Varsha 2020 Issue, Stories - Temitope Olorunfunmi


The Deliverance Session

By Temitope Olorunfunmi


Kunle Ajadi stared helplessly as he was dragged into the rusty black gates of Second Baptism Church. He lost a leg of his slippers while the thugs dragged him along thestreets, and his left feet scrapped the scraggly ground. One minute, his shirtwas slung over his shoulder while he snacked on a slice of bread and juice and went over some designs for Bagkhan Limited with Mr.Bagus Batsaikhan. The next minute, a loud bang on the metal door startled them.


“Sadiqaa, who is that?”Mr.Bagus asked. He wiped the bread crumbs from his lips delicately.


“I don’t know.” The words were barely out of Kunle’s mouth when the door gave in and four gruff looking thugs barged in. They looked like they lived in the gym and had painful boils under both armpits and crotch.


“See them.” One of the thugs announced as they made way for Madam Kofo and Mr. Sannito come into sight.


Madam Kofo, the treasurer for the Landlords’ Association, raised the left end of her lips in derision and eyed Kunle wickedly. Then she turned to a stunned Mr.Bagus with mock sympathy and a half-hearted chuckle.


“Oya, carry them. Nonsense and nonsensical.”Mr.Sanni, the Landlord’s Association president bellowed. Spittle flew from his mouth and landed on Kunle’s face.


Kunle made to wipe the spittle off his face with his wrist. Mistaking it as a form of attack, two thugs descended on him. They grabbed his arms and lifted him, effortlessly, off the old and depressed sofa. Kunle had little time to react but he managed to shuffle into his pair of slippers before the thugs whisked him out of his self-contain apartment.


He was exhausted from fighting to break free from them and simply willed himself to be dragged on. He dropped his face to minimize the shame as nosy pedestrians and neighbours stared and chattered loudly as they angled their smartphones to get a good recording of what would be the evening’s gist.


Right behind him, Mr.Bagus cursed, in flawless Yoruba betrayed by an Arabic tongue, and valiantly struggled against the other two thugs restraining his arms. Madam Kofo and Mr.Sanni stuck their noses in the air like overburdened camels struggling with the weight of the journey ahead.


Mr.Bagus turned to Kunle. “What’s all this?”


“I don’t…”


“Eish! Shut up.’ One of the gruff men interrupted Kunle nasally. “Every day is for the thief. One day is for the owner.”


“I still don’t unders–.” This time, Kunle was cut short by a slap. He winced and spat out blood.


“Yes, give him another one,” Mr.Sanni called out. “Give him.”


“Abi? All these useless boys spoiling the name of our community and even the country. How are we to fight corruption when they are busy deceiving and stealing money from the white man?” Madam Kofo added.


Clattering of stainless plate stopped them in their tracks. Madam Kofo pointed at the direction of noise. It was from the church building.The building wasa ramshackle, consisting of six tilting termite infested tree logs thatbarely held up old aluminium roofing sheets.Torn cellophane sheets fluttered noisily over the two couches of cement blocks that linked the logs on both sides.


The red, green and yellow ribbon strips tied haphazardly against the logs contrasted sharply against the white and purple pleated ribbon designs on the green painted plywood at the stage. The plywood was actually broken and supported behind by three sticks. A dead clock, with broken minutes and second hands, hung carelessly on the plywood. At a corner inside the church, a faded wrapper draped on a rope tied around the logs, did a poor job of concealing an old mattress, cluttered clothes and other messy personal effects in a makeshift bedroom.


Pastor Jegede dashed into the makeshift bedroom and emerged with a bowl of water. He hurriedly washed his hands, poured the used water on the ground, in between the rows of benches, and threw the empty bowl on a clutter of used plates at a corner. He wiped his hands against his white soutane but a trail of greasy, green and red liquid was left on the garment.


Kunle huffed at a whiff of stale urine emanating from the growth of tall grasses surrounding the church. He spat on the ground.


“Look, the pastor.” Madam Kofo said.


Kunle regarded Pastor Jegede coldly as he grabbed a bell and ran out of the church. Pastor Jegede was Kunle’s bully through secondary school and he graduated into a serial neighbourhood thief and adulterer, who claimed to have gotten his calling after been knocked out from an unreasonable combination of Tramadol, marijuana and some expired painkillers.


