Dad sat down heavily on his chair unable to believe it. He then told me to pack my things and get out of his house that moment. Mum cried all the more when she heard and started begging my father to please think again before taking any decision, but Dad was adamant and after pleading for some time, I went to the room to pack a few clothes before following Bassey out of the house.
Bassey tried to pay the bride price so many times but Dad refused, telling him to go to hell with his money. Maybe if Dad had forgiven me, he would have persuaded me to finish and further my education but he refused to even see me after that. It was only mum that came to see me once in a while without Dad’s knowledge. Bassey, on his own part didn’t want me to go back to school. Whenever I broach the subject, he always managed to change the topic to something else.
When I was in my fifth month of pregnancy, Bassey called me one day, saying he has something to tell me.
By this time, I had met most of his family members and they had apparently accepted me except his mother who looked over twice and refused to even sleep in that house that day.
The next day, she went back to their village after telling Bassey to come to his senses quickly and get rid of me despite the baby I was carrying. His father was dead them.
When I sat down beside him, I had no premonition of what he was about to say.
“Yes Bassey, I’m listening.” I told him.
“Chioma, I don’t know how to tell you this and how you are going to take it, but I’ve got to tell you,” he said with a grave expression on his face.
At this time, I began to get worried too.
“What is it, Bassey?”
“Chioma, I already have a daughter before.”
“What?” I shouted, you already have a daughter?”
“But, why didn’t you tell me?” where is she.”
I asked, standing up from my seat.
“Please Chioma, sit down and let me explain everything please.” Bassey begged.
“Buy why didn’t you tell me before, Bassey, shy?
I asked him tears running down my face.
“I didn’t know how you would take it and I love you too much to lose you Chioma. Please try to understand,” Bassey pleaded.
I didn’t know what to say and felt lonelier than ever at that time since I had not even seen my mum to tell her about his mother’s behaviour and now this.
After I had calmed down, a little, he told me how he met her mother, also a Nigerian in England and how they had got married. They had a daughter-Ekaete, but that his wife died giving birth to their second child, a boy who also died with his mother being a still-born.
It was after this that he decided to come back to Nigeria to live with his young daughter who was about six when her mother died. He had to take the girl to stay with one of his sisters when he met me so as not to frighten me away with a grown up daughter of nine years old.
He missed her now, that is why he is telling me so that he could bring her home to stay with us. What could I say and do but to agree after he pleaded with me and told me he will never lie to me again.
That was how the three of us started living together until I gave birth to my child – a girl whom we named Enobong. Mum came to greet me but Dad refused to even bulge while Bassey’s mother too only sent someone to congratulate him while refusing to acknowledge that he had a wife, in her message.
That was how we lived until I got pregnant again. This time I prayed it would be a boy since Bassey too had been telling me he hoped he had a boy to succeed in life. His business, at that time, was flourishing and he had started to build the first of his houses.
I had everything that was to be had materially and didn’t even bother to save anything since I thought the money would always be there and what was my husband’s was also mine.
When I gave birth, it was twin girls who looked so much like their father. I was disappointed but Bassey cheered me up telling me that the next one would definitely be a boy.
But this was not to be for I spent the next 12 years searching for pregnancy but it seemed those three girls would be my only issues.
During this period, his family was really against me, especially the mum. At first, Bassey turned deaf ears on their murmurings while treating me with love throughout. But about the time the twins were about seven years old, his true colours started to show and he would beat me without reason and get angry at even the slightest things I did.
I endured this for five years, but about the time I was getting fed up, the mother came one day with a pretty Calabar girl whom she introduced to me as Bassey’s wife.
“Over my dead body”, I shouted at her.
“Then pack your things and go,” she retorted.
By the time Bassey came in, I was throwing out the meagre belongings the girl brought with her and my mother-in-law too was throwing some of my clothes from the balcony down the front of our house.
When Bassey came in, he came over to me and gave me a very good beating while telling me to get out of his house at once. He drove me out without me taking any of my clothes while my daughters cried and the new wife and his mother looked on with laughter on their faces.
I went to stay with one of my father’s brother who helped me a lot. He gave me enough money to start a little market and later rented a one-room apartment at Ajegunle. I couldn’t go back to my house since my father never forgave me for marrying Bassey in the first place.
During my stay at my uncle’s house, all I could think about was how I was going to revenge on Bassey for stealing my youth and dumping me because I could not produce a male child for him.
Through some of my neighbours, I contacted my children and the eldest, Eno, even came to spend time with me during her school holidays without her father being any wiser.
After about two years, my mother-in-law died before I could even have vengeance on her. But the wife, I had plans for.
In two years, she had a male child for Bassey but the baby never even got to his one year birthday before he died. That was not even my doing.
When I learnt she was pregnant again, I knew I had to act fast. I needed money for what I wanted to do and I went to my brother who had long graduated from the university and was working with the oil companies. I told him I needed money to do business and he gave me N5,000. Through some boys I knew at the market where I sell soft drinks, I contacted some assassins whom I hired to kill Bassey’s wife for me.
After about two weeks, they succeeded in carrying out the operation and she died with her unborn baby. She was six months pregnant then. I paid N2000 for this feat to be done.
Then I concentrated on how to get Bassey himself, because you see, by then I had every intention of inheriting Bassey’s properties which were very extensive.
One day, my eldest daughter came to visit me and when we started talking, an idea came to me.
“Eno, don’t you cook for your father anytime you are at home or so you leave everything for your house girl? I asked my daughter,
“Ha mummy, me and the cook take turns to cook for Daddy o,” she answered.
“But it’s wahala jo.”
“How?” I asked.
We cook Daddy’s food separate because he doesn’t take salt anymore since he had hypertension when his wife died.” Eno said.
This, I already knew, since I knew when Bassey fell seriously sick when his wife was assassinated. Nobody suspected me since nobody thought I could do such a thing.
“Eno”, I said now, I will give you a condiment that you will put in your father’s food to make it taste better since you don’t use salt for him. But you girls must not eat it o, because it is only for hypertensive people.”
“Okay mummy, I will collect it when I’m going.” Eno said.
“Look, you must only use it for jollof rice and finish everything at once you hear?”
“Yes mummy,” Eno replied.
When she was leaving, I gave her the condiment which I had already mixed with some poison I received from Baba in area. She left and barely two weeks later, she ran back to me to tell me her father was dead.
“Hen, how did it happen?” I asked, standing up from where I was sitting with a fake surprise on my face.
“Hmm mummy, he finished eating the rice that I cooked, then went to sleep.
In the evening, his sister came to see him but we couldn’t wake him up and when we rushed him to hospital the doctor said he was dead.” She finished.
“Ha God, what is this o,” I started to cry.
“Mummy, don’t cry,” my daughter consoled me while crying herself.
That was how Bassey died.
Ekaete, who all the while had been abroad with her husband and children, came back to Nigeria for her father’s burial.
Now, the way I’m hearing it, she is driving away the whole family from her father’s property. That is the way I just want it. But somebody, warn her, if she doesn’t want to die young, she had better go back to where she came from because Bassey’s property belongs to me and my children.
I didn’t kill Bassey for Ekaete to inherit everything. I’ve killed before and I will kill again. Nothing and I mean nothing can stop me now!
To be continued…