Hi, my name is Folu. If you have read previous episodes of this story, you have known me as Bolade all along and you are familiar with some events that occurred during my final year as an undergraduate student at a particular University in Nigeria.
I was brought up to believe that any event that takes place in a man’s life is as a result of a decision (or combination of decisions) in the past, and ultimately; the life we live is a summation of our decisions. With this in mind, I pondered on everything that happened during my final year at that University in Nigeria and I wondered whether things would have turned out differently had I made other decisions.
After my pondering and wondering, I decided to share the story under a pseudonym (Bolade) to see the kind of decisions you will make if you were me and coincidentally all the decisions made by the majority of readers in the previous eight episodes – of my story – tallied exactly with my real life choices until the last episode. I don’t know what would have happened if another decision had been made in the course of my story telling, I would probably had done this – come out straight and tell the rest of my story without burdening you with any decision making.
With all that said, I will conclude now with what I did from where I left off in the story and then see how different things might have turned had I chosen a different path somewhere along the line.
Pause here. Read. If you missed the previous episode, stop right here and follow this link (Episode IX) to catch up on the events (and collective decisions) that led up to this point in Bolade’s Folu’s story. For the last time I apologize for the slight delay (straight face) in writing the conclusion of this story, I promise it won’t happen again (another straight face). I would have loved to share why I had to take a break from this but I guess you are probably more interested in knowing what happened to Bolade Folu, so, here you go with the conclusion:
IK’s menacing words on ‘how the whole situation could go south if we go all out’ fell on my deaf ears as I made what seemed like a ‘tough guy’ decision back then. I decided we should go all out so we immediately forced IK – after further torture – to divulge the names of the main guys in his confraternity and a couple on Tunde’s side. We had to act fast, for IK’s disappearance could alert some of his guys. We mobilized more students to quickly roundup Tunde and the other names given from IK’s confession; we were able to get Tunde and four other guys on the target list. The others managed to escape and leave town before we got to them.
Everything happened so fast, it was like I was living another man’s life during that period. The captured cultists were beaten up and locked up at the student union building for two days before the school authorities and men of the Nigerian Police Force intervened, good thing they came on time for if appropriate medical care was not provided for the captives in time, the student union would have had some dead bodies to deal with. The school promised to act accordingly; investigate and prosecute the suspected cultists.
Emeka stopped talking to me, he couldn’t believe I could give up his cousin, he couldn’t even bring himself to believe IK was a cultist to start with. Tolulope was so shocked by the turn of events her folks decided it was best she took a break from school, she never told me but I’m sure she blamed herself partly for the whole situation; she became a figure from the past to me in less than a week.
It got worse, somehow the school never prosecuted the arrested guys and they were out and back to school in two weeks. Life as I knew it was over, paranoia took over and I found it hard to concentrate on anything academic. Things even managed to get worse still; three weeks to end of semester exams, terror struck on campus. There was a military precision attack on campus by men suspected to be cultists and over twenty lives were lost on that fateful Friday night. Five out of the students killed were members of the student union executive council – my friend Shina was one of them. I’m sure I would have gone with the night had I been on campus that; it was the weekend of my sister’s wedding and I left school on Thursday for the festivities, that was the last time I saw that school, or stepped into that city or state.
I broke down after I heard the news of Shina’s death and explained everything to my father; he wasted no time in deciding I would complete my bachelor’s degree outside the country. Months later I was on my way to UK as a transfer student.
I got my first degree sometime last year and I’m in graduate school for my master’s degree at the moment. I still break into tears at times when alone and I remember Shina and the other guys who lost their lives because of me…because of my bad decisions.
That, my dear readers, is how the story ends. I know this is far from what you were expecting, but in life things don’t always go the way we envisage. Life is no fairy tale. I never for once thought my decisions to hold on to Tolulope or to seek revenge against Tunde and IK would lead to the death of those students and Shina (pause) rest his soul.
Looking back at major points of decisions in the events that occurred back then, aided with the advantage of hindsight, it is possible for me to see how different things might have turned had I made the proper decisions at the right time;
What if I had given up on Tolulope immediately she told me there was a Tunde in the picture? I doubt whether any guy on this planet would have given up that easy on a ‘chase’, but what if I had caved in to Tunde’s threat, accepted IK’s advice that no girl was worth the trouble against Tunde? Would that have changed the chain of events? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe IK would have tried a different approach to get to me without involving Tunde and Tolulope. What if I had been more cowardly and given in to the combination of snake/phone threats? What if I had ended the relationship with Tolulope instead of taking the break somewhere in between? What if I hadn’t involved Shina and the student union in the situation?
It is hard to say whether all of those alternate decisions would have changed the final outcome but some of them would definitely have altered the course of events. One which I’m a hundred percent sure of is the decision to go after the cultists after capturing and getting a confession from IK, had I been levelheaded at that moment I would have taken heed to his advice and considered the fallout of the confraternity clash. We could have taken a less dangerous path, the one without the unnecessary deaths, the one without the death of Shina.
With that Bolade Folu downed the last drop of scotch in the bottle, lowered his head slowly on the laptop, tears streaming down his eyes.