Between the devil and the deep blue sea - Newstrends
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Between the devil and the deep blue sea



By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, December 7, 2020)

The molue is a bizarre bus. It’s a bucket of bolts with the loud noise of a helicopter. Indeed, the 49-sitting-99-standing-passenger bus is renowned in Lagos, Africa’s largest capital city, as a mobile coffin.

With the clanking sound of an engine about to knock, this particular molue,  painted in green-white-green colours, jangled to a jerky stop as the driver squished the failing brake pedal to the floorboard, causing a collision of passengers against the unblunted metal edges of the shabby interior body work.

In a three-part choreographic sequence, human noise erupted from inside the molue after the deafening engine noise died down and a thick smoke enveloped the jagged metal contraption.

Cursing and coughing, Lucky, the driver of the molue, and his conductor, Sambi, were the first to emerge from the eye-peppering smoke of the bus. Swearing and sweating,  passengers of the fully loaded bus emerged from within the smoke like displaced cockroaches, coughing and furious.

Purchased since 1960, this molue had not been serviced by subsequent drivers who only fed fuel to the grumpy bus despite ceaseless complaints by passengers calling for a total overhaul of the vehicle.

At different times in the accident-ridden life of this molue, subsequent negligent drivers had ignored the demand for a turnaround maintenance by passengers whose flesh, clothes and goods were daily ripped by the sharp metal edges inside the bus.

After the cloud of smoke had cleared and the black oil dripping from under the vehicle had stopped, Lucky pinched a dripping hole in a sachet of ‘Sledgehammer’ with his teeth, and in one belching gulp, drained the alcoholic content.

However, all hell broke loose when Lucky implored the passengers to  go back into the bus to commence their journey to Abuja.

Lucky: Let’s go inside the bus and pray so that we can commence our journey in earnest.

Passenger 1: What kind of stupid and clueless driver is this? So, you can call for prayer after drinking ogogoro, abi? Are you supposed to call for prayer or fix your cursed bus?

Passenger 2: You kari bus komot for house, you no gauge oil, you no gauge tyre, brake no good, no whipper, no horn, no pointer, yet you collect money from us, and your motor come pafuka on top Third Mainland Bridge. Me, I no sabi swim o. I don warn you o, ehn-ehn!

Lucky: Don’t come and insult me here o. I’m not an ordinary driver, I am a graduate and I have my degrees, including a PhD. I’m here to serve the masses. So, don’t talk to me anyhow.

Sambi: (Appealing to the passengers) I’m also a graduate but I’ll speak pidgin so that everyone can understand.  Na because make we no delay una for road here, das why my oga say make we pray and manage the bus to Abuja. Na small thing dey worry the bus o; na just to change the crankshaft, gearbox and carburetor, then we go make it to Abuja in 24 hours; we can still manage the brake to Abuja, my oga sabi pump failing brake well, well.

Passenger 2: You must be mad, you this stupid conductor! You want to manage faulty brakes from Lagos to Abuja, abi? It’s you that will not see 2021, you murderer!

Just then, a sparkly bus parked in front of Lucky’s shambly molue. Written boldly on it was, “Integrity Airbus.” The bus owner, Eko, came out with his garage mob, and together, they poached passengers from Lucky’s bus. A tired old man called Baba Integrity was the driver of the bus.

Eko: (Appealing to the stranded passengers on Lucky’s bus) Abuja straight! Abuja straaaaight!! No stopping for road o. Fully air-conditioned bus at affordable price. Free wi-fi, free food, maximum security of life and property, peace and enjoyment guaranteed during the journey. Abuja sttraaaaaightt! You guys know I won’t lead you astray, this bus is heading to the Promised Land straight!

(The ensuing surge for space on the bus almost led to a stampede. All the passengers, except one, abandoned Lucky’s bus and went on to board Baba’s ‘Integrity Bus’. Three passengers, Johnbull, Paine and Iya Aburo spoke freely on Integrity Bus)

Paine: Ha, see Chief Eko himself vouchsafing for this bus, it must be reliable.

