Her body was still warm when Inibehe arrived the hospital with his
elder brother Pastor Mfon, who had just picked him up from the
airport.

As he walked on the hallway, he looked at things strangely, as if he’d
never been there before. He had been in Rhapsody Christian Missionary
school In London for just four years, and now, coming back home to
Nigeria, almost everything wasn’t familiar anymore. His elder brother
looked a bit chubby, and his accent had changed.

“Why are we in the hospital? Is everything fine?” Inibehe asked in concern.
His brother nodded and said, “Mom has cancer. She wants to see all of us.”

“This isn’t good.” Inibehe said abruptly.

He was the second son of his mother, while pastor Mfon was the first.
Their only sister Sifon came when no one expected her. But lady
Valerie Okoko, Inibehe’s mother had so many reasons to be happy about
having a female child. She was going to groom all her children in
missionary schools, whether they wanted it or not. All she wanted was
for them to grow and die in the Lord’s vineyard. “It’s where life is
my children.” She said.

Inibehe had just finished writing his final exams in missionary school
when his father called him to get a ticket and come to Nigeria
immediately. He didn’t give him reasons, he just gave an order.

Inibehe’s heart trembled when he saw the crowd of people in his mother’s ward.
They were all pastors, bishops and reverends.
They all gathered around Lady Valerie.

“He is here, mom”, a female voice said shrilly. That was the only
voice that sounded familiar to him. It was his sister’s. She walked as
fast as she could and hugged him tightly, weeping softly.

“Mom has been really sick Ini. I missed you.” She said and hugged him again.

Inibehe didn’t know what to say; if he was to cry too, or just watch
what was happening.

“She will be fine.” He said with certainty as he held his sister’s hands.
His father’s hands held his shoulders, “Welcome my son.”
He hugged his father and then swiped at the rivulets of sweat running
down the sides of his face with a crumpled blue handkerchief.
It was the first time Inibehe hugged his father that way.
Bishop Cosmos Okoko had been a strict, strong, agile man all his life.
He was feared and respected. Being the founder of Rhapsody Christian
Church worldwide had given him so much. He had legacies and was known
to be a great achiever. He’d make his three children pastors and given
them his big churches outside Nigeria to lead.

“Your mother wants to see all of us.” A sneer licked the edges of his words.

“I am here.” Inibehe said. He left his father’s arms and walked slowly
to where his mother laid. She had oxygen tube connected to her
nostrils.

Despite the ravages of the pain, Lady Valerie could still open her
eyes to see her most beloved son. She was bald headed and ugly.
Inibehe realized that it was more than what he thought. He stared at
the woman who had been his mother, and carried him in her arms for
years. She used to be beautiful, elegant and delectable until cancer
came knocking her down. A worried expression deepened the furrow
between his eyebrows.

“Mommy…” He called out weakly and held her hands tightly.

She took out the oxygen tube from her mouth and then said weakly,
“I have just few things to tell my children and my husband.”

His elder brother pastor Mfon brought out a recording camera from a
bag and placed it on the air, recording every sentence and words his
mother made.

“I want to thank you all for making me proud.” She coughed and then
continued “My husband will mourn me for a year, and then remarry for
the sake of the church. My first son Mfon will move to the church
branch in America and be there to lead it well.”
A nurse suddenly appeared and injected a greenish liquid into her
veins. She left within a minute.
Lady Valerie continued after she closed her eyes for some moments. “My
daughter will marry Pastor Usoro Oscar my godson whom I trained, and
they will take care of the church in London. While my second son
Inibehe Okoko will be married to my goddaughter Uduak Ebebe, and then
they will choose the church branch in which they will serve the Lord.
Uduak is a virgin, I have trained her well for you, my son.”

Inibehe’s heart was beating when his mother was talking, but it
suddenly stopped when she mentioned Uduak Ebebe, his childhood
playmate.

Inibehe suddenly became annoyed, he then asked critically, “Why Uduak, mommy?”

“Do not ask questions!” A pastor in the midst of the people who were
gathered in the room yelled at Inibehe.

The oxygen tube was placed back on Lady Valerie’s nose.
He stared at his mother, the disquiet he’d been feeling all morning
intensified. His desire to leave that scenario was strong.

The Church Scandal 1

The Church Scandal 2

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