Village Court 1

As Badejo walked towards his home the only thing that filled his heart was regret. He regretted what he did to his wife the day before. He promised himself to go in and beg his damsel, Aduke. He would touch the dimple on her cheek and Aduke would burst into laughter and also reply with her usual I don’t like it o, I don’t like it o. That was the perfect plan which has had a hundred percent success rate till that moment.

As he drew nearer to his home in Gbaborun village, he saw friends, family and some other villagers gather in front of his house crying, lamenting, and demonstrating all manner of sorrowful gestures. As he entered into the house’s passage way, he saw a body dangling from a rope. It didn’t take long for him to identify his wife’s favorite wrapper and her newly made hair. He drew closer and inserted one of her feet into his mouth before he started crying profusely.

suicide

***

At the village court where all would shortly give their account, the king’s arrival was awaited and all four village judges were seated. Each of the four testifiers had taken a portion of Ifa’s confession drink – Ote. Any one that Ifa finds guilty of telling a lie after drinking Ote will be struck dead with no time for explanation. Four people were to be investigated for Aduke’s death. Badejo, Asake his mother Fasakin their family head and Faleke the Ifa priest. These names were forwarded to the king by the town crier who heard the information circulating on Aduke’s mysterious death. Shortly before she went into the house to hang herself, she kept repeating those four names to Taiba her closest friend. She was cursing the day she met each one of them, especially her husband and the old man, Fasakin.

King and chiefs

The king could not afford to let this matter pass without getting to the root of it. He had been heavily criticized by his people since he inherited the throne. The people saw him as weak and unstable. After hearing the story around Aduke’s death he realized this was an opportunity to redeem his image using his newly elected jury – the Alagboye. He swore to his death during the last meeting at the palace to bring everyone that was involved to justice. This had pleased his chiefs and they hailed him with a lot of satisfaction. That was the kind of king they wanted.

When the king arrived, he cut short every ceremony and asked that the confessions start. He first nodded to Badejo, the late Aduke’s husband.

With many tears and long pauses and gestures that included biting of fingers, nodding his head in regret etc, Badejo opened his mouth. I loved Aduke with all my life. It’s just the demonic anger that gets hold of me. Whenever I see her with another man I get very jealous. If I ask her who it was and she gives me no answer like she always did, the demons would possess me and they would start beating and kicking her with my hands and legs. Yesterday, my friend told me that he saw her with an elderly man and I got angry. I asked her who the man was and like she always did, she looked at me and only responded with fear. Those demons again climbed my back and sat on my head. Sobing… I did not know Aduke would kill herself. Badejo wept bitterly until the king got tired of watching and decided to move on.

The king stretched his staff to Badejo’s mother. Woman, what is your contribution to Aduke’s death?

Asake heaved a heavy sigh as she began. Kaaabiyesioooo. It is not the first time that Aduke came knocking on my door to report her husband to me. Sometimes she comes with a swollen lip, at times with red eyes but yesterday was a bit more than ordinary. Two teeth had gone. But like our custom is, it is the head of the family that judges that type of matter. So I usually referred her to our head – Elder Fasakin.

Is that all? Why did you take no action yourself when you realized that this did not stop? The king said in reply to the old woman, Asake.

Asake, remembering the Ifa portion continued: No Kabiyesi. She started sobbing. It was I. I hated Aduke because she did not give my son a child. All the time I asked my son to leave her, he would refuse. I was then hoping that the beatings would continue and she would forcefully pack all her things. Then my son would marry a new wife. When she came yesterday, she told me that she could no longer bear it. For the first time I abused her. I called her a barren pig and asked her to leave my son alone. I later told my friend to get ready. We had planned to give her only daughter to my son as wife.

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