By T.M. Aluko
Last week, Octogenarian novelist, Timothy Aluko passed on at the age of 91. Today, Vanguard arts in honour to the famous author of One Man, One Matchet publishes an excerpt from his autobiography titled, The Story of My Life.
On Thursday, 27th August 1987 I went to the Christian Wake Keeping at Ilupeju, Lagos , of a member of Young Men Christian Association of All Saints Church, Yaba. I had attended the Annual General Meeting of Heinemann Educational Books at Ibadan earlier the same day. So I was tired and went to bed early in my study cum bedroom, hoping to wake up late in the night and do some writing.
When I woke up and lifted myself up ready to go to the toilet I was suddenly pulled back to the ground by a force I could not explain. I called my wife. She later told me she did not hear me call but she had heard something fall but since there was no movement after the thud, she thought nothing serious had happened. Meanwhile as I could not move, I decided to lie down there till my wife went to the toilet, which she was sure to do sooner or later.
Apparently what happened to me had already affected my voice so that when I thought I was shouting very little, if any sound was coming out of me. When she eventually came to the toilet she was startled by my appearance on the floor. When I could not move my right hand and my right leg, and from the muffled way I was speaking, we both concluded I must have suffered what is called a stroke. With my left hand, I augmented her strength and we eventually got me to bed in my study.
Then we tried to get a doctor on the phone. We phoned Edward Sowho who was some two hundred yards away, at Park Lane . No luck. The telephone just was not making sense. We tried Segun Ajayi, a little further but also at Apapa. Still no luck. Then the idea occurred to both of us that we should try our cardiac surgeon son, Dr. Akinyele Aluko, in New York , U.S.A.
He gave us a few directions before phoning from New York to one or two doctor friends of his in Victoria Island, Lagos . One of these got Edward Sowho, one of the two doctors we had tried to get in Apapa. He rushed to us at Ladipo Oluwole Road , Apapa. At about 4.00am on Friday, 28th August, 1987, I was in a private ward at the Lagoon Hospital , Apapa, Lagos .
One of the immediate problems that the stroke created for us was deciding what we had to do about the wedding of our eldest son Adeseye Aluko which we had originally fixed for September 6th, 1987, eight days away. Should we postpone the wedding or should we get on with it? I decided that the wedding should go on as planned originally, though it meant that I would not be present.
There was no reason to make two young people who had been looking forward to their wedding day suffer the after effects of my stroke. Everyone said the wedding went well and the photographs and the video coverage confirmed this. One remarkable thing that everybody noted was Bisiâ€™s composure and the way she suppressed her sadness about my illness while she made people enjoy themselves at the wedding.
A scanning of my brain in Britain in the Spring of 1988 showed that the area that was damaged in the brain was not very extensive but that it was a centre where several nerves meet, which apparently has affected the healing process.
Towards the end of 1988, Bisi and I were introduced to the Pentecostal Churches, which we understood were more effective in procuring cures through prayers than the older, more orthodox churches. We came to know the Deeper Life Bible Church in particular. They all seem to be different from the Anglican Church to which we were accustomed in that they laid more emphasis on the Holy Ghost, spirits both good and evil, witches and witchcraft, speaking in tongues and emphasizing miracles.
In their form of worship they also believe more in memorized choruses than in hymns in a book. They pray together as a congregation and yet individuals say aloud different prayers to one and the same Lord. It is this form of praying in which individuals shout their prayers at the same time that I have not been able to master; much as I try. So many people talking at the same time distract my attention from concentrating on my own thoughts. It is ever so different from the Anglican form of prayer in which the man of God is left alo
ne to lead the prayer and the congregation joins only in thought and shout Amen at the end.
I attended Deeper Life Bible Church for some time and later The Redeemed Christian Church of God at Gbagada and Apapa respectively. I was lucky to be prayed for by both Pastor Kumuyi and Adeboye twice each. They are very busy indeed and everybody wants to see them. But I was disappointed that I did not receive the healing I had hoped I would receive.
I have attended crusades here in Lagos and in Ilesha , and overseas, twice in the United States of America , and still to my disappointment I have not been healed. The leader of one of the bigger, newer churches in Lagos told me that I most certainly had an unrepented sin which is responsible for my condition. I know I am a sinner but do not know which unrepented sin could be responsible for my condition. I had thought that I was probably no worse that the average of men. I have since prayed as I know how to pray, that God should forgive me all my sons, both repented and unrepented.
I have read a certain amount of Christian literature particularly on healing. They all emphasise the importance of faith and fasting in healing. My faith that I would have my healing miraculously was strong early in the illness, but unfortunately as the years lengthened and still there was no healing the faith sagged. But I am hopeful still that I would still be healed in a miraculous way. I am advised against fasting at my age and condition, and I donâ€™t fast now.
My having not been healed all these years of illness is not necessarily due to an unrepented sin in my life, I am certain. Job and Paul are examples of men in the Bible whom God made to suffer not because they had sinned but because they had to suffer to prove the sovereignty of God. And Prophet Obadare of WOSEM is a modern day Paul who does not see physically and yet through him God has performed big miracles including restoration of sight to the blind. If and when God wills it, I will be healed. There are also cases in the Bible where Jesus performed miraculous healings without the healing depending on the faith of the person being healed.
Before my illness and after my illness in 1987, I have heard of cases of stroke which killed the victim outright and of others in which the victim has recovered completely. I have known cases where the victim could not say a word and had only very slight movement of the affected limbs. In these circumstances why do I grumble? Why wondering why me, o God? I have learnt to equally ask, why not me, why should it be the other man? Why should I dispute with God Almighty on whom He chooses to exercise His sovereign power?
Something I must not forget to mention here is the attitude of friends and acquaintances to me since I had the illness. Some did what I thought they would do, namely come and see me and my family, thanking God with us that I had not been killed outright by the killer disease. But some others, to my surprise, have not called or written. Some of these were people who I thought were close to me, friends I had made in the civil service or in the university. I was amazed that these friends cut me off ever so easily.
The late Chief Judge Adefarasin who my wife and I saw only days before he died said to us that he felt lonely in his illness and expressed surprise at the church in particular where a number of â€˜friendsâ€™ whom he expected to visit him did not.