Other Passengers: It must surely be.

Baba: (Speaking over the intercom) Trust me, I’m a tested and trusted driver. You know I’ve done it before. I’ll give you a trip you will live to remember for the rest of your lives.

Passengers: (Roar in applause)

Eko: You guys are very lucky Baba graciously agreed to drive you to Abuja by himself. No force in the world can stop this bus.

Paine: (Effusing joy) Yes, we sabi. Na God say make Baba show up to rescue us from the dangers on the Third Mainland Bridge and the sea under. For my life, I no go ever enter any motor driven by Lucky and his PindiPi company.

Johnbull: Na true, we all dey very lucky.

(Everyone was in amazement of the Integrity Bus – its sheen and perfect body work. But as Baba attempted to start the engine, the paints began to peel off. The engine failed to crank.)

Passengers: Haaaaa!

Paine: Wetin bi dis? Lucky’s bus still dey move small-small, dis one no even move at all. Na from frying pan to fire be dis o.

Johnbull: But why dem come build special cabin for Baba for driver seat nah? I mean, why we no fit see Baba face nah?

Eko: To drive the Integrity Bus no easy. All of us sabi Abuja road very well – armed robbers full everywhere, Boko Haram dey yanfu-yanfu, kidnappers dey berekete. So, Baba need concentration to drive and crush all the robbers, Boko Haram and kidnappers on the road.

Paine: Drive and crush Boko Haram, robbers and kidnappers at the same time? Baba na James Bond or Formula 1 driver, uhmm?

Johnbull: Abeg, wetin be di bus wi-fi password?

Garage boy: It’s not advisable to use wi-fi now because Boko Haram can use wi-fi signal to locate and blow up this bus.

Paine: Ha?! But we never even comot Third Mainland Bridge nah?

Garage boy: Yes, I know, but Boko Haram dey everywhere o.

(A baby lets out a shriek)

Garage girl: Make im mama give am breastmilk nah. Abi you no want make Baba concentrate ni?

Iya Aburo: It’s the hotness here that’s making my baby cry, not hunger. Please, switch on your full air-conditioner.

Eko: Iya Aburo, so you no sabi say air-conditioner no dey good for small pikin? Air-conditioner is a very dangerous thing o.

Johnbull: Wey the food una promise passengers?

Eko: When embarking on this type of dangerous journey, you need fasting and prayers.

Iya Aburo: Please, come and help me open the window by my seat so that my baby can get some fresh air.

Garage boy: Dat na very big security risk o; you want to expose other passengers to danger?  Passengers mustn’t even touch the window blinds. Everybody should just put their trust in Baba, he’s doing a fantastic job, we are moving so fast.

Iya Aburo: But I can’t hear the sound of the engine.

Paine: I can’t hear any engine sound, too. Is this bus flying or are we not riding on Nigerian roads full of potholes?

Eko: Baba is trained to dodge potholes.

A passenger angrily yanked off the blind from the window, alas!, the vehicle hadn’t moved from the same spot it picked the passengers.

Passengers: Whaaaaat!!! Why haven’t we moved from the same spot since?

Baba: You lazy passengers can’t understand. I’m trying to make a choice between staying with the devil, that is, the Third Mainland Bridge, or plunging you into the deep blue sea below!

Passengers: Haaaaaaa!



Facebook: @tunde odesola

Twitter: @tunde_odesola


Thought subsidy was bad. Why is Tinubu bringing it back? – Farooq Kperogi



Thought subsidy was bad. Why is Tinubu bringing it back? – Farooq Kperogi

A September 21, 2023, enterprise news report (i.e., a news report that’s not from a news release or a press conference) from the Daily Trust found that “Despite the numerous assurances by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that… subsidy is gone… the federal government paid N169.4 billