MOTOR JAM POLICE – Osowe Oluwagbenga (@gbengaosowe) & Toyin Fabunmi

akara

MOTOR JAM POLICE – Osowe Oluwagbenga (@gbengaosowe)

Melodious rhythms echoes from the bean cake seller

As she bids all to come and gladly partake of her delicacy,

“Sweet honey bean cake, bring small money make u come take”

Then two silly swerves of the vehicle,

Like a madman on cheap drugs

And alas of the cake, none would yet partake

Motor jam police

Police jam mama,

Akara mama trowey

Abeg na who go pay?

Who’s going to pay for the young lives brought to waste?

After the many years suffered in stained ivory towers,

Learning obsolete theories, mastering the science and art of copy and paste

Who’s going to pay for the lives cut short by bullets gone astray?

From the hands of policemen who for the reason of their protection earn their pay

Who’s going to pay for the lives cut short by the criminals called militants?

Amnesty pays, did I just hear you say?

Amnesty never pays the victims but the perpetrators

To keep them at bay while the same sad conditions continue to enslave us

So we earn so much but sit atop the list of debtors,

While we watch and see as sanity and progress visit our less illustrious neighbours

Motor jam police

Police jam mama,

Akara mama trowey

At least make una sha bring home the tray!

What will you do with the tray when there are no bean cakes to trade?

For fanciful display like the cranium of a beauty queen lacking in its matter grey?

Or you keep the tray like a symbol of your once beautiful past with tales

Of how you swayed your hips and made young men your every command obey

Now you walk aided by a dead wood, creaking footsteps with every move,

Your time in life is way past noon,

Your offspring no longer have time for you

They only bother with how much longer you’ll live before they’ll have to bury you,

So they’d throw talk-of-the-town parties in merry

Feeding their vanities and ego but while you live gives not a damn about you

 

 

Motor jam police

Police jam mama,

Akara mama trowey

Ehn ehn, e don tey no be today?

 

I see the regrets on the faces of old men looking forlorn

Reading between the lines of the wrinkled faces

The tales of men who wished they made hay while the sun shone

Stares at me, daring me to make the same mistakes of their generation,

So many chances, not taken

So many stories, not told

So many battles, not fought

So many songs, not sung

So many mistakes already, I dare not make more

Motor jam police

Police jam mama,

Akara mama trowey

Oya, all of una youths, wetin go be una gain?

 

I see youths like Mama’s wasted honey flavoured bean cakes,

Deprived of giving the world their flavour to savour,

No way would I be part of this wasted generation

And watch generations yet unborn curse me when my head is full of grey

For my inactions when the world was waiting for me to be the solution

To the problems facing the nations

Now I’m going to get up from this swampy place and

Be the honey soaked bean cake, feeding the world with knowledge

And passions of my heart, day by day.

 

 

 

MOTOR JAM POLICE–A Short Play by Toyin Fabunmi

Mama alakara’s shed has been hit by a police car which was hit by a danfo. Her shed is gone, her adogan and agbada are broken, and palm oil flows on the ground like a river of blood. Akara balls roll in the sun like there was an invisible force chasing them. Her enamel trays lay scattered amidst the ruins of the wooden shed.

Mama alakara shrieks, tears her hair out, removes her head tie and straps it around her waist.

Mama Alakara: yeh… ofo se, oriburuku ba esu odara.

Turns to the gathering crowd

Can you all see that my life has been ruined? Can you all see that they have killed me?

The police men ignore her and climb back into their van zooming away from the scene.

 

Mama Alakara: You people stood and watched. You watched the unfortunate beings leave. You watched them hit my shed and you allowed them leave.

Crowd murmurs and wring their hands helplessly.

Mama Alakara: Which one of you will say he doesn’t know my husband? Akanni onigi, the one that is known in every saw mill and carpenter workshop from here to Patigi.

Crowd nods their head

 

Mama Alakara: You all also know that his profits are spent in bars and whore houses. Some women have husbands, some women are widows, and other women have husbands who are alive but might as well be dead. You all know that Adunni alakara oloyin falls in the latter category.

Man: Yes Adunni Alakara we know that very well. Was it not the other day that I saw him in Ijora Badiya with Iya Oyinbo in a ….

Iya alakara cuts in

 

Adunni Alakara: Kowope Alajo save your breath. Baba Onigi’s issue is not my problem today. My problem today is: who will repair my shed, who will replace my broken Adogan and Agbada?  I want you all to tell me who will buy now another keg of palm oil for me. Do you know how much a keg of palm oil is now? Do you know how much a sack of beans costs in Balogun market these days?

Woman: Adunni Alakara, don’t talk too much, much words causes one to offend the almighty. We all know the extent of your loss. We know how hard things are these days; we know how hard it is to feed our children, clothe them and send them to school.

