Umokeke was the man contracted to renovate Obele’s house in order to keep it in good shape for the upcoming Chidimma Igba-nkwu ceremony. He was adequately mobilized and given two weeks to complete the contract. He had arrived at Obele’s compound and was ready to commence work as it was surprised by Obele’s apparent indifference to the project.

“I am not yet ready for this now. Everything has to wait until further notice” said Obele.

“But Igwe has told me that this work must be completed within two weeks from now. Any further delay will seriously affect completion of this work,” stressed Engineer Umuokeke.

“This is my house for goodness sake, not Igwe’s house. So I have the authority here to say what I want to be done here.”

“So by this statement of yours, what are you up to?”

“Please I think I have given you enough instruction on what to do. And I have equally given you enough respect you deserve. Any further questioning will be tantamount to insult me. So carry your equipment and your life out of my house before I loose my temper.

“But please, I want you to meet with Igwe on this matter at it will not be an embarrassment on his personality too,” Umokeke suggested.

“There is never a time I asked him to renovate my house for me. It is you that he gave the work to do that has the right to go back to him and brief him properly on the latest development.”

Engineer Umokeke had understood how resolute Obele was on the matter and decided to leave the compound without further delay. Just like Umokeke had rightly said, Igwe was highly embarrassed and he sent for Obele.

When Obele got the news that Igwe wanted to see him, he hesitated in going and that embarrassed Igw-e the more. When Obele was about leaving for Igwe’s house, he saw some hefty men coming into his house angrily.

“Ndewo Maazi Obele,” greeted one of the three men.

“Please can I help you?”

“Igwe has asked us to bring you along.”

“By force? “

“Only if you want it that way,” replied one of the men.

“It is alright. I will follow you but I don’t want any of you to touch me so that I will not be tempted to bite off that person’s, ear as Peter did to Malchus.”

They followed Obele behind as they marched towards Igwe’s palace. Igwe’s annoyance at the moment was not on any other thing but on why Obele should refuse to answer his call. He therefore ordered his security men to lock him up even without giving him room for explanation.

By the time Obele was taken out of his house, none of his family members was around. Chidimma had earlier been admitted into Girls’ Secondary School Okpe. So she had gone to the school that day. The mother had gone to Nkwo. As a result, they did not know where he went to. Igwe did not even send message across to the family that Obele would not return home that day.

When Ndudi returned home she waited in vain to see her husband’s return. She was even surprised that the doors were not properly locked before  Obele left the house. She therefore sensed that something have gone wrong.

Ndudi and Chidimma went to their neighbours to search for him but could not see him. That was when the situation became worst. And they had no other option other than to go to Igwe to report the disappearance of their breadwinner. It was when they got to Igwe’s palace the following morning that they discovered Obele was there. Ndudi was also given the opportunity to see her husband.

It was when she was being taken to the man that she overheard her husband’s voice.

“…Marriage is it by force? Go and tell him that his son will never marry my daughter. Because of this humiliation done to me, over my dead body will Nduka ma-ma-Marry Chidimma my daughter. You old coot should go and tell Igwe that before his son will marry my dor-dor-daughter. he will first of all cut his head off…”

He Stopped talking to be sure that it was Ndudi his wife coming. About two guards were also following her at the back. When he was sure of what he saw. he asked. “Had he also ordered for your arrest?”

“No, he permitted me to see you,” replied his wife.

“Sharrap!” shouted at Ndudi by one of the guards. “He also ordered us to lock you up here.”

“You are a liar! He didn’t say so. cried Ndudi.

Obele was equally confused as they pushed his wife inside the guardroom and locked the gate.

“Please bring me out of this place. What have I done to deserve this’?” Ndudi continued shouting. “lgwe! igwe! Did you order them to lock me too? I gweoo! Igweoo!”

All these fell on deaf ears as the guards had all vacated the scene, with such action. Obele decided to kept his mouth shut, leaving his wife to shout alone. Not quite a long time Ndudi was locked up. news and furphies began to fly about and Chidimma heard the news that her parents were locked up just because she refused to marry Nduka. Such action did not go down well with her as she wondered why lgwe would have gone to that extent.

Chidimma who initially doubted such rumour later ran to Igwe’s palace. Getting to Igwe’s palace and confirming the audacity of the fact, she demanded that she should also be locked. Chidimma rolled herself on the ground crying and howling in agony. But lgwe paid no attention to her. Ichie Obuda and Maazi Mbachu as well as other elders began to throng into Igwe’s palace to ascertain the truth of the matter.

Chidimma was consoled by the sympathetic elders and was assured that the situation would be brought under control. Igwe later released Chidimma’s parents and they all went home.


Leave a Reply