That’s why I hated going to Onitsha, the market was infamous for its infamy. Debola had just told me the story of a man who lost his ‘baby-maker’ in the usual Tuesday morning human stampede. Apparently the ‘juju people’ took it off him. Legend has it that there’s no juju like Onitsha juju. Another man, an up and coming footballer in the local league mysteriously lost his littlest toe. The ‘juju people’ again, took it off him. He was extremely self gratifying they said, he’d always say ‘even if you break my legs, I’d still be the best”. So they decided they’d humble him by taking his smallest toe. His career ended. I convinced myself Onitsha was worth it, I had to see Adanna, my sweet Igbo sugar plum like I called her. Distant relationships are such an unbearable drag but adanna was worth the hassle. My Yoruba “Isi Ewu” (goat’s head pepper soup) was what she called me. Her mother called me ‘our husband’, her father called me ‘that Yoruba boy’, her sisters called me ‘London boy’. Fiyin, I called myself ‘Fiyin’. Besides the juju people, Onitsha is a beautiful place but I’d always protect my groin with my right palm when walking through the market. Adanna would laugh and say ” they’d take both your hand and your thing” I’d reply with ” it’s like you don’t want children sha”. Musa, Musa was a sly bastard. Sly because he had conned everyone in town and gotten away with it, except the juju people of course, he had a way of knowing them. ‘Bastard’ because he was a vicious, despicable and thoroughly disliked person. Everyone hated Musa but he had somehow found a job as Adanna’s father’s personal assistant. This was a big deal, not only because Clarence, Ada’s father was a tribalistic egotistic tyrant but also he could smell a con-man all the way from Oshodi in Lagos. Rumour had it that Musa was one of the Juju people. That explained a lot.
I had just returned from the United Kingdom. Schooling in Birmingham was amazing but I had missed my Adanna plum. I had not seen her since SS3 so I was eager. I boarded the “abc” luxurious bus three days after setting my feet in lagos. I barely spent time with my family, they knew I was in love so I got their blessings. I met Debola on that bus. He would turn out to be one of my best friends. Debola is, was and will always be a chatterbox till the day he dies from the inevitable heart attack caused by all cholesterol he consumes. “Ututu Oma” (good morning in Igbo) Debola said to me. I smiled and told him I wasn’t Igbo. He curiously asked: “what are you going to do in Anambra then?”. I told him of how I had not seen Ada, the only girl I ever liked, in two years. I told him of how we met in our first year of secondary school. How we cried together after our parents had returned home on visiting days. How she was my support system through boarding school and how I was hers. In the midst of my fairy tale, he intruded and said ” by the way my name is Debola”. ” wait oo, so you are a Yoruba boy too? What are you looking for in Anambra?”-I asked. That’s when I met the Enigma that was Musa for the first time. Not in person but in words. Debola had been in touch with this intelligent Hausa man over the internet. He was known as the Hausa Bill Gates and he apparently had been in contact with the ‘oyinbo’ people as pertaining his newly invented next “big computer software”. Debola was intrigued by what he had read about Musa on the internet and he couldn’t wait to land a contract with him. He spoke of Musa as though Musa was Gates. Before I could get one more word in about Ada, he started talking about the ‘Juju people’. He told me endless tales of how his late Grandfather was an Ifa priest but used to go to the east to hire “real juju”. The only story that really got to me was the “vanishing Penis” story. I had heard of such occurrences in lagos but I wasn’t bothered. “Ah, it even happened to my guy, Ebuka. Ebuka has returned to lagos, he’s in one church in okokomiko praying to get his privates back”. “Ebuka went to Onitsha for business and returned to lagos penis-less”-he moaned. I blotted my cheeks with air and clenched my fists in an attempt not to burst into laughter. The pain and seriousness on Debola’s face wouldn’t let me do it. I couldn’t do that to someone I just met, I couldn’t laugh at his ‘penis-less’ friend.