A Novel Written by: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
At the Gbelegun Guest House, where 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.
Men of the Federal Highway Patrol were up to the task. They worked throughout the night to remove the trailer and the debris of dead cows. The surviving cows had been carefully removed by the truck owners who had arranged for them to be moved to a nearby open field and taken care of. By 6 O clock in the morning, the road was free for vehicular movements. Over two hundred vehicles including other cow-conveying trucks and several passenger buses who were stuck in the overnight traffic were the first beneficiaries of the clearance for the next two hours.
When Aarinola got to the Ojoo motor Park early in the morning the following day, the first information she sought was about the congestion on Saki Road. The drivers gleefully announced that the road had been cleared as some of the drivers who slept on the road overnight had already arrived the park.
The palace was the first point of call for the Mount Zion team the following morning. Oba Folagbade was excited to meet the team and had requested that the they be allowed to have breakfast with him that morning. However, prompted by Pastor Joju Dairo, Kabiyesi was told not to bother as the team was likely to be fasting for the period they would be ministering in the town. When Pastor Joju Dairo asked Bro. Mike in the evening before they left for Gbolagun Guest House about breakfast, he politely requested that Pastor Joju Dairo should instruct the welfare team not to bother about breakfast and lunch.
Welcome to Onigba-IwofaThe land of Prosperity!!! Oba Folagbade said as he welcomed the guests into his palace. We are glad to have you here with us and we pray that your stay here will give birth to great and mighty testimonies in Jesus name Everyone chorused a loud amen!
“My great grandfather, Adigbaare was the progenitor of this town. He was a prosperous business man who had trade relations with the popular Iyalode Efunsetan Aniwura of Ibadan and Balogun Kuku of Ijebu Ode” Oba Folagbade continued his historical treatise when he realised his guests were rapt with attention. Pastor Joju Dairo was hearing the authentic history of Onigba-Iwofa for the first time.
“Together, Iyalode Efunsetan Aniwura, Balogun Kuku and Adigbaare, my great grandfather formed a trade syndicate of merchandise in slaves, palm oil and cocoa” The audience maintained total silence as everyone got carried away with the story.
“Adigbaare was reputed to have maintained 200 pawns at every point in time thus the appellation Onigba-Iwofa’ He was rich and prosperous in his business empire as he was the link man between Iyalode Efunsetan, Balogun Kuku and the Fulani slave raiders from Borgu and Nupe”
With rapt attention, the guests listened to Oba Folagbde as he reeled out the comprehensive history of Onigba-Iwofa in addition to a list of all the Obas who had reigned before him including the immediate past Adigbaare; his father; Oba Lagooku Agbaruru. He rounded off by thanking them again for not considering Onigba-Iwofa as being too remote for their visit. He thereafter pleaded with them to take greetings back to the Ooni of Ile-Ife, His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II who celebrated his fifth coronation anniversary recently.
In his response, leader of the Mount Zion Team, Brother Mike Bamiloye thanked His Royal Highness profusely for his undying love for mission work and the vast contributions he had made towards the growth of the church of God in Onigba-Iwofa. He thereafter led a short session of prayers for Kabiyesi and his entire family.
The first night of the drama revival was great. The palace grounds which was expected to be a relief of some sort for crowd-control turned out to be grossly inadequate. The turnout of the population was not only massive, but mammoth. From about three O clock in the afternoon, the crowd had almost filled the entire palace grounds. People trooped in from as far as Awofolaju and Aponbiede while some
came via wagons that loaded passengers from neighboring towns of Igangan and Tejuofe.
News had gone round that Chief Hubert Ogunde, the legendary dramatists who; a few years ago released the popular album titled “Yoruba Ronu had been invited by the church at Onigba-Iwofa. Unfortunately, being busy, he had sent his son to come and represent him. Others heard that a Christian theatre group sent by the Ooni of Ile Ife had come to town on the invitation of His Royal Highness, Oba Folagbade Lagooku (Ogajafowomeke II) The Adigbaare of Onigba-Iwofa.
By the time the Mount Zion Team arrived the venue at around 4 O’ clock, there was virtually no space for them to walk through. Church leaders led by Odesola and Major Labode had to lead them through to the crowd to have chance to get to the backstage.
I told youHe is Ogundes son!!! Ogunmefun said to his friend, Layoofe.
