Tuesday, 18 April 2017

DIARY OF AN ADVOCATE- EPISODE 6: (WHERE WAS THE LIGHT?) by Ebi Robert




I slept throughout the whole night filled with the thought of the approach. Cult guys do approach youngsters and poison their hearts. It wasn’t a new fact. This I have seen in the home videos, but it was no longer one hell of an imagination, it had become a reality. I was not sure what to tell Super if he approached me later, I was just confused. I was expected to reply the young man the next day; it was a day perhaps I was to test my manhood; like me being a man. But before the next day, I was somehow uncomfortable with the incriminating item given me. Something inside me was asking me to get it off the house. I couldn’t bear the pressure anymore, so I met Shehu and told him that I could no longer keep the device with me any longer, and that my aunt was getting suspicious. But that wasn’t really the reason. I was just not conformable, somehow I was not. So I gave Shehu his property before the next day.  As expected, the next day came. We all woke up from our beds to attend to the normal duties of the day when we received news that Super is dead. What happened? Many asked. He had an issue with a man called IK, who reported him to the military. The military beat him up to stupor and broke his spinal cord. That was it. Not long, we had the military ransacked the houses, breaking doors after doors. They ended up searching my aunt’s room too, and to my beholding as I sensed, the very place where I kept the item was searched. I had a very big heart beat. How Lucky I was? How so short is life? Two Supers had died within a short period of time. Only God in Heaven knew why it happened that way.

Life continued as usual. I kept on doing the job I was doing then; selling for my mum. I got to know more people day by day. I did all kinds of jobs. Cutting of mud, and filling houses, carrying sands, to pushing and loading of drums in Local boats that anchored at our jetty to carry loads to Port-Harcourt. Right from Nembe Creek, my mum had been into diesel business. She bought Diesel from sellers and sold them in drums to willing buyers. It was a heavy task. Sometimes, I and others employed by my mum had to stay in the mangrove forest for hours to buy the drums of diesel. But somehow, we had some issues with the military who believed that anyone who traded on oil is a bunkerer. Many at times, they came to our house and destroyed the drums of diesels with the knives affixed to their guns. They never cared to ask. My mum diesel poured in the ground leading to wastage at large which in turn also polluted the environment. My mum would cry at length while I and my siblings consoled her. I was pained in my heart but there was nothing I could do. But I dreamt of being a Lawyer someday, so I was sure that someday I would have the guts to speak. The hypocrisy of the military was so unbearable. So it was a general notion to eat with them with a long spoon, because they were considered the DEVIL.

