A Grand New Party

There were two new head prefects within a publicly owned school. The school had many junior schools, typical of the Ni-Egerewen system. Historically, it was said to be for reasons that concern marginalisation. Also, despite enrollment favouring the girls (by 4 female registration to 1 male), the positions have always been allotted to the boys. One of the head prefects served a junior school, while the other served the senior school. Uniquely, the perfects were also in charge of the social aspects of student lives. It meant they were in charge of the parties for their respective domains. In fact, the de facto name for the way is “Party Leader”. The curious and peculiar story of the two boys started during the third and final term of the leadership cycle. The senior prefect known by a weird name insisted that only one party would be permitted to exist on the whole campus. He was boastful.

He was also prurient. As an older student, he was a crazy bully. A few gangs existed in the school. Many of them paid obeisance to him. Perhaps for his membership of the Cadet Club during his junior days. He was head prefect of his junior school and combined that office with being the head of the cadets. He was really a notorious bully who forcefully scooped honour and conformity from even his classmates. A terror. There was a separate prefectural position for the social aspects of student life; that changed a while later. When the call for applications for the prefectural offices came up, he was naturally the leading candidate. In that, there have been several clashes and the studentry felt they needed a strong man who could deal with the raping gangsters and high school truants. One member of his campaign community had dubbed him “Charles De Gaul; the people’s general”.

The press clubs were full of praise for him. His opponents, in fact, had to tread carefully as many of his campaign group members had become fanatical. The girls who had been brutalised felt the need for a strong sheriff who would inspire the cadets to do their job. Also, he was the sports king. Hence, the girls who came to worship at his feet. The results were announced on the assembly ground. The winner was the cadet with the wired name: Scoop-it-Stock-Over-the-Head: SiSOtH for official records; Sisoth for his fellow perfects; Sizo during big party planning committee meetings and Sinzu for the girls. The junior head prefect, also with a weird name unexpectedly won his election, albeit, with a small margin. His name? Bring-Pepper-Home (BPH): Pepper for short. Perhaps because the pepper farm was close to that particular junior school and he had promised access to it irrespective of the school’s strict regulations. The students quietly made pepper flakes to sell to their colleagues both within and other schools. But “BPH” could mean something more sinister.

The troublemakers called him Bytes per-hour. They said his face appears to them like that of someone permanently asleep. One night, Sizo who had recently branded himself Commander-in-Chief called Pepper, who had been having difficulty containing the gang boys to a late-night meeting at the cricket pitch. His aim was to coerce him into submission to his big party plan but Pepper would have none of it. “Join my big party.” “No. I am committed to having my own party.” “What do you want to do with the school thugs?” “Well, I have been planning to report them to you.” “Yes, you can. But over the big party committee table.” “And why would I betray my own?” “It’s not betrayal, it’s something different. Something more like, erm…” He hung his index finger between his lips, pretending to be lost for words. It was a strategy to get Pepper more interested in his idea. It didn’t work.

Pepper kept looking at this dramatist poring over a word not lost like a demented old patriarch. Actually, Sizo acts like he is demented to escape much of his tasks by pretending to simply have forgotten. “Yes upgrade! That’s the word.” “I am not sure I understand you, Senior Perfect sir?” “That you wish to be in vogue. That you can role with the senior girls.” “I don’t like girls.” It startled Sizo who widened his eyes and peered surprisingly at him. “Who doesn’t like girls?” “I don’t.” Sizo let out a restrained chuckle. It made the word “oh” drag throughout the laughter. “Oh. What a huge revelation. You are gay?” Sizo began to bang his thigh as if to mimic the gestures of gossiping market women who are wearily waiting for sunset to happen. Pepper hissed. “Awuzubilahi. God forbid!” “Well, other colleagues have agreed to abandon their parties for mine and we are planning together.” “I am not interested. Thank you Senior Perfect sir.” “Let’s see how long your friends can endure those bullies.” “It’s better you wade in before it becomes the big issue.” “I will, if you join my Party.”

Days went by and the gang boys continued their bullying in Pepper’s territory. On different occasions, Pepper made an attempt to pacify the bullies with money from the contributions by the graduating junior students. The contributions were done towards a project. The bullying continued still. It blew over. “Pepper! Wake up!” The voice called from behind the shut window. “What?” He grunted, half awake. “Quick! Pepper!” The agitated voice bore an urgency. “Who is it?” Pepper yawned and rubbed his eyelids vigorously, as if to clean off the much desired sleep he had been denied for days. He had developed a security routine to guard the first year pupils in their residential blocks against thieves. He had personally stood guard for a few days. But the thieves did not come then. The cupboards in the ransacked rooms had been smashed open, and emptied of the “provisions”. “Where are the boys?” “At the foyer.” The foyer stank of urine. The gang had not only stolen, they also pulled the boys out of the rooms, lined them up on their bellies and drenched them with urine. “I am reporting this to the teachers.” Aggrieved Pepper turned angrily. “And you ruin all of us. They don’t control the cadets.” It was the boy that had run to his window a few minutes earlier. “But what do I do?

These marauding mastodons will not leave me in peace. Urine! That’s the height of it. I am going.” Pepper dashed in the opposite direction, like a confused dancing bee. “And you will tell them what? How do you want to fund the party? Or how you are defying the Senior Prefect? You know what they will say and do. You risk everything stupid! Everything!” The boy pulled Pepper aside from the others. “Let’s join Sizo”. “That Gaelic leprechaun?” Pepper sniggered and drew his breath. He spat on the ground. A sign of hatred. “Quiet! But what’s a ‘garlic leprekon’?” The boy was sincere. “Just forget it.” “Are we joining Sizo, right now?” “I don’t want to.” “Well, I don’t either. But then we stoop to conquer. And by the way, the rumour is that the big Party committee desperately needs you.” The boy moved ahead of Pepper. He was trying to keep Pepper in the conversation and alone. He quickly cleared a sit for him and looked at the leader. “I don’t want to sit.” The boy ignored and sat. Pepper joined him.

Now isolated from the small crowd. “Rumour also has it that despite several tries, not Senior Prefect of our origin has been elected. The way Sizo treats you personally is a cause of jealousy among other junior Heads of School. You might be the designated future Head Prefect.” Pepper stood up. It was a different feeling now. A subconscious acceptance of the next office – in advance. At the moment, the urine and missing beverages were fizzling feelings. “You,” Pepper pointed at the nearest student. “Make sure the boys are washed. I’ll be back in a moment.” Pepper began to walk slowly. He turned his face to his lone companion, “why would Sizo want to choose me?” “I didn’t say he wants to choose you. He has chosen you.” “He has chosen others too.” “Yet they don’t get to talk to him like you do.” “How did you know this?” “Sizo told me.” Pepper stopped. “You spoke to Sizo?” “Have you forgotten?

He is my relative from home.” “When?” “The day I brought the five dollars to the room.” Sizo was visible from the frontage road already. For Pepper, it was the position waiting to be his soon. For the boy, it was more dollars in cash. For Sizo, his Party would be the one dominant party – his legacy. The bullying was just a minor tactic. Caveat: This is entirely a work of fiction. Therefore, any resemblance in the story is just a coincidence.

Ojo, Aderemi Ibadan, Nigeria. ojderemi@gmail.com


Ojo, Aderemi is a Historian, teacher, public speaker, writer, politician, and community organiser. He was trained at the University of Ibadan and was President of the Students Union.

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