Skip to main content

"WHY IS FATHER IN JAIL" by Light Majesty

Where did I come from?
When will I wear long trousers?
Why was father jailed?"

* * * * * * * *
Today is exactly two weeks father was taken away. The image of him being led by those dark googled soldiers into the Black maria is and will continue to be fresh as long as I live.

Today, I make yet another page -a full page of life without father. Today's entry is not different from the previous ones. It will still be as full as the rest; sad and heavy; prayerful and suplicant. This is how our past fourteen days have been. This is how my memoir will read.

No one expects to make ecstacy out of sorrow.
Life without mother has always been unusual but, we have learnt to adjust to her annual absence. It has become a routine for her. And everyone,even Ugoo the last child in the house,knows it that mother takes Grandpa abroad yearly for his Checkups and medication. Mother's month-long absence is not unusual.
But father's absence is.

No one has ever witnessed father's absence for more than two days. Not to talk of two weeks. No one had anticipated it!

I know he use to suspend business meetings that would take him outside town in order to stay with us. He would rather risk the daily drive or flight if they were long distances than stay away from home.

It is two weeks since they took him away. Life in the family has been unstable. Christy, our elder sister has taken over mother's domestic roles as she is wont to whenever mother was away .

Though I am almost 20,I have never tried doing father's job. Because he has never been away before. I have never read night stories to Ugoo on his bed. I have never organised and led morning prayers. I have never distributed nor directed the house helps on their daily chores. I have not done many thing I now do. Because father has never been away as he is now.

* * * * * * * *

Now, the difference in today's entry is Ugoo. Yesterday was his birthday. A birthday that had been planned even before mother went on her trip and father was taken away. Father as he was given to had planned it to be a great bash as it coincided with Ugoo's graduation from primary school. I had watched Ugoo, intoxicated with excitement and anxiety, tick his countdown. Even after father's arrest.

As the day drew nearer, I became more troubled. It had been very difficult walking in father's shoes,presiding over Ugoo's birthday. I knew it would be difficult. But we still carried on. Calmly and with ease,I carried on.

At last with the combined effort of every one at home,the birthday went successfully,despite the sombre air that hung like february cloud all through the event.

It was with the same air that Ugoo had borne father's absence - silently. His calmness was almost mature.
Then as we retired to bed ,after a moderated feast,he quietly asked me the question I had waited too long for,
"Why is father in jail?"

I have never thought of asking such question to anyone,not even to myself. Though the answer was not far. But I found it hard to give.

My lips stood like a disused entrance,gaping at his curious eyes.
"Father is in jail because...eehm", the words stuck to my throat. I cleared it effortlessly. "...because some bad men think he is against their evil ways."

"What are they going to do with him?" he asked,almost in whispers.

"Nothing!" I quipped. "He will soon be back."

Then that question continued to haunt me. Why was father arrested in the first place? Why is he being detained for these two weeks?

I knew the answers to those questions but they still buggled me. It still sounded paradoxical passing through a hard life in the hands of a government that promised a better life programme so eloquently.
Yes! That was why father hated everything about it. And they hated him too.
They have issued warning to him severally to close down the publishing firm he operated. To stop producing and circulating his publication. His "anti-government" publication as they wrote in one of the letters they sent him. But father had refused.
Father is a fearless man who stands for what he believes in. He was open in his criticism against the cruelty of a government that hides under the cloak of kindness.
He criticised them in print and in many of his long public speeches.
His last speech which broke the camel's back was the 'NEW NAME CRUSADE' where he had said:

"There is no benevolence with a gang that speaks and does brutality."

Then ,the government had declared him an enemy of the state and charged him of treasonable felony. They came to our house and took him away.
That was two weeks ago.

Father hated the government. The government hated him too. And that is why father is in jail.

*Light Obi is a poet and short story writer.


Popular posts from this blog

Dalu's Diary by Ogechi Ezeji : Children's Literature in Nigeria is Coming Back

I felt like a child once again, after reading Ogechi Ezeji’s Dalu’s Diary , a book of fiction for children and adults alike.The feeling I got from reading this work is akin to the one I got from reading Chinua Achebe’s Chike and the River , Onuora Nzekwu’s Eze Goes to School, Cyprian Ekwensi’s The Drummer Boy and all other great children fictions of Nigeria’s literary golden age, so many years ago. In the story, little Chukwudalu Aniche is obsessed with his diary, which he kept and wrote in at every turn of an important event that moves him to write. He initially lived in Owerri with his parents, Mr and Mrs Aniche and his beloved uncle Akachi, before his accountant father was transferred to Abuja, on account of his honesty and determination towards his job. Through Dalu’s diary, we are able to understand the inner workings of the young boy’s mind, his family, his closeness with his uncle, his view of his maternal aunt and her erratic daughter and most of all, his percept

Writers against the Bullying of Otosirieze Obi-Young and the Obfuscation of Truth

A STATEMENT BY WRITERS IN SUPPORT OF OTOSIRIEZE OBI-YOUNG In light of recent tweets and threads going around about the former Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper and the resistance to what many consider an unfortunate muzzling of truth, we, his colleagues and friends, would like to make a few things clear: We have worked with Otosirieze Obi-Young for years, have disagreed with him on many occasions, and never have we felt disrespected or stifled by him. We know and have often celebrated his firm commitment to diversifying the literary scene, giving young writers visibility, his efforts to make sure that prizes think of more writers than the already-known, especially those writers living on the continent; his push for the establishment of the Brittle Paper Awards is one example of concrete ways in which this commitment has been put to work. On Facebook, we have seen him talk passionately and with deep knowledge about the state of African writing and what needs to be done to enhance it,

Chetachi Igbokwe: What it Means to Attend Chimamanda Adichie’s Writing Workshop

Chetachi Igbokwe  is a final year student of English and Literary Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is the current editor of the University of Nigeria’s student journal,  The Muse , a journal of creative and critical writing, founded by Chinua Achebe in 1963. He is a 2019 alumnus of the Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop, facilitated by the Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. What was it like having to be taught by the amazing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Was it your first time of applying?  CHETACHI IGBOKWE : Thanks to Black Boy Review for affording me this platform. I respect Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and being taught by her was a great deal for me. Having read everything she has published thus far, starting from her first novel,  Purple Hibiscus,  which was a tour de force, it is evident that every generation must feel blessed to be graced with a writer like her. Originally, I knew about the workshop from close friends. I also knew h