“Ajike the cherished daughter of Okin lineage, this was not a visit I expected. In fact, we never thought you would return home so soon. What have you come for, Omoyeni?” the grey-haired man spoke, crumbling the kola nut by his mouth. He was the custodian of the land, the one who has all powers on the Ewele masquerade.
It was a hereditary title, which has been from the line of genealogy. He was still the longest-serving custodian, some murmur by their curtains as to why the old man was yet to die. He should be a genie, some will say but none dares voice such in his presence else the waterloo would be met. He is the mortal deity who spits fire.
“Father”, Omoyeni broke in, “I was not planning to come too but my final year project has commenced. And I have to come home for a research. At least, no place like home. It is you, our elders who say “a river that forgets its source shall dry off”. I am here.
The man laughed heartily, perfuming the atmosphere with his odorous breath combined with that of the kola nut which he just grubbed. Heaving with a sneeze, he began:
“Hehehe, so you know you will come home? All this while, you have always found an excuse to stay at Lagos under the pretense of intensive studies. Well, thanks to Ewele masquerade that you are still alive. What is the nature of your project? As far as it is this soil, there is hardly any corner of the kingdom my scepter doesn’t reach”.
Omoyeni’s the only offspring of the powerful man, despite being of a feminine blood but she was trained ferociously at her tender age. She has been endowed with defensive charms and if not for the ordinance of the culture, was a sound successor for the aging custodian.
“Baba, it doesn’t really take stress. In fact, I picked the topic without stress despite criticisms from friends. I am on a project as regards Ewele masquerade”.
“Yeepa!” was the sound that flowed out of the old man’s mouth. How come, this lady took the ancestral masquerade so light and with no regards? If only she knew the essence attached to Ewele, she would not embark on such research.
“I can’t allow you, ‘Yeni. Are you in your right state of mind? This is not just my hereditary masquerade, its functions upon the land is not to be underrated. No one has ever tried such, it is a taboo. This is one of the artifacts of this land; it is a corpse that must not be exhumed. You have to choose another topic, child”.
Depression sat majestically on the patio of Omoyeni’s heart. Nothing could be more disappointing than this; her family had total rights on the masquerade. So why is she been restricted?
“The great custodian, is it because I am a woman that is why I am being counted out? It shouldn’t be so, this is our private home. Activities as such ought not to be publicized for the public. What aftermath is attached to this research, after all? It is not as if I am fleeing with the sacred being, please. Don’t make this cumbersome, father.”
The mystic man was now perspirating; he didn’t want to fail his daughter of this request which looks cheapened to her. But the soul of deism which she handled with such levity is one of primordial gravity.
“Will you shut up!” the vexated man spoke from nowhere, “Why are you so adamant? I am speaking as the custodian for the gods; it is not done that way. You are toying with death, the masquerade has a pact with ’Iku’ the herald of death from inception. Anyone who defies him will not live to tell the story, not on this earth. If truly I am your father, you have to back out or taste my wrath”.
Omoyeni was short of words; obviously she has bitten more than she can chew. She rose from the mat she sat on and like one who’s possessed, she blurted:
“Father, there is no problem with that. You have every right to restrict me from doing such and I have no option than to succumb to your order. But baba, know that the source is still fresh. If the earth is not pleasing to me anyway, I can go back to where I came from. The gourd which disconnects my existence from my fellow friends, I know its source. And I can still crack it. Can’t I?”
A dilemma. She is ‘Abiku…’ (the Re-incarnated child)
to be continued…
About Balogun Yusuf
He is a writer, Poet and Playwright who goes by the moniker “Gemini”. Born on the 9th of June. He resides in Lagos, Nigeria. He’s the Author of ‘Days of Infirmity’ and has bagged prizes in the writing arena.
You can reach him via
Facebook: Thespian Gemini