Warri Nor Dey Carry Last 19
Chronicles of Okiemute in Lagos
It was raining outside while they were having their conversation inside. The soundproof nature of the sitting room, coupled with the interesting conversation they were having did not make them notice. As they stepped out to take fresh air, they walked into the cold embrace of Lagos, after a heavy downpour. “I wish every day could be like this in Lagos, mehn, I would have so loved it!” Kenneth said as he raised his arms wide open as if to hug the cool breeze. “That’s how they always say, they want Lagos to be cold, they want Lagos to be cold. Take them to the UK now, they will start complaining of the cold. Insatiable humans”, Bayo replied Kenneth. “This is not a matter of UK or Nigeria, everyone knows Lagos is pathetically and extremely hot. I am sure it would have been the state with the highest number of mental disorder in the whole country if this nation was good enough to have a reliable statistics”, Okiemute added, supporting Kenneth’s position. “It is because you are seeing where to place your foot, that is why you have time to be wishing for a cold or hot Lagos. If this rain had fallen a house where you have a leaking roof, the coldness or hotness of the environment will be your least concern. I am here thinking if I closed my window at home or not, you’re talking about weather conditions”, Bola spoke up, as he tried racking his memory to recall if his windows were closed before he left.
The last time he made the mistake of not shutting his windows before leaving, it was a disaster. The rain and the wind seem to have ganged up against him, as the wind blew the rain in that direction. His bed that is just beside the window was soaked with water, and the heap of washed clothes he left on the bed before leaving the house were all drenched too. By the time he came in, he was so devasted that he simply mobbed the floor and slept on a mat without touching anything on the drenched bed. He thought of calling his neighbours on the phone, but then he recalled that the number on his phone was that of the previous tenant that has moved out. He just hopes he looked at the window, else he will be left to fate. Everything will be fine if the wind did not blow in that direction.
The sun had refused to go to bed despite the rain. It was still peeping, like a child that has been sent from watching an adult scene by his elder siblings but lurked behind the curtain to see what they don’t want him to see. As it was gradually getting lost in the lagoon, the sun kept peeping, perhaps to know what the moon does in the earth at night. Despite the fact that it was already quarter past seven in the evening, the day was still bright as if it was just four in the evening. They were walking along one of the major roads at Feriyan Estate, with no particular destination in mind. Then Kenneth brought back their previous discussion, “but come to think of it, you know the world is unfair to us guys?” He asked. “How do you mean the others chorused”.
“I am just thinking about what Okiemute said earlier, do you know that if he was a girl, all these people canvassing against rape would have built on that report throwing out statistics of girls raped daily across the country? A country that doesn’t have actual records of birth suddenly has records of raped victims? I think we need to start speaking up against this emphasis on the girl child while neglecting the boy child in the equation”. He explained. “So you’re still on this matter?” Okiemute asked. “It is a serious matter that should not be discarded just like that”, Bola added. “I think it is not seen as a threat to society as the boys seem to be enjoying it. After all, what harm does it portend? Look at Okiemute now, happily sharing the story, do raped and abused girls laugh and smile when they share such experiences?” Bayo explained.
“Who told you it portends no harm? What if she had forced our guy to lick her ‘utus’ and thereby contacting STDs in the process? Even the emotional effect it has on him today is a cause for serious concern”, Kenneth said, still defending his opinion. “Bayo, are you saying there is no need for the society to look into the matter as the boys are not endangered?” Bola asked, with a facial expression of inquisitiveness and disappointment. “I don’t think that is what Bayo meant”, Okiemute replied Bola. “But I think parents should be made to understand that the boy child is not completely safe because he is a boy. They should be aware that these things are happening to their innocent boys, and the girls will not be safe if these boys are exposed to such sexual assault at a tender age. For example, while that girl was molesting me, she was in charge, I was just there like a lab rat. But after that incident, I started seeing my younger sister differently. Each time she is without pants, the ‘hole where babies come out’ that the lady told me kept popping in my head, and the temptation to experiment with someone my age was there. As a matter of fact, one fateful day, I cornered a girl my age while we were playing ‘hide and seek’ game, and told her she has a hole where babies come out from. She too was curious to know which part of her body was that. And that was how we started touching ourselves. I was just nine years old then. One day, luck ran against us and we were caught where we were both looking at our private parts behind a building. Fortunately for us, the girl that caught us was a friend to the older girl that taught me the act. So they drew my ears, chased the other small girl away and threatened to tell my mother if they ever saw me with those small girls again. That was how I stopped such acts. So, in the long run, if society abandons the boy child, the girl child will not be safe either”, Okiemute added.
“Exactly what I am talking about!” Kenneth shouted, with his deep baritone echoing so loud. “Guy, na road we dey, make you caution yourself”, Okiemute said. “Forget road matter, you just made my day with this opinion you shared. When I speak up that you can’t protect the girl child without taking cognisance of the role of the boy child, people say I am just being chauvinistic. But with the way you marshalled our your point, it is very easy for the dullest feminist to understand that it is not about sexes, but about humanity. I must write this down as soon as I get back. What am I even saying, let me type it on my phone now”, Kenneth brought out his phone and started typing what Okiemute has said?
“It is really true the saying, ‘he that wears the shoes knows where it pinches. From your explanation, it is obvious that I was undermining the potency of the dangers the boy child is exposed too. This calls for serious concern”, Bayo admitted his earlier position was wrong. Bola placed his right arm on his shoulders and said, “you are really a true son of ‘Omoluabi’. We acknowledge superior reasoning and abhor defending of silly and inept positions”. “It is Okay before you digress the discussion to tribal leanings. This not about ‘Omoluabi’ or ‘Biafra’, we are talking about humanity here”, Kenneth said, as he tried to remove Bola’s arm from Bayo’s back.
Okiemute was laughing mischievously, and his laughter soon started to amuse the others. They kept asking what was intoxicating him that is making him laugh like someone eating a stolen bread. “I just feel it is an effort in futility trying to fight tribal affiliations, and the tendency for us to be attracted to people from our tribe”, he said. “But that is not enough to make you laugh. Tribalism is a curse that only restructuring can heal”, Bola added. “I don’t even think we can ever be cured of this infection called tribalism”, said Bayo. “With the way, they take the division to local government basis, and then to community-based, and even to family, I don’t think restructuring or true federalism can eradicate tribal sentiments from our way of life. Obviously, not from our politics”, Bola summised. “You guys should allow him to say why he was laughing, and stop putting words in his mouth”, Kenneth added.
“The way Bola placed his and on Bayo’s shoulder and called ‘Omoluabi’ reminded me of a heated argument that happened in the ‘Corpers’ lodge when I was serving”, he started. “I really don’t know how the argument started, but I recalled that they brought the issue to me with the hope that I can be a neutral judge. Guess what the argument was about?” He asked rhetorically. “They were arguing about what was best to wipe one’s behind after using the toilet. Those from the southeastern part were supporting the use of tissue papers, while those from the southwest were proposing that the use of water was far better. They both were arguing based on which method was more healthier”, he paused, had a good laugh and continued. “The part that really cracked me up was the way they were both trying to defend their position. The guy with the loudest voice, speaking on behalf of those proposing tissue paper, kept asking, ‘how do you live at peace with yourself, with the thoughts of your hand touching your shit? Your bare hands for god’s sake!’ His facial expression and his power of gesticulating would make you want to laugh your lungs out. Apostle Chuks, as he was being called, ‘this is not a sermon’, I would say, trying to caution him”. He paused again to laugh.
“While we thought Apostle Chuks was funny, we rolled on the ground in laughter, including Chuks himself, when Kehinde spoke in defence of those proposing water as the best option. With a squeezed face like someone taking a very bitter pill, he bent his bony buttocks to one side, acting as if he just used the toilet, and then said, ‘after you use your tissue paper, and then you look at the shit in it, how do you feel? Do you smile at the colour, smell it if it contains protein or carbohydrate, fold it gently and take another swipe on your anus, and then compare the look with the previous?’ I was just there looking at both parties and wondering how we find it so easy to drag every issue across tribal lines. How the use of water to clean one’s anus is a Yoruba thing, while those using tissue paper feel it is their tribal invention made me pity this nation.
It is not the way I am laughing now, back then, the argument was so intense. They started calling each other dirty pigs and saying all sort of unthinkable things about each other. I almost gave up on this country that day. So I asked them, ‘don’t you still wash your hands with soap after using the toilet, irrespective of what you used you wipe your anus?’ And then we all started reasoning together how our forefathers did it. So we asked ourselves before the white men came and started talking about hygiene, will our ancestors use the water they trekked long distances to fetch to wash their anus? When some of them even go days without having their bath. As we kept analysing how it was in the beginning, they seem to realise the foolishness of the argument, and then we had a good laugh at ourselves”. He ended.
“And that is really how we make a mountain from a molehill with tribal colouration, all because we want to claim that our tribe is superior to others”, Kenneth added. “Is it our fault? Was it not what we inherited from our ancestors?”, Bayo asked. “What we inherited indeed! Why are you now doing coding and programming? Why did you not stay in the farms you inherited from your ancestors? What are you doing in the city in Lagos?” Kenneth replied him with a series of questions. “All I know is that we will overcome as soon as we start to face these issues as we are going now, and start working out ways to ameliorate, if not completely eradicate it. I think our parents ignored it even though they knew it was gradually ruining this nation. Or perhaps the high level of illiteracy made efforts to combat such primitive mindset overwhelming for them. With the gradual increase in literacy level in the country and the advent of social media, our generation has a lot to do”. Bola added with his charismatic elderly man parlance. And then he asked, ” which direction are we really heading to? The sun has finally gone to bed and the moon seems not to be on her duty post tonight, with the faint illumination from the stars, we can’t continue walking aimlessly in the dark”.
They are agreed that it was getting too dark, and it was time to go back home.
By the time they got home, dinner was already served. They took their meals downstairs together before leaving for their various rooms. The housemaster came to ask if he should prepare the visitors room for Bola? But Okiemute asked him not to bother, as he would be sleeping with him in his room.
It had been a long day, with so much fun. They went to their various rooms as soon as they were done with their meals. Tomorrow is another day, and only God knows what it holds for them.
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.