What my eyes have seen… Sighs**
“…make you do everything possible to complete school”. These were the last words of Baami before giving up the ghost sixteen months into my College Education program. It was a painful exit for all, as we did watch him battle with stroke for about three months. The simple story was that, he had been duped by a friend to whom he sold his land( an inheritance from his grandfather) to. Somehow, he was manipulated into signing documents which implied that he had received money for the land already, but on the contrary he hasn’t. This was only possible due to Baami’s poor level of education and relatively poor ability to read and write.
Due to this unfortunate occurrence, Mope my younger sister, had to forget about furthering her education. She had to make do with paltry wages gotten from menial jobs in order to support Maami. Maami who with regards to her health – is holding her own, in a manner of speaking. Maybe things would have been relatively okay if this uncongenial condition was all we had to battle with. But no, it seemed that was just the beginning of the end.
The last words of Baami kept resonating in my head. Those were the words he said as all family members gathered round his bed on that red letter day. He(Baami) made it very conspicuous that all hopes were on me. Having had those words, how do I now tell other folks that I had been involved in an examination malpractice? How do I tell them that I would be facing a panel that would inevitably lead to my expulsion from school? This was an epoch characterized by ignomity and dilemma.
Of course, how I continued my education in the same college, remained an open secret to Bolaji and a few folks. Bolaji was the one who got me into the mess in the first place. Having failed at pressuring me to join his cult group, he finally thought of a plan to have his way.
On a Thursday it was, as I entered the examination hall for an afternoon paper. Surprisingly, Bolaji had turned to me after we were both checked in to help him hold a purse which was supposed to contain his writing materials. He told me that he needed to go get something from his bag.
He took a while before coming back and the examination had started already. I looked around again after a couple of times for himhim. Howeve only However, i found him already seated quite a distance from where I was and seemed to have gotten another set of writing materials. I continued my paper with the mind of returning his purse after the exam.
An hour into the two unit compulsory paper, Mr Adams, a well known lecturer from the department of Political Science (my department) asked to inspect the purse with me. I confidently gave it to him, and before I knew what was happening, he alarmed the security men.
Mr Adams had found in the purse a phone and a piece of paper containing answers to the exams questions. I became speechless! Nobody wanted to listen to me as I was made to fill an examination malpractice form immediately.
The following day, I had travelled to the village hospital to see Baami – which happened to be the day he died. The following week I was back at school, awaiting my fate as facing a panel remained inevitable.
On a Tuesday it was, as I sat in my hostel with my mind wandering to and fro, Bolaji suddenly came in. He began by apologizing for the mess he had gotten me into , he told me he had a way out which I expectedly was interested in. He proposed I meet him at a junction later that day at 11:00pm, after which we would both go to Mr Adams’ house.
Bolaji took long before arriving with two other friends I had never met before. We entered what was supposed to be Mr Adams’ house few minutes to 12:00am. I was astounded by my sight. I was in the middle of a cult group of which Mr Adams happens to be the ring leader. Only then did I come to understand that, to remain in the college I had to join the cult group.
Last words and how he bad died came back to memory. There I was, between the devil and the deep blue sea. I had to choose the lesser evil. I joined the group and was initiated.
No sooner was I engaged in robbery and other nefarious act with the gang. I never for once liked the life I was living but that was the only way to remain in college as the only hope of my family. One day, as I already had prognosticated, the group ran out of luck in a robbery operation. Mr Adams, Bolaji and three others were shot dead by the police. I and Tofe managed to escape. Tofe’s dad was a senator and soon enough would travel out of the country in order save the reputation of his family. I rushed back to the village. Thankfully, it was the end of the second semester of my final year. Everyone had thought I came back for a short break before going back to get my result.
Days after returning to the village, I had sat every evening under a mango tree in the compound, thinking about what my eyes have seen whilst expecting that one of these days the police would come right here – into my father’s compound and arrest me and the secret would be out.
I wasn’t expecting a good result either. For I had missed a couple of classes, tests and exams hoping on Mr Adams, the man who knew how to cover for the gang, ensuring that our results turned out well. Now, Mr Adams is dead and so I began to expect the worst result ever.
One evening, Pa Joseph came to visit. He was an uncle who lived in the city and performed the ritual of visiting every month after Baami’s demise. “…I can imagine what my eyes have seen during these past months, but I can’t imagine yours without your father” were his exact words. This made me look down in shame. I knew deep down In me; it is only a matter of time that I would be explaining what really MY EYES HAVE SEEN.
I stood under the mango tree that evening, watching the sun as it fades… Sighs** definitely, my eyes have seen! It has!
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