A Novel Written by: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
As soon as he entered the bus from Mayfair to Ilesha garage where he was to board a car going to Ilesha, Alowolodu opened the envelope, eager to see what Bamiloye had put in the it. Neatly arranged in the envelope was a row of ten crispy new 50 naira notes.
Five hundred naira!!!! Alowolodu almost screamed!!! He gave me Five hundred naira!!!! The stream of tears gave way to a torrent of tears. He brought out a handkerchief and wiped the tears. He didnt want to cause a scene in the car.
Five hundred naira!!! The exact amount needed to pay the balance for a parcel of land his church had purchased and was gradually paying in instalments. It had taken the church six months to pay two thousand naira for the one-acre parcel of land. The balance of five hundred naira was needed to take possession of the land. He closed his eyes again and prayed for Bamiloye.
Preparations for the three-day drama outreach by the Mount Zion Drama Productions at Onigba-Iwofa commenced immediately. As soon as Pastor Joju got the feedback from Pastor Alowolodu, he quickly informed his wife and they began a session of prayers. The report he got from Alowolodu about Mike Bamiloyes open heartedness and the gift of five hundred naira to him was a pleasant shock to Pastor Joju, so he made up his mind that the best in terms of accommodation and welfare must be given to the drama team.
Where do we host them? The parsonage wont be enough to accommodate them. Pastor Alowolodu said, they will be twelve in number! Pastor Joju asked almost rhetorically.
I saw a Guest House just beside the bridge on the road to Aponbiede. Cant we host them there? Mrs. Joju said.
Thats true, GBELEGUN GUEST HOUSE, its about the only hotel or Guest House in this town. I will find out the cost, I hope it wont be more than what we can afford?
I hope so. But we still have some money we brought from the SupermarketWe still have about six thousand naira left
AhGood. Thats a lot of money, we can use that to kick start this outreach. The Lord will glorify HimselfThank you my Dear for agreeing to release that money for His work. I am grateful I married you
Thank you Mrs. Joju said smiling sheepishly. Pastor Joju drew her closer and planted a kiss on her lips.
What could I have done without you …Sade? Thank you for being the worlds best wife Pastor said as Sade fell into his hands resting her head on his chest. Joju held her right hand, squeezed it lovingly, rubbed his right hand through her beautifully plaited hair and patted her on the back. Sade smiled again.
As soon as Pastor Joju mentioned the three-day drama crusade in the church, members went in wild jubilation and promised to go all out to publicize the program even up to the surrounding villages. Major Labode (rtd) volunteered to chair the Planning Committee. He offered to liaise with the military cantonment in Shaki to provide necessary security for the programme.
Sir, with the away you described this programme, I dont see us holding it in the Church auditorium or premises. The only place that can host this magnitude of programmes the Palace Square!! Major Labode explained as soon as the first meeting of the Planning Committee commenced.
I can assure you Sir, people will come from all the thirteen villages surrounding Onigba-Iwofa. This church cannot contain more than 300 human beings. If we attempt to hold the drama programme here, we stand the chance of causing some form of commotion. I therefore advise that we use the Kings Palace grounds where over five thousand people can gather conveniently
The suggestion was accepted by all members of the committee which included Eebudola; Odewole’s wife and Mrs. Labode. Immediately, the team left for the palace to inform his Royal Highness of the plans to use the palace grounds to host the first-ever drama crusade and revival in Onigba-Iwofa.
Excitedly, the King accepted the proposal and gave instructions to the palace guards concerning the use of the palace grounds on the said days of the Drama Crusade.
You have chosen a very good time for this drama programme. December 19 to 22, 1985. That is Christmas period. A very good time when most indigenes of Onigba-Iwofa would have returned home for the yuletideI am particularly delighted because of that. What a way to welcome our sons and daughters back home for Christmas” The King said grinning with smiles as he spoke.
How about the actors and actresses coming from Ibadan, where will they stayWhat arrangements are you making?
“Kabiyesi, they are coming from Ile-Ife, not Ibadan Your highness, on their accommodation, we have not made any solid arrangements, but we are thinking of using GBELEGUN GUEST HOUSE to host them
As soon as Pastor Joju mentioned GBELEGUN GUEST HOUSE, Kabiyesi exchanged glances with the Queen, who had been part of the meeting with the team from the church.
Excuse me The King bent over towards his wife and both spoke for a few seconds and both nodded in agreement.
Ok I have discussed with Olori, you may use GBELEGUN GUEST HOUSE to host your visitors. How many are they?
