Ajala of our time

Our new royal father enjoys travelling, I have no problem with that. People who finds joy within and outside of their palace seldom have time to dwell on little things or cause people in their community needless grief.

Having said that, there is high hope for what is expected of Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi at home, people have an endless list of disputes he is to resolve and I agree because b’íná kò tán l’órí ẹ̀jẹ̀ kìí tan léèkánná (it is not over, until it is truly over).

A 76 years old friend of mine (age matters here to show different eras of Ooni of Ife), said in a message the other day how he has not being able to see any value of Oba in the local community he represents. My friend, Baba was referring to Ooni’s travels while there are plenty of issues yet to be resolved at home – a case of hope deferred making the hear sick – Proverbs 13:12.

I understand where Baba was coming from, it is only those who are not directly affected by the last crisis that say people ought to count their loses and move on, but for many people the scar is still raw.

Coincidently a few weeks ago, there was another meeting by good people in town – the meeting was between Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and our very own Ogunsua of Modakeke, Oba Francis Adedoyin. The meeting was about finding amicable resolution to many outstanding issues – seized farmlands being the topmost.

It is pleasing to know that we have elders who are not relenting in being the voice for the voiceless farmers. Also, from that meeting I learnt that Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi who is another prominent Yoruba Oba has not set his foot into Ile Ife in 50 years – that is a big plus for Oba Enitan Ogunwusi for being the force of unity.

Oba Lamidi Adeyemi not visiting Ile Ife in 50 years is not too surprising – Ooni  Okunade Sijuade and Oba Lamidi Adeyemi were the perfect ọmọ ìyá awùsá (cat and dog relationship).

Baba was happy to hear of the meeting between the three Obas and elders, Guardian Newspapers did an okay job with the story, the real reason of the meeting in the last three paragraphs – good to see it in prints. 

Resolving many of our many land dispute issues is not going to be easy but it can be done and it is only fair.

As I was thinking about Baba and a slight impatience that I sensed from the tone of his texts, then it occurred to me why Baba has a high hope of Ooni Ogunwusi.

Baba came to the UK in the 70’s to study, this was when naira was strong. He has seen three different eras of Ooni in his life time, the most painful one being one and only Ooni Sijuade.  Baba, like many people in diaspora of his age built his first home in Akarabata area of town with the hope of retiring there one day.

During the long drawn crisis of 1997, his house was razed to the ground, in it was his niece who has mental health problem – everyone left the neighbourhood but the lady refused to leave so she was burnt with the house.

Also, Baba’s village was Ògùdù, one of most hard hit during the crisis – all of Modakeke people in that village that were not killed, fled their homes. The only farm baba knew was Ògùdù. 

Baba is happy with his life now, his children all grown. He could move to Nigeria if he wanted and he will still be happy. Like many people from my area, he is well aware that he is privileged to have options but he is still concerned for those people who still live in limbo.

We are happy that almost two years into the reign of a new Oba, our towns have been in relative peace – I am still hopeful that the meeting between our Obas will yield positive outcome – if we are all omo Yoruba then it is only fair that those chased away from their farmlands get adequate compensation or be allowed to return to their farmland. The latter option is very thin given some part of the land is being used for projects.

We are still hopeful for a fair outcome.

 

 Ajala Moshood Adisa Olabisi was an international student in the States early 1970s, he was known for his love of adventure. He travels several miles within the States and around the world on his bike and vespa. 

Locally we call people who enjoys travelling Ajala

President Buhari caused a stir on Nigerians’ tainted reputation comment

President Buhari’s interview with the Telegraph was meant to provoke reactions, and it has achieved just that.

It is clear that President Buhari has issues with Nigerians denial about what is obvious – the fact that the nation’s image is tainted with the amount of criminal activities going on. We worked so hard to cover it up by presenting skewed image, but ‘aso ko ba omoye mo, omoye ti rin ‘hoho w’oja (cat is out of the bag).

