Yaka – Part Two

December 28, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

unamid

 

By

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid

 

 

“Ibrahim Lemi, Kabiru ‘Yar Tsana and I played for Pama FC Tudun Murtala for many years. Lemi was our only striker then. He was a very fast player and his eyes were always on the goal. He was such a good friend. We parted ways when he became a full-time scavenger and I hate the idea.”

 

“‘You are surprised, aren’t you? Don’t tell me you haven’t recognized this terror buck,” Lemi started as I looked at him in complete bewilderment.

 

“A-tish-oo!” Lauya sneezed and said “He looks familiar but the memory is blurry. I can’t recollect it.

 

“‘Look! Can’t you see the bloodshot eyes, the bulging chest and the bald knees; and the scars?” he asked.

 

“I took a searching look. Gosh! I still can’t put the memory together,” I responded.

 

“‘He’s Muktari’s Yaka, a buck that had been terrorizing our neighbourhood. This goat would always break into any kitchen he came across, eat to his fill and throw the leftovers carelessly on the floor. Many angry victims of Yaka’s burglary and the parents of children whom he rammed and injured had been looking for him. Guess what will be their responses when they hear about Yaka’s misfortune. It serves him right,” they’ll say.

 

“‘Just the other day he formed a gang of billies, kids and middle-age goats; and they attacked Alarramma’s animals’ shed. Many sheep were wounded; the cortege looked nice, but troublesome. They would fight both human and animal neighbours and fight to the finish whosoever stood on their ways, or better Yaka’s way. It may sound a reckless conclusion; but this very buck you see is a mean street-lord that commanded tens of goats; and many people suspected that he would surely live to be hanged.”

 

“‘What many of them don’t know is Yaka had led a very difficult life. You know streetism isn’t easy at all. Instead of being patted, he would be kicked, the moments he deserved some kisses he got spankings and often smacks; it was a hard knock life for him, friend. God have mercy on Yaka; but he’s gotten more than his match today.”

 

“‘Wouldn’t you be surprised to know that Yaka was bred sometime in 1998 by a she-goat that died at childbirth, some moment after giving birth to Yaka. Kyalla suffered from toxemia and ketosis for many months. The two pregnancy diseases caused severe problems to her as her belly grew huge with a baby. Yaka was brought up by Muktar, the owner, as his mom died.”

 

‘The owner, Muktar, accepted Kyalla, Yaka’s mother, as a gift from his aunt who resided some few kilometers at Bela, a suburban area of Kano State well-known for its fishing activities. Kyalla is a Hausa name for a dappled she-goat. You will always see Kyalla by his side. She would be fed by him and when satisfied she would cud unstoppably beside him. They would visit neighbours together, have naps together and only parted at night with that nostalgic feelings departure awards the parted.”

 

Lemi breathed in, looked at me with misty eyes and continued: “Yaka had led that lonely life, with no brother, sister or parents to take good care of him. He would be roaming around when the owner left for work. He sustained deep and shallow wounds and bruises from billy goats, dogs or human neighbours. All this couldn’t discourage or cow him. This violent upbringing coupled with stress molded him into becoming an unrepentant raider, cheat and defender of the defenseless and even a voice of the voiceless of his species, just an infamous Samaritan if you like, as he came of age.”

 

“What has really happened here?” I asked Lemi in the lowest toned my voice could muster. “I was just walking to Allah Sarki Market,” he continued, “when I saw a long procession of goats, bucks, billies and kids as if the procession was on a mission to see an end to vengeance. I have learnt this from the faces of the front liners who were capering with their heads sky-ward. Yaka was leading the procession. Perhaps this has a connection with a kid killed and half-eaten by dogs belonging to Gidan Boss, that factory, two days ago. One told me.”

 

“‘As the procession reached that very baobab tree,” he pointed at it with his accusing finger, “of a sudden we heard threatening growls commingling with sharp piercing dog barks. The dogs had sensed the raid Yaka was leading. They came out in threes; their mouths open, each was drooling and their claws left traces on the ground with each step they took. In a minute, half of the processing had disappeared. Only strong-headed, giant goats like Yaka stood their ground. The dogs bared their teeth and in unison they attacked the remaining animals. The goats retreated in that soldierly attempt at gathering formidable force capable of defending itself.”

 

On the spot of the first attack were four goats and a kid on the ground bleating at the top of their voices and nursing some minor injuries with their tongues. The dogs charged and attacked in one solid chain of military like formation. This scared away all the goats but Yaka remained undaunted and weighed different fighting tactics.

 

At the beginning, he made some bizarre leaps, perked up his ears, rammed the air and somersaulted once or twice. Then, in a steady galloping he ambushed his enemies. The dogs were smarter; they dodged his powerful blows. Yaka went past them staggering. He turned, looked at them eyeball to eyeball and then made screeching puffs. Now they stalked in accord and surrounded Yaka. His eyes started rolling from a side to another weighing the possibility of ramming the dogs with his sharp-ended horns.

 

Two grey-haired dogs and an old bitch offered to attack Yaka. He rammed the two male dogs right in the center of their heads and the bitch on her chest one after the other. They went yelling in pain with their crooked tails between their hind legs.

 

Seeing this and angered by a group feeling peculiar to dogs, an adult dog, tall for his age and stout for the training he received, called Bare, growled fiercely and all the dogs took Spartan positions at once and tightened their circle round Yaka, one could almost hear their muscles stretching to breaking point.

 

One of the dogs made a deceptive move as if to hit Yaka and another came from behind and dug both his poisoned canine and claws into his flesh. He turned swiftly and hammered the air in his attacker’s absence; the dogs kept on doing the same till Yaka gave in to the pressures caused by the sharp pains that enveloped his body from head to toe. He fell upon his knees. They crushed the devil out of him and left him in a pool of blood.

 

When yaka was half consciously crawling, looking for a means to an escape, I heard a deafening whistling; and the dogs stopped at once as if they were remote-controlled. From that heavy, red gate came out an elderly man. His bushy face was sulky and his body stout and commanded the dogs back to the factory using his right hand. Gone they were, Lemi concluded.

 

At last I, Lemi and some others carted the wounded Yaka, who was half conscious, to the owner. We laid him down in front of the owner and narrated to him what had transpired between Yaka and the dog pack; but the owner couldn’t say a word. He sat down some inches from Yaka and looked him in the eye stonily for a long time. Imagine the beads of tears that were rolling down his cheeks. Some of his brothers and friends advised him to slaughter the goat to ease the pain and benefit thereafter from the meat, but he refused.

 

Yaka died an hour or two later and clung to Muktar’s chest, who mourned him as he would do a brother,” Lauya concluded at last.

 

 

 

Read Part One of Yaka here

 

 

 

 

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid, Kano based, is graduate of B.A English from Bayero University, Kano. He is a budding writer, social analyst, freelancer at Sunrise Language Practitioner (SLP) and regular contributor to Nigerian dailies. 
His writings have appeared in The Communicator, a magazine published by Kano State Polytechnic and in Dailytrust, The Triumph and The cable newspapers. He has a strong interest in literary theory.

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