For me, life became worse. I was becoming a pain in everyone’s neck. My stubbornness knew no bounds. I was afraid of no one; not my dad, not my elders. My dad got fed up once and threatened that I would no longer go to school again. I was sad and wanted a change because though I was stubborn, my love for education never died. But each time I tried, I found myself doing the young thing. I always travelled to Port-Harcourt and bought music CDs. But each time I bought, I never forgot to buy a Christian song. In the morning, I usually played the songs sometimes against the customers’ wish. I remember one chronic Indian Herm smoker who told me about his Christian wife who always helped him out in his worldly life. He was one of the few who enjoyed the Christian songs each time I played them. Sure, with the Igbo in his hands. Anytime I played the Christian music; I felt contentment and asked God for forgiveness. But one day or two, I would return to my sins. At a point, I became tired of myself. I couldn’t understand my problem. I just did not know why I ended up doing the wrong things all the time. But I can never forget something someone told my mum: Don’t worry, he will change. Perhaps that lady, who I cannot remember anymore, was right.
One day, I guess, I was listening to the radio when I heard the teachings of one Bro. Awudese Azibalua of the Gospel Deliverance mission. This was around late 2008. I was sure the church is the one I had known when I was younger, the church where the truth about God was taught. I was so happy. I immediately took the mobile number of the church and called. I explained my plight to the teacher who understood me and promised to pray for me. I continued hoping and praying that all will be well some day. Then, I loved singing a song by Don Meon titled: Heal me! Each time I played that song, I had a kind of relief that all will be well someday. I tried running away from my sins, but all wasn’t really well for me. The more I tried the worst I seemed to become. I could not help it anymore so I called the pastor again, Bro Awudese. Then he who knew what was wrong, being a spirit filled fellow asked me to visit Port- Harcourt where I would be prayed for. I was happy, so I traveled to Port-Harcourt and located the church. That day, he seemed to be the only person in the church. The environment was quiet. I entered the church and lo, he appeared. I was dressed with a cap, a collared shirt, a pair of trouser and a big chain with a rubber head around my neck. He asked if I am the one, and I replied ‘Yes’. Then he said: ‘You want to serve God, so why do you have such a chain round your neck’? Seriously I never knew it wasn’t needed. I was used to material things like that. As a Chelsea fan, many of my belongings were fashioned blue with the Chelsea icons and insignia. The chain on my next wasn’t an exception. I immediately refused it while he looked at me firmly. The next thing he said was: Let us pray. Well, I needed prayer, so I closed my eyes. Seriously, he prayed in a kind of silent way. No much noise. All I was hearing were words like: Out, trees, down to abyss, move, come out, etc.
I was just wondering what was happening. But all those while he was saying those words, I observed a change in my body. I was getting lighter as if many things have been removed from me. The more the prayer was offered, the more I became free. I just do not know how to explain my feelings, but all I know was that the experience was one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever had in my life. The prayer lasted for almost an hour and our eyes were open. I looked at him firmly and asked him for a book or anything I could be using for my personal study. He gave me a book titled: ‘War between two kingdoms’ or so. I was so happy. I had a feeling I had never had before in my life. When going home, the houses and everything around me looked different and new. I felt like I was in a new world, the same evil world I had known before.
After that encounter, one change I observed was that I was able to say ‘No’ and it stands. I started adding weight. My weight had been affected because of the much intake of alcohol into my system, but there I was getting better. My family members observed that I was getting better to the extent that one of my rugged aunt said: ‘Now we have gotten our son back’. But her own too no good ooo! Aunt Rose can drink for Africa. Somehow after a while, I find myself falling again. The environment continued influencing me and I found myself in sin again. And this time, Satan was ready for me.

Towards the end of 2008, bunkery activities were getting to an end in Ijaw kiri. Like an Ice that melts into water, oil bunkery melted away. I went full time into diesel and fuel business with my mum, moving from places to places to get life moving. There was a time; I and a dude by name Nigga Raw were taken to a fishing camp named Obutumoburo. There we stayed in the bus like area buying diesel in cans and filling them into the drums after which they were rolled to the muddy ground and later loaded in a boat. The place was so uncivilized that having good water to drink was a problem. No electricity, no network, no nothing. Everything was just a gosh! We stayed there for weeks. Then I was getting better. My zeal for God was increasing even though I had not understood the gospel better. Then I used to preach the word to Nigga Raw who used to listen to me. He was getting convinced and even stopped smoking marijuana. But that didn’t last for long. He returned to his former ways after a while. We left the village after some weeks. I toured with my mum to many places but when it became clear to me that I had a dream that must be pursued, I then spoke to my mother. I told her that I had to go to school. I had my WAEC and JAMB exams to write, so I had to go and prepare. My mother who understood, allowed me to go back to Yenagoa and so I returned.

