The phrase “a nut for a jar of tuna” is the same when read backwards.
Ademola Babalola wrote on his FB page last week about his mother…
In 1982, I was a weather observer at the headquarters of the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority in Abeokuta. I was proudly a Tier 4 Federal Government employee, earning net salary of N157 per month. We received our salaries twice a month: mine paid N80 and N77 respectively.
That year, all of us in my cadre had the opportunity to receive a motorcycle loan of N400. No hassle, just apply and get the loan. Our ogas at level 7 higher received car loans.
I personally helped about three of my co-workers bring home their brand new Honda motorcycles from Moore Enterprises in Asero, Abeokuta. The price of the bike was N380, and the balance of N20 was often used to get the number and to ‘wash’ the ‘machine’.
My own loan and my motorcycle? Isshh… Iya Demola forbade me to get the loan. I had rushed to Akure to inform him and asked for his approval to apply for the loan and buy my own motorbike.
She listened to me as I told my story. After the narration, she asked me “are you finished?” And I answered, yes.
She looked at me for a long time and shook her head. “Alainironu ni e, se moto lo ku loro e bayii. O fe ra machine ko ba le pa’ra e, abi? She spoke these words in the Akure dialect. Let me try to translate: you are not a serious person, the next thing on the agenda is to buy a motorbike. You want to kill yourself, don’t you?
She had delivered her verdict. On the second day, I returned to Abeokuta and continued to save on my huge salary of N157/month and intensified my efforts to enter a higher institution.
If Iya Demola didn’t approve it, no way.
Twelve years later, in 1994, I did not inform her until I bought my first car as a senior correspondent for Champion newspapers in Ilasamaja, Lagos. Two weeks after buying the car, the history and the many appellations I had discussed here, I traveled to Akure.
“‘Ye mi, mo mo ti ra moto,” I told him in our dialect. My mother, I bought a car.
Her: Did you buy a car or what did you say?
Me: I said I bought a car
She: Where did you get the money from?
Me: I work and engage in a monthly contribution plan.
Her: How much do you earn, how much do you contribute, who are the people with you in the scheme, when did you receive your own payment, how much was it, how much was the car, are you sure you are not not too young to own a car, why are you in such a rush… questions, questions, questions.
And she patiently listened to my responses/explanations to all of them.
In the end, she sent me to my older sister (her firstborn). “Go explain to her, if she says it’s okay, hmmmm”
Hmmm…Iya Demolaaa sha!
God bless Iya Damola and Iya Prince… above was the time when values and meaning were common before they threw it to the wind. It was the time when we did not celebrate success and people without examination. It was the time when the eyes of Iya Prince and Damola were the first remote control of life. This remote had all the other gestures like cough, laugh and more that told us what to do and how not to act.
It wasn’t about poverty, it was about values, hard work and a good reputation. During this life pastors and imams were scattered all over the people of your uncle, aunt, teachers, parents of your peers who would not hesitate to use the rod and their mouth to lead you.
We lost our humanity, we started raising children who were told “you’re nobody if you don’t have money”, our parents became experts in comparative studies of children – phrases like ‘see your friends’ and ‘don’t you work in the same Lagos with Ayo’ has become commonplace.
Little by little respect and honor were thrown either into the trash or to the highest bidder, the first-born was no longer necessarily the first-born but the first to hammer and blow; we gradually but intensely shifted to ‘pepper dem gang’ and ‘granddaughter-great-god’ generation.
Young people with no visible means of subsistence living life at the expense of the heads of our mothers, daughters and sisters. We went from stealing panties to decapitating the entire head.
All these generations yahoo-yahoo, yahoo+ and Gmail minus come as no surprise, we have sown the seed, the Iya Damolas among us have given way to psychedelic careers, housekeepers are raising mummies littered everywhere.
A generation where one could post a private matter like urinating like ‘urine things’. The rules have changed, a 20 year old boy buys a car and there is community thanksgiving, no one asks questions like Iya Damola, if you ask you are called jealous.
Motivational speakers and coaches who launched an entire restaurant with a single bean seed and musicians with their celebrity counterparts took center stage. Our lives have become one’sleep and actionsthe ‘Cuban style taken most of our collective reasoning. We have stopped holding leaders, parents, peers to account. Everything suddenly had a price… a very high price!
We now glorify mediocrity, not the truth but don’t tell it, sex and money for grades, money for admission, money for bail, money for judgment, money for votes, money to buy blessings from ‘god’ and we are finally at the best rituals for money, and don’t ask me if they work.
A state of confusion because we elevated tribe, politics, ethnicity, wealth above our mutual humanity, we pretend we weren’t the same people who elevate murder to unknown gunmen and ridiculed him as unknown gunmen, locked people who had different opinions or bullied them into available spaces. We have increased our appetite for high density conflict expectations.
Our pulpits, politicians and politicians, our social media spaces and our films talk about money and wealth without hard work. Our stereotypes, our stinking shades of hypocrisy, we arrest people with dreadlocks, or carrying laptops or iPhones without resorting to common sense… and alas our leaders threaten us with public opprobrium, wishing for a difference then that we are largely a product of our lost values, for how long, and even where are the Iya Damolas, will there be a revival, an uprising, a revolution, a change—Only time will tell .