By Wale Adeduro, PhD
Be reminded that in part one it was said that the word “sustain” basically means to keep someone alive without providing vital supports for the person. The testimony continues.
- God showed up powerfully in my life
My parents told me this story in March 2006. I learnt about how I had been involved in a ghastly accident on the fifteenth day of October, 1969. It was a happy family trip to our home of origin, Ondo in Ondo State of Nigeria. My father proudly sent his wife and two sons home for a family event. I was the elder of his two children then. On our return journey to Lagos, as I was told, my mother was taking care of my hyperactive baby brother in the wooden caravan with a label, “Bale layo” (which means arrive home safely). The 19-year-old domestic help of my parents called Ropo, placed me on her laps. This afforded my mother the opportunity to concentrate on caring for my baby brother.
The journey was smooth as the wooden bus wafted through the night breeze. All the passengers sat gingerly at the back of the bus with a calm assurance that they would arrive home safely.
Death came calling just before dawn around 5 o’clock. The wooden bus skidded off the road. The door was jolted as another intoxicated vehicle lifted the wooden bus from behind. Like Samson pulling off the gates of the city, the intoxicated bus dropped our bus on the bank of Majidun River in Ikorodu area of Lagos State. Almost all the woods used to build the carriage of the bus were broken. They were painted with the freshly spilled blood of the victims of the accident at dawn.
It was a miracle that our bus did not seek abode in the womb of the Majidun River. The river, in subsequent years, has acquired the notoriety of the Bermuda Triangle.
On 23 November, 2021, two vehicles – a commercial bus and a Toyota Camry saloon car – plunged into the Majidun River.
Ahmed Kolawole, a manager at the Ikoyi Golf Club, was reported to have drowned with two others in Majidun River. He drove an ill-fated Hilux van with registration no. KSF 918 AU, belonging to Ikoyi Club, which plunged into the river.
My mother was injured, yet, she ignored the blood flowing from different parts of her body. As soon as my mother licked the blood on her lips, she forgot her pain. She started shouting the names of her two children. “Adewale! Adebolaji!!” my mother screamed, running helter-skelter.
Stepping and hopping on bleeding corpses and dying voices, my mother frantically searched for my junior brother. My less than two-year-old talkative brother had suddenly become dumb, not making any sound. I had been mercifully pulled out of the wreckage of the bus with my two limbs dangling like the legs of a puppet or a half-melted lollypop pack in the afternoon. I sustained multiple fractures on my left leg and one fracture on my right leg. But my mother threw me into the hands of a horrified face that could not imagine the number of fellow travellers who suddenly breathed their last within a few minutes after the accident.
Noise of agony rent the air. There was pandemonium everywhere. The shocked were grunting. The dying were groaning. The living were wailing. The babies were crying; children like me were either crying for attention or for food. And blood was flowing like a river into Majidun River.
“O gracious!” my mother screamed in deep agony. “My irreplaceable helper is gone.” My mother cried as she stared at the lifeless body of her housemaid.
Some distressed legs ran towards the back of the wrecked bus where the voice of my mother came from. A hefty man froze at what he saw. In a twinkling of an eye, the young man looked into my mother’s eyes.
“Ropo ti ku! Ropo, my helper, has died!!” my mother began to wail as if she was receiving lashes in a torture chamber.
Abruptly, my mother froze, betraying no emotion. The only sign that she had not become a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife were the tears coursing through her blood splattered face. After what seemed like eternity, my mother jumped at a man, shaking him vigorously as she wailed louder. “What are we going to tell Ropo’s mother?” She asked him rhetorically. The eyes of the hapless man popped out in shock. My mother and Ropo were total strangers to him.