Aba brethren are a bunch of people who seem to interest
me. I woke up this morning with goose pimples all over my
body because of the harmattan cold. I almost went back to
bed but I changed my mind when I remembered it was
sunday. I got prepared and I arrived Spring Of Life Bible
Church quite late. Sunday school was almost over. As soon
as the pastor concluded that session with prayers, the man
sitting beside me stood up and went straight to him and
took the microphone. He was the moderator. His bogus
faded velvet suit told that he probably was an evangelist.
Aba brethren love big clothes especially suit. This can
enable them practice radical Christianity. That kind that will
make an evangelist fight with a man because he has
refused to give his life to Christ or bring out a gun and force
him to accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. Your
suit can never be shaped, it must be bogus by force. That's
the proof that you are an evangelist in Aba. It was time for
opening Prayers and worship. Sis. Nkechi Ikemefuna came
out and took over the microphone. Her session was for
10minutes but she used over 30minutes. That's why I call
her Sis. Nkechi Ikemefuna. She is a true Aba woman. Her
white and white suit with matching pink hat and shoes told
it all. She sang all the Igbo songs she knew because she
wasnt sure of holding the microphone another time. "This is
a rare opportunity" she must have thought to herself.
"Halerula". "Amen" we chorused. "Amem" she said again
and we answered "Amen". I wondered what happened to
her tongue, I hope it wasn't cut. She sang an Igbo song I
love to sing: Mma mma diri gi Chineke mma mma diri gi
onye oma. I sang along because even though I don't know
the meaning I just love the song. "Testimony time! The Lord
has done something good for you and your family, come out
and testify", said the moderator. All the people that came
out to testify proved fully that they were Aba brethren. They
made verbal expressions like; "yesterday I went back home
jumping", "I want to proove to THE satan that The Lord is
Good", "I knew her as Aunty Chima but now she's married,
she is Mummy Overall". I just couldn't help myself but
laugh. The mother of the pastor who just got married came
out to testify. She looked in her mid 70's. The vibrancy with
which she gave the testimony marvelled me. I was amazed
at how a woman of such age could be so active. Now I
believe that it is in old age that the strength of Aba women
lie. With gestures she said, "When the devil came to tell me
rubbish about my son, I just kick him, he fall down for
ground then I say ge ta way you dia make I pass." They talk
of combating with the devil like they are visualising him
face to face and if they dont beat him up at that spot then
they are not Aba brethren. Sis. Nkechi Ikemefuna came out
again. "Brethrens praaaaaa...ise Master Jesus! Amem!
Halerula lae!" After testifying with so much gestures, she
went to her seat so happy and fulfilled that she handled the
microphone the second time. Sis. Nkechi Ikemefuna kept
laughing at everything and nothing that was funny. Since
she was sitting in front, she would occationally turn back and
the only person she could see in the great crowd of
witnesses was me, expecting me to laugh back with her, but
I gave her a smile. A cold smile. I didn't want her to think a
witch had come to her church. On a normal basis, I would
not have given her another reason to turn back again. After
testimonies, Brother Chidubem Alfonsus came around to
share envelops for tithe and offering. The tithe envelop
resembled the kind we used back in school for our research
and project work. It was really big! "How much tithe are
they expecting us to give", I thought to myself. Service was
over finally and we were all expected to go around and
greet people. I just carried my bad and everything I came to
church with and quietly walked out before Sis. Nkechi
Ikemefuna will locate me.
When I got home, I rested because I knew the kind of
journey I would be embarking on a few moments from then. I ate as soon as I woke
up from my short nap. We gathered our things and hit the
road for Calabar ...

Written by Cara 'Elizabeth' Robert
A 300 Level student of English and Literary Studies at the University of Calabar, Calabar. 


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