In Nigeria, it is easy to blame the wife for anything that goes wrong with her husband; but let’s be honest here, my brother’s wife is a terrible woman.
We generally don’t like her in the family, even to date. She had always been troublesome, always engaged my brother in fights to the point that the extended family was often called to settle the matter.
However, as troublesome as she was, on the matter of my brother’s sudden passing, the woman is innocent. Truth be told, we need a Judas to explain my brother’s untimely death.
My older brother Timothy was an ambitious man and there is nothing wrong with being ambitious; just that his ambition was on union issues. I mean trade union…aha, you get what I am saying now.
Big bro was the type of man who was more interested in union matters than his immediate family, he literally carried the thing on his head. And you know the thing with unions- plenty of schemings, internal strife, back stabbings because of positions, fights, I mean, take the NURTW for instance, they always fight over positions.
You wonder why? That’s because there is power and there are lots of money…one more thing, with union wahala, there are plenty of fetish things, charms, concoctions taken by individuals to safeguard themselves from attacks and of course to remain in power. Everyone wants that power and the easy money that comes with it.
Yeah, so I know it was not with ‘ordinary eye’ that my brother remained a union exec for decades. He had plenty of influence, a coterie of sycophants milling around him at all times, people wanting favours, financial help and bro was not only influential, he was rich. He three jeeps, two drivers, three houses and he was given two chieftaincy titles but guess how old he was before he died? Just 43!
I lived with my brother and his family for years and I know a thing or two about my brother’s life. He started out from being a mere clerk at one of the multinationals that have worker’s union, but from being very active in the union, very dedicated to union things, he quickly rose through the ranks and with his rising and influence, he became wealthy.
He built his first house at Idimu, the second at Surulere, where we all lived with him; his wife and children in a big house, the third was nearung completion when he passed.
So, what killed my brother and why is my family holding his wife responsible?
As i said, MaRichie, that’s what we call her in the family, is troublesome. She never wanted any of my family in her house. She was rude, abusive towards us, and never encouraged my brother to bring in any relative. I am the exception and that’s because their first son looks exactly like me, so she calls me her first son.
Apart from that MaRichie always engaged Big bro in fights over every little thing. I said earlier that my brother took union matters too seriously. They would call for meetings and engagements at odd times and of course my brother would always be there but this woman, MaRichie always assumed he was with another woman.
Oho! I knew my brother also had girlfriends on the side, he did, he was always involved with one university girl or another, so in a way, his wife was right but not all the times, the woman should have calmed down.
There was one nasty incident, MaRichie had secretly followed Bro Tim to a hotel near Akoka where he went to do ‘short time’ with one Unilag babe.
Chai! The woman caused a lot of trouble at the hotel that day; she barged into the room, attacked the girl, stripped her naked and almost did same to my brother. Again the family gathered and they settled the matter, abi? how for do, my brother also loved the woman, they were just crazy people.
She knew about his use of charms and concoctions and things like that. She also knew about a room she was forbidden to enter! She did! Bro Tim used to wear amulets under his vests, he would tie some fetish belt around his waist, all in a bid not to be taken by surprise by someone with higher fetish powers.
So, let’s be honest here, you can’t dabble into charms and concoctions and not be bitten by it one day!
I knew my Bro wanted the position of union President. The politics of it all was so overwhelming,. It was as if they were vying for Nigerian presidential positions. Bro Tim was doing more fetish things, drinking more concoctions, refusing to eat at meetings and even stopped shaking certain people’s hands. Oh yes, it was that bad.
He was suspicious of everyone.
He came back from one of such meetings late at night and told his wife he wanted food; he went upstairs, took his bath, came down, ate and went back up to bed shortly after. I knew because I was still up watching Tv that night.
I went to bed say, around 2am. It was quite late. I hadn’t even settled in my bed when I heard his wife shouting upstairs, she was running towards my room, calling me to come out and see my brother.
I came out in my boxers, the woman had just wrapper tied to her chest, she said my brother had put her in trouble and was dragging me towards their room. I followed, and saw blood everywhere. My brother was bleeding from his eyes, his nose, mouth, ears…yes, blood in his eyes, his nostrils, free flowing blood!
I rushed to drag him, I couldn’t carry him, he was a big man. I got the car keys and with MaRichie’s help, we dragged him downstairs…
It was not a pretty sight, my brother was choking on his own blood and he couldn’t talk…my mind was in a turmoil, please bro, don’t die, don’t die, you are like the pillar in our family, don’t die…!
Though we still managed to get him to the hospital nearby, he was pronounced dead on arrival by the doctor on duty!
I couldn’t even cry! I called my other brothers, our sister, our senior uncles…they all blamed his wife.
They said she poisoned his food, they said she wanted to inherit his wealth…even when I argued the fact that they were wrong, they countered that my brother knew how to ‘take care’ of himself, he had been doing so for years using the best charms. I tried to tell them that charms too can fail you, amulets and concoctions do not guarantee life but they need a Judas and his wife just fits.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)