to confess what he did to the Pastor before leaving.
‘Why? You have told God and He said it is only a reminder of your humanity…What if the Senior Pastor imposes another suspension on you again…That will mean another delay in your ministry’
The battle raged on as the Senior Pastor prayed for him.
“In Jesus name we have prayed” The Senior Pastor rounded up the prayers and urged him to stand, but Morakinyo remained on his kneeling position, head bowed.
“Bro. Morakinyo, you can stand” The Senior Pastor said as he sat and still noticed Morakinyo had remained on his knees.
“Daddy, I have a confession to make Sir” Morakinyo said tearfully. Pastor Kalejaye’s heart missed a beat!!!
‘A confession? Has he slept with Sister Gbayike’ His mind went straight to no one but Gbayike.
“What have you done to Sister Gbayike, Brother Morakinyo” Pastor Kalejaye asked sternly.
“Nothing Sir” Morakinyo managed to answer still smarting from the shock of how Pastor Kalejaye knew he wanted to speak about Sister Gbayike.
“I did nothing to her, but…but I went to her house without your consent”
Pastor Kalejaye adjusted his seat again and breathed a sigh of relief. His imaginations had gone wild trying to fathom what could have happened to necessitate a confession. Now that, he has mentioned visitation as the sin to be confessed, he was grateful that it was no more than that.
“Brother Morakinyo, my asking you not to visit Sister Gbayike was not part of your punishment but simply a safeguard to protect you from unnecessary emotional stray. You are a human being just like our sister is also one. When it comes to sexual sins, Saints don’t exist”
“Daddy am sorry Sir…I feel very bad already!!!”
“That’s okay…but are you sure nothing happened?” Pastor Kalejaye
asked, his eyes deeply penetrating Morakinyo’s. He has the habit of staring deeply at anyone if he wants to find out if the person is telling a lie or not. Most of the time, liars would quake under the tension of his bulging and penetrating yes.
“Daddy, nothing happened. The moment I started feeling uncomfortable, I took excuse and left… I saw why you retrained me from visiting her. I saw it Sir” Morakinyo announced with remorse.
Pastor Kalejaye bowed his head and sighed. He believed Morakinyo. He knew Morakinyo very well. If anything had happened, he would have told him. Morakinyo was one of the few of his children he could vouch for at any time. That was one of the reasons why he took caution to the winds concerning the mission to Onigba-Iwofa. He least expected the incident that happened at Onigba-Iwofa, especially the Oyinkan episode. However, he had leant to forgive Morakinyo and move on.
It took seven long tortuous hours to get to Ikeji-Arakeji. The vehicle Morakinyo boarded at Ibadan en-route Akure had broken down three times causing unnecessary delays on the less than four-hour journey. When eventually the vehicle stopped at the entrance of the Joseph Ayo Babalola Miracle Camp and Bible College, Ikeji-Arakeji, Morakinyo raised his hands in praises to the King of Heaven. He greeted the other passengers in the 404 Station wagon car and wished them well and prayed against the re-occurrence of the events of the last seven hours.
As he got to the gate of the Miracle Camp and Bible College, tears streamed down his eyes as he recalled that this is what he had to do before stepping out into the Onigba-Iwofa mission at all. He stopped at the stream near the entrance of the camp and removed his shoes before stepping into the stream. He had heard stories about the stream and its miraculous abilities.
The Great Apostle and Prophet Ayo Babalola of blessed memory was said to have been baptized in that water. As he waded in the water, he prayed for unusual grace and unction to come upon his life and ministry. He asked for grace to finish well and mentioned Pastor Joju and his wife who are presently holding forth for him at Onigba-Iwofa.
The first sight that greeted Morakinyo as he entered he camp properly was a shocker. Kneeling in the scathing sun was a group of students like him with their bags placed in a corner. Some were marching with their knees while others were frog jumping and doing all sorts of punishments.
“Hey!!! Pastor Latecomer, o yah join your colleagues!!!” The voice of the man who appeared to be the coordinator of the group rang out rudely at him. “You came late and you are marching majestically here!!!” The man shouted at him again.
“Sir, I can explain…the vehicle I boarded from Ibadan broke down more than four times Sir. I left Ibadan very early!!” Morakinyo explained.
“Pastor Latecomer, you see, everyone here can explain… so please join them and offer your explanation later. You are welcome in Jesus name Sir” The man answered sarcastically and walked away to another group cutting grasses on a large field.
Morakinyo dropped his bags and joined the kneeling latecomers. He had heard stories of painful punishments and manual works meted out as punishments to trainee pastors in Bible Schools. Now he has come face to face with one of such and it is now his time to experience it. Joyfully, he joined the punishment under the scathing sun and quickly forgot his status as a PhD holder and former Senior Lecturer at The Federal University, Ibadan.
Thank God for the experiences at the mission field over the last six months, he had become used to hardships and hardness. Kneeling in the sun was no match for the tortuous and scary trek in the Alupayida forest…the home of Ogaranganjan, the fearful demon. He smiled to himself as he recalled the harrowing but worthwhile experience of his first day on the road to Onigba-Iwofa, the healing of the King’s son and the encounters with Baba Jamolaya.
He was now sweating in the hot sun, the Principal of the Bible College had instructed that the late comers be left in the sun for the next one hour as their first lesson of time-keeping and punctuality- consciousness. For some of the new student Pastors, it was a baptism of fire! For some others like Morakinyo, it was a way of life!!!
That first night at Ikeji Arakeji, he had the dream again…he started 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 head-rest. He carried the bundle to his head.
Just then, the rope broke and the bundle scattered….