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Satire: When Abóbakú runs [The Ooni of Ife Dilemma]

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Oni of IfeThose whose commitment to culture is guided by utmost dogma should not read this piece. Here is the reason: I will bruise your ego. That is not the worse part; the worse

part is that I won’t apologise. This mission has long become one to express and not to impress and if we see anybody that is not happy with this union, he should not indicate his dissent now and he should keep his mouth shut forever.

A couple of days back I was informed by a friend that Chief Abobaku of Ife has disappeared. ‘Abomination’, I interjected, jumping up from my seat. ‘He must have lost his way to the palace’, I concluded. Assuring my informant that if the Abobaku doesn’t cause appearance at the palace within 3 days, I will personally write to INTERPOL, FBI, LAPD, NYPD, SWAT, EFCC, ICPC, NDLEA, NAFDAC, INEC other ‘relevant’ agencies in that line to comb the nooks and crannies of this very small world within few hours and fish him out. 

I won’t write the Police here, I stopped taking them serious the day I went to facilitate the bail of a Client’s son and saw them selling bread and drinks for those detained right at the counter. That is me, I am culturally inclined like that and I do not take shit when anybody wants to make a mess of the culture that has been put in place since time immemorial. What is there? Is it not for Abobaku to just die with the king only?  Looking at this tradition again, one must admit that Africa is rich in culture and tradition.

While flexing my muscles for the epistle I planned on writing to those agencies by eating a plate of ‘eba’, something struck my mind; Abobaku must have seen that movie – Prison break. If not, he must have read that book- Ààre Àgò Aríkúyerí. This is where those self-acclaimed Yoruba who prides in English, but not their mother tongue would feel shame. The shame is not because you’ve not read the book, I haven’t read millions of books written in Yoruba language too, but the shame is because you can’t even read one when you get it. 

So, that book must have been a recipe for Abobaku’s missing his way to the palace. For God sake, ‘the pigeon do not dine and wine with its host and flee when death comes.’ Yes, Abobaku is not a pigeon, but our very rich culture has made him one. He should please come and die now. Abobaku, I know you are reading this, please come and die for the sake of our culture.

Ours is a very interesting society, at least, on the altar of dignifying impunity with words. The primitive mentality of certain African conventions still intoxicates us and for that, we are slaves to our own very beliefs. Recently on a television program I watched people who were making their opinions known on the prohibition of same sex marriage in Nigeria. Like me, all those who made remarks abhor it, but unlike me for the wrong reason. The argument against it ranged from ‘it is against our culture’, ‘how would a fellow lady have children for me’ and outrageously, one man who was ‘morally’ inclined did say that there is no where he can ‘penetrate’ in another man. A logician would figure it out, that this same man is misguided- when we talk about union, penetration should not be a driving force. I abhor the act of homosexuality but not for their type of reasons. You know, our culture is rich and it can’t be checked.

Brazenly, a plethora of African cultures and traditions are laudable- the culture of respect, discipline, hard work, communication and others, but yet, a lot ought to be dropped with the dark ages. So, Abobaku, according to the media is a traditional title in Ife and he must die with the King. That is a good one – the king would need to get one or two things at the mall, he would need to use the ATM, he would need someone to woe one of the beautiful ghosts on his behalf. So, why won’t Abobaku keep him company? We must be fair to the king, but we can’t do that in this case and still be reasonable men. So, this argument is not a logical one- it is just cultural and hence, Abobaku must die and I am here to proffer solutions.

You see, Abobaku is a man like us- sometimes we all make mistakes. The mistake he made was feeling that living is better than dying with a whole king. Abobaku chose wisely – a glorious death with a first class king is better than anything. Abobaku, you can’t equate yourself to Peter who denied Jesus. These facts will reveal to you that Abobaku used the Bible in his planning process for escape. 

Is it now out of place to say that someone as vast as that did not arm himself with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right? 

Do you think that Abobaku is not in the know that there is a Court known as International Criminal Court?  

You really think that someone as informed as Abobaku won’t be able to afford a US visa? 

And were the staffers of the airlines at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport trained to identify a fleeing Abobaku? 

I am sorry, but Abobaku is not in Africa, because our culture does not suit his present interest. We can think of negotiating with him- possibly an offer of euthanasia. If that doesn’t work, we can make efforts for his extradition. If that fails, let the gods we seek to appease think about the option of traveling to the United States or United Kingdom to pick their lamb.

And at the risk of sounding like a clown, ransack Abobaku’s house. I am certain you will see a copy of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended in 2011), that is exactly where he read about the freedom to life. There should be a clause in the contract of the next Abobaku – that his contract shall be revoked if caught with a copy of the Constitution. 

I am sorry for thinking that Abobaku missed his way to the palace. After all, no one was leading him there initially- he only adopted a modern logic to an old tradition. 

David is a young Nigerian writer.


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