“Osita! Osita! Osita!”
“Maaaa!” He ran to where Obiageli the uncle wife was standing glaring angrily at him
“Nne y.o..u called,” he said stammering
“Osita how many times will I call you before you answer? How many times do I need to scream out your name into this great silence that already engulfs this village before you answer me?” she asked rhetorically.
“By the way why are you still awake? Gị nwa amosu e nwere n’obodo a. Your mates have already gone deep into their sleep, and you—this godforsaken vulture in the form of a human being—are still outside staring into an empty…”
She was still talking when Osita cut in, “Nne, I only came out to urinate and saw the stars in the sky shining beautifully on the surface of the earth. Then I got carried away staring at them, but mama I was…”
“Will you shut that your stinking mouth and go and wash the plates my children used for eating befor sleeping?” she shouted at him angrily.
Osita left leaving Obiageli outside murmuring.
Osita was a young, vibrant, and hardworking young man who just clocked twenty. He was an orphan whose parents died of terrible sickness in the same season, and so many people up till date still couldn’t fathom the cause of the death of Mr. and Mrs. Onyemachukwu, Osita’s parents.
Ichie Onye ma, as he was called by all and sundry was a very kind-hearted and well reserved man who believed that everything one does always has a repercussion, just like the old saying in Igbo ‘Ihe onye metara ya buru‘. He believed that everyone has an equal right to justice and he would always be there to speak for the less privilledged ones in the community.
Inasmuch as he was never the king of Umunogodo village, in the outskirt of Umudomi in Ebonyi State, he was still well respected by both the young and old. Ichie Onye ma’s story would never be complete without adding his wife Odoziaku into picture, a beautiful, tall and fair young maiden, Ichie Onyema married in a neighbouring village Amakporo both in Ebonyi state.
As her name implied, she was really an epitome of beauty who really came to organise her husband’s wealth. She honoured her husband and did everything to have a peaceful home which earned her respect in the village and most husbands would always use her name to caution their wives.
“You are here running your mouth up and down, can’t you see Odoziaku, Ichie Onyema’s wife? Can’t you see the way she manages her home and family?” This statement will always be heard any time a couple had issues.
Ichie Onyema and Odoziaku had their first and only child Osita the following year they got settled down as husband and wife.
At first everyone thought it was just an ordinary headache when the illness struck Ichie Onyema, he was just given herbs and water, thinking everything would get better in due time, but alas, the illness got worst with each rising of sun.
“My elders, what are we going to do for our kinsmen Ichie Onye ma?” The Igwe Mgburude asked his elders. Igwe Mgburude inherited the throne from his forefathers, so the throne was a hereditary one which passed from father to son.
“Igwe this one has passed catch am,” one of the elder Mazi Chebe said.
“None of us ever thought that this illness would escalate to this. I suggest we take him to Ugwumba, the great dibịa,” he chipped in.
“Yes Igwe, Mazi Chebe is right, this matter now needs our immediate attention before it becomes worst,” another elder added, “let’s take him to the dibia, he needs attention, this is the best idea.” All the elders kept murmuring.
“My people, you all have said the right thing and I will quickly send for our community dibịa, Great Ugwubia to go and attend to our kinsman. We cannot be in water and allow soap to go into our eyes, mba nụ,” the Igwe concluded.
With this the dibia was sent for and he commenced the cleasing immediately. The illness continued for four market days, but unfortunately Ichie Onyema was tired of taking in painful breaths, so he enventually gave up the struggle.
The village was left in disarray as the news of his dealth travelled fast like a wild fire to different communities.
“An iroko tree as fallen…chai,” the villagers mourned.
“What will I do with our only son, Nkem? How will I carter for him,? Why did you have to leave me now?” this was what kept on coming out from the mouth of Odoziaku.
Two days later, Ichie Onyema was buried, and everyone continued as if nothing had happened. But Ichie Onyema’s space was a vacuum no one could ever fill in in the nearest future.
Just like it was expected, when the lion dies the wolfs would want to take the jungle. That was actually the begining of hardship for Odoziaku and her son Osita.