Luckily for me, I located the Gospel Deliverance Mission at Amarata, and was so happy. Then I wondered why I had not known the location all those while. Perhaps, it could be because I hardly walked around. I was still battling with sin even though I was quite better than before. I arrived the church, and meet one Bro Allison. He was the pastor heading the Amarata Branch at that time. I explained everything to him and he prayed for me. I became better again. But then since, I was a babe in Christ I had some issues with my growth but never relented. That had been a quality given to me by God. Unless I am dead, I do not give up on hope for any reason whatsoever. I started attending church activities, asking questions and getting the answers I needed. I studied the bible and got to know more about God. My love for God increased day by day and I was glad I was free. At a point, I started developing a strong hatred for sin and I was sure, there was nothing else holding me to get baptized. So I made up my mind and ‘opps’, I was in the water. The day I got baptized was one of the greatest days of my life. Instantaneously, I felt this unspeakable joy in my heart that I cannot explain. I was so happy and bold to preach the word. I was convinced the more of Christ and desired for more. Ever since that very day, I could say NO to sin and it stands. Righteousness became my badge and I am proud to say it. Not by my power, but by God’s. I was sure I am no longer a baby but a mature Christian. I went about proclaiming the word of God as my heart led me. I prayed and received answers and I had that expected confirmation.

I was set for my exams, because by then I had already registered for the exams. And as a Christian, I knew malpractice was and is a sin against God’s will, so I had to read hard for my exams. As it was in line with my dream of being an advocate, I registered for Jamb and filled LAW for both options. But there were many battles I had to fight.

[There is no star advocate in the episode. My life in Ijaw Kiri had ended but the memories came once in a while, and so, as one good with the pen, I wrote a complex poem about my experience in Ijaw Kiri. Below is the poem]:

THE FALL OF IJAW- KIRI
Merriment died and so years elapsed
Few months to ‘a call’
There a baneful days
Living dead foot-notes blaspheming life
And a closing days of debt
They make men make nothing of earth
Yea, the note of dead men that live

Someone had pains to sleep,
And in wrestling breath, smells through fire
Was breathed; One to two, two to one
There was a discount and no discount for life

The luminary was supplying beam,
Whiskey poised as a cigarette
Forward, toward a mental thing
Tobacco gabled head,
That was why, that was how they ended
Tobacco gabled head
To disregard men with highness

Eyes in and fall
Fading on physique and shadows
Full light of dun flames
Eyes gamboling in sorrow
A smoke, a flame with soul,
So slow, goes their soul

The noise was everywhere
Money mongers and mockers mocked
With noise in their nose
So much noise; they pretend
They were pretender
Yea, if the light quenched
Their pretence ignited

They were hot in a cold day
Hours ahead the fire, they were hot
This was the poison we had, it was my poison
The earth was married to pollution

Yea, the due was done
And turned we were to scare-flesh
Beautiful familiars drained
Beautiful families of my flesh
Drained, died and dried
 
A capture of primordial semblance,
The earth coronated me
Where my males were enemies to me
And my mouths howling in a drum

There was this call of death,
There were hundred magus hundred
Times any: just in a space less end
Where doom varies for the den of demons

For die fastness, there were morrows of men
Complex with dim radiation
Rain was a prey of prayers
When bartenders loss oil

There were numbers of evil-tasks,
And the least were not spared
Even the aged was translated
And men accounted to the heeded,
Men begot vipers; women become men

To hear the ardent music of real men
With tone and voices, ears opened to nothing
But opened to a sough afar

Abomination structured their hearts
When men kissed men
And women died to the shape of their fellows
Youth drank blood and die
While men worked on their sepulcher.

The wicked were invoked to inspire
In the coercion of the forces
They crumpled forgetting our occupation
To bless their listless greed

They were strikers; strikers of strokes
They crucified the buccaneers
And buried them in the waters
They tried; they deserved bursary
But not from him who was won by God

I sought for the panacea
I sought for the gear
To blind my bean to my sickness
I sought for the panacea

And yet, I fell, and the land fell as well
I was trodden by God
I was trodden by Evil, the evil that happened to death

Ijaw Kiri fell without Lots and wives
Without thunders and fire
But Ijaw-kiri fell and I fell
And shall never be risen to death]

THE END

[Suspense –Next episode, readers would know the battles I fought. But, hey, they were not physical battles. By then I no longer wrestle against flesh and blood.]

WATCH OUT FOR EPISODE 7



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