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A BLIND PANIC FLIGHT FROM FELA’S AFRIKA SHRINE

– Written by Tayo Faloye.

Going back memory lane, I remember a day at Ikeja bus stop, by Under Bridge, in the wee hours of the morning we were returning from the Afrika Shrine, Pebble Street, after one of Fela’s electrifying Friday performances. Don’t let your imagination run wild yet. I sabi say my head light as paper, so I no dey do pass myself around “smoke”, otherwise I for don use leg trek go Akure from Lagos.

Anyway, can’t recollect if we went on CHS or ‘drop’ on that particular occasion. All I know is that we had to find our way home via Danfo since almost all the money on us had been lavished during the raucous gbedu. So, while standing at the bus stop awaiting those early morning buses, na so commotion started all of a sudden and everybody started running harakiti for their dear lives. Roadside traders abandoned their wares and fled. Trust Nigerians when it comes to running without looking. Nna, na so I follow take off too. Who wan carry last? While bolting, I ran through a gutter in the ensuing brohaha as I overtook someone whom I deemed too slow in front for my full acceleration. ‘Dem no dey catch breeze’, I swore under my breath as I tore away.

Me that used to sneak out to attend occasionally and must be back home by 6.00am or thereabout. Will proceed to climb the burglary proof of our dining room up from downstairs, then scale the balcony rail upstairs and glide back into the boys room before the family morning prayer session started. How I wan explain matter say I enter trouble for Ikeja from Festac? You can imagine the frantic speed I was on while on my heels, like a thief being chased.

Well, when the pandemonium subsided, we were all exhausted and panting, asking one another what happened. “Olboy, na police”? “My guy, na robbers”? ” How far, wetin happen”? Everyone was questioning the next person without getting any reasonable answers. It was then it dawned on me that I was drenched waist down to my boots in gutter water and stinking. See gbege o! I couldn’t possibly return home in that state. Will bus conductors or passengers even allow me journey with them in that state? Ah, see what trying to escape from the unknown has brought upon me! Hmmn, jungle don mature already. A yoruba adage says: “Bi iwaju koba se lo, eyin ase pada si.” (Loosely translates as: “when in a dilemma, if you can’t surge forward, you should be able to beat a retreat”). Na so I headed to my Aunty’s house at Ogba, Ikeja, to go wash up and cack till day break, while soliloquizing to perfect the lies to tell my “Thatcher” mother (Iya Jesu) as I prepared for my doomsday…

Till today, I never unravel wetin pursue us that early momo. Hian! A stupid blind sprint, it was. May God forgive those that started the panic flight.

Just recalling some of the crazy things we did as youths!

Let me leave you with this Fela track: “SORROW, TEARS & BLOOD,” as the Felabration Festival 2019, commences.

Enjoy.

– Tayo Faloye

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