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Blood Contract

Hey, I am feeling pink, because Bobby took me back to my very first novel internationally. He read my very first novel with IFWG publishing. BLOOD CONTRACT.
Couple of my religious friends were scared off by the title imagining I was going to write about some voodoo stuff. Those were very puzzling days, confusing to me as well. It was an ey-opener learning that my side of the pond had yet to get over the bogey thrown into them by our white masters about our local brewed religion. I think that was why I wrote the Numen Yeye series. I must have told you how Numen Yeye started and so much has passed since the days of BLOOD CONTRACT.Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00061]
However as I learned and hopefully grew in the novel writing business, I got into the habit of reviewing books for authors like me. Some of the authors paid me back by offering to read my own books. That natural law of give and take happened recently with Bobby and I.
So he first bought Rose of Numen and then gave me the extra gift of reading my very first book. This is what he put in amazon.com and goodreads.
“I really enjoyed Biola’s book Blood Contract and recommend others read it. It kept me intrigued and wanting to read more. As someone who knows nothing about the Niger Delta, I found this book to be very informative of the land, culture, and societal problems. Blood Contract deals with issues of corruption, greed, evil, rape, oil bunkering, family, societal norms, God and poverty, just to name a few. I am now more informed of the Niger Delta, the damage of oil bunkering, the corruption of young boys and men, and the suffering that exists in that part of the world. I also found Biola’s writing to be inspiring and I look forward to reading her other books as well”.
A river has passed under the bridge since that book was written. I had an offer to have the book made into a film script. I even had the script written and my excitement rode the skies, but then this was my country and for all the dreams of mice and men. Sigh…. Who knows you just might read this and decide to send me a query about the book. So I will be waiting okay?
What makes us write? What do we want to achieve? For every million unknown writers out there in the great world, there are the tiny few that attract attention and somehow hold that attention.
When I started to write some 42 years ago, I had very small illusions about making the millions or even smile to the bank. But I had stars in my eyes about the written word and that excitement has outlived all other feeling till date.
I am crazy about writing. I have written television plays to educate adolescents, parents, and written just about every topic including horror!
I hope I have matured over the years, 42 years ought to count for something right? But I am still interested in human beings, our dreaming, and the painful thud when we have to face the hard grind of reality.
An elder in my community who had written for longer than I have, answered my naïve question about living on writing with a gentle laugh, said I might be hungry for a long time. He was right. But I feel like a child in a candy store when I am asked to write a story and I can deliver that story within days. Television scripts I might add. Writing a full length novel was a different kettle of fish.
So what do you think? Did you ever read that my first love affair with the virtual world when I clicked on a name and he became a much loved publisher… Gerry Huntman.
I have been blurbing right? I don’t know really but I feel like just sharing with you this time. You know like some friend you are used to warbling with. Lol.
Chat soon

To the Survivors…Revisit

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As the year closes, I thought, I should share some of those things that have left an impact on me. One of the things I have learnt over time is books I review tend to stay with me and some of the authors tend to become my friends. One of such authors is Bobby Uttaro.
It could be in the style of writing or the contents, Bobby’s book, “To the Survivors” has stayed with me and in a way has become a kind of comfort book for me. I live in a country where rape and rape victims are on the peripheral vision of the country. I am sure there had been reports of rape before I read the book, but my senses became real sharpened enough to take particular notice and that became depressing.
How do I mean? I came across cases of rape, from infants to elderly women for different reasons. It appears women have been under siege in my country for longer that I imagined and we don’t seem to be doing anything concrete. I am not about to start another article on this but I want to thank Bobby for at least making me know about one of the dirty secrets of humanity. To the Survivors
Rape is not exclusive to a particular nation nor is it alien to any society, I guess rape has existed amongst us from the time of the cave men, but it is the oldest shame that man has on its collective soul.
I am thus repeating my interview with Bobby today, with the hope that somehow, we will be reminded of the road we still need to follow to achieve that which we are seeking. For as long as we deny the woman the right to refuse a sexual advance, I think we are diminished by that violence.
How do I mean? I came across cases of rape, from infants to elderly women for different reasons. It appears women have been under siege in my country for longer that I imagined and we don’t seem to be doing anything concrete. I am not about to start another article on this but I want to thank Bobby for at least making me know about one of the dirty secrets of humanity.
Rape is not exclusive to a particular nation nor is it alien to any society, I guess rape has existed amongst us from the time of the cave men, but it is the oldest shame that man has on its collective soul.
I am thus repeating my interview with Bobby today, with the hope that somehow, we will be reminded of the road we still need to follow to achieve that which we are seeking. For as long as we deny the woman the right to refuse a sexual advance, I think we are diminished by that violence.
Please enjoy
To the Survivors…..Book Cover
I opened page one and was sucked in.I raged, cried, was angry and kicked but Bobby had me by the short hairs and dragged me through me, through the minds of every breathing human being making me look at a crime, issue that for us in my corner of the world we have been unable to define properly let alone classify and give it a name.
The innocent girl on her first wedding night to a man old enough to be her father as she is dragged to matrimonial bed and raped by her elderly husband . Her terrified screams and flailing arms applauded by all. She is welcomed into matrimony through the red mist of her violent entry. That was the story. In my corner of the universe, that is how you marry. In my time and age.,I learnt about this during my first visit to my hometown in the south west when I came to my family for the first time. I stood in shock as I heard the wild screams. Rape.. a word that young bride never heard of but has been made to experience as a received standard response to sexual activity. The women watched the men, resentment in their heart, hate to the mate who is brought in and polygamy grows hand in hand with hate and resentment. People of my mother’s age and some of mine. This is a hard book for me and anyone who has ever empathized with rape, assault, and even molestation and I passionately ask you to pick up a copy for yourself. It is a must in libraries and schools. In fact any public place.
I am not telling you my story, but the subject of Bobby’s book and the very painful reactions he has made me go through. I want you to meet Bobby and I hope his answers will help us.
1. Welcome Bobby to Ephesus.

