Archive | May 2016

Our Nation, Our Selves_Change & Personal Responsibility.


The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) just marked its first year in office; and the verdict has come in. Even by the president’s own admission it has not been a rosy start. So, it can be accepted that performance has been below par, vis-a-vis people’s expectations – at all levels of governance. This writer can only hope that the sophomore year would be better; but that is not the focus of this piece.

The focus is you my reader, and I, the writer. It is clear that Nigerians yearn for real change, which has been slow in coming; so our evaluation of PMB and our Governors has been critical. Sometimes downright uncharitable. Fair enough. That is in the nature of democracies. If they can’t take the heat, they should get out of the kitchen, right? But it is true, is it not, that everyone wants change but most are loathe to change themselves?
Let us do a critic of ourselves – how many of us pay our taxes; and for those who do, how many make honest, exact declarations of their taxables? How well do we keep our environment clean; or how well do we degrade it by our actions or omissions? How do we evaluate and react to issues of common interest – based on reality or on primordial interests? We do it, do we not, I mean cut corners in commercial transactions, one with each other – with false weights and measures? How many arrange grades for their children and wards to secure admission into higher institutions? The list is endless, from the family unit to the community level..
Yet we are quick to criticize authority; yet we bemoan ‘our fate’ and that of our nation. We have declared an open season on our leaders (in most cases, for just cause); but who criticizes us? Do we even allow for it? Our collective attitude reminds me of that child who needs his mother’s attention all the time – whining when he doesn’t get it – but who refuses to do his part of sleeping after been cleaned and fed! Our expectation from our government system must be balanced with personal responsibility. 
Dear friends, a good and working nation begins with us. At the micro level of individual and family units. If we understand and internalize this, we would soon realize that the equation of governance tilts in favour of we the citizens of Nigeria, not in our leaders. Where our leaders realize we are able to do our bit, and would not pander to their primordial baits and tendencies, soon enough would they sit up and govern aright.
Personal responsibility leads to corporate security. Let us understand and resolve to do our bit from today. Change should begin from us; and not just by voting! By the choices we make in our personal lives; by choosing to do the right thing when no one is looking etc. Then we can dare hold out leaders accountable. Anything else would be sheer hypocrisy, wouldn’t it? 
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria! 

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Dancing Rhythms Of Love, Part 2

 

Dancing Maiden_Courtesy Shutterstock.com

 

 

Lagbayi.

 

Lagbayi, ara Oyo*, lion of the land

Great Oyo meesi*, Akinrogun* of Oyo

Proud warrior of dated ancestry

Tales of your battles far and near titillates.

Son of Lemboye, witty husband of Hunbo. Welcome!

We salute your courage, great wrestler.

To what do we this honor owe, seven full days before

The great maiden dance fiesta? You left Oyo early!

Indeed! Early riser, that’s how my fathers taught me.

Me, the lion of the battle field. Amororo guided me aright.

Seven days, yes. But to your land I come to see for myself

That beautiful damsel of the land – Silifa.

News of her dazzling beauty traveled far! Even strangers say

News of her elegance delights the ear! More wine, please!

 

Silifa ba wo*? You married from the great Sabe people, remember?

Dahomeys, who do not take kindly to oroguns*. Oran re o!*

How will princess Hunbo take it? How will Onisabe* react?

This is real trouble. Fitinati* births in our midst!

Oso sini lenu, o bu iyo si!* How would we sort this out?

But, Lagbayi, between Oyo and here, many maidens

You saw; of diverse shapes, of various sizes, pleasing to

Sights. Why us, why now? Enjoying our season of rest from war.

Kabiyesi and our Chiefs, do they know your real mission here?

Are they aware that this year’s maidens’ dance just became war?

And that is my fault, how? I heard, I came, I intend to conquer!

More wine, please! Woman, don’t just stand and stare – wine!

Yeeee! Apologies my lord, more wine coming up…

 

Lagbayi/Kabiyesi Amona

 

Amona, my ancestors told me of the war with Allada,

how whole villages were slaughtered who dared defy

the missive of the Alaafin, iku Baba yeye.

Amona, I warn you, on Silifa’s matter, no retreat no surrender!

Instruct Alao and Moripe not to cause war between us!

