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EBUKA KADIN HOPE: ELEMENTS [EPISODE TEN]

element

Six friends live up remarkable moments in their lives in this hilarious weekly thriller that entails suspense, intrigue, jealousy, friendship, pain and laughter as well as morals…….make a date to read  Every week the tale of an ambitious youth on this blog.

Loquacious Obinna (the narrator), intelligent Bola, Notorious Tega, Contentious Ebi, Conservative Yemi and Outgoing Yekini are bound to keep you glued to this script of their lives as it unfolds for you to understand what the average youth goes through, storms they weather and tasks they undertake for the sake of friendship and brotherhood……………of course when the BOYS ARE IN THEIR ELEMENTS, they are bound to be ambitious.

“Good morning, my fellow students, please if you are going for the burial, endeavor to pay your contribution before Friday”.

The course rep had barely concluded his announcement, before noise erupted. Tongues went wagging, some heads bowed, some nodding in grief and others in tears.  One could easily tell between the regular, the not-so regular and the absolutely irregular students amongst the crowd.

The regular students do know that Michael Okpara Justin, our colleague had passed on to the great beyond three weeks ago. It is also a known fact that he died of stomach ulcer, according to reliable source. 

Michael was a very popular student in the department at least if not for anything; the regular students know he scored our winning goal in last year’s SUG cup semi-final clash against public administration before losing to mechanical engineering in the finals.

As we await the repetition of the tournament in few weeks to come, with our star players in mind to deliver, we remember the loss.

That loss was partly blamed on our star player, because while the score was one zero in our favour, he stupidly lost his cool in the penalty box in injury time, then we conceded a needless penalty and went on to lose in the penalty shoot-out.

Lecturers in the department knew him too well, because he was one of their major source of concern whenever he was absent during their lectures.

His grades were evident to the fact that he was a scholar.

The regular students knew the burial arrangements had been ongoing.

The not-so regular students must have seen his obituary posters posted on the department’s walls.

At least they must have heard one, two or more things about the deceased even if they do not know him in person.

Many could be familiar with the face but not the name, but of course the irregular students should not be expected to know the face nor the name.

Majority of the irregular students who even care to an extent are the ones singing the chorus “who is this Michael?”

The others are voicing their concerns of how much we are to contribute and at the mention of five hundred naira per person; they flare and begin to swear.

aaaah cos rep e no go beta for you, so na my moni u won take buy moto?. That is too much naa, is it not Ngor-Okpala here? The place no far naa. Which kyn five hundred you dey fyn?”

They begin to do the mathematics of five hundred multiplied by a class of seven hundred and fifty seven or more as well as the rough estimate of expenses on the journey and the amount to be given to the family as condolence contribution.

While some take this up as a task, some are talking about the description to Ngor-OkpalaLGAbest known to them and end up confusing those interested in going for the burial.

Another end of the class takes up the job of arguing between a coaster bus and an 18-seater bus which will be more convenient considering speed, air condition and space as yardstick for the argument.

Funny but true, these debaters are the ones yet to comply with the contribution exercise.

I and bola paid instantly.

Neither the money nor the distance was the problem, but rather the shock Michael’s sudden demise had brought upon us his close colleagues.

We share in the family’s grief, he was such a lovable kid.

The only male child amongst six children and with that in mind he was born to be different.

One could identify Maureen, his girlfriend’s pain.

She had become so quiet in recent times and so withdrawn to herself, refusing to reply to greetings or even display her gap-tooth anymore in the manner of her smiles.

We her concerned friends have done our best to console her the best way we know, yet she would not stop looking straight in deep thoughts.

After the announcements and the opinions, a lecturer walked into the class and lectures resumed.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Friday, February 18th came, after 4 long weeks coping with the sad news; the D-day to lay Michael Okpara Justin to rest came, with class lectures for the day cancelled in his honour and to afford all the opportunity to be present at the funeral.

Fellow students gathered outside the school gate waiting to board the hired buses, all dressed up in their black ensembles, including few lecturers I could identify waiting to join in their colleagues’ cars to the venue.

While the boarding was taking place, those who had not paid earlier had the opportunity to pay and those who could not pay the said amount of five hundred naira were free to pay half of it provided they agreed to be lapped by another person paying same amount.

Many of the boys opted for this option provided a girl was concerned.

At exactly 10 ‘O’ clock, four of the buses headed for Umuneke, a certain village in Ngor-Okpala LGA of Imo state and less than half way to the journey, the majority in our bus had started making all sorts of noise ranging from accusation of Michael’s village people as his murderers to blaming our course rep for hiring a slow driver with a rickety 48-seater coaster bus.

The series of police and army check points we were made to stop over was another talking point.

The journey was becoming a disturbing one for those sleeping, enjoying the “special highway breeze” and while some were enjoying the arguments emanating from the issues, some at the back raised a song, which those familiar with it, joined in.

The lyrics to the series of songs proved too discomforting and I agreed with Bola who whispered to me that this could spell trouble, hardly had he finished, when one of the boys ordered the others to stop singing.

I recognize him as one of those who had shared in the drinking of some bottles of squadron, a dry gin, some minutes ago.

The choristers ignored the warning to stop until he drew everybody’s attention by clinking two bottles, as shocking waves went down people’s spines.

The girls had lost control screaming different names of Jesus they know, some screaming driver! driver!! driver!!!, while some screamed Course rep.

The scream of “Aro-Mate” filled the air.

I and some of the boys kept our cool while the restive ones tried marching the screaming boys, standing up to the challenge.

I tapped Bola, telling him this other ‘over confident’ boys must be members of a rival group.

I wondered if the quiet, peace loving, intelligent and handsome known Michael to us had any form of connection with all in the bus especially now the confrontation was taking a new height.

One bold girl jumped off the vehicle in motion, just as the boys started trading punches and cynical remarks, immediately somebody was stabbed with a broken bottle, the driver made way for one of the army check point.

They commanded the driver to continue, but he was courageous enough to alert the soldiers who ordered every one of us to get down and prostrate faced down.

The guy who started the whole chaos inside the bus refused their order on three occasions, so one of the soldiers had no other option than to carry out his threat of shooting.

The soldier shot his leg and straight down he fell in agony brought upon him by his stubbornness.

Ebuka Kadin Hope is an upcoming musician and writer.

DISCLAIMER: Opinion expressed here are purely those of the writer and not of Hype9ja.com.

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