Mama Alakara: Food you say? The sacrifice with which we appease the god of the stomach, the one Edumare placed inside us to demand daily and regular sacrifices. We all know how it itches and bite when it has not been satisfied. We know how it makes our children cry. Abefe, (mama alakara points to a woman with a bowl of pure water perched on her head.) is it not this god that makes your child Boritife come to my shed every afternoon, mucus dripping from his over sized nose, hands outstretched for crumbs of akara.

Woman selling pure water: Yes Adunni alakara, the stomach takes no appeasement than food. But be strong Adunni you would bounce back. Orisa oke will return your loss in multiples.

Mama Alakara: Orisa Oke? The same orisa oke that has watched the six sons and two daughters I have for Baba Onigi remain jobless for many years now? Most of you here know that those children were fed and bred on this akara business. Most of you here know that I trained these children with money made from this my akara business.

Old Woman: Yes Adunni we know. You are a brave woman, you did well. Pity the children do not have jobs despite the huge books they read.

 

Mama alakara: Yes you are right, it’s a great pity. I started Akara frying thirty and six years ago, the moment I realised that baba onigi would not mind watching my children and I starve to death. See this Adogan and Agbada (she points to the shards of the broken tripod and frying pot) those were gifts from my mother. Iya Alaso of blessed memory. You all know her.

Crowd murmurs

Old woman: Ahhh iya daadaa, obinrin takuntakun. The whole of Isale eko knows her

Mama Alakara: Thank you Iya wa. She gave me those items and told me to take my destiny in my hands. She told me the government would not know if I starve to death, she told me a woman has to be strong for herself and for her children. So I opened this shed and sent my children to school. I didn’t ask the government for anything. This road has not been tarred in my lifetime and I would love to see it black and shining but I did not ask for that.

This city has never seen water that flows in pipes. I did not ask the government for that too. I needed electricity to watch my black and white television and the coloured one when it came, I still did not ask for that. It would have gladdened my heart if my children could have gone to school without having to pay for fees or books. I still did not ask for that. All I asked from this government was to provide jobs for my six sons and two daughters. This they did not do. All I asked from this government was to be able to fry my Akara in peace. Yet they sent their agents, the ones cursed to wear mourning clothes to destroy the source of my livelihood. Who do I turn to now? Pray answer me.

Young man in Danfo bus: Mama we are all sad about what has happened. This lunatic (points at danfo driver) drank burukutu before starting the bus today and has been on a mission to drive us to death but almighty God didn’t allow it to happen. Ma, I am a graduate, unemployed and I’m aging. We all are in this unfortunate situation together. All we can do is keep hoping and praying. All we can do is live one day at a time and hope for the best. I believe that things will get better.

Crowd murmurs and nods their head

Man: Yes it will get better, hopefully before we cross to the other side. Be consoled Adunni. We all have to go back to our daily jobs.

Crowd disperses, the danfo moves away. Adunni Alakara picks her trays, places them under arm and walks away soliloquizing.

photo credit: google images

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Abdullahi Aborode
    May 26, 2013 @ 13:27:43

    Brilliant work guys, this is thought provoking & inspiring…kudos!

    Reply

  2. Tomisin Ajiboye
    May 26, 2013 @ 14:15:47

    My heart pounds heavily like a train on unending journey.

    I plead with my eyes not to make a meander on my face.

    I sought inspiration but depression filled the air. How then can I breath inspiration?

    Orisa okay gbawa oh!

    This is deep!

    Reply

  3. jane
    May 26, 2013 @ 14:21:25

    Wow!! Dis ɪ̣̝̇ƨ̣̣̣̇̇̇̇ jst an abstract of wat our society has turned out 2 become…we can but only hope 4 d best

    Reply

  4. G
    May 26, 2013 @ 14:43:37

    This is such a deep and brilliant piece.

    Reply

  5. Agboola Olufemi
    May 26, 2013 @ 16:07:32

    Great work from great people!

    Reply

  6. nykelodeon
    May 26, 2013 @ 19:34:21

    Hmmn…òró rè o…hmmmn…lovely. The message is clear and direct. Afi suru. Lovely.

    Reply

  7. joshuaowoyemi
    May 26, 2013 @ 20:56:31

    very great work. i commend how the play has been able to bring into foreground all the issues of our society in just one scene. nice!

    Reply

  8. oscarpoems
    May 26, 2013 @ 21:23:51

    This is SPLENDID!!! Very good work that touches on nearly all of the issues that have bogged us down for so long. Hopefully something positive happens before we cross to “the other side”

    Reply

  9. sally
    May 26, 2013 @ 23:38:57

    Lovely, lovely, beautiful! *applause*
    Well done, you two

    Reply

  10. Dennis Agyeman
    May 28, 2013 @ 05:41:17

    I Love the Drama part done by no one else than Toyinfab

    Reply

  11. phaph
    May 28, 2013 @ 13:35:31

    Great work. May God gives us the spirit to fight for the society we deserved.

    Reply

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