The bits that get Nigerians upset:

“Some Nigerians claim is that life is too difficult back home, but then again some Nigerians have also made it difficult for Europeans and Americans to accept them because of the number of Nigerians in different prisons all over the world accused of drug trafficking or human trafficking…” PMB

Full interview here

I know PMB has a tough job and given his records I bet if the president was to be in a different time, most of the criminals will be in Kirikiri (prison) by now. Now his hands are tied, he has to work extra hard to prove that the goats indeed ate the yam – now is to digging out the goats’ guts for proof.

As a someone in diaspora I would have liked the president to acknowledge that despite the criminal activities that Nigerians are known for, – many Nigerians (most in fact) are normal everyday people working hard for their living in their respective host countries.

After all, less than two months ago Adewale Adeyemo (Wally), a Modakeke son was appointed as the Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics by President Obama in the USA. One does not get to such a position after prison release.

Apart from Mr Adewale Adeyemo, we have plenty of Nigerians in diaspora who are doing their bits everyday from road cleaners, tube workers to professionals in different fields contributing to Nigeria’s economy everyday from far away.

President Buhari would have preferred Nigerians abroad to stay at home and build the country together. Given we remitted $21B in 2013 alone – we are already doing our bits. Thank goodness for record keeping.

This is why I am not offended by the President’s statement because he was not talking about Nigerians who have not contributed to the tainted image of Nigeria.

Not once was any of my family members denied a visa of visit – my parents and a sister. If I have no proof of employment to support them during visits or them overstayed their visas, that wouldn’t have happened.

The name Nigeria undoubtedly arouse suspicions but each person works their way to show the other side of the story in their respective work and neighbourhood.

 

Here’s something for the president to help us with. Over the years I have come to realise that criminals exist in all countries but what sets Nigeria apart is our inability to follow through cases and indict criminals so we wail until a minor neighbourhood thief becomes global 419.

A good example of this is cultism in our schools. Students get killed in their hostels by cults, aka Black Axe. They steal and kill for any reason known to the group. Such as the case of Afrika and his mates in 1999 at OAU. Nigeria did nothing and pretended we could not fish out the criminals, now these guys (black Axe) are at large in Canada and all over Europe with stronger network.

President Buhari, when is Nigeria going to start dealing with our problem before it gets out of hand?

Sabada

I have heard ‘Sábàdà’ so many times over the years, usually during events when the drummers were doing their job. The word is associated with people of Modakeke. The drum message goes:

Sabada ni e lu fun, Modakeke lo ti wa – (Beat sabada for him, he is from Modakeke). For some reason, like intoxication, people will rise up to move their hips in rhythmic fashion – they’d dance for the recognition.

Once you get the grip on Yoruba language, it is not hard to decipher the meaning of any words, knowledge of accents and dots makes it a lot easier – creativity with words is endless.

However, looking at the word ‘sabada’ on its own – the meaning beats me. And interesting enough, a few elders I know agreed it to be a new word, perhaps in use in the last 30 years or so (yet to get hold of the relevant book).

As with all other languages of the world – language does not exist on its own, it evolves, changes, improves by the events of the society and the people therein – adding to the beauty of it all.

But where does Sábàdà come from and why is it associated with this group of people, the Modakekes?

Ẹwà Èdè – Beauty of Language

I found out that Sábàdà is a relatively new word coined Dr Oladiran Ajayi who was once a lecturer at University of Ibadan Chemistry Department and a passionate writer on the issue around Yoruba culture & tradition and how Modakeke-Ife fits into it.

This post isn’t about Sábàdà alone, it is more about how peaceful co existence facilitates progress.

Dec 26th 2015 was 32nd Akoraye Day – it is the town’s own festival to celebrate gift of life. It would have been the 34th but we missed two years 1997 & 2000. Read about that here

History, I have found is powerful. Knowing the past allows us to plan to execute actions differently if we ever expected different results.

On this day, I was with a friend, she is a fellow Modakeke and her husband is mixed (not race) His father is from Modakeke and Mother from Ile Ife. (what an irony) Our talks was all around our town, how we all are hoping that permanent (not pretend) peace reigns.

Permanent peace here means people in both towns and villages can go about their business with no fear for their lives.

