Feeble dance of the Tinubu, Osinbajo masquerade, By Festus Adedayo

Essentially the most acceptable illustration of the approaching 2023 presidential election contest for the Yoruba

Essentially the most acceptable illustration of the approaching 2023 presidential election contest for the Yoruba is what is named the Odun e’gun or the Egungun Competition contest. It’s a pageant cum contest by which masquerades file out of their rainbow color regalia, with a mammoth crowd gathered to observe them dance. As at at present, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Yemi Osinbajo are Yoruba individuals’s two greatest masquerades on this odun egun. The Alagbaa, one entrusted with the normal proper to preside over the ancestral rites of the pageant is nevertheless a Fulani – Muhammadu Buhari. By the best way, the Alagbaa may be very central to each masquerade pageant. He’s a hereditary chief who heads the Egungun society and who determines the tone and tenor of the pageant. Preparatory to the competition, the Alagbaa of the 2023 Nigerian Egungun Competition had actually decapitated the masquerades, succeeding in destroying the masquerades’ value and credibility within the estimation of the mammoth crowd on the market.

The masquerade pageant can also be a time to supply sacrifices to divinities, considered one of whom is Èsù-Òdàrà, often called the mediator divinity. Yoruba don’t joke with making such propitiations to their useless. It’s believed that if the wrath of those divinities aren’t appeased and on this case, by way of Egungun pageant, incongruities will besiege the land, a lot that rats within the forests will lose their divinely ordained squeaking sound and birds, their chirps – “eku o ni  ke bi eku, eye o ni dun bi eye.”

The masquerades, carrying lengthy, multifarious colourful robes to courtroom the aesthetic sense of the spectators, are masked in accordance with the insignia of the spirits of their deceased ancestors and are welcomed to {the marketplace} by shouts of pleasure and melodious drumming. The Egungun then file to {the marketplace} to carry out a number of shades of dances. Although people however usually perceived to have transmuted into spirit beings on account of their regalia, the Egungun is anticipated to not be in conformity with the sedate norms of this world, and are thus held in leash by males who wield cudgels, stopping intruders from coming near spirit beings. Worshippers then dance to percussions of bata drum and within the course of, change into possessed by ancestral spirits, with these holding the whips flogging everyone inside the precincts of their whips.

A non secular observe of the folks that has lasted centuries, the Egungun Competition is a ceremony by which the Yoruba honour what they understand to be the annual return of their ancestors to the world of the dwelling. On the market, when the Egungun dances eclectically to the entrance to contest, he invokes the spirits of his ancestors lengthy deceased, precursors of such interventions with the individuals, to grant him the grace of constructing good dancing strides within the contest and go dwelling with the village’s trophy of success.

For the Yoruba, nevertheless, even at this preparatory stage for the Nigerian 2023 Egungun pageant, it’s getting ominous. The omen writ giant is that, even with Tinubu and Osinbajo dancing this spasmodically to the gang’s frenzied pleasure, the chance for the Yoruba Egungun to coast dwelling with trophy by succeeding in occupying the Aso Rock seat of energy in 2023 is turning into virtually a mirage. Both as a mirrored image of that hunch or premonition, within the final couple of weeks, particularly on the social media, Yoruba analysts and commentators have drawn three disagreeable anchors and pictures within the service of a proof for the race’s impending plight. One is that, they’re drawing a similarity between the 2023 contest and the First Republic consuming struggle between two of their latest ancestors, Chiefs Obafemi Awolowo and Samuel Ladoke Akintola. Second is that, these analysts are  fleeing into Christian eschatology to find their plight in the same relationship that went haywire in Israel some 2000 years in the past, between Jesus the Christ and his sidekick, Judas Iscariot. The third of their engagements is to enter historical Yoruba narrative of the curse of Alaafin Aole who, miffed at his betrayal, had reportedly cursed generations thereafter that they might suffer from rancor at important factors of their nationwide growth.

Whichever approach you select to have a look at their dilemma, the Egungun nonetheless represents the most effective explainer of the Yoruba crossroads. A secret society, on the day of the Egungun pageant, masquerades come to {the marketplace} in varied lengthy, colored regalia to carry out the twin function of deity, listening to the requests of the dwelling who collect by their toes in supplication and who’re then believed to carry the supplicants’ requests again to their ancestral neighborhood in heaven, finally depositing them by the toes of Olodumare – God. Thus, girls going through challenges of procreation beseech the masked spirit to grant them youngsters and the individuals as a complete ask for continued steerage of the spirit being. The Egungun, in high-pitched voice, in flip prays for the supplicants, to which they reply ase  – amen.

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By particularly shuttling into the First Republic to deliver out the ghosts and personas of Awolowo and Akintola as referents and explainers for the 2023 contest, I submit right here that this trait has all the time been half and parcel of the Yoruba. Certainly, in African cosmology, ancestors play very conspicuous and essential roles. They characterize crucial sources of energy and are believed to be able to appearing on behalf of or in opposition to their descendants. Ancestors additionally operate as divinities although they exhibit much less non secular energy than the gods – Orisa, considerably. When a descendant of an ancestor faces existential challenges in life, they go to their household groves, supply sacrificial choices and invoke the future – Ori of their fathers in heaven to intervene of their plights. Ancestor worship may be very central to the faith of the Yoruba.

