By Sunmola Olowookere
Last week…..a terrible tragedy befell our neighbourhood as a man who had not been sick earlier suddenly slumped and died.
The poor widow was inconsolable “but He has forsaken us. Despite my husband’s prayers, God allowed him to die. He has not heard our prayers. The lord is wicked to us…..”
At this point, the elderly ones cut her off and rebuked her “do not say blasphemous words. The lord does not do evil. He does only good things. Please put your faith in him…”
They sat with her and preached to her more until she quieted.
They washed and prepared his body. His wife and children along with a handful of their neighbours started his final journey home. As soon as they arrived at their home town, the people at the town had been expecting them and they quickly took charge of the burial programme. They quickly did their ablutions and the prayers for the repose of the soul of the departed started in earnest.
The interment was a programme which shocked the non-Muslims among the mourners who went from our neighbourhood to the Alfa’s burial. It was a brief, emotionless programme which lasted less than an hour. During the burial, it was noticed that the corpse had begun to bleed. Those that packed his corpse him at his home had assured his relatives that when he was being packed, his children were there and they too testified that he was not bleeding then.
Hence the matter was allowed to rest despite the fact that there was no cogent reason why his corpse should bleed. The neighbours too were puzzled. Why was he bleeding? Had he consumed poison? However his wife had cooked for him that evening and they had eaten from the same pot. If his wife was hale and hearty, then where had he consumed poison?
There were so many questions and still no answers. After the programme, the mourners made to leave for Akure. They were however mildly surprised when the husband’s family released the wife the same day. Indeed times are changing. In the past, she would have been grilled on how her husband had died. Some wicked relatives would have even pointed accusing fingers at her. However, she was released and she went back with their neighbours from Akure.
After her husband’s burial, sympathizers still thronged her residence. She could not help thinking “how do I carry this heavy load that had been left to me?” They had four children who were still young and in school. How would she pay their school fees?
Her husband was a civil servant while she engages in selling. Before then, it had been hard to make ends meet what with the salary arrears that were not paid. Now that she was alone she wondered how she would cope with a grown daughter in the university with the others seeking admission into tertiary institutions.
She looked at their house with rough walls that had not been plastered and the German floor and sighed heavily just as she had been doing since her husband died. She wondered aloud “how can I fill the shoe he has left behind so suddenly? He had always take care of his children painstakingly. Allah help me, my husband has broken my heart. This was not our agreement”.
People are now afraid but no one could voice out their suspicions. What is the truth? No one knows. However, the suspicion in the neighbourhood is rife as people rumoured that he was killed by the outgone exco so that their misappropriation of the association’s fund would not be discovered. Is their any truth to their claims?
Well, may Alfa’s soul rest in peace.
‘Most of the residents could not sleep throughout the night. People stood in twos and threes discussing the death of their neighbor and speculating what could have been responsible for such a sudden death.’