Chapter 8: OBI JAMB EXAM AND THE DEATH OF ONOWU
Obi was able to maintain his position in class from junior secondary to senior secondary. His mother was because of the financial stress her son had saved her from. At senior secondary school II, he had to start preparing for the entrance exam into the university. All was put in place for him by his mother. As usual, he was enrolled in a private lesson for proper and effective preparation. After his final senior secondary school exams, he made all his courses with good grades. Three months to the entrance exam into university, he abstained from many house activities with the support and permission of his mother. Many of their neighbours were not in support of the act but Obidiya knew why she was doing all that.
The nature of the exam was something else. There was no use of calculators or mathematical tables. Every calculation was to be solved off heart. And another major problem was time. The time allocated for the exam had never been enough. Many brilliants and intelligent students used to fail the exam not because of they were not intelligent or brilliant but because of time. A special lesson was organized for them on how to gain speed and work fast without making much mistake. The issue of time was been stressed always to them almost every day in the lesson. This made Obi to be afraid of the whole thing.
His mother sensed the fear in him after he shared his thoughts with her few day bask. She called him one night after meal and encouraged him very well. She made him to believe in the potentials in him. He jokingly reminded him of the opportunity he once offered to Michael his friend then just because of fear and not been convinced in himself. This was like a morale to him.
Back there in the village, the worst happened. Onowu was killed mysteriously in his house on a very bright day. He was seen working in his farm and all of a sudden he started complaining of headache. After few hours, he kicked the bucket.
The act was perpetuated by Ani. Ani finally went in search of a power charm from a native doctor in a very far village. The charm cost him something precious in his life. As an exchange for the power he was asked to sacrifice a human head of the person he loved most in his life. And it was no other person than his second wife. He tried playing tricks with the native doctor by choosing his first wife for the sacrifice, as the person he loved must, but he was warned not to try it. He had no choice than to take the option because the charm making and process had got to a point that he could not reverse the process. That was exactly what he made used of to kill Onowu. Two months after the death of Onowu, Ani second wife followed.
One of the instructions given to him was not to mourn his wife when she would die. That he respected very well to the core. That was where many persons came to believe that Ani was a devil incarnate. Not even a single feeling of pity, sympathy or sorrow during and after the burial of his wife. It was like any other day for him. Those who knew him, never worried but they knew what was involved in the path he was threading.
Politics and other underground plays started going on in the election of someone to take the place of the “king maker.” After all said and done, the post was given to Ani. He had the intention of getting the throne but that would not be possible because the king’s sons were still alive to succeed their father. If he dared it, then he had to shed many blood in the palace.
On the 27th of April, Obi was to write his admission test into the university. His mother prepared his breakfast for him as early as 4 am in the morning. After a breakfast soaked in tension and fear, his mother called him. Standing in front of his mother, he was asked to kneel down. His mother places her palms close to her mouth, spat on them thrice and place her hands on her son’s head. Obi could only heard his mother murmuring. He was unable to get the actual words she was pronouncing. After the prayer she said to him: “My the spirit of your late father my husband lead you through and through.” “Amen,” Obi answered with alacrity. He hurriedly left for the examination venue which was fifteen kilometres away from his house, in the city of Enugu, Nigeria. This time around, the fear was intense. He got the jitters while in the bus heading to the exam venue.
He arrived the venue an hour earlier which was in accordance with the rules of the examination, so as to enable the examiners and invigilators do all the necessary checking of documents and the likes. A roll call from one of the invigilators ushered the candidates, one after another, into the exam hall. There in the hall, another checking was done just to ensure that everything was in order and set to go. A few minutes later, the question and answer booklets were distributed and they were asked to say a short prayer. The prayer was led by a lady, who sang magnificently, invoking the Holy Spirit and all the saints in heaven to come down and have their place in their midst. The reason for such invocation was obvious! Afterwards, the test commenced.
Deep within Obi, the courage was not there as such, for he knew already what his fate would be. It was not that he was not intelligent enough to pass the test but just that the problem of time was still a militating factor against his success. The science subjects in the test involve lots of calculations and solving that he knew he would hardly have enough time to solve half of the test questions. He took another few minutes to pray, asking his late father that if only he could do the impossible for him today, he would forever remain be grateful. However, even after the prayer, he was still on pins and needles, quaking in his boots.
Thirty minutes into the exam, one of the invigilators in his hall stood up and announced: “all of you in this hall have to donate money, five hundred naira (N500.00) each so that you can be allowed to use any device or gadget to write the admission test so as to get a high score. Almost immediately, people started donating and the atmosphere became ebullient intently. Unfortunately for him and four other candidates, they were unable to give any cash. For him, he was only having his transport fare and nothing more. For the other fellows, their reasons were best known to them. The situation scared him out of his wits. He was totally bewildered. “Oh my God! Here comes another factor,” he said to himself as he laid his head on the desk in a feeling of utter despondency. The five of them were asked to stand up and remain like that until their fate was decided.
The issue was reported to the chief invigilator. He came into the hall and told five of them that since they had refused to play to the rule of the game, which they all knew from time immemorial as a normal thing every candidate must do, they would be given a different hall to continue writing the test unassisted. “You think you are more intelligent than the others who did what they are supposed to do? I will see how you are going to pass the test. If I am not mistaken, two or three persons among you must have written this test in the past and have failed. I’m certain that even if you are giving the whole day to write it, you all will still fail because you children of nowadays are used to examination malpractice.” These were his last words before leaving the hall that Obi and the other four candidates were kept under the supervision of another invigilator. His statement was like a sword pierced through Obi’s heart, he just reminded him of past stories some of his fiends he met in the lesson narrated to him, how many of them had sat for the exam and failed due to their inability to indulged in such practices. Obi was brought back to consciousness by few drops of tears dripping on his answer’s booklet. It was then that he realized that he was crying.
“I pity you all, but I cannot help, my boss has spoken and that is final,” the invigilator said as he sat at one corner of the hall manipulating his cell phone. It was as if they were forgotten. The time for the test was already exhausted but nothing was done. It was as if the invigilator was entirely carried away by his cell phone, otherwise the development was nothing short of a miracle! The test was to last for two and a half hours. As one offering science subjects, the calculations in physics, chemistry and mathematics used to take a lot of time due to the absence of calculator. But that very day, the story turned the other way. Forty five minutes after the allocated time, the chief invigilator came into his hall and screamed, “Oh my God! I thought you have collected their answer booklets already. Well, never mind, giving them the whole year wouldn’t change anything” he said to the other invigilator in Obi’s hall. After collecting the answer sheets, he said mockingly, “Serious students, I know you have nothing to write again, you can now go and await your fate. And you already know what it will be; failure and you will all fail miserably.” They waved at them and left the hall.
The joy in Obi that very day as he went home was immeasurable. Time which had always been his preoccupation, was served generously on a platter of gold! What a tremendous blessing in disguise. That year, the outcome of the admission test was successful and that was how Obi gained admission into the university.
Few years later, Ani was grown king of his village after the death of the then king and two of his sons. How he made it was like a mystery to many. It was narrated that, he went again to his native doctor to ask for more power to eliminate the king and his sons, in which he gave his three of his sons’ life as the price for the sacrifice. As soon he became king, many went on exile on their own. Uzoamaka relocated to Enugu through the help of Obidiya. All the member in his cabinet were those who were always supporting him in his evil acts. Ani ruled his people like a tyranny and many who opposed him were kill like chicken without stress and no one dared question his authority.
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