Vassals do not query their masters, I’m sure you know.

Lagbayi, calm down. Okun ki ho ruru, ka wa ruru o*

Amona, Amona, Amona! How many times did I call you?

Akinrogun to you, not Lagbayi. Only my friends have that privilege.

Ok, Akinrogun Oyo, I counsel patience. This is not state matter.

War? On this small issue? Patience! The girl is betrothed!

What????? To whom? How? When? The last I heard, she wasn’t!

Now, she is, Akinrogun. Now she indeed is! Nothing I can do.

So, what is the point of your maidens’ festive if their best is taken?

 

Lagbayi/Alao/Moripe.

 

Karaole o* To what do we owe the honor of your visit, Akinrogun?

Moripe, bring a stool, bring food and wine for our August visitor.

Save your greetings Alao, save your ministrations! I came to confirm.

I heard a rumor. A little bird whispered that Silifa is betrothed

My mouth immediately vouched for you. Not Alao, I said. Not Alao.

My LORDDDDDDDD, what can I say. Bashiru will be my in-law.

Why, Alao, why? Why are you in such a hurry to marry her off?

Hurry, my Lord? Our Silifa is overripe for marriage; and she’s made her choice! Her choice is Bashiru. What can we do?

How am I not sure Silifa has anything to do with this, Alao?

Moripe, say something. Don’t just stand there! Am I lying?

Yes, oloye; just as my husband said it, just as he said it!

 

Alao! Moripe! Ema ma gba Esu l’abule yin?!*

Oloye, Esu bi boooo?* How is this a problem?

You’re asking me that, Moripe? Alao, answer your wife now…

O, your mouth is trapped, abi? My coco yams, my dried fish,

My adire eleko, my.., answer now, Alao! Since the last dance; nothing missing, nothing lost from your list.You think you can disgrace the great Lagbayi? Haaa, Esu a se! Iji a ja!* Alao!

I shall return to Oyo via Ilugun, if you know what I mean?

I shall visit your homestead and revel all my ears have heard!

I am sure Dauda, Moripe’s brother would be interested …

To know who burnt down his inheritance, because your in-law  refused your offer for Moripe, three times! Will it not become clear

why some love birds used the bush as cover to flee Ilugun?

 

Silifa/Bashiru.

 

Silifa Silifa! My rose among thorns. You see, my heart dances

Just at the sight of your beauty! Eledua* did overtime on you…

Yeeee! You will be my death yet! Kaa sa!* Come near me now …

Stop, Basiru, stop I say. Don’t touch me please…

You flatter to deceive me, Bashiru. Is that fair?

How on Eledua’s earth do I do this? You, I worship day and night?

How? You ask, ‘how’? You promise and you fail, don’t you?

Or is it because you think you have gripped the machete stump?

That’s why your word is no longer your bond? ‘How’, he asks?

Ololufe mi* Tell me what I have not done? and do it I shall

Tell me to bring ten cows, I shall. What will I not do?

Drunk as I am with love! Not just any love – Silifa’s love.

1 moon ago, when you came with your friends, remember?

1 moon ago? 1 moon ago? When I came with my friends?

Many issues were discussed, Silifa. Ok, help out this poor soul..

How remiss of me to promise and fail my sweetheart…

 

When you asked us to step aside from the motley crowd…

Oh, oh, that. I now remember. You told me to prove I will always

Love thee, no matter what, by hunting for ogbori efon’s* head..

Silifa, were you serious then? When I thought you were teasing …

Teasing? No, I was serious. My first and only request of you, and

Failed me you have. Bashiru, is that a taste of what I am in for?

Omo adaamo!* Haa, Yee! What was a rumor, I now believe, Silifa.

Oh, so you really do not want to marry me, abi. Aye ma ni ka o!*

Can your own forebears confront ogbori efon, talk less of killing it?

Ha, ha, ha! If that’s your plan – to kill me before we’re wed, you lie!

My wife you shall be; the taste of your wetness I shall enjoy!

Ogbori efon ko, ogbori elemoso* ni! Get out of my way joo …

 

© 17th May, 2016. Adewale Adeniji.

 

Glossary.

