Sunday, April 15, 2012

Riflo Rifala

Riflo as he was popularly known was born in Nnewi. His father was from Nnewi and his mother was from Onitsha, so he was between Nnewi and Onitsha but a denizen of neither. Between these two cities were business savvy geniuses who could sell a hen in a bag or even sell you the egg as a hen. When he is on the phone, you will think he is quarreling with someone, but you will only know he is enjoying when he starts to laugh like thunder. For one reason or the other, that spirit of business did not seem to flow in his vein because no matter what he tried to do, he failed in it woefully. He had had so many failures that as if fueled by schadenfreude, some people sarcastically and sardonically called him Riff Raff. A business idea came to his mind; that of starting a church. Him and another companion in misery decided to do a joint venture. Then one day, I say one day, their star shone.
Riflo and his friend met a juju man who told them that he had a potion that could attract even the most hardened of criminals to follow him. Riflo explained to his friend that they did not have anything to lose in trying it. They contributed some money and made a down payment for their juju. It was given to them in a small bag that they needed to keep lugubriously underneath the pulpit on their altar. When the bag is placed there, anyone passing had to stop to attend service there and give them offerings before they continued to their own church or go home if they were no more going to church. Their church was growing, and they were now the talk of the town as two mighty men of God demonstrating the power of our Lord Jesus Christ with signs and wonders.
From mouth to ear, radio to villages and TV to cities, their news went across the place about the covenant Church of Our Lord. Whether to seek Jesus or to show off people came to their church. Underneath that physical growth laid a serious schism between Riflo and his friend. His friend felt marginalized because Riflo was not sharing their spoils or booty paripassu. He had tried for Riflo to consider that they were partners and not master and subordinate to no avail. As you know, the love of money is the root of all evil. Consequently, at the time that Riflo and his friend were gaining some gravitas, calamity struck. Armed robbers broke into Riflo’s house and stole only that bag.
When the robbers left, Riflo began to cry. He sobbed and cried, mourned and wept until mucus mixed with tears dripped from his nostrils and eyes to form a homogeneous compound like baby lotion. When they asked Riflo what the robbers took, he merely uttered a rictus and cried louder. Church members tried to console him, promising to make donations so that he will replace what the canker worm had eaten. The more they promised and tried to console him, the more he cried. Finally, he told the people that it was his evangelism bag.
             So the church members and volunteers each promised to donate a hundred fold so that the content of the evangelistic bag will be replaced. They imagined that in an evangelistic bag would only be a bible and some tracts. To Riflo, it was more than that. He cried again because he knew that in a few days the source of his membership growth will be severed. That made him weep the more. A few days later, his coworker announced he will be leaving him to start his own church. There, riflo began nursing a feeling of suspicion, but he did not know how to say it. That same church that was bubbling a few weeks ago is now going dry like a creek in the dry season. You see water in the morning and but in the evening, there is no more any water. Riflo cried again, this time asking neighbors and well-wishers if they had seen his evangelistic bag.
When Riflo’s coworker began his own church, he dug the pulpit and buried the bag with its juju content in it. The same exponential growth they had experienced with Riflo was now his portion. Riflo now was convinced his friend had played the trick on him. He fulminated and cautioned to spill the bean if he did not surrender the bag. He contacted his friend’s uncle and told him to warn his nephew to bring his evangelistic bag. His friend told his uncle that it is not an evangelist bag; that Riflo Rifala had something he was hiding and that he should come out clean. He bedaubed him to no effect.
Riflo’s church had finally gone dead.  He waited until his friend was coming out of church and he attacked him. The parishioners separated them and some elders took them into a room for brotherly negotiations. There, in there, his friend will reveal that the said bag Riflo Rifala has been mourning for is no evangelistic bag as he put it; it is  a juju bag they used to win members into their church. The members dug out the bag and burnt it. At the time they were burning it, Riflo and his friend both cried and were holding each other as true companions they were in their previous time of distress. Together in unison, they cried the juju bag and again the mucus from their nostrils and tears from their eyes formed a homogenous mixture, this time like baby vomit. The devil gave, the devil has taken. When the devil gives you anything, he associates it will evil. That was the last time I ever heard or saw Riflo Rifala. I don’t know if he has died by now or he has started another church. Do you know where he lives?  

Until then, Riflo Should count on the power of God to work for Him.

St Arrey of Ntenako.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

"Do you have family here?"

People always ask me each time I meet a new person, “Do you have family here?” Sometimes, when I meet a white person, he or she always...