Whereas the 2 large masquerades, Tinubu and Osinbajo, put together to bop within the market, their supporters have been invoking a number of epithets, parallels, epigrams and symbols as prologues to clarify the 2 masquerades’ impending dancing steps. The epilogue have been coming within the type of a story put within the public sphere that Osinbajo, foremost professor of legislation and Legal professional Normal whereas he was governor of Lagos State, was moulded by Bola Tinubu. Certainly, the technique of interfacing Tinubu with the general public by his supporters has been an audacious carving of the ex-Lagos governor within the mould of the Yoruba god, Orunmila, the Orisa of knowledge, information, and divination. Orunmila’s epithet is, one who moulds the destinies of his appendages, the “mo’ri mo’ri omo tuntun.” Tinubu’s apologists have since cited individuals on the high who, upon coming involved with this Orisa, acquired their destinies moulded and catapulted to the highest.

Certainly one of a collection of devious stratagem used within the service of this bid is drawing a parallel between Awolowo and Akintola’s feud of the First Republic as an explainer of the interface between Tinubu and Osinbajo. This got here to the fore with brute pressure instantly after Osinbajo’s declaration for the 2023 presidency. Upon examination, nevertheless, it will likely be discovered to be very hole, shallow and missing in any rigour of a historic understanding. Let me clarify.

After being systematically rigged out of the 1959 Federal Elections, Awolowo determined not to return to his Premiership of the Western Area. That is not like Jap Area Premier, Nnamdi Azikiwe, who accepted Prime Minister Balewa’s overture to type authorities with him, thereafter turning into Nigeria’s solely ceremonial President. Azikiwe left his turf within the fingers of Michael Okpara, a really grits-full medical physician with a really robust thoughts of his personal. whereas Ahmadu Bello of the Northern Area despatched a junior politician, Balewa, to the middle to change into Nigeria’s Prime Minister.

It’s not information that although Akintola  was his Deputy within the Motion Group, Awolowo favoured both Anthony Enahoro or Chief FRA Williams as his successor. He nevertheless needed to succumb to occasion elders like Dr. Akanni Doherty and Akinola Maja who articulated the necessity to choose Akintola who had then change into the Deputy Chief of the AG after the loss of life of Chief Bode Thomas. In his personal phrases nevertheless, Awolowo maintained that those that dissuaded him from selecting Chief Williams as successor had been Chief S. O. Gbadamosi and Dr. Akanni Doherty.

In late 1961, the Motion Group constituted a bunch of younger males who ready memoranda for a cogent ideology for the AG. The occasion’s Federal Govt Council assembly thus agreed on the adoption of Democratic Socialism as its ideology and, amongst others, that, “no one, particularly authorities or occasion functionaries will need to have greater than one plot of presidency land; fringe advantages and perks for Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries had been slashed; and thirdly, the Get together pronounced that the Get together was supreme and that anyone who held workplace did so on the pleasure of the Get together and that anybody who held any governmental place should see that his insurance policies had been both laid down by the Get together or had been in step with Get together insurance policies.” This didn’t go down nicely with the Premier, Akintola who mocked the ideology of democratic socialism brazenly. Extra essentially, whereas Akintola believed that the West ought to bond with the North to realize energy on the centre, Awolowo believed that the West should go eastwards in looking for allies.

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To buttress this, Akintola, in his witty aphorisms and authorities insurance policies, slammed the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railways, Dr. Ikejiani Clark for nepotism in his recruitment of workers into the railway firm. This he did in his well-known “ikeji a ni, iketa a ni” and within the squabble for the VC-ship of the College of Lagos between Professor Eni Njoku and Saburi Biobaku, Akintola performed on the Yoruba frequent denominator of “loss of life” within the names of the VC contestants and requested why the Lagos college neighborhood would like somebody who ate useless our bodies (literal translation of Eni Njoku) as in opposition to somebody who didn’t need to die (literal which means of Biobaku).

What the above signifies is that the duo of Awolowo and Akintola disagreed and fought on the place of their Yoruba individuals within the scheme of issues in post-colonial Nigeria and never on inanities of who made who and who betrayed who. I scooped many paperwork, newspapers and magazines on the tiff between Awo and SLA and by no means for as soon as did I come across that petty magisterialism of Awo ascribing Akintola’s rise to the Premiership to his imperious energy. So, when supporters of particularly Tinubu attempt to cut back the competition to betrayal, it smacks of a spurious try to depart substance of the best of a sixty-something-year-old man to aspire to any workplace within the land, and pursue shadows of tar-brushing him as a turncoat.