We are expecting twelve of them Your Highness! Seven males and five females”
That is Okay. My wife has accepted to pick the bills for the accommodation at GBELEGUN GUEST HOUSE and cater for their feeding throughout their stay at Onigba-Iwofa”
Kaaabiyeeesiiii OOOOO!!! Members of the team chorused as they all went flat on the ground in prostration to salute the King.
For this God is our God,
Forever and ever,
He will be our God,
From now even unto the end
The voice of Pastor Mrs. Sade Joju rang out sonorously as she sang as soon as she and her husband stepped back into the parsonage.
Just like thatThis God is a good God!!!
Thank God we stepped out in faithAccommodation and welfare all taken care of by one familyGod you are goodSade, thank you once again
We must thank your rugged faith Pastor RUGGED !!! The two burst into laughter!
The preparations for the three-day drama Crusade reached a crescendo on Sunday the 15th of December 1985 when members of the church moved around in a convoy to inform and sensitize the entire town about the drama crusade coming up from the 19th to 22nd of December. The convoy moved from the church immediately after the service towards the Post Office and the Police Station. As they moved round, drummers and some criers called attention of the populace to the forth-coming drama crusade.
Leading the team of criers for the church were Ilelomia and her friend Mojoyin wo had joined the church following the healing miracle of Labudanu. As the convoy moved from place to place singing, dancing and telling everyone about the Christian actors who are coming to town to preach the word of God using drama, more people joined and swelled the size of the convoy. By the time they finally wrapped up the publicity drive at the palace square, the convoy which started with about 100 adults and children had increased about four times.
The Queen of the Coast saw everything from her palace. She hissed lazily and gave a loud whimper. She coiled angrily on her chair. The Onigba-Iwofa was gradually becoming a failure. She had pleaded with the Lord Lucifer to assign her to another field but to no avail. She was getting pissed off with the mien of Lucifer who is not ready to listen to any form of pleas or complaints from his agents.
In the last one month since the baton of leadership of the church at Onigba-Iwofa changed hands, all her daughter assigned to the town had become idle, completely disoriented and lost focus. They have not been able to perform any single assignment since Pastor Joju and his wife entered the town. Not only did Pastor Joju come with his legally married wife to Onigba-Iwofa, he is not the one to look twice at any other woman except Sade, his loving wife.
Gradually, The Queen was getting ready to quit the Onigba-Iwofa field with or without Lucifers permission. She was ready to face the consequences, at least the ones she knew about. She had witnessed the painful punishment of Queens and senior agents like her who disobeyed and have come to a conclusion that it was better for her to face the wrath than continue on a failed mission.
However, she had resolved to make one last attempt before her final quit, but when she got reports of the coming of the Mount Zion Drama Productions Team to Onigba-Iwofa, she gave up completely. She remembered vividly how the Queen in charge of the Upper Arewa Kingdom gave report during one of the meetings of The Grand Council of Spiritual Wickedness about how the Mount Zion Team invaded her region and led to the deliverance of many captives during their drama outreaches to Kano and Zaria towns.
The Upper Arewa Queen spoke of the many destructions that the coming to her region by the team caused and vowed never to open her eyes and allow such to ever happen again. She complained that she was caught unawares because her agents only reported to her that the team was coming to act drama; she therefore took it for granted that they had no damaging effect.
However, to their utter chagrin and dismay, the impacts of their ordinary stage drama reverberated throughout the whole cities of Kano and Zaria in the 30 days they spent in each of the cites going from church to church causing deliverance and setting the captives free. Thousands of people gave their lives to Christ during the outreaches while many Christians received burdens and commissions for missions after watching the drama of the Mount Zion Team especially the Unprofitable Servant
Morakinyo had settled fully at the Bible College at Ikeji-Arakeji. Life at the College was gradually becoming normal for him. Thanks to the practical knowledge of mission work which he had gathered at Onigba-Iwofa, the training which other pastoral students like him considered hectic was no big deal to him.
On one occasion, students were required to go inside the forest to get firewood for the college kitchen. That was strange to some of the students who chose to be defiant but not to Morakinyo who was not only used to such rugged life but had already sealed off his mind against anything capable of discouraging him or making him loose focus of what he came to do at the Bible College. He spoke to the defiant students and encouraged them.
Hear me my dear colleagues, it is better to get used to the system and have an understanding that the college authorities are not trying to be wicked but simply helping us to have a taste of what we are likely going to meet when eventually we get into the world of missions and pastoring” He charged the fellow student pastors and told them some of his experiences at Onigba-Iwofa including his first day at the village including the hours of trek in the Alupayida forest and the sleeping under the Iroko Oluwere tree!
Within a week, Morakinyo had become the toast of all the students in the college including the lecturers. His background as a former university lecturer was both intimidating and appealing to different sectors of the student population and some of the lecturers. Although Morakinyo never mentioned it to any of the students, the news of his academic status had spread like wildfire within the college. However, the academic status was successfully shadowed by Morakinyo himself who related with everyone freely and was ready to serve other students who were mostly illiterate and semi-illiterates. His readiness to serve and make himself available for any assignment endeared him to everyone on the campus of the Bible College.
Ten days into the commencement of the course, the Principal of the Bible College Reverend Dosu Babajide addressed the students and announced a President for the crash programme class which Morakinyo belonged. His address was short as he welcomed the crash programme students and encouraged them to make the best of the three-month period they had to spend in the college. He thereafter proceeded to announce Morakinyo as the President of the Crash Programme Class.
Mrs. Aarinola Paseda left the house very early in the morning for a special journey. She has not been to Onigba-Iwofa in the last twelve years. Since she gave her life to Christ, she has consciously avoided going home. Although she constantly and consistently sent provisions and financial support to her parents, she avoided Onigba-Iwofa like a plague.
She believed in the need to separate herself from the world which she assumed her unbeliever parents and relations represented. Even when she lost her husband and her mother visited her in Ibadan, she refused to go home with her. She preferred to stay in Ibadan. She once preached Jesus to her mother who vehemently rejected and swore by the gods that only death could take her away from the Egungun cult she belonged to from birth.
Her father was worse. He practically threatened to disown Aarinola, if she ever mentioned Jesus to him again. His excuse was that the position he occupied in the local Awo-Opa fraternity was bequeathed on him by his grandfather and he owed his ancestors the honour of preserving their legacies. He attended Aarinola’s wedding seven years ago at Ibadan only to fulfil all righteousness and at the intervention of His Royal Highness, Oba Folagbade Lagooku (Ogajafowomeke II) The Adigbaare of Onigba-Iwofa who convinced him not to allow another man take his place and lead his daughter to the altar for the marriage. His Royal Highness, had followed him to Ibadan and encouraged to enter church for the first time in his life.
As she stepped out of the house, she prayed again and asked herself if she was doing the right thing. She had become restless in the last few weeks as the urge to see her parents grew. The urge had grown to become guilt after she listened to her pastor preach on “Honouring Parents The pastor had told the congregation that no matter what, the honour of parents from a child must remain intact. He postulated that God never instructed children to honour their parents if they are godly or righteous. He said The Bible simply asked children to honour their parents. Ever since she heard that message, Aarinola had become restless and longed to visit home again.
In addition to that was the constant repetition of the strange dream she had concerning Dr. Morakinyo gathering firewood at Onigba-Iwofa. She recalled how she had shared the dream with Dr. Morakinyo, only to hear some days later that the young Senior Lecturer had resigned his appointment to start a full time ministerial work at Onigba-Iwofa. She recalled how she walked up to him that morning at the department to share the dream with him
I saw you in our village, you wore a native dress and you were gathering firewood. You got a large bundle and looked around for a rope to bind it. You tried dragging one rope but it hurt you badly, so you left it and got another. After binding the bundle, you removed your dress and made a head-rest with it. As you carried the bundle, the rope broke and the firewood scattered. When I woke from the dream, I laughed and laughed; it was such a funny dream. I asked myself, what would a Senior Lecturer have to do with gathering firewood in the farm, our village for that matter. So I told myself, I must share the joke with you
She had the dream again two days ago.
Aarinola kept wondering why the dream was repeating itself to her and could not place any linkage. However, she decided to make that trip to Onigba-Iwofa at least to mend fences with her parents and celebrate the Christmas with them. Her son who went to Kafanchan to spend the long vacation holidays with her late husbands elder brother had decided to continue his education in the ancient town at the insistence of his uncle. Being a Senior Pastor and very comfortable, Aarinola had no reservations in releasing her only son to stay with Pastor Kunle Paseda.
She left Ibadan with a huge load containing gift items ranging from textiles to shoes and different provisions. She remembered that apart from her parents, there were other relations she must visit and at least give some end of the year gifts to.
One of such relatives was her uncle; Odesola, the hunter!!!