“I curse them in the name of Jesus; I bind them in the mighty name of Jesus! Let your heavenly fire burns them! Burn their brain so that they will become mad! Burn their legs so that they can become crippled. Scatter all my Philistines, destroy all my Amalekites, destroy my Egyptians! Scatter my enemies with your blood! Scatter them now! Now! Now! ….”
Ose was hissing and turning on his bed because of his discomfort over the shrill prayer coming out from the room of his immediate neighbour.
“Burn their families; let the families of my enemies become like the families of Ahab, Eli and Saul! Cover me with the blood of Jesus. Father Lord, I have declared that I will not marry but if you want me to still marry then make my family like the family of the second family of Job, and like the family of Jacob, Joseph, Issachar and Rechab! Enrich me marvelously as you did for Uzziah; but father, don’t give me his leprosy! Make me favourable and to be admired like Saul at his beginning; but Father Lord, don’t let my end be like his end! Give me oh Lord the strength of Samson to carry on tirelessly with my life’s endeavours; but father don’t give me his humiliations! ….”
That had been Ose’s affliction ever since Uncle Kọ́lá began his tenancy in a rooming house at Ajegunle in Lagos state. The rooms were adjoined. The rustling of pillaging rat in a room could be heard by another tenant in the next room.
The night prayers of Uncle Kọ́lá had brought sorrow to other neighbours. But Ose and Uchenna, another tenant who was a young bachelor like him and his best friend were the worst victims. Several complains to the caretaker of the building had yielded nothing. Uncle Kọ́lá refused to realise he was a night nuisance. The gentility of the caretaker kept his tenancy to remain to the dismay of other tenants.
Uncle Kọ́lá was a man in his mid fifties. He is lanky and heavily mustached. He was said to be among the brilliant pupils in his days at the University of Ife where he studied Mass Communication. He was thoroughly a book man; but many believed the book entered his head wrongly.
Upon leaving the university, he got a job as a senior staff writer of the Eyes Newspaper, located at Alausa, in Lagos. He was a gifted writer who got a job three months after his graduation. But within few months of his appointment began series of clashes with the Editor in Chief. He forbade the editor from editing or giving suggestions to his writes which he claimed were divinely inspired to tongue lash corrupt politicians in the country. Several times, he almost brought about the closure of the media house by the government due to his uncouth, unverified reportage.
The editor would have long ago flushed him out but the restraining hand of Chief Bisi Komolafe, the Chairman\Publisher of The Eyes Newspaper whose wife was a relative to Uncle Kọ́lá kept him on as an employee.
However, when a very biting reportage dead to investigative journalism provoked the aggrieved victim to drag the media house to the court – forcing the newspaper house to pay a huge fine; the chairman realised it was time to pack Uncle Kọ́lá out of his firm.
After losing his job, he took the challenge of setting up his own media firm which he called The First Newspaper. It was the third editions of the newspaper that earned its closure and Uncle Kọ́lá thrown into jail. He was able to regain his freedom through friends and relatives.
Since then he fell into despair. No more steady income. He began to freelance for newspapers of whom he had no option to allow the editors to scrutinise his writings before paying a stipend.
As for marriage, Uncle Kọ́lá in his late forties had declared a life of celibacy when the girl he intended to marry suddenly distanced herself from him and relocated. After his girlfriend left him, he branded the opposite sex as an unnecessary burden, and that it was no wonder that Apostle Paul did not marry. His church –Rock of Fire Church at Lagos Island – became a sort of a wife to him of whom he poured all his devotion and love upon.
As financial woes deepened, he relocated from his two bedrooms flat to two rooms in a rooming house. It was a residential building of ten tenants: five married couples, four bachelors of which Uncle Kọ́lá was among, and an unmarried woman.
In a typical rooming house with the usual problems of disagreement or misunderstanding among tenants, Uncle Kọ́lá whose nickname was ‘Pastor’ owing to his religious devotion, plagued other tenants with his bloated, unreasonable religiousity that worsened every midnight.
He was also a known defaulter of utilities. ‘Pastor’ would be the last to pay NEPA bill and in most cases not willing to pay – discouraging the serious one from paying as no one was ready to pay for another – making the debt to swell on at every passing month until NEPA began to launch its threat of disconnection.
