Akuuwa - An Igbo Play, Act Four
(In Akuuwa's house. Akuuwa and his wife are not at home, but Ibe, their servant is there. Ekwekwe, Arinze, Nnodi and Ukoha, well prepared, have hidden their knives in their bags. They stand in the path near Akuuwa's house. Akuuwa's shrine is behind his house.)
Ekwekwe: Wait for me here while I check out the land. (He leaves them and goes to the front of Akuuwa's house. Ibe is sweeping the house. He knocks on the door.)
Ibe: Who is knocking? Enter!
Ekwekwe: Ibe, are your master and his wife at home?
Ibe: They are not at home. They both went out together.
Ekwekwe: Do you know where they went? Have they been gone long?
Ibe: I don't know. They did not tell me where they were going, but it has not been long since they left.
Ekwekwe: Good. We are coming now. (He then leaves and goes to the members of his group.) The coast is clear. They are not at home. Quickly, everything, speedily, speedily. (They all then stream into Akuuwa's house.)
Ekwekwe: Ibe! Come. There is some work the Holy Spirit has given us to do in this house at this time. Whether the owners are at home or not. We will carry out the task he has given us. (They then go behind the house and surround the shrine. Ekwekwe throws holy water around the base of the shrine as he speaks.) In the name of Jesus!
The Others: Amen.
Ekwekwe: Jaa! Jaa! Jehova Jaa! Come and take away the power of the devil in the name of Jesus!
The Others: Amen.
Ekwekwe: Take away the power of the devil< destroy all the bad spirits, in the name of Jesus!
The Others: Amen.
(They all start to chop down the shrine with all their strength, everyone among them speaking in tongues.)
Ekwekwe: Arinze, take that olive oil and pour it all around here. Nnodi and Ukoha, light the candles and put them all around here.
Ekwekwe: (After they finish these things.) We have smashed the power of the devil. Praise be to God in the name of Jesus!
The Others: A-amen.
(They then turn around and leave. Ibe is wiping his eyes. As they are leaving
they encounter Akuuwa on the road.)
Akuuwa: My brothers in Christ. The way you have stuck a knife at your waist, going along like people going to war. Is all well in the town?
Ekwekwe: Oh prophet, our master, you have returned. We have come from your house. The Holy spirit led us to go and do a job in your house, so we went and answered the call. The job went very well, there was no trouble.
Akuuwa: You say that you did a job in my house? Indeed, God uses his people to work in various ways. Praise be to God in the name of Jesus!
Arinze: All right, let's go.
Akuuwa: Why should you go? Since God is the reason you met me on the road, we will go back. I know that my wife is not at home, and know also that Ibe will not be able to offer you kola. Please, let us go back then. Your deeds satisfy me more than food. Praise be to the creator of the world.
Ekwekwe: (He and the members of his group exchange meaningful glances.) Do not trouble yourself about the kola. We have already started out on the path. Let it be for another time. The day of the hunter is when the bushrat is hunted behind the house.
Akuuwa: Indeed, I will not feel right if you all do not join me and turn back, because a worker deserves the reward for his work.
All: We have told you to let us leave. The one who led us to the work will reward us for the work. We know that the reward for our work, as the Holy Bible says, is in heaven.
(They then turn back and leave. Akuuwa stands and watches them for a while, then turns and goes home himself. Akuuwa enters his house, sees Ibe looking like someone who has been taken advantage of, drying his tears.)
Akuuwa: Ibe! Come here. You look like an abused child. (Ibe stands up.) Were there people who came to work here? What work did they do?
Ibe: It was Ekwekwe and ... and ... and Ukoha and ...
Akuuwa: All right. Where did they do the work?
Ibe: It ... It was behind the house. In that place you-you-you stay ...
Akuuwa: Where? Come and show me that place quickly. (Ibe then goes and shows him.)
Akuuwa: (Presses his hand to his head, shouts in a loud voice.) Oh my God! Oh God! Oh heaven and earth! A disaster has really taken place here! Is this why Ekwekwe and his group came to work in my house? (He turns and stares at Ibe. Ibe starts to cry.) Ibe! Ibe!! Were you at home when these people defiled this spot?
Ibe: They came in and told me ... told me that it was the Holy Spirit who sent them ...
Sera: (Bursts in in surprise.) What has happened? (She sees what happened.) Oh dear! Oh my God! Who did this?
Akuuwa: Haa! Haa! Too bad! Ekwekwe and his group have done an evil thing to me today. They have done what should not be done to me. They have made me suffer. O-oh! They have really crushed my testicles. The goat has eaten a palm leaf on my head [an expression indicating something unthinkable]. If you take away from a man the thing that makes him good, his goodness is spoiled. It is between them and me now. If a man's head is not on the ground, it hangs on the wall. (He beats his breast, pointing his finger and talking.) You vipers, you hypocrites, it is you and I today. (He angrily chases after them; his wife follows him; Ibe also turns after them. Akuuwa hurriedly calls Ekwekwe and his group, chasing after them.)
Akuuwa: Ekwekwe! Ekwekwe! Nnodi!
Nnodi: (Turns around.) It is Akuuwa. Look! What are we going to do?
Ekwekwe: We shall not run. It is man to man. Let's wait for him to come. (They then stop and wait for Akuuwa. (He reaches them.)
Akuuwa: (Breathing fast.) Ekwekwe! Ekwekwe!! I have seen that work the Holy Spirit led you to go and do in my house! Now, what I want is for you all to finish the remaining work on my body. You know that you are men, drop your knives on the ground so that we can fight with bare hands.
Ekwekwe: (In a soft voice.) Akuuwa, haven't we told you that the Holy Spirit led us to go and do this work? We do not want war, nor do we want a struggle. We all believe in God and know that his first law is, "You shall have no other gods before me."
Sera: Read yourselves to death in the law, defilers!
Akuuwa: If you all know that you are not hypocrites, men with wet testicles [sign of weakness], why did you not come when my wife and I were at home? If you knew that it was the Holy Spirit who led you to the work in my house, why did you not tell me the truth when you and I met on the road? Hypocrites! Vipers! Those who bite the hand that feeds them. Those who are "sheep who finish eating and then break the pot." But if one breaks the pot he uses for eating, he must eat on the ground. I am telling you all to throw away the knives you have stuck in your waists, so that man to man we can go on foot to look for what fell into the water.
Sera: He w u u! Oh my God! The hypocrites have defecated in the house of prayer! God forbid! The devil will send down fire on all of you.
Ukoha: Leave them alone; come now and let's leave, maybe our preacher and his wife have gone insane.
Akuuwa: Ukoha, what did you say? Who did you say has gone insane? (In the twinkling of an eye, he lifts Ukoha and throws him to the ground, pinning
him down by the neck. Ibe begins to cry loudly. Sera stands near her husband.)
Sera: Hold him tight! Show him the spirits! Kill him! (She sees the others trying to take hold of her husband.) What are you all trying to do? Stop it, let it be man to man.
(Ekwekwe, Nnodi and Arinze persevere in pulling Akuuwa off Ukoha. Ukoha
sprawls on the ground breathing like a lizard that has fallen from above. Sera
punches him and strikes him while shouting.)
Sera: Ekwekwe and his group have committed an atrocity here, oh! Oh my God! You all will kill us today. Look at us and finish us. Criminals, what did we do to you, eh? Ekwekwe and his group have committed an atrocity here! (People start to run in.)
First Person: What is causing this noise here? Is it a prophet who is being carried here? H a w u u!
Second Person: Hei! Hei! Hei! Our big prophet. What happened to him? Is he dead? Chei! Death! You have committed an abomination.
Ibe: He is not dead. It is they (points his finger) who were trying to beat him to death. He did nothing to them.
Third Person: Aren't they members of the Holy Spirit church? What did he do? Isn't he their leader?
(A policeman enters from the left. People see him and close their mouths.)
Policeman: (Grabs Ukoha when he tries to run.)
Corporal Okafo: What is happening here? (Everyone begins to scatter.) Everyone stay where you are! Don't even make a move. If anyone runs, it will be worse for him. (Those who are bold then run out; the others stand trembling in fear.) Am I not questioning all of you? Come close! What brought on all this trouble and commotion?
Fourth Person: I just now came. I saw the people of the Holy Spirit church holding on to their leader, his wife was shouting, I thought that he had died. There is one of them (points to Ukoha). He can tell you what happened.
Corporal Okafo: All right ... all of you ... follow me! Everyone come so he can explain how he saw it. Ukoha! Go ahead and show us where the members of your group are. Only the truth will save you.
(They all then go in great fear. Some of them clasp their hands to their heads, others to their hearts. Still others spread out their arms.)
The lights go out.