By Yetunde Arebi
The story you are about to read, whether true or false, only reiterates my believe the danger many innocent spouses get exposed to, when their partners decide to cheat on them with evil, covetous, greedy individuals.
In the world of politics, power and money, many people are ready to go below the level of animals to achieve their goals. Hon. Wale, a widower and family friend finally shared with me how he lost his wife three years ago. A lesson here for all, I believe:
“It has been three years since we buried Atinuke, my late wife in the compound after her death which is still unbelievable. I am yet to fully wake up from the shock of it all. Can human beings be so cruel? Why take life from what you can’t create, as if snuffing life out of a chicken? I’d always known about these things but never imagined I could be a victim. Yet, the whole drama leading to the death of Atinuke, my late wife has continued to confound me of all understanding and rational reasoning. I can now confirm that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
It all began after I was appointed Commissioner in a South West state. It had come as a bit of a surprise as I had not expected to be given something that big. Being in power gives you an opportunity to see Nigeria and Nigerians from another angle entirely. People are ready to fall over themselves trying to please you and even launch you into crimes you never imagined were possible. The way government in Nigeria is administered is another thing entirely and only those in the clique know the secret, most of which lies in the hands of the civil servants. Without their cooperation you’ll only have ideas but never have the way to execute them. If you are decent, you don’t really need to steal government money. Gifts and free services for almost anything will come from people who need your favour, you don’t even need to ask.
My ordeal was brought about by one of these people. Elisa was introduced to me by one of my directors as a sister and one who had been patronising the government long before my tenure. According to him, she had some problems with one of her files. A job she did had been quarried by my predecessor. And though the error had been corrected and the Engineer certified so, she was not able to get it signed until the man left office. We chatted on other issues and I promised to deal with the matter. She came with the Director two days later and I obliged their request. That was how we became friends. She brought me a bail of Atiku Voil as appreciation and subsequently she would come to my office anytime she was at the Secretariat.
She was a good business woman and bought contracts at times also. Sometimes, I wondered what she wanted to do with all the money and what her husband was doing, if she was the one scouting after contracts in such a wild frenzy. She was a very pleasant woman too, good looking and cordial with almost everybody I see her with. She was also very popular among the staffers too. All these, I put into words one day and was very surprised at her response. She told me that she wasn’t married and had never been at 42. She has three children and two of them were studying in England while the third was still in primary school here. Though she gets support from their fathers, she picked up most of the bills.
I felt pity for her and commended her courage, thinking how difficult things must be. As a man, I could not even afford to send my children outside the country to study at that time. Over time, we quickly became quite close and many knew and thought we were dating. But there was nothing like that between us. At least not from my end. One day, she invited me to a party and I obliged only on the request that I could bring my wife, Atinuke, along as we always attended functions together. That was how Elisa met my wife. They struck it off on a good note as soon as they met and subsequently became friends. She visited us at home and me in the office for business. She would make small jokes about us, calling us snails. You know, where ever the nail goes, its shell must follow suit.
Then one day, she came to inform me about some problems she had raising funds for her children in England. She wanted one of her files promptly treated so she could get the cheque. I promised to help, but unfortunately, the file had a hitch at the governor’s office. So, I had to assist with the money until she could pay back. I think this was where things went wrong. Late one evening, she came to my office and offered herself to me. I was rather surprised since I’d assumed we were just friends and more importantly family friends as she was now very close to my wife. She told me she was really touched by my kindness and assistance and couldn’t think of any other way to thank me. I had to turn her down that night, insisting that there was no need to do so since she was going to pay back. She asked if it was because of my wife or just the fact that I did not find her attractive enough. I opted for the first, believing that the second might sound insulting. I knew she had men friends and was capable of the stunt she just tried to pull off with me. I however felt that our relationship was too deep for such a cheap move. Of course, I am no saint. Elisa knew I had girl friends but they were not serious affairs and definitely not with a woman as old.
