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Wednesday, December 28, 2022

My grandfather's house in Esure - ITREALMS

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When this house was commissioned in 1955 it was a master piece of art, landmark and status symbol of the owner.
Adedamola Adetayo
It announced the owner as a very wealthy man in the community.


It is a 12-room affair sitting on about 4plots of land.


When my grandfather moved into the house, he took two rooms above as his parlour and bedroom, gave a room to each of his three wives and ensured that they all lived downstairs. The balance of the four rooms upstairs were taken by his children whom he ensured didn't cohabit with their mothers.


He gave the balance of the three rooms downstairs to relatives whose children lived upstairs with his own children.


By ensuring the children lived with him upstairs he minimized the influence of their mothers on them and engendered childhood bonding amongst all of them.


It was very common to discover that amongst the sibblings there was much greater unity between children of different mothers than those of same mothers.


Our fathers grew up with that love amongst themselves and their cousins with whom they all lived.


The house was totally filled up. Everybody lived in and around Esure.


That is the way it was and I met a great deal of that arrangement.


Today, there is just a SOLE OCCUPANT in this house, my 86-year old uncle. He lives there all by himself!


All the children are scattered all over the cities taking their mother with them,leaving the poor old man with a visiting house help.


I was talking with him just this morning.


I told him: " Baba, do you know that your own Grandfather, Pa Sunmola Babaegbe didn't live this way?. When he was about in his late 70s the man took a young wife to make his number 6. By the time he died at age 94, he had children who were just toddlers. At every point in his life he had a wife and children all hovering around him!"


That was SENSE!


I went on to remind him: " Your own father, Imam Yoonus Adetayo, though he had three wives, in his old age he was practically alone. One of the wives died before him, the other, my own grandmother was almost permanently living with her children and the last wife was just about doing the same thing."


My grandfather lived till 90years of age but he himself was almost always alone in this house save for one of his daughters who on account of some circumstances lived in the house with him.


That daughter was his saving grace otherwise he could jolly well have died a lonely man!


What kind of rubbish is that?


You can then imagine what will happen to men of my generation, today's born-again lovers of monogamy.


I began to recall memories of my childhood in this house.


Very nostalgic!!!


Didn't we have great fun here as children in those days???


The Muslim festival of Eid-el-kabir was something every man, woman and child looked forward to in those days for the people of Esure who were then predominantly Muslims.


In those days, the Eid-El-Kabir [ ILÉYÉ ] was the signal for all family members from far and near to gather with fellow kinsmen in Esure.


People came home from as far away as Europe and America. Those four or five days were days you didn't want to miss.


Even Christian members of the family gathered. You were sure to meet as many people as you had wanted to meet.


It was basically the same for Christmas too especially in those quarters with predominant christian population.


It was the opportunity of BONDING for family members. It was the opportunity for family members to reach out and seek one form of HELP or the other from their kinsmen.


My grandfather's house could have on a good more than 100 souls camped in it. People slept where they found space. Men go to other houses less occupied to find spaces to sleep.


It was such discomfort that was fun that you joyously lived through and you never thought of it as a discomfort


FOOD was the least of the problem. It was NEVER in consideration. We ate excessively, every single person.


1. Our MOTHERS, aunties and older sisters did ALL THE COOKING for that mass of population coming into and going out of this house. They COOKED ROUND THE CLOCK. Men brought their FIANCEES to this gathering and together the FIANCEES BONDED with the women of the family. In the course of these activities the incoming wives were already under the microscope long before they became wives. The family got to know them and they do got to know the family!!!


We have stopped all that.


TODAY, we engage women from outside to do the catering for us. The women, girls, fiancees and everyone stayed in-doors waiting to be served.


BONDING LOST.


2. The MEN of the family, our fathers, uncles and older brothers, took care of the Ileya rams. My grandfather particularly liked the rams to be skinned. It was such an herculean task but who dared to complain? The skins he used as praying mats.


The men did the job efficiently while they began to discuss many history stories. Those were the opportunities for us children to hear many of the stories that I talk about today.


We have stopped all that.


TODAY, we engage butchers from outside to do the rams for us. The men and boys are too busy with the WhatsApp and Instagram to have time to waste on rams. These days they even come along with smart TV so they hook up with the internet. Everyone stayed in-doors to watch TV while waiting to be served meat.


BONDING LOST.


3. CHILDREN were just children in those days. Our chief duty was to PLAY. We joined children from everywhere and at every opportunity to PLAY!!!


On the sallah day when the rams have been slaughtered we lined to get the trophies. It was the horns of the rams. We had to get it for use in another segment of PLAY!


We dressed up and began a tour of visit of houses. We went in convoy and entourage visiting uncle's and daddies. We ate and drank where ever we went, got Ileya meat and when we announced that " sir, we are leaving" we were sure to get parting gift of "Owó Odún"


When we gathered that money at the end of two days it was usually substantial for the level of children. We shared it and each child goes to submit to his mother for "safekeeping"


All that has CHANGED. We have since shot it down.


We don't encourage CHILDHOOD BONDING any more; what with the CLASS arrogance, you don't want your children associating with those of less fortunate people.


4. Since yesterday I have been taking mental note of the number of houses LOCKED DOWN in Esure.


Even in the season of Christmas, at least HALF OF THE HOUSES in this town are under LOCK AND KEYS.


These days, even during the Ileya festival, many houses are LOCKED DOWN.


Yes, although the original patriarchs/matriarch of the house has since departed but where are his descendants?


They are in the cities of Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, London, New York and all the world.


Majority of the ones in the cities of Nigeria have become Born-again Christians or Muslims.


The Pastorpreneurs of the Pentecostal doctrines of Christian and the emergency Uztaz of the Wahhabism doctrnes of Islam have tuned their minds away from their families and homeland.


Do you know that as we speak, Pastor WF Kumuyi practically LOCKS DOWN his congregation between 24th and 26th December of EVERY YEAR? He does same during EASTER. He locks them up at his Deeperlife camp grounds for Prayers.


As we speak there are countless Muslim camps on that Lagos-Ibadan doing exactly the same thing as Pastor Kumuyi.


In their thinking, they are SHIELDING THE "FAITHFULS" away from the temptations connected with the season of Christmas.


You can imagine!!!


The few days of opportunity for men and women to reach out to friends, neighbours and families to do catch up, fraternize and get to know themselves and probably seek and get help, they will be ROBBED OF IT!!!


The Pastorpreneurs and Uztaz, the churches particularly, have arranged series of event throughout the month of DECEMBER to arrest their attention and drain as much TIME AND MONEY as they possibly can from the people.


The result is that we keep getting more empty towns in our homelands, families and friends drifting apart, men becoming less caring and the society generally suffering a degeneration.


In my mother's rural village of Òdónóko, houses are actually collapsing out of long abandonment. My maternal grandmother's 4-room house practically VANISHED from the spot where we used to see it. I still don't understand what happened!!!!


Ayodele Oyewole Adabale summarized it for me when he wrote:


"Wisdom is an open hidden truth,that can only be known by the gifted.
Our inability to relate the past with the present,is making us to be scared of tomorrow.
We are people living another people’s life.
There our confusion started.
We need to rediscover who we really are,if not we will just be merely existing but not living.
I used to be optimistic in the past we will get it right one day, but no more" .


#WehaveMissedRoad.


*Contributed by Adedamola Adetayo/December 2022/Editor


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