By Paul Dada

Title: Raised a Catholic

I was raised a Catholic. The first Catholic Church I knew was the parish called Saint John the Evangelist at Oshodi. I remember we had two white priests. Their names, Father Bunigham and Father Laffey (not sure of the spellings).

Then in the early 80s my father, Chief Stephen Oladipupo Dada, a polygamist with 13 children from four women, moved most of his children to our hometown in Ibonwon in the Local Government Area of Lagos.

In our small town (or village if you like), we attended the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church which was the mother-church or headquarters for all or many of the Catholic parishes in the Epe area.

The priest I met at Ibonwon-Epe was Father Osigwe who was known for conducting healing masses. I am not sure or do not know if anyone was healed during those services.

Father Osigwe was succeeded by the stunningly handsome Father Shaymen Akpala. Father Akpala was very sociable. He was the kind of priest who would dump his priestly robes and wear a pair of jeans to attend a community social function.

Akpala was suspected to be dating one Aunty Nifemi in the town. I don’t know if it was true. But I couldn’t help noticing that Nifemi enjoyed a close relationship with Akpala. By the way, Nifemi was also a very pretty damsel. Both Akpala and Nifemi had alluring good looks. Their beauty stood out in the community.

Succeeding Father Akpala was the seemingly hot-tempered and no-nonsense Father Obayomi whom I learned placed a curse on trouble-making youths in our community who disrupted our end-of-the-year watchnight service with firecrackers. These were troublemakers who would not enter the church premises to participate in the activities of the night but would assault our ears with “banger”.

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