Adeyemi-Bisileko Gboyega: A tale of beginnings…a tale of becoming [Nigerian Voices]

by Adeyemi-Bisileko Gboyega

It was in that house that life began, from the moment of conception and swimming in that belly-river and being delivered in Golden Mother Maternity Home, it was the house at 4, Church Street, Lonlo, Iju-Ishaga that I knew life as we all knew it.

It was in all respects a very ordinary neighborhood, having an African Diocese Church on the same street directly facing what was traditionally known as ( and I’ve always known as a ) beer parlor or in my attempt to ”form”, I would say a pub. Quite a contrast, I must say for someone who was raised by strict religious rules. Just beside that was a house where Arabic lessons were taken and as you can guess, the children were taught by an iron hand. Variety is after all the spice of life. And my wee little self (as I then was) lived as tenants with my family of five in a storey-building with our apartments having a balcony facing the street and giving a view of the main road. This was where life was shaped in more ways than I can say.

Consider the home structure having its stillness pierced through by the constant bell which heralded us to morning devotion where everybody (except the bell-ringer, which was usually Daddy) streams in half-asleep, and all contribute a song of praise to The Most High God. Our prayers were characterized by thanks for the past blessings while we fervently entreated for better in the new day and beyond.

I remember the policies which we lived by and most prominent in my mind was the fact that the children were never allowed to play outside the apartment. There was some space at the back of the house, and within the compound which well served others as a football field but never us. The rule was so absolute that at a time when I got a considerable amount of money on my birthday and bought a ball, it was played only in my room.

Children are naturally rambunctious beings and limiting them in their irascibility and spirit of adventure means you must concede to them on some other grounds, so we got to watch a lot of TV and were able to raid my parent’s rooms in search of books to read.

Houses are nonliving beings but it seems they carry a certain piece of soul, and show in a subtle manner, the character of its inhabitants. It isn’t necessarily about the grandeur of the house or the absence of it. There is a little something that it carries which even its builders know nothing about, but which the house acquires after some time. I remember the nightmares, the little escapades, the punishments meted out, the triumphs and suchlike.

So when we finally did leave that house, to our own place, it might not be the case that we left pieces of ourselves in the apartment, but rather that we took the essence of the house away with us, though I’ve always wondered whether the new occupants do catch little glimpses into the lives of the former by mere longevity of years and if they’ll stay long enough to carve in memories of their own. Perhaps the walls do have ears and possibly human features by which such tales can be told if only men will deign to listen.

So in our own place, new memories have to be formed. Having stayed a tenant for so long, well-worn tracks of want and never really having enough have etched their mark in one’s mind.

So I’m that guy who wants to do all he can to escape from the mindset that limits him, that has invested in a few ventures of which some have failed, but yet he’s relentless. I am that guy that chooses to consistently dig at the goldmine of the mind, seeking solutions to problems yet unsolved. I am that guy who desires not to be limited by where he has been but to set his eyes on the now and the not-so-far future. I am that guy who wants to create things of worth that will outlive him. I am that guy who subscribes to BBM channels that guarantee daily feeds of palatial houses so his mind can be quickened to possibilities. I am that guy who likes to get to the top of high buildings, looking below and reassure himself that all things are possible.

I am that guy…..

You could wonder if all of this is because of a house, and I would  smile and that would suffice as my reply.

I still dream about that house……..

And I desire new neural paths forged in my mind, and for the unveiled ones.

This entry was submitted as part of the Nigerian Voices competition organized by

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