I am Lolo Nkwocha. I am Agwubuo’s first wife. When the elders came for the scheduled Afor day meeting my husband called me to greet them and bring him kola to serve them.
I curtsied to Agwubuo and stayed on one knee as I hailed him
“Okwara-Agu my husband, Our Father, may you live long o”
“Right Hand of Her Husband, may you also live long my wife” he responded and tapped me on the shoulder with his staff.
I got up and turned to the council and called each by his praise name.
‘Lolo, Wife of Agwubuo thank you. How are you and the children?”
“They are well my good Husbands”
“Go get us some kola. I do not have enough in my pouch”
“Right away my Husband”
It was a short distance from the Obi, or reception hall to my hut. After all I am the first wife. I always keep a large stash of kola nuts wrapped in banana inside a small covered clay pot. My husband is an important man and he always has visitors he cannot run out of kola and as a good wife it is my duty to ensure he never does.
After I gave him the kola I took a low stool under the eaves of the Obi closest to my hut. The men couldn’t see me but I could hear everything they were saying. It was the Market Day, most of the other wives and the older children weren’t yet back from the market. I come home early because I sell my wares wholesale.
I listened to the old men of the council talking with my husband. They spoke of how the white man had deposed and exiled King Jaja of Opobo. No one knows where they took him. The rumor is they sent him to the place they sold all the slaves they bought from him.
My husband and the council are worried. The white man has no respect for the authority of the black man. If our kings and elders do not agree with them they kidnap them and send them away from their people. Then they place the slave raiders in authority over the people forcing them to accept their terms and conditions.
Agwubuo wonders what will become of our kingdom? I wonder too. The white man wants to control the people trading, they think our traders profits are too high. They give the oil traders 4 manilas for a jar of palm oil and slave traders 10 manilas for a fit slave. We don’t know how much they sell them for in their homes far across the sea but we hear they are stupendously rich and live in tall large houses in cities 100 times bigger than the cities on the coast where the Water People live. Why can’t they let everyone enjoy the Market?
The men of the council are sounding more and more agitated as they speak.