Liarwhere is the gap-toothevery child of Ogunde has a gap-tooth except he or she is a bastard!! Layoofe retorted with his big eyes wide opened as he fumed, ready for a fight. I was at the national Theartre in Lagos when I went on holiday with my Uncle. I saw Baba Ogunde and his children with my naked eyes, they all have gap tooth. This man has no gap-tooth, he is not Ogundes son
The local policemen who had been invited to maintain law and order at the venue had been completely overwhelmed by the turn out. Never in the history of Onigba-Iwofa have they seen such mammoth crowd. They simply retreated to the extreme end of the Palace Square to watch the spectacle.
His Royal Highness, Oba Folagbade Lagooku (Ogajafowomeke II) The Adigbaare of Onigba-Iwofa joined the crowd with his retinue of The Olori and Chiefs at about quarter to six in the evening. As soon as he sat, Pastor Joju Dairo mounted the locally made rostrum to announce the commencement of the drama. He started by dispelling the rumours making round town that the Mount Zion team has no relationship with the legendary Hubert Ogunde; although they have great regards and respects for the thespian Lord.
As Pastor Joju Dairo made the announcement, Layoofe looked straight in the direction of Ogunmefun and stared at him mockingly.
“Next time, when your elders are talkinggive them respects Layoofe said sarcastically. Ogunmefun hissed loudly and walked painfully through the thick crowd to another section of the palace square.
When the leader of the team, Brother Mike Bamiloye mounted the stage to introduce the drama, a loud applause greeted his coming. Onigba-Iwofa was witnessing is first Mega Crusade in form of a drama outreach.
“Praise the Loooooord!!!!!! His voice vibrated through the length and breadth of Onigba-Iwofa. The speakers had been rented from a musical band based in Saki. The band was the only one who had access to such loud speakers in the entire axis from Onigba-Iwiofa to Iganna, Saki and Okeho.
Praise the Loooooord!!!!!! Mike Bamiloye shouted again!!! The responding chorus of Hallelujah was deafening. Pastor Joju Dairo grinned with joy where he sat beside the King. The Lord is bringing to pass his desires concerning drama evangelism. He strongly believed drama would draw a large gathering and he was right.
He exchanged glances with his wife who sat beside him. She smiled back. She and her husband had waited on the Lord for seven days in preparations for the drama crusade. One of the prayer points was that the Lord should draw a massive number of people from Onigba-Iwofa and beyond to attend the programme. The Lord had answered that prayer.
Brother Bamiloye was brief in his introduction as he declared the title of the drama to be The Unprofitable Servant
The drama lasted for about one hour and fifteen minutes. Despite the heavy crowd, there was a dead silence as the drama rounded off and Brother Bamiloye began to make the alter call. Only the sobs, cries and wailings of some people in the congregation could be heard.
Dont leave this place without giving your life to Jesus Mike Bamiloyes voice rang out again from the altar!!!
The voice caught Layoofe unawares, he was about stepping out for the venue when the voice rang out. He was already feeling uncomfortable with the turn of events. He came to the programme with two new charms he has just prepared in order to test them. He would have tested the charms on Ogumefun his friend. Only God saved the latter, he would have been carried off the venue with his tongue drooling out of his mouth involuntarily. He would remain in that condition for three days and then die! Moving away from Layoofe was what saved him.
As soon as Bamiloye started to make the altar calls, the charms in Layofe’s pocket dissolved and became liquid flowing down his thighs. The moment he felt the charms dissolved, fear gripped him and he began to find his way out of the venue. Just then, the loud voice of Bamiloye caught him unawares. He stood still and looked at the direction of Bamiloye. He was staring at his direction. He quickly dropped his gaze and became more scared. Tears had already swelled in his eyes. He had never seen anything like that in his life. His father, head of The Awo Opa Cult had died only three months ago. Preparations were in top gear to install him as the new Head of the much dreaded cult.
He quickly turned back and stayed glued to the point where he was. A large number of people had already started trooping to the front to give their lives to Jesus. Layofe was moving too. He could not explain how, but it seemed his legs were moving involuntarily towards the front. A force seemed to be pushing him to keep moving forward. No one looked at his direction, the number of those weeping had increased. Layoofe continued to move forward. He touched his pocket again and felt the coldness of the now dissolved to liquid charm. His heart skipped a beat. He knew the implications. Except he meets a stronger power, the dissolved charm will cause leprosy. In 24 hours, he was going to become leprous. He looked towards the altar. He had now come near the man holding the microphone. He looked up to him as if beckoning for help.