Within the final eight years of Tinubu and Osinbajo individuals’s sufferings underneath Buhari, each of them by no means demonstrated any constancy with them or the boldness to put on their Yorubaness on their lapels. They by no means demonstrated that their individuals’s plight was worthy of any amplification and backbone. When kidnappers killed and ransomed their individuals of Southwest with out let, the duo of Tinubu and Osinbajo bonded with the Alagbaa in his taciturn cold-bloodedness. They even actually abetted him in his nepotistic embrace of his Fulani individuals and discard of others. Whereas Tinubu advised the world that, to change into the Nigerian president has been his lifelong ambition, Osinbajo has not demonstrated that he’s possessed of any distinctive love for his Yoruba individuals, nor that Yoruba individuals ought to queue behind him as a matter of mutual kinsman constancy. Sure, whereas of their respective political places of work, they’ve each favoured their political and spiritual clienteles – apologies once more to Professor Farooq Kperogi – I’m not conscious that anybody of them bent over backwards to articulate the plight of the Yoruba in a distinct pitch, in a federal Nigeria underneath Buhari.

With the above in thoughts, it then signifies that these haranguing supporters of each Tinubu and Osinbajo on account of their disparate views, citing the so-called Aole curse of disunity amongst Yoruba, are merely strolling on a barren historic route. Whereas it’s a feel-good feeling to have one’s kinsman as President of Nigeria, the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency exemplifies that Yoruba wise-saying that one’s benefactor is just not essentially your kinsman – “ajumobi o kan t’anu…” It’s debatable if Yoruba’s Southwest was not the least thought of for growth of the Nigerian six zones underneath Obasanjo.

So, whereas the 2 masquerades – Tinubu and Osinbajo – put together to have their particular person day on the market to bop, Yoruba ought to clap their fingers for anybody of them that catches their fancy, be happy to get scintillated by their multi-coloured Egungun masquerade regalia,. They might mop up as a lot frills and private excitements as they will from the eclectic dance steps of the masquerades, get entranced by their stunning costumes and be awed by the whiplash that every of them lashes on one another. To now Yorubanize the presidential bids of those masquerades and approximate their travails and baggage because the Yoruba race’s is what’s absurd and inappropriate, one thing within the mould of a journey doomed to fail.

Dele Bello, Oseni: When squash gamers die, do their racquets die?

On January 10, after a tiresome sport of squash on the Ibadan Recreation Membership, I walked upstairs to the health club part. As I started a bout of expelling the recalcitrant mass of protoplasm that had made my midriff its place of hibernation, it simply occurred to me that, for months, I hadn’t seen the person who single-handedly procured the tools within the health club whereas he was chairman of the part, Dele Bello, affectionately referred to as DB. So I put a name by way of to him which was unanswered. The second day was his birthday and I typed a goodwill want which I despatched to his WhatsApp. I prayed for his fast restoration. The final time we each performed squash late final yr, he had barely performed one sport when he “scratched.” It was apparent that ill-health had seized this fair-complexioned, agile gentleman.

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Typical DB, he replied my message: “It has been a difficult time within the final 4 months. Your prayers are working. As for squash, even when I lay off for years, you aren’t a menace in any respect. ‘Odo to ba t’oju wa kun, ko le gbe wa lo,’ which means that the river whose rain droplets started to collect in a single’s presence can not wash the individual off shore. As we do earlier than and after a sport of squash, I advised him that he was no match to me and that his river allegory couldn’t maintain water. “It is rather like Obalola (Prince Segun Oseni, an aged squash participant) giving that river allusion,” I stated. DB ended his message by saying “The times I’m going to freely give up my place are forward. Don’t be an excessive amount of in a rush.” How prophetic he was.

Few weeks after, exactly on the morning of March 9, with the problem that gas shortage had precipitated, I lamented to a colleague how DB’s illness had precipitated me a lot pressure. Ex-Nationwide Oil high shot and proprietor of a petroleum station in Ibadan, DB’s gas station was a spot of refuge for each Tom, Dick and Harry throughout shortage. How was I to know that, a day earlier than then, DB had given up the ghost in far-off South Africa, throughout a quick sickness? He was 61 years previous. Known as to the Nigerian Bar a few years in the past after leaving Lead Metropolis College as considered one of its first set of scholars who the NUC non-registration refrained from the Regulation Faculty, in my traditional taunting, although older, I all the time referred to as him my junior.

On the night of the receipt of DB’s departure information, all of us gathered to mourn him on the Squash Part of IRC. Prince Oseni had been a bit sick, with repeated complaints on his shoulder. The second day, we acquired the stunning information that he too had handed on, making it two icons of the part struck by the hammer of loss of life underneath 48 hours. Like DB, Prince Oseni was avuncular, personable and was an awesome admirer of my writings.

In our second of mourning these illustrious squash gamers, a United Kingdom-based Niyi Oyewumi, ex-Junior Squash Participant and ex-Nigerian Nationwide Below-16 champion, who was then based mostly in Borno State, introduced succour to the sport and mourning gamers. On Friday April 15, Oyewumi organized a training clinic underneath the banner of the JGM Companies Ltd, with the Squash Nationwide Coach in attendance. At that fiesta, he gave out squash kits that comprised attires, racquets and canvass footwear to greater than 20 upcoming gamers.


DB will likely be dedicated to mom earth on April 29 on the All Souls Anglican Church, Ibadan. Could his fantastic soul and Prince Oseni’s, relaxation in excellent peace.

Festus Adedayo is an Ibadan-based journalist.

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