IF WITCHES WERE HORSES … Episode 3&4 – Kolade Segun Okeowo

IF WITCHES WERE HORSES… Episode 3

As I was saying earlier” The Queen resumed her speech, I wish to know what progress you’ve made in your various assignments particularly in the Onigba-Iwofa village. Let me repeat again that the Lord Lucifer has marked out the village for the supply of souls needed for the next meeting of the Grand Council of Spiritual Wickedness in High Places. Let the leader of the Onigba-Iwofa mission give a comprehensive report”

From the far end of the hall stepped forward Princess Virginia. As she drew closer to the Queen, five other agents from each side of the line-up joined her towards the throne of the Queen paying obeisance to her about ten meters away.

Virginia spoke on behalf of her colleagues.

“The Most Honorable Queen, I have been operating in the village for the past three months now with the assistance of my colleagues; Pepperine, Scorpia, Sapentia, Natas and Pandemia. We have really shown them hell”

She turned to her colleagues as if to confirm that what she said is true.

“Within the last twenty one days” she continued “No fewer than two hundred people have died. We have inflicted them with a disease which no doctor on earth can diagnose or cure. The village King, Folagbade sent for Health Inspectors. The stupid ones got there and started pricking the villagers with needles!”

She veered of into a mock- inoculation at the same time laughing hysterically. Her mates joined and soon, the laughter spread to the rest agents.

“We normally get them through food” said Scorpia who stepped forward to continue the report. “There was a particular palm wine joint in the village where I killed thirteen men at a swipe” She threw her right palm across her neck to signify death. “I got there when they started their drinking spree, none of them could see me because I wore the invisible garment. Soon they exhausted the palm wine and the seller went to bring more. As soon as she left, I quickly transformed myself into the woman and brought them poisoned wine”

The agents hailed her, impressed by her ingenuity. “I served them the wine and they were glad, by the time the woman brought her own wine, thirteen men were dead!”

They hailed her again, laughing and screaming hysterically. “The woman was still screaming when the villagers got there. She tried to explain but no one could understand her. She was accused of mass murder and taken to the village King who sentenced her to death immediately”

“Splendid” said the Queen “They even sped up your efforts, was she killed?”

“With immediate effect Your Highness” replied Scorpia, grinning; having noticed the Queen is pleased with her outstanding performance.

“Princess Scorpia” said the Queen, extending her golden scepter towards her “I have seen in you the strength of a man. You have done a very good job. I shall ensure that the Most Honorable Lord Lucifer hears about this and suggest that he promotes you.” Scorpia elated by the news quickly bowed in worship and did obeisance.

“Your Highness, Honorable Queen of the Coast, I have not been left behind in the Onigba-Iwofa mission” started Princess Pandemia, another member of Princess Virginia’s squad as she stepped forward to give her own report.

“I went to several houses and shot arrows of grief and sadness into them. I offered myself freely for the men to sleep with me. Consequently, they die within twelve hours after the act. One of the Chiefs in the village saw me and fell in love with me. He asked that I should join his harem. I never argued with him, he took me to bed in his room, when it was morning, his stiff corpse was met on the bed.”

The jubilation grew louder now.

“I also went to some houses, poisoning their meals, but I made sure I killed not more than three in a family.”

The jubilation stopped as they considered Pandemia’s last statement. Why would she kill only three people in a family? Lucifer had taught them absolute wickedness, where did Pandemia come across her nature of unusual mercy? “She needs another round of training” the Queen thought to herself looking at her with disgust.

“Your Highness, I have my reason for doing that” Pandemia continued having sensed the objection of the Queen and others to that decision. “If I wipe out the whole family; who then will grieve over the dead ones? It’s always a pleasant sight when human beings grieve. Even the Lord Lucifer himself loves to see tears; he enjoys their wailings and lamentations.”

The tension eased as they all seem to agree with Pandemia. “That was the sort of mischief I did in the house of a hunter called Odesola, I visited his household thrice. The last time, I killed her second daughter having poisoned the food served by her mother!”

“Your Highness, that was not all” Sapentia stepped in at this point, “Several other families were struck. When everything became confusing, the villagers came together and accused one old woman of being a witch. They arrested her and stoned her to death…Those villagers are stupid.”

