October 9, 2016 at 12:28 pm #857203ValentineAdmin
K. C. E.
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS Igwe Olisadebe Maduako, the traditional ruler of Obiru village, did not go to school. The son of the first British-imposed warrant-chief of Obiru, as a youth he was not made to understand the importance of education.
His father was a wealthy and established farmer in Obiru and never saw it fit to send his son to the white man’s mission school. He already had plenty of land, wealth, and yams. What else did he need? What could the white man give him that he did not already have?
And so, young Olisadebe took to his father and became a farmer, leaving western education to those who were in dire need of it. In the year he succeeded his father as the Igwe (king), the British discovered large coal deposits in the land around the village’s outskirts and Obiru suddenly became very wealthy overnight.
The useless ore drove the white men mad. They built a rail station at Obiru, connecting it to other faraway towns via a railroad. They carted in laborers from villages near and far to mine the coal, and with time, many of these foreigners decided to settle down and live at Obiru. They used their wages to build small zinc-roofed homes and they brought development and progress along with them.
These foreigners took advantage of the educational opportunities presented to them and sent their children to the white man’s schools, preparing them for bright futures as clerks, teachers, and other positions in the British Civil Service. In actuality, they were getting ready to assume dominance over Obiru. Unlike the sleepy Obiru natives, who were preoccupied with the mundane agricultural lifestyle, these foreigners thirsted for knowledge and through education they found favor and employment with the white men.
It was then that Igwe Olisadebe realized the importance of western education for he saw the danger which the educated foreigners presented to his people. He secretly vowed that his first son would be the most educated man in his kingdom.
When the Igwe’s first son was born he was named Afamefuna, meaning let my name never disappear. His father desired for him to fulfill all of the things which he himself had never been able to accomplish, in addition to succeeding him on the throne. When Afamefuna reached school-going age, his father enrolled him in the best mission school in the district and he excelled wonderfully. He was the star pupil in all of his classes and his teachers came to love and appreciate his presence. The boy had an unquenchable appetite for learning and it didn’t come as a surprise when he told his father that he wished to study at a university.
“Afam, you have spoken like the man you are,” said his father proudly. “You shall go to the university—but not just any university—I shall send you to that big school in the white man’s land. Erm…what is it called again?”
“Eh, yes! I shall send you to Kembriji and you shall bring back the secrets of the white man’s wisdom. My son, you have made me proud.”
It so happened that in the following year the British government began a scholarship scheme in which it would send the sons of a select group of local Chiefs abroad to study and procure knowledge for their peoples, so as to expedite the processes of westernization, development and modernization. Through a series of hefty bribes, Igwe Olisadebe secured a place on the scholarship scheme for his son; and so Afamefuna journeyed to Cambridge University.
On a sunny Sunday morning twelve years later, Igwe Olisadebe, his family and their entourage of officials and dignitaries stood on the tarmac of the Lagos airport. A silver aeroplane was noisily gliding in from the distance. Wings glistening in the sun, the plane breezed over the grassy field, descended and skidded to a smooth halt on the runway.
The hatch opened and a group of people climbed out of the plane and descended down the iron steps to the people who awaited them. The last man to step down was none other than Afamefuna himself—or rather Dr Afamefuna, for he was now a medical doctor. He wore a neatly-pressed black suit—much like those the white man wore. His hair was parted and upon his nose sat smart-looking spectacles. Behind him followed a white woman.
His father could barely recognize him. The small boy whom he had sent to England merely twelve years ago was now a large man—a well-educated man. After greeting his father, Afamefuna embraced his mother, his sister, the other guests and a young woman whom he assumed must have been a palace-maid. He offered to introduce his guests to his family, but his father cut him short insisting that there would be time for that later, for the journey from Lagos to Obiru was long.
They reached Obiru very late that night, so everyone retired to their quarters in the Igwe’s compound. The following morning, Igwe Olisadebe organized a performance by a traditional dance troupe followed by a welcome feast for his son who had returned from Obodo Oyibo with the white man’s secrets.
After the performance, visitors and well-wishers from Obiru and beyond flocked to the Igwe’s palace in order to pay homage to the newly-returned prince and to steal glances at the white woman whom he had brought with him (although the white men resided in the big cities, white women were very few in number). They praised him with names like Omekannaya (he who does like his father), Ojemba (traveler), and Nwa Oyibo (white son) and presented him with their gifts and blessings. They had high expectations for their newly-returned son.
During the feast that followed, Afam introduced the three strangers whom he had brought with him to his family. The first was Dr. Thompson, a young, sharp-looking Englishman whom he had met at Cambridge; the second, an African, was Mr. Adeleke, also a friend of his at the university; and the third was a beautiful English girl by the name of Jenifer, whom he introduced as his fiancé.
“What is the meaning of fiancé, my son?” asked his father in their native Igbo.
“It means she and I will soon be married,” he replied in English, rather ashamedly that he had not mentioned such an important news much earlier. Upon hearing the very words, the same girl that Afam assumed was a palace-maid, got up from the table and excused herself in suppressed tears. His mother did the same and went after her. Afam demanded to know what was happening but his father did not say a word. They ate in silence and for the remainder of the meal.
That same night, when Afam sat in his lamp-lit room flipping through his Oxford English Dictionary, his father quietly walked in. He looked up from his book and greeted him, but he did not reply.
“You have disappointed me,” began his father in Igbo. “Why did you not tell anyone that you intended to marry? We would’ve found a suitable wife for you…not a white woman.”
Setting his book down, Afam stood up and faced his father. “Jenifer is my wife and I love her. I have already made my choice,” he replied in English.
“There is nothing like love!” exclaimed his father. “Your mother and I know what is best! We have already married a wife for you!”
“Father, how could you people be so brutish and barbaric as to marry a woman in my name without my consent?” roared Afam in English that his father barely understood. He let out a deep sigh and ran his hands through his hair in frustration.
“An okra stem does not grow taller than the man who planted it… Just because you have gone to the white man’s land and learned his language does not mean you can come back and use it anyhow, forgetting that you are still my son…Your mother and I have acted in your best interest. The wife we selected for you is a good girl. She is the first daughter of Igwe Arinze of Ubulu kingdom and atop that she is very beautiful. Whether you like it or not you must marry her!”
“Father, I shall do no such thing…Jenifer is my wife.”
“Let me never hear that name in this palace again! Else I shall disown you!” threatened his father. “You have heard what I said and I shall leave you to ponder it.” With that he stormed out of the hut leaving Afam by himself.
Afam calmly resumed to his book. He was not at all perturbed for he believed in the overcoming power of genuine love. In a few weeks time, he and his colleagues would begin their medical mission. He had no time for village drama and politics. He certainly had no time for that crude thing his father called a throne. He would surely let him know his plans when the time comes.
The ENDOctober 9, 2016 at 12:37 pm #857208DammieLolaMember
HmmmOctober 9, 2016 at 12:55 pm #857223ebubeMember
Waitinq for more…
Father and Son drama.October 9, 2016 at 2:18 pm #857269Asemota ogie benitaMember
Nice story…pls continueOctober 9, 2016 at 5:16 pm #857408jummybabeMember
drama in the palaceOctober 9, 2016 at 5:23 pm #857423OluwaferanmiMember
HmmnOctober 9, 2016 at 5:59 pm #857456damaris ezeMember
hmmmmOctober 9, 2016 at 6:17 pm #857468DIDI LA PEZMember
The end just like dat?