My Saddest Day In Court!

By Ikenga Chronicles February 7, 2021

— Kenneth Ikonne

The scene in the court room of the Family Division of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, evoked deep pathos. The judge, a Lady, was sobbing. And so were the parties, the lawyers, and everyone else in that rattled courtroom, including me! It was at the hearing of a case instituted by me on behalf of my client, Dipo, against his former consort. Their relationship more, than thirteen years earlier, had produced a baby girl, but it did not eventually lead to marriage, even though Dipo had assumed full responsibility for the child’s upkeep and maintenance, and was at the time of the hearing bearing full responsibility for her schooling and upkeep at the very expensive Turkish – American secondary school at Victoria Island, Lagos! Dipo was well – heeled, a chartered accountant, and loved the child – his only child – dearly.

The love affair between Dipo and Jumoke, the child’s mother had been steamy and passionate. Jumoke’s mother fully supported the affair. Not only was Dipo a comely lad, he had also been a very promising young man, from a very good family in Ondo State. Graduating at the top of his class, with a first class in Engineering from the University of Ife, he had ventured into Accounting, and quickly became a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. Dipo was thus by every standard, a worthy suitor, and a welcome guest at his lover’s mother’s home in Abeokuta. It was in the course of one of those visits that the inevitable happened, and the lady took in, and eventually gave birth to the baby girl!

Dipo did not eventually marry his lover, but he continued maintaining both she and the baby, even after the lady found love elsewhere and married! And fortune was immensely kind to him. He rose quickly professionally, becoming the Managing Director of a major firm in the city of Lagos – and super wealthy to the bargain. He himself had married, but the marriage had not produced any issue, even after several years. And he had begun to doubt whether he was going to ever sire another child. But the thoughts of his very beautiful Angel from his earlier relationship always comforted and reassured him. The girl was almost his carbon copy, and he adored her.

When the little girl was thirteen years, Dipo honoured an invitation to attend a wedding in Lagos. His attendance at that wedding was to change his world forever. Dipo was invited to the high table to chair the occasion. From where he sat at the high table, he could see a daintily dressed couple swaying gaily to the beats and praises of the Fuji singer, as they waltzed their way to their seats at the high table. The master of ceremony had earlier, in calling them to the high table, introduced them as Mr and Mrs Abimbola. They, along with Dipo, were among the distinguished guests at the wedding reception. They took their seats right beside Dipo, with the husband sitting right next to Dipo.

Dipo instantly recognised his ex girlfriend, his baby’s mother, and waved at her in greeting. But when he took just one look at her husband, his heart sank. Sitting right there next to him was Ade. He had put on some weight, but there was no mistaking who he was. “Ade”, blotted out Dipo. “Na you be this? Wonders shall never cease!” Dipo, chairman of a wedding, lost control of his emotions, and began to sob, his dropped head in his palms. He regained composure, and took charge of the wedding proceedings!

Fifteen years previously, while he dated Jumoke, now Mrs Abimbola, Ade had also been a regular visitor at Jumoke’s house at Abeokuta. Ade was good looking and courteous toward Dipo whenever Dipo visited, and sometimes even ran errands for Jumoke’s mother. Both Jumoke and her mother introduced him to Dipo as Jumoke’s cousin, and in Dipo’s presence, Ade played the part perfectly. But there was one particular day that Dipo came to her house unannounced, opened Jumoke’s room without knocking, and caught Jumoke and Ade untangling from what he thought was an embrace and a kiss. Dipo reported what he thought he saw to Mama, but Mama and daughter quickly doused his suspicions, with Mama explaining that the duo had always been so close, right from infancy.

It was shortly after this time that Jumoke took in for Dipo, and birthed his adorable little baby girl!

But now, Ade and Jumoke were sitting right next to Dipo, introduced by the MC to the whole world as husband and wife! They were even dressed in the same uniformed attire, leaving no one in any doubt that this was a couple. When Dipo left the wedding party that evening, he wept like a baby, from the moment he entered his car, and up to the point he arrived home.

He was still weeping when he picked up his phone and called me, asking me to hop into the next available flight in Abuja to see him in his house in Lagos. When I inquired to know the reason for the urgency, he only retorted gravely: “Ken, my world has come crashing down. I am finished. And my life might even be in danger!”

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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