My Papa Allowed me


My Papa Allowed me

In 1981, I was in Class one (Secondary school).
Two brothers in my village formed an ‘Ekpo’ orchestra.
One was the ‘Ekpo’ while the other was the drummer.
I became interested in being part of the orchestra.

I expressed my interest to the younger one and he promised to tell his elder brother.
I waited and waited, response never greeted me.
I decided to join them.
It was just Isiala Ngwa before the creation of North and South.
We went everywhere.
These two brothers refused my being part of the team.
I begged.
I entreated.
I appealed.
I appeased.
I cried.

I just wanted to be an ‘Ekpo” even if it is for one minute.
It is not as if I was a good dancer, perhaps, the Father was seeking expression through me.
My village brothers were adamant.
I persevered.
Very early in the morning, I will go to their house for the day’s transaction.
Still, they never gave me an opportunity.
We criss-crossed the length and breath of Ala Ngwa.
‘We’ were making money.
Unfortunately, they never gave me a dime.

I told me father, the Headmaster. Trust the teachers of the old, they were trained to listen even if one is spewing rubbish.
His cane was nearby and he was extremely good at its usage.
For those whose father was a teacher, you can relate.
After listening to me, he kept quiet.
One minute, two minutes – five minutes, he never uttered a word.
That was my longest wait in my life then.
Incidently, I don’t have a way of knowing if he actually heard me or not.
I was expecting, “young man, kneel down”.
Suddenly he cleared his throat, “my son, continue following them. Make sure you wake up early tomorrow morning to join them”, Headmaster said.
This was quite unlike him, hmmmm, my heart beat increased.
I waited for a while for a counter, but he picked a copy of The Nigerian Statesman Newspaper and literally dismissed me.
My joy knew no bounds.
Chinekeeeee, Papa really allowed me.
I continued following them and hoping that one day I will be allowed to exhibit some hidden talents.
But, they never allowed me to participate nor shared money with me till this day.
This picture never left me.
Each time I see them, I remember what they did to me.
But, today, I will go to their house to ask them why they never allowed me and possibly invite them to grace my Nmanwu dance today in my compound, Umuosi in Isiahaba, Isiala Ngwa South.

Friends, what I am doing today is extremely emotional to me.
It will heal a protracted wound.
That dance I was denied almost 40 years ago, I want to dance it today.
Who knows, It might be a yearly event.
Papa, wherever you maybe, you once gave your blessings, intervain today as usual.
Thank you in advance.

Paddy Anyatonwu is the son of a Headmaster.

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