The thugs pushed Kunle and Mr.Bagusto the ground.


Pastor Jegede stopped in front of them and pulled up his dirty soutane. He looked from Kunle to Mr.Bagus – a long piercing look. Kunle looked away, unable to maintain eye contact. Dark eyeliner accentuated Pastor Jegede’s cross-eyes. Pastor Jegede resumed marching and jumping.


Mr.Sanni nodded with each step and Madam Kofo muttered, ‘Yes, pastor. Amin.’


Kunle wondered what she was saying Amen to.


“Who are you?”


Kunle exchanged questioning glances with Mr.Bagus, both not knowing whom the question or Pastor Jegede’s eyes were directed at.


“I said: who are you?” Pastor Jegede thundered.


“I am Mr.Bagus…” Mr.Bagus began.


“No, not you.’ Pastor Jegede interrupted and pointed at Kunle. ‘You, who are you?”


Kunle swallowed phlegm. He was a mystery in Kolawapo Street. No one knew what he did for a living, or they pretended not to. And the fact that he kept to himself, stayed indoors most of the time,and was always seen with a laptop did not help matters. No one cared if he grew up on the street and maintained the apartment after his parents moved to their partly completed house at Atan.


Neither did they care that he was a straight A’s student who graduated with a 2.1 from the Computer Science department at the prestigious University of Lagos. Or that he was neatly and responsibly dressed, unlike the hippie youthswho smoked and waylaid skimpily dressed underage girls behind parked vehicles at night. One thing was clear – an open secret. The whole neighbourhood had tagged him as a scammer. As Pastor Jegede pointed at him, Kunle feared that he wouldn’t escape such misconception.


Pastor Jegede took a step towards Kunle.“I said: who are you? Are you deaf?”


“Ehn, pastor. He would not talk. He’s one of them,’ Madam Kofo said.


“Hmm!” Pastor Jegede wriggled fiercely. The bell he held almost hit Kunle’s head as he wriggled and jumped around menacingly.


“Can someone tell me the meaning of this madness?’Mr.Bagus asked. ‘Oh, wait, I know. This is a test.”


“What test?” Madam Kofo asked.


“You people are undercover agent trying to see if my love for Nigeria is true. This is a test to determine if I qualify for citizenship.”


Madam Kofo and Mr. Sanni stared at themselves.


“This is no test.”


“So, what is happening?”


“This boy is a yahoo yahoo boy.” Mr.Sanni answered. Kunle sighed, knowingly.


“No, I think they are now called G Boys.’ Madam Kofo corrected. ‘My daughter said so.”


“No, no. That’s not right. This boy is not a yahoo yahoo boy. He is a good boy. He is honest, loyal and creative like most Nigerians I have known.”


Madam Kofo shook her head and grunted, “A child does not know weed and calls it vegetable. We are only helping you. See, let me tell you, this boy is a 419 boy, and he has used his charm to draw you from America to Nigeria so that he can collect all your American dollars.”


“Ahhkk!’ Mr.Bagus bit his hand in frustration. ‘This story is, is… is khatia! This story is false. It is blowing my head into pieces.”


Mr.Sanni and Madam Kofo stared at Mr.Bagus in confusion.


“I am not from America, and I have lived in Nigeria for fifteen years now.”


Pastor Jegede rang his bell.


“This juju is very powerful.’ Pastor Jegede began. ‘Something is telling me that it is very powerful. It is even more powerful than I thought it would be. This boy has gone to the very depths of the marine world to get his powers. He has even slept with a chronic mad woman from Yaba to be strong. This boy that you are seeing. Hmm! This boy is not an ordinary boy o. He has eaten concoctions with the devil inside the plantain tree at the centre of the thick forest. I must tell you, my people. This juju is powerful.”


Madam Kofo held her head in agony. “Yeh, Jesu.”


“It is good that you brought them here. I am going to deliver them – him -- by the god of Second Baptism Church.”


“Amen,” Madam Kofo and Mr.Sanni chorused.


“I am going to deliver them, I mean,him. The god of Second Baptism Church will heal him.” Pastor Jegede said, pointing at Mr.Bagus for emphasis.


“But I am not sick.”


“Shh! Shh!” Pastor Jegede cautioned sharply and looked into the air as if following the trail of an invisible being. “Don’t say that in the presence of the god of Second Baptism Church. Your denial only means that you don’t have faith, my dear child. And the god of Second Baptism does not like that.”


Kunle chuckled silently at young Pastor Jegede calling Mr.Bagus, a sixty-something year old, my dear child.


“Don’t worry my child,” Pastor Jegede continued. “My faith will make up for your lack of faith. I will break the very powers of the marine world, however deep they may be.I am going to break the chains of madness, no matter how powerful they may be. I am going to purge this man of the power of the concoctions. I said: I am going to free this man from the powers of this boy.”


“Amen.” Madam Kofo and Mr.Sanni chorused again.


“I will free him.”




“I will free him and he will return to America.”


“I said I am not from America!” Mr.Bagus shouted, amidst Madam Kofo and Mr.Sanni’s mechanical chorus of ‘Amen.’


“Don’t worry. By the time I am through with you,you will know that Jesus is Lord. Your eyes would open. You would look at the mirror and say, ‘Yes, I am an American.’ You would embrace your Americanism and be proud to return.”


Mr.Bagus sighed deeply.“Pastor, My name is Bagus Batsaikhan…”


Pastor Jegede slapped Mr.Bagus’ forehead.


“No. Your name is Alan Smith from Kentucky in U.S.A. Now say it.”


Mr.Bagus flinched at the pain, trying to control himself.


“Say after me: My name is Alan Smith from Kentucky in U.S.A.” Pastor Jegede enunciated his words and waited for Mr.Bagus to repeat.


“But…,’ Mr.Bagus stammered, ‘but… I am from En Naqoura in Lebanon. I have never been to America. I came to Nigeria by accident fifteen years ago but it has now become my home. I am proud to tell you that I have been in love with Nigeria, ever since. In fact, I so much love Nigerian food, especially amala, ewedu and gbegiri. I enjoy eating it at Mama Sekinat’s buka.”


“Ah!” Madam Kofo and Mr.Sanni chorused.


“To show you how much I love Nigerian food, I can tell you that that stain on your cloth is ewedu and palm oil stew.”


Pastor Jegede looked down at the stain and wiped it with his palm as he hurriedly changed the topic. “Did he take you there?”


“No, it was my friend, Ebuka, Importer and Exporter.234,Awolowo Way, Ikeja. He was my first friend when I came to Lagos fifteen years ago.”


“This one don go.’ Madam Kofo lamented, slapping her sides. ‘The madness has taken total control of his life”


“Oh, so, our Nigerian boys have been giving you enough concoctions since you came to Nigeria.”


“Madhataqul? What are you saying? I think I do not understand you. Or you don’t understand me.”


“Never mind. I don’t need to understand you. The one that understands your situation is greater than you and me. The god of Second Baptism Church understands you.’ Pastor Jegede rang his bell and shook his head as he turned to the community leaders. ‘I said it. It is the concoction. It is the marine world. It is the madness. But now that we have identified the problem, the solution is just at our backyard. We are getting there.”


“Amen!” Madam Kofo and Mr.Sanni chorused.


“Wait, wait. You people do not know who you are dealing with. I am the CEO of Bagkhan Limited and I was going over some advert materials Kunle was working on for my company when your boys barged in on us and brought us here.”


“Hmm! Hmm!”Pastor Jegede marched around Kunle and Mr.Bagus. He suddenly stopped and dipped a hand into the side pocket of his soutane. A cigarette stick fell out as he brought out a scented candle and matches. Pastor Jegede masterfully placed a foot on it as he lit the candle and grabbed Mr.Bagus’ head with his right hand. Kunle watched as Pastor Jegede’s dirty nails clawed into Mr.Bagus’ forehead. Pastor Jegede vibrated and rocked Mr.Bagus violently.


“What’s happening, pastor?”


Pastor Jegede pushed Mr.Bagus’ head forcefully.


“I am trying to gain access into his brain so as to reformat everything that this boy has programmed in his head. But it is difficult to gain access into his brain. It’s like this boy has locked this man’s brain and thrown the key into the Atlantic Ocean.”


“Ah, Jesu!”


Kunleshook his head. He never left the country, yet he was seen in a vision leaving the shores of Nigeria just to go throw a key into the Atlantic Ocean. Such naivety, he concluded.


“But do not worry. Nothing is too much for the god of Second Baptism Church to do. I will go into the spirits and jump into the Atlantic Ocean. I will bring out the key from the Atlantic Ocean. Then, I will come back and unlock this man’s brain. Then, this man will realize how much he has been scammed andused. Then he will go back to his country, America.”


“Are you crazy? Majnoonenta? Majnoon? I said: I am not from America.”


“Shut up there!’ Mr.Sanni shouted in Yoruba. ‘We are only trying to help you here. Just keep quiet and you can return to your country.”


“Oh! I said I don’t want to go back to my country na.’ Mr.Bagus cried out. ‘I am in love with Nigeria and I am not going anywhere.”


Madam Kofo and Mr.Sanni stared at him, incomprehensibly.


“I love this country o. I love the people. I love Nigerian food very, very well o.” Mr.Bagus added in Yoruba.


“Yeh!’ Madam Kofo held her head in agony. ‘You are right o, pastor. This thing is very powerful o. He’s even speaking Yoruba. Very soon, he will change his skin to black and even start claiming Nigeria. Then he will try to contest for governor or president.”


“That is if this boy has not finished with him and moved on to another maga.’ Mr.Sanni turned to Pastor Jegede. ‘Pastor, what do we do? We need to deliver this man fast fast.”


“Don’t worry. It will be done. Just give me seven days. After seven days, with the help of the god of Second Baptism Church, nobody would show this man the way to the airport. What would be on his mind would be ‘America, America, here I come!’ You just have to bring One hundred and Fifty thousand Naira, two…”


“Pastor, ehn? One hundred and Fifty thousand kini? What is that? We don’t have money o.” Madam Kofo interjected.


“It’s true, pastor. We don’t have money. So many landlords have not paid monthly levy. They don’t even come to Landlords’ Association meeting anymore, so we don’t get Association levy again. But,between me we and Madam Kofo, we can manage fifteen thousand. ’Mr.Sanni added. ‘if this thing is possible…”


“It will be possible.” Pastor Jegede assured.


“I mean, when it is possible and the other landlords see it, we can bring you more money.”


Pastor Jegee hissed. “But, erm, fifteen thousand is too small.”


“Pastor, manage the fifteen thousand.At least for now.”


“Okay. One hundred.”


“Pastor, you have to understand. We don’t really have money like that. We are only doing this to clear our street from reproach.”


“I know, but this is work. I have to work. What I am just saying is that you give the god of Second Baptism Church something to bless so that the miracle would be complete.”


“Okay, pastor. Let’s do twenty thousand Naira.”




“Last price.”


Pastor Jegede scratched his head, and kicked dust. “Okay. Now we have to lay the foundation for the miracle. Close your eyes and hold my hands. We have to form a circle around them and pray. Pray with all your hearts.”


Madam Kofo, Mr.Sanni and the thugs held Pastor Jegede’s hands and formed a circle. They stamped their legs in careless rhythm to the cacophony their raised voices made.

Kunle turned to an amused Mr.Bagus.


“Run.” He mouthed.


“What? Is the test over?”


“I said, run. Run like your life depends on it.”




Kunle dashed up. He dragged Mr.Bagus and pushed him through an opening in the circle. He hurried him out of the compound and they ran away from the church until the sounds of praying was just a distant memory.




Olorunfunmi D. Temitope from Nigeria is a graduate of Fine Arts and was the assistant editor of Position International Arts Review, and Lagos Liaison officer for Life in My City Arts Festival. He is a freelance Scriptwriter for Genesis Studios and was a Production Writer for Micromedia Marketing Limited. His short story Our Dreams Have Gone Out was one of the highly commended short-stories in the Sentinel Nigeria All-Africa Short Story Competition 2013 and he was a long-listed writer in the Golden Baobab prize 2013. His works are published in the Africa Book Club anthology 'A Bundle of Joy and Other Stories from Africa.' .


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