ANGRY WIVES - Episode 6

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - electoral officers, different polling booths, impeccable election rigging modus operandi, managed to create artificial scarcity of it, fear of the fetish, electoral, laughed at in one polling unit, National Electoral Commission, resourceful ingenuity at contriving election results, polling.


On the day of the election, Abike, Iya Iliasu and Sisi Vokeh dressed in the most awkward fashion they had been seen in - they garbed themselves in black garments. Iya Iliasu slung her witch bag across her shoulder and held ominously a stick with which she claimed she could cast a spell. Sisi Vokeh carried a bell which she claimed would make any person do her bidding when rung in the person’s face. Abike had on the index finger on her right hand a very big black ring which she said was from Sapele River. The ring according to her was her secret weapon to nullify whatever her husband and his group would do on that day. The three women woke up early and assigned themselves to different polling booths to address the electoral officers when they arrived to conduct the election.

In one pulling unit, Iya Iliasu was seen telling electoral officers, “We no say make you no collect money from Mr. Abel and im people; collect the money we dem go give you, but make you no forge result o! Me…” She held up her spell stick, “…I dey ready to kill person today wey go try do make my candidate fail. If na one vote we get write am say na one vote, if na one vote Prince Jegede get write am say na one vote. If you do pass yourself, na you go face my music when I go begin play am o. I don talk my own o! As we dey so, we get people wey dey watch you. Take sofri sofri do this election make you for no wound o!” By the time she was done addressing the electoral officers, a local boy by the name Ayuba began to hail her, “Iya Iliasu you too much! Iya na wetin you talk go happen here today. Iya agbalagba!

Na me be that!” Iya Iliasu responded. “Iya gbogbo aye!” Ayuba continued. “All correct!” “Iya non compos mentis!” “Na wetin be that nah? Ayuba you they curse me?” Iya Iliasu raised her spell stick as if to cast a spell on Ayuba. “Iya Iliasu ejo! Ejo e ma binu! Na Sanko teach me the word o! Na Sanko!” Ayuba began to shout desperately. Another local boy, Ismaila, who was present joined in pleading with her, “Iya Iliasu abeg no turn am to frog, na Sanko teach us the word!” “Wetin the word come mean nah?” Iya Iliasu asked. “We no know, but na Sanko teach us!” Replied Ismaila. “You sure say na Sanko teach you the word?” “I swear na Sanko teach us the word!” “If na Sanko teach you the word no problems. Sanko ori epe! The bobo head correct well well. No problems! If na Sanko true true, you fit call me the name. Make you add am to my nicknames!” With that said the two boys began to hail her, “Iya non compos mentis!” Unknown to Iya Iliasu and the two boys, non compos mentis means "not of sound mind"; in essence they were calling her “Iya mad woman!” or “Iya were!”

Mr. Abel and Mr. Donatus were certain that after the election their candidate was going to be declared the winner; not because people would come out massively to vote for him, but because they had set in motion what Mr. Abel called “impeccable election rigging modus operandi.” To turn things in the favour of their candidate, Mr. Abel and Mr. Donatus hosted the electoral officers in the best hotels in Bilia overnight and stuffed their pockets with a lot of cash. They were served with sumptuous wine and food; the only thing the males amongst the election officials could not get in good supply was women. Sisi Vokeh had made sure that commodity came very costly and had managed to create artificial scarcity of it.

Abike knew exactly how her husband was going to try and manipulate things to their favour, so she tried not to play on his turf. She knew the women candidate would lose if she tried to play the game of bribing electoral officials. So she and the women chose to play differently. They dug deep into traditional African beliefs and applied the aged long “fear of the fetish” on the electoral officers. They had made sure that the electoral officers were inundated with the story of Iya Iliasu’s menacing fetish powers and her own ruthlessness in dealing with those labeled enemies. So on the morning of the election when the three women addressed the electoral officials, they were not ignorant of what those women could do. In fact, they feared them. So while Mr. Abel applied his “impeccable election rigging modus operandi”, Abike applied her “fear-of-the-fetish” principle.
 
