Have you been to ibadan lately?

When my dad made it compulsory for me to appear at the ancient city the next day, the only thing that irked me seriously was my fresh pot of chicken stew. Pray, who leaves town and abandon a whole pot of stew? Not even an ‘ordinary’ one but full of chicken, freshly killed, roasted, dismembered and cooked.

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Anyway, I left it as an offering to the gods and left my house hastily.

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IBADAN

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I stood outside the gate and knocked repeatedly. Funny how you have now become a visitor in your father’s house.
I placed a call through to my dad. He didn’t pick. I called my brother, he picked. ‘Come and open this gate’, I said to him.

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And when I entered, I saw tents and chairs. I heard the sound of music. I saw old family. “Is this Yetunde?” Someone asked one of my aunts. “Yes,” Then they whispered into each other’s ears right in my presence so that I would not hear them remind themselves I am the daughter of late Iya yet.

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‘This is Iya yetunde’s first daughter. This is her yetunde’. Then the greeting became unusual..pity mixed with biased affection. I smiled and sauntered away from their presence.

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Owambe brings the family together. You get introduced to cousins you never knew existed. Cousins kneeling down to greet. I get embarrassed. Am I that old? For the life of me, they are even taller and bigger. These cousins of mine could pass for an aunt.

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***********”*********

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Night life in the ancient city has gradually improved. Gone were the days when you would likely hawk akara or robo alata(akara is bean cake. Abeg, what is robo alata in English?) from dusk till daybreak if you were ever caught wandering around at ungodly hours. Maybe it still happen though. But if its still happening to you, just tell me you live at idi arere, popo-yemoja, oja’aba or ita-akinloye. Maybe in those places they still have local hunters/vigilantes with dane guns working at night.

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With the change that has swept through ibadan environs as a result of the strategic location of Ibadan heritage mall, dominos, shoprite and the film house at samonda, i guess night crawlers can now move freely at night.

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What more, I have never since heard of the egungun and oloolu festival again. Do they still do it? Its been a while I heard about it. The horror of running from egungun and hiding from oloolu forms a memorable part of my childhood.

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Ibadan….my ibadan.

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When I managed to sneak into the city this time, I couldn’t see much. I didn’t even go past my father’s sprawling edifice.
However, some things haven’t changed about the ancient city.

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1. The average cab you enter in the morning, the driver is listening to Fuji music(not minding it is still 5.30am) so loud that you can hardly hear him.

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On top of this noise, he refuses to open his door to properly call passengers but instead, he shoves half of his body out through the glass while shouting “Iwo road, Iwo road, meji Iwo road “. Meanwhile, there’s a half chewed piece of chewing stick hanging in his mouth so saliva with bits of chewed stick spreads in all direction as he opens his mouth.

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You are busy dunking saliva while he dances a little, swaying from here to there, singing after pasuma and shouting ” wole pelu change e. Iwo road lo nlo o. Mi o ni duro in Sanyo, Academy,Olorunsogo, Oremeji o”(enter with your change. The car is going to Iwo road. I won’t stop along the way). Even though, he has to pass through those places. So, those who have his time would stop and abuse him even to his fourth generation while he responds with some curses too.
I don’t think this attitude is ever going to go away.

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2. Most of the local shops and even modern malls aren’t open for business as early as 8am on weekends. I think business resumes by 9 or 10am. They dont care about coming out as early as 7am. I had gone out early on Saturday morning to “Challenge area” and I could not make my hair.

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The stalls were closed and I could not shop. I had to go back home. This doesn’t happen in Lagos and Abuja. Maybe Ibadan people are laid back. Maybe that’s why they say ‘ibadan people are never in a hurry because nothing seems to be chasing them”.

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3. If you price an item and refuse to buy it, they would look at you from head to toe with pure disdain and mutter a word of abuse. I guess this isn’t necessarily peculiar to ibadan people.

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4. Ibadan people can never stop gathering to watch magic displays. They are never in a hurry. It is only in ibadan that I would see someone dressed in rags with his face painted with the colour of the rainbow trying to do magic in a market space and people are watching and clapping. In this age?

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5. The roofing sheet are still brown and rusty, dull with age and dirt.

Picture source: Facebook

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However, the air in ibadan is different from the air at the north. In case you have never noticed, If you are entering abuja from the southwest, immediately you pass the Niger Bridge, the air becomes different- hotter and harsher.

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But this ibadan air has a measure of tranquility which gives you a tinge of excitement and peace of mind. Your mind is fully rested. You breath in the air and it fills your lung with hope, with a sense of freshness, with a newness, an awakening. You know that this is home.

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Sometimes you wake up and hear the cock crowing and you smile. Just the way the cock crowed at our backyard when I was small. It woke me up for school. My parents were rearing them.
I have not visited Oje market or Bere in years but the memories are ever fresh in my head. Ibadan forms a part of the story in my ‘about to be released novel’.

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My literary mind took shape in ibadan. I am publishing in ibadan. Ibadan has the richest history of Nigerian culture and artefacts and it is the headquarter of book publishing in Nigeria. Talk of Spectrum, MacMillan etc. The book sellers at Jericho and Holy bookshop at Bere ranked as the top selling bookshops in ibadan then. I don’t know about now.

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As I type this, I am in a car, on my way out of the city. The young lady beside me turns to me ‘are you writing a novel? You have been typing since. You look so busy”. I smiled and turned to her ‘No, I am a blogger. I am trying to write a story for my blog”.

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Its funny how these days, when introducing myself to people physically or writing my own bio on social media, I introduce myself only as a creative writer or blogger. Most times, I forget my two degrees and the pain that I went through while acquiring them. They don’t pay my bills as much as writing does. I even forget the name of what I studied sometimes especially my MSC. I just know it has to do with International Relations.

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Meanwhile, the only goodwill I have received this easter period came from Domino’s Pizza. The one at Ademola Adetokunbo, Wuse in Abuja. I had gone there with a friend sometimes ago and they took my name and number.

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Domino’s Pizza really cares for me abi? Imagine their message:

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Happy Easter NIKE, enjoy our special EASTER FIESTA offer of one medium Pizza + 1.5ltr drink for 3700 Naira at any of our restaurants. Call us now!
Did they just order me to call them?

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Ibadan, OK bye.
Happy Easter to all friends, fans and family. Enjoy the best of this season!!!

 

Have you been to ibadan lately? What was the experience like? Or you’ve never been there? What do you cherish about the city? I would be waiting to read your thoughts in the comment box.

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Author

nikeolasiyan@yahoo.com
She has won many awards in writing and poetry amongst which are CLO essay competition (1st Prize Southwest) NDIC essay competition(5th Prize in the southwest) and a World Bank Essay Certificate of Participation She has worked with woman.ng as a content editor and a host of sites as a ghost writer. She has written great inspirational content for fashion brands/blogs. She has been featured on radio and recently added public speaking to her portfolio. You can hire her to write a professional/business profile for you, online content editing, book editing, guest blogging, ghostwriting, content creation or if you need copies of her book, contact her via nikeolasiyan@yahoo.com Facebook.com/Yetunde Olasiyan instagram.com/Yetunde Olasiyan Follow her business page on Instagram @officialladywriter

Comments

John Femi
April 16, 2017 at 4:18 pm

I got the same sms from Domino’s pizza addressed with a wrong name ‘Gbenga’ . Just wondering how they got my number.



ope4sho
April 18, 2017 at 7:50 am

awesome write up Sis, the last time i went to Ibadan i was surprised they still av take transport for 20 naira oooooooooo



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