Before I ever truly lived, I had died numerous times. My grandmother, while rejoicing at the birth of her first son, had made a binding promise to the gods of the land, offering them his eternal service from the day he turned eighteen. Eventually, my father-her only son, found Islam and walked away from his service to the gods; He was therefore cursed by them – never to have children who would live long enough to walk.
Years later, as I slept in my fathers tiny hut, surrounded on both sides by my sleeping parents, Death came to claim its three month old bounty. It was the first of the numerous encounters I would have with Death; Its cold presence woke me from my sleep but eased my parents deeper into theirs and just as I attempted to scream for my life, Death took it.
After that night, I tried to elude Death by returning to earth in different forms and even attempted to come through my fathers other wives, but each time, just as I settled into my new life, Death would find me and expunge me from the surface of earth, making my parents grieve over me again and again.
After dying almost two dozen different times, I decided to use the wisdom given to me by Eledumare to negotiate with Death.
I told Death of my great destiny, of all the lives that mine would touch, of the great despair and agony It would gain if It could be patient and take me at the right time instead of the routine agony my family had to offer each time It took me as a baby. Hours of artful negotiation and convincing passed and finally, Death agreed to let me live.
My parents did not celebrate my twenty third birth neither did they bother to give me a proper name, instead I was called “Kashimawo”- Let us wait and see- as they half expected me to die like I had done so many other times; but to their surprise and that of many others, I lived.
When I turned fifteen, my parents, assured that I was finally here to stay, gave me a real first name-Moshood. From then on, weary of when Death would decide it was the right time to come for me, I determined to live every moment of the rest of my life to the fullest.
As I grew older and achieved unfathomable success in everything i put my mind to, I thought less and less of my agreement with death and focused more on distancing myself from the abject poverty that surrounded my childhood while ensuring as much as i could that no one else would know the pain of perpetual hunger.
My philanthropist actions soon made me a man of the people, earning me almost two hundred traditional titles from sixty eight different Nigerian communities as a reward for the scores of secondary schools, churches, mosques and libraries I had helped provide.
Without any warning, Death sent me a subtle message via one of my traditional titles,to remind me that my time was running out. It was the “Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland” title which meant that I was expected to die a warrior in the defense of my nation in order to prove myself in the eyes of both the divine and the mortals. The bearers of this title never returned from war, they were known to die violent warrior deaths.
Accepting Deaths challenge, I entered into the world of politics more determined than ever to better the lives of my fellow Nigerians and defend my nation from the dangers of corruption. Within a few weeks of the declaration of my political aspirations, some of those who had been my friends in top government positions, transformed into foes and began to apply their brute force to shut down all my various business ventures.
Undeterred by their threats and spurred on by the wishes of the people, I went ahead to contest for and win the highest office in the land in what is still recorded to be the freest and fairest election ever conducted in Nigeria. The election was later annulled and I was imprisoned for alleged treason after I rightfully declared myself to be the President of the country.
In my darkest hour, after a few years in incarceration, family members and friends begged me to take the Governments deal and renounce my mandate in return for freedom, they did not understand. I couldn’t do it even if i wanted to for their sakes, it was not the way of a warrior, it was not the way of the “Aare Ona Kakanfo”.
When my captor finally died, four years after ordering my arrest, there was renewed hope, that the people would finally get what they wanted, that a man of the people, chosen by the people to work for the people would finally rule the country; but Death decided that there could be no better time to take me and so a few hours to my release, Death visited me, for the last time.
As predicted before my final birth, the despair and agony caused by Deaths action was immense and immeasurable as millions of people felt that hope had been taken from them;
But now, almost sixteen years after I succumbed to Deaths infamous cup of tea, I stand in the heavens and watch people all over the world celebrate my life and I feel at peace because even though Death thought it had won the battle, I definitely won the war.
Written by Omon.