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By Mr Ben “You are a nice person. Don’t let them take you for granted.” He halted at his door and faced them, “Thank you for your concern. Have a good night ladies.” “Good night doctor,” they sighed heavily and returned to their flat. Chinyere looked him up and down, folded her arms across her chest and stood in front of him like a stumbling block. “Chinyere, Chinyere, Chinyere!” he waved a pointed finger at her. She pursed her lips, “I am only looking out for you.” “Who made you my guardian angel or my bodyguard?” his tone of voice rose a notch. She grimaced. She didn’t like the fact that he didn’t appreciate her gesture of care. He looked up at her, “I am old enough to be your father.” “You are not my father,” she hissed and stepped backwards. He heaved a sigh of distress, “Regardless… look young woman; I know you like me…” She lowered her gaze. She had fallen for him since he moved into the compound but, he had always related with her like a child. She had hoped that he would see her like a grown woman and learn to love her the way she loved him. “Look… you are a good girl… but, I cannot go out with you,” he searched her pale face. She bit at her lower lip. His words wounded her pining heart. “I am not a pedophile,” he hoped he would be able to get through to her that night. She looked into his honey coloured eyes, “I know that. It doesn’t matter what people might think… it is ‘you’ and ‘me’ that matters,” her eyes pleaded for understanding. He raised his head and looked upwards. Why do teenagers have such thick skulls? Nothing ever got through to them. Lord Jesus help me out here. She is not listening to me. “Listen to me,” he gave her a long steady look, “I don’t love you, I cannot love you and I will never ever love you the way you want me to.” Colour drained from her face. Wet dark eyes probed honey coloured firm ones. She gulped spittle, turned around and fled. “Chinyere!” he took some steps forward, and then exhaled loudly. He ran his fingers through his brown cropped curly hair and stifled a yawn. He backed up and pressed the door bell. He saw Misi standing at the doorway clad in a knee length straight brown dress with a pink bow at the waist line. The colour blended with her chocolate brown skin, making her look fresh, clean and desirable. Her dark brown shoulder length hair was curled at the tip, giving her a stylish look. “Welcome…” she felt uncomfortable under his gentle scrutiny. There was a gleam in his honey coloured eyes as he stared at her. “Evening, how are you doing?” he stepped into the apartment. “Fine,” she closed the door and followed him into the sitting room. “Evening everyone,” he met his sister and the Philips watching the television. “Welcome,” Eno winked at him. “Evening doctor,” Mr. and Mrs. Philips greeted him. “I hope there is food in this house,” he directed his gaze at his sister. “Yes, I will set the dining,” Misi responded. “Good, thanks,”he glanced at her and headed for his bedroom. She hurried into the kitchen and brought out his bowl of ogbonna soup and a plate of semovita out of the microwave. She and Eno had made soup and stew that evening. She set it on a tray and carried it to the dining. She returned to the kitchen and brought out a pack of fruit juice from the refrigerator and picked a clean glass cup in the cupboard. She arranged it on the dining and dashed back to the kitchen. She filled an empty plastic bowl with water and reached out for one of the napkins hanging on the window. She took it to the dining table and joined Eno on the settee. She and Eno had hit it off that day. She found out that she worked at Wazobia radio station and coincidentally, they needed an accountant. Eno called her boss that noon and an interview date was scheduled for her. She believed that she would get the job. God had turned things around for her family and everything was working out for their good. She noticed when the doctor started eating. He was in his boxers and a white singlet. His fair skin made him to look like a half-caste. She wondered if his curly hair was natural or in perm. There were times when she was tempted to run her fingers through it. How will it feel like? She cleared her head. It wouldn’t be wise to develop feelings for someone that had decided to help her family with no strings attached. Relationship was the last thing on her mind anyway. Her last boyfriend had broken up with her when he got an opportunity to travel out of the country. He didn’t want a long distance relationship and he wasn’t ready to get married. Her family situation had also killed any desire to get involve with someone else. She might be ready to date again once they were