That morning Abike openly dangled her large black ring before the electoral officers, boasting she could do anything she so wished with it. To give them a taste of what she could with the ring, she spoke to the ring and commanded a cloudy weather and in minutes, the cloud became moody. Then she spoke to the ring again and commanded a burning, scorching sun and in minutes the moody cloud gave way to a bright sky with the sun burning feverishly. Seeing the look of fear in their faces, she staggered around insanely, saying gibberish; then she smiled and warned, “If any of you tries to angranvate this election process, I will decapitate the person with the mere blinking of my eyes. Wouldn’t it be better that you leave Bilia alive with the money they gave you to rig this election than to die here and never enjoy the money?” She inched a bit closer to the electoral officers, pointed at the policemen nearby and said, “If I kill you, the favour the police people will do for you is to take your body to the mortuary. The police are my friends. Have they said a word since I have been warning you?” The word ‘angranvate’ which she used is actually her own contrivance. It comes from her inability to distinguish between ‘aggravate’ and ‘aggrandizement’. Sanko had done all he could to help her see the difference, but she just could not get it. She used the word with the confidence that it communicated her mind aptly.


Sisi Vokeh was laughed at in one polling unit as she addressed electoral officers on the risk of rigging the election against the candidate of the women, Engineer Iniabasi Edidiong Unwana. So to prove to the public that she wasn’t joking when she claimed that her bell was enchanted, she rang it several times in the face of a man who was zealously persuading people to give their votes to Prince Jegede, and commanded him to undress. Much to the shock of the public, the man happily began to undress. The crowd gathered at the polling station shouted frantically for the man not to obey Sisi Vokeh, but he seemed completely oblivious of the crowd. He had his eyes fixed on Sisi Vokeh as he undressed; when he had peeled off his clothes leaving only his undergarment, Sisi Vokeh rang the bell in his face again and commanded him to stop. The man stopped and looked around in dismay; he picked his clothes and ran from the polling station, covering his face in shame. “Now you all have seen what I can do; I won’t warn you not to rig the election but when you are done, I will ring my bell and command the moon and you will go mad. All the women are asking for is for you to let our votes count. We believe we can win this election by the number of support our candidate has in Bilia.”


When she had finished with her speech, all the women, the youth and not a few men in the polling station began to sing her name. By late evening, when Mr. Abel heard the method being used by the women to influence the election result, he couldn’t stop laughing. He described it as “moronic antics of a bunch of nincompoops who do not understand the dynamics of electioneering.” He boasted to Mr. Donatus, “I knew it from the start that these simpletons, who call themselves our women, would not be able to match my resourceful ingenuity at contriving election results.” The electoral officers began to collate the election result from late evening after voting had ended and continued to do so till late morning the next day. By noon the returning officer for National Electoral Commission (NEC) began to announce the results.


Midway through the announcement of the results, it seemed to all that Prince Jegede was going to be declared the winner by the end of the announcement. The men and their supporters began to celebrate while the announcement was going on. Drinks were declared amongst them and they openly mocked the women and their leadership. However, their celebration was cut short towards the end of the announcement as it became obvious that the table had turned, Engineer Iniabasi Edidiong Unwana had suddenly taken the lead.


Celebrations shifted base to the camp of the women and their own supporters. The men waited anxiously, hoping intensely for their candidate to take the lead again, instead the gap between Prince Jegede and Engineer Iniabasi Edidiong Unwana kept widening in favour of Engineer Iniabasi Edidiong Unwana. One after another, the men began to leave; the women made it harder for them by celebrating wildly in their faces.  When the overall result in Bamakah senatorial district was announced, Engineer Iniabasi Edidiong Unwana won with an overwhelming result. Abike and the women she led made sure their celebration lasted for weeks. Though Engineer Iniabasi Edidiong Unwana’s victory at the senatorial election ushered peace back into many homes as the women had to call off their domestic strike, most men wore long faces for a long time. However, just when the men thought their bruised ego had mended well enough, another problem with the potential of suspending peace in their homes yet again reared its beastly head.


The old Volkswagen Beetle had driven through town to announce that all the men and women in Bilia should gather to share the seven hundred bags of fertilizer which the government sent for the new farming season. However, before the day the men and women of Bilia were to meet, someone visited Abike from Bamakah to inform her that what the government actually sent was ten thousand bags of fertilizer and not seven hundred bags.


Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: ANGRY WIVES - Episode 6
ANGRY WIVES - Episode 6
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - electoral officers, different polling booths, impeccable election rigging modus operandi, managed to create artificial scarcity of it, fear of the fetish, electoral, laughed at in one polling unit, National Electoral Commission, resourceful ingenuity at contriving election results, polling.
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