The Crocodile

The Crocodile

The Crocodile



Her father was an unrepentant skirt chaser

As a husband he was useless

His wife, her mother, was always unhappy and sad

It wasn’t as if she had not come to terms with his skirt chasing nature

It was the lack of decorum and respect that got to her

He would carry his girlfriends to family gatherings, social gatherings and the like

Many a time, she would ask him very carefully if he would be bringing any of his babes to the occasion so that she will know if she should attend or not

She hated being embarrassed in public

She especially disliked the look on the faces of their friends and relatives on the occasions she met her husband and one or two or his side chicks at a social gathering

She didn’t know what to call it, that look




Some other wives at such a gathering had gotten used to it

They call such women ‘B’eleja yan’

Literary meaning “Helpers of the fish smoker to smoke her fish”

Those wives would endeavor to move closer to her

Her mother was the educated one, the one with the long titles after her name, the one that schooled in Europe

Her mother couldn’t stomach it

But that was the 70s and early 80s

It was the norm

Even in the churches all over the country

It was an open secret

80% of the men had side chicks

The wife was admonished to take solace in her ring and legal status

“Iyawo Alarede”

“Legal wife”

Her father seemed either not to care or to believe he was invincible

He believed he was doing the best he should as a man for his family

They had a roof over their heads, food on the table, clothes on their back and they were all getting a good education

She remembered vividly when her mother gave birth to their last child

She was already ten years old

The child was the fifth child

The one they didn’t want to have but had all the same

During the naming ceremony of the baby

Seven side chicks of her father were present

One even cooked and hosted her own friends at the party

She observed this from afar and didn’t understand it

Were women supposed to be that “rudderless” in life?

Her father didn’t stop there

He impregnated a woman and the woman delivered the baby

He insisted he would marry the woman

Her mother said no

It became an issue

Her mother and the four children moved out

Her father and his new wife moved in

The new wife was a young woman

About eleven years older than her

She was fourteen when it happened!

Her mother had a very good job and she had always been the one supporting the family

She was the one putting a roof over their head and food on the table

Her father was only taking all the plaudits

She had assumed they would suffer when they moved out

They didn’t!

Life continued as usual

Only there was nobody driving down the street late at night totting horns

Nobody coming home reeking of alcohol and nicotine

Nobody coming home smelling of garlic and barbecued meat

She missed him

He was a good man

He was the only male in their household of women

Her mother had four girls

She tried for a fifth child hoping it would be a boy but she miscarried

She miscarried three times

The doctors said “No more”

Her father took it as the perfect excuse

To execute a plan that was inevitable from the outset

Her father’s new wife delivered a set of twin boys

That was the moment she lost faith in God!

She had prayed that the new wife would only have girls like her mother

Her father’s wickedness shouldn’t have been rewarded by God

God had practically taken sides with the oppressor

Didn’t God say he was the defender of the defenseless?

Her mother didn’t say anything

But her heart was equally broken

Her place another had taken

What she couldn’t do, another had done!

Her father got his scion

His Ishmael!

By the time she graduated from the university, her father had given birth to three more children

Another set of twins (girls) and another boy

Her father was already in his fifties but remained a leopard

He wouldn’t change his ways even after marrying a second wife

He continued to chase skirts

He was helped by a sudden promotion and transfer from the office

He was Posted somewhere in the South-south

As the regional manager of his company

He was a banker

His new wife was not a slacker like her mother

She knew her father was cheating on her

She knew he did it so brazenly because he had asset and cash

She began to sell off his assets one by one in his absence

He had a farm, she sold it

He had a factory. She sold it

He had a resort center, she sold it

He had three other houses in the city, she sold them

She found herself a young lover and ran off to Canada

Her father came home one day to find his five children huddled together in a heap

He didn’t believe it

His wife had vanished!