“Bia nwanyi a, how many times have I warned you never to step your foot into that land again? Ntị ọ chịrị gị? Why enter my land?” That was Kanu talking to Odoziaku. Kanu was the immediate younger brother to Ichie Onyema. He had always been envious of Ichie Onyema’s success, but he never had any guts to do something irrational. So that was actually a great oppoetunity to deal with his brother’s wife and son.
“Nna anyị,” as Odoziaku would always call him. “But you know the land in question belonged to my late husband and by tradition, since I bore a son for him, the land is still in our possession,” Odoziaku managed to say.
“Which land? Is it my father’s land you are calling yours? So you have managed to kill my brother and you think no one will find out, and now you want my land? This won’t happen. He beat his chest.
“It is over my dead body that the land will belong to you and this bastard you call a son,” he said as he spat out and walked back into his Chambers.
It was a terrible stage for Odoziaku as she too couldn’t handle the pains and sorrows she was facing, and later went to join her husband in the unknown world, leaving Osita alone in this poor and wicked world.
“Where is the money Mazi Nduka gave you from today’s labour?” Kanu asked, siting at the front of his hut when Osita walked in.
Osita handed the money to him and made an attempt to go inside.
“Will you come back here, you this thief!” he exclaimed at Osita. “Don’t tell me the only money Mazi Nduka gave you was N2000 for working on his farm for two market days! Where is the money? Give me the money you are hiding,” Kanu stretched his hands to Osita.
“But uncle that is the only money I received,” Osita said amidst tears. “I didn’t remove anything from it. You can go ask Mazi.”.
Towai! That was the sound of the the heavy slap that landed on Osita’s face as Kanu kept on beating him, until he got convinced that his strength has failed him to launch another blow to Osita.
“Get your smelly body out of my side. Ekwensu ọjọọ,” he roared. Osita left with tears dripping like an spring of water all over his clothes.
“Di m ọma,what did that evil child do this time again?” That was Obiageli asking the husband.
Like the saying birds of the same feather always flocked together, this was the case with Kanu and his wife Obiageli. They were actually the opposite of Ichie Onyema and his wife Odoziaku, Osita’s parents.
Everyone in the village knew that where ever the couple stepped their foot into, there must be trouble accompanied with their visit. Obiageli already bore two children for her husband, Emeka who was nineteen years of age, and Adaku who was still sixteen. Owing to the fact that their parents were bad influences, the children grew up to be disrespectful and also hated their cousin Osita.
“Nne ọma you won’t believe that this useless boy has started stealing from us,” Kanu said looking at his wife.
“I knew it, the way he had been coming back late recently, I knew something was actually wrong somewhere, and what you said now just clarified my doubts,” Obiageli said snapping her fingers. “Di m ọma, I told you we should send this boy packing, but you refused, you see now, o zubego ohi,” Obiageli added.
“But nne m you know if we send him away people will talk, people will call us heartless and wicked relatives,” Kanu sounded concerned.
“Nna m, I understand, but we can make it look like he ran away and we couldn’t find him,” Obiageli suggested.
“OK, let’s look for a better situation and time to carry it out. Let’s put heads together and plan it well,” Kanu replied.
They both laughed and went into their hut as the only sound heard from afar was that of a cricket.
It was the rise of a bright and shining sun. Emeka was seen outside playing okwe with some friends while Adaku was gisting with Ngozi her childhood friend. Osita walked in carrying a heavy log on his head and went to drop it off at the back of their hut.
“Hey nwoke m, why must you leave this house without food for I and Adaka this morning?” Emeka asked pointing at Osita.
“I went out to fetch the firewood mama asked me to fetch before nightfall,”Osita replied.
“Who is your mother okpo? Is it my mother that you opened your godforsaken mouth to call mama? Have you forgotten that your mother is already six feet inside the grave?” Adaku shouted at the top of her voice, as she asked. Everyone in the compound laughed out loud.
Osita was boiling with anger, but he couldn’t do anything to them because he wouldnt want to get into trouble with his uncle and the wife.
