(Yokolu Yokolu, ko ha tan bi Iyawo gbo’ ko san’le, Oko yo ‘ke)
(It is now over, the wife has defeated the husband, and the husband grows a hunch on his back.)
She repeats the song again, then again, moving her waist steadily as she continues sweeping the littered compound.
Yetunde is a local petty trader who sells all sorts of alcoholic drinks at Odo’ro Park. Her goods are the basic necessities in the NURTW Park because the drivers can scarcely do without stomaching strong drinks and cigarette smoke. Some of her popular goods which are also her customers’ favourites are ale, ato, ogidiga, jagaban, kick and start, alomo bitters, tekanle, amongst many other concoctions.
She is popular among commercial drivers and motorcyclists at the park, thanks to her beauty. Her popularity has also soared as a result of her expertise in mixing alcoholic drinks, which she would always swear makes the men perform ruggedly in bed with their wives and concubines.
She always warns that failure to ‘perform’ after taking her specially mixed ‘alcoholic concoction’ may lead to grievous repercussions. The men know what she implies. She is also known for a unique feature she possesses. Yetunde is plump with a huge backside that calls the attention of men wherever she passes. This feature of hers earns her a nickname among the drivers, who all long to have a taste of her, but all their efforts seem to be futile.
They call her Iya Alagbo Fatty BomBom, a name no one knows if she likes or not. Daily, she goes about her business without minding the inspiration behind the name. Being the favourite in the park, with the passion of an ambitious woman and the level at which she works, she is worthy to be on ‘Forbes’ alongside other rich women but on her most lucrative day, the money she makes can be comparable to a secondary school student’s weekly pocket money. But even still, she never stops working for the upkeep of her family, and especially the schooling of her two children.
At home, there is a lanky and slightly tall man, with eyeballs threatening to run off their sockets. His eyes are always stained red like that of a tied cow awaiting the butcher’s knife. The redness of the eyes is a result of a greedy addiction to smoking cigarettes and Indian hemp, and constant drinking of garri, the grain-like meal made out of cassava.
Isaki is Yetunde’s husband. They never got married legally, neither were they conjugally solemnised in church. They met when Yetunde was just finishing her secondary school studies. Yetunde fell in love with him, not because he was a handsome man — he was really not — but because at that time, Isaki was a journeyman or lebira which means labourer. He helped the bricklayers to mix sand and cement and carry bricks, and when he was not doing this, he would borrow a friend’s motorcycle at night to make money by transporting people through short distances. So, he was at that time the richest man Yetunde had seen in her young life. Head over heels in love with the young man, their relationship only lasted six months when Yetunde got pregnant. It is now four years, and they already have two children, carrying the pregnancy of the third.
On a sunny Monday, a busy working day even for the laziest worker, Isaki remains at home on the premise that there are no jobs in Nigeria. He even stopped working as a labourer claiming that it made him tired, without enough energy to satisfy his wife in bed. But if you ask Yetunde, she isn’t complaining.
“I would rather stay home and dream,” he would always reiterate.
After a spree of smoking Indian hemp with street boys and urchins at their usual location, known as ‘three-flat’ because of its enormous capacity to contain many of the smokers at a time, he eventually finds his way back to his apartment. Theirs is a one room-squalor where he resides with Yetunde, their two children, brown and wicked rats, unsatisfied and rough but high-flying cockroaches, dirty plates, scattered clothes and a rectangular black and white sharp television sitting on a diminutive shelf opposite a brown-clothed tattered long couch, of which bed bugs have colonised and exudes the repugnant smell of urine daily soaked in it by their children.
Isaki half-consciously lands on the couch stationed at one corner of the room. He struggles to mumble some words, and in less than a minute, begins to sing the Nigerian national anthem, unconscious of the lyrics, but totally given to passion, as if face to face with the 200 million Nigerians, and about to give an inaugural speech. He dramatically adjusts the position of his head, placing it slightly on the edge of the couch, so as to breathe freely; he drowns into dreamland.
(On a TV show with a female journalist, Isaki elegantly dressed in Agbada sits opposite the journalist.)
Interviewer: Good morning to all our viewers, we welcome you once again to Political Watch. With me today is a seasoned legislator, philanthropist and servant to the people, representing Ijesa East Constituency, Hon. Itesiwaju Isaki. You are welcome, sir. It is an honour to meet you.
Hon. Isaki: It’s all my pleasure. Although I have been busy carrying out people’s business, an occasion like this is worth the consent.
Interviewer: We are extremely delighted to have you on the show this morning. Quickly, I’m going to ask you about the recent controversy surrounding the leaked video and pictures online, where you were caught naked holding an enormous calabash in your left hand, and numerous ladies’ underwear in your right hand. This has earned you a nickname amongst the Nigerian youth, who now call you the ‘Nightcrawler’.