“Oh well, let’s thank God now, abi? At least there’s more awareness and something promising is happening.” I said.

Then a text message about Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II came through that reads “Oba Enitan Ogunwusi is also present.” I showed the message to the adults around me – everyone was happy!

We were over three thousand miles away, all lived through the last 35 years and for the first time a monarch, in our lifetime deem it fit to step on to the soil next door to jubilate with fellow Yorubas, fellow Nigerians and fellow humans – well, Ooni Ogunwusi is making history and a positive one.

When people follow what they communicate with actions, then it means a lot.

I have heard and read online about Ooni Ogunwusi’s  insistent on bringing back permanent peace both in towns and villages – that is commendable.

My two kobo here is that – B’ina ko ba tan lori, ẹjẹ kii tan lekanna – (Lice infested clothes encourages ones fingers to be feasted on).

E f’ori jin omo, to ba se bi owe o.

I am not suggesting this will be an easy task given our long history, however, I hope Ooni Ogunwusi would look into making it possible for our farmers to return to their farms and villages. These are the people who managed to survive the massacre in the farms between 1997 and 2000. Residents of both towns were affected. Some of these people are still picking up pieces of their lives after 18years.

I know this is a lot to ask, but then again, Ooni Ogunwusi is Enitan (person of history), you have the authority to change the course of history – mend the broken hearts.

K’ade pe l’ori.

Speed to feed hungry roads

On the motorway going 70mph, it felt a bit too quiet after a friend called about her 82 years old father’s passing.

“Can’t talk, promise to call back in the evening” I cut in after hearing the reason for the call. I can already tell the funeral preparation is underway.

Mind drifted to the last time I heard about her father, he was a nice man. Then, I remember he had a car accident a while back that killed one of the passengers, that was a terrible one, the passenger was a family member.

“When was the last time your father sat behind the wheel?” I asked my friend when she told me of the fatal accident. I knew he always had a personal driver.

“Only started driving after retirement.” She responded. He has always had a personal driver.

God, help me I must stop this line of thoughts, before I ran into someone.

I stopped. Then turn on the radio.

Off the radio.

The silence became unbearable, so paid attention to my surrounding. I forgot how noisy it can get no the motorway, cars flying by.

Then I remember only a week ago that I encountered my very first psychic, my taxi driver. I had kept my peace initially but thought I’d tell my day’s story to a complete stranger.

I was at the supermarket to pick up a few items but discovered at the till that I had lost my car key, how could that be? How?

“The angel took the keys from you because you were not meant to drive” he says. “Ok” I responded.

Following driver’s recommendation – relax and think about how to replace the keys.

I felt better.

That was a week prior to the road trip.

I must focus but not before making a quick mental calculation of my chances of survival if I did not pay attention to what was going on around me. Well, given most drivers flying by were going between 70/80mph – I could be a dead meat.

Focus, I did.

Thinking about how it is in Nigeria:

Nigeria FRSC can be annoying sometimes, but I am glad that their presence has forced dangerous drivers to slow down therefore reduction in road fatality but we still have a very long way to go.

While the FRSC monitors the highway, how do you get the neighbourhood drivers to apply common sense while driving?

Only about two weeks ago a middle-aged man from Ile Ife visiting a friend in my town late in the evening killed an Okada man (motor cyclist). The bus driver has been driving way too fast and oblivious to other road users.

The driver ran away from the scene of accident leaving the deceased man in the pool of his own blood. Passersby applied the only way they knew the dead person could get justice – Jungle Justice. The bus was burnt.

Apparently the bus belonged to a politician not the dangerous driver, oh well.

Either way the innocent life wasted because of someone’s dangerous driving,, the driver now back on the road walking free.

In January this year, 11 women from Madam P home state were killed during campaign drives – the incident was terrible news for anyone with blood running through their veins but what is also sad and perhaps terrifying was the reactions of lots of Nigerians about this accident. People completely ignored the dangerous drivers and turned it to another political fights. Here

Even if all Nigeria roads are state of the art tomorrow, people still need to learn to take responsibility for their actions while on the road.

Women and faiths during crisis

My perspective on religion is shaped by my small town crisis, everyone belonged to one sort of religion, some people two.

During crisis people around me called upon God in so many different ways. How did God respond?

An older woman in her 70s from my town shared her views about how God, Christian God fought for Modakeke during 1997 – 2000 crisis. It’s no secret we had fewer resources compared to the Ifes after all, Ile Ife is the cradle of Yorubaland.

Mrs Aduke was convinced it was the message she was sent from Prophet Obadare to the town that helped. She lived out-of-town at the time but travelled many times back to town with God’s anointing.

I agreed with Mrs Aduke, afterall Jesus said to the woman “… Your faith has saved you”

I believe there are many ways to see this given people of different faiths gave their undivided support.

Traditionally women were expected to fully participate by keeping the family together while men are in the front line.

Mrs Dorcas Adedoyin aka Rush E was once married to the Ogunsua of Modakeke, Oba Francis Adedoyin. They had a son together before their divorce several years ago. The then Mrs Adedoyin earned her nickname Rush E during the early years of her marriage to Mr Adedoyin (yet to be king), she sells akara (bean ball) at Oke Amola, Ologbin compound at which time people rushed to get to her stall on time to get their hands on her delicious akara before it’s all gone. Rush e relocated to Ore in Ondo as an independent woman and worked as a Herbalist and traditional healer after her divorce.

During 1997 crisis Rush e was very instrumental in liaising between the people in the front line and the palace. She gave all she had as a professional herbalist to help extract bullets from the wounded. This is very important as at the time many people died from gun wounds given all local clinics were filled up – only teaching hospital is at Ife so no hope and roads to get to Osogbo hospitals were blocked.

This was how Ade, my childhood friend died.

Just like many of us who happened to have family from both sides, Rush e’s mother was from Ife, father is from Modakeke and was caught in the middle so decided to defend her fatherland where her livelihood was.

I hope Oba Sijuade is noting this to see how families/relatives were turned against one another so the king could maintain his alter ego.

Rush e passed away a few years back, may her soul rest in peace. Modakeke will never forget her.

Mrs Déponírŏ was another courageous woman who secured Odo Okun area of Modakeke during the crisis. Her bravery was most notable in the 1983 crisis, when with a young baby still on breastmilk joined hundreds of others. She was popularly known as the woman who fought with a bunch of broom – how did she do it? God of Modakeke knows.

Mrs Déponírŏ lived in Pakoyi compound, an area that was very close to the borders of Ile Ife.  The Apostolic church headquarters at Odo-Okun survived the 1983 crisis as the area was well secured, thanks to Déponírŏ and other brave people.

Sadly the church and the mission house was burnt in 1997 crisis.

Mrs Dorcas (Rush e), Mrs Déponírŏ and many more women who prayed and worked on different projects were all God’s agents.

Boko Haram can be defeated with united Nigeria.

Akoraye Day

Today is Akoraye Day. Every last Saturday of the year is.

The day that all Modakekes home and away celebrate the gift of life and a bit of pat in the back that we are still here.

The event is mostly to reflect on the past, appreciate the present and plan for the future – call it Modakeke Thanksgiving Day.

Plenty of music, dance, food and many more of it. Some folks would get super drunk on Emu (palm wine) and Ogogoro (locally made liquor, that stuff burns throat!) today – it’s all about celebrating.

Although the resistance to lease payment from Modakekes is a century old tale but it has never been consistent, it all depends on who is at the throne in Ife and how much delusional he is.

1981 was the first Akoraye Day – the need for a day of reflection arose out of necessity.

A year prior Oba Adesoji of blessed memory w’aja (passed away). During his time, there was no need for Akoraye Day – relationship was not perfect, but it was manageable. Senior chiefs have never stopped pushing but Aderemi knew better.

The last blood shed was during Oba Sijuade, Olubuse I.

True to his words on coronation day December 06, 1980 – everything changed, Oba Okunade Sijuade Olubuse II wasted no time to execute his plans.