The next day he discovered he had practically been plunged into debt by his wife

The properties she sold were his future

He fell sick immediately

By the time they rushed him to the hospital he had lost his sight

He didn’t go completely blind but he was legally blind

His family members did everything to could

He was told by spiritualists that it was the handiwork of his vanished wife

She wanted to give him a proper distraction that will prevent him from looking for her

She succeeded

He forgot all about her and focused on himself

He needed people around him to care for him

The family remembered her mother

How good and godly a wife she was

She was also a nurse

Although she specialized in Family planning

They came begging

Her mother said No

She said No

Her siblings said No

The family begged and begged

Her mother didn’t budge

The family came and dumped their father at their door the next day

Her mother cried when she saw him

“What have you done to yourself, you this man?” her mother kept saying

She couldn’t push him out

She took him in

With prayer and medical attention

He recovered

He pleaded that the family should move back to his house

His house was a ten-bedroom mansion

They were living in a three-bedroom flat

It wasn’t large enough to accommodate him and his other five children

Her mother moved back into the mansion with him

By this time, she and her siblings were already working or about graduating from the university

The five younger children became her mother’s pet project

She nursed them and saw to their schooling

Her father started a piggery in the vast compound of the mansion to keep body and soul together

Things picked up a little

Five years later, her mother died

She wasn’t sick

She simply labored on and on in the name of love until life left her

Her father was devastated

Two years later, she brought home her husband

Her father accepted him

Her day of joy had finally come

Then her father told her boldly

“The mother of the twins in back from Canada, she is begging me to take her back! I am considering it because of the children!”

Which children?

The children who by the time were teenagers?

The last child was thirteen and already in the boarding school

The twins were already in the university

What children?

Her father was lonely, he needed company

That was understandable

He wanted to take back his wicked thief of a wife

Fine! His problem

But to use her wedding as her launching pad?

To announce to the world she was back by seating in her mother’s space?

By desecrating the memory of her mother and acting as and for her mother on her wedding day?


Her father pleaded and begged

He had found religion in his late sixties and began to preach

He said all sorts

Her husband to be also pleaded

“It is just for one day! Let us honour his wishes”

She refused

Her father cried and begged!

The wife also cried and begged!

Why must she be at her wedding?

Was there something fetish she intended to do?

Could her motivation be extra-mundane?

Could she be planning something?

She had never been friends with the woman’

She had never trusted her

The usurper and wicked thief

Why does she want to sit as her mother on her wedding day?

She went on her knees and prayed!

“Father, please reveal to me the hidden mysteries here, I know something was afoot but I cannot decipher it by my own knowledge”

That night, she saw her mother in her dream

Her mother took her to two rivers

Her mother said: This pure spring is for you, it is the spring and source for you and your children forever! Even the children of another, for whom I labored and cared are now of this pure source! You know I am in the Light and the Light of Christ of which I belong springs forth the river of life. Drink and live to the full.

Then her mother took her to another river

The water was dirty and infested with all sorts of germs and a crocodile

Her mother said: This is the source of another, the crocodile, she had consulted and seen it. If you kneel down and she laid her hands on your head, she will steal your pure spring forever. She had been fortified for it. That was the glory she came for. Do not let her lay her hands on you to pray for you!

When she woke up, she understood!

She dragged her man to her church a month later

They had a quiet wedding

Only ten people were in attendance

Her Father’s younger brother and her mother’s younger sister stood as her parents

Her man’s family were also present

They got married

She sent the wedding pictures and a letter of apology to her father

His wife left him the very next day and never came back

Confirming her mother’s warning to her

Her father forgave her and she moved on with her life

Her siblings were all equally married and enjoying the goodness of God

On the wedding day of the twins

Her father sent for their mother to come over and stand as their mother

Their mother died in a ghastly motor accident on the way to the venue

The news was not broken to the twins until after the wedding

She was the one who stood in the gap and blessed them

She remembered what her mother said

“Even her children, which I cared for are now of the pure source”