Sapentia’s final report generated the loudest jubilation and cheers, the screams and clapping increased; the Queen raised her scepter and the noise stopped at once.

“I am now convinced that you all are up to the task in that village. Speed up your efforts.” The Queen said standing on her tail. “I will assign another set to join you in your operations at the village.” She looked around and pointed her golden scepter to five of the agents who stepped out from their lineup and bowed before her. “Princess Virginia will give you more details of what to do; you are to be under her command”
“Yes your Highness!” The five chorused after which they returned to their positions. Virginia also returned to her place.

“Princess Hagatha!”

“Yes Your Highness” Hagatha replied, shocked by the sudden call. She stepped forward quickly and worshipped the Queen.

“Go on with your mission at the university campuses throughout this nation. Continue to bring young men under our bondage and make sure you hinder the children of God from spreading the gospel of the Owner in the campuses” Again, Hagatha bowed in worship.

“Your highness, my mission is in advanced stage in the lives of several students in the various campuses all over the nation” She started rising up from her kneels “Presently, I have made my abode in one of the best universities campuses said to be the best in Africa.”

The Queen nodded gladly and adjusted herself on the throne her tail fins flapped as she shifted her body on the throne.

“The campus is so big and the students are numerous. There’s enough opportunity for them to disobey and anger God through s€xual immoralities, drunkenness, occultism, stealing and such vices”

Hagatha paused and proudly surveyed the reactions of her mates. She was proud of herself. With her new promotion, she ranks next to the Queen and could give orders to her mates as she deems fit. Now, the sky is her limit in the mission of the campuses. Already, only she has the power and prerogative of multiple personalities. She could be in as many as four places at the same time when she desires.

“Your Highness, the population of students on this campus is close to forty thousand. Sincerely, I’m trying my best but, my powers are not sufficient to fully operate there. With the increase of Christian fellowships on the campus, I have found it extremely difficult to work with only two thousand demons. I plead that you permit me another two thousand demons to work with me, Your Highness, consider my plea.” She worshipped, this time stretching her body on the ground.

“Arise! Princess Hagatha” said the Queen, her golden scepter pointed towards her. “I have granted your request; I shall authorize another two thousand demons to accompany you back to the campus. However, why not devise a means of bringing your co-students to become your agents. Entice them with provisions, clothes, undies, cosmetics and jewelries. You may lavish money on them, thus bringing them into your bondage. The work will be faster. You know demons are limited in this kind of assignment but human agents have more extensive scope.”

“Your Highness, I will do as you say” responded Hagatha as she bowed in worship again.

“Following the request of Princess Hagatha” said the Queen addressing the other daughters “I shall make a proposal to the Lord Lucifer to double the number of demons operating with you all. This is done so that your assignment may be easier to accomplish ….. Now, I command you… Go!”

Her countenance had changed “Go! and terrorize the sons of men.” She screamed!

The skull clock read a minute to three. The Queen and her attendants disappeared first. Silence reigned everywhere. The skull clock ticked silently towards three O’ clock… Five seconds more, four, three, two, and one…… three O’clock!

The ground is cleared, the palace became empty. The baby shark shrugged, her tail and fins flapped, the gills opened and closed….. She shot up suddenly and swam fast away from the palace environment.

Professor Adarabioyo read through the letters on his table again. He was reading the same letters the third time since he received them. He could not hide his joy at the arrival of the letters he had been waiting for in the past nine months. The letters had arrived to his office on Friday; his secretary collected it from the delivery man who came from the senate building.

He quickly reached out for the telephone on his table and dialed two numbers….. His heart missed a bit as he waited for the response from the other end; he could not wait to break the good news.

“Hello….” he said as soon as the call was received at the other end.
“Is that you? Ah good! Come over to my office right away. There’s good news for you here! …….. Yes, right away now …… alright.”

He dropped the receiver and grinned again. He read the letter and smiled. Nothing could be more pleasing. He sat back and read each line of the two letters again. His mind raced quickly to what would have become of his ambition and visions if the letters had not come from the Senate of the University.

