So the EndSars protest happened. People were shot at the Lekki toll gate. The Lagos Governor was caught speaking from both sides of the mouth. President Buhari in a nationwide broadcast effectively told the youths to fuck off. The following day emigration to Canada topped the trending list on social media. Nnamdi Kanu said Buhari was not Jubril of Sudan anymore. Jubril of Sudan had run away. The man in Aso Rock was now Mohammed Yusuf of Niger. Aisha Buhari fled to Dubai. Violent Fulani herdsmen ran amok in forests, farms, and highways across the nation. The Southwest governors and the Benue governor were shouting themselves hoarse. Oyo’s Sunday Igboho rose to national prominence as he took laws into his own hands. Every week something somewhere reminded the youths of the EndSars protest and the hashtag would trend again. A second protest was planned for December 2020 then suddenly the government required everyone to link their phone numbers with their National Identification Numbers within two weeks causing a national scramble for NINs and the protest was forgotten. A second recession was announced. Cryptocurrency was banned to the chagrin of youth enthusiasts. Fleeing Nigeria was now talked about unabashedly on social media.
A second wave and mutant variants of the coronavirus popped in different parts of the world. Official figures of infection rate had topped one hundred thousand by the new year in Nigeria. Obituaries from the virus were announced with increased regularity. In Lagos, everyone now knew someone that had contracted the virus or even died of it.
The biggest news outside Nigeria was Donald Trump’s failed attempt to hang on to power in an unprecedented turn of events that cast a big slur on the world’s acclaimed model democracy. He left Washington with his tail between his legs.
Davido and Wizkid however released new albums. Burna Boy was increasingly being mentioned in the same sentence as those two. The European football Season continued to provide succor. Churches and mosques were back giving hope. Dangote’s naked bottom debuted on social media for which he sued an aggrieved American lover for $30,000 and Elon Musk from nowhere became the richest man on earth.
At 225 Katakata Street Eyonyam was still in a coma.
“The doctors do not understand,” Mr Zubi explained. It was a hematoma to the brain and surgery to remove it was successful and yet she would not wake up.”
“What is hematoma?” Josiah asked?
“A collection or clotting of blood outside the blood vessels, all of which have been successfully removed. Curiously, her skull did not fracture.”
“There was no need for Sister Esther to fracture the skull to make it easy for them. My girl went straight to the point and reset her brain. Anuofia! Ashawo kobo kobo. Nkita Togo!” Mrs Zubi said.
Ndifreke continued to run his business with Irikefe and Castro and his path with Maya’s barely crossed. This surprised Castro and delighted Irikefe.
“Come o bros Freke” Castro said. “You mean say you and Maya truly dey ghost each other like this?
“It is best,” Ndifreke said.
“You pack from house enter toilet for her comfort and yet nothing?”
“I did not pack from house to the toilet. I like where I am. Make everybody dey their dey,” Ndifreke said.
“Wetin bros wan even use am do?” Irikefe offered. “Abi you no dey see Aunty Lizzy? Any woman half her age fine like dat?”
“No be lie” Castro said. “But I know say Bros Freke and Maya na sure thing one day. Make una dey deceive una sef. Bros I lie?”
Ndifreke looked away.
Clementina continued to turn heads in the compound.
“Do you still talk with her?” Elizabeth asked Ndifreke.
“Not privately. I stopped after two more meetings.”
“You got hard in her presence and realized that any man can be a rapist right?”
“I wouldn’t put it quite that way. Maybe we shouldn’t talk about it.”
Joseph suspended talk of opening his bar and was pursuing Josephine full time.
“I didn’t think I would chase you for three months Hermosa.”
“Your sisters made a bet that we would fuck the day we met. I guess my reputation went ahead of me. Unfortunately, they did not know I had just that morning committed to celibacy for the rest of the year.”
“Why would anybody do that?”
“For different reasons. A man saw me naked and his dick remained flaccid. Do you know what that means? A warrior of a man. My champion!”
“That has nothing to do with you. The penis is a complete science genre on its own.”
“Well, even though I did not show it, I thought I would die afterwards. I wanted him too much. I wanted dick too much. So I decided to go on a dick fast to see if I would survive it and I did. I’m loving it now.”
“For how long?”
“Till Valentine’s day maybe.”
Kingsley stayed by Sister Esther as her pregnancy went along and as she kept police appointments.
“You see what you caused? You see what that thing between your legs has done to us? What does she have that I don’t have? Is this one not breast? Is this one not nyash?” Are you the only man in this compound?”
“Everybody is equally weak on the inside, just that some present their ruins as new castles and become kings – Simona Panova” Mr Kingsley said.
Funbi and Jide Falomo’s relationship had developed a layer of ice since she made the threesome with Iniquity request.
“You have become cold hun. Is it because I don’t want the threesome with that thug?”
“No. Not at all.”
“Then what’s the matter?”
“Nothing. I’m fine.”
“Okay, can we take this to the next level? I wish to settle down. For real this time.”
“Everyone will say I snatched my friend’s husband.”
“But you didn’t. I was crooked. You made me straight.”
“Great pun, but no.”
“Would you marry me if we had the threesome?”
Funbi looked up at him and smiled.
Achike and Evae nursed their baby by themselves and as Castro suspected, could have another on the way soon.
“Tell me bros” Castro said to Ndifreke. “The way Achike dey fuck him wife. Na so e suppose be? Everyday the man dey lock door for this heat! And their pikin never even grow complete hand and legs. Bet me, by next month Evae don get another belle.”
Mr Zubi remained influential in the council of Elders.
“Gentlemen, following this last situation with Kingsley and the Togo lady, I propose that we become proactive in this council and not just reactive. Not only to come here to talk after the damage has been done – damage that if we are honest we always see coming. What stopped us from calling Kingsley to order when he suddenly sent his woman out and we all knew he was hiding behind bedsheets in the backyard to imetu aka nwanyi Togo? We see everything! We know everything! So why do we pretend to be minding our business and allowing avoidable problems? When we see something crooked and know the potential consequences, we call errant neighbors to question! We lost Awero and four children that way. Now we don’t know if the Togo woman will make it. We could have prevented these mishaps.”
Mr Cosmas continued to be the conscience of the compound, providing illumination wherever needed. One day, someone asked “But why does God allow all these bad things to happen? Why would he even bother to create a world where he doesn’t seem to have control? Shebi they said he can do all things? Why can’t he just make all of us holy?”
“Ignorant humans ascribe to themselves too much importance. They expect to be spoonfed by the Almighty but that cannot be the case. He gave us free will. We are the masters of our destiny. The Almighty wove into creation self-acting laws which determine everything you see happening depending on the choices we make. It is our responsibility as earthmen to understand the workings of these laws and to adjust ourselves accordingly so as to enjoy the beautiful world he created for us. Unfortunately, most do not know these laws and do not know that happiness and suffering are entirely up to them.“Choose life that ye may live!”
“Let me summarize the laws into three for you. One: The law of sowing and reaping. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, that he will reap. The Quran puts it this way – If you do good, you do good to yourselves, likewise if you do evil you do evil to yourselves.
Now, look at yourselves. You know what you are doing and what you are thinking. Do you deserve any better than what you are getting now? Is it the fault of the Almighty that you are so wicked? Remember you have free will! Do good! Choose life! It will come back to you!
“The second law is the law of similar species. “Birds of a feather flock together. Show me your friend and I will tell you who you are. This is true in all things. Put a large group of people together in a room and in no time you will see them forming little groups according to what they have in common. Carry an indian hemp smoker to a city he has never been to before and within days he will find where to get his thing. Together with the law of sowing and reaping it explains why you were born in the part of the world you were born in and even the family you belong to. You were attracted by this law!. You were attracted here because y’all are the same! It is spiritual. There is no gap in the happening. No mistake. The Almighty and his laws are perfect!
“The third law is the law of spiritual gravity. Notice how light you feel when you do good or when you have pure thoughts. Also, notice how heavy you feel when angry, or about to do something bad or nursing impure thoughts. Now the more you stay in the good or bad state determines the weight of your spirit such that at death you either rise up to the luminous heights if you did mainly good or sink to the dark regions if you did mostly bad.
