CHRONICLES: 8 FIGURES AND A SHORT DASH By Gbenga Osowe (@gbengaosowe)


Countless numbers of fowls, beheaded
Tubers of yam, pounded
Bottles of drinks, emptied                                                                                                                                                  
Merry-making and dancing,
An ecstatic father, an elated mother,
The solemnity amidst the merriment
As the priest pronounces the new-born’s name,
And the party continues
 Omo tuntun alejo aiye, omo {Oh new born babe, a guest in this world}
 Iya aburo ku ewu o, omo {Congratulations to the mother of the child}
Anguish and joy on the face of the mother,
Fear and excitement in the heart of the daughter,
Excitement, at the learning world ahead
Fear of the unknown within this world called school,
6 years of primary,
3 of junior secondary,
3 more of senior secondary
And the ivory towers beckon,
 Bata re a dun ko ko ka {Smart footwear will adorn your feet}

To ba k’awe re {When you become educated]
Bata re a dun ko ko ka [Smart shoes will adorn your feet]
Our baby is now a lady,
And oh the suitors come a-calling,
The date is set,
Hall prepared,
Groomsmen, dapper
Bridesmaid, resplendent
The groom’s eyes, gleaming
The bride eyes, teary
As she leaves her parents, a newcomer, in a new home
The song of “the women of the house”, delivered in ironic joy
 Ile awa dun, oko ni ng fo’sho {We have a lovely home, where husbands do the laundry}

Ile awa dun, oko ni ng pon’mi {We have a lovely home, where husbands fetch the water}
It’s four months from then, and the telltale signs are showing,
The birth of a new born is imminent,
The cycle of life in continuum,
5 more months, now the contraptions
Off we go to the theatre
But this is no play
The doctor’s needle, wrongfully inserted,
The surgeon’s knife wielded carelessly,
The blood gushes forth,
Stitch it! Patch it!
The damage, already done
The spasms, the throes
The agony, the last breath
The cries of the bereaved parents,
The plight of the semi-orphaned child
The sadness of siblings, friends and colleagues,
The ephemerality of life in its entirety
And the sweet hope of glorious eternity
Chronicles of a life
1980 – 2010
Eight digits and a short dash
A dash filled with memories of an industrious lady
Written In memory of AGIRI, OMOYEMI (nee OSOWE) and to the many women lost to childbirth.
1980 – 2010

COIN …there are two sides to every story by Temitope Obasa (Episode 1)


Happy Owanbe Saturday to everyone. This series was written by TEMITOPE OBASA and would be published every Saturday. Enjoy!




For weeks, the stranger planned the greatest task, so far, of his life.

His master, whom he loved to think of as Chief, had carefully set everything in motion and there was to be no mistake, as Chief kept hammering in his ear.

A stupid girl, Ronke, had chosen to be Chief’s enemy and his enemies deserved to die. The stranger didn’t know the atrocity Ronke committed but he didn’t have to. For the Chief to be upset, Ronke deserved whatever she got.

So far, things worked out. He checked his wristwatch which glowed in the darkness, it was just 1:30 am and he was well positioned – inside Ronke’s room. She had a knack for sneaking out after her parents went to bed and that gave him an idea for easy access; he climbed up the way she normally did. The stranger knew Ronke’s routine by heart now because he had carefully watched and studied her over three weeks.

He waited patiently in the dark room, musing about the brilliance of Chief’s plan. During his watch, the stranger had carefully shattered the security shards of glass over the fence. If one didn’t look well, it was hard to notice because it was just wide enough to allow him passage. He wanted to wear soft sole sneakers so as to make his fall from the fence noiseless but Chief pointed out that he would be in danger of getting pierced by the glass remnants.

Together, they concluded he was better off with a hard sole and the question of noise solved by using a rope which he tied to a tire rim, to hold his weight. The rim was carefully hid in a thick bush that separated Ronke’s house from the next building.

He’d simply flung the rope into Ronke’s compound; having watched her sneak out an hour after the light in her parents’ room went out.

The stranger listened for sound; there was none, so he made his climb. He understood that once inside the compound, things became risky but he didn’t mind; he would do anything, even risk his life for the Chief. For one, he had to leave the rope hanging from the wall till he finished his assignment so he could make his escape with it; the problem however was it could be spotted if a vigilant person passed it. For another, he simply used the fact that Ronke’s parents’ room was dark and that the light went off at about the same time every night, to assume they were asleep. And then, there was Musa, the security guard. If he as much as caught glimpse of him, everything would go wrong because the stranger didn’t have instruction to kill more than one person and even if he decided to kill Musa, the stranger hadn’t come with any weapon.

The stranger would never betray Chief even if he was caught, that was the agreement they had.

Luckily, Musa didn’t come towards the direction; the house was as silent as a graveyard. The stranger entered Ronke’s room with ease, using a huge agunmaniye tree that grew beside the room. Ronke would be home anytime soon. He was excited, standing behind the curtain of the window that overlooked the front of the house. He spotted a car headlamp and smiled, it could only be one person at this time and in this area. The car stopped a building away and the slut, in whose room he was, leaned over to kiss her boyfriend, who drove the car.

The stranger felt disgusted, the world wasn’t as it used to be; where were the days when women remained chaste till they found a man that would take their hand in marriage? He felt a surge of anger as he watched the young girl wave happily to her boyfriend before turning to bounce towards the gate house. She tapped the gateman’s window gently and after some minutes, appeared through his door. She dared not use the gate for fear of waking her parents; she would rather climb in through the gatehouse window. He knew because he had watched her do it severally over the weeks. The stranger checked the time again; it was 2: 45am- the usual time she returned home. He knew she would use the side window so he kept himself well hidden behind the thick curtains where he stood but away from the window for fear of being seen from outside in case Ronke decided to put the lights on before he attacked.

Sure enough, Ronke climbed noiselessly into her room and from the moon that illuminated her face, he saw her contented smile. She flung her handbag and high heeled shoes she came in holding, on the floor with her back turned to him.

The stranger came out carefully from behind the curtain. Her hands were around her neck, trying to free it of the heavy beaded necklace that hung around it, when she felt more than hear him. Her hands paused and her head turned slowly. Her eyes only had time to register shock when he clapped his right hand on her mouth while the left held her struggling arms. She was tall but slim, which made her an easy prey for him. Rather more forcefully than he intended, he snapped her neck and felt the struggle die within her as the body went limp. He lifted her effortlessly and dumped her on the bed, still clothed in her skimpy wears. He was happy for the good deed he just did – assisting in ending the girl’s miserable life; certain she would have a better chance at finding peace in the next life than the one he just ended.

He made for the window quickly. He knew he should climb and escape but temptation kept him rooted.

Temitope Obasa is a young nigerian author. Although she studied science at graduate level, she discovered early her talent in writing and has since developed a vision around that. She has written a lot of scripts for stage and televison. Her first novel STROKES OF LIFE was published in 2009.

photo credit: google images

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