When I was a teenager still finding meanings to the twists and turns of life at the village, there was always a quintessential Baba Agba to unravel whatever it was that gives me sleepless night. At night, baring illness and unfavorable weather condition, we would gather in front of his house anxiously, waiting while staring at his vacant wooden stool called Agbantara. We would be wondering in our minds whether Baba would come out every now and then or maybe he wasn’t going to come at all.
Most times, when we were about given up he would cough in announcement of his presence and then as he stretches his neck out of the door, he would flash us his well arranged and attractive age defying teeth in a customary smile. As rather unnoticed and unappreciated that smile was, I have later come to realize it symbolizes vigour and energy and an unbroken spirit of an old man so dutiful and passionate to enriching the youth with knowledge.
On one of those days, Baba told us a didactic story that despite the long passage of time, travails and trials haven’t robbed me of the lesson. It was about a successful farmer called Igbayilola, he was a very dedicated and hardworking man. He plants yam, cassava and also had a cocoa farm. Such was his hard work that none of his mate could hold a candle to his physical strength. Igbayilola was really as strong as a bull and that rubbed on his farm positively.
However, Igbayii as he was fondly called lacked the vision to build wealth that last. Despite his uncommon skills and dedication to his farms, he never saved for the other day. Whenever he harvested his crops, he would marry another wife and celebrate the harvest with a big feast hosting all and sundry. Whoever knew Igbayii knows when it’s harvest time, he/she would lick oil stained fingers at his annual feast. And sadly he continued in that regard with the vain hope that things would always look green at his end.
In no time, Igbayilola’s fortunes nosedived. He became sick suddenly right after one of such big harvests. So indisposed he was on a tiny thread of life and death. A fortune was spent on his health. The native doctors fed fat on his misfortune as he was been moved from every place that looked a bush to another they thought was the way. He learnt the wisdom in obedience, frugality and planning when he lost his all. Maybe poverty could really be the best of teachers, hardship teaches lesson best.
By divine grace, he recovered from the sickness and regained his strength. He sought for people’s advice to their bewilderment. Here was Igbayii who never listens to sermons like they stink. He was directed to the village oldest and wisest, Pa Amoye. As usual, Pa Amoye would speak in parables. He would say just a word of wisdom having a thousand meanings to it. That was him.
Pa Amoye cleared his throat and let words of wisdom filled the room through his tact. Igbayilola, ha Igba yii n lola! Igbayii was lost and looked rightly so. Could Pa Amoye be singing or just repeating his name for effect? He mused. Until he heard him talked again. Igbayilola, you were a man clothed in thick clothes of vanity hard for you to take off until your fall. You were blindfolded by success of yesterday you couldn’t see an uncertain today. That was the undoing to your marvelous deeds. And what you see now is a reminder by reality that even tomorrow isn’t secured unless we prepare the ground now. Only those with vision last from a generation to another. And that was what I meant by Igba yii n lola that I said”.
Oh sagely Pa Amoye! What he had taught was the constancy of time. The quick passage of life greatest treasure called time. How it changes with no warning scares even the aged. From the man’s name, he coined his solution. Right there and then, Igbayii knew the only way to everlasting wealth, affluence, progress and prosperity was through the consciousness of today transforming to an unknown tomorrow, hence the need for plans to get prepared. He learnt the golden lesson through the hard way. He never forgets the future was always now.
So now that I remembered that story again, I sensed the people of my state going the old ways of the olden days Igbayii who never prepared for the transition of time. I see in some youth the ignorance of high order, making them selling the birthright of their unborn children. I see the shortsightedness of some condemning the need of change. I see in some elders the reluctance to accept the setting of the sun on this reign of terror and retrogression at this critical time. The shallowness of some people strikes in my heart a big blow; a hard punch warring against my rest of mind. But why the need for rest anyway? When the state of this state on this date is appalling! When hunger pervades the land of my forefathers and slavery that they gallantly fought against still exist in a grand new way. May their souls found repose.
Hence, the need to play a Pa Amoye. Someone needs to pull the wool off the eyes of our people. And it’s now. Igba yii l’ola! It’s time we embrace the light and cast away this darkness marauding on our streets. We should spit the particles of lie they fed us with and lend our voices to a cause that has the interest of the masses as its core. The time has come to seek to truly live in a state we can call a home. We should rally around each other and tell the Adegokes on the seats of power that can’t climb even the fence such ineptitude, buffoonery and incompetence has no place in our land again. Their cans of dirt should be flung on their faces like you do the bastards from whores.
Dear Kwarans, let us not be like Igbayii that Poverty straightened up. A wise man prevents problems, for a problem is like a wound that never vanishes completely without leaving a scar behind. We had even been subjected to hardship enough. After all, we are the ones working with no salary at month end. We are the ones sleeping in darkness at night. We are the consumers of the wares we wanted sold when no one comes to buy them because economy of the state strangles the masses.
May the oppressors be shamed. Those that made our youth the vanguards of crime due to joblessness should be sent packing. The allies and cronies of the impostor from “Oke Ohun” pocketing the funds meant to pay the pension of our fathers; that man and his stooges, that turned our roads to pot beds of death causing the death of old and young alike. All of them should be sent packing to the woods.
Dear loyal Kwarans, these and all are our lots. A vivid description of our plight at the hands of the Megambos backpedaling the development of our dear state. Sadly, it may just be the tip of the iceberg if we don’t kick against it now. This may just be the time ordained by God for our freedom. By our thumbs, let right the mistakes of the past. Let’s pave the way for a prosperous future. Somehow, it’s time; Kwarans should ask to live…