A Novel Written by: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
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!!!
The journey from Ile-Ife to Onigba-Iwofa took the Mount Zion Team more than eleven hours!!! Fortunately, they took off from the ancient city very early around seven in the morning. The driver of the commercial bus that they chattered from Ile Ife boasted that he knows a better route via Osogbo. He condemned the idea of going through Ibadan to link Oyo via Ojoo. He argued that going through Ibadan was tantamount to going backwards. He said he could link Ilorin by going through Oshogbo and burst out at Shaki. He claimed that was a better route.
Whoever says we should go through Ibadan and Oyo does not have idea of geography!!! Baba Piri Oloko started as he eased the vehicle towards Ede road en route Osogbo. Hardly had Brother Bamiloye, leader of the team finished praying when Baba Piri Oloko started the 18 seater Toyota Urvan bus.
Thank God I did Geography in Modern SchoolI wouldnt have understood the error we are about to commitWe would be wasting a lot of time if we go through Ibadan. It is like going to Abeokuta from Ibadan and passing from Idi-Ayunre through Ijebu-Ode to Sagamu and then Abeokuta, when one could have gone straight from Apata to Omi Adio, burst at Orile-Ilugun and face Odeda, Osiele and Eleweran. thats the way to go !!! He kept on talking like a chatter box.
As he spoke confidently, the Mount Zion brethren believed him. They had no reason to doubt him. Since they started going around abut a year ago, Baba Piri was the one who took them around. He knew virtually everywhere! Once Brother Bamiloye told him where the team would minister next, like an encyclopedia, Baba Piri knows it all.
By the time the journey entered its fifth hour, the brethren had started suspecting something had gone wrong. Signs that Baba Piri does not have a complete grasp of the route came when after they left the metropolis of Ilorin, Baba Piri started asking directions from people along the road. At first, he parked at Eyenkorin and sought from the Hausa traders there for the route to Saki. Moreover, it had taken five hours to get to Ilorin alone when Pastor Alowolodu said the whole journey from Ile-Ife should take only four hours.
As soon as he entered the vehicle, Brother Bamiloye who had been quiet all through the journey asked me if all was well.
No problem Bro Mike, we are moving towards Saki now He answered confidently.
Within the next one hour, it had become glaring to everyone that the wrong route had been taken.
Baba Piri, are you sure we are still on course asked Sister Remi, the youngest member of the team.
“God is on the throne His voice had suddenly lost the former vigour.
Suddenly, one of the brothers started a song:
Father take control
Son take control
Holy Ghost take pre-eminence
Father take control
Before long, everyone in the vehicle had joined him in the song, singing with joy and happiness as Baba Piri continued to navigate the routes he probably did not know.
“Baba Piri, dont forget Geography O! A brother shouted form behind the bus, casing everyone to burst into laughter. Even Brother Mike who sat in the front could not help laughing this time. Only Baba Piri held on to the steering with utmost seriousness. He pretended he did not hear the joke from the back and kept driving on. He was sincerely wrong, a fellow driver had told him the Ilorin route was better and faster to Saki than going through Ibadan and Oyo. He was already feeling guilty. His chatter-box nature had suddenly given way to an unusual calm and quietness.
“Baba Piriyou know; all things work together for good to them that love God Brother Mike saw the need to encourage the middle aged man as he struggled to find the direction to Onigba-Iwofa. Dont blame yourself for the decisions you have taken today. We will get to Onigba-Iwofa safely in Jesus name
Then he turned to the brethren “Brethren, nobody should mock Baba Piri again. The Lord is using him to take us to Onigba-Iwofa via the best route by the leading of the Lord. Baba Piri is not the one driving this bus, it is the Holy Spirit driving through himPraise the Lord
The chorus of Hallelujah was loud and resounding.
Pastor Joju was becoming troubled when at 4pm, the Mount Zion Team were not in sight. Although the outreach was to start the following day, he had agreed with Pastor Alowolodu that the team should arrive ahead. The last time he went to Shaki to make a call to Alowolodu, he was assured that the team had agreed to come a day ahead of the outreach and will arrive latest by 12noon. Therefore, when at 4pm, they did not show up, he began to show concern.
As the vehicle conveying the Mount Zion Team entered Shaki around 5pm, one of the tyres went flat, forcing Baba Piri to stop almost immediately. Fortunately, the vehicle stooped about one hundred meters from the Central Motor Park, Shaki. A vulcaniser stall was just close by.
This tyre have seen ages! The vulcaniser exclaimed when he saw the worn out tyre. There is no use pumping this one, do you have an extra one? He asked pitiably.
Oh sure we do Baba Piri answered. “The only problem is that we have all our loads piled upon it. We will need several minutes to unpack
Ah, you had better start doing that immediately. I will soon close shop. The dreaded Gbenafojuwo masquerade will appear from 6 O clock. You must leave this city before 6pm unfailingly because Gbenafojuwo does not tolerate strangers at all” The vulcaniser explained to Baba Piri and Brother Ore Adewole who had come down to see to the problem.
Immediately all the brethren came out of the vehicle to allow for the change of the worn out tyre. The sisters walked off to a shed belonging to a fruit seller and sat to wait while the brothers faced the task of offloading the vehicle to get at the extra tyre.
You must be coming from Ilorin? The vulcaniser asked as they began to offload the vehicle.
Yes, we are but how did you know that” Brother Ore responded sharply. We could have been coming from IbadanOkay what if I say we are coming from Ibadan or Oyo Brother Ore quizzed.
Not today my friend!!! You could not have been coming from Ibadan or Oyo!!! The vulcaniser announced confidently. No vehicle came in from Oyo to Saki today
A trailer carrying cows fell just before entering Oyo and blocked access towards Saki. If you had come through Oyo end, you will sleep there today!” The vulcaniser announced gleefully as he began to remove the knots on the tyre.
“The two vehicles that left Saki this morning for Ibadan turned back and returned when they could not find their way to Oyo. The trailer slept like this across the entire road The vulcaniser said stretching his body to mimick how the trailer occupied the road.
The brothers exchanged glances and turned their gazes to Baba Piri who had suddenly become a hero of some sort.
You seeI told you, Baba Piri does not only know Physical geography, he also understands Spiritual Geography!!! Brother Mike explained.
Baaaabaaaaa Piriiiiiiii!!!! The brothers gave a loud ovation to Baba Piri, drawing the attention of Sisters Gloria, Bola, Remi and Vero to quickly join brothers to find out what had gone amiss.
God used Paba Piri to save us from either sleeping on Oyo today or turning back from there to come and take the Ilorin alternative. He saw what we did not see ahead!!! Brother Mike explained to the Sisters as Baba Piri continued to smile sheepishly.
Piri l’olongo nji!!!! Brother Ore Adewole saluted Baba Piri again!!!
The Lord will bring them safely. It could be that they have issues with the vehicle bringing them. You know how the roads are Mrs. Joju tried to allay the fears of her husband as soon as she noticed his troubled face. We have prayed and The Lord has heard usHe will perfect all that concern this program. We have done the best we canLet God perform His bestIts time to break the fastIt’s 6 already Sade concluded as he playfully pushed her husband from the room to the table in the living room where she had already set the table for dinner.
Hardly had they settled down for the food when they heard a loud noise outside. A crowd of children and youths had led the bus conveying the Mount Zion Team to the Mission House!!! Pastor Joju knew the only thing that could lead children to the Mission House that evening was the arrival of the drama team. So, he quickly left the food and rushed out to see the bus parking in front of the Mission House. He could not miss the face. Brother Mike Bamiloye was in the front of the vehicle praying with the other members of the team.
Patiently, Pastor Joju waited for them to round off the prayers before welcoming them. His wife had also joined him outside as they waited for the team to finish their prayers. The crowd of children and youths waiting to catch a glimpse of the dram team had increased rapidly within a few minutes.
The team had gone straight to the palace ground, the venue of the programme from where they got better information about the direction to the Mission House. Word had gone round that the drama team from Ile-Ife had arrived. Some adults had also joined the crowd, whispering in low voices as they waited for the team to alight.
I know; it is Baba OgundeOsetura himself. Haa Ogunde has come to Onigba-Iwofa!!! Amusan said to his bosom friend Laosebikan. They were the first set of adults to arrive the scene.
Liar, it is his son!! Laosebikan replied sharply Baba Ogunde is older than this. I know him, his name is Wemimo Ogunde. He acts drama like his father!!!
Kai, he too has many wives just like his father see, One… two three four five. He has five wives wives!!!
What do you expectLike father like son!!! The duo of Amusan and Laosebikan continued their chattering as the Mount Zion Team alighted from the bus and made straight into the Mission House.
Mrs. Aarinola Paseda was one of the passengers who returned to Ibadan that day. The vehicle she boarded was caught in along traffic jam that lingered for more than 12 kilometers. The fallen lorry conveying cows had blocked the entire stretch of the road, making any vehicular movement impossible. To make the matter worse, the trailer fell at a point where two imposing rock formations created a kind of barrier on the either sides of the road. Any attempt to create emergency side roads was already a failed attempt even before conception. The two rocks created impregnable walls. Motorists had only two choices; wait for the Federal Highway Patrols to bring a heavy duty towing vehicle and remove the trailer or return to Oyo.
For Aarinola, returning to Ibadan via Oyo was the only available option. The driver of the vehicle she boarded had announced that he had to return to Ibadan. He lamented that the last time such a thing happened about two years ago, the trailer was not removed until the following day. He opined that, waiting for the Federal Highway Patrol to bring a heavy duty towing vehicle might not be feasible that day. So, he joined the bandwagon of vehicles taking a U-turn to make a detour back to Ibadan via Oyo. Unfortunately, by the time he made the decision to take a U-turn, several other vehicles had done same, causing a major gridlock on the Oyo-Shaki road that lasted for another three hours.
As soon as the Mount Zion Team arrived, the welfare team from the church, led by Eeebudola wife of Odesola and Mrs. Labode wife of Major Labode (rtd) had reported to the Mission House. Before anyone could say “Onigba-Iwofa” rolls of pounded yam, egusi soup and assorted bush meats had met at the Mission House where the guests were first hosted before they were led by Major Labode who was the Chairman of the Drama Crusade Planning committee and Odesola to the Gbelegun Guest House where they were to lodge for the three days of their stay at Onigba-Iwofa.
Please manage this our Guest House and enjoy your restTomorrow morning around ten, we shall come to lead you to the palace of His Royal Highness, Oba Folagbade Lagooku (Ogajafowomeke II) The Adigbaare of Onigba-Iwofa. He will be willing to receive you Major Labode explained to Brother Mike, leader of the Mount Zion Team.
“Thank you very much Sir. This place is beautiful and goes beyond managing. We deeply appreciate your spirit of hospitality. We are very happy Sir. Thank you very much. The Lord bless you Sir Brother mike responded.
By the time Aarinola returned to her residence at the staff Quarters of the University of Ibadan, it was already 7pm. She was tired and worn out already. As soon as she stepped into the house, she felt in her spirit that the trailer accident happened because of her. As she knelt beside her bed to pray and thank God for her safe return home, she heard His voice clearly:
Go back home
The voice was distinct and very clear. She could not miss it. It has been long He spoke like that. If she was not used to that that voice, she might have been tempted to assume an intruder was in the room with her. But, she knows His voice. She stayed in the kneeling position for another thirty minutes expecting Him to speak further, but He did not.
I have not seen my parents in yearsI stayed away from home because my father is a paganWhy should I? Several thoughts ran through her mind as she stayed under the shower enjoying the warm water. She recalled her wedding ceremonies and how her father refused to accent until persuaded by Oba Folagbade.
When her husband died in a ghastly auto accident a few years after the wedding, she had reasons to think her father might have been responsible. It took the constant and consistent counselling from her pastor to erase the thoughts from her mindset.
That night, all the remaining daughters of the river on skeletal operations left Onigba-Iwofa. As soon as the Mount Zion team arrived, the spiritual temperature of the town increased by 47 degrees Celsius causing terrible burns on Natas and Vampiress, new leaders of the Daughters of the River operating at Onigba-Iwofa.
Already, the two had become tired of the mission. Ever since Pastor Joju took over the work, they have been rendered useless and unable to perform a single operation within and around the town. They had become weak, lean and completely famished. They had no blood to suck since they could not muster enough strength to cause any major catastrophe within the town.
In the last one month of Pastor Joju and his wifes arrival in Onigba-Iwofa, only three deaths had been recorded. One was a 92-year-old woman, who died peacefully in her sleep. The second was a 78-year-old man who had been sick for more than two years. His death was a relief to his family. The third death recorded was that of an 89-year-old retired school headmaster whose corpse was brought in from Lagos for traditional celebrations.
Powerone and Greatone had become too powerful for the daughters of the river. In the last seven days since the preparations for the drama crusade and revival started with a special fasting and priatyeng session, the daughters of the Rivers led by Natas and Vampiress had become banished to the outskirts of the town where they had little or no aces to what went on at Onigba-Iwofa. Their visibility had become poor and they hardly saw or herd anything beyond the physical again. Onigba-Iwofa had become a no go area for them.
At the Gbelegun Guest House, were the Mount Zion Team were lodged at the instance of His Royal Highness, Oba Folagbade Lagooku (Ogajafowomeke II) The Adigbaare of Onigba-Iwofa, prayers continued into the early hours of the morning. Completely unaware of the damage they were doing to the forces of darkness represented by the Daughters of the River, the Mount Zion brethren continued to blast away in tongues, singing praises and taking charge of the atmosphere in preparation for the drama outreach starting the following day.
From the borders where they had been banished, the daughters of the River suddenly felt a rushing wave of heat like that from a furnace hit them. Instantly, they were burnt and roasted by the intensity of the fire. Only Natas managed to escape with high degree of burns.