*Oyo – a great Yoruba kingdom

*Oyo meesi – titled chiefs of Oyo kingdom, closest advisors to the king

*Akinrogun – A title for a major warrior, lower in rank to Balogun.

*Silifa ba wo? – why Silifa?

*oroguns – wife rivals in polygamy

*Oran re o! – This is war!

*Onisabe – King of Sabe Kingdom in Dahomey (Benin Republic)

*Fitinati – Trouble

*o so si ni lenu, o bu iyo si – Conundrum/Bitter sweet.

*okun ki ho ruru, ka wa ruru – unwise to stoke the flames of fires

*Karaole o – greeting for a titled one, lesser than a king.

*Ema ma gba Esu l’abule yin?! – You better not allow the devil in your village.

*Esu bi boooo? – Devil’s visitation, how?

*Haaa, Esu a se! Iji a ja! – O a truth, there shall be chaos!

*Eledua – God

*Kaa sa! – exclamation.

*Ololufe mi – my darling

*ogbori efon – a mythical monster of the deep forest.

*ayanfe mi – my choice to marry.

*Omo adaamo – Expletive for ‘wicked soul’

*Aye ma ni ka o! – Wicked world!

*ogbori elemoso – another mythical monster of the deep forest.

Our Heritage_BENIN KINGDOM. How A New Oba Will Emerge.

Eheneden Erediawa, 6

 

 

According to Benin tradition, the Oba never dies, he only joins his ancestors or he transits. Nobody announces his burial because he did not die in the first instance. What is announced after an interlude is coronation, which usually lasts 3-4 months.

 

BREAKING OF WHITE CHALKS.

 

During this period, the custom prohibits social engagements like burial ceremonies while markets are shut. The Esogban of Benin Kingdom breaks white chalks in front of markets to signal the closure of markets for a period, but no open announcement.

 

All male Bini sons are required to shave their heads in respect of the Oba. The burial arrangements are not public, so many, except a privileged class, do not know his resting place.

 

PILGRIMAGE TO USELU.

 

Immediately the Isekhure of Benin Kingdom announces the coronation programme, the crown prince proceeds to Uselu where he is the Edaiken, and where he will spend 90 days and make all necessary rituals.

 

After that, he will climb the traditional tree (Udianamasunamieuwa tree) and proceed to a wrestling contest at Ogiamien’s palace on Sakpoba Road. The history is that Ogiamien had never pledged allegiance to the Oba, he has always been at loggerheads with the monarch and would always want to prevent every incoming Oba from gaining access to the kingdom.

 

A palace source, who corroborated the narration, said, “They will begin from Egua-Edaiken, the traditional residence of the heir-apparent to the Benin throne. On a day fixed by the Edaiken, his people at Uselu will escort him on his journey back to Benin-City. On the way, he stops at an historical  palm tree named `Udin ama-mieson aimiuwa’ (translated `work before pleasure’), which the Edaiken climbs emblematically.

 

“This little ceremony dates back to the time of Oba Ewuare the Great whose life, as heir apparent to the throne, was characterized by long suffering which included periods when he personally had to climb palm trees on this spot to cut the fruits for a living.

 

“This act of torment by the father of the first Edaiken has ever since been re-enacted in a representational way by every Edaiken. From the palm tree, the Edaiken continues his journey to Benin-City. But at the first moat called lya-akpan, in the area where the firm of defunct Mid-Motors (Nigeria) Limited now stands, the Uselu chief in the procession, takes leave of the Edaiken and returns to Uselu, while the Edaiken is escorted into the city by Benin chiefs”.

 

The source went on: “Thereafter, the Edaiken enters the city via Iguisi (now Lagos Street) and proceeds to Eko-Ohae (bachelors’ camp) where he stays for three days. After three days at Eko-Ohae, the Edaiken continues his journey to Usama, the venue of the traditional coronation rites. Usama was the site where Orominyan, the father of Eweka I, built the first palace and all succeeding Obas from Eweka I were crowned and lived there, until Oba Ewedo in the 13th century moved the palace to the present site in the centre of the town.