By midyear 1981, the town has witnessed the most brutal killings of our recent time in Yorubaland, it met Modakekes by surprise, they were suspicious but no one knew the extent.

By December 1981, agreement was made, we do need a day – Akoraye Day it is it will be celebrated the by last Saturday of every year. Home and away, physically or spiritually – be there to rejoice and reflect and remember that our town needs us.

This year would have been the 33rd Akoraye Day but because of the last ‘open’ killing spree between 1997 and 2000, we missed two years – The town was too much ‘broken’ to see any reason to celebrate, too many of our brave ones were lost in 1998 especially.

This year is our 31st Akoraye Day.

Today I am grateful for all those guys whose lives were cut short, and others who defended the borders and survived, the youths who didn’t run away but hung around to provide moral supports, the women who pounded locally made gun powder even when their palm of their hands were swollen from so much work and one brave woman (Mama Rush E)  in particular who broke the myths of gender bias of women capability. She led several people to the borders – incredible woman she was – without the collective effort,  Modakeke would have been heaps of ash.

And to our King – Oba Francis Adedoyin, he stood by throughout, even when the youths had enough of listening to orders, he showed that he understood the frustration.

Last but not the least, not always have we ever had hearing ears from the ‘outsiders’, news don’t get out in a way that human lives being wasted meant anything so for the most part, we are on our own.

The current state administrator, Governor Rauf Aregbesola is different, not because of what he said, but because of what he is doing. Grateful for the new state school system, one of Modakeke ones was completed early this year.

Give me education, I’ll live.

For this and many more I am grateful to Gov. Aregbesola’s admnstration.

You don’t have to be from Modakeke to see the injustices going on, if you must help us, anything in the line of education is a life gift no one can take away from.

 

Akoraye a gbe wa o.

Putting names to the victims of war

This year marks the one hundredth years since the First WW broke out. UK did massive poppy display representing each soldiers killed in the war by planting 888,246 clay poppies themed Blood Swept Lands of Seas of Red – The display was beautiful and moving.

I am grateful too as I have benefited in no small measures from the peace around me.

Tower of London poppy Display
Tower of London poppy Display

Then it occurred to me that my gratitude for brave men and women goes beyond British soldiers and the first WW. Mine included a very recent and less publicised one but war nonetheless because people died so others like me could live.

Old NEPA building on Ondo road, Modakeke is a popular landmark in town, not only because it once housed NEPA (National Electric Power authority) but also that in the 80s, Nigeria Guru Maharaj Ji once lived there – One God. Many ways of reaching Him. My people’s madness about One Way and My Way is fascinating. Little wonder #Bringbackourgirls occurred.

I digressed a little there.

Old NEPA’s building has lots of memories that has shaped my view of the world in more than one way. I lived about 300 metres away from it for seven years.

By December 1998, I was beginning to think this will be the end of it all, the killings have been going on for about a year and no end in sight. Nigeria newspapers reported the crisis as if it was foxes and Chickens.

Adegoke retired to his house Old NEPA building, in the heart of town. Behind his house was a swamp, really it was a stream, flows during raining season but stood still most time of the year for the path is clogged of household waste.

One day, Modakeke youths went to Adegoke to ask if he could lend out his garden hose, people have seen him using this on occasions on the compound weeds. Adegoke refused to lend out his machine demanded the youths to leave his compound at once. The guys were not only disappointed, they were furious for his refusal to be of any help.

Adegoke has drunk, eaten on the soil. Even raised his family and Modakeke good enough for him to settle after years in the Nigeria Army. We were not asking him to fight given he is from Ikirun (or somewhere close in Osun State) but only fair that he help in his capacity to support our efforts to defend ourselves and livelihood from the Ifes.

The guys wanted to tell the old guy he was a traitor but must be cautioned as Adegoke has plenty of powerful guns so they left his compound.

Retired Captain Onigbinde assured the aggrieved youths he’ll have words with his old-time friend. Onigbinde walked up the stairs as he had done many times before, only to be carried out in a body bag, all the boys hanging about the building were taken down within minutes that followed.

Aremu Baba Elero Ata at Oke Amola, who has been fighting intensely for the last few weeks and tired was on his way home when he heard the news, made a detour to Old NEPA so as to stop Adegoke – him too was sent to a journey of no return within minutes of arrival.

Within 24 hours, Adegoke killed more people in Modakeke than the total number of people killed by the Ifes at the borders.

Was Adegoke an enemy within? Or was his action triggered by years in the Nigeria Army where killings has become a ‘child’s play’ and not enough psychological help to follow-up with soldiers to be sure they were not danger to their communities after retiring?

Must see what happens to Adegoke, next day I sat among tens of youths at Olanrewaju in a two-storey beside Baba Liadi’s building. There you can see Adegoke’s compound clearly, there was a stray bullet near this building yesterday but if others didn’t get shot, I will be just fine too.

This is history, must see.

Adegoke had resources, had a working landline phone from the then Nitel – his lawyer from Moro came by and whizzed him away.

“Remember Femo, the powerful undefeated Ife man who once rode Oba Sijuade’s horse to events?” A friend asked. I responded in affirmative.

See, my point here – No one benefitted absolutely from Modakeke and Ife crisis, but the bruised egos are still adamant to accept defeat to move to 21st century where it is not acceptable to demand for lease after centuries of ownership on farmlands.

None of the kings and chiefs children were victims. Actually, during this time four of Oba Sijuade’s children were in the USA studying and yet ordered children of his people to grab lands of the Modakekes do or die style.

A sliver, hope nonetheless

This is part of an epic tale of growing up with my Yoruba monarch

——————————-

My parents generation today have witnessed at least two different Ile-Ife monarch reigns so sometimes they are best to tell some stories given most of our stories were not written and those that were, are seriously skewed to the benefits of the writer. Not everyone in that generation thought anything would ever change, most complained of being tired of asking for what is right, others feared they’d be at risk.

Either way, I believe we can not keep going the same old way and expected different results. If we want improvement in the way that  land ownership is being dealt with, then there must be a change, a defined and fair one.

I get excited about things – new experience, new places to explore so naturally visiting Thailand excited me more so that I have plenty of time to see and learn. For my six weeks there I saw plenty from the beautiful Grand Palace, to riding elephants in the north jungles. Really, you guys have palm trees too? That sort of knowledge filled me with innermost joy.

The biggest surprise of all came two days before leaving. I was in a big market in Bangkok, Chatuchak market, just window shopping but when I spotted a group of African shoppers, the veins in my head popped. I remembered the saying that 1 in every 5 black person you see is likely to be a Nigerian so I thought, I’ll keep walking around to see if I’d see some.

Before long I found myself in a Nigerian restaurant eating eba and egusi – incredible. Spoke to an Osogbo woman who has African prints shop, the type and quality that you don’t get back home, so I stocked up for my parents.

Then comes the biggest surprise of all. Adegoke walked into the restaurant, ordered his food, and sat opposite me. He has been in Bangkok for a while, so decided to settle there, not easy he told me. “Compared to home, what do you say?” Goke chuckled and looked me in the eye saying between us both “Hell is better than home he left behind.”

Nigeria is not that bad, maybe not enough opportunities but really not that bad. so I asked him, tell me “where are you from that is that bad.” He hesitated because he thought I could never understand, but I urged him to trust me. Then he said the most unexpected town ever, “Modakeke” No way, I yelled and gave him the biggest hug ever.

After getting over the shock, then come the familiar stories, we both shared tales of our beloved town, we knew each others primary and secondary schools even knew a few people in common.

It was the 1997 – 2000 crisis, he went to secure the borders for a few days with a gun, the experience was just a bit too much for him so he swore to get away from it all and here he found himself. Goke was in his early 20s at the time.

Meeting Goke gave me hope. He knows the true story of what has happened and continue to happen till today and the aftermaths on people. This negative effects is not just on one side, it affects everyone from both communities.

Hope it is.

Chickens and Foxes

Creating a peaceful world must start from everyone’s backyard.