The three laws work together to explain why things are the way they are. When you understand this you will see that your problem is not Buhari or your parents or your boyfriend or your wife. Know the laws and adjust yourselves to them and you will see the wonders of God’s creation.”
Chisco arrived at Arochukwu in his quest to free himself from witchcraft following sexual congress with Eyonyam who had earlier rendered him impotent. He went straight to Dibia Okereke from the motor park.
Chisco sat and watched the dibia perform his spectacle. Dibia Okereke gyrated, huffed and puffed, danced, made incarnations, laughed as though he stumbled on Mr Ibu and Osuofia running after Funke Akindele. Then he stopped and became as still as a statue, and opened his eyes wide into the blazing sun.
“Ogbuagu!” he said without looking at Chisco.
“It is only a joke my friends started. Who am I to be a titled man? Please tell the gods to forgive me. I know I have been playing with a serious matter.”
Then his heightened sixth sense kicked in. The dibia was not playing. The dibia was speaking with conviction. Chisco really was seen by the gods as a chief of that title.
“My father!” he said. The dibia could sense that Chisco had recognized himself for who he really was. The dibia started laughing again shaking his tambourine, gyrating and spitting incantations.
“Ichie!” Chisco responded.
“Your friends did not make a mistake.”
“I see it now.”
“You are who they say you are.”
“As for the matter that brought you here, the oracle has spoken.”
“Please tell me.”
The dibia sat on the ground, on the sand in the middle of green grass and assembled his cowries in an indecipherable pattern, and faced Chisco.
“You made a mistake.”
“But it is a good mistake.”
“By that mistake, you have entered into your destiny.”
“I don’t understand my father.”
“You have taken the first step into becoming a dibia like myself.”
“But I don’t want to be a dibia. I don’t want to have anything to do with witches and wizards!”
“It is too late. What has happened to you is irreversible.”
“No! There must be something you can do!”
“Yes, there is something I can do. The woman was right. You have to go to the coven. and I will take you.”
“We will fly there tonight.”
“You fly too?”
“I am a witch doctor. You can’t coach a game if you don’t play the game.”
Chisco bowed and shook his head.
“You are the apprentice I have been waiting for,” Dibia Okereke said and placed a hand on Chisco’s shoulder.
Chisco jumped to his feet. He did not see the dibia stand up but the dibia was now standing behind Chisco. Chisco found that he was not afraid. They were in the bush where dibia Okereke had a proper shrine. He had one in his home and did consultation there but when Chisco told him what his problem was, he decided that they needed to go to the seclusion of the forest. The sounds of fauna and the smell of vegetation made Chisco a little lightheaded. He closed his eyes and saw flashes of himself in the dibia regalia. He could sense that trouble was impending in the land.
“Trouble is coming to our land. The Hausa people are bringing their cows. Our people will resist them. There will be bloodshed,” Chisco said.
Dibia Okereke began to gyrate again to the tinkling of his tambourine. He made more incarnations and reached for a bottle of schnapps, took a mouthful and sprayed it on the ugly carvature he called ikenga and offered thanks to it.
“How did I know what I just said, my father?”
“Destiny. Our gods do not lie. We go to the coven tonight. There is no time to waste.”
The dibia flew as a kite. Chisco flew as an owl. He would not deviate from the default setting. He did not wish to get used to it.
The Kite took the owl on a long winding flight through the Southern night skies. Though he flew like an owl, he could feel his full self up there in the skies. This time he knew he was not dreaming. He knew he was a wizard out when normal people slept on a mission to get fortified and fully integrated into the otherworld. He refused to take in the joys of the voyage. He refused to see the power he wielded. He wanted the night to come to an end and to never be repeated.
The kite beside him knew what was happening with the owl so it did not wish to prolong the flight. It led the owl deep into the forest of the Camerouns until they found themselves in a space with sparse vegetation but with plenty of winding boughs with an assortment of reptiles crawling about. As soon as they perched, they transformed into their recognizable selves in astral bodies, naked save for leave coverings over their genitals.
