Brother Kolade was one of the most vibrant ‘spirikoko’ brothers we had in the fellowship. He was very energetic and powerful. His tongues were on another level. Sisters in the fellowship used to tease him by saying that his tongues had a doctorate degree. Whenever Brother Kolade was praying, he prayed with so much energy and passion, you could literally feel the whole place vibrating. How about evangelism? It was something he loved to do so much. Whenever he stepped into our fellowship venue, you could practically feel the anointing all over him. It was no surprise that he was appointed as the Assistant Prayer Coordinator at the beginning of the new session. Sisters loved to be around him, perhaps hoping that one day he would see a vision and do the needful. So, when I found out that I had been assigned the same room with him for the new session, I was overjoyed. I would finally get to ‘tap’ into Brother Kolade’s vigorous anointing.
After three months of living together in the same room with Brother Kolade alongside our other two roommates, I realized that there are different levels to a man. With all his tongue blasting, fire raining, mountain shaking anointing, Brother Kolade was a very unkempt and untidy person. His wardrobe and cupboard were never arranged, and his clothes always spilled out. He never separated his clean clothes from dirty ones so I sometimes wondered how he managed not to wear dirty clothes to lectures or fellowship. Whenever he cooked, he would soak the dirty pot outside until the stench became unbearable. Then, he would throw out the dirty water and just toss the pot under the bed. On many occasions, I had to help him wash his dirty plates which had been under the bed for days. We both shared the same bunk, so it was difficult for me to ignore his dirty habits.
Times without number, he used lectures or fellowship as a cover up for his laziness and untidiness.
‘Shola’, he would say. ‘I don’t have time. I’m a busy person. Lecture combined with fellowship is very stressful. I will arrange my stuff when I come back’.
Of course, this was a promise he never fulfilled.
If that was all there was to Brother Kolade’s character, I would have overlooked it. However, there was one more thing which he did that never went down well with me. Brother Kolade almost never pays back any money he borrows. Initially, I tried to overlook it as they were minor sums of money. Gradually however, it became a source of concern. He was not from a well to do home, so the money sent from home wasn’t always enough for him. When the semester started, Damilola and David, our other roommates were always ready to lend him some money. However, when they noticed that he never paid back, they became reluctant and cold.
I didn’t have a problem with Brother Kolade not paying back. Where I had issues with him was that he would always promise to pay back and when he failed to do so at the stipulated time, he never offered any explanations or apologies. He always felt that since we were roommates and we attended the same fellowship, I was cool with it. I didn’t have the mind to turn him down, so whenever he asked me for money, if I had it, I gave him.
The day I tried bringing it up with him on a very platonic note, he flared up.
‘Shola. So you are mocking me because I am not buoyant, abi?’ he queried.
‘Brother Kolade it’s not like that’, I quickly explained. ‘I understand that sometimes you may not be able to pay back as at when due. All I am just saying is that when such happens, an explanation or apology would go a long way. I am not just saying this because of myself. I am saying this because you may do this to an outsider tomorrow and it won’t go down well with him’.
‘Really?’ He sneered. ‘Are you not my friend and brother in the Lord? You should understand me by now. Remember what the Bible says about helping those in need. The book of…’
He was about quoting a scripture but I cut him short.
‘Brother Kolade that is not what I am saying. All I am saying is that you should be accountable, responsible and trust worthy. As a Christian, people should be able to hold you accountable to your word. If you keep making empty promises, it will be hard for anyone to trust you.’
‘So I am irresponsible abi?, he asked with an incredulous look. ‘I am an oloriburuku (irresponsible person), because I collect some small small chicken change (peanuts) from your hand abi? There is no problem. God is watching from heaven, and he will soon turn my story around for good. Nonsense’. With that he went to his cupboard and started humming.
I shook my head. Brother Kolade was not seeing reason with me. I only hoped his attitude wouldn’t land him in trouble someday.
I was wrong. Barely a month after I confronted him on this issue, something bad happened. I was lying on my bed that afternoon scrolling through Facebook when a notification popped up. I clicked it and what I saw almost made me drop my phone. Brother Kolade’s favorite picture, the one he snapped with his bogus Bible under his armpit was staring at me. Below it the following words were written:
‘The person in the picture above is a dubious and irresponsible guy, a fraudster and a thief, even though he professes to be a born again Christian. Doing any business with him or having any business with him is at your own risk. Don’t say you were not warned’.
The post was put up by Abiodun Oladimeji, one of Brother Kolade’s classmates. I started wondering what Brother Kolade had done to warrant this nasty post. Abiodun went ahead to tag as many persons as possible on the post. He didn’t just stop there, he also put up the post on Instagram. I became very concerned. I dialed Brother Kolade’s number severally but he wasn’t picking up. If he ever saw this, he would be so devastated.
By 6pm, I dressed up in preparation for fellowship. I dialed Brother Kolade’s number again but he still wasn’t picking up. Immediately I entered the fellowship venue, I sensed that the atmosphere was not right. I was still trying to scan the venue with my eyes for Brother Kolade when Brother Dotun, the Vice President pulled me aside.
‘Brother Shola, where is Brother Kolade?’ he asked.
“I don’t know. I saw him last in the morning when he was leaving for lecture’, I replied.
‘Have you tried calling him?’ he asked again.
‘Yes but he is not picking up’, I answered. ‘What is the matter?’
‘So you’ve not heard?’
‘Heard what?’ I asked curiously.
‘There is a gist going round that Brother Kolade borrowed some money from one of his classmates and has refused to pay back. The guy, out of anger put up a demeaning post of Brother Kolade on Facebook. Not just that, he circulated it to almost all the Departmental and Faculty whatsapp groups. Right now, Brother Kolade is hot cake.’
