With the new information I had, it didn’t take too long before
I located Christopher’s mother’s family house. The house
seemed deserted except for a bent old man. The
dilapidating house was built with mud and thatched roof; the
old man didn’t seem to mind the situation of this
godforsaken hut. This was his house, and he would either
die in it or under it. I greeted the man but it seemed like he
didn’t even understand English, so I had to relate with him in
the local language i was sure he would understand. He
initially regarded me with suspicious and wary look until I
told him my name and asked after Christopher. He said
Christopher had told him I might come. Right there, sighed
with relief. I had finally reached the last destination. The
man invited me into the hut and offered my the oly drinks he
had – palm wine. He skillfully avoided my question when I
asked him about Christopher; he was rather talking about
things unrelated to my visit – the birds, the trees, the music,
the cultures and traditions of the ancient village. I thought
old age must have been denying the man of his sharp mind
for him to be talking about things that didn’t concern me.
“ ‘Where’s Christopher?’ I interrupted him sharply. I was
getting tired of his unending spiel.
“ ‘He’s dead, my son,’ the old man replied, ‘Christopher is
” ‘What!‘ I couldn’t believe my ears. what nonsense was this
old man talking about?
“Let me explain everything, my child,’ said the man,
‘Christopher came in here with two gunshot wounds on his
body – on the stomach and on the back. I didn’t know who
he was at first but I decided to treat him. his wounds were
too deep and infected; he didn’t get himself treated on time,
so it had gone beyond redemption. I knew he was going to
die; all I could do was relieve him of his pains.’
” ‘You killed him?’ I was about to pounce on him and beat
him black and blue.
” ‘No, I gave him some medicines to relieve his pains. then
he told me who he was. He was my grandson. he was the
son of Ifeoma who left this village many years ago because
she had a child out of wedlock. He was the child of Ifeoma
my daughter who was killed with her family thirteen years
ago. I asked him why he left his family for thirteen years
and he replied that a stranger had accosted him on the
street and told him Mr Oka was not his real father; his real
father wanted to kill him.
“ ‘Why would a father want to kill his own son?’ I was
confused. Nothing the man was saying made sense to me.
“The old man continued as if he had not heard me, ‘The
stranger had told him to run for his life and not tell anyone
“ ‘Does that mean that it was Christopher’s biological father
who ordered the execution of his family?’
“The old man nodded sadly.
“ ‘Why did the man want his son dead?’ I asked again.
“ ‘Mazi is a public figure with a family. He is the village’s
most powerful man of wealth. He has a family with
children. It was rumoured that his wife’s family helped him
to attain the fame and power he got; but he could not put
his zippers on check when he saw Ifeoma. He ended up
raping her; but his wife must not know about this lest he be
stripped of all his fortune and power. He wanted to kill
Ifeoma as soon as he discovered that she was pregnant.
His wife must not know about this. Sleeping with a random
girl was one thing, impregnating her was another. His wife’s
family would destroy him. We managed to hide Ifeoma from
him until she put to bed. Somehow, someone had informed
him that the baby had been born; and so we had to send
Ifeoma and her baby to another village where we believed
she would not be found; but after almost twenty years, Mazi
still tracked her and her family down. One of the many
regrets my grandson had before he died was the fact that he
would not be able to avenge his family’s murder on Mazi.
“And so the old man struggled upright and led me to the
back of the hut where he showed me my friend’s grave.
“ ‘That’s my grandson buried beside his grandmother,’ he
had said, with sadness etched on his wrinkled face. He told
me that Christopher was initially named Emeka. He shared
the same first name with you. Can you see why I had to use