I CAN NEVER FORGIVE MYSELF FOR SENDING MY BROTHER TO JAIL
I stood on the balcony of my house watching cars go by. The sun was bright, the wind was blowing coolly that evening. I had just finished preparing the evening meals for my brother and was waiting for him to come home for dinner.
My brother was just a fresh school leaver, popularly known as ‘Jambite’. He was smart, really smart. As a matter of fact he was the best graduating student from his secondary school and his results were record breaking. Our parents were late, basically we were the only ones left in our family, so we looked out for each other.
As I stood on the balcony looking out on the bright evening, wondering when he might come home, my eyes caught a young girl running frantically towards me. She was breathing so hard and appeared very eager to release what burdened her so. I quickly ran down the stairs to meet her outside the house.
“Police! Police! Police has arrested James o! Sister come o!
I didn’t think I heard her well. I quickly pulled her close and asked her to calm down.
“Police has arrested who? Which James?” I asked after her heavy breathing had slowed down
“Sister good evening. Police just arrested James…James, your brother.
My heart skipped two beats at once.
I managed to remain calm. “How, what did they say he did?’’
“They said he wrote an exam for somebody”
“What? How? For who? Which Station?” I shouted, bewildered.
My heart was racing. My brother was not like that. He was a quiet, calm and reserved person. How did it get to that? No. it couldn’t be. Something was wrong somewhere. I rushed into the house and had a quick change of clothes. When I came out, the young lady was still there. I dashed off without giving her a second thought.
I raced down to the station and found my brother in tears, handcuffed, beaten up and laying in torn clothes. Tears began to run down my face uncontrollably. I surged towards him. He raised his head and when he saw me he began to cry louder.
“I’m sorry, sister. I just wanted to make money to pay my school fees…’’, he couldn’t control the tears that poured like rain from his eyes. He burst out into tears. My heart bled for my brother.
Then it suddenly dawned on me.
It all came back to me.
For a long time I had looked for means of generating capital for my brother to accept the admission and enroll into school until I came across this website, www.scholastica.ng.
I discovered the site posted information about available scholarships that students who needed financial aid could apply for.
Happy that I had finally found the answer to my prayers, I introduced James to it and got him to register. During the registration, I insisted he used my details to fill in the contact address for the purpose of easy access, (as I thought he could lose his phone at any time due to his high level of carelessness) We argued and argued about it until he gave in. The next month, I lost my phone and login details to my email address. My brother never sat for the exam and we never got to find if he ever even had a chance. How all that happened, I had no idea.
All I know is that James had got admission in the University of Lagos to study Mechanical Engineering. He had just been awarded the admission based on merit. As an intelligent student he began to get invitations from some rich students to help them with their school test, assignments etc. I had warned him, time without number not to let himself get enchanted by their offers. I warned him of the risks it would pose to his future, and the impact on his integrity.
James wouldn’t listen to me. He was a stubborn boy. He insisted that it was the quickest means of raising money. For days we argued and fought about it, but he wouldn’t listen. He vowed to do it no matter what.
“Writing a post-jamb exam in LASU is nothing. No one will know, they don’t even check passports” he had bragged.
“I hope you know what you are doing”, I said, exasperated.
And now, in a desperate attempt to gather money for his education, I have sent my brother to jail.
I don’t know the wind of ill luck that blew on my brother and I. Looking at the messy situation my brother was in, I wish I could turn back the hands of time to change that costly mistake. If I had let him use his own personal contact details, perhaps he would have written the scholarship exams and might have stood a chance of getting into the scheme. If only I had listened to him, he would not have taken those drastic measures to find money for his fees.
Had I known, I would have listened. Had I just known…that alone could have saved me, saved us from this everlasting embarrassment.
As I sat on the floor with my brother, hopelessly, in tears mixed with regret and sadness, I whispered silent prayers to God for a miracle.