This morning, I woke to remember my growing up in Iwaya, Yaba in Lagos. It was fun, especially during the season of egungun festival, when the masquerades paraded the town in their variegated constumes and weird masks. Some were friendly, while some were fearful without being offensive. On the last day of the yearly festival, we thronged their abode to see them, all in one location. 

The season of egungun festival at Aiyemowa, a location between Iwaya and Onike, was one time an otherwise truant would volunteered to proceed to Onike to fetch pipe borne water at a location close to Queen’s College, the only place where such water could be found.  I joined, or I led others on this self ingrated assignment for one reason: it was one viable excuse for which Titilola Ayoka, Iya Akin, the one-batallion, would allow her ‘stubborn goat’ of a son to leave her presence, without her being the one asking him  to go on  an errand to buy salt or pepper at Owodunni, Iwaya city  centre, where the market is located.

The main objective, outside of the declared intention, was to behold the aesthetics and the majestic display of the ‘Egun Ados’. Of course, I would return home, rather late, with a ready excuse for dear mother: ‘there were many people, and some boys started fighting, forcing ‘Baba Chuckwudi’ to close the tap, until ‘Iya Amina’ came to beg him on our behalf’😄😁. Of course, mother would immediately surmised that Akin must have been the instigator of the trouble, when, indeed, the real trouble spot was at “Aiyemowa” where those of us, the ‘vertically-challenged’, always had a running battle with those blocking visible access to ‘Layewuyekete’, our beloved masquerade.

Where are the masquerades, I hardly see them around, except at street corners where bastadizers of culture, and akotiletas of our cherished tradition go about, in costumes, to beg for money. They exude no awe, and neither respect.  I recall warming one, a lone ranger, at a street corner, off Itire road, Mushin, not to mess up with me, otherwise, I would beat the hell out of him.He quickly borrowed  himself  some sense. That was in 1981. You don’t mess up with a street wise Iwaya-born boy, like me.We no dey carry last at Ajoke street, the street on which ‘Easy Life’ table tennis is located at ‘Idi-Aba’, more attractive to senior boys who thronged the location  to compete with younger ones, like me, for the attention of the beautiful girls, daughters of Baba Taiwo, the technician at Railways with a Triumph motorcycle that warned us to leave his daughters alone, with its noisy sound, as it approached the neighborhood on home-bound.

Now that the Churches, about 12, on the  less than one kilometre street in Ilepa, have not impacted any moral rectitude on our society, especially on its polity, can we plead that we demolish  some of them and turn the sites to masquerade groves. At least we can meet our departed ancestors, once a year.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *