Chapter 6: The Return Of Eke
After ten years Eke finally returned back to his father’s land. He was welcomed by his good friends and other relatives. Ani knew already of his coming since his was now a member in the council of elders. He now belong to those who made laws and important decisions in the land. This time around, it would favour him to uproot Eke from the face of the earth through mental sickness and then death.
Eke abstained from any gathering of the elders in the village for the main time. He noticed that during his absence from the village, many things had changed. Ani was more valued than the king of the village. With his wealth, had gain popularity among other wealthy and influential titled men in the village. Eke was not astounded to hear that Ani was now living with his second wife Uju while his wife was staying in a blood house.
Ani started a new plan with his men on how to eliminate Eke. Though having already his own plan and was determined to hold on to it, he called the men to hear what they had to say. It was proposed by the men that he should look for a strong and effective native doctor that would give him a strong charm to kill Eke in a spiritual way so that nobody would be suspected for his death. “I don’t need a strong native doctor to kill Eke, he is just a mere mortal man, not even his chi (gods) will save him from my own personal power,” he told the men. After their discussion they had merriment and all departed.
It was a normal tradition in the land that anybody sent on exile, after his or her return, he would be welcomed officially into the land by the elders. Since Eke came back, he had been given excuses just to shift the event to subsequent dates but now, he could no longer do it than to accept a date that would be proposed to him by the elders of the land.
Finally, the appointed day arrived. All was set for the ceremony. Men in tradition attires came to the venue, each with his own staff and style of cap depending on his title. A welcome speech was made by one of the elders. Eke was officially welcomed back to his father’s land and home. After the drinking, many greeted Eke personally but Ani didn’t and nobody had the courage to tell him the contrary. Eke didn’t worry about it, after all, it was even better he didn’t come because he might as well refused his greeting. The ceremony ended and all departed to their various houses.
Eke resumed his farming activities. It was true that while he was going on exile, he entrusted the pieces of land to nobody. That year, personally did all the farm work. So active and agile, he made sure that all was in order before the proper rain of the year would start.
Obidiya finally got the message that Eke had returned to his father’s land. She prayed for him so that nothing evil would befall him. “But how can one stay with a snake without been bitten? How can one stay in the den of a hungry lion without being its prey?” These were the thoughts going on in her mind as she imagined the fate of Eke living in the same land with a devil like Ani. She sincerely asked her chi (god) to guide him for her. She planned to pay Uzoamaka and Eke a visit but neither Uzoamaka nor her son Obi was in support of it. He decided to allow her plan to die off.
Things started normalising for Eke. His land was really producing crops as required. Within a year, he was able to build three yam barns for himself. As a generous man he was, he used to share his farm products to people especially aged ones who could not farm any more. He started gaining popularity and wining the hearts of good people in the village. This humble and good acts of his to others made his farm works easier. Each year, many young boys who were on holidays were usually sent by their parents to give helping hands to Eke in his farming activities. And at the end of the day, each boy would surely return home with a smiling face.
Ani was touched negatively by this and decided to precipitate his plans to eliminate him. One faithful night, Ani brought out his pot of charm, invoke the name of Eke three times and made a little incantation.
The next morning, Eke was already a mad man. He was seen moving around in the village square. The whole village was in tumult. People especially youth were shouting and crying. They crowd matched straight to the king’s palace to ask for an explanation of all the evil going on in their village. The Igwe (king) promised them that he would look into the matter and those involved would not go scot-free. The angry youth were determined to cause havocs in the king’s palace, bought were asked to calm down by the Onowu (the king direct assistant also known as the “king maker.”
Eke was kept in his house while a native doctor was called to see to his mental health, if there could be a solution. After some incantation and prayers, the native doctor said that his condition would need a more power native doctor than him, that he was attacked by a greater power. Before leaving, the native doctor left some herbs that he would be taking while waiting for another stronger native doctor. Uzoamaka took the task upon herself to be looking after Eke was he was properly chained in his room. Meanwhile, the sons and daughter of Eke had been sent for.
Obidiya received the news from the market when she accidently came across one of her friends then in the village. The news broke her down psychologically. Throughout that day in the shop, she was not herself. Before closing for the day, she brightened up herself but if not, her son would surely try to find out why her mood was the way it was. She came back home but didn’t eat that night with the pretence that she ate very in the market that very evening in our of her friend’s shop.
The family of Eke finally arrived and took their father Onitsha. They took him to numerous spiritual centres for prayers and healing but to no avail. His condition was getting worse each day. Before he could open his mouth and talk even though they were nonsense things, but now, the reverse was the case. His first son was advised to take him for a medical treatment instead of traditional. Eke was finally taken to a Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Enugu for medical treatment. From the first laboratory test, it was indicated that he had a cerebral malaria. The family was assured that their father would be fine in no distant time. That gave them the hope all was under control by the doctors, without knowing that something more than human forces was at work. Many prayers sessions were organised for Eke while he was in the hospital but nothing seemed to be improving in his health condition.
Ani got the message that Eke had been taken to the hospital. He laughed and smiled to the messenger who brought him the news. These were the same men that were working with him in his deadly acts. He asked to go and sleep, that very soon, Eke would become a history.
Three days after, one night, he took his pot of charm, made some incantations and prayer, invoking the name of Eke three times and closed it. The next morning, there in the hospital, Eke gave up the ghost.
Eke died in the hands of his daughter who was with him in the hospital. She wept bitterly for her late father. When the doctor on duty that morning confirmed that Eke was dead, Eke’s daughter rushed and held the doctor on his white coat saying: “Doctor why? Why must he die? After all the prayers and medical treatment given to him. But you assured us that all was in control. God why did you allow this to happen to me and my brothers.” The doctor took her to a corner and calmed her down.
Later on, the sons of Eke were all in the hospital as if they were told by a bird that their father was dead. They quietly made arrangement and the body was put in the mortuary. The family of Eke came to the village to announce to all about their fathers death. Almost the entire villagers sympathised with them. Old and young, big and small, youth and adult attended the burial of Eke. He was really given a befitting burial.
The king convoked all the members of his cabinet for an emergency meeting. During the meeting, the issue of the atrocities going on in the village was evoked by the king himself. Many gave suggestion and opinions on what they thought could be the solution. Onowu who as the king right hand man, openly said the truth in the matter. He addressed them as follows: “My fellow titled men, I greet you all. You all know why we are all here. The evil acts going on in our village are really a concern to us all. We should not pretend or remain silent because it has not happened to any of us. We all know the past problems Ani has been having with his brother and Eke. And almost all those involved are all died as we are talking right now. First, it was Eze, second, it was the wife of Eke, and third, it was Eke. I don’t know who will be next person among us. Elders I rest my case.”
Before he could finished his last word, one of them intruded: “How can you just accuse someone like that without any fact? Onowu, are you trying to tell us that Ani is the one responsible for all these atrocities going on in our village?” Ani intruded and said: “Ask him for me please.” The man continued: “It will be unwise for any of us to accuse anyone wrongly or unjustly.” The meeting was serious, there were shouting here and there, throwing of insults among themselves. While all the shouting and insults were going on, Ani didn’t say anything, not even a word. The meeting was adjourned to some other time and all departed furiously.
Ani planned to fight back through spiritual means but he was saved by his chi (god). He was cautioned by someone who loved him not to try it because the Onowu was not an ordinary man as he thought. Onowu was well known as one who possessed magical powers, not for evil but for protection and he could be dangerous when been attacked first. Ani was boiling inside because of his inability to confront his rival either physically or spiritually. Deep inside him he knew who his rival was when it came to the use of magical powers and charms. Going outside his village in quest of a strong native doctor to help him eliminate Onowu was the next and only alternative. But he dared not risked it, because he might not survived it.