IF WITCHES WERE HORSES … Episode 15&16 – Kolade Segun Okeowo

“So thank you Sister” the lady interrupted her thoughts “I‘ll tell your sister how everything went” She said smiling flashing her gap tooth. Gbayike would have appreciated her beauty but the fact that she came at the wrong time.

“Oh I should thank you” Gbayike quickly snapped not knowing what to say. “Please tell her to expect my phone call on Monday”   

“It’s alright!” they parted at the bus stop. The lady crossed the road towards the buses en route Lagos at Challenge. Gbayike saw her entering one of the buses, she waved, the lady waved back. Gbayike turned around and let out a loud hiss.

The trip to Onigba-Iwofa had been sacrificed!

Morakinyo enjoys sitting in front of the parsonage to read the Bible in the afternoon. Apart from the harsh heat inside the house in the afternoon, the verandah allows for a serene view of the village. While reading the scriptures, Morakinyo would intermittently look up and imagine the glory of God upon the village.

Good afternoon Sir” Morakinyo was too engrossed in the portion of the Bible he was studying to notice that Oyinkansola was coming in.

Oyinkansola had gone to the central market to buy some items needed for the kitchen. As usual, she came back with two times what she had planned to buy.

Each time she goes to the market, the women would not allow her to pay for whatever she buys. Some would even give her more than what she actually wanted to buy. The people loved her so much.

The Co-operative Union she started was yielding fast results. Through the efforts of the women Cooperative Union, new market stalls were built and contributions have started for the construction of a maternity centre.

“Ah, sorry Sister Oyinkansola, I was so engrossed in this part of the scriptures I’ve been studying for some time” he said.

“I see, may be you’ll share what you have studied with me as soon as I finish in the kitchen” Oyinkansola responded. Morakinyo always take time to share whatever new thing he discovers in the bible with Oyinkansola.

“You may suspend the cooking for now I actually wish to discuss with you”

“With me?” Oyinkansola knew what the discussion centre on. She however feigned surprise.

“Just a minute Sir” The use of ‘Sir’ persisted. “I want to drop the items inside… our people gave us several items free of charge again.” She said as she strolled towards the kitchen.

“Oh, God will bless them tremendously” A few moments later, Oyinkansola was back.  “Please have your seat… you won’t stand while I share the word of God with you.” Oyinkansola smiled and sat.

“I was just reading through Proverbs Chapter 31, and I discovered some new things there. From it, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Lets read together.” Morakinyo was speaking with enthusiasm. Oyinkansola smiled.

Everything was working according to plan. Her heart missed a beat as she remembered Princess Sapientia.

She hoped Sapientia was keeping a close watch on Gbayike. She wished Morakinyo would go straight to the point.

Time could not be more precious than now. Morakinyo finished reading the whole chapter. It seemed like eternity to Oyinkansola.

“Em… Sister Oyinkansola, before I met you, I had some problems in my marital life” Morakinyo started. Oyinkansola breathed a sigh of relief, though her heart beat increased rapidly.

‘I hope this is the moment I’ve been waiting for’

“When I came to this village, I saw clearly that I need a helpmate. So I started praying”

‘Will you go straight to the point please?’

“Less than a month after, I started praying, God heard my requests and gave answers to my prayers?…God revealed a sister to me, I have prayed about her, now I know that definitely, the sister is the will of God for me”

“Ah! We bless God for that” Oyinkansola’s response came almost too quickly. Morakinyo thought she knew what he was going to say.

‘Goodness Lord how did she know?’

“If that is the case” she continued “May I know the sister, so that when she comes on a visit, she won’t be a stranger to me”

‘Ah… Praise God…she doesn’t know afterall’ Morakinyo smiled “Sister Oyinkansola, you don’t seem to understand what I’m saying… who else could be my wife but you… by God’s grace you’re the sister”

“Oh my God!” Oyinkansola said, the shock on her face was too real. She bowed her head and kept silent for a few seconds; by the time she lifted her head, the eyes were tear-soaked.

‘Oh no…I hope I have not hurt her, such a sincere and holy child of God’

“Myself?” She asked again.

“Yes… you Sister Oyinkansola” Morakinyo was moved.

She’s so sincere, such thoughts had never crossed her mind, she was only working zealously for God… what a wonderful daughter of Zion!

Morakinyo thought.

“Please Sir, you’ll allow me to pray over this issue very well. Marriage is more complex than the way you have just spoken now” She said.

“Why do you want to waste time unnecessarily. I’m sure God must have been speaking to you concerning this issue. Don’t pretend please. God brought you to this village for a purpose.”

Oyinkansola wiped her tear-stained eyes. She kept silent for a few seconds as if disturbed by the proposal.

Well… I must confess” she started slowly, her voice breaking and shaking “I have also heard the voice of God concerning this matter. I simply pretended” She stole a glance at Morakinyo.

“I believe you will say it one day… well, since you have said it now, I have no choice than to accept.”

Morakinyo wanted to scream and jump but restrained himself. This was going to be his greatest day ever since he arrived Onigba-Iwofa. He looked at Oyinkansola as if to be sure she was the one speaking.

“God bless you Sister Oyinkansola… so why have you been pretending all these days… anyway ladies are always like that… I believe that since we have stayed together for almost three months now, we must have known each other well enough. So we can start planning for our wedding”

The words were flowing carelessly. Morakinyo was too sure he was doing the right thing. Oyinkansola has proved that in every way afterall.

“Wedding?” Oyinkansola asked with surprise “Don’t you think that’s too early” She asked.

“Not at all! It’s not too early. It’s better to do it once and for all so that our work can continue in the village without delay”   

“So when do we fix” Asked Oyinkansola. She was enjoying the whole drama. It was moving faster that she expected. Marrying Morakinyo was the greatest breakthrough she needed.

Her plan was to cause Morakinyo to have sex with her, but that has virtually been impossible. All the tricks she tried failed. Morakinyo was a man of high moral and spiritual integrity.

“Well, we may need to go and see my pastor in Ibadan next week so that we may inform him and fix a date that will be convenient for us all… or what do you think?”

Oyinkansola’s brain was working like a computer. She knew the implication of going to see Pastor Kalejaye.

She knew him very well. He’s one of the few pastors in Ibadan respected in the kingdom of Darkness. He’s one person no agent of darkness wish to go near.

“Why can’t we do all we want here in the village. I believe we should not waste resources on a big-time wedding.

Let’s make it low-keyed. The Bible says we should redeem the time for the days are evil.” Moarakinyo was all ears. “The precious hours which could be used doing God’s work should not be spent on frivolities of wedding.

Let’s inform His Royal Highness, he can join us, at least he’s a child of God. All our church members will stand as witnesses, at least the Bible says by the mouth of two witnesses, shall a word be established.”

“ ..and we shall have more than two witnesses.” Morakinyo concluded.

He stopped, kept quiet for some time. Suddenly, he stood up. “Sister Oyinkansola, lets go to the palace” Oyinkansola smiled. The deed is done!

Within seven days, all items had arrived! Tubers of yam, baskets of pepper, tomatoes and onions littered the parsonage. Bags of rice, beans, gallons of palm oil and firewood were sent to the parsonage four days to the wedding.

Although, messages had been sent earlier to Morakinyo and Oyinkansola not to make any purchase, they could not believe the huge pile of foodstuffs that stood in their house.

Two days to the wedding, the goats from the King arrived. Twenty five hefty goats in all!

The hunters were not left behind. Six huge deers in addition to eleven fat grass-cutters had been killed and roasted. The animals had been cut into pieces and brought to the parsonage in five big baskets.

The wedding cost the couple next to nothing. They did not have to prepare anything. The whole of the church women were there from Thursday to prepare food for the wedding.

They had assumed guests will come from the city. Only the His Royal Highness knew they were not expecting people from the city.

His Royal Highness, Oba Folagbade Lagooku (Ogajafowomeke II) The Adigbaare of Onigba-Iwofa conducted the wedding. Morakinyo only had to give him a little training on how to conduct a Christian wedding.

Since the thing was not completely strange to Folagbade. He had been a Court Clerk in Ibadan for thirty-eight years. He had retired from the job to ascend the throne of his fathers in Onigba-Iwofa.

As a Court Clerk, he had witnessed the joining of several hundreds of couples. That made the assignment of joining Oyinkansola and Morakinyo easier. Within two hours, the wedding was over. Morakinyo and Oyinkansola had been joined in “Holy wedlock”

The reception was not the conventional type. The people simply feasted in the open space in front of the church.

The feasting was heavy and no one was left unattended to. The left-overs and the uncooked foodstuffs could feed a whole village over and over again. Only those who asked for palm wine went home disappointed.

Morakinyo had given a strict order that no one should serve palm-wine.

He had on many occasions spoken vehemently against the consumption of palm-wine.

“If they refuse to give us palm-wine here…” Amusan told Labode his bosom friend “…then let us leave their wedding and go to our joint. I trust Iya Ala, palm-wine flows in her shop like the whiteman’s tap!”

“Amusan, I agree with you, let’s leave their wedding for them. They’re afraid that we may get drunk and tell the world the bride is already pregnant!” said Labode.

“By the hands of the Holy Spirit” Amusan added as the two of them burst into heavy laughter till tears flow from their eyes.

“To Iya Ala’s joint we go!” Amusan led the way. Unknown to them, Iya Ala was busy dishing out soup at the parsonage! She had closed her joint for the wedding.

Gbayike could not really explain what kept her from travelling out of Ibadan for a whole month. It was true the school where she taught needed her services greatly as the students were just preparing for their school certificate examination.

Moreover, the school was not government-owned, thus sneaking away from duty was most difficult. Her sister, Mrs. Ojuroye did not help the situation.

She ought to have gotten in touch with her since the day she sent her secretary.

She had called her office in Lagos more than thrice but the line had not always been through. The last time she called, the line was giving one funny scratching sound.

The stress of going to take turns at NITEL office to make calls was another burden!

One thing or the other kept her from travelling to Onigba-Iwofa. A week before Morakinyo’s wedding she had determined to go.

She was preparing to take her bathe when she heard Wonuola scream from the kitchen. She had tripped over the watery floor falling almost face down into the boiling pot of water on the stove.

She was badly wounded. Gbayike had to rush her to the hospital after administering first aid treatments. She did not return to the house until two days later having to stay with Wonuola in the hospital.

As she strolled across the road towards the NITEL office to make a phone call to Mrs. Ojuroye she made up her mind to get through.

‘I won’t mind staying there for hours, I must get my call through today, I can’t afford travelling to Lagos at this time’She said to herself as she entered the NITEL call office.

A long queue was already there and only two phone booths were available. She counted the number of those on the queue; thirty-one ‘Jesus! Thirty-one people to two booths!’ She grinned her teeth and felt like crying. ‘I’ll give it whatever it takes today!’

By the time it was her turn, a longer queue was already behind her. She looked back and shuddered as she thought of the reaction of the crowd if she didn’t get her call through on time.

Just a short while ago she had joined the crowd to shout a woman out of the booth. Apparently, the woman was having problems with the line she called.

The woman had to step out of the booth when the protest from others on the queue became unbearable. Gbayike had forgotten she was in the same shoes.

Her legs shook as she entered the booth.

‘What if the line does not get through again’ Her greatest fear was that if the people shout her out of the booth she would have to join the queue again from the rear.

One after the other she pressed the buttons, her hands shaking. The receiver gave a funny tone and went blank. Gbayike knew she was in trouble.

She stole a glance at the people on the queue; two men were fighting over their place on the queue. The first one pushed the other and a fight ensued.

The whole crowd turned attention to the fighting men trying to separate them. That gave Gbayike some more time to try the number again and again. The funny scratching tone was still coming.

She closed her eyes and prayed silently, turning her back to the crowd. Peace had now been restored on the queue, a soldier attached to the NITEL office had dragged the fighting men out. Attention had returned to the booth now.

“Hey Madam, your time is up!” shouted the number two man on the line.

Gbayike pressed the buttons slowly now, she knew she was doing that for the last time, if the line gives any funny tone again, then it’s all over. The crowd will certainly throw her out of the booth if she attempts another call.

“Hello …” She almost screamed as the line got through to her sister’s office. A female voice responded.

“Hello … Funland Catering Services, may I know who’s calling please” it was the secretary.

“Gbayike, I’m Mrs. Ojuroye’s sister. I’m calling from Ibadan” she wondered if her sister had changed her Secretary.

“I’m sorry she’s not on seat right now … she went to see the Director of Prisons”

“Oh no!” Gbayike wanted to slam the receiver back in place. She had wasted all her efforts.

“Would you like to leave a message for her?”

“No … em .. Oh … Yes” She was confused “Please, tell her that I have …”

“Oh…excuse me” The Secretary interrupted, “Mrs. Ojuroye has just walked in. Please, hold on for her” Gbayike sighed heavily, placed a hand on her chest, after all, her efforts was not going to be in vain.

IF WITCHES WERE HORSES… Episode 16

“Oh…excuse me” The Secretary interrupted, “Mrs. Ojuroye has just walked in. Please, hold on for her” Gbayike sighed heavily, placed a hand on her chest, after all, her efforts was not going to be in vain.

“Hello … Gbayike is that you?” Her sister spoke.

“Yes Aunty … it’s me. Why did you behave like that, I thought you …”

“Gbayike … I’m sorry. So sorry” She interrupted. You won’t believe it. Two days after we met, my boss instructed me to embark on an overseas trip… there was nothing I could do.

She doesn’t know I have a catering business, I couldn’t offer any excuse. I came back only yesterday”

“Yesterday keh?” Gbayike was becoming itchy.

“But your secretary did not tell me that”

“I instructed her not to tell anyone … Oh so you called, but she didn’t tell me that”

“No I saw her, she came here, I took her to all those places we agreed about”

“What!” Mrs. Ojuroye almost screamed “You did what … who? … My Secretary … No!”

“She said you asked her to meet me and I should take her to those places you discussed”

“Impossible! My secretary does not know anything about what we discussed. Not even my husband … my secretary does not know your address so how come … hello … hello… Gbayike …. Are you there?”

The first two men on the queue saw it happen! They rushed forward and quickly grabbed her as she fainted.

They carried her outside the call room and placed her on a bench occupied by some women. The women quickly vacated the bench when they saw the victim.

“She must have been suffocated” A woman said.

“Madam … are you alright?” One of the men who carried her called her. No response.

“Hey, please get something to fan her!”

They poured water on her head; soon she recovered and opened her eyes.

“Are you alright lady?” The second man asked. She nodded and sat up. The second man rushed back inside, he must have missed his chance to make a call. The first man stayed with Gbayike.

“Are you sure you’re alright? Can you get home by yourself? If not I can drop you”

Gbayike accepted the offer. She knew she would not be able to drag herself to the road, take a cab and then stroll home from the bus stop. Moreover, her cloth was drenched in water.

“Thank you very much Sir, God bless you” She said as the man pulled up in front of her house.

“Do I help you upstairs?”

“Don’t worry Sir, I’m okay now”

Gbayike knew she must not allow Wonuola to know anything was wrong with her; she was just recovering after the accident she had in the kitchen. She dragged herself upstairs and went straight to her bedroom. Wonuola was sleeping.

‘So my sister did not send anyone to me? Who was that lady who came the day I was preparing to travel to Onigba-Iwofa… was I dreaming?… No! Even Sister Wonuola saw the lady… She slept here!  Sister Wonuola must not hear … was the woman a spirit?’

Gbayike could not sleep that night. The memories of the lady came back to her. She could remember the lady very well, light in complexion, gap-toothed, average height and long hair.

She recalled all the places they went together, her smiles, jokes and generosity. She recalled the lady bought her a nightie at Dugbe.

She stood up and hurried to the wardrobe, picked the nightie. She looked at it with amazement and wrapped it up.

‘I will never use it again!’ She said to herself.

The following morning, Gbayike was on her way to Onigba-Iwofa. She felt something strange was happening. She prayed all the night, committing her ways to the hands of the Lord.

She bound every forces of darkness and prayed for Morakinyo’s ministry. She left the house without telling Wonuola. She was afraid to tell anyone her mind again.

As usual, she gave Wonuola her breakfast and kept her lunch in the cooler. Jaiye, Wonuola’s friend in the church would come as usual at twelve noon to assist and cheer her up.

The journey to Shaki was terrible. Gbayike had not embarked on any journey like that since she returned from the youth service.

It was only during her youth service days that she joined the Corpers Fellowship on a Rural Rugged Missionary outreach to the Koma people in Adamawa State. Apart from that, the trip to Onigba-Iwofa was the roughest.

The vehicle she boarded from Ibadan was a mini-bus. It was the ten-seat type. Two kilometres after Oyo, the vehicle had just negotiated a narrow bend when a huge trailer lorry appeared in the front.

The driver expected the trailer to slow down as the road could not contain the two at the same time. Instead the trailer increased speed.

By the time the driver realised the need to apply his brake it was too late, the brake screeched while the vehicle flew into the bush and was going towards a big gorge…all the passengers screamed.

Gbayike shouted “In Jesus name” the gorge was clearly insight, the driver struggled with the steering violently, less than ten metres to the gorge, his struggles paid off, he managed to turn the vehicle back from the path of the gorge towards the road.

As soon as the vehicle stopped; all the ten passengers jumped down thanking God for the narrow escape.

Some men took a stroll towards the gorge to assess the depth. They came back to tell others that the gorge would have become their final burial ground as no mortal would dare go down there to pick a living being let alone the dead.

They lifted their hands to heavens and thanked God the more.

The journey continued after about thirty minutes. No major damage occurred. It took great persuasion to get some of the passengers to return to the vehicle and continue the journey.

They agreed to continue the journey only when they realised no vehicle was going to stop and carry them.

The scene of the incident was not in any way close to any town or village. All the vehicles that stopped to assist them have been filled to capacity.

As soon as the vehicle arrived Shaki Motor Park, passengers alighted   and immediately went on their knees again praising God in their local dialect. Gbayike had used the opportunity of the accident to minister Christ to the fellow-passengers.

All of them, including the driver and his conductor accepted Christ. They all closed their eyes and bowed religiously as Gbayike led them into the sinners’ prayer.

“Onigba-Iwofa ti o l’eru” The conductor of a mammy wagon shouted as he saw the passengers alighting from the min-bus. Gbayike was lucky.

The conductor has called out for only one passenger without load. Only one space was available in the wagon, the only one that plies that route except on market days.

Two other women in the mini-bus were also on their way to Onigba-Iwofa but each had loads.

“Is this your first time on this road?” The old man sitting next to Gbayike asked.

“Yes Sir, I simply want to and visit a friend. The old man noticed Gbayike was feeling quite uncomfortable, the usual attitude of first comers. The regular passengers had become used to the dusty pot holes-filled road.

Most of them slept while the journey continued. Gbayike wondered how they could have managed to sleep under such conditions.

“The Pastor?… Ah! Everyone here knows him” Said the first woman Gbayike asked as the vehicle waited at the market square.

“You … take this visitor to the Pastor’s house” The woman ordered her daughter. The little girl quickly jumped up with enthusiasm.

“Thank you Ma” said Gbayike and quickly followed the girl who was already making her way out of the market.

“I thought your mother said it’s not far?” Gbayike asked as they negotiated another corner. She doubted if the girl really knows the place.

“Yes! It’s not far, we’ll soon get there!” The girl said with a confident tone that told Gbayike her fear was unfounded.

“That is the house” The girl pointed at a red brick house some fifty metres away.

“Thank you very much” Gbayike said as she dipped her hand into her purse to bring out a 50 kobo note. The girl looked at the note unbelievably as Gbayike stretched it towards her.

She grabbed it quickly saying a speedy thank you, as if to ensure the note gets to her before Gbayike would change her mind. She sped off rejoicing.

Gbayike looked at the house again and her heart missed a beat. The house looked dirty and rugged.

She compared it with the flat she stays and Morakinyo’s former quarters on the campus. Again she wondered why on earth he had to leave his promising career for this.

“Good afternoon here!” She stood outside the house and called, the door was not closed. Someone must be inside, she thought.

She called again, a bit louder than the first time. A female voice answered from within. Gbayike, wondered who the female voice could be. A few seconds later Oyinkansola came out to meet her at the door.

“Yes, good afternoon … who are you looking for?” The question threw Gbayike off balance. The words rolled out too harshly and was filled with hatred.

“Em … my name … em sorry, I came to see Pastor Olagunsoye” She stammered “I mean em … Brother Morakinyo who stays here” She found it difficult gather herself together.

The lady did not help the situation; her eyes were sharp and penetrating. She stood right at the door, not minding that Gbayike was standing outside.

‘So you came afterall?’ Oyinkansola thought. She knew Gbayike was coming, but she never expected her to make the journey. Sapientia had informed her a few hours ago.

Certain demons sent to monitor her movement spotted her at the motor park and quickly reported to Sapientia. The information had been passed on to Hagatha in the village.