“Osita, my children said you did not cook for them today and not just that, you still had to insult them in front of their friends, ọ kwa ya?” Obiageli asked with rage written all over her face.
“Ha nne, I didn’t insult them oo. I only told them that I went to fetch the firewood you demanded I should fetch before the end of today,” Osita said.
“So if you don’t fetch it, who else will? So I’m supposed to go and fetch the firewood for you? is that what you mean?” she said approaching him.
Osita said, while taking a step back, “Mama I didn’t say so oo.”
“OK, you want to run away from me right? OK keep running and don’t enter my house again!” Obiageli retorted.
“Nne where do you want me to go? Please nne forgive me, I thought they would eat the food we left in the pot yesterday,” Osita said crying.
“No, you must leave and never come back to my house. So my children should be eating left overs? Leave my sight ọsịsọ,” Obiageli said throwing Osita’s bags at him.
Osita had no other choice but to leave his uncle’s and father’s compound.
Indeed, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. This was seen in the life of Osita, as he not only got promoted in his place of work, but was also given a branch of his own to manage by his company.
It has been fifteen years now since he was sent out from his uncle’s compound by his uncle’s wife Obiageli. He was crying and walking on the lonely part, when a couple that came back to see their parents drove by and saw him crying. After he narrated his ordeal to them, the couple felt pity and decided to take him with them.
“So you mean that this what you have been through since Ichie Onyema your father and the wife died,” Nonso said shaking his head. Nonso was the son of Elder Nduka, one of the village elders. He was based in Lagos with his lovely wife, Mmeso and they had one daughter already.
“Nke m I never knew this world could be this wicked,” Mmeso said crying.
They decided to take Osita in and sponsored his education and he graduated with an outstanding result in Law.
Osita sure made his adopted parents proud and he was an example to his sister, Nonso and Mmeso’s daughter.
One day he decided that it was time to visit his village after fifteen years, and because he was already planning to settle down with Grace his sweetheart.
“You will not kill me this boy. At thirty four, you have nothing to show for it, no wife, no child, only to smoke and drink, that is your only job in this village,” Obiageli said crying.
Things had not been easy since Kanu died after confessing that he poisoned his elder brother. Ichie Onyema and also killed his wife Odoziaku too. Emeka went into drinking, smoking and raping girls in the village, while Adaku already had three children for three different men in the village.
“Who is that driving into my compound this morning? Chiwe go and call your uncle.” Obiageli told one of her grandchildren, Adaku’s daughter as she ran inside to call Emeka.
“Biko my son, nwa onye ka ị bụ and who are you looking for in my compoud this early morning?” Obiageli asked confused.
“Haha, mama you can’t remember again? Ha, it is me Osita,” Osita said smiling.
“Chi m oo! Osita is that you? Chai my son, I am sorry. Please forgive my husband your uncle, I know I was bad to you, but I’ve changed now, I cannot hurt a fly, i swear to you my son,” Obiageli said wailing.
“Mama don’t worry. I have cried and forgiven Uncle Kanu. Everything that happened was for a reason. My destiny was untold, and I’m happy I was able to achieve what I never dreamt of achieving in life. If you hadn’t chased me out that day, I wouldnt have met my second parents and also wouldn’t have gotten to this height. Thank you mama,” Osita said sobbing.
Adaku and Emeka also knelt down and pleaded for forgiveness for all the troubles they caused him.
After all the crying and begging, Osita introduced his fiancée to them and he gave Emeka some money to start up a business. He enrolled Adaku’s children into school and also gave her an opportunity to go learn a handwork. After that he travelled back to the city with his fiancée for their wedding preparation.
“Well my friends that was my story, I’ve told you everything I have been through in life and I hope you all learnt one or two things. Never mistreat another man’s child because you never can tell who your saviour is. My was destiny untold and my uncle and his family thought I had no bright destiny, but alas mine was a great and bright one.”
Everyone stood up to go and commence their tasks as the meeting time was over and much work had already piled up for them to accomplish.