‘A Deal I Will Never Forget’
It was about a dear cousin of mine called Tola. I am Biodun Lasekan. “Tola has been so dear to me from childhood. He was a gentle and loving young man and very lively, too. Everybody in my family loved Tola.
I didn’t know why Tola had such a keen interest in my future. He always advised me as regards my ambition and pursuits . I’m a lover of fine arts. Tola always inspired me as regards my becoming a successful graphic artist.
I even hinted him about my future ambition of becoming a graphic artist and he always gave me positive encouragement. “Tola had his own ambitions, too.
He was in his mid-twenties and things were going on smoothly for him. His father, a successful businessman, lives in Great Britain. His dad had been calling him over to the UK many years back, but he had not yet made up his mind.
But when the socio-economic situation of the country was getting from bad to worse he quickly made up his mind to travel to the UK. He would be living with one of his friends. Tola was bubbling with joy and happiness.
“Athough Tola was a little handicapped, he limped on his right leg, but you can never get him brooding or nagging, as he was always in a merry mood. He was so glad he would be living this uneasy land of ours.
I heard about his plans and I prayed for his progress. Coincidentally, I got a job as a graphic artist in one of our numerous advertising agencies. I was planning how I could see Tola (because he lived in Ogun State) and tell him about the realization of one of my dreams and even show him my letter of employment, I was so sure he would love to hear about my success.
“Early this year, I learnt Tola was always shuttling between Ogun State and Ikeja in Lagos. Tola and his friend had struck a deal with a man at Ikeja. The man had volunteered to get them a British visa and buy their tickets for them.
It’s general knowledge that getting a British visa nowadays is hard. But the said man kept disappointing them and framing up lies. Both deals must have cost about N500, 000. “Tola and his friend were getting more and more panicky and disturbed everyday. It seemed the man was bent on ruining their plans. On one of such visits, the man gave them a date.
When they arrived on the appointed date, something chilling and horrendous happened. They were taken to a certain spot around Ikeja and beaten till both of them died. They were murdered in cold-blood! “Whenever I remember the state we found Tola and his friend that day, I always shudder with fear and horror and the thought that some people are damned inhuman! What if they could murder such a good and ambitious young man and his friend in their prime for the sake of money! I heard that the con men were later arrested, charged to court and sentenced accordingly.”
‘Tunde, I Swear By God, It’s Yours!’
“I don’t want to remember this anymore. Just don’t make me remember it. Each time it comes to my mind, I feel like collapsing. How can a person be so cruel? How can a person be so heartless and unfeeling? “I’m a girl of 20. I once had a boyfriend who was older than I. He was 26 years old then, and I was just 17.
He graduated from one of the oldest universities in the country. He did his youth service a few years back. Tunde had pledged loyalty regarding his love for me. He told me he would never leave me. He was the one who deflowered me.
“I don’t have to tell you this, but I thought you ought to know everything, the whole truth, so that you’d know how much I loved him. His mouth was sweeter than honey when flattering me. There’s never a tongue so sweet like sugar.
He would make love to me fervently. The kind of love that even Romeo and Juliet (of blessed memory) would be jealous of. And I trusted him wholeheartedly.
God knows I trusted him! “My parents didn’t know about the relationship. He said I shouldn’t tell them. He confessed that when the time comes he would visit my parents formally and tell them he wanted to marry me.
And I was glad about it. God knows I was happy when he said this. I had no other boyfriend except him. He was my heart, my soul and everything. And I was hoping and praying fervently to God to allow him marry me and make my dreams come true, because I was innocent. “Then surprisingly, I became pregnant for him just about the time I was sitting for my school certificate examinations.
My parents got to know. They chastised me violently, saying all sorts of things. They swore I should bring the person who impregnated me. I went to Tunde and confessed I was pregnant for him. What he did? He gave me a thunderous slap that sent me crashing on the floor. ‘Goddamn it!” he thundered. ‘Me impregnate you bitch of a girl?! You must be crazy! In these hard times? Get out of my sight!.
“I was almost paralyzed with fear and shock. I wept and wept, but he didn’t even look at me. I was surprised. What a betrayal of trust! I couldn’t believe such a thing could happen between us.
I insisted, “Tunde, it’s yours, I swear by God, it’s yours!” But he didn’t listen to my wailings. “With tears, I went back home. But I stopped crying on approaching the house. At home, my parents asked me again about the person who impregnated me.
I had to lie because I was confused. It was a bitter lie. I told them he was a student based in another state. I said he would soon be back. They never knew the person who impregnated me had jilted me. But inside me, deep down in my heart, I was weeping silently.
“I couldn’t continue my education. The pregnancy disturbed me. Since then, Tunde had been coming to my place, begging my parents and I for the child but I usually turned him down. No matter what he said, I didn’t give the child to him.
Shola is the name of my son. He is very handsome and always happy. He attends a nursery school now, and is very brilliant. “Tunde even came with his family on a particular occasion, but my parents were resolute and rejected their pleas to take my son.
The young boy gives us so much joy whenever we see him. I feel so happy. He resembles Tunde so much and this attribute has created a bond between my son and I.”