Thank you for having me. It’s a blessing and honor to speak with you.

2. Can you define rape in all its ramifications as you understand it?
In my opinion, rape, especially child rape, is the worst crime human beings commit against each other as it causes the most damage to a person’s mind, heart, and soul over significant periods of time. People who are raped have their power and control taken from them. Some believe they will die during a rape and others want to die after. Think about how terrifying and sad this is. The pain and suffering that rape survivors experience can often last many years to a lifetime. But the damage caused does not just hurt the survivor; it hurts that person’s family and friends as well. Significant others are often devastated, sometimes more so than the survivor. I know of a man who was so broken after he learned that his girlfriend was raped years before. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to process it. It was as if nothing in life made sense anymore.
There are so many ramifications of rape, probably too many to list now. In my experiences, I have yet to see a crime that causes so much shame. If one feels shame, one will inevitably have serious health problems. Many, if not all rape survivors at one point in their lifetime, possibly even for years, have suffered deep shame. This is so incredibly sad because on top of being raped, a person most likely lives with shame for years. Shame is crippling and paralyzing. Think of the suffering people who have this undeserved shame live with and how it affects their lives and the lives of those around them.

The ramifications of rape are vast, but I will mention a few. Rape is linked to shame, anger/rage, depression, insecurity, anxiety, fear, suicidal thoughts and suicide, eating disorders, and other health issues. It causes low to no self-esteem. It can alter people’s perceptions of themselves and the world around them. Many rape survivors live in fear. Many rape survivors are physically and spiritually shackled. Rape can shatter the soul. And on top of all of these horrific effects and sufferings, many rape survivors blame themselves. But I want everyone to know that it is not their fault and that they can regain control back. Their lives can be happier and healthier if they are unhappy and suffering. The soul can be strengthened and healed.
Lastly, there are many societal and financial ramifications from rape. Rape can be linked to drug addiction, prostitution, organized crime, and our prison populations, to name a few. For example, I had a meeting at a women’s prison in hopes of getting the book To the Survivors to the inmates. At the time of my meeting there were approximately 100 women incarcerated inside. The Director of Women’s Programming told me roughly 75% of the women had been raped. Also, the Director of Mental Health Services told me 99% of the women had been raped. Why were they incarcerated? The majority were incarcerated due to drugs and prostitution. There is a clear correlation between our female prison population, prostitution, drug addiction and rape. This is also true for some of our male inmates as well.
Ultimately, rape causes more damaging ramifications than I can answer in your question, but hopefully this is a good starting point and answers some of it.

3. Is Sexual assault, rape or sexual violence graded?

Some people grade different levels, but I don’t think that it is necessary to do. I don’t think we should. Every sexual assault, molestation, or rape, is a crime that causes suffering. We should help anyone affected and not grade their experiences.

4. Rape is not gender sensitive and is prevalent in every society on the earth, what can be done to stop it?

The prevalence of rape can decrease if more people make changes within their own hearts. I believe that we can stop and prevent some acts of rape, but I do not believe we will stop rape entirely. I believe rape will exist as long as human beings live on this earth. This is not meant to sound hopeless. I am very hopeful of what can be done and I know more people can heal. I would not keep doing this work and be speaking with you if I did not see real human and spiritual growth within people. But I do believe it is important to be realistic about the world we live in and the evil atrocities that will continue to exist.

Rape is the most prevalent and least reported violent crime throughout the world. The majority of people do not even speak about it, let alone get active and help people affected. Minimal rape crisis centers exist worldwide and too many people don’t want to deal with the realities.

It is believed by some that the second most lucrative illegal business in the world is human trafficking. Billions of dollars are made every year off the sale of human beings who are forced into sexual slavery. In addition, little boys and girls are raped in homes by relatives. People are raped by their spouses. And we know that even some individuals who work in the most trusted public service positions – from law enforcement to religious clergy – rape. How will this stop? I don’t believe it will ever stop, but we can help people in their healing process and we can raise awareness through education.

Education and people intervening if they see something inappropriate is necessary for the prevention of sexual violence. Sadly, many people don’t see the signs of a rape or sexual assault before they occur. If we educate people on some of the signs, we may be able to prevent some crimes. For example, there were many signs of early troubling or inappropriate conduct in the lives of Jim and Chris, who are speakers with individual chapters in To the Survivors. If people around them were educated on the signs and empowered through that education to act, those innocent boys may not have been sexually abused. However, no one noticed, or some noticed but did not intervene, and these boys suffered.
I don’t believe we will ever eradicate rape on this earth, but I believe that we can help people in their healing process and live healthy and productive lives. We can listen to each other, show each other compassion, and empower each other. Too many survivors suffer in silence alone. But I want to tell people that they do not have to suffer in silence. They can heal and they can also help others if they choose to. Our voices are incredibly important and valuable. We can make a real difference in the lives of those who are struggling and suffering. I hope and pray for more of us do that.
Ultimately, rape can stop if human beings stop raping. It is a choice. Sadly, it is a choice that people will continue to commit and many others will continue to not speak of.
5. Would it be right to say that as much as the assaulted is counseled, the aggressor also needs assessment and managing?

So many acts of sexual violence are hidden from others. This, of course, makes assessing and managing a perpetrator exceptionally difficult. How do you assess and manage a person abusing another person when no one knows or speaks about it? This happens too often. The majority of rapists are not arrested, let alone convicted and then sent to prison. And even those who are sent to prison, how long is their prison term? The majority of those convicted come back into our society. Should more be done to manage them? Yes. But the majority of rapists freely walk this earth and commit vile crimes.

I do believe the aggressor needs counseling, but only if the aggressor wants counseling. Sadly, some people commit these crimes with no remorse. I believe remorse and redemption exist for those who want it, but not everyone wants it. If you read all of To the Survivors, you will see that none of the perpetrators showed any true remorse for their crimes.

In order for people to change, they must first make a change in their own heart.

6. Is the rapist mentally deficient and may be classified as disabled?

No. I do not believe we should call rapists disabled. People in wheelchairs are disabled. People with autism who can’t adequately communicate to others are disabled. Rapists choose to commit a crime. Some doctors, teachers, lawyers, police officers, politicians and religious leaders, to name a few, commit rape. Do we look at those professions as disabled?

7. In your book you are neither a rapist nor a victim so why did you write about it?

God. I did not consider myself a writer and never once tried to write a book until the experience of an intensely vivid dream one morning changed my life. I woke up from this dream and said, “I have to write a book.” I interpreted this dream as a vision from God. I prayed to God, moved from the bed to the computer, opened up Microsoft Word, and continued to pray. That is how To the Survivors began. To the Survivors would not be helping the amount of people it has helped if it weren’t for God. I would not be speaking with you now if it weren’t for God. There are too many people suffering, and I know this book can help with that suffering.

8. Some cultures really do not believe in marital rape as rape as they argue it is a male right to enforce their conjugal rights, what do you think?

I think this is horrible. Words cannot fully describe how awful this belief is. This absurd belief and reasoning allows for women to get raped. This kind of thinking accepts rape and too many people suffer as a result. Where does this ludicrous belief come from? Rape is rape. It is an evil crime. I believe it is a demonic and satanic crime. It does not matter if you are married or not; no spouse should rape or endure being raped. No one should be raped. What makes men inherently superior to women? Nothing. Why should a man have the right to rape his wife? He shouldn’t. There is no logical or rational explanation for this and it should not be condoned. Unfortunately, it is.

You say that some cultures do not believe in marital rape as they argue it is a male’s right to enforce his conjugal rights. I know it is hard to believe, but some women do rape men. Should women rape their husbands? Of course not. So why should a man be allowed to commit an evil crime against his wife? Why would he even want to? The belief that men can rape their wives due to their “conjugal rights” is wrong and it sanctions rape. Marriage is supposed to be about love, not rape, and complete dominance of one over another.

9. The first thing that happens to a person that has been sexually assaulted, molested or harassed is to hide, keep quiet or feel shame and they go into hiding the event, how do you identify that to help?
It is not for me to tell people how to act. It is solely up to the survivor to do what he or she wants to do. Personally, I would like more and more people to open up to a trusted individual in their lives, but I cannot make a survivor do that. Rape and sexual assault are so incredibly hard to talk about. But I believe we have to be there for each other and let others know that we will sit and listen to them if they ever need anything. I pray that more people create loving and safe environments in which people can disclose their stories and pain if they choose to. More people will come forward as more people come forward.
10. Your THP sounds wonderful, have they thought of extending their great work to other countries? Through affiliations, overseas training to create awareness to communities?

No, but I will. I try my best to get this book and these messages to countries throughout the world and will continue to do so. You are a big part of that Abiola. God bless you. Thank you for this connection and opportunity.

11. Do you have any plans to make your book available to Africa and Nigeria?

Absolutely. One way to make the book available in Nigeria and Africa is by talking to other people, posting on social media sites and through this great interview. This interview will raise awareness of the book’s existence to people in Nigeria, and I thank you for that. To the Survivors can be found online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, kobo.com, smashwords.com, goodreads.com, and other online retailers. The e-book can also be found on my website for free at http://www.robertuttaro.com if people cannot afford the book. I want anyone to be able to get a copy of To the Survivors should they have an interest. People can contact me directly through my website if for some reason they cannot obtain a copy. Lastly, I would love to travel to Nigeria or anywhere else if anyone ever wants me to speak about these issues.

12. Share your thoughts on what you hope your book might achieve?

I have many hopes for what the book might achieve in the lives of others, probably too many to list here. I will try to answer as best as I can:

I hope people keep breathing and do not choose to kill him or herself.
I hope people will not feel shame for being raped or sexually assaulted.
I hope people will not blame themselves for being raped or sexually assaulted.
I hope people understand that they are not alone.
I hope people connect on some level with at least one person in To the Survivors.
I hope people understand that they can grow and heal from any pain they experience.
I hope people who have not been raped or sexually assaulted become more educated on how to respond to incidences of sexual violence and the suffering of survivors.
I hope people stop raping and assaulting.
I hope people understand that God loves them more than they can even fathom, even if they do not believe in God.
I hope people talk to God and listen to God.

These are some of my many hopes.

Will you be willing to answer questions on your book after this time, if you will please tell us how we may do that.
Yes. People can email me at info@robertuttaro.com if they want to ask me anything.
Thank you being on Ephesus.
Thank you for having me. It’s been a true blessing. God bless you, Abiola.
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Musings

So many things has been happening that I have been wondering where to start because basically I need to share my thoughts. I have not been around on my blog for a long time.
You could say it was some kind of lethargy when suddenly you feel swamped by all that has been happening. We have lived helplessly for a year wondering how a group of people for no reasonable reason will abduct hundreds of girls and take them over into a Never- Never of neither alive nor dead.
We agonized over their fate, I couldn’t pick a religion that would justify it and I stayed numb and dumb for that length of time. There was the silent terror filled days of a looming election. It is like when you plan for an event a wedding or something. In my corner of the world, after all you have bought for food and drinks, the wise event planner quietly asks around for a competent rain man to ensure that it does not rain on the planned day. You don’t want to have your day wasted by the rain do you? So no matter how dark and heavy the rainclouds are, you have put your money on the rain man to ensure that not one drop disturbs your fun. So you see the merry makers look at the sky, shrug and continue with their fun, then the wind starts to blow the clouds away. The event planner smiles and thumbs up the rain man who is ensconced in his easy chair, simply nods his head like the proverbial lizard who just fell off the roof shaken by his good fortune.
Those who loved eating monkeys and wild life had an enforced re-think when Ebola visited and we were all learned again the value of cleanliness. I personally called it the revenge of the monkeys. We had locals who loved bats and monkeys being given a wide berth. It was not funny so please take the grin off your face. Hey, did I tell you about the strange illness that suddenly afflicted a portion of the state I lived in. There were so many versions I had trouble following. One version was that a local shrine had been violated by greedy arte fact hunters and the resident god of that shrine wasn’t having any of that, so the victims had headaches, went blind and pronto dropped dead all within hours. The government waded in and swiftly invited international health organizations. The governor explained that the strange ailment was not Ebola and scientists and doctors were investigating. While we waited the rumour mill went into over drive, like Alice in wonderland it got curiouser and curiouser.
Now my experiences was recently topped by the call of the king of the Zulus to send fellow Africans packing. They didn’t just say it, they were violent about it. Shops belonging to fellow Africans were looted and the ugly head of racism was brought in when a president of another African country noted that it was only in South Africa that an unemployed illiterate will complain that a fellow educated African doctor was depriving him of a job. I couldn’t laugh . It was painful.
I am not black by the way. I am a shade of brown taking the hue of mother Earth. Like all human beings who are presently seen as homo sapiens, my blood is red, my tears white or actually liquid, and fellow dwellers on Mother Earth are shades of pink, or yellow or red. We all five senses, cry when hurt, carry the ability to be wise or stupid or become fixated over colour, the Devil is dark as in a concept excluding light and Angels are radiations. A white person has lost a lot of life force that is blood and is described by all human beings as pale not white, a ghost is without form and has no skin colour but takes form and occupies space shot through with light hence it can pass through the space in walls and doors. That for me simplifies things, has science been able to show that the brain of an African is configured in a way that renders him incapable of basic intelligence? Until that can be proven, we should hold our peace and see if we call qualify to be true homo sapiens..expectedly wise.
Who knows I might have something interesting to say next time.

Did I tell you about the mysterious disease ravaging a section of my world.? There were so many versions

50 shades of Grey.. the confusion and Grammar

I had heard about the book in 2013 when my friends discussed it in one of our internet discussions. My friend Lisa was not impressed and could not understand the hysteria about it. That made me curious and I asked her how I could get a copy of the book.
When the first in the triology came, I read the first chapter and disgust, confusion rose in me. I kept it away from my children instinctively. Then we moved house and I started reading about the fact that it was going to be made into a film so I felt I needed to read it . I had a few reasons that impelled me to want to finish the book. If it came into a film I could not be sure how my children were going to come across it and I wanted to be ready. I went back to 50 Shades again, and it was like walking through a strange land.
I am Nigerian with a definite cultural background and thus was prepared to be tolerant of quite a lot of things about the Western culture. I always had to do double duty picking through aspects of the Western culture that best complimented my Nigerian youths.
The concept of pain as a sexual thing is very strange and frankly I had never read about BDSM, nor a submissive or a Dominant. I was bewildered like Anastasia for most of the time. I was horrified that they were humans who only had that way of sexual fulfillment. In my mother’s day, she could not even dare discuss the simple act of procreation with me and we had quaint names we gave the female monthly cycle and now I just dropped myself into something way beyond my concept. It was an education. I resolutely turned each page determined to read it to the very end and when Anastasia finally fled I wanted to box her ears for crying.
I have my reservations, I agree that everyone to his own poison as long as he recognized it was his own decision and he was very much aware of the consequences of his actions, his thoughts and what he puts out in creation for others to read.
I have always been very conscious of the written word, its effects that outlives the writer and I try to pass that on to my friends. What you write is like sowing seeds into minds you may never meet and you will have to answer for them.
That however was not my only problem, there was the style of writing which was very poor and then the grammar. It was quite interesting to learn that Grammarly also had their own take on 50 shades. Let me share with you. They called it 50 shades of grammar
Although it topped bestseller lists around the world, E. L. James’ erotic romance novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, was widely panned by critics for its poor use of language.
The Grammarly team reviewed the book for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and learned that — although there were some mistakes — the errors were in alignment with similar gaffes in celebrated romances.
Below, check out some of the most frequent grammar mistakes from Fifty Shades of Grey, as well as some quotes from classic romances that also make these mistakes. The language of love really is a language of its own!
You may want to check this link to know all about the 50shades of Grammar.
I hope to chat pretty soon.
<a href="http://Grammarly: Fifty Shades of Grammar“>

And he roaRED

Babatunde was having his morning bath when he heard the knocking on the door,he wrapped his towel round his midriff and headed for the front door. He looked through the peephole and saw Tope who looked impatient.
He opened the door and surveyed his brother frowning heavily, “So they have installed the king and the town burned down?”
Tope was serious, “You have to get out of the house now”
Babatunde raised his eyebrows and stared at his brother, “Have you been drinking or lost your WAY TO YOUR front door?”
Tope pushed him out of the way and made for Babatunde’s bedroom and fished out old clothes urged his brother to put them on, the urgency in his voice communicated itself to Babatunde and he half dragged Babatunde to a closet. He motioned Babatunde to stay quiet . He was just in time as suddenly the front door crashed open and they heard footsteps. Someone moved past the door and tried opening his bedroom then he they heard the bathroom being opened and quietly closed. The steps went away to the front door and a satisfied voice was telling someone to give it ten minutes then enter and pretend to raise the alarm.
Babatunde was angry and kept his expression rigid. He dropped on his knees and gave a full- throated roar that sent Tope and everyone else scampering for the front door. Babatunde went straight to his bathroom and saw the large snake that had been dropped there. He closed the bathroom door and fetched a plant which he simply dropped in the bathroom. The snake thrashed trying to avoid the smell of the plant and Babatunde waited grimly by the door. Tope gingerly walked up and stared in awed horror at his brother, swallowing several times. Babatunde did not give him a look but just stared at the door, gradually the door opened and the snake crawled out and died in front of Babatunde while Tope jumped almost his height into the air when he saw the snake emerge.
There was silence and respect in the eyes of Tope as he gave his brother the one fist salute.
“Maybe I should not have bothered”
Babatunde put a hand on the shoulder of Tope and his voice had returned to normal as he thanked Tope for coming to warn him. He offered to take Tope back to the garage after breakfast. He called his office and said he would be late coming in.
There was silence as Babatunde went back into his bedroom to change and he quickly made cornmeal for his brother and asked him to share what he learned and why he had come to town to warn him.
Tope said he had gone to his usual relaxation spot and was nursing a calabash of palmwine when he picked some back chat and learned that Babatunde was going to have some kind of misfortune. He had carefully kept his back turned so they wouldn’t notice his presence. He also had to wait for the men to finish their drinks and head for home before he could wait.
“In fact Abeni wondered what I was up to when I asked for another calabash and did not join in the general joke. I lied that I was waiting for Akiin about the new cocoa prizes. I explained to Papa and we both agreed that I had to leave at first dawn to get here. If I knew the fireworks you were going to pull, I should have told Papa not to worry”
“But I needed and appreciate the warning and I still thank you. The snake I can deal with, but the human snakes? I have only contempt for them”
“I think it was the Alasiri boys, it was the senior one that was at Apata Gangan boasting that they can prove that the oracle is a liar.”
Boye Alasiri was given a motorbike by Prince Adewunmi some months back right? Babatunde asked his brother
Tope smiled and nodded, “Looks like you have sized them up pretty well”
Babatunde grinned, “Some losers can be mean and I knew what was coming just hadn’t thought of snakes”
Tope stood up and then scowled at Babatunde, “Never thought of snakes too brother or I could have used one when you and the queen did a mean one and called home at the particular time when I was at the farm harvesting cocoa”
Babatunde shook his head,”Thought you said you were afraid of her type”
Tope have him an innocent look, “Looks like you can cope and I am better you know”
“Better at what?” Babatunde asked slowly.
They went back to the brotherly teasing as Babatunde took his brother to the car park and saw him off .
He returned to the hospital and his office to find Ngozi had been asking to see him. He was puzzled wondering what she wanted so he called her on the office internal phone and explained he was back in the office.

The Tussle

The next morning Babatunde and Tope chatted over bowls of hot pap and akara. Babatunde had prepared the corn pap watched by an amused Tope who made caustic remarks about his brother’s culinary efforts.
The atmosphere was friendly and convivial as Babatunde asked news of home and events. Tope sighed though when Babatunde asked questions about the candidates for the kingship.
“One of them does not look like he is going to get past the first round.” Tope said looking at his akara cake with a frown
Why? Babatunde startled by the comment
Tope was still frowning at his cake and sighed, then shrugged, “I guess I just don’t feel he looks like a king material
“Ifa will decide anyway” Babatunde consoled his brother
“Hmmm.. I don’t always buy into this Ifa thing these days you know. There has been many a king that Ifa has no business approving as kings as they turned out to be unmitigated disasters” Tope spoke with feeling and Babatunde raised eyebrows giving his brother a keen look, “It is not per chance you have a particular candidate in mind do you?”
Tope pushed his plate away and walked to the window looking out into the morning traffic for a few seconds. He turned round and gave his brother a slow smile, “you are not paying attention to me are you? Will you be able to drive me into town? I need to pick up a few things to take home, particularly pesticides for my cocoa.”
“Sure” Babatunde replied and knew his brother did not want to say anything further about the kingship tussle. That tussle had been on for more than six years and he sensed that his brother was bored with the whole thing. Two ruling houses were fighting over who was to rule the town next and that had generated quite a lot of bad blood in the town with rival supporters of one prince or the other. He was part of the inner circle of Ifa and was thus banned from taking sides nor making comments.
The procedure was simple, each candidate was expected to be able to trace his lineage and you could not be installed if your forebear did not have a son while on the throne. Every resident had a right to claim the first king as father but these particular gladiators were determined to lay claim to the most popular deceased king and that had started dissensions. There had been whispers about the paternity of one but no one had been brave to state who started such a rumour.
Babatunde had a different tussle on his mind anyway. It was what type of message he was expected to send to the Ifa circle of which he had been made the young Lion. He had a problem with the timing and date. However he knew he would be the one to find time to go.
He took Tope shopping and drove him to the garage so Tope could return to the village before nightfall.
When he got to the office, Babatunde went to check if the chief pharmacist was around and he was told he would have come back in the afternoon as the fellow was in a conference. Babatunde smiled at the secretary and returned to his office. Ngozi asked after the headache and it took him a minute to recollect what she was talking about.
“Your blank face clearly shows the headache didn’t last long” she laughed and walked away.
Minutes later he was immersed in work and it took a while before he noticed Joke the office girl tapped his desk repeatedly to attract his attention. Babatunde looked up straight into the face of a fairly tall distinguished looking middle aged man
The man smiled and stretched out his hand, “My name is Adewunmi, a friend said I might find you here. I am an accountant, came to make your acquaintance”
Babatunde stood up and asked the man to sit his eyebrows raised. His line of job did not encourage visitors unless they were patients seeking an alternative to a prescribed drug. His visitor didn’t seem to fit into that category.
“How may I help you? He asked politely
“That will be interesting don’t you think”? Sasa’s voice floated in and Babatunde was startled.
He gave his visitor a close look and sure enough he saw the deep blue eyes of Sasa smiling at him.
Babatunde was stunned and stared at his mystic friend, “How did you do that”?
Sasa grinned and sat down crossing his legs elegantly. “I have to learn how to do this you know. Something is coming up and this fellow whose coat I quickly borrowed will be visiting you in say two hours and we felt it was best to warn you ahead.”
Babatunde stiffened, “Who is this fellow?”
Sasa coughed and wiped his mouth mimicking the mannerisms of a rich spoilt man, “eh he fancies himself as the next king” Sasa gave a mocking bow, you know we have gone so far away from seeking the truth that any type of dross gilded over with yellow paint might be confused as gold”
Babatunde laughed out not so much for Sasa’s expression but the look of disgust Sasa had on his face. Then he got serious giving his friend a close look, “Your eyes will give you away you know if you try this stunt with anybody else. Africans don’t have deep blue eyes you know.”
Sasa retorted with spirit, ”You haven’t seen all Africans Fancy pants”
They both laughed.
“I am intrigued, really. I never thought this was possible. Used to read about our forefathers being able to take up skins and do what is called magic but this is new on me” Babatunde said
“You are actually on a different level you know and your experiences are thus different. The best Babalawo may never achieve what is possible or be able to experience this kind of conscious level you know. Real healing is not just about herbs alone but a combination of all the possibilities open to the human spirit. By the way, spirit is the key word. You are wearing a coat that depicts you Fancy pants but it is not your real yourself, you know that”
Babatunde nodded and stared at nothing in particular as his thoughts swirled and Sasa watched him. He sighed and gave Sasa a smile, “so what am I supposed to do when this prince comes in here?”
Sasa dipped his hand in his pocket and brought out a soft stone wrapped in animal skin. “Let him talk as much as he wants but give him this at the end”
Babatunde was mystified and stared at the stone lying in the open palm of Sasa. He stretched out his hand to lift it out of the palm of Sasa and was shocked that try as he might, he could not lift the stone. Sasa gave a soft laugh, “fancy Pants, your education is making you really soft. You know you do not lift things from me without giving me respect”
I…
“You must lift the stone with the skin”.
Babatunde did that and he held the stone but almost dropped it in shock when Sasa mentioned casually that the skin was from the past king. Sasa explained that it was held together by the thoughts of the people.
What do you mean thoughts?
Sasa groaned and looked out, “well it will soon be time for our friend to come in, your office girl is about to have a heart attack because she thinks Prince Adewunmi had already come in here. We will continue this conversation later and oh Prince Adewunmi is not really a prince but has the qualities of one”.
Sasa stood up and adjusted his coat as he walked out. A minute later, a very agitated and puzzled office staff was hesitantly asking if Babatunde was free to receive a visitor again.
Since everything was still a puzzle to Babatunde simply nodded as he quickly slid the object in his hand to a drawer.
The man came straight to the reason for his visit. In very precise tones he mentioned his name and what he had come. He wanted to ask for Babatunde’s support in his bid for the throne of the town. Babatunde listened patiently and smiled. He explained to his guest that he was not the one to make the choice but must follow the dictate of the oracle .
Prince Adewunmi made a cynical gesture and brought out his cheque book, “Look my friend, let’s not flog the issue. I understand the price is ten million and because , the way I heard it, you are the chief priest as it is, I will offer fifteen million. That can set up your pharmacy.
Babatunde clenched his fist and slowly rose to his feet when he heard Sasa’s sharp cough. He sat down as slowly taking deep breaths. Then he gave a gentle smile and pulled out his drawer and brought forth the stone wrapped in the skins.
In the same gentle manner he invited the prince to lift the stone, explaining that there was no need for the money, that if he could lift the stone, the prince was assured of the kingship. That stopped the prince as he stared at the stone saying nothing. There was some silence as both men stared at the stone which seemed to gleam. Babatunde spoke softly, ”being king is a good thing to aspire to and Ifa chooses what the thoughts of the people have chosen, why don’t you find out for yourself what that choice is. We consult the oracle not to thwart but to confirm what will best serve the people, just lift the stone and I will be sure if you are potential candidate”
Prince Adewunmi stared at the stone for more seconds then stood up abruptly and slammed out of the office.

Dream Murder 2

He could not tell when he got home, but he must have as he he remembered waking up in the middle of the night to pee. His wife slept peacefully beside him. There was no point telling her that just thinking of her had caused him to faint in the office. He shrugged and still sleepy he went back to bed and tried to pull the cover let over him. When he heard the deep sarcastic laughter, he sat up in sheer terror.
There was no one in the room yet he was prepared to swear that a male voice had just laughed in the room. He rubbed his eyes and snapped on the bedside lamp. The room was peaceful, his wife Kike seemed to sleeping peacefully curled up facing him in her sleep.. He stared at the face and wondered why he was so frightened of her. She is just as frightened as I am But he still turned away and resolutely closed his eyes. Maybe I really should think of going to church more often he concluded.
Seemed to have quietened down for a few days and Bode felt peace return to his heart. He even took Kike out on a lunch date about a week later and Arike walked up to their table. Bode was pleased to see her and happily introduced Kike to Arike. Kike invited her to join their table and all three shared lunch making jokes and generally had a good time.
Two days later, Arike paid a surprise call at his office and they chatted.
“You look radiant” Bode observed as he gave Arike a smiling once over.They had always being friends and colleagues. Arike was promoted to be the business manger of their bank and had been transferred to Kaduna when the bank merged with another bank. Kike used to tease that Arike was a better financial expert than him and he would laugh and shrug. Arike got married six months after he did to Kole his best friend who worked for Fortune Oil and gas.
“How is my best friend”, Bode asked now
“Fine I think”
“Don’t you know”?
“I left him in Port Harcourt two weeks ago. remember?”
“Yikes, he is back in that hell hole of kidnappers”?
“It is the oil city and money literally flows on the streets”, Arike laughed
“No wonder you look so wonderful, you have been spending my friend’s money”
Arike laughed and pulled her chair close, “I have a question for you”
“Yeah?”
“What is wrong with Kike”?
Bode stared and clenched his hands under the table, but his expression was still genial
“Wrong? How?”
“Something is wrong and I can sense it”.
Bode looked out the window to gain time for his emotions to stay under control then looked at Arike shaking his head, “I really have no idea what you are talking about. What do you mean”?
Arike gave him a long look and sighed, “well something doesn’t seem right but I can’t put a finger on it either. I just feel something”.
Bode smiled and pretended to be very amused, “You women are always searching for things that does not exist except in your pretty heads”.
Arike laughed. “I know one thing that exist anyway. Kole and I are expecting a baby”.
“Wow!! Congratulations! When?”
“Hey whoa hold your horses, haven’t told your friend yet, just coming from the doctor for the confirmation. Think you can come over to dinner tomorrow night. I am telling him tonight. As my best friend wanted to let you know besides I can’t keep such news to myself. You are going to be godfather by the way”.
Bode laughed and opened his drawer, then closed it again, “You are not going to be drinking alcohol now are you?”
Arike protested laughing, “Bode!, the pregnancy is only six weeks old. I don’t feel any symptoms nor anything. A glass of wine would be harmless”.
They shared a glass and chatted over clients, office and Arike left.
Bode drove home in that happy exhilarated mood,instinctively gave his wife a hug and a kiss.
Kike gave him a look ,sniffed and wrinkled her brows.
“I can smell pregnancy around, have you been talking with a pregnant client Bode? The smell of the foetus is strong on you”.
They both stared at each other in mutual horror as Bode slowly collapsed in a chair shivering with dread.

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