I spent four days in Lagos and luckily by the time I was leaving, my husband, Ikenna has taken delivery of the bus. The terms of repayment, from what I gathered were very friendly too and Ikenna was most ecstatic about it.
One and half years later, we moved from Onitsha to Lagos. Business was better for Ikenna and he had even finished paying for the bus and was working on buying another one, which he intended to hand over to another driver, who would be working for him. In fact, it was like a dream, because, often I would pinch myself to know if it was real.
But it was. Everything was just falling into place for us and at an amazing speed. With the new prospects, I did not even have to teach again. I was just put in charge of the home front. But this soon changed, when Ikenna announced that he wanted me to take charge of the bus business. By this time, he had already acquired three buses.
“What would you be doing?” I had asked him.
“I want to go into shipping business”, he replied, with the same hint of courage and optimism which he employed to announce his resignation earlier.
“Shipping is not your area. So how do you intend to make this work?” I asked him again.
“The same man who started me up in this bus business wants me to go into shipping.
He has agreed to help me facilitate a loan from a bank”, he explained. “The facility is worth N15million. So with that, I will not have time to be controlling the transport business. So it naturally will be your business as from now.”
That was how I became a transporter while Ikenna became a shipping agent. That arrangement simply made things merrier.
There was money, in fact, surplus of it. In less than four years, my husband was a notable millionaire, with mansions in Lagos, Onitsha, Nnewi, London and New York. My three kids were also schooling abroad, because we discovered that the standard of education in the country was just not suitable for them. I had improved from the nursery school teacher in Onitsha to a millionaire’s wife with not only a retinue of aides at her beck and call but one who could afford foreign trips for things as trivial as shopping! I was sure the spate of transformation would astound a lot of people who knew me before, because sometimes it did surprise me.
But there was a price.
One day, I fell sick. I had woken up that morning with some funny feelings of nausea, much like a woman experiencing pregnancy for the first time. I called Ikenna, who travelled to the United States for a business meeting and he instructed his manager to drive me to Eko Hospital in Ikeja, Lagos. Before we even got there, he had called one of the doctors working there to examine me and know what was wrong with me. But surprisingly after the series of tests that were conducted on me, the team of doctors found nothing wrong with me. Not even the usual malaria and typhoid germs but I was still sick and weak. It was at this point that one of the doctors, a lady, suggested that I should seek spiritual help.
“How do you mean?” I had asked her.
“Your case is a medical mystery, madam. All the tests suggest that you are okay but I can’t fathom why you should be feeling this way. And it has been three days now”, she said. By the time, she finished talking with me she had come up with names of pastors who would help.
But when Ikenna called that evening to know how I was faring, I suggested to him that I needed to seek spiritual help since the doctors found nothing wrong with me.
“What nonsense is that? How could they not find something wrong with you? Why do you subscribe to spiritual treatment? What does that mean? May be I have to fly you to a hospital in England then,” he barked and before I could utter any word he had hung up angrily.
That did not deter me, however, I went ahead with one of the pastors the doctor gave me his contact and he came to see me at the hospital. After he prayed, he told me he would need to come to the house to pray with me. I totally bought the idea.
The prayer session at home was fervent and revealing. While it was on, the pastor sought my permission to dig up a section of our sitting room on the ground floor, which I gratuitously consented to. To my utmost surprise, a dead baby, perhaps seven months old, a dead vulture and cat were buried there! As the pastor was getting set to burn these items my husband called from America. He was very furious.
“Stella, who did you bring into my house? What are those people doing inside my house?” he said,
“Ikenna, you need to see the things our enemies buried here. All sorts of rubbish!
But the pastor will set them ablaze now”, I replied.
“What? Let him not try it. Those things are the things keeping me away from my enemies. Do not try it. And I want all of them out of my house this minute!”, he barked.
It was at this point that the pastor explained that Ikenna was in a cult and had negotiated to exchange his life with mine. He said if I did not burn the items, I would die in place of Ikenna. I was terrified. I was short of words. I was consumed by confusion, to say the least. At the end, I simply approved that the ‘items be burnt.
That same night I got a call that Ikenna had died of heart attack in America!
That was more shocking! More problems have even continued many months after we buried Ikenna. It has been one problem after another and the suggestion now is that we should severe ourselves from anything that has to do with his wealth if we want to stay out of trouble. This whole episode has left me with one basic question: What shall it profit a man to gain the entire world and lose his soul?
To be continued…