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This boy left home for GCE three years ago, up till now he has not returned

Posted by Dada Aladelokun on 2005/08/29 | Views: 657 |

This boy left home for GCE three years ago, up till now he has not returned


Early enough on October 13, 2002, Efon-Alaaye, Ekiti State-born Remi Olowookere was out of bed. Alongside other members of his household, he exchanged fond pleasantries with his first child, Remi Olowookere Jnr, whom he loves so much. According to him, “we shared a very sweet morning.” But hours later, he realised it was indeed, a good morning on a bad day!

Early enough on October 13, 2002, Efon-Alaaye, Ekiti State-born Remi Olowookere was out of bed. Alongside other members of his household, he exchanged fond pleasantries with his first child, Remi Olowookere Jnr, whom he loves so much. According to him, “we shared a very sweet morning.” But hours later, he realised it was indeed, a good morning on a bad day!

How unreliable fate is! Believe it, since about 7.30 am that day, when the 58-year-old Olowookere savoured the pleasant moment with “easy-going” Remi, who turned 28 on July 20, they have not met each other. No, not death, nor did Remi travel out of the country!

Yes, curious; that is perhaps the most apt word for it. The expression was visible on Olowookere, the managing director of Prince of Prints when, on Friday last week, he told his story to Saturday Punch at his Karimu Street, Surulere, Lagos office. “We were still living at 16, Ore Ofe Street, Ejigbo when, that day, he left home with his younger brother, Ayodeji. They went for GCE examinations in Adaloko area of Badagry. As we are speaking now, I am yet to set my eyes on him,” crestfallen, he said, as he shook his head violently in self-pity.

“That sounds unbelievable,” wondered the correspondent. After a long pulse, he drew an alarming sigh of agony, blinked his bloodshot eyes and opened up, “No person I have told readily believed it, but you should know that it is not the kind of thing one can joke with. I mean that the terrible wind of life has blown my own Remi away to God-knows-where for three years now. There is nothing I have not done to have him back.”

But one would have expected Remi to return home with his brother. This, Olowookere explained, “Remi is the child any parent would pray for. He is easygoing, humble and respectful. He would not quarrel with anybody. He is not wayward; that is why when Ayodeji returned without him, we did not entertain any fear. We asked him where his brother was, and he told us he said that he would soon join him. But surprisingly, we waited endlessly throughout the day without seeing him; it was then we suspected that we were in trouble. I have been to all known cells, prisons and police stations. There is no manner of spiritualist I have not visited, all for the boy I love so much that I gave him my own name. I have sold so many properties including land, and sincerely, I don’t know how much his mother, Lara and I have spent. At a point, I was back to point zero, where it was difficult for us to eat.”

As a devout Christian, an elder in the Christ Apostolic Church, one would perhaps, think that Olowookere must have had the premonition about his son’s current predicament. No, not at all, he had a smooth birth just like his three siblings who are all males.” However, all that were hidden to him about Remi began to unfold a few years after his delivery on July 20, 1977.

At age five, Remi fell from the third floor of a three-storey building, at Obanikoro where the family was then living. Miraculously, he was unscathed. That gave the impression that there was something special about him. But unknown to his parents, Remi had just had his baptism of the storm of life.

Successfully, he had his primary education and proceeded to Chrisland College, Idimu, where at a point however, he donned the garb of waywardness to his parents’ utter dismay. To Olowookere then, he was being negatively influenced by one of his colleagues. He was to later find out through urgent consultations, that Remi’s sudden attitudinal change had some spiritual undertone; then he realised that he had a war to fight with some evil spirits.

Remi was eventually withdrawn and taken to a tutorial school, where he sat for the West African School Certificate examinations, but he could not make all his papers. He later found himself at the Ogun State Polytechnic, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, where he sat for A-Levels examinations after a year.

“But all those while, we were fighting the battle with fervent prayers because we knew that that was not the Remi we used to have. We were worried by his unusual behaviour. He neither fought nor stole; neither was he deranged, but we knew that something was wrong with his ways. He did not quite click, he didn’t get his bearing,” recalled the father.

Out of the polytechnic, the family knew better, the magnitude of the war it had to grapple with. “At times, we might be praying and Remi would suddenly cry out, asking “why me, why me?” That was when we were convinced that we were already in a serious trouble with the odd world. At a point, he said he wanted to travel out; we had no choice than do his bidding, just for him to have something doing like his siblings. Hard as we tried, ill fate would not allow that to materialise. There was a time he was attacked and brutalised out of jealousy, by some youths in our area. He survived it and he later went to study computing,” displaying various documents to support his claims, Olowookere recounted, seething with agony.

“But it is incredible that Remi could be that tormented without the slightest inkling by any member of the family,” the correspondent insisted. Then, as if drawing from insight, Olowookere recalled, “What I can say is that someone once told us that if Remi could survive the first 25 years of his life, then he would have been free from all life’s troubles. Curiously, he merely clocked 25 when this happened.”

Though Remi’s father could not trace his predicament to a particular source, he was however certain that his enemies swooped on his son when they found him too tough to handle.

Indeed, no one needed any medical expert or even a seer to be convinced that his heart was suffering acute unease. He let it out when the correspondent surmised that it must have taken the support of his relations back in Efon Alaaye, for him to weather the storm for this long.

“In fact, if I have only one regret in life, it has to do with the kind of home I rose from. I have had more than enough to be convinced that I have no relation. I owe my entire survival this far to the unshaken faithfulness of my creator; He has remained my pillar of succour and strength,” he stated emphatically.

However, of all the spiritualists of various kinds that fed fat on him and indeed, his family, Olowookere would not say that none of them saw Remi’s present situation. “Many of them told me that he was still alive; that is why I am still hoping that wherever he may be, God will liberate him one day,” he said.

Now, as he said, he had cast his burden on The Lord, but the grief, no doubt, still remains thick in his marrow. Reason: It’s been said in Yoruba parlance, that a person’s child is better dead than lost. Indeed, for him, it’s Psalm 121 to the rescue!

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