Nine months ago, he had applied to the University authorities for the approval to start the teaching of a new course; Aerospace Studies under the Faculty of Engineering. He had sent six separate proposals and the syllabus of the course for the ten semesters the course was expected to run. He had been called upon twice to defend the proposals and the syllabus at the Faculty Academic Board. His last defence had been hectic and tough. He had a good defence of the proposals but none of his colleagues was ready to share his vision.

“I’m sure this new Department being proposed by Professor Adarabioyo will end up being duplication” said Professor Odun Obasan, an international Scholar and notable authority in the field of Engineering Physics. He had secretly envied the steady rise of the much younger Adarabioyo who secured his Professorship at the age of thirty-eight; an age when Obasan was still struggling with his Doctorate at the University of London.

The defence provided an ample opportunity for him to put Adarabioyo where he belongs! Why should a forty-five year old Professor earn for himself the honour of starting a new department in the same University where he; a fifty-seven year old had lectured for almost thirty years without having such an honour in his records. He hardly could swallow his pride and allow that to happen.

Professor Adarabioyo stood up and addressed the Faculty Academic Board. He was sure he did put up a good defence of his proposals, but he was also almost convinced that nothing would come out of his defence. The criticisms and hard stance of his senior colleagues was enough to water down whatever defence he had put up.

He had almost immediately proceeded to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics, Professor Yemi Lamikanra who had been his bosom friend of over two decades. Lamikanra was sympathetic to Adarabioyo’s proposals and promised to encourage the Vice Chancellor and two external Professors on the University Council to prevail upon the Senate to accept Adarabioyo’s proposals. That was the last he heard from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. His defence at the Senate was not in any way better than the one at the Faculty Academic Board.

Adarabioyo had lost hope that the Department of Aerospace Studies would ever be created in the University in his life time again. The great faith he had at the onset had weaned out completely. Therefore, when he saw the letter from the Senate approving the immediate take off of the Department of Aerospace Studies, he felt like jumping to Obasan’s office and shout “Eureka!” but he knew that was not the right thing to do. As a Christian of almost thirty years, he had learnt to give God all the glory for all his achievements and successes in life.

When at the age of thirty-eight he got a professorship, he called for a thanksgiving service at the Grace Chapel where he serves as a Deacon.

“To God be the glory for the great things he had done….” He was already thinking of how to give the testimony in the church when Morakinyo knocked.

“Come in please!”

Morakinyo came in, looking expectant. He had tried to imagine what the good news could be like. He wondered why the Head of Department would want to see him very early on a Monday morning. Anyway, since they attend the same church in the town, the Professor may wish to share some things concerning work in the church with him.

‘Work in the church!’

His heart jumped as he thought about that. There’s a crucial issue he had longed to discuss with the Professor in that respect… he wouldn’t know how to say it.

‘I hope he’s not going to talk about that’ Morakinyo thought as he opened the door and entered Professor Adarabioyo’s book-filled office. A first time visitor to his office would have assumed it’s a mini library.

“Ah! Morakinyo, its good you’re here” said the Professor as he offered Morakinyo a seat.

‘He says that always’ Morakinyo thought.

“I’ve wanted to discuss with you on a different issue, but each I see you, I forget…or something else crops up “

‘The church work?’ Morakinyo thought, trying to force a smile in response.

“In fact after the church service yesterday, I wanted to call you, but the Pastor and I were having an important discussion”

‘Oh my God, I wish he’ll tell me the good news!’

“But this morning, I got something palatable”

‘Good, now he’ll say it’

“I’m sure you’re not expecting this”

‘Oh my God, let him say it, whatever it is’

“I received two letters from the University Senate”

‘The University Senate!’ Morakinyo adjusted his seat… Any good news from the senate, must certainly be good news indeed.

“The letters had been on my table since Friday but I saw them only this morning”

‘Of what relevance is that now… why can’t he…’

“Well” said Professor Adarabioyo as he cleared his throat, “The Senate has written to the Department concerning you”

“Concerning me?” Morakinyo spoke trying to hide his impatience. He wished Professor Adarabioyo would go straight to the point
“Anyway, to cut the long story short…”

“Praise God”

“The award of your Doctorate which has been delayed for the past two sessions have now been ratified and approved by the Senate” Morakinyo, breathed a sigh of relief.

“You become as from now Dr. Morakinyo Olagunsoye” Professor Adarabioyo said proudly, smiling and waiting to see the reactions on Morakinyo.

“Moreover, you have been appointed a Senior Lecturer in the newly created Department of Aerospace Studies of this great institution, accept my congratulations”

Professor Adarabioyo extended his right hand, expecting Morakinyo to show extreme joy at the news, at least he had joined Adarabioyo in the ‘crusade’ for the establishment of the new department. They had written the proposals together and prayed about it when the going was getting tough. He expected Morakinyo to jump up. Shout hallelujah or something more dramatic. His posture that morning was however disappointing.

Morakinyo sat there not sure whether to take the handshake or not. Finally, he took it lightly, wearing a non-challant expression. To say the least, that was the greatest surprise Adarabioyo was receiving that year. Not even the envy-induced criticisms of Professor Obasan shocked him as much. He stared blankly at Morakinyo, expecting to hear some form of explanations. After ten seconds of silence, Professor Adarabioyo spoke.

IF WITCHES WERE HORSES… Episode 4

Morakinyo sat there not sure whether to take the handshake or not. Finally, he took it lightly, wearing a non-challant expression. To say the least, that was the greatest surprise Adarabioyo was receiving that year. Not even the envy-induced criticisms of Professor Obasan shocked him as much. He stared blankly at Morakinyo, expecting to hear some form of explanations. After ten seconds of silence, Professor Adarabioyo spoke.

“Is it because your Doctorate has been delayed for two sessions?”…ehy… ah! You ought to be happy after all. May be you don’t know that only yours was approved in the whole of this faculty of the thirteen who had their defence at the same time with you”

Adarabioyo stopped to see his reaction to that… there was none. He looked straight at him now.

“In fact” he continued “there were some candidates whose results have been delayed for up to four sessions… I think you should give glory to God… Together, we worked towards the realization of the Department of Aerospace Studies. Now that the Senate has approved it, I expect you to be happy or what else?”

Morakinyo adjusted his seat and cleared his throat.
“Sir I must be sincere, I was not expecting this news now, it has only added to the confusion in my life”

Adarabioyo removed his glasses, strained his eyes to see if was speaking to the right person. He stood up and surveyed the young man from head to toe. “Morakinyo are you in your right senses” The Professor whispered.

“Yes Sir”

“Then what exactly do you mean. How can such good news like this bring you confusion?”

Morakinyo adjusted himself again, cleared his throat unsure if the right words will come out.

“Sir, I’m glad you’re a child of God and you‘ll be able to understand my plight” He started, his eyes trying to avoid Adarabioyo as he returned to his seat. “It’s been up to three years now that I’ve received the call of the Lord into a ministerial assignment. I have got several confirmations from the word of God at various times”

He paused and looked straight at the Professor as if to see what he was saying had any meaning to him. Convinced he was communicating, Morakinyo continued “Several dreams and prophecies have confirmed the call. Ever since this started I have never had peace of mind, every time it comes to my memory, I become sad. I have tried asking God to allow me do some other things, but he has not responded…”

Adarabioyo stared at him, bewildered, though he would not allow that to show on his face. He was scared. He knew what Morakinyo was driving at, but secretly he prayed in his heart that his suspicion would be untrue. He listened carefully, weighing each of Morakinyo’s words.

“The most disturbing aspect of this issue is that the call of God appears to be somehow related to a village mission work” Adarabioyo breathed what seem to be a sigh of relief, but was really a sigh of tension.

‘A village mission work, Morakinyo wants to go on a missionary work in the village! How about the new department he was to start with him?’

Morakinyo was the only lecturer apart from himself in the whole Department of Engineering Physics who specialised in Aerospace and Aerodynamics.

“I thought the Senate had forgotten about my Doctorate, why is the approval now coming at a time like this when I have decided to obey the call of God”

Professor Adarabioyo was sweating already; he knew the implication of Morakinyo’s decision. The new department of Aerospace Studies cannot take off with only one Senior Lecturer. At least there must be one other expert in the field to start off with him.

Already, he had decided to postpone his sabbatical leave due for the next year in order to ensure a smooth take-off of the new department. Now this! He pretended as if he had not yet got the meaning of Morakinyo’s excuses. He tried another trick.

“Well…working for God is a good idea…you know the pastor always encourage that in his sermons, but you see, I don’t understand what the call of God has got to do with the award of your Doctorate…I mean why should that cause you confusion” said Professor Adarabioyo, hoping that he had said the right words. He relaxed easily trying to force a smile that was nothing but tears inside him.

“Prof, I thought you understand Sir” said Morakinyo knowing that Adarabioyo was trying to avoid realities. He was determined to have his way through. This call of God into the field of mission was real. He had prayed, fasted and waited upon God concerning the issue. He had discussed with some brethren who had prayed along with him and confirmed the call. That morning, he was determined to make a determination of the issue.

For three years, he had delayed concerning the call of God. When he spoke with the pastor a week earlier, he knew he had really gone astray. That night in the pastor’s office after the bible study session, he tried another set of excuses to explain off the call.

“Pastor, you’re aware of my profession. I’m a lecturer” he started, his voice laden with emotion. “Presently, I’m supervising the projects of six students, there’s no way I can leave the job without affecting them”

Pastor Kalejaye stared at him blankly for about thirty seconds. The silence was uneasy; twice, Morakinyo avoided his hard stare. Kalejaye had the habit of staring hard at anyone he considered was not doing things in the right manner especially his stubborn counselees.

Having served as a full time pastor for more than twenty eight years, he had learnt never to get too emotionally entangled with his counselees. He gives his counsel in a straightforward manner not minding the personality of the counselee. He was never known to be partial.

Once, a multi-millionaire member of the church approached him with a five million naira cheque for the church planting fund. That was enough to complete the whole massive church edifice from the foundation to the completion and provide enough left over to cater for the official opening ceremony of the building. Pastor Kalejaye sought to know the source of the “blessing”. When the millionaire could not give a convincing explanation of how and where he got his wealth, Pastor Kalejaye simply told him off with his five million Naira!!!

He looked straight into Morakinyo’s eyes and called his name thrice.
“How many times have I called you?”

“Thrice Sir” Morakinyo could not look at him.

“Do you know the woman who went out just now at the time you came in” Pastor Kalejaye asked

“I know her Sir, but I’ve never been close to her, but I know she’s a member here”

“If I knew you were coming to say all these, I would have asked the woman to wait and hear what you came to say”

“Why Pastor?” Said Morakinyo frightened now.

“That woman had come to speak to me concerning the mission work that the Lord had committed into your hands. The spirit of the Lord came upon the woman and caused her to know that God is not happy that you’re been toying with his call!”

Morakinyo stared wildly at Pastor Kalejaye. To say the least, this was far from what he was expecting. He had never discussed any issue with that woman before. In fact, he had only exchanged mere pleasantries with her during the last New Year Eve when the whole church exchanged New Year greetings!

“My son, God cannot be hindered. He is the Omnipotent and Omniscient. He told that woman the secret of your life”

Tears swelled on Morakinyo’s eyes. If the Lord can reveal his life to that woman, then….! “Pastor, I never knew things have got to this extent!…. I’ve come to see you Sir, what should I do now?” Morakinyo said as the tears rolled down his cheeks.

“The word of God for you is contained in Romans 11:29; the gifts and calling of God are without repentance…As your shepherd, I’ll rather counsel you to go and make up your mind. All these excuses are not genuine.. If you answer the call of God, will your students leave school or will the campus be shut down?” He stopped and searched his face for a response, by now the tears had flooded!

“But Pastor…” Morakinyo spoke amidst his tears.

“It is true God wants to use me, but where? Or how do I know the particular place?”

“My son, that is not the first thing, you go ahead and make up your mind… then you can ask for the place of the assignment. That is not difficult for God to do. Do you understand…?”

He understood everything. That incident shook him to the marrow of his bones. He had never experienced such a thing before. He left the Pastor’s office determined never to look back again, no matter what … and there he was, a week later having to defend his decision before Professor Adarabioyo!

“The kind of mission God is calling me into demands that I resign my appointment with the university”

The bombshell! Adarabioyo knew it was coming, what else was he going to say! He sprang up from his relaxed posture as if he just understood what Morakinyo meant.

“But Morakinyo, what led you into all these!”

‘I know what I’m doing’ Morakinyo thought to himself.

“I thought you merely want to go on occasional evangelism into the village” Professor Adarabioyo was already counting his loses. “The Senate will suspend the take off of the new department if they learn of this development. Have you properly considered the consequences of this decision?”

‘Oh sure, I have’ he thought again.

“You’re one of the best lecturers here. It will affect the students if you leave just like that… what about the projects you’re supervising, what do you expect us to do?”

‘There’s no indispensable man’ Morakinyo thought.

He remembered the words of Dr. Tai Solarin; the proprietor of the secondary school he attended; Mayflower School, Ikenne. He had always taught his students that no man can ever be indispensable. He penned down the words of a song which had become an anthem for the school.

Sometimes when you are feeling important
Sometimes when ego is in bloom
Sometimes when you take it for granted
You’re the best qualified man in the room

Sometimes when you feel that your “going”
Will leave an un-fillable hole
Just follow this simple instruction
And see how it humbles your soul

Take a bucket and fill it with water
Put your hands in it up to your wrists
Pull them out and the whole that remains
Is the measure of you’ll be missed

You may splash all you please when you enter
You may splash at the water gallon
But stop and you’ll find in a minute
That it looks just the same as before

The moral of this is quite simple
Do just the best as you can
Be proud of yourself …but remember
There is no indispensable man!

Morakinyo recalled the words of the song and concluded in his heart that, even if he dies, the university will find an alternative!

“Have you forgotten that you’re expected to represent the university at the Ford Foundation’s International Conference on Aerospace Technology at Geneva in three months time?”

Morakinyo had forgotten that. For the first time since he made up his mind after the discussion with Pastor Kalejaye, he suddenly realised he was making a great sacrificial decision. He had forgotten about the Ford Foundation Conference. His mind quickly raced back to the Bi-ennial Conference. He had attended the last edition. All the expenses of the conference were paid by the Ford Foundation and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

He was lucky; he had a cousin to stay with in Geneva while the conference lasted. He came back with all the hard currencies meant for his hotel accommodation and feeding, about twenty-five thousand pounds sterling! His cousin had written to tell him he is welcome again to stay with him during next conference.

‘This is tempting Lord!’ he thought

Adarabioyo saw the battles going on in his mind right on his face and proceeded; he was winning, so he thought.

“We are supposed to be eighteen in this department, but presently we’re only seven. If you should resign now, we’ll be having only four senior lecturers left”

‘Why not resign after the conference and make some good money?’ Morakinyo asked himself. He had not heard the last statement of Adarabioyo as his mind was completely engrossed in the calculation of the money he’ll make from the conference.

The last conference was in 1984, just after Major General Buhari became the Head of State. The Naira has just been devalued and had fallen to 13 naira to a dollar. “Twenty five thousand times N13 …waow! N325,000!”

He remembered he had used the money to buy his brand new car, pay a good tithe and an handsome amount into the church planting appeal fund. He also started building a five bedroom massive bungalow in his hometown; Iresa. He had saved the rest for his wedding, but lost his fiancée three months to the wedding. She died in an accident. He had not proposed to any sister again.

‘Ah! That’s another problem’ he thought. ‘How do I say this to a woman and think she would accept to marry me?’

“Morakinyo!” Professor Adarabioyo called him, he did not respond, he was far away from the office. “Morakinyo” Professor Adarabioyo called again.

“Oh … yes Sir, I’m sorry Sir! I was just thinking of some things”

“I wish you’ll go and re-consider this decision of yours, I don’t believe God will allow anything that will cause retrogression in the education of our students here”

Professor Adarabioyo knew he had to spiritualise his arguments against Morakinyo’s decision. He must not mention anything about the newly approved department. He knew Morakinyo would see it as selfishness. Morakinyo was aware of his strong contributions with the dream of having his name in the records of the institution as the founding father of the Department of Aerospace Studies.

“Thank you so much for your counsel” said Morakinyo rising “I have not really made a final decision on the issue, I’ll see you later to give a feedback” Morakinyo said sharply and left almost hurrying out of the office.

Professor Adarabioyo had poisoned his mind. He was confused. Totally confused…

As he hurried out of Professor Adarabioyo’s office, he remembered the words of Pastor Kalejaye; “If you answer the call of God, will your students leave the school… or will the campus be shut down?”