On one occasion, NEPA came to disconnect them when they could not cough out the huge bill owed over a year. Ose and Uchenna, after discussing with the caretaker, decided to call a private electrician to connect the light at midnight. They contacted every tenant to release N200 in order to pay the hired electrician his charged fee of N2000, everyone quickly paid except Uncle Kọ́lá who began an admonition:
“It is a grave sin to be part of this unholy arrangement; I cannot allow the devil, the devourer to devour me by willingly giving him open arms through cheating.”
“Pastor,” said Uchenna, this is not about church or preaching, we have been in darkness for over two weeks now since NEPA disconnected us, we are here to collect your own contribution of two hundred naira to give the electrician so that he can connect our light this night.”
“That is exactly what I cannot do. It is a sin against my God to cheat. This is cheating Government, what we should do is to come together and pay the bill then invite NEPA to come legitimately to connect us.”
“Pay the bill?” Ose sneered. You cannot even pay the monthly bill talk less of this big one.”
“How dare you talk to me like that? My God will supply all my needs according to his riches in glory!”
“Your God will supply all your needs?” Snapped Uchenna, “is it not you, in particular, that allowed this debt to become big?”
“Vengeance is mine says the Lord! If not, I would have descended heavenly on you for talking to me like that!”
They chuckled and walked away. They had gotten used to Uncle Kọ́lá. To tarry with such being was to invite more self confused scriptural references. The tenants paid Uncle Kọ́lá’s share of N200 and disconnected his house as soon as the hired electrician connected the electrical light.
After two weeks of an isolated darkness in his room surrounded by light in the rooms of others, Uncle Kọ́lá caved in. He gave Ose his contribution of N200 who then share it among tenants before connecting his room.
The tenants continued to suffer the menace of Uncle Kọ́lá’s night nuisance. Every night, Uncle Kọ́lá usually go to the toilet to ease himself during his prayer sessions that always began at 12am midnight to 3am.
On one certain night, he went out around 2am to empty his bladder and returned. He locked his door and continued his prayer in his parlour. It was about fifteen minutes into his prayer that he saw a figure emerging from his bedroom. The creature’s skin is whitish including his hair, the long beard and the gown he wore
Dazed with fright, Uncle Kọ́lá hurled out spiritual missiles to bind and cast out the intruder.
“You despicable son of Jezebel and Lucifer! I command and bind you in the mighty name of My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Disappear from here now! Now! Now!”
Wielding his ‘weaponised’ hand – up and down. However, the creature seems unperturbed by the spiritual war declared by Uncle Kọ́lá, he moved closer; Uncle Kọ́lá spat out more missiles.
“Stand there! Don’t move! You first born of Athaliah, you accursed son of Delilah sired by Satan in the pit of hell! Die now! Die now! Now!”
The white figure laughed wildly as he slowly moved towards the retreating Uncle Kọ́lá.
“I said don’t move in the mighty name of Jesus Christ! You certified worshipper of the demonic trio of Belzebub, Baal and Dagon! I said stop there in the mighty name of Jesus!”
The creature suddenly stopped; boosting the courage of Uncle Kọ́lá.
“Remain standing! You demonic son of Judas Iscariot! You woeful grandson of Herod! You the godless descendant of pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar! Fall down now! Now! Now in the name of Jesus …!”
Slowly the figure moved his right hand into his gown pocket; he drew out a white whip and moved forward. Sensing the impending danger, Uncle Kọ́lá, now in a deeper state of panicky, raved harder: “Touch not my anointed! For it is written, he that touches them touches the apple of my …!!”
The creature lashed out the whip; it caught Uncle Kọ́lá on his shoulder. As the creature raised his hand for the next one, uncle Kọ́lá scooted to his door with a scream of hysteria: “Ẹgbà mí o! Jésù gbà mí o …!” Swiftly, he unlocked the door bolt and threw himself out as the second lash landed on his back. He ran to the building’s gate; it was there he remembered the gate was usually locked at night. He banged at the door of the neighbour near the gate, “Baba Chidinma! Baba Chidinma! Please open the door!”
