Dr Cosmos Ndukwe’s resplendent stature and his beard contour, look transcendental. They arguably gave the prejudice against him some verisimilitude. Therefore, don’t cast blame on me for the sudden surge of collywobbles and palpitations, I felt as I stretched my finger towards my phone’s photo App to have a glimpse of my shots.
I can never deny ever battling with the ifs and buts conjectures. But my desire to burst the bubble transcended all the preconceived hypotheses. So, I quickly clicked the photo App. It was a race against time for me to confirm Ndukwe’s nebulous images on the camera mythology.
Then, the moment of reality. Lo and behold, what I saw knocked my socks off. “Holy Moses!” I screamed. “So, this is it!” The bewildered Dr Ndukwe and his wife (who was about to serve me a plate of rice) stood transfixed gazing towards me. “Enyi, ogini?” (my friend, what is it?) Dr Ndukwe asked.
As I regained my composure and about to explain, a blast of siren sent the entire compound into a frenzy. It was the arrival of Ochendo and his entourage. That moment birthed my meeting Ochendo. Unfortunately, Dr Ndukwe got the stick and continuous vilification from Ochendo family members who erroneously accused him of recommending me to their patriarch during the chance meeting. For the records, he never did.
Anyways, we shall discuss that later. But then, Ochendo’s presence interrupted the scheduled interview. We mooted for another date subject to confirmation by Dr Ndukwe (who was not au fait with my dilemma). However, my biggest challenge was how to reconcile the myth about him with his images on my camera. So, I abandoned the merriment and retired to my car perplexed as I made my journey back to Umuahia.
“What could be the reason for the dissimilitude?” I queried as I looked at the images sporadically. Not too convinced because that was not part of my envisagement, I partially concluded that my disconcertment led to his concurrence.
Back to my hotel, I had begun to shop for another fitting angle to my anticipated feature story but still struggled to shrug off the illusion. Enveloped by anomalous curiosity, I contacted my source once more through his cell phone. “Old boy, your information dey wrong ooh!” I exclaimed. “Which of them baba”? he queried. “The one you talk say the man no dey show for picture.”
“Ah! e show”? he asked. “E no only show but e clear pass snow,” I responded with some feelings of bamboozlement. “Ok nah, no wahala, na so me I take hear am. Na em be say dey lie against the man be that.” “No wahala nah, later,” he said casually as he bade me goodnight.
However, on December 31, 2015, an Appeal Court sitting in Owerri declared Dr Alex Otti winner of 2015 Abia State gubernatorial election leading to upheaval and precariousness momentarily. I guessed it scuttled the scheduled interview until I returned to Lagos.
So, a few weeks later, I travelled to Abuja for a meeting with our publisher, Dr Orji Kalu. While relaxing at his guest house with a man who held a revered office between 2003/07 in Abia state government, I subtly raised the mythoi of Dr Ndukwe’s astral projection and wizardry stunts.
I knew he must have insight. So, I began with the disappearance from a somersaulting bus conveying him and his colleagues to Abuja story to his transformation into a bat during an attempted assassination.
“Hmm! Who told you all these,” he asked. “I am doing a feature story on Cosmos Ndukwe,” I replied. “Be wary of litigation ooh! I know you are a smart journalist, so, I suggest you do a proper investigation before writing,” he advised.
So, as I prodded further, he expectedly let the cat out of the bag.
“Even though I have no sympathy for Cosmos, these are distorted stories from the fifth columnists. It happened on August 25, 2005. Cosmos Ndukwe, Chris Akomas, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, the late Mandy Onuoha, Zanza Obingwa, Total Nwakamma, and Chief Udo Obike were travelling to Sokoto. Their chartered Space-Wagon was involved in an accident that claimed the life of Mandy.
“How the story that Cosmos gave up his seat for Mandy, to stay close to his friend Akomas came up was something I couldn’t tell. It was a lie that he knew something about Mandy’s death.”
According to him, the assassination attempt that led to the death of his police orderly happened on December 12, 2008, along Udeagbala Road.
“The attack left his vehicle shattered with bullets. But, he was not the only survivor. His driver survived too. Are you saying that his driver also transformed into a bat?” he queried.
After listening to his logical narration, I took a deep breath and exhaled exhaustively. However, it was not until 2017 when I went to club at Luxury City in the company of Zuby Michael that I confirmed that most public prejudices against Cosmos Ndukwe were predicated on some indescribable mythoi mostly told by outlanders.
Cosmos is not sorcerous; he is not a preacher of violence; neither is he okara Madu, okara nmuo (half-human/half-ghost). He is a lover of good times who, like all human beings, is afraid of death. The manner he screamed and jumped up when our bottle of wine fell was laughable. A man with such exaggerated supernatural powers would not be that dead scared. If I lied, ask Odumeje (the Lion). At least, ndi umu Pericoma and Izu ogu n’ihe eme ekwetago n’ofu onye ada anu uda egbe.
To be continued.