by ahjotnaija

Gbaso. It was a case of shop-overtake.

So, she moved to Ijoko when we were in JSS 3 thereabout. The kind of love that the Church of God welcomed her with was phenomenal. We were like that, always loving each other in Christ as Jesus instructed and He had first loved us, in that while we were sinners, he died for us. He was dumbued that we might not die but know love.

So yes, we loved them, her and three children that moved into Ijoko and became part of the body of Christ.

But truth be told, she deserved all the love, she came a firebrand, burning for the Lord, a powerful woman of God, from whose mouth proceeded Rhema, not unheard of before, but being from a woman as at that time, she was power and a force to not ignore in the church. She was fire.

Now the above is true and she did serve the Lord in truth, in spirit and with all sincerity of heart as a worthy Christian, a soldier of Christ.

Three of her children, two were the names I remember. Sister Ruka, her second born, and Sister Taiba, her first. Her third, the name I cannot remember for now. I think she wanted to be invisible, was fragile in look, tiny kind of face, bony but healthy, mildly light chocolate, inbetween the first and the second in complexion. She was not too brown like the first. Well, for now, so we can move on, let’s call her the child whose name does not want to be remembered.

Unlike the first two children, she did not join any workforce in the church. She only followed to church.

Iya Gbaso, like she was later popularly referred to, was mother to the three of them girls. She sold Bread, Agege Bread. Like Sister Rebecca, who later married Brother James for lack of any other better qualified husband material.

Like Sister Rebecca, Iya Gbaso sold Bread that she woke up at dawn to go collect from Brother James managed bakery. For the records, the bakery did not belong to Brother James, but to another brother in Christ, whose wife wore a foot-prothese, who we heard that their joint son, his anus had something wrong with it that they had to cut it. They said he had a situation that we call anus-come-out in English. 

They lived around Iya Onigedu, a timber-seller, the millionaire of our area and time, a woman with a half-white face, that children and women feared as a witch and about whom rumours spread that she killed her other husband and brought Brother Kilani into her house to become her husband. 

Willingly, I later got to know when we children got closer to the trees around her compound and listened to her stories as told by the beautiful colourful birds of her compound and the branches of her trees that never lied or scared us.

The truth that we knew when we moved away from the rumours of jealous souls and angry hungry people that Iya Onigedu must have helped but did not desist from maligning her name and person.

Well, I will continue the story of Iya Onigedu in a moment. Now back to that of the bakery owner whose bakery Brother James managed.

It was at this bakery that Brother James met Sister Rebecca where they started their story. That same bakery was the bakery that both Sister Rebecca and Iya Gbaso, formerly Iya Ruka got their bread supply to sell at various spots in Ijoko of our time.

This is how she looked, as much as I could remember. She was medium height, a little bow-legged, only visible on a second closer look. Her headtie hid her hair, not always a turban, but even when, it reminded of the Onilegogoro era, only that she did not wear her headwrap that tall. I cannot imagine her now in any other wear than Ankara and or Guinea of that time. I am sure she did not wear Up-Nepa, that fabric called Jackard. Lace was a no-no for a Christian anyways. She was a beautiful woman. So also her children.

When we heard the rumour of why and how she left her husband’s house, it was from hearsay and postreport of a church service I did not attend, where people said it was gathered from testimonies, then woven into a full-fledged reality with the thread of imagination and colours of the narrator’s mischief.

I know of a time when one woman like that, who was her friend before, but not again, told of how Iya Gbaso had told them in a women-meeting her true story. They were not many women, only those she trusted, so she was not worried to tell how she had been called by God, The Father of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to leave her husband’s house.

Being the fourth wife and having already three children, she accepted Christ, and must restitute, part of which spelt out that she abandoned, according to her, her loving husband, who took good care of her and their children.

A man, who was a gentleman to the core, not a Christian, he was a Muslim, a faithful Muslim and had been to Mecca, well deserving of the title of an Alhaji, a pious man who loved all his wives, children and catered for their needs according to the demands of faith and culture.

This marriage her new found faith and conviction told her to leave. After three grown children. At once.

All plea to stay put in the marriage fell on deaf ears and to the ground. Families begged. She refused. Alhaji begged. With all that he had. She refused.

Some of her pastors wanted her to take her time, restitution in this case is not tipatipa-tikuuku, they felt it was not wrong if she stayed, that she would not end up in hell if she did not leave. 

Now, according to her version, Pastor Kumuyi intervened to no avail. The case was pending in front of the Man of God. 

Unresolved of course. But this was before the bigger and never-would-be-resolved lacuna happened, before the Gbaso case befell our village that was hoping to one day become a big town and eventually make it into a city. One day.

That she left showed they did not entreat her enough. Or she was decided to do what she wanted to do.

Long story short, this was how she ended in Ijoko with all her property and children in one-room in a Binukonu in the Ijoko of our time.

Prayer warrior. Her specialty. She interested women for an area that hitherto was reserved for men and one or two women. 

Mothers prayed, yes. That’s normal. Prayer warriors take over where mothers own stopped. For example, women and parents that had given up hope of having children after endless prayers and fasting, got their wanted and desired miracle babies when prayer warriors prayed for them.

People who were tormented by evil spirits and miserable and no one could help, cases of abject poverty and generation curses or spirit husband possession, women, and once a while, men, who were being slept with by their spirit-world husbands and wives, they were all delivered if their infirmities and bondages when prayer warriors took on their matters to God in prayer.

There is another higher group above prayer warriors, we call them Deliverance. Deliverance with a capital D.

They handle all cases of prayer warriors listed above plus deliverances.

Above the two groups was the owner of the church who was called by God to superintend the body of Christ. And whose superior was understandably The Lord God Himself, The Founder and Creator of the founder and head of the church.

It was in this pyramid, that section of the pyramid the prayer warriors that Iya Gbaso interested women for. A new breath of freshness in ways unseen and unheard of before in Ijoko.

When Pastor Akinleye was concerned that something was not right and called for caution, a section of the church rebelled. Old time conservatism, no it is the Lord’s, there is nothing wrong with prayer, a prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian. These and many more came in from the rebels-corner and supporters. 

Some left to establish their own churches and ministries, some stayed put, some grumbled without end. This or that way, the voice of reason was momentarily silenced. Until the unbelievable but not impossible happened.

Baba Sewe, whose wife was a slim fine woman like this, with hairs like that of women who cared less about their hairs, with three or four children of their own, who sold Ewa Aganyin to all and school children in the morning time, lived with his family in a facility like a garden that looked like somewhere that did not belong to him, was beside NUD Primary School, it was an abandoned colonial facility built to house headmasters and mistresses and their househelp at the time when the school was founded long time ago, but which was not decrepit and of interest to no one, except Baba Sewe, who came from where they are from, strangers and daily-wage-earners, people like them would live anywhere they found so long the community accommodated them.

This was how they ended up in that facility that became their home where Iya Gbaso eventually slept with him, not one night, not two nights, when Iya Sewe caught them redhanded with her two korokoro eyes, upon which she was threatened with bodily harm and was in fact beaten up and sent packing for daring to fight for her marriage to Baba Sewe.

It was a case of Yes-now-that-you-have-seen-it-so-what with a question mark to the situation.

It was her version of event that we heard and the reality of Iya Gbaso moving into Baba Sewe’s facility ti replace Iya Sewe and her children that shook the whole town to it bones and marrows. The church of Christ was not undented in the whole scandal.

Iya Gbaso moved into the facility with her last born, her third child, that child whose name does not want to be remembered. She was still in high school that time. The other two children stayed away during the day from their mother, but saw her when they must in the evenings and nights. They were worried at first that their boyfriends would leave them in shame or solidarity with Iya Sewe and our town.

Well, like many things that did not happen in Ijoko, when their boyfriends stayed with them, notwithstanding the weight of the scandal, they let go of their shame and removed the spectacle of disdain that they wore when they refused to see their mother during the day. After all, after all said and done, na their Mama she be. They needed her more alive than dead.

The firstborn lived in the one room they rented when they first moved to Ijoko. The secondborn lived with us for a while, moved away for a while and returned to Tope Busstop to stay with a family friend, whose son later snatched her away from her boyfriend and lover who loved her like firstloves used to love person. 

As for the first daughter, I was witness to a street fracas as two boys from two different streets threatened to burn down a whole neighborhood because, yes, they were in love with her.

She was first in love with one of the lovers before she gave in to the advances of the second lover. That was the genesis of the whole trouble.

It was the friends of the first lover who instigated him to start a streetfight, to which all kinds of urchins partook. They wanted to avenge their friend’s honour.

Ola, the self-acclaimed herbalist and programmer, who knows ways to crack credit cards of people in faraway lands to pay for SAT and TOEFL examinations, whose father was a former chief, formerly rich but now poor and humble, from whose hand Ola had inherited plenty wicked medicines, that Ola was part of the streetfight. 

I saw Boda Segun, not too far big brother in a street around Tope Busstop who sold us water and from whose cubicle-shop we telephoned to London, sometimes on credit. He was a friend to the first lover and would not abandon his friend, especially with the level of insult he felt was passed on to their person in the disdain their friend had suffered in the situation.

Tension had calmed before Fowosere, The Chief Arearboy and King of the Streeturchins, arrived the scene. Things could have escalated from bad to worse more quickly than anyone could handle going by the stories of flouriscent lightbulbs Fowosere had shooked into people’s shansh and behind in earlier street fracas.

Back to how it happened. Prayer meetings. Night vigils for two. The fervent prayer of two warriors availed much than a singular effort of one person alone in the middle of the night. One thing led to the other and it came to scenes described by Iya Sewe who said she did not believe her eyes when she saw what she saw that her husband was on top of Iya Gbaso digging her water like seriously while Iya Gbaso was under their husband being willingly digged.

She said Iya Gbaso‘s legs were up in the shed surrounded by trees and covered by corroded ironsheet and netted around the sides in the facility.

The noise from the prayers was usually loud and as was normal for prayers acceptable. When at 3am after prayers their husband saw her off, she saw nothing bad in that.

As she lived not far away. There were times that she slept to leave when day broke. Over time, they all got used to whichever was convenient. Until of course sleeping with each other became a convenient option too. Only that Iya Sewe got wind of the sex option way too late when there was nothing, that she could do to win back their husband to herself alone.

Iya Gbaso moved in. Iya Sewe was sent packing with her children, only temporarily. She came back over time with her children. Together with her children, they were the first members of the church that Baba Sewe and Iya Gbaso cofounded. Iya Gbaso did not sell Bread again. She went into ministry and did other things.

If she was pregnant, I am not sure what the rumour kitchens whispered in town anylonger. My memory of it is now faint.

I will continue with the story of Brother James of how he burned down his own bakery when he left the other bakery he managed, only to return like the prodigal son. I remember vividly the role Fowosere played in the disaster the self-owned bakery became in the night it was started, and many more stories. But first I must sleep to wake up in the morning to continue.