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I Love Women! (International Women’s Day, 2017)

I love women, that is undeniable. 

I have 3 wonderful, strong women in my life; as wife and daughters.

I was born and raised by an amazing woman.

My sisters are great women raising great families of their own.

I have worked and still work with competent women.

I have women as friends, doing good and loving others.

Therefore, I always honor women.

Do you love women?

Do you honor women?

Tell them about it!
© Adewale Adeniji

What Goes Round ….

That chief, fortunate bagger, he be.

Ligali marries two women at once!

Alas, he neither of them loves … but

the King has decreed it, coloured as ‘favour’.

She whom he truly adores, his eleyinjuege*

this aponbepore* for who, day and night, he pines, 

Another’s love captive be!

Who says life cannot a shrew be?

Recompense for his progenitor’s sin.

Tale told of his grand daddy, a chieftain

who for power sake, two women slay,

on the road to the market place;

frenzied to show his might as Balogun*.

Got away with murder, he did, but the women’s kin, 

Aworo, the diviner, noted for vengeance, 

swore Balogun’s generations will love in vain!

Who says life’s not Karma? Two generations 

hence, Kigali, Abese Oba*, dogs

the Oba’s every movement, even as

Royalty visits his harem, where he swoons

on the favours of she who Abese adores.

Of a truth, Abese must egg the Oba on:

“Well done sire, grind harder!”

What goes round does come round.

Glossary:
* eleyinjuege – Beautiful doe eyes

* aponbepore – Light complexioned beauty

* Balogun – Head of King’s Army

* Abese Oba – Chief that accompanies the King on all missions
© 26th September 2016. Adewale Adeniji.

The Harem … Part 3.

How on earth did they cope,

Rulers of dynasties old?

What strength possessed them

To rule roost o’er these cesspools?
Kingdoms ruined, alliances bust

By shenanigans of the Harem politics

Fortunes, hard won, easily lost

Yet, this institution endures.
Why on earth do men do this,

Pursuit of flesh to gratify flesh?

Who can man save from this pull of

the sweet and sour taste it bodes.
Harems, meant to show man’s prowess

Yet in deed shews forth women’s might

As birds a nectar draws, men always drawn

To that which eventually his death makes!
(The end… Or is it?)
© 25th September 2016. Adewale Adeniji.

Our Nation_The Curse of Nollywood

Fellow Nigerians, I, like you, have been assailed in the last two days by 2 ‘burning’ issues in our polity (No, not the recently hot topic of the DSS/’Corrupt Judges’ saga). These are the twin issues of Aisha Buhari’s BBC Hausa interview, where she publicly gave counsel to the man she sleeps in the same house with; and Reuben Abati’s discourse on the ‘cursed’ Aso Villa, seat of Nigeria’s presidency, a sort of hammer house of horror tale.
In fact, yesterday evening, a dear friend and brother, (tagged in this post) called and urged me to start a discussion on Abati’s article published in a national daily. 
I have resisted that particular invite until this evening when my Babe casually mentioned something in a discussion on an unrelated issue.
What strikes me in the manner of our discuss these days is that it appears we have lost all propriety and balance. Vitriol (often transferred aggression more than any thing else) dominates almost all discussions. The implication is that we just jump on every issue without recourse to introspection, and just unload. 
I have quite a number of friends I follow on social media – and it always amuses me no end when having unloaded their preconceived views at the beginning of every new issue, they gradually climb back down when better reasoning surfaces! Maybe you have also noticed? 
So, how does this affect these twin issues I identified above? 

PMB was in Germany when ‘Aishagate’ (as a friend uncharitably called it) broke. And to town we all went, talking about ‘the other room’!; about the fact that PMB has been abandoned by his wife; and the like. You get my drift?
Can anyone recall why our president took the trip, or what he achieved in Germany, if at all? How would our tottering economy benefit from that trip? All many saw was Angela Merkel’s face when PMB uncharitably publicly replied his wife!
Then Reuben Abati’s tales by moonlight surfaced. And everyone, initiated and otherwise, began to see ‘sense’ in the fact that Babalawos and Mamaalawos have buried whatever at the seat of power. ‘No wonders!’. ‘I talk am!’ began to surface. 
No one paused to think – what the world reference of the purveyor of this mumbo jumbo is? And trust Fani-Kayode to pour petrol on a cindering issue! Is this not an attempt to explain away the obvious, and now admitted, incompetences of past leaders? How about Abdulsalam Abubakar? What evil(s) assailed him whilst he occupied Aso Rock? How do you explain that none was obvious during his tenure? I can go on and on. So, why do a hasty generalization, as Abati did? Maybe because many still live in fear and awe of what they cannot understand? Why not sit down and think deeply on this? What is the state of health of the average Nigerian, in or out of Aso Rock? Is one an indication of the other? Oh, that is a long thing? (Apologies to the Koko master!)
My conclusion? Nigeria has become (to our collective shame) a land of educated folk who choose not to think, but allow others (a few, calculating agenda setters) think for them. 
Welcome to Naija’s Nollywood generation. A world of make belief, awada kerikeri generation. More of salacious topics. Let’s go get them mentality. The sad thing? This happens not just in public discuss o; but in private interactions too. It pervades every area of our existence now! 
For the next couple of days, you will see murals, cartoons etc. on Aisha and Buhari’s OTHER ROOM. It will carve itself into our lingo just like Mama Patience’s ‘Diaris God o’ did, as did that artiste’s ‘Iyalaya anybody’!
Fellow compatriots, can we not think deep for a change? So that we can ask ourselves and our leaders hard, probing questions, devoid of primordial connotations, shorn of fears?
When would we begin to set ourselves and our leaders a long ‘to-do’ list for our selves and our nation?
Isn’t it time we left Osuofia, Lalude and Bala in Nollywood where they belong? Let us begin to live as we ought to. In tune with reality, captains of our own destinies. 
Reactions to this will determine if we are able to do this. 😜
{My sincere apologies for the length of this. Nah! Didn’t mean that!}
© 15th October 2016. Adewale Adeniji.

The Harem … Part 2

A place of sordid tales, a coven of jealousies

One’s misfortune, another’s joy

Oh, harems are sodden with plots

All are drawn in, willingly or coyly.
It’s taste turns oft to wormwood

Relish its waters are your own risk

Whatever pleasures are dished

Rest assured you’d be pissed.
Harems, a place of plots, sub-plots

Envies are shaped, talons sharpened

The happy, rendered sad,

The sad, raucously happy at other’s misfortune 
Men, thought powerful, brought low

Dignities ruined, egos bruised

Your ride today, another’s tomorrow

A place indeed best for vipers … Or is it?
(To be continued …)
© 25th September 2016. Adewale Adeniji.

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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