By Yetunde Arebi
We lose our humanity when we fall below acceptable standard behaviour and decency. No matter who we are and what we do, we must be rational enough to know the limit one can stoop in every circumstance and relationship. However, it would seem that late Dimeji did not realise this until his death. Bankole, (74), Dimeji’s older brother described him as a much desired child who turned out to become the black sheep of the family, wreaking much havoc and family and friends like an hurricane throughout his lifetime. This is Pa Bankole’s account of what transpired between himself and his brother below.
“My own brother, well, half brother, same father but different mothers, took my wife! I am grateful to God that I am still alive today, I did not die. My brother could have killed me because of a woman. And to think that at the end, he still dumped the lady and the child he made with her. Though it happened over twenty years ago, it hurts to know that my own brother could do such a thing to me. Everything that happened at the time was beyond my imagination and understanding, ditto for many decent people who heard the story.
My brother had always been a wild one right from childhood. You may call him my father’s nemesis considering that he had to marry three other women to have him. My mother was the first wife and had six children, five girls and me. The second child but only son. My father wanted more male children and so married three more women, sending them away when they failed to have male children. The second woman had two girls and he sent her packing. Then his third wife had another girl and never gave her another chance. He kicked her out and married the woman who later gave birth to Dimeji, my only brother. Unfortunately, he turned out to be the black sheep of the family.
Of all his other vices, his love for women was remarkable, sometimes even taking them by force if they failed to accept his friendship. He had a massive temper and was almost uncontrollable. There was no one he could not pick a quarrel or fight with. We all thought he would mellow down after he got married, but even after three children, he only waxed stronger. After, her traumatic death, he married another, as quiet as a mouse and would even bring his women home. The lady after discovering how his first wife met her death, decided she could not risk her life too. For my had indeed been instrumental to the death of his first wife.
She had challenged him for dating a married woman just down the road they lived on at the time. Livid with anger, my brother had poured hot boiling water straight from a nearby stove on his wife’s head. She never survived. She died a few days after in the hospital. The lady’s father had vowed to have him rot in jail. But you know our people. They prevailed on him to drop the charges because of the children. They had lost their mother, they argued, what would happen should they lose their father too? So, they had to forgive him, then made him swear to take good care of the three children.
After this, my brother became an enigma of sort to people and would always get away with almost anything simply because people just didn’t want any trouble with him. There is something sinister about someone who has taken the life of another, people won’t just want to mess with you. As for the murderer, he might begin to see himself as invincible, capable of getting away with anything. So, Dimeji continued and became more notorious with his sexual escapades, which eventually earned him his reputation as a deranged man of sort. All these I am telling you so that you will know the type of person my brother was.
The controversial woman between us happened to be the widow of an older cousin. It happened back home in our village. The lady was young and beautiful, his last wife, acquired in his old age. She had only a child for him before he died so they decided to keep her in the family. A family meeting was held and it was agreed that I should marry her, since I had recently lost my wife too. My brother was also at this meeting but he never declared his interest in the woman, even though he knew I was reluctant to accept her.
In all honesty, I did not want the woman, but it was the decision of the family and I had to abide by it. So the lady became mine. I made her agree to remain in the village, promising to come and see her there as often as my work would allow me. She had lived in the village all her life and it seemed like the perfect arrangement as she would also be with her people. After a couple of visits to her and everything between us was going on fine, I had a little financial challenge that took more time to resolve than I reckoned it would. I was therefore unable to visit the village for over a year. Communication was not as easy as it is now as telephones were hard to come by. I was only able to send messages and the little money I could afford to her as often as possible through people.
Then one day, I decided to go and visit the lady but stopped en-route at a cousin’s place. It was from him that I learnt the shocking news. He just casually told me not to waste my time and money but more importantly, my life as my children needed me alive. He said I was embarking on a suicide mission as the woman had been taken over by my younger brother. In fact, she just had a baby boy for him a few weeks back. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe my ears. Somehow, I felt relieved that she was no longer on my conscience. I went back home thinking of all that had been happening between my brother and I in the past in the past few months leading to my discovery of what he’d done. Gradually, things became clearer to me.
It was a relief to finally discover why he had been hostile and unreasonable with me all these while. It was so he could shun me off or call my bluff whenever I found out about his mischief and attempted to confront him. His plan was simply to create a situation whereby there will be no opportunity to discuss what he’d done with the woman. You, know, the first to attack get a good advantage. My brother is a bagful of tricks, so much he could trick the devil. Even when he eventually confirmed that I had found him out but I refused to raise the matter with him, he got more mad with me, fomenting trouble with me at every opportunity.
Shortly after words got round to more family members that I had found out my brother’s secret, some of my cousins started coming forward to give me the full gist of what transpired without my knowledge. Their reason for withholding the information was to avoid my brother’s troubles because of his personality. No one wanted to be responsible or quoted as the snitch. My brother in his usual style had only been interested in bedding the woman. He was said to have visited the village a couple of times to overwhelm her with gifts and money until he got what he wanted. He stopped coming around once she informed him that she was pregnant.
The lady later revealed why she’d accepted him. My brother had told her that I already confided in him that I was no longer interested in her and that he could take her over. He told her that I only agreed to marry her because of the family and that my plan was to frustrate her to look for another man when she does not see me again. He convinced her that the family had met and decided that he should take over being my younger brother. My challenges which coincided with the time, helped him build a credible story.
After she got pregnant, he sent some money to her just once through another cousin and that was the end. When the pregnancy became public knowledge and she was forced to reveal the owner, everyone just decided to keep sealed lips and watch events unfold. When she gave birth to the baby, a boy, and there was no one to pay the bills, her family members stepped in and came to Lagos in search of him. At my brother’s house, they met his wife who on hearing that they were from the village welcomed them warmly and made them wait for him comfortably.
He did not return until very late in the night, so there was nowhere to hide when he realised he’d been caught. He was forcefully taken back to the village with them to acknowledge the baby and do all other needful. After this, he never returned to the village till he died. The woman continued to raise the child on her own because he refused to have anything to do with her after that. At his death, eight women stepped forward to disclose that he’d fathered their children. Interestingly, one of them was a cripple. No one could understand what the attraction could have been”.
People who do this sort of things lack discipline. They are a bridge between animals and crazy people. Anyone who cannot control himself, especially sexually, is not different from an animal and therefore crazy since his actions defy decent human reasoning. People who can’t control their lust will devise whatever means to get what they want. They are usually only interested in themselves, believing they are the best thing that can happen to anyone, especially their women. May God save us from sociopaths.
Do have a wonderful weekend!!