MAN FOR THE SWORD.
-Bros, dubem called, abeg wetin dey to chop?
-chop? haaa, you suppose ask wetin dey to drink, oliver answered.
-drink kwa? Dubem asked, oya wetin be that?
-water o. Na only water dey this house, dubem replied.
-chai, he yawned. today again? no food? nna ehee, person don suffer o.
CHUKWUDI CAME IN CRYING.
-Nwanne, how far? wetin happen? why you dey cry?
-All the suffer, wey i suffer today, na for nothing.
-how? wetin happen?
-Just the last truck of block o, my barrow just hit stone, all the block fall break. The man say e no go pay me because of the block wey break.
DUBEM FLARED UP.
-for wetin, i dey go see oga segun. why na? na your fault? how many block you break? wetin sef? noooo, ah no go gree.
DUBEM WENT FIGHTING AND OGA SEGUN BOYS, BROKE HIS HEAD. HE BLEED TO DEATH.
THAT WAS HOW MAZI UKADIKE OKORONTA LOST HIS FIRST SON. HE HAS SIX CHILDREN, ALL BOYS . DUBEM, CHUKWUDI, UZONNA, NNADOZIE, EZEDINOBI (fondly called obi) AND THE LAST, CHINONSO.
DUBEM’S DEATH WAS A BIG BLOW TO UKADIKE AND HIS ENTIRE FAMILY. THERE WAS NO MONEY FOR FUNERAL. DUBEM WAS BURIED JUST LIKE THAT. NKIRU, DUBEM’S MOTHER COULD NOT BE COMFORTED. SHE CRIED FOR DAYS.
MAZI UKADIKE HAS BEEN BATTLING HARD TIMES AND POVERTY. THE HOUSE HE LIVES IN IS A TOTAL DISASTER. ONCE IT APPROACHED RAINY SEASON, THEY LIVED IN FEAR BECAUSE THE ROOF OF THEIR HOUSE LICK. MAZI HAD TO USE BAMBO TO CONSTRUCT SOMETHING THEY COULD CLIMB ON ONCE THE WATER FLOODS THE HOUSE.
THE POVERTY, LACK, STARVATION AND WRETCHEDNESS EXPERIENCED BY THE OKORONTAS IS HEART BREAKING. UKADIKE HAS NO LAND TO SELL, HE HAS NO PROPERTY, EXCEPT THE HOUSE HE LIVED IN WHICH WAS HANDED OVER TO HIM BY HIS FATHER.
HIS FATHER WAS A VERY WEALTHY MAN. HE WAS A MEMEBER OF A GROUP CALLED “UMIAKU”. THE MEMBERS OF THE GROUP SERVE A DEITY CALLED “UMIAKU” WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WEALTH. UKADIKE REFUSED TO CARRY ON WHEN HE FOUND OUT THAT THE GROUP WAS ACTUALLY A CULT AND THEY WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF HIS BROTHERS AND MOTHER. HIS ONLY SISTER DIED AT CHILD BIRTH.
UMIAKU REVENGED BY STRICKING UKADIKE AND HIS SONS WITH POVERTY AND WRETCHEDNESS AND MADE SURE NO ONE WAS WILLING TO HELP THEM. UKADIKE’S SONS LEFT THE VILLAGE TO THE CITY ONE MORNING OUT OF FRUSTRATION. EVEN IN THE CITY, THE SITUATION GREW WORSE.
THEY ALMOST BURIED DUBEM IN THE CITY FOR LACK OF MONEY. THEY HAD NO MONEY FOR AMBULANCE. DUBEM WAS PUT IN TRAILER RETURNING TO THE NORTH THROUGH THE EAST. ONLY NNADOZIE AND OBI COULD TRAVEL. CHUKWUDI AND UZONNA STAYED BACK.
AFTER THE BURIAL, NNADOZIE AND OBI HAD NO MONEY TO GO BACK TO THE CITY. THEY STARTED DOING JOBS TO GATHER MONEY TO GO BACK. ONE DAY, AS THEY RETURNED FROM THE DAY’S JOB, A CAR DROVE ACROSS THEM AND STOPPED. THE DRIVER WINED DOWN GLASSES. NNADOZIE AND OBI SHOUTED….
-OSCAR OOOOO, nna lekwa nu oscar. Nnadozie shouted
-osacar Japan, I can’t believe this. Obi shouted as they shook hands and embraced.
-Nna nawa o. what are you people doing in the village? by this time, thought you guys were in Lagos.
-see who is asking. what are you doing here too obi asked. Are you not also in the city?
-nna, I came to put finishing touches to my house o.
OBI DROPPED THE CUTLASS HE WAS HOLDING.
-jesu nwa maria!! ehee? you? building a house? chinekem eheeeee hahahaha, congratulations nwannem. I’m so happy for you.
-chai, oscar my man, Nnadozie replied, I gbugokwa ozu ooooo(you have made money) congratulations. and this is your car na.
-chai. congrats ooo.
-thanks ooo. so what are you doing in the village ? and how is dubem and the rest.
THERE WAS A SECOND SILENCE BETWEEN THE BROTHERS.
-What happened ? oscar asked.
-hmm, we lost him oooo. Dubem is dead.
-Ewooooooo, oscar screamed. what? what happened ? was he sick?
-it’s a long story. Nnadozie replied.
-heiiiii, chaiii. We need to sit and discuss. get into the car let’s go to a cool place please.
THE BROTHERS LOOKED AT THEMSELVES.
-like this? obi asked. nooo, we will dirty your car.
-no, it’s ok. come in, let’s look for a cool place.
THE BROTHERS SAT IN A BAR WITH OSCAR. THEY NARRATED THEIR STORY AND HOW THEY HAVE BEEN SUFFERING. OSCAR FELT BAD. HE TOLD OBI TO COME TO HIS FAMILY HOUSE THE NEXT DAY. HE WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS SOMETHING WITH HIM. HE GAVE THEM 2000 NAIRA FOR FEEDING. THE MONEY WAS LIKE ONE MILLION NAIRA TO THEM.
OBI MET WITH OSCAR THE NEXT DAY…..
written by Nnenne uju Izuanagbara.
NNADOZIE AND OBI WENT TO OSCAR’S HOUSE. OSCAR OFFERED THEM DRINKS. AS THEY DRANK, HE SAID TO THEM.
-chai, so dubem is dead. kai!!! do you know i couldn’t sleep because of this. I couldn’t. (he sipped his drink) so what happened to the man who killed him? did you leave him to go Scott free?
-hmmm, obi replied, my brother, we called the police na, he was ARRESTED three days later he was granted bail. We have no body na, they used money to close the case. The dpo was even blaming dubem, why he had to go and fight.
-are you serious? kai, don’t worry. You must go back for him. He must face the consequences of his action. what rubbish!!!
-argh!! nooo, Nnadozie replied. we don’t have money. We don’t want trouble. We have buried our brother. No matter the case we make, he won’t.come back to us.(he dropped a tear)
-That’s the reason i called you guys. I don’t want to give you fish..I want to show you the river where i catch mine, the hook, and how to use it so that you will eat any how you want.
-Hmmm, oscar, Nnadozie called, i hope it is not cult o because my father warned us never to indulge in anything cult.
-nna nawa for you o. do i look like a cultist? that’s an insult na haba.
-Please oscar, Obi pleaded, don’t be angry with him. Biko, iwe ewena gi (Please don’t be angry) He didn’t say you are a cultist. He is just ….biko, don’t be angry.
-Nsogbu adiro. I am not a cultist biko oscar replied. I use what i.have to get what i want. There is this group i belong. We are called “AUTO CONNECT”. See eheee guys, onwere big big ladies nwere ego (there are big big ladies who have money) but have no husband. All they need is sex SATISFACTION. Once you can perform, nwanne forget. If you are lucky to meet a foreigner here in Naija, you will be paid in dollars. No shedding of blood,.no scam, just doing things.
THE BROTHERS WERE SPEECHLESS. THEY WERE LOOKING AT HIM. OBI BROKE THE SILENCE.
-oscar, is that what you do?
-ifugonuya nwanne. (you have seen it my brother)
-heeeeeeeeeeeeeey he shouted with both hands on his head. umuedi oooooo. gini? (what) akpata oyi ejezuom aru. (goose bumps all over my body.) and you said it is Auto connect and just doing things. heeeeeeeeeeeeeey!!!! he shouted again. ubiam, ubiam leeeeeeeee. i jooooo. ijoka. (poverty, you are evil) nwanne you are jobless o. oscar, putaba o, come out,you are jobless.
OSCAR GOT ANGRY.
-obi, iwu idiot o. (you are an idiot) me and you who is jobless. See this wretch i am trying to decode from wretchedness. Can you imagine.
-oh, you have job,.no you have job abi? oya what is your job? me, everybody knows anam aru tim-bom asin, tirim, borom. Anam asuru ndi mmadu oru ha. ( everybody knows i am a labourer, i carry head pan, i work on people’s farm) what is the name of your work? AUTO CONNECT nke ndi motor abi aeroplane? TUFIAAAAAAAAA. i rather die in poverty than do such rubbish. chukwu aju.
OSCAR GOT MORE ANGRY.
-just imagine the wretch i want to help. Get out of my house. i said get out.
-oscar, take it easy naaaa, Please nwanne Nnadozie replied.
-Nna let’s go. Are you begging him? my friend let’s go.
-Obi jirikwanu nwayo, (take it easy ) we are not fighting.
-if i slap you, you will fastforward to your father’s house obi replied his brother.
-Poverty will kill you oscar shouted at obi.
-it is better than oria obirinacho ocha. (hiv and aids)
NNADOZIE COULD NOT SLEEP THAT NIGHT. HE THOUGHT ABOUT OSCAR’S OFFER. HE SEEMS TO BE INTERESTED.
-obi eheeee. chai. obi has spoiled things for me. This condition we find ourselves does he like it. No house is like our own in this village. Everybody aruchago (has built)block house. Only us, only us still dey live for this kind house. We are all boys, no one be man. imagine, my brother died a painful death and his killer is walking freely because of money(he started crying) My brother was buried like a chicken. We couldn’t even buy ORDINARY coffin. pako, akuru four corner( that was nailed four corner) that was what they buried awhole de okpara nnam with(sobbing more heavily) is this life? when it starts raining now, we turn to birds and climb this tree here(pointing to the bamboo his father constructed). See my mates, doing well. i am tired of this poverty. I am going back to oscar. This anaconda has been here doing nothing. just to urinate up and down. mga eji ha akpata ego(i will make money with it). ah swear down.
FEW HOURS LATER, OBI CAME INTO HIS ROOM.
-obi, what happened? you are not sleeping?
-no (he sat down) listen to me NNA. Don’t ever think of going back to oscar o. Don’t try it.
-haaaa, did i tell you i’m going to him?
-you did not but your action back there did.
-obi biko i want to sleep. leave me alone.
-NNA, if you try it, i will kill you and kill myself o. i’m warning you o.
-oga good night abeg.
-Abia, ihem gachagoro tinye mmezi. (i have finish going) Nonsense. oburu na ubiam di gi mma na aru. odirom. (if poverty is good on you, it’s not on me.)
OSCAR WAS IN HIS HOUSE WHEN SOMEONE KNOCKED. HE OPENED. IT WAS OBI.
TO BE CONTINUED.