Monday, September 6, 2010

Cry, the Beloved Minister


This country na wah o!

You have come again. What’s na wah about the country that will make you open your mouth like that?

You are asking me? Just siddon there and begin dey look like Luke!

You too, tanda gidigba there and begin dey shake like Shakespeare. Wetiiiin? Abi today na for yabis again? Ahaaa…you just dey yab man any how. Na fight?

No. I just want to let you realise that true, true some good can come out of Israel.

You haven’t said anything. What really are you trying to say?

Do you remember the day I said I was travelling to Oluyole City via the expressway from Lagos? My brother, na wah! I thought I could dash to Oluyole and dash back to the hurly-burly of Lagos within 24 hours, but it was mission impossible.

How do you mean?

I thought the trailer/tanker drivers had finally heeded the voice of reason and left the highway free of their articulated debris. At Ibafo, we didn’t see any of them.

The same for Mowe. We had already heard the news of the frantic cleansing done at the old Ogere toll gate. We then heaved a sigh of relief. We thought God don butter our bread.

You go wash am o!

Wash wetin? We never reached Ogere! At Shagamu, we were forced to detour to Benin-Ore Road…

Why Armed robbers dey operate?

No. They said the tanker drivers were doing aluta and we could not pass through…

Which one be aluta?

Aluta Continua! That one mean say, the struggle continues. They blocked the highway like university students would do when they want to do their own aluta… To cut a short story long, we thus embarked on an Israelite’s journey. We climbed many hills crossed uncountable rivers and nearly crossed the Red Sea as we searched for a short cut. We reached some “funny, funny” Ogun (State) towns…

Are towns funny?

Just waiiiteee, as Baba would say. We went through Ilishan, home of Babcock, got to a town which was apparently not on the political map of Niagara. They call it Ilara-Remo. Me, I never hear of that town before. I know of Ilara-Mokin in Ondo State…

Sebi that’s where Elizade comes from. Abi no be so?

But this our people sef, dem too relate to one another. Ilara-Remo, Ilara-Mokin. You will also hear Ijebu-Ife, Ife-Ijebu, Ijebu-Ijesha, Ijesha-Ijebu, Ijebu-Mushin, Ijesha-Isu, Oke-Imesi, Imesi-Ile, Ode-Ekiti, Ode-Remo, Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu-Igbo…

Exactly, that’s what I’m talking about. After Ilara-Remo, the next place we reached was Ijebu-Remo. Then, wait for this, Ishara-Remo! The sound of the name is akin to that generated when you light a match… ‘sharrrr!’ like that.

Is it the onomatopoeic name that is special about the town?

For where? That’s a town that sparks something like thunder in the memory.


Abi na Remo plug be that?

Remo plug ko, Remo carpet ni. Open your ears and shine your eyes. That’s Kongi’s town!!

You don’t mean it! Abi, no be Wole Soyinka be that? Wetin he come do for Ishara? Is he not an Egba man?

For where? You know what? You can’t just unravel that man. He is a mystery packed in a box of dynamite. He says he is Ijegba, Father is Ijebu (Ishara) while mother is Egba (Abeokuta). Hence the hybrid nomenclature — IJEGBA. He leans more on the mother’s side, though, like the Ghanaians, and it is in that Abeokuta that he built his house.

I leant he built it right inside the bush. Is that so?

Where else do you expect an ogboju ode (brave hunter) to build his house other than inside igbo irunmole (forest of a thousand and one demons)? Soyinka is an embodiment of creativity. The forest is his canvas. He shuttles in the wild quite often to commune with nature and hold seminal dialogues with fellow spirits and gnomes. You know, he is iwin, some inferna, no fraternal spirit!

Did I hear you say “fraternal spirits”? I learnt his favourite deity is Ogun, god of creativity and destruction. By Jove, how can one god be such a bundle of contradiction? It creates. It destroys! What kind of “agbako” (enfant terrible) god is that?

Ask Kongi when next you see him in Ishara.

That will be waiting for Godot or, worse still, for an iwin in broad daylight!

As I was saying, our Israelite’s journey was an eye-opener. The road linking Ilishan-Remo with Ilara-Remo is an undulating mockery of governance. Unfortunately, there was no any Madukeke woman to cry for the forgotten Ilara-Remo people. Maybe the woman’s crying jurisdiction did not extend to a tucked-away village near ‘Kongi Town’.

No, I disagree. The woman was too busy crying about other things. How about lack of electricity? How about lack of potable water? How about kidnapping of people for ransom, the new trend in criminal mercantile opportunism? How about the increasing wave of armed robbery and corruption, its twin brother? How about ethnicity and nepotism? How about religious intolerance? How about the promotion of the corrupt and the demotion of the upright?

Na true you talk o. If the men in government can’t do anything at least the womenfolk can do something. They can cry! Can’t they?

Yes, they can. They can cry for their unbeloved country.

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