I opened my mouth in shock.
‘That is not even the one that pains me sef’, Brother Dotun continued. ‘The one that pains me is that people are coming out to share experiences of how Brother Kolade swindles them of their money with promises that he never fulfills. Whether they are lying or saying the truth, I don’t know. Brother Kolade, a whole assistant prayer coordinator! Why will he allow the devil to use him like this?’
I looked at Brother Dotun sharply immediately I heard his last statement. He understood the message and quickly excused himself. I was perturbed. I needed to find Brother Kolade.
There was only one place that came to my mind- the field. This was where Brother Kolade loved praying and meditating. Quickly, I picked up my Bible and walked down to the field. My instinct was right as I saw him sitting on the floor at a corner, bent over.
‘Brother Kolade’, I called.
He jerked up and looked back. His eyes were red. He had been crying.
‘Brother Kolade’, I called again. He didn’t respond.
I quickly brought out my phone and dialed the President’s number. I told him where to meet us and that it was urgent. As soon as I cut the call, I cleared the ground and sat beside Brother Kolade. Nobody said anything for a few minutes.
‘Why are human beings so wicked’, he lamented. ‘What would he gain by bringing my name to disrepute in this school?’
I didn’t say anything. At that moment, Brother Praise, the fellowship president arrived.
‘Brother Kolade and Brother Shola, good evening’, he greeted.
Brother Kolade mumbled a response. I responded too.
Brother Praise quickly sat beside Brother Kolade and put his hand on his shoulder.
‘I know what you are passing through right now’, he said.
‘Ah. Presido, you don’t understand’, Brother Kolade started. I promised Abiodun that I will pay him back his money. Why couldn’t he just be patient with me? After all, there are times when I’ve borrowed from Shola and couldn’t pay back yet Shola didn’t do any stupid thing.’
Brother Praise smiled.
‘Abiodun has finished my reputation in this school’, he lamented again. ‘My God! How will the fellowship members see me now? One of my lecturers has even chatted me up, demanding an explanation. What do I tell her?’
‘When did you say you were going to pay Abiodun back?’ Brother Praise asked calmly.
‘On the 2nd’ , he replied.
‘And today is 16th. So why didn’t you pay him back?’
‘I’ve not been able to gather the money’.
‘Did you tell him?’ Brother Praise probed further.
Brother Kolade looked up. ‘Tell him? I didn’t see the need to’.
‘Why?’ Brother Praise asked.
‘I just felt he will understand na. After all, he knows I am not very buoyant’.
‘You see,’ Brother Praise started calmly. ‘That is where you made a mistake’.
‘How?’ Brother Kolade asked.
‘Whenever you make a promise to someone or you set a deadline or an appointment with someone and you are not able to meet up, courtesy demands that you offer an explanation and an apology. This is the normal and sensible thing to do’, Bro Praise said.
‘But Abiodun only met me twice to ask for the money so I just assumed he didn’t need it urgently’, Brother Kolade argued.
‘How many times were you expecting him to demand for his own money? Look, Brother Kolade’, Brother Praise continued. ‘In life, you will interact with different kinds of personalities. Never assume everyone is the same. Whether he needed the money or not, the right thing to do was to offer an explanation and an apology’.
‘Secondly, never take your friends for granted. You have been exhibiting this careless attitude with your close friends and you just assumed they will understand because they are your friends. My brother, it is not proper. Don’t betray the trust reposed in you by your friends. You will need it someday’.
‘Hmmmmmm’, Brother Kolade muttered. I was also paying rapt attention.
‘Finally, you are a Christian. You are the light of the world. The Bible says let your light shine before men, but believers and unbelievers alike. You should not behave in a way that will make the world question your salvation.
‘All these money you keep borrowing from people, what do you even use them for? The Bible says godliness with contentment is great gain. The Bible also says God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory. He said all your needs, not all your wants. So I believe you can actually do without all these things you borrow money to purchase. Learn to live within your means. It will save you from unnecessary embarrassments. I hope you understand all I am saying?’
‘Yes Presido. I understand’, he responded.
‘Good. Now, you are going to call Abiodun and apologise to him’, Brother Praise instructed.
‘Apologise? But he should be the one apologizing. He has tarnished my image’, Brother Kolade said.
‘You offended him’, Brother Praise responded. ‘Besides, it is irrelevant who offended who. The Bible encourages us to do all within our power to live in peace with all men, both with believers, unbelievers, trouble makers, trouble keepers and all the likes’.
‘So’, he continued, ‘call him and apologise to him. Explain to him the state of things and give him a realistic date in which you will pay back his money. Fulfill your promise this time o’.
‘Okay Presido, I’ve heard all you said’, he said soberly.
‘God bless you Brother Kolade. And thank you Brother Shola for calling me out here. So can we go back to the fellowship now, they should be rounding off already’.
‘You guys can go’, Brother Kolade replied. ‘I can’t come to fellowship today. I need to settle some things with God’.
‘Are you sure you’ll be fine? I asked.
‘Definitely’, he replied.
I patted him on his shoulder and stood up.
‘See you in the room’, I said.
As brother Praise and I walked back to the fellowship venue, I was happy. At least, one aspect of Brother Kolade’s character has been tackled. I knew that it won’t be long before God helps him in other aspects of his life too. I smiled widely.
Ecclesiastes 5:5 (New Living Translation) – It is better to say nothing than to promise something that you don’t follow through on.
May God give us friends like Shola who are ready to accommodate our weaknesses yet bold enough to show us our faults and flaws and point us to the way out. Amen.
Thank you for reading!