After that scene, I decided to be more careful with her, thinking it was a plot not to return my money. But she did, and even sent me a card and gift too. That over, I thought everything was back to normal until she struck again. She paid me a surprise visit in Abuja while I was attending a conference. I’d seen her the day before and she had not mentioned coming to Abuja. I was really surprised to see her on opening the door. Fortunately, I was alone, though I was planning to join my colleagues at the night club. Besides, I already had plans with one of my girlfriends who would be joining me the next day. To tell the truth, I was really moved as a man, but I had already made up my mind not to have anything to do with her. I allowed her spend the night as she would not be able to return. I slept on the Sofa and gave her the bed. The next day, I offered to pay for her ticket but she refused, and insisted she was not offended at all. She said she was now sure I didn’t want her and could redirect her attention and energy somewhere else. She made me promise that nothing would change between us on account of her actions and I will not tell my wife.
I can’t say precisely when Atinuke’s illness began, but we knew something was wrong when she cried out in her sleep one night. I rushed into her room to find her rolling in pain, clutching her chest. She said something had hit her like an arrow in the chest. But she soon calmed down and we all went back to sleep. The next day, she couldn’t get up from bed, insisting she was still feeling the pain. I advised her to go to the hospital. We were informed that she’d survived a mild heart attack, had very high blood pressure and should take things easy generally. She was placed on admission for a few days to run more tests and pilled with drugs almost enough to open a chemist store. But the pain did not subside, rather, it grew worse. Sometimes, she would complain of stomach pain, then movement in her tummy, problems with breathing, headache, you name it. She lost her appetite and rapidly grew into a shadow of her old self.
Atinuke’s illness got everyone worried, including friends and relatives. Suggestions poured in from every corner and eventually, we agreed to go spiritual. She was taken to a few churches, Alfas and finally we degenerated into visiting traditional healers. It was at one of such places, somewhere in Osun state that we were let into what was happening. The man declared that my wife was struggling with someone older and stronger than her for something.
When she refuted it, he called me aside and revealed that it actually involved me too. According to the man, the alleged woman feels that if my wife was no more, then, I would have time for her. I couldn’t imagine which of my girl friends could do such a thing. Definitely not the type of young girls I went out with. When he proceeded to describe whom he claimed to have seen in his divination, it dawned on me that it was Elisa and I told him we were not lovers. He did not believe me and neither did my sister and her friend who’d taken us there too. The man assured us that though it was almost too late, something might still be done to save Atinuke because the enemy wanted her life at any cost.
We would appease the elders behind the whole thing, he said. He gave us a list of what to bring including a live cow which must be brought unfailingly the next day as there was no more time to waste. Little did we know that there were more shockers for us. On getting there, the man told us he’d been warned by some elders not to have anything to do with us. It was as if I was watching a Nollywood movie. For the first time, I truly believed those things we see in Nigerian movies. If it does not happen, they will have no idea about it. No amount of begging could make the man change his mind and we had to resign to fate.
I tried unsuccessfully to get in touch with Elisa but her cousin, the director in my office said she’d travelled to England to be with her children as she was not feeling well and wanted to rest. Elisa did not return to the country until Tinuke’s demise. She paid me a visit in the office on her return to express her condolences. I brushed her off and told her bluntly that I’d seen her handiwork. She denied everything vehemently and asked me to go and investigate her anywhere or do anything I want to avenge Tinuke’s death. But in my heart, I could hear her subtle threat and gloating also. I refused to have anything to do with her until we were kicked out of government and even up till now.
The truth is that I can’t help thinking about what the man had said and how Tinuke had died mysteriously. Cut down so brutally for no fault of hers. Was Elisa responsible for it or not? I don’t know. All I can say is that my Atinuke did not die a natural death and I feel partly responsible for it. Her body was interred in the compound because I believe that is where she belongs, in our house.”
Hmm! Do have a wonderful weekend!!