The entire family of Baba Chidinma woke up.
“Who is that?” Baba Chidinma knew it was the voice of Uncle Kọ́lá, but care was needed to be applied at odd hours.
“It is me, Kọ́lá, Baba Chidinma. Please open your door and let me enter.”
“What is the matter?”
“I will tell you, please, when I enter.”
“Is anyone with you?”
“No, no one is with me.”
There was a chink near the door bolt of Baba Chidinma’s house; he peered through it to confirm Uncle Kọ́lá sincerity. He slid the bolt and opened the door. Uncle Kọ́lá leaped in, slammed the door and locked it.”
“What is the problem Kọ́lá?” asked the nonplussed Baba Chidinma, his children of four with his wife are also in a state of bewilderment – all starring at their horrified neighbour.
“Baba Chidinma,” breathing heavily, “a demon appeared to me.”
“Demon?” the man and his wife asked in unison.
Uncle Kọ́lá nodded “Yes, he was dressed in white. Everything on his body was completely white. Even the whip – this kind of Hausa bulala , he used to whip me, was also in white colour. I have never seen a white whip all my life.”
“You mean a demon whipped you?” Baba Chidinma asked
“He whipped me. If I have not run out of my house, only God knows what would have happened to me. You know my prayers are always powerful; I might have been troubling the demon. I want to believe the demon lives in this compound. ”
“And what did you do, Sir? Didn’t you rebuked and cast him out through the blood of Jesus Christ?” Baba Chidinma’s wife asked. Her utterance was of mockery veiled in the form of a concerned heart.”
“I tried my best, I unleashed the power of Christ on him but it was ineffective. I don’t know what went wrong.”
That night, Uncle Kọ́lá did not sleep in his house; he slept at the parlour of Baba Chidinma. When it was almost dawn, he borrowed Baba Chidinma’s padlock to lock his door and headed straightaway to the house of a fellow freelancer and stay there. It was three day later; he summoned the courage to go home. Immediately he entered his house, he sprinkled anointing oil his pastor gave him all over his two rooms. He suspended his night prayer that night and resumed the following night.
But two nights later, a repetition of the last event occurred. Uncle Kọ́lá did not even wait to confront, he jumped out to another neighbour’s house and slept there. Very early in the morning, he borrowed the padlock of his hosting neighbour to lock his door without the nerve to go in to replace his night gown and to take his padlock. He merely wore his slippers on his doorstep. He left to visit his pastor.
Meanwhile, Ose had tiptoed back to his room after uncle Kọ́lá sprinted into the room of a neighbour for refuge. In the morning, he reeled off his second adventure with Uncle Kọ́lá to Uchenna, the two friends shook with laughter that resulted to teary eyes.
Uncle Kọ́lá slept no more in his residence. A week later, he came at noon with a friend whom with some neighbours, helped him to pack his belonging into a truck and zoomed off.
Bulala: An Hausa word for a whip.
Ẹgbà mí o! Jésù gbà mí o: Yorùbá phrases meaning: save me, Jesus save me.
NEPA: Means: National Electrical Power Authority.
Stephen Adinoyi is a poet, lyricist, play writer, short story writer and a scriptwriter. He is a former Vice Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Author, Kaduna branch; and the former Chairman of the Kaduna Writers League.
His works has been published in newspapers like: The Sun, Daily Trust. And in reviews: ANA Review, Ebedi Reviews, and in online international writing bodies like: Fanstory.com, Triond, and yahoo contributed network writing.com etc.
Also published in anthologies of poems like: After The Curfew, Fireflies, Weaver Anthology, Wushapa: Beating The Drum of Peace.
His pidgin poem: Kros Ova, was anthologized in a collection of pidgin poems called If Yu Hie Se A De Prizin. His pidgin play called A No Beta Pas Mai Nebor was staged in Abuja in 2013.
His Poem, Seoul, won the first prize during the 2016 edition of the Korean/Nigeria Poetry Festival and the commemoration of World Poetry Day in Abuja.
He has a published novella called Teen of Fifteen. And a play called Virus of Ignorance. A freelance writer and a consultant in human resource development and educational services.