SQUASH – Episode 8: The Origins Of Bara The Governor

Governor Bara had not come home from his official assignment for a few months…

As his convoy drove through the massive estate gates, his new wife and only daughter who was 24 years old at the time, were waiting patiently at the lowest steps to the mansion.

The mansion had multiple exits and entrances through the ground floor but the most elegant of all the entrances is the main entrance.

Towering above the ground floor were four floors of fully furnished apartments. The construction company that built this edifice took above one billion to erect the structure.

The mansion itself was designed to be a safe house but in the mansion was a safer room designed to withstand Hurricane Katrina.

There were security cameras within the public spaces in the house and also in the trees around the house. The security engineering unit that set up the surveillance systems is the same unit that set up surveillance for the Whitehouse in America.

Governor Bara had once playfully told his daughter that it is not my enemies that I put up all these security for…I put them up because of my friends. They are the ones you should fear most. Trust no one.

At 61, the governor has had a fair share of betrayals and learned to think ahead of time. He was prepared to protect his loved ones with all his resources.

30 years ago, while he was serving in the army, he fell in love with a girl in Kaduna. He was on active duty at the time and couldn’t marry her but they dated secretly for a few years. Each moment they met, he loved her more and one day the result of their frequent lovemaking surfaced.

At the time, he had already clocked 35. Her name was Rukayyatu.

She died a few minutes after birthing their only offspring. A beautiful baby girl who took a resemblance to her with her eyes, nose, lips and ears. The doctor said it was by divine intervention that she survived as her umbilical cord was tied around her neck when they pulled her out of her mother’s already failing body.

Rukayyatu went into severe shock a few minutes after birthing her baby. The doctor said she was having severe bleeding as she was trying to deliver the child.

The doctor quickly disengaged the umbilical cord that was tied around the baby’s neck. He tried to revive her but the baby remained numb. No heartbeat. Nothing.

He placed her on the theater table and tried to stop the bleeding from the mother, but she was bleeding internally and there was nothing he did that yielded any good result. The blood that was running into her veins through the drip line was going out twice as fast from the internal wounds in her body.

Bara broke down as the doctor came out of the theater into the waiting room to break the bad news to him. He thought he had lost both the child and the love of his life when one of the nurses who was cleaning up the theater came running toward the waiting room.

Doctor! there is a heartbeat. The baby lived.

At that moment, Bara knew exactly what he would name her. Victoria.


The strong rules in the North surrounding chastity ensured that Rukayyatu never knew any man until she turned 23. At that time she had more liberty to go out with her female friends to their compounds.

One of her blossom friends Amina, had an elder brother who left home as an Almajirai at age eight. His father named him Bara, because all his wives kept giving him female children…he had at least four girls from each of his three wives…it was not until he married a fourth wife that heaven showed him the favor of a boy.

Bara means they had to beg him out.

From the Almajiri school, he was reported missing at age twelve. He had traveled to Lagos with the new friends he made in the Almajirai school for a better life.

His friend’s father accepted him as a son and helped him into the army at age eighteen. The man had some connections in high places. And he also made sure he rose in the ranks as fast as possible. His friend was also in the army with him.

One day, Bara came home to find his aging father and mother. He had risen in ranks within the army and had also come of age. He was 30 years of age at the time he came back home.

His father and mother treated him like they would any visitor and needed some proof to be sure he was their son.

He unbuttoned the two neck collar buttons slowly and brought out the teeth of a hyena attached to a slim rope made from weaving black horse hair.

His father and mother fondly mentioned his name amid tears of joy. Bara’s father called in Amina. She was filtering the chaff from millet by the doorway, which she quickly put aside. She came into the room and he asked her to inform the village head that our son is back.

She rushed close to Bara and took another glance at him…she felt the same bond energy between them just as when she first saw him enter the compound.

She put her arms around him and wept too…

Her father reminded her that she needed to get the message to Babangida the village head.

She gently left Bara’s embrace and headed for the village head’s house.

As she moved across the dry streets, a few dogs growled and barked at her. The north is known to have tall breeds of the popular Ekuke. An intelligent breed used by the village hunters to secure wild game. She didn’t care about the dogs today, as she usually tries to scare them off with motions like packing sand from the floor.

She came upon a large compound that had the resemblance of a palace. The entrance into the compound had two tall pillars and high fences made of straw held together with dried mud paste. The mud pastes still show the history of the hands that made them.

Two guards were standing adjacent to each other on the far end of the compound, just in front of the main palace veranda.

Amina walked briskly with light feet and joy in her eyes towards the guards.

They knew who she was. She is the daughter of the famous hyena man of the north. People come from many different parts of the world to watch his performances with the wild hyenas.

There are still songs sung to this day about the man who brought home twelve adult hyenas and domesticated them.

He made a lot of wealth from hyena shows and events he organized on specific days at the village square.

Amina greeted the palace guards. Ina wunie.

Lafia. They both echoed.

The village head; Babangida, sitting at a table with some leftover gazelle meat on his soup plate, saw Amina as she approached him.

Even though he was the oldest man in the village, his sight was still very accurate. He smiled the moment he beheld the beautiful face of Amina.

Amina who fondly calls him Baba, quickly shared the good news with him.

He motioned to one of his guards and before his hand could return to its resting position, the guard was already close to him and stooped low enough to receive instructions.

Baba asked the guard to tell the town crier to summon the whole village to his palace the next morning.
He motioned to the other guard and asked him to fetch some gazelle meat for Bara, the answer to their prayers.

About twenty years ago, when Bara’s father told Baba about his missing son, at the time, Baba was not the village head, they both consulted the cult of the hyena men and the witch doctor told them that he could still feel the hyena tooth and the bearer of the hyena tooth is living but as destiny would have it, the spirits have refused to reveal the details of his exact whereabouts but the spirits assured them that the boy they seek carries a great destiny. He will become a renowned leader in the north and would make a generational mark for the family of the hyena men.

So they stopped searching for Bara and waited for fate.

The guard returned to Baba with about 4 kilograms of gazelle meat packaged in a small leather bag.

Amina, take this meat home and tell my son, Baba says you are welcome.


As Bara was chewing some of the smoked gazelle within the compound, he heard the loud bang from the town crier’s gong. He quickly lay flat on the dirty ground.

His sisters chuckled. They understood that he had spent too much time in the army and would take some time adjusting to the civilian lifestyle.

Gong gon gon gon gon…The village head is inviting you to celebrate at the palace because our son whom we longed to see has come.

The town crier made his announcements that night and touched every nook of the village with his loud gong and voice.

They had come out into the compound to get acquainted as a family. They made a fire and danced around the fire happily that night.

Bara told his siblings stories from the battles he had fought, places he had been to, and people he had met in his sojourn as a soldier.

As it got darker that night, it was time to sleep, so the family exchanged greetings and went into their rooms for the night. Bara stayed some more and reminisced over how he escaped from the military where he was known as Ahmadu. He had served in the army for many years and now he was tired and did not care much about the events in the military and just wanted to go home.

He knew the punishment that comes to deserters if they are caught but he didn’t care. He had a force that was driving him home. Just be home and everything will be alright.

He took slow steps towards the hut where he would sleep for the night and thought about the village get-together party organized because of his return.

He opened the door of the hut and stepped in. He located the bed frame halfway across the room, and as he lay on the bed, the springs squeaked but before they could complete their complaint from the load they had to carry from his weight, he went into deep slumber.

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