 

“The Edaiken remains in Usama for seven days performing all the rituals and ceremonies of the Oba. Before the expiration of seven days, he visits Use, a village few kilometers outside Benin, where he performs the ceremony for choosing the name he will answer as the Oba of Benin”. Interestingly, he added, “This tradition started during the period of Oba Eweka I whose maternal grand-father, Ogie-Egor, lived in the next door village of Egor. When Prince Oromiyan left Benin, he left behind his Bini wife who was pregnant in the care of her father, the Ogie of Egor. The woman delivered a male child who was dumb from birth.

 

“The maternal grand-father then sent him to Use, the mother’s village, for treatment, but when he grew up and still could not talk, words were sent to his father at Uhe. His father sent seven magical Akhue with which the dumb prince participated in the popular village game known as Akhue. With only one seed remaining on the ground and every player having failed to strike it, the young prince used the magical Akhue from his father and succeeded in striking down the remaining seed.

 

“Excited by this feat, he spoke for the first time exclaiming in Yoruba, Owomika (my hand has struck it). He later assumed this expression for a title which became corrupted to Eweka.

 

“Later, having picked a name at Use, the Edaiken returns to Usama where the crowning ceremony is performed by Oliha, the leader of the Uzama, and proclaims Edaiken in his newly acquired name as the Oba of Benin. It is significant to note that until the ceremony at Use, the Edaiken never knows beforehand what name he is going to be crowned with”.

 

REINFORCEMENT BY OLIHA.

 

Another source puts it this way, “Ogiamien poses a problem to every Edaiken. However, he is usually defeated. After that, the Edaiken advances to Uzama-Nihiron at Siluko road, where the Oliha of Benin prepares him spiritually, physically and traditionally for final ascension to the throne. That is where he gets a name. His name is changed and the new name is what he answers throughout his reign.”

 

CORONATION.

 

Following the fortification, he saunters to the famous Urhokpota Hall in the heart of Benin at the King Square where the formal coronation of Oba of Benin takes place. The governor is most likely to present Crown Prince Ehenede Erediuwa with his staff of office same day. From that day, he becomes the 39thOba of Benin.

 

INSTALLATION RITES IN PROGRESS.

 

Before the palace announced the passage of the monarch, the crown prince, was formally installed in March as the Edaiken of Uselu after the successful completion of traditional rites.

Credits: Emma Amaize, Vanguard Newspaper & Simon Ebegbulem

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Dancing Rhythms Of Love, Part 1.

Olawuwo.
With pulsating beats of music

Afield, aplenty, dancers regale, but

He rose high, then low, supine body

Rising so high, nearly touching the sky

Though many bodies entwined with the light

gyrating to the rhythmic sound of music,

‘Baba’, as the young and old call him, was

deaf to all sound but that of the dun-dun drum.

Dancing left, then right, waltzing in, then out

His hips doing the silent dance of lovers.

Mouths agape, maidens watched as this

young man, called by an elder’s appellation, entertained.

Hearts aflutter, souls a hoping, bodies expectant…

 

It didn’t start today. No. Many a moon has lapsed

As Olawuwo horned his craft, in the shadows;

On the way to the stream; alone in the fields

while chasing oya*; doing sundry chores.

His one desire, to be the King’s choice

For the festival of maidens. Oh, what pleasure

He reckons he’d give to Silifa, his crush.

If only… Oh, if only she had said ‘yes’ by the stream.

What a great life he would give her, what joy

he would harvest, and what envy he’d endure!

But she still says ‘no’! Who does that?

 

Bashiru.

 

Malcontent of the village – derided by many,

Silently admired by all. What with his riches.

Bereft of handsome genes, bankrupt of grace,

Yet, he catches the best oya*, none his rival.

To think that Silifa prefers him. Him?

What could she possibly desire in that ungainly gait,

Crippled by bush traps. Some women are blind!

Who knows what fetish he uses on his farm…

Every farmer laments, Bashiru harvests aplenty!

Who are his parents in this village? Their story we know!

We’ve had the tales – loan sharks, the lot

Now masters among this blind lot. Even Kabiyesi

buys their cock and bull story! Mischew…

 

Surely, Silifa’s father must have fooled her

Allured by promises of riches, afraid of starvation

Why must that fool Alao fall from that damned palm tree?

And must Bashiru offer him help? Olowo igbo**!