Hon Isaki: Miss Interviewer, there is no gainsaying, and I love your straightforwardness. You are right about the video and pictures in circulation but it hurts me because these are not meant for public consumption. You see, precarious moments require precarious steps. The event that was captured was a monthly naked prayer routine I do as a patriotic intercessor for this country against unemployment, corruption, bad governance and underdevelopment. You see, I, as an Honourable, (adjusts his Agbada) love the youths in my state, and I want them to be successful in life. They are the leaders of tomorrow. So the prayer was specially organised to intercede for them.
Interviewer: Honourable, that is thoughtful of you, not all public office holders would have the interest of the youth at heart. And to make yourself that vulnerable just to pray for the youth every month beats anyone’s imagination. However, the next question is, what were the things contained in the calabash, and were they truly ladies’ panties?
Hon Isaki: God bless you. A special prayer for our special land demands special sacrifices for the special gods, you know. Filled in the calabash was the blood of three able-bodied men, who volunteered to be eternally useful for the prosperity of our land, and also there was the need for twenty-one panties of virgins, who were carefully selected by my boys for the success of the intercessory prayer.
Interviewer: Indeed, you have the pain of the masses at heart. I hope you can tell the viewers, who have conflicting views about the viral video, in detail what will be the outcome of the naked prayer.
Hon Isaki: Thank you. Recently I have learnt that Nigeria is one of the poorest countries in the world, and I have decided to change the narrative. So I consulted my pastors, imams and babalawos and they agreed that there is only one solution. You see, over time, you have heard that ‘yahoo yahoo boys’ (cyber thieves) kill people and also steal ladies’ underwear for money. This, according to my research, has truly been successful anyway. So I said to myself, as a thoughtful politician who has the pain of his people at heart that utilising this same style not for selfish reasons like that of the ‘yahoo yahoo boys’, but for the interest of the nation will be a national benefit. Instead of the ladies’ panties to be used by some boys to buy Benz, they can be used for the enrichment of the nation. And if you look at it critically, it is a way of diversifying our economy, from oil production and agriculture to human resources. It is a brilliant idea. This can add to our revenue and boost our economy. From now henceforth, we shall experience a new nation with no recession.
Interviewer: I salute your burning flair for the progression of this country. As we end the show tonight, I hope other public office holders and politicians will learn from you and also foreign countries will pick a lesson or two from your nationalistic action. This is to be celebrated than the fight against apartheid by Nelson Mandela, Negritude by Leopold Senghor or The Civil Rights Movement by Martin Luther King Jnr. Thank you for coming to this show, Hon. Itesiwaju Isaki. I hope that you will come again to our show.
Hon. Isaki: I am responsible for the masses and I will do anything to make their dreams come true.
The months that followed marked the period for the general election. Hon. Isaki gained more popularity in his state, geopolitical zone and the nation at large. He declined many calls for interviews. Since granting that interview with the local TV station, tons of journalists from around the world tried to fix an interview with him for as short as five minutes, but he was always occupied. He was vying to retain a seat at the state house of assembly for the third time, which could also see him become the speaker of the house if he won.
A few weeks later, Hon. Isaki was announced as the winner of his constituency and as the house reconvened, he was voted as the honourable speaker, with the unflinching support of all the members of the house.
He climbs the podium of the house, making him taller and visible to everyone. And in his exorbitant agbada that still suffers the incapability of concealing his protruded belly, Isaki bursts with an awkward loud voice, “Arise O compatriots, Nigeria call obey …”
On the other end of reality, Yetunde rushes into the room sweating profusely, her wrapper almost falling off her waist. She checks her boxes to bring out the remaining alcohol and already packaged concoction but all have been consumed by Isaki and the street boys, and only the empty bottles filled a filthy basket placed under the couch. Yetunde, on seeing this is vexed to her bones. She storms outside like a madwoman, carrying a big empty bucket, which she uses to fetch water from the well and adds in some granite. She rushes back inside and pours it on the dream-absorbed honourable speaker even as he continues to sing the national anthem loudly.
He vehemently jumps back to life as the granite-filled water lands on him. He is drenched and wounded. And seeing the damage done to him by his wife, and to his biggest surprise and agony, he is woken from his glorious dream. Without uttering a word, he thunders a heavy slap on Yetunde’s cheek but she is prepared for the altercation. She responds with two roaring slaps which send him across the couch. Before Isaki can pull himself together, she pounces on him with several punches to his face, until he starts bleeding and cannot lift a limb.
She then sits on him, with her bottom pinning him down to the floor, knowing that Isaki is too weak to stand on his feet. She continues singing her song and dances to shame her husband who is now helplessly lying on the ground.
“Yokolu Yokolu ko wa tan bi, Iyawo gbo’ko san le, oko yo ke.”
(It is now over, the wife has defeated the husband, the husband grows a hunch on his back).
Kunle Daramola is a reporter at TheCable and a screenwriting student at EbonyLife Creative Academy
Copyright 2023 TheCable. All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from TheCable.
Follow us on twitter @Thecablestyle