We watched as they moved him into a white Toyota Sienna car. We don’t really know what happened to him but we waited, motionless and mouth widely opened in amazement. He was with us last night at the breaking of the full moon tale and now, the screams of the women was actually what woke every child in the compound. We gathered, whispering to each other on a low tone. We were afraid of what we spoke about or rather what we thought in our minds that could be the subject of our discussion. One of the women was rolling on the ground, hitting her head on the hard ground. The other was pointing accusation finger to her Chi and the other was dancing professionally like those professional mourners who came to bury Mazi Eke when he died of tuberculosis. The elders with red cap on their head gathered in a round table, all whispering to each other in a rather low tone. I have seen this happen over and over the years. And I need no other lips to tell me what happened in the compound. I needed not to be told that Uncle Osy is dead. I don’t need another eye to look at me and register what was going on in my mind to my brain. He is dead; his children are going to be fatherless, his wife, a widow whose hair is going to be cut down soon as a mark of respect to the tradition and custom of the land. His house is going to be taken by another whose sweat never visited the ground of the foundation. And his wife would be pushed to marry his elder brother, Mazi Okezie, the Lion, as he is fondly called.
I watched the women again, some screaming as if they were laughing, mouth wide like those choristers in my father’s church singing “Hark, my soul, it is the lord”. As I stood there watching, I saw Wilson, my friend through the window, crying. I ran towards the door to the parlour. This is the only opportunity I have to show how much of a friend I am to him, to console him of his loss. His father, Osy, promised that he will send us to the USA after our primary school. He promised to me a bicycle and a rainboot this Christmas if I passed my Exams.
He was a politician, a die-hard one for that matter. He had contested for the village Chairmanship and won last eight years. He went for Senate and won also. Now, he was running for Governorship election. He won the primaries and became the Party flag bearer. They celebrated his victory yesterday; the villagers rallied around the village all holding leaves and the party flag, running from one end of the community to the other. He killed cows and made feast for everyone to come and eat. We jubilated and danced round the village. He called musical artistes to sing round the village. The elders congratulated him; the women gathered and sang their favourable tone for him. It was a merry-go-round in the village.
After the celebration, we hopped into his Honda Element and toured the whole village in happiness. We went to the schools in the community where he saw the headmasters and promised them one or two things, he signed a cheque to them and promised to return once they support him and make him win the election in the state. He promised to construct our dusty roads, build more schools and hospitals in the community and also provide the necessary social amenities in the community. Everyone was happy, we lifted him up very high, and we celebrated him. Like the burning fire of the eastern zone, love was made in our hearts; traces of his planted deeds were seen in our hearts because he was a philanthropist to us, to the nation, to the community and to those that care to know him as a person.
After the celebration that night, we all left with a stomach filled with different sort of recipes. We prayed to see each other tomorrow with the roses made in the village square. Our village is going to produce the next governor. Everyone was happy about it. That night, we couldn’t sleep. There was a heavy downpour, the pregnant sky was angry on the community. So it unleashed its anger on us. Some houses were destroyed. Some trees fell and blocked the only route that leads to the village. The youths had already mobilized themselves to the road to make sure all the trees are removed. The king had sent the town-crier to make the announcement that all the youths should gather at the road. With the painted swiftness of their legs, they all marched towards the road but somewhere called back by the noise coming from the weeping women. They all ran back with their cutlasses and matchetes. Someone must have told them that Uncle Osy is dead, so we all gathered in the very compound that we celebrated the icon yesterday.
When I entered into the room, Wilson ran to me, he hugged me tight, very tight and said to me
“They have killed him” he blunted out “they have killed my father, Emezie. They shot him on the head. Three armed men came here last night and killed him.”
I held him very close to me and began to weep like a baby. We stood speechless and motionless groaning to each other’s ears, breaking the ears of those women who sort for insanity in the midst of sorrow. After some minutes, I dragged him to the balcony and started wiping away his tears. I saw his mother rolling on the ground, I saw his sister trying to console her. Sorrow was born; agony regained freedom because the breadwinner of the house is gone.
The police came for investigation and interrogation. They took photographs of the pool of blood on the ground, the damaged window, the destroyed door and their escape route. It now dawned on me that Uncle Osy is dead with my promises and that of the villagers. No more bicycle for me. We are no longer going to have the Governor come from our village and the roads would have to wait until another Messiah comes.
Some weeks later, the armed robbers were apprehended and they were sent to jail. After much torturing and beating, they confessed that it was Uncle Osy’s Opponent that sent them to kill him. The man was arrested days later as he was trying to fly to Europe. He was charged to court and sentenced to life imprisonment. It was such a horrible experience to me and the villagers. Wilson and his mother later moved down to the USA after the water has settled down, he writes from time to time to me because the branch of a tree was cut so was my dreams cut in the face of sanity.
© John Chizoba Vincent
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