Shameless father,Alao, using my Silifa as repayment

He must know that I love Silifa, surely he knows.

Agbaya***. I will have my bride yet. Some parents.

Alao ‘n Moripe sneaking out of Ilugun under the cloak of darkness

Who do they think buy their cock and bull story of why

Ilugun became too hot for them? Mischew… Abowaba*

 

Silifa.

 

Tall, dark skinned, supple hipped, high breasted.

Alluring beauty, worthy maiden – abale* intact.

Silifa’s trips to the stream, piped piper like, draws men

Both old and young; farming pretenders and weathered hands.

Their sojourn to the stream, so sure to be at that time of the day

Wives angry, maidens jealous. Men puffy, cheats heaving.

For me, only one holds my heart strings. Just him …

But why is life so cruel? Baami* insists I must marry Basiru.

Foul of body and breath! Eewa gbami**** All legs only!

Compared to my love. Just look at ‘Lawuwo’s biceps!

Surely triplets there reside! But what can be done?

Three moons from now, my most priced asset

On a cloth, on his mat would go! If only …

 
Alao & Moripe.

 

We are so lucky, Moripe; to have Bashiru to parent.

Our Silifa will have a life worthy of a princess.

You would agree with me that you too can have a lot –

Trinkets, those finely woven adires* you so love and so on.

For me, a life of luxury, in-law to Bashiru. Think about

my friends’ envy, my voice in the meeting square…

Hmmmm ….. Baale mi*, remember how we too began o.

We married for love despite my father’s opposition

Looking into your eyes was a dream! With nothing,

I followed you; sneaking out of Ilugun at night …

Our daughter too deserves her choice be respected.

 

Shut up! Foolish woman. So, what if we snubbed your father?

That’s past tense o. Ehen! So, you would rather we stave, abi?

What value has that lazy dancer? What’s his name again?

Is he blind? Silifa that kings and Chiefs desire?

That young bull better know where to stick his nose, or else…

Is it by force? Was his placenta buried in my compound?

Ka so ra o*!

 

Ha, Baba Silifa, Eewa beru Oloun*! On the days of yam

that boy could ill afford; what about his only goat, sold for

your treatment after the fall? Or …

Or what, you this foolish woman? Or what?

Did I to him appeal for help? He offered ..

When I was unconscious o! You, who was conscious –

Why didn’t you reject his gifts, why? Mschew…

Please if you have nothing good to spew,

Go get my food! Olawuwo ko, olafuye ni!!!

 

This Dance continues in Part 2… Watch out…

*What do you reckon the various characters should do next?

 

© 12th May, 2016. Adewale Adeniji.

 

Glossary of Yoruba Words:

*Oya – Bushmeat.

*Olowo igbo- Money miss road.

*Agbaya – Foolish old man.

*Abowaba – Coming back to you.

*Abale – Virginity.

*Baami – My father.

*Ka so ra o – Be very careful here.

*Eewa gbami – Somebody help!

*Adire – local, hand woven, patterned clothes.

*Eewa beru Oloun – Why don’t you fear God.

Our Relationships_Domestic Violence_Na By Force?

 

 

Marriage is to be enjoyed, not endured. For Mrs. Ronke Shonde, like many before her, sadly help can no longer come. She was found dead in her matrimonial home by relatives. Her husband, Lekan was no where to be found. Is he still alive, why was he no where to be found? Riddles for the police to unravel.

But for this mother of two, the sun has set for Ronke. Painfully, domestic violence seem to be on the rise – and the perpetrator is gender flexible. Earlier this year a young man – Lowo Odediran – was allegedly mortally stabbed by his wife.

Inside story: How Yewande, Ibadan lawyer killed her husband

lowo-oyediran-ajanaku-murdered

 

And the list goes on.

So, today I raise this question – Na by force to stay in an unhappy marriage or relationship?

Your comments and contributions are most welcomed.

MY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MAY 2016.

 

Dear friends,

A fertile mind is often a product of investment in it. Nourish your mind by reading.

This month, I shall be reading these books, and I also encourage you to join me; or pick out at least three (3) books you would be reading.

Please feel free to share the books you will be reading. I might just read them next month if I have not already done so.

Come on, feed that mind; unleash your genius.