Fake Prophet by Moshkur Ajikobi

In 2010, before my father became the Chief Imam of Ipokia Central Mosque, I had become a fake prophet.

Even though what I prophesied then came into reality, deep inside of me, I knew verily that I was fake.

That year, I was in SS3 at the Community Secondary School, Ipokia. There was an ongoing football competition—The Principal’s Cup.

I represented my class in the competition, and we had reached the quarter-finals. I didn’t want to miss the match because I was the first choice on the pitch for Central Midfield, and I loved playing football.

The previous night before the match, my father informed me and my brothers that we would travel the next morning to Lagos Island for the monthly prayer we used to do for someone. My brothers said “okay, sir!” in response, but I only nodded my head.

I felt bad and disgusted, but I dared not to show it in front of my father. When I did not like something, I could only give my mother a sour face.

In front of my father, I dared not do that unless I wanted my young buttocks slapped with a cane.

Throughout the night, I was thinking of different lies that could easily make my father drop my name from the list of the travellers like a coach would drop the unfit players from the list of his available squad. I couldn’t come up with a hit one.

I was not good at lying except I would feign another sickness. Feigning sickness had become an old trick and my father would detect my lies in no time.

It would not be funny if I was taken to the hospital only to have the test results come back negative.

While I was thinking of a believable lie, I imagined missing the match. I wanted so badly to play against the SS2, the “Strongest Team.” I imagined playing the match.

How I would give Yakubu, our fierce striker, the final pass that would earn us the winning goal. Yakubu would not miss the ‘tap-in’ unlike his namesake, a professional Nigerian player—Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who missed the unforgettable last chance of scoring against the South Korean team in that same year 2010 World Cup.

I imagined how I would celebrate the goal with the spectators that would invade the pitch instead of keeping the celebration out of it. A series of imaginations were still floating in my head when my father came knocking on the door to wake us up. I got up sluggishly.

We embarked on the journey before the first adhan for Subh Salat. It was around 4:55am. My eldest brother was the driver and my father sat on the seat beside him. My other two brothers and I sat in the back seat. I sat directly behind my father.

I was on the journey, but my mind was not journeying with me and I couldn’t show my sullen face. However, I still had the hope of playing the match. I was optimistic about the last lie that came to my mind.

“Baba,” I called my father in a low voice.
“Tope, what happened?” he responded.
“Baba, ọkàn mi ò lọ,” I said without hesitation but with the hope that we would finally return home without continuing the journey.
“What happened? Why did you say that your mind is not on the journey? What did you see?” my father asked shockingly.
“What could my eyes see in this dark hour if not the football match?” I whispered to myself.
“Mujeeb, park,” my father instructed my brother.

After some minutes, my father asked my brother to turn the car. We got back home before 6 am. When my mother and my stepmother asked my father the reason for stopping the journey, he responded “Tope must have seen something terrible, and he said that his mind wasn’t on the journey. So we had to come back home”.

While I am thrilled with how my last lie went, I could not let it show. I pretended to be the only prophet in the house. not even our father would give my prophecy a deaf ear.

I rushed down to school to meet my teammates. We played the match and lost by a goal to nil.

However, that night, there was a news broadcast on the African Independent Television that a fatal accident claimed lives in the same expressway we would have used.

My father imagined that the victims could have been us if not for my prophetic mind. He was repeatedly saying alhamdulillah. Deep inside of me, I knew I was a fake prophet.


Glossary
Ọkàn mi ò lọ: my mind is not true with the journey.

About the Author

Moshkur Ajikobi (fondly called P-Seven) is a Nigerian poet and writer. His work appears or forthcoming in Punk Noir Magazine, Lunch Break Zine, Rather Quiet, Coven Poetry, Riverbed Review, Brown Bag Online, Eremite Poetry, OneBlackBoyLikeThat Review and elsewhere. You can find him on twitter @almoshkur and Instagram @peeseven20

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