By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
It all started at the local secondary school in Ndiorumbe when the literature teacher, Holy Nwankpi, asked his students: “Who wrote Things Fall Apart?”
The first student pleaded his innocence thusly: “I didn’t write it-o!”
Another student pointed an accusing finger at the denying student and screamed: “He is a liar. I know he wrote it!”
The class prefect joined the fray with these words: “I saw him when he was writing Things Fall Apart with a red biro!”
Before Teacher Holy Nwankpi could mediate, the argument had turned into a free-for-all fight that attracted the attention of the school principal who said: “I am very sure one of them wrote it!These bad boys can write anything!”
The ruckus was so bad that policemen had to intervene, and they made arrests, promising to detect who wrote Things Fall Apart.
“The author is dead!” Holy Nwankpi cried, struggling to end the matter.
“Yes, the writer must die!” retorted a police constable, whacking Holy Nwankpi with a baton on the head that put the poor teacherinto fits of delirium.
The DPO was loud with his statement: “It must be one of you who wrote Things Fall Apart and we must fish you out, by fire by force!”
Not even torture could get any of the arrested students to confess to writing the dreadful words – Things Fall Apart.
The local government chairman was soon alerted, and he quickly took the case to the state governor to help uncover “the writer or writers of Things Fall Apart and all their evil accomplices.”
All the security agencies were then brought in “to unravel the mystery of writing Things Fall Apart against the government.”
The juju-doctor attached to one of the agencies came up with this grand revelation: “It is a wailer who wrote Things Fall Apart to kill our democracy!”
The Info Minister was alerted and he hollered: “I have not been in this job for two years after re-election and they are already writing Things Fall Apart against me!”
An unstoppable Minister of Mendacity, he instantly promised to take the case to the presidential palace for “the immediate arrest of the wailer or wailers who aided the students in writing the mother of all hate speeches called Things Fall Apart against the regime of change.”
The beefy presidential adviser was raving with words: “There is no Fake News worse than writing Things Fall Apart against the corporate existence of our dear country. Things Fall Apart must be the Hate Speech of a wailing wailer!”
The other presidential spokesperson, a somewhat squat man, bellowed for good measure: “Writing Things Fall Apart at this time of our national progress is worse than Restructuring and Confederation, even Secession! The writer or writers and their backers must all be arrested presto and charged with High Treason!”
With presidential precision, a high-powered committee of herdsmen and mullahs was set up to probe into all aspects of writing Things Fall Apart against the anti-corruption regime.
“This writing of Things Fall Apart is corruption fighting back,” said the gworo-chewing chairman of the probe panel through his gworo-stained brownish teeth. “How can they write Things Fall Apart against us in this great year that we are celebrating our Diamond Jubilee? These writers of Things Fall Apart are more dangerous than Corona virus!”
The secretary of the panel piped in: “We need to take a Chinese loan to ensure that we probe into all the angles pertaining to the writing of the satanic verses called Things Fall Apart.”
With the China loan in the bag, a suggestion was made by a member of the panel for the summoning of the rural teacher Holy Nwankpi who started the Things Fall Apart hate speech.
When Holy Nwankpi was summoned before the panel, wearing his trademark Tai Solarin-like khaki shirt and shorts, the rustic teacher burst into epileptic laughter, rolling on the floor and laughing some more.
“This fellow is unrepentant about this dangerous hate speech matter of writing Things Fall Apart against constituted authority!” screamed the panel chairman, with his chewed gworo flying here and there from his mouth. “Lock that laughing wailer up!”
News flew fast and free that Holy Nwankpi was being torturedto death in a dungeon.
Holy Nwankpi’s pre-teen son in the desperate bid to save his father had to confess that he was the writer of Things Fall Apart.
NTA broke the great news that the unpatriotic writer who wroteThings Fall Apart against the government had at last been caught red-handed!
A public holiday was promptly declared across the nation.
Mr. President will soon give a national address on the great capture of the bandit wailer who wrote that monster hate speech of three dangerous words: Things Fall Apart…
-Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, poet, journalist, public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos