My people see me see trouble oh! As you may well be aware by now if you are a good student of my writings, my father is a very intelligent and practical man given my numerous references to him.
This position is also not lost on my wife who has experienced him directly.
Hence, you can imagine how it felt when that luminous painting of my father came under a threat by no other person than his childhood friend’s son.
He practically sent me into a night investigation where I spent some precious time I did not budget to!
We went to see some relatives that got bereaved last night, lo and behold, as introductions were going on amongst the women, one of them expressed delight at hearing the name of my father when my wife introduced herself.
Guess what? He remembered him. The patron that always donated a cow to her secondary school every year while she was at the college.
We quickly got talking and I also brought to her knowledge that my dad actually did more than the cow and rice that went with it.
I mentioned that he also salvaged their structurally damaged multi-storey classroom building using his expertise as an experienced engineer.
He carved out an underground Home Economics classroom and furnished it as well from part of the consequential re-design as he had to excavate the foundation and reinforce it using bridge building techniques.
It turned out there were two of them present who benefited from the cow chopping period and I later got my dad to confirm that night that the cow scheme ran for just six years as he was anticipating that some other persons would elect to continue from his example, but that dream did not ever materialize.
The rude shock of the night was when this dude, whom again my wife had managed somehow to connect us to, dropped the bomb shell from nowhere, “nna m ka nna gi mara akwukwo” (my father is more intelligent than your father ) and my father cannot lie!
My wife had earlier pointed out that the wife resembled my cousin’s wife and as they made the introductions, it turned out to be true, this then triggered a further introduction involving this time her husband, who on hearing my father’s name again went on the offensive with the bomb.
On hearing the allegation, I told him there was no need arguing since my father was still alive, I assured him that I am sure his father just lied, maybe at least once in this instance.
To settle the matter was simple, we exchanged contacts and especially the name my father will identify his father by and when I contact my father to find out the details, then, we can come back to reassess.
In fact, he said his father told him that he was supposed to be where my father is currently in terms of academic achievement.
All said, we had fun and went home but not without the burning urge to rest the case as soon as possible.
So I quickly and confidently put a call through to my father immediately we got home.
I had the phone on speaker so my wife will hear as well, so no one will accuse me of having twisted my father’s response.
“Daaddy anyi huru one guy this night si na nna ya ka gi mara akwukwo,” o si na aha ya bu Mgbadike (daddy we saw a guy that said his dad was more intelligent than you while you were in school, he said his name is Mgbadike (not the real name)).
Oh, he has another name, the real name is Mgbadike Ozamgbo , we were class mates.
It turned out that my dad actually went to school with Mgbadike’s dad. He pointed out that he is amongst the three of them still living that were part of the pioneer set at Isuofia that did standard six at Eke Ekwulobia!
Mgbadike turned out to be brilliant quite alright but the question then was why that brilliance did not translate into a desire to further his education past the standard six like my father did.
Mind you, this was an era of general poverty and it was not as if my dad had any advantage over him in terms of wealth.
My dad was not only brilliant but was ready to go the extra mile to quench his thirst for the newly arrived white man’s education and this earned him the first engineer title from the village.
This desire meant he traded the option of a promise of a brand new bicycle and a free wife offered him by his father who must have thought it was an easier option.
Payment of his school fees was eventually worked out between the umunna (kindred), my grandfather’s and the church, I think!
It turned out that my dad had earlier gone to Ozalla village in the recent past (couple of weeks back) to ask Mgbadike to remind him of the details of some circumstances surrounding their primary school days as part of some writing he was doing.
With my research result handy, I am waiting for Mgbadike’s son and I hope he will have explanations for this wild goose chase he sent me cause am sure his father must have told him the truth but he chose to “bobo” me.
Next time we will meet will be at his book launch which he promised to invite me to shortly and I am patiently waiting.
Obidike Peter wrote from www.peterobidike.com and firstname.lastname@example.org