Chisco paid attention when the meeting convened but was careful not to be excited about what was happening there. If they did not reverse his situation that night, he would take his chance in the world as a half-baked wizard and make the best of the one month he had been given to live. He made the mistake. He would live or die by the consequence of it but he would not be a night bird.
The clearing was full of witches and wizards all in their astral bodies dancing around a bonfire. They stepped out one after the other and presented cases of individuals that were going to be dealt with. They wanted wombs tied, marriages broken, relatives killed or afflicted with ill health, and plenty other evils that left Chisco petrified. After they had done the rituals which involved burning photographs of the unfortunate ones or locking representing images with padlocks or breaking the limbs of dolls with names of people written on them and other such symbolic acts, they returned to their assigned positions. Then the main event of the night began.
What looked like an elite group of witches and wizards which included Dibia Okereke approached the chief wizard. They were witch doctors. It was their jobs to intercede for people on the outside who got to find out the source of their problems and went to a witch doctor for a solution. The dibia would find out the offending witch or wizard and appease them with gifts or money or another soul in exchange or just plain pleading, all depending on the disposition of the villain. It went on with varying results with Chisco unable to watch until it was time to accept new members. Chisco walked up to the chief wizard when he was called.
“My father,” He said, “I do not wish to live this life.”
“You don’t have a choice in the matter. It is now for your own good. Please step out here so that we do what we have to do so you can enjoy your new life.”
“I don’t want the new life.”
“You are a dibia.”
“I don’t want to be a dibia.”
The chief wizard sighed and looked at dibia Okereke and said “Why did you bring him here?”
“We had to come my Lord as you know.”
The chief wizard looked at Chisco again and said “You are chosen to succeed dibia Okereke. You are to work with him. The woman that did this to you was planted there for that purpose even if she did not know. Right now, you are where you were destined to be from the day you were born.”
“I do not want it, my father. If you do not return me to my normal state, I will go and take a chance in the world for the little time that I have left. I want to become a businessman, own properties, and live in the city. I don’t want to be like you people. If I die because of my mistake, I die.”
The coven erupted. Witches and wizards and wildlife raised their voices into the night in horror. They had never seen such effrontery. The chief wizard raised an arm and fire blazed from his palm high into the night bringing about instant quiet.
“In all my years, I have only had one case like yours. The person also did not want to take up a calling. He was a wizard who lived like a normal person but in the end, he died a wizard because once a wizard, always a wizard. He returned to us a while ago and we have not had a use for him. Now I think I have found one for him.”
The chief wizard lifted his head and howled like a wolf for a full minute and paused. He did it three times and stopped. They all waited in silence. Then a big bird appeared over them and circled the coven. Then it flapped its wings in descent and perched beside Chisco and immediately took the form of a recognizable human.
The chief wizard shrugged and continued.
“We will let you go but not without help. We know that you will not find it easy. Human beings struggling to change their lives make the mistake of believing that willpower alone can see them through. They do not know that there is only a small supply of it for each day. Some run out of steam by the time they decide what is appropriate to wear in the morning such that by noon they would have skipped the gym or drank a few bottles or watched pornography and masturbated multiple times. All of those being activities they willed themselves to stop doing. I admire your courage. But I know that on your own you will fail at living a normal life and you will get killed. So I will send you away with this person. You will not see him when you are in the flesh but you will always hear him talk to you. If you want to live, listen to him. He has been through everything you will go through already so he will be able to guide you. He can advise but will never be able to force you to do anything because, on earth, you are stronger. Human beings are stronger than us but the stupid people do not know.
Turning to the hawk the chief wizard said “Congratulations. This is the redemption you were looking for. Do this well and we will let you go. We will not even be able to hold you back.”
The hawk nodded and bowed.
Turning to Chisco the chief wizard said “Ogbuagu,” taking Chisco by surprise, “We all have a right to choose. You have chosen and we respect that. Someone else will be appointed to succeed Dibia Okereke. Now go. Listen to your helper and you will be fine.”
Chisco then turned and faced his helper. He still could not believe his eyes.
Standing in front of him was Papa Efe.
TO BE CONTINUED.