Seven Days To Golgotha (1)
IT was the month of April. That same month, Seun Atolagbe was denied visa to return to the United States of America where he had been living for almost 21 years. Suddenly his world was crumbling, leaving tales of woe. He had come home just to bury his late dad, and after the funeral ceremony the United States Embassy rejected his application to go back to his base in Chicago.
It wasn’t that he actually enjoyed his stay in the U.S. but to him, it was safer to be far away from the prying eyes of his peers in Nigeria who had ‘made it’ in terms of wealth and success. His children who were in the States only communicated with him once a while and there was no financial assistance from them either, because they were still in school, and very young.
Seun looked himself in the mirror that hot Tuesday afternoon, and tears streamed down his cheeks. He felt so dejected, sad and lonely. He had been looking for job for years with no luck. With those premature grey hairs all over his head and his gaunt physique, there was no other reason for him to commit suicide than his pitiable condition.
So, he was ready to terminate and end his agonizing life that fateful day. Age seemed not to be on his side now as he was approaching fifty. This poverty must surely be a curse on his family by someone in the past, but he couldn’t understand why.
“Yes,” he soliloquized, “it is better for me to end this terrible life I’m living once and for all! I can’t continue this way!” Thus, after concluding how he was going to end his life, he brought out a long rope from a bag and placed it on the table.
He moved closer to his door and shut it properly. He took the rope and climbed on top of the table. He knotted the rope round the ceiling fan tightly and made a noose at the other end. Then he put the noose around his neck. Seun would be hanging himself in a matter of seconds.
He was angry with the world. Some few seconds before he bade farewell to the world he thought of the person behind the problems in his family. “This must be a curse,” he murmured again.
“Shame on death, to Satan and his followers!” A hot tear dropped from the corner of his eyes as he kicked the table under his feet. But just then, in the nick of time, his old time friend, Bolaji, knocked and breezed in.
“What?!” he exclaimed, “Seun, what are you trying to do?” He rushed at him and stopped the fatal dangling; then he removed the rope from his neck.
“Lord have mercy!” Bolaji repeated with mouth agape. “You’re committing suicide, Seun! Why? Why? Oh, God!”
“Let me die, Bolaji,” he begged, “let me die…” he muttered between sobs.
“Seun, there’s a solution to your problems and worries,” Bolaji cut in. “I’ll take you to a prophet of God I heard of who delivers people from myriad problems of life.”
“Bolaji,” Seun called, “my problem is above such a man. There’s absolutely no solution to my situation. I’m sure it’s a family cross we’ve been carrying for a long time. Nobody has ever been successful in my family as far as I know. Don’t let me waste my time and yours. The only solution is for me to take my life.”
“Just follow me to the man of God and let’s see what he’d do to solve your problem. Don’t doubt me, Seun,” Bolaji concluded. Bolaji was dark-skinned, short and plump, and in his early forties. He was a surveyor by profession. Seun himself was 6ft tall, light in complexion and always spoke borrowed American accent whenever he was in the heat of an argument.
The colour of Seun’s skin at the moment was a little sallow, which actually depicted a suffering man. Seun read Public Administration at the University, but even with all his academic qualifications, life treated him wickedly and with ignominy.
Seun finally agreed to follow his friend to the prophet. The prophet’s church was located at the popular Jangbesi road in Sango Otta, Ogun State. It was getting dark when they got there. The prophet, a bearded, pot-bellied man, was around to welcome them. He was about 5ft 4 inches tall. He was wearing a white flowing silk garment and a red sash, which bore the spiritual phrase: ‘ELI JAH AGABORAH!’
The church’s premises was big and magnificent, and it was painted in white gloss. God, the altar was fantastic and beautiful! Some converts and faithful could be seen moving up and down the spacious church premises. The prophet looked up suddenly, stretched his hand heavenward and muttered some spiritual notes.
“Gentlemen,” he gestured, “come closer. I have been expecting you. Why did you have to stay this long before seeking the face of God, Seun?” Seun was shocked! He moved three steps closer to the man of God. ‘How did he know my name?’ he thought. He recalled that Bolaji told him that this particular prophet of God needed no introductions, as he knew everything through spiritual and mystical revelations.
“You’re surprised, Seun this is my first time of coming here myself!” Bolaji said to the bewildered Seun.
“My elder sister told me a lot about this special man of God and described this place to me, insisting there’s no problem or situation he can not solve,” Bolaji added in hushed tones.
“You seem to know everything!” Seun spoke for the first time, “How did you know my first name, prophet?”
“Don’t doubt the power of the Almighty, Seun. Today, I stand between you and the Lord God. Nothing is hidden to the anointed and to those with the special halo of the Creator of heaven and earth. Your problem will have a solution if you believe and follow my instructions. You carry the stain and emblem of Satan! They have even plotted how to take your life. Your attempt at committing suicide is added sin with infernal judgment. Hear me out, your problem is not only your own but that of your entire family, which had been handed down from your great, great grandfather, who was a high chief many, many years ago.
“A very terrible curse was placed on your family some centuries ago by an albino who happened to be a victim of ritual sacrifice. He was beheaded on the orders of your great, great grandfather by name Chief Atolagbe II.
“Time is definitely not on your side, Seun, you have to fast for seven days. You must do the great dry fasting on a mountain called Okeigbala, which is located about 35 kilometres from here. You will lie at the top of the mountain and you won’t eat or drink anything for the seven days. You will be under the scorching sun and even the rains for these seven days. If you want to pee or defecate, it must be on the same spot.”
“God have mercy!” exclaimed Seun, “That’s another way of committing suicide, prophet! And after that, my problems would be over?” he asked.
“Just do this great dry fasting and you will never be the same again. Now, follow me to Mount Okeigbala so that you can experience the new transformation. I won’t say anything further.” The prophet stopped talking. He strolled briskly towards the altar and took a silver rod, which was round at the tip…
To be concluded next week Saturday.
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