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All resemblances unintended.
All criticisms welcome.
I woke up that morning, and as was my
usual ritual since the commencement of
the ASUU strike, logged into facebook. I
saw many notifications and carefully
scanned through them. Some were
comments made by some of my online
friends on a photo I had uploaded about
two years back. I was surprised that a
photo already two years old online would
garner up to five comments in a single
night when it had only three for the two
years it had been online. I smiled,
acknowledged and responded to some of
them before going to check the other
notifications. Most were group and page
updates. As I checked through them, I
made a mental note to leave some of the
groups. I hate receiving useless updates
and most of the updates I saw that
morning were just that. I refreshed the
page to clear off the notifications I had
attended to and discovered that the only
ones remaining were two friend requests.
The surname of the first, Paul, was
familiar; it was a family in which I had two
friends. Though, I didn’t know the
particular person behind the name, I
deduced it must belong to a sibling of my
friends, Yemisi and Tayo Igbokwe. The
second request was from an unfamiliar
name, Tricia Ogbemudia. Her profile photo
was a portrait sketch.

I decided to check that first and clicked on
the name. I knew where I was going to –
her photos. I liked the name and hoped to
like the photos too. As the page loaded, I
searched my brains, trying to recollect if I
had had any previous encounter with a
person bearing that name. I couldn’t
remember any and my curiosity was
heightened. The new page opened,
showing her profile photo and some
details about her: she was a 300 level
student of History in the famous University
of Ibadan and had previously attended a
polytechnic which I hadn’t heard of before.
She was from my state and was a year
younger than I was. Not too bad, I thought,
but needed further details. Her profile
picture was a sketched female portrait.
Could that be her? I thought. The sketch
was beautiful, but it could be of anybody. I
saw that her photo count exceeded a
hundred and I clicked on the “photos” icon
to see them. The first photo that loaded
was one of her in a sky blue, long-sleeved
shirt with a black tie to match. Her hair
was tied back in a ponytail and her
smiling, parted lips showed a very perfect
set of dentition.
‘Waoh!’ I sighed in excitement. ‘She is so
I clicked back so I could mentally compare
both photos. They were of the same
person. Though the hairstyles were
different, every other feature matched. I
was about to reload the photos folder
when I heard a knock on my door.
‘Yes, who’s that?’ I shouted, making sure
my voice reflected my displeasure.
‘Daddy says you should come out for
Morning Devotion,’ sounded the voice of
my little sister, five years old Eseosa. I had
wasted the effort on making my voice
hard; Eseosa was never considerate of
‘I’m coming,’ I replied, jumping off the bed
and putting on a singlet.
I was barely done with that when I heard
the baritone voice of my dad.
‘What are you doing inside that room, my
friend?’ the volume of my dad’s voice
defied the barrier posed by the locked
door. I wonder how he did it, his voice
could penetrate any part of the house and
it was obviously without much effort on
his part.

‘I’m coming, sir,’ I replied and grabbed my
bible from the chair beside my bed. I flung
my phone on the bed and rushed to the
door. I remembered with a smile how I had
placed it on the chair the previous night
after reading some verses from it. I had
wanted to meditate on those verses – to
get the inner meaning, like my pastor
would say – when I fell asleep. I unlocked
the door and stepped out. My sister, Ivie,
was clearing her throat to lead in worship
when I took a seat beside her. She eyed
me and smiled knowingly before raising a
song. I wondered why she was smiling,
was she a witch? I ignored her and closed
my eyes, but was forced to open it when
we joined the singing in a chorus. My dad
was boldly going off-key and his voice was
loudest, the same way it reverberated
around the house, penetrating even shut
doors when he was angry. Ivie noticed it
too. This was obvious from the smile she
couldn’t suppress when our eyes met. This
was my dad who never tired to repeat tales
of his experience as a chorister while in
secondary school. He would sit us down
and tell us of how we were killing music
with our unnecessary adlibbing when
‘You guys rarely sing in parts nowadays,
probably once in a whole year,’ he had
said the last time he walked in on us while
I and Ivie were arguing about the lyrics of
the song we had rehearsed that evening. It
wasn’t the first time we would be hearing
him say so and we knew we hadn’t heard
the last of it too.
‘Dad, we do, but it’s usually subtly applied
as most of our songs aren’t classicals…’
Ivie tried to explain before she was
interrupted by Dad once again.
‘Why aren’t they classicals? Because you
guys are lazy and don’t want to learn. How
I long for the old days when I was a
member of the St Gregory’s choir, all our
songs then were done in parts, not the
repetitive tremolos you sing nowadays…’
I knew he would go on to lambast our
choir mistress’ adlibbing and I wasn’t
disappointed. It was useless arguing with
him whenever he was in such mood. I eyed
Ivie when I noticed she was about to
launch into another attempt at justifying
our “modern” music styles. It would only
lengthen the argument and yield no
positive fruits. My dad was too set in his
old ways to appreciate contemporary
music styles, except they were native
My dad was clearly in the spirit, his eyes
tightly shut as he murdered the song. My
mom, while being a good singer herself,
didn’t seem bothered by dad’s murderous
act, she swayed her head from side to side
singing with relish. I quickly shut my eyes
when I noticed Eseosa’s eyes on me. She
could report me later of watching others
while they were worshipping, an act that
could prompt my dad to launch a tirade –
something I wasn’t prepared for. Eseosa
possessed the exclusive right to open her
eyes during worship and prayers, but even
she had begun imitating us. Socialization,
my lecturer called it; influence, I called it.

To be continued


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