Oyinkansola looked at Gbayike again, her face flashing with anger. She thought of Sapientia and wondered why she made the stupid mistake of allowing the ‘Idiot’ to get through.

The arrangement was to send some demons to cause a fatal accident that would claim her life on the road.

‘Anyway, your coming makes no difference’

“Pastor Olagunsoye is not at home, he went to the palace for a meeting …why are you looking for him?” Oyinkansola was not hiding her feelings. Gbayike met her unprepared.

“I came from Ibadan, I just came to say hello to him” Gbayike’s tone was changing. She hated the manner Oyinkansola was interrogating her.

‘Who does she think she is? Does she know he has been longing to see me all these days?’

“I’ll like to wait for him” She said, boiling.

“No, you can’t wait for him!” Gbayike could not believe her ears!

‘Who is this for God’s sake?’

“I want to go out, and since I’ve never met you, I can’t leave you in the house!” Oyinkansola said finally. Gbayike kept silent for seconds she felt like slapping Oyinkansola. She knew she was going to say what she might later regret or have to apologise for.

“It’s alright; can I give you a message for him?” She asked, unsure if the woman was the right person to give a message afterall.

“Go ahead!” Oyinkansola said looking straight. The heat in Gbayike increased, she was going to burst. The insult was becoming too much…but she remembered that very soon this woman would realise she was going to be Morakinyo’s wife and give her the expected respect.

“Please tell him Gbayike Adegbenro called from Ibadan. I’ll go back to Shaki and stay with a friend. Tomorrow I’ll call back to see him” Oyinkansola merely nodded.

“Please may I know whom I’ve left the message with” The words had tumbled out before Gbayike realised their gravity. She wished she had not asked.

‘What if this woman begins another tirade of insults’

“Oh myself? … My name is Oyinkansola Olagunsoye”

‘So she’s Morakinyo junior sister, and she’s been insulting me. Now I’ll tell her who I am’

“Oh so you’re Bro. Morakinyo’s sister”

“His sister?” Oyinkansola asked with amusement. “Not at all … I’m his wife … we got married last month… I am Mrs. Olagunsoye”

A dead silence followed that pronouncement. Gbayike merely stared at the woman, she could not speak though she tried to, her voice was gone.

“Ah! Who is this! Sis Gbayike … is that not…” Morakinyo’s voice broke the silence. Oyinkansola hissed heavily any dashed inside. For a moment, Morakinyo became confused wondering what had transpired between the women.

“Sister Gbayike, I hope all is well?”

“Ah all is well” She forced a smile. “I was about leaving a message with her before you came”

“Oh you mean my wife” Morakinyo said.

The words hit Gbayike like nails. She simply forced another smile and said “Yes”

“A message for me?”

‘Oh my God what am I going to say now?’

“Em… the pastor said he’ll like to see you” She paused; “I think there are some things concerning your ministry that he wants to discuss with you” Morakinyo knew she was either lying or saying half-truths. He knew why she came, but of course it was too late.

He had no reason to regret marrying Oyinkansola…even without his Pastor’s knowledge!

“Actually, it’s been sometimes now that he sent me” She continued knowing she had to continue saying something to cover up the shock. “…But, I could not find the time to squeeze out because of the school certificate exams”

“Oh I see … thank you very much”

“I’ll like to go immediately so that I may go with the wagon that returns to Shaki in the afternoon. I have to be in the school very early tomorrow morning” she said.

“Ah you can’t just go like that, won’t you take a meal with us before you leave” Morakinyo said.

Sincerely, he would have loved that she stay some time with him, but he knew they would have virtually nothing to say. He wished she would reject the offer.

“Ah no Bro. Morakinyo, not today. I’ll definitely come again some other time and spend maybe a whole weekend” Gbayike knew she was only babbling. Nothing under the heavens would make that possible.

“Oh that would be wonderful!” said Morakinyo knowing that would never happen. “Please tell the pastor that he should expect me within a fortnight”

Morakinyo saw her off to the motor park. The ten minute walk seemed like eternity, the silence was almost visible. The two of them knew there was nothing to talk about.

When eventually they got to the motor park, Gbayike could not help saying “Praise God”. Morakinyo heard her but thought she was just thanking God that the wagon had not gone yet.