We all lived in the same house, here in Ibafo.
Alfa, that was what we called him. Though not his real name, we called him so because he was a Muslim cleric and then there was Messiah.
He is an electrician but we nicknamed messiah because he worships at a Cele church and is always coming to prophesy to other tenants and by the way, none of his prophesies ever came true.
All of us, ten tenants live in the same face- me- I –face- you bungalow with the blue roof you see over there. We have all run away because of something that happened there last year.
It all started when we had an electrical fault in the meter. That day, the entire house was in darkness even though NEPA gave us light because all the other houses on the street had light. Something sparked in our meter, pao! The lights just off from every room.
Hian, yes, we all share one metre. It is a bungalow, why would we have one meter per room? How much light are we consuming that we should have more than one meter? We have one toilet and one bathroom, one kitchen sef that we all share. Yes, that is how it is.
So, as I was saying, that day, we all came out to see the meter smoking and after one of the tenants checked it, they said it was a fuse that we must buy another one before we can get light again.
In that our house, when anything spoils, we all contribute money to buy it. If sink spoil, we contribute; if well no bring water, we contribute to dig deeper; if fuse burn out, we also contribute to buy another one.
How much is the fuse? They said it is N600. Six hundred naira only. Ok, you, Messiah, since you’re the one who knows about wiring and electrical, go and collect 60 sixty naira from every tenant so we can buy another fuse. Otan, o!
I went back into my room to rest and later I began to hear noises in the corridor. Who are these people that will not let someone close eye and sleep peacefully?
It was Messiah and Alfa fighting as usual. Why those two people could never see eye to eye was something I couldn’t even understand.
‘What is the problem, again?’ I asked them when I came out of my room and I saw that a few of the other tenants too were outside trying to separate the two of them.
Alfa said Messiah is a rude boy that Messiah does not know how to talk to elders. In my mind, I asked, what is the difference between you and Messiah? Patapata you will be like two or three years older than Messiah and you are behaving as if you are Messiah’s father.
But as an elder, I begged Alfa to overlook Messiah’s attitude and give him the money for the fuse so we can all have light.
But no, like the fly destined to enter the grave with the corpse, Alfa did not hear word. He kept arguing and both of them were just bringing out their chest like two cocks; small time, it turned to gidigbo, they began to exchange blows.
Kia! I left them. I am an old man of 65 years, if their blow mistakenly touch me, who will take care of my wife and two children? So I becareful mysef, I moved to the other side but other tenants tried to separate them.
I saw Babawale, the vulcaniser trying to separate them; but the two fighting cocks will not be separated. Then Alfa went to carry stick and as if Messiah himself knew what he was going to do, he himself quickly picked up a plastic chair by the corridor.
Finally o, after Alfa use the stick to nack Messiah and Messiah land the chair on Alfa head, their blood began to cool down.
Babawale and some people finally separated them. After sometime, they went to their rooms. Abi, fight has finished, even those who came for free show went to their house and rooms.
Wahala stated the following day. We did not see Messiah come out of his room. But even at that time, around maybe 2pm, we did not think anything was wrong because Messiah is an electrician, so it is not all the time he gets up early except there is job for him to do outside.
In the evening, I came home and they told me Messiah is dead. That his younger brother came to the house in the afternoon and found him looking sick. He called to some of the tenants that were in the house, they quickly bundled Messiah into a bus to take him to the hospital but he died before they got to the hospital o!
The hospital rejected his body and the rest of the people ran away because, who will go and report case at police station?
You know our police, na go dem dey hear, no bi come. They will say the people that brought him are the ones who killed him. How will you remove yourself from it?
Then the brother of Messiah went to report to police that the rest of us that are tenants, that we knew Messiah was sick after the fight with Alfa and we left him to die.
O di boo lo yaa mi! It means, if you are not going, clear road for me to pass.
Since then, police have come to the house to arrest us; who will remain for police to come and rope you in a case you have no hand in?
That’s it, o. Alfa who nack Messiah with stick has entered the ground like Lisabi, no one knows where he is and the rest of us cannot come and go and take head to carry case we did not start. We remain in hiding.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories.)