Jesus will forgive you and give you a power greater than the gods you have trusted in before Bamiloye screamed again. His voice was confident and assuring. As soon as Layoofe got to the front he knelt like others and began to say words after the preacher.
The altar call lasted for another thirty minutes. Different prayers were made for various categories of people. Throughout the thirty minutes the prayer lasted, more people kept joining the swarming number of new converts who had already made their way to the front. As soon as the prayers ended, Pastor Joju Dairo announced that the new coverts should come to the church the following day for more prayers and counselling.
Pastor Joju, his wife and major Labode were the last to leave the palace square, venue of the drama crusade.
“Pastor, I cant believe this. drama? Major Labode started a discussion as they moved out of the Square.
To God be all the glory, MajorI never knew it was going to turn out this way tooThe Lord is good Pastor Joju Dairo said.
Our church will not contain worshippers again o Pastor!!! With what I saw today, we must get ready to start building a bigger church
You are right MajorGod is doing a new thing !!!
Just then, they heard a woman sobbing. She was seated on a bench in a corner of the Palace Square. The square had become deserted so it was easy to hear her sobs. Intuitively, Pastor Joju Dairo, his wife and Major moved towards the direction of the woman. She appeared to be praying in tongues and was sobbing at the same time.
She is praying in the spirit Mrs. Sade Dairo said as they moved closer to her.
“Yes, but we cant leave her hereIt wont be safe for her to remain here alone Major explained. Although, Onigba-Iwofa is relatively safe, but you cant tell when things will change. That is why in the Army, we were trained to expect and prepare for the worst at every moment
The woman appeared to have heard the voices because she stopped praying and held the sobs.
We are sorry to disturb your communion with heavenbut we felt it might not be safe to stay here beyond now. The programme is over, we can escort you home”
Thank you Sir. Thank you Sir The woman said as she lifted her tear soaked eyes. Everything that happened tonight was because of me She said amidst the sobs. Thank you for inviting this people to Onigba-IwofaGod brought them here just because of meThat message is for meThank you SirThank you Sir
To God be the GloryWhere is your place, lets escort you home
No need PastorAlthough I came in from Ibadan today after many years of being away, I still know my way through. Onigba-Iwofa hasnt changed much. I will find my way home. My parents’ house is not far from your church. I saw it today when I arrived from Ibadan. Thank God I came at the right timeand thank you for the great work you are doing here She smiled for the first time. Her face gleamed in the darkness as the moonlight made it possible to see her clearly.
To God be the Glory” Pastor Joju Dairo replied. “Nice to meet you. Welcome home from Ibadan after many years? However, since your house is along our path, lets move together then” Pastor Joju Dairo said smiling.
Lets walk together Sister, we cant leave you hereWe cant. Mrs Sade Dairo also lend her voice. She smiled as she spoke exposing her gap tooth. Her pleasant smiles appealed to the woman. She stood as they walked together towards the Mission House.
“Thank you Pastor. My name is Mrs. Aarinola Paseda She announced as they moved out of the palace Square.
Pastor Joju Dairo stiffened as he heard the name. He took two steps back and looked at the woman againMajor Labode also moved closer to her at the mention of her name
Wait!!! I said it, darkness almost deceived meAarinola!!! I cant believe my eyes!!! What are you doing here? Pastor Joju almost screamed.
Aarinola stared at Joju again, this time more intensely and remembered her old school mate. She recalled that he was the one she met when she visited The Jesus Generation Assembly in Ibadan to discuss with the Senior Pastor of the church concerning the case of Oyinkan and Dr. Morakinyo Olagunsoye.
Jesus !!! Joju!!!…What are you doing here? Aarinola was amazed.
I took over temporarily from Dr. Olagunsoye, he is currently on a Special course at The Bible college in Ikeji Arakeji” Joju explained.
Oh my Godthis is too good to be trueSo its Dr. Olagunsoyes church!!! I knew, when he started this missionin fact, he Aarinola stopped abruptly when she realised that she was talking too much Ah, its really a small world She smiled sheepishly.
A small world indeedAm happy to meet you again in faraway Onigba-Iwofa. Meet my wife Joju pointed at his Sade who immediately stretched her hands to embrace Aarinola lovingly.
“Excuse me Sisterwhich Aarinola is yours, the daughter of Boda Labinjo Oderinde? Major Labode asked, his face shone as he recognized Aarinola.