back on their feet. She saw him leave the room. He must have finished eating. She got up and walked to the dining. She cleared the table and carried the empty dishes into the kitchen. xxxxxx Eno left everyone in the sitting room and went to one of the guest rooms to sleep. She had told Misi to be ready early the next morning so that she could be interviewed by her boss and hopefully gain employment at the Radio Station. She liked the girl, despite her family’s financial condition; there was still an air of affluence about her. She had a calm and peaceful aura. It had been a while since she had met someone who was so full of gratitude and had a firm faith in God. If she was in her shoes, she wasn’t sure how she would have reacted or coped. The Philips had stood the test of time. They were an encouragement to all that God never failed. Misi came in and joined her on the bed. Her parents and the doctor were still in the sitting room watching the news. She needed to wake up early the next day. She couldn’t afford to sleep late and risk waking up late in the morning. In a minute or two, they were both fast asleep. Bassey called Tomisin aside and they spoke in low tones. His wife discerned that they wanted privacy. She bid them good night and left the room. “I have secured an accommodation for you and your family.” Tomisin gaped in surprise. He prayed within that God would bless the young man. The Lord had used a perfect stranger to rescue them when friends and family turned their backs on them. “It is a two bedroom apartment right here in Ikeja.” He clasped his hands together, “Thank you, thank you so much.” “You are welcome sir.” “God will bless you,” his eyes glistered with tears. “Amen. My parents and siblings donated furniture, electronics, kitchen utensils, food stuff, provisions, and a host of other things.” “Wow!” his excited gaze held the younger man’s happy ones. “You can move in tomorrow if you like.” “That is good news, thank you so much.” “I am happy to be used by the Lord to help you and your family… just thank God.” He nodded in appreciation. He couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. His heart expanded with joy, “God will bless you and your family beyond your wildest dreams.” “Amen! Amen…” Tomisin looked heavenwards, “Thank you so much Jesus. Oh God thank you.” Bassey excused himself and went into his room. He would speak to his parents about how they could integrate Mr. and Mrs. Philips in their work force. They had an outlet in Ikeja. The couple could work there and spend less on transportation. His brother had not given him feedback concerning vacancy in his place of work. He needed to get Misi a good job too. He had an accountant already in his clinic. If not, he would have employed her. He lay on the bed and soon drifted off to sleep. His dreams were completely taken over by the Philips’ daughter. She was singing and dancing. ******************************************** Stay connected for another fresh episode, click on our ads and follow us on facebook, twitter and instagram.
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Reviewer: Yamilenu Bamgboye Release Date: March 15, 2018 Genre: Spoken Word Poetry Artiste: Yusuf Balogun Gemini It’s not unusual for people in this part of the world to take so much delight in lip service and worse off, celebrate dead people who were probably their contemporaries and legends that gave their all for the advancement of one humanitarian course or the other with vain words just because. It is bad enough to see these legends toil with so much passion in their life time for the things they believe without being celebrated but, isn’t it excruciatingly painful to their loved ones when they are laced with so much hypocrisy that could even make the dead cringe and perhaps, spin in their graves? The celebration of epicals isn’t restricted to formal recognition by some organised persons or groups or being placed on some elevated platform before a multitude, nah! It involves acceptance, sincere words of appreciation and handouts of few kobo when their lives depend on it like Enebeli Elebuwa, OJB Jezreel (before Rotimi Amaechi came to his rescue), Olumide Bakare and even Dagrin (according to a reliable source). No wonder Munachi Obiekwe died without asking for help but couldn’t stop the usual hypocritical accolades at his burial. With this consciousness, Yusuf Balogun Gemini, a young scholar and a budding poet refuses to be part of the bandwagon of a bunch of hypocrites involved in such practices with the sleight of hand. Instead, he decides to document the exploits of a legend--Pa Akinwunmi Isola--for today, tomorrow and maybe, forever by mourning his exist. Until his death on February 17, 2018 in Ibadan, Oyo State after an age-related illness, he was a professor of Yoruba at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University and a visiting professor at the University of Georgia, U.S.A. In year 2000, in recognition of his efforts and dream of making Yoruba the language of instruction in schools, he was given the National Merit Award and the Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters. His notable works before he broke into broadcasting and established his own production company that has turned a number of his subsequent plays into television drama and films include Efunsetan Aniwura, his first play in his undergraduate days at the University of Ibadan in 1961 and O leku in 1986 (Wikipedia). In 1997, Uncle TK (Tunde Kelani) of Mainframe Productions adapted the novel into a television drama or feature movie thus, giving fresh breath to the novel and unconsciously sparking off the revival of certain practices like the fashion trend of the 1970s. Agbe translated as woodcock in English is a kind of bird in the genus Scolopax of the family Scolopacidae. Simply put, it’s a brown bird with a long straight beak, short legs and a short tail, hunted for food or sport (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary). Being a popular gamebird, the rarity of this specie is felt due to ‘overhunting’ and it is this rarity that really affords Gemini the opportunity to depict Pa Akinwunmi Isola as agbe-- that uncommon specie of legend that has been hunted by iku-- death. In this igbala whose English equivalent is dirge: a sorrowful or lament for the dead, Gemini identifies himself with the biggest dream of the icon (to see Yoruba language become the language of instruction in schools in the South-West) especially now that he has become engrossed in documenting and reviving Yoruba with poetry dipped in ancient tales, incantations, myths, adages, idioms and analogies. As customary of his poems and many Yoruba speakers that make reference to things that connect to certain metaphysical elements, he opens by paying homage to God (Edumare), the creator of all things and many lesser beings with different ranks and file in the spiritual realm: Ogun (the god of iron), Esu laalu (the Devil or Satan) and Awon Iya (the ethereal motherhood): Mo se ba Edumare, atiwaye ojo, atiwo oorun, iba kutukutu awo owuro, ganrin ganrin awo osan gangan, wirin wirin awo oru, a ti okuku su wi, awo oganjo, Iba Elewu Ide, Iba Elewu ala, Iba irawo sa sa n be lehin f'osupa, Afefelegelege - awo isalu aye, Efuufu, awo isalu Oorun, Iba Ajagunmole oluwo ode Orun, Iba Aromoganyin onibode aye oun Orun, Iba Awonamaja babalawo tii komo ni IFA oju Orun, Iba Esu laalu, Iba eyin iya mi, Afinju eye ti n je loju oloko, afinju eye ti n fiye sapa ti n fiko seyin, iba ile otete lanbua, Agbohun maa fo, abiyamo tooto, Iba Ogun, yankan bi ogbe, Iba otarigidi ti n se yeye Ogun, iba omobowu oun Ewiri maje, Iba IJA, iba osoosi ode mata, Iba Olutasin tokotoko bo Ogun, Iba ope ti a n tidi n be, tii n tori gbe ni. Aba ti alagemo ba da l'oosa n GBA, Oro ti akuwarapa ba so, ode Orun lo ti wa. In case you wonder why he has to go that way every other time, he says in his poem Ipado: the dangers of walking in an unsafe zone that discussions involving celestial powers usually have a repercussion when one shuns or undermines their terrestrial weaponry: Ore wa, ohun kekere ma ko ni ipa Amori. Oun oju agba rii loke oun lo je o so akobi omo re ni Olaniyonu. Sugbon Aja suwon deyin Agbo suwon roro Aja o ni roro Ka rele lo magbo wa bo Eegun ile baba eni. Opuro n gbin paki, Oniwayo n gbin Ila. Awon akumamoojudi eda po lo jantirere loke Epe. Gbi le n gbo, e mo ibi ti ibon ti n ro. And after his lament on the unfairness of iku-- death who hunted Pa Akinwunmi Isola at the age of 78 like a hunter would hunt agbe (woodcock), he ends with an incantation to ward him off his trail: Awon agba ti ni n pe bi mope n se pe laye, n dagba dogbo n o fi omo ewu ro ori. Iku, maa to mi wa, ota mi ni o mu lo. Won ni, Kii ma so pe, Okete bayii niwa re, o ba IFA mu le, O da IFA, Okete bayii niwa re. Otente, a o leke won, bi igba ba wodo, a le tente, otente a o leke won. Alasuwada, parada! Ojo ti mo da ko i pe, Ewe iyeye, igba ni... If, however, this constant practice of his (incantations and paying homage to celestial powers) wants to deter you in a way from becoming a language advocate like him and many others, not too worry. Just focus on the peripheral and let your words and referents be limited to your immediate environment and the world you know. Nevertheless, Gemini has done it again and this time, it’s simply for posterity. Do well to download and enjoy Yoruba poetry at its peak. Click here to...