A few years ago, I received yet another fatality news about Modakeke farmers at Ogudu Village. This is because the villagers believed the superficial instructions given by our ex president General Obasanjo that there will be no more killings or farm grabbing so everyone should go about their normal business peacefully. Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade also openly agreed to this. Given our history, people were sceptical but after a few months, they have to go back as their livelihoods depended on tending the farms.

The farmers, upon getting to their village were met with machetes and guns – those who escaped were lucky, a few others, not so much. Farmers at Ogudu Village were predominantly Modakekes (>50%) the rest were people from all over Osun state i.e Iree, Gbongan, Ode-Omu etc.

As I went through my inbox that day, in came another email from Adeoye with the same prayer request for the war-torn nations of the world:

” Please let us remember the nations of Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Israel, the US, DR Congo, the Palestine, the rest of the Middle East region and  other troubled spots of the world in our prayers.  Let us pray for the peace, justice and protection of GOD over all HIS children and their possessions in those countries. GOD Bless you as you do so.

For at least a decade now, I received daily inspirational messages mostly along religious line with bible quotes from the same person. The quote above is the signature to all of Adeoye’s messages – I used to read them all religiously. So I called him up to have a chat about his campaign for world peace when he is oblivious to the fire burning in his backyard.

As it turned out although Adeoye has lived in Yorubaland all his life between Abeokuta and Lagos – about 200 km from Modakeke and Ife,  still he was not aware of the recent crisis in Modakeke and Ife.  ‘You must be joking’ I exclaimed. Adeoye was aware of 1980 crisis just after the new Ooni was crowned however, he had no idea that the 1997 to 2000 one was very serious.

Well, tens of houses were burnt in both towns and village houses razed down, hundreds of lives wasted and even today more than a decade later, some neighbourhoods remained deserted and wreckage of burnt houses visible.

After all these wasted lives and properties, are we close to resolving the problem. Not close. For one, Ogudu farmers are still roaming the town and not able to return to their farms and secondly, Yoruba elders would rather beat about the bush than call a spade its name with Oba Okunade Sijuade.

Nigeria newspapers do not carry news of event under their noses, and when they did the news would read more like fights between foxes and chickens.

Remi Fani-Kayode – When telling the truth means betrayal

I have always wondered about the opinion of the elders of the past and how they dealt with the local crisis. I want to know if there were any significant differences in the way that the educated elders and the illiterates of the past handled disputes around social issues that we still struggle with today.

I appreciate whenever I am lucky enough to be in the company of elders that witnessed some of the events of the past first hand and did their own documentation of it so generation to come could have something to reference.

The event of the early 1950s when Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode returned to Nigeria from Britain that caught my interest. Being born and raised in Britain, I wanted to know how he felt about Ile-Ife adamant on letting go of 300 years *Isakole imposed on Modakeke. This was during the time of Oba Adesoji Aderemi, whereby there were relative peace however, there were numbers of local Senior Chiefs at the time who grew up on being fed on the hard work of others, the elders were harder to please however, Oba Aderemi managed his ruling years with grace as he knew better.

In 1954 Chief Fani-Kayode got involved in politics to represented Action Group in Ile Ife. It was during this time that the Chief was able to see first hand the injustice going on underground between Ile-Ife and Modakeke. This was alien to him and could foresee future with no meaningful development in Ife if the mentality towards their close neighbours did not change.

Chief Fani-Kayode education both at King’s College, Lagos and his law degree from Cambridge University was not lost on him. As a young black man studying in Cambridge during his time, he must have spent considerable amount of time learning a lot about himself, country and humanity in general. Chief refused to be content with what was going on underground of Ile-Ife.

Chief’s political campaign was well received  in his town however, he met heavy resistance from the rigid-minded elders. Modakeke at the time appreciated Fani-Kayode’s honesty so they rally round him. It was because of the chief’s insistent that no one should pay Isakole as it was not only unlawful but also outdated that lead to AG in Ile-Ife to split into two – Erin and the youths groups. Erin being the elders group. Youths from both Ife and Modakeke were his major political supporters.

How could any Nigerian grew up in Britain of the 1920s, studied and being active part of Nigeria readiness for independence be ever content with injustice in his own small town? This was difficult for the chief because he knew better and stuck to his gun.

Ile-Ife chief branded him as a betrayal for the ideals and did not vote for him as AG leader in the 1959 general election.

Story like this refreshes my faith in my elders that after all we have many in the past that remain on the side of justice even when their career suffered as a result.

Sixty years on after Chief Fani-Kayode made it clear that collection of isakole has no place in modern time, that with this mindset, neither Ife nor Modakeke will move forward in a meaning way – Modakeke no longer pays isakole that came about through plenty of blood shedding, however, land grabbing goes on underground by the great ground children of those that believed 300 years lease must continue, this was led by Oba Okunade Sijuade when he was crowned on December 06 1980.

Perpetual killings because of land grabbing goes on underground till today.

 

*Isakole is a form of lease imposed on Modakeke from Ile-Ife for being on the land. This started more than 300 years ago and some people still want the lease with the same condition to continue today.

A sliver of hope (2)

Tugbo here is my mother’s goat. Full name ‘Tara eni t’ogbo’ loosely means my business is enough for me to mind. Oh well, this is hardly true for neither me nor my mother! We have always had a goat in my family, but always one mother goat at a time given no yard to keep them. My favourite Tugbo and the longest in my family was white with a little black spot on the nose and tail. I grew up to know her and lasted until I was out of secondary school. She started off with two kids at a time and in her prime three kids! Everyone in my family loved Tugbo for many reasons mostly that when my mother sells the kids, it is usually for something very important we got in exchange like school stuff or christmas clothes. And when things were a bit ‘normalised’ in my family, we used the male kids for Christmas for a very long time.

As is always the case good things don’t last forever, Tugbo grew old and was put to sleep more than a decade a go. Since then we have had so many Tugbo, none has fit the shoes of the old one.

This Tugbo was a gift to my mother from my sister’s in law. We’ve never had a brown Tugbo so very special. It was my father who spotted Tugbo given birth to her first kid, so he yelled “can someone give me a bowl of water?” “Tugbo gave birth!” My parents always sprinkle water on a newly born kid/s to help loosen the sticky stuff on them. We all rushed out to see…

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The following photos are from Ikogosi Spring, Ekiti State. The location is about an hour and half drive from my town. I have only found out about the hidden gem of the town about a year ago. What I love most about this place was the fact that there is no one in ‘your face’ very peaceful, quiet and clean and most importantly security within and around was super as no wandering touts to be seen anywhere. The fee to wander round and visit the spring is 500naira (as at October last year) that’s a bargain. I went there twice within a week as I was that excited, the first time a friend drove and the second time took public transport and it was not bad, the receptionist there were helpful, you just need to tell them, they call their local taxi from Ikogosi to come and the service was, I must say fantastic. My seven nephew and nieces went there before Christmas last year doing young people stuff – they loved it too. This place is best for family reunion or a weekend getaways with friends and family.

Highlight: One foot in the noticeable flowing warm water and the other in cold – Nature! The meeting point as shown in photo 3

Here are a few of the photos I took:

 

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A Sliver of hope

Rays of hope as a reminder that it’s not all bad. I believed this and hold on tightly to it.

I have taken so many photos in the last years of my wander round my town, my state and my country. I hope to do more in future as this strengthens my hope in humanity and that the struggle, the hard work that many Nigerians are putting into changing the fate of our country will pay off.

Here is my town, Modakeke, this particular photo is not the one that the town is known for, usually the photos I see and the ones on the internet are that of burnt houses/churches/schools. This Anglican church is in the heart of the town and it has survived all the crisis since 1980s, many churches especially around the borders did not make it. Sometimes, we are angry at God too!IMG_2523

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My visit to Osogbo Grove renewed my hope in Yoruba culture. Amazing preservation work of Susanne WengerMay her soul rest in peace.

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These were taking at Obafemi Awolowo Zoo Ile Ife. The last time I visited which was about 17 years ago, the lion at the time was starved. Seeing this in October last year, well fed and looking content  – my hope was renewed.

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Maybe there is hope after all.