LAST YEAR, I announced that I’d gatecrash an agboole party just for the fun of it; and to have a feel of what the experience would be like. The perfect opportunity to pull that off didn’t arise until about three weeks ago. Here’s what went down.
So I was sitting jejely on my own a woman who was like an aunty to mentioned that she was attending an 8th day firdaous prayer – her driver had lost his dad and that day made it the 8th day. I knew the man, I knew he was from the interior of Ibadan. On one had I didn’t want to go but then again, I knew that was my opportunity to live up to my words. We hit the road – destination was Ile-Tuntun, around Kudeti.
From Idi Arere you link Kudeti and then past St. David’s Cathedral and with a few more turns, we got to our destination. We parked and right at the point where the dusty road began was our destination. I was like so gingered like: “yes, we haff arrive!” Small-small, my ginger began to change to garlic when I saw people in different traditional wear and me I was wearing longsleeve shirt with suit and tie.
There were 4 canopies, two of them had been fully occupied. We found the third canopy empty and so we picked chairs and sat. That was how this young woman who has thoroughly bleached her skin and had fix these interesting dark lashes started murmuring out loud without addressing us directly – “awon omo egbe, won ma fine wa ti awon omo egbe o ba ra’ye joko – the seats are reserved for members of my group and I’ll be fined if they arrive and theres no place for them to sit.“
In my head, I pondered over it – why will awon omo egbe fine me on top my own party? Ko make sense! Anyways, that was how we shifted base to seats under the fourth canopy.
Sitting there, I just watched, marveling at the dramas and hospitality. As someone was calling “Halimoh!!!”, another person is screaming “Baba Lati!” Yet and another person is saying “Woos!” maybe they cannot remember the name of whomever they were calling. We spotted the driver who rushed over and prostrated.
In an instant, we were surrounded by other children of the deceased were thanking us profusely for coming. – “Oga Alhaji nuu,” I heard two girls in bright green-brown Ankara say to themselves.” One of them had the ore-merin marks on her face. She caught me looking at them and they hurriedly vanished.
My chair was close to the gutter and that alone bothered me. Though the ground had been swept and the gutters seemed to have been washed, still, there were greenish patches of stale water here and there.
It did not take long that we arrived that one of the Halimohs and Shadias came with wraps of amala piled up in the cover of a big cooler. She even knelt down completely to place it on our table. We were getting the VIP treatment and I was loving it though the gutter was troubling me. I had questions in my head: how do I eat in a place like this, on the dusty road with green patches of wetness and next to these gutters. Ashey, while me I was ruminating, people were already peeling nylon wrappers off the amala and rolling morsels over their fingers.
I declined the amala and then they offered Jollof rice; I agreed only if there was take away. The Aunty I had done gumbody with also declined to eat there. The women of the house ran helter-skelter – they had no takeaway pack. After a few minutes they returned with a pack, that was the only one they could find to buy around. The put Aunty’s amala in a black nylon and the put the ewedu in the pack.
Aunty left there for she had a meeting to attend. She told a guide to stay with me. “Omo butty ni o,” she said to the guide, “don’t lose sight of him, follow him everywhere”. The lady attending to use offered to put the rice in a brand-new nylon bag – I declined. She begged; another woman joined her to beg me to have their offering. My guide leaned over and told me to agree to take it considering how much oyaya they had shown.
I agreed to the voice of reason.
EXCITEDLY, they left swiftly and returned with a half-filled nylon bag, a can of Maltina and a bottle of water. One of them announced that they even added fried rice for “Oga” and flashed a big smile towards me. Because of suit and tie they were calling me oga. In my mind, I’m like “why is this one smiling laidis – who is your oga?” My guide received the pack and I thanked them very much. We sat there expecting the car that took Aunty to her meeting to come back for me.
Then next level was when a group of young boys with faded haircuts shana wole carrying two rusty speakers. Some had just spiky hair while others had a fade cut and a top of their heads were spiky hair. Of about five of them, three had tattoos and they all came in ragged jeans and slides showing different colours of the rainbow.
One guy put up a stand and placed an old model of Toshiba laptop with different stickers plastered on it. Another guy set down an I-better-pass-my-neighbour generator, filled it with fuel and battled with it. The “DJ”, stood in akimbo, eyes darting round. He’s the boss, all he does is just arrange songs. The guys began to connect old cables that had cut at different points and stitched with paper tapes to the laptop and then to the speakers.
Finally, the generator “responded” after a few pulls and music was about to meet amala. Saheed Osupa was pouring out of the speakers, hailing Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. The music just begun when about six women in ‘and-co’ lace strutted in; they donned their cheap sunglasses like they owned the space. It didn’t take very long before I found out that they were the omo-egbe.
Swiftly someone in Ankara was attending to them serving amala and ewedu and as that was going on, they were rocking in their chairs to the Saheed Osupa music. Everywhere was getting bubbly now, everywhere ti wa jiggy!
Then came some shabbily dressed guys with unkempt hair, badly darkened lips and bloodshot eyes. One first came to our side, then another came. The two kept hovering where I sat. My guide leaned over and reminded me to keep my valuables close to me. As Osupa was blasting, people were rocking in their seats. Many were caught in between lip-syncing and contributing into one conversation or the other.
I suddenly had to urge to pee so I told the guide that I’d love to use the toilet. He laughed and replied, “in this kind of place, no toilet but they may have a pit latrine.” In the end, he told me to follow him. As we stood up like this, these guys that had been hovering began to hail me: “my lord!” “Director!” “Prince!” E fun wa ni nkan.”
They kept conjuring orisirisi titles – I’m sure they believed if they hailed this guy in suit hard enough I’d give them something. I told them I was coming back so no worries. They turned back. My guide asked one or two people and they pointed to one old half-broken, wooden door. “Toilet won niyen” they said. One nice, cleanly dressed guy, perhaps guessed I couldn’t use the place pointed us to the fence one collapsed house. It was against the fence of the house I peed o.
Anyways, we returned to our seats and I kept observing as more people poured in as some left. There were kids, unkempt, who had come to gather leftovers. The music sustained the vibe under the canopies. My phone buzzed not long after, the driver had returned.
This time as we rose to leave, more boiz had gathered. In fact, my guide struggled so hard to make them not touch me. Awon boiz cleared the way for me, bounced everyone out of the path till we burst to where the car was. A policeman had come along with the car this time, they got out and began to motion to the boiz to back off.
I entered the car and I wanted to give the boiz something but the policeman and the guide told me it could pose a risk and that I shouldn’t so I didn’t. Na so wahala con be like suit and tie and koko shoe!
That was how the driver drove off. The boiz were pained, I could guess they were swearing for us.
One actually did waka to us with his hands.