Saturday, 17 August 2013
Friday, 16 August 2013
It was just dawn and the early visitors had started arriving. This was the case anytime my father was around in Akure from
he served as a member of parliament. He was in the House of Representatives.
Members of his constituents, family members and associates visited at this time
of the day because it was the best time he would be met at home. Lagos
The house was already a beehive of activities, though it was slightly dark outside. It was a cold and wet morning as it had drizzled a bit during the night. It was a day that one would have loved to stay in late bed yet visitors defiled that to arrive early to see my father.
The visitors were seated in the living room, discussing about the election that took place the previous week and the sporadic violence that happened over the weekend. This discussion went on while the radio was turned to the local radio station. Everyone wanted to know the result of the Governorship election. We the children were busy serving guests who came in that morning. This was a tradition in my house; everyone who visited must be fed unless such a visitor declined. Though it seemed like a normal day, but there was a feeling of uneasiness in the air. My father asked one of the aides to buy newspapers as the regular vendor had not turned up that morning. Daddy loved to read his papers first thing in the morning.
One of my father's aides ran in panting. Everyone gathered around him to find out what the situation was. "Riots had broken out". He said. "I had to run as fast as I could to warn you about the impending danger oga". The man said. My father picked the phone and called the commissioner of police. He dropped the phone after a while and murmured “I have been betrayed". My mum looked at him anxiously "Olaiya, what is it?" Before he could answer her, we heard a lot of commotion outside. We ran to the veranda to see what the problem was all about. Suddenly, someone shouted "the house is on fire". We all ran out of the house to the street. My father told us to run for our dear lives. We started to obey him when we realised that he was not going to try and escape with us. My sister and I ran back to him. We held his hand and tried to pull him to follow us. He refused but held my sister and I and told us to run to safety. "I can't come with you. I am sorry I can't leave my friends and associate. Their lives are in danger and I can't leave them" he said as he pushed us gently to go. My mother knelt beside him and pleaded with him but he refused. "M. E." he said as he fondly called my mother, "take the children to safety. I can't leave now. I can't leave these people to die for me. I can't." My mother held his legs and begged him crying. "Please Olaiya, come with us. Please." He looked at her and gently removed her hand. "Look at Baba" he said, referring to his elder brother who was one of the early visitors to the house. "I can't leave him; I can't leave the other fellows too. They are equally in danger" he said. "I will escape if I can but I can't let these people to die. I will never be at peace". He turned to my sister and I, "run, run to safety" he said in a stern voice. I wanted to say something to him but I knew it was useless trying to convince him because he wouldn't burg. I looked at him imploringly but he shook his head. He mouthed to us to go. I pulled my sister. I turned around to look at him for the last time. He adjusted his glasses with his index finger, one of his habits. He stood tall, holding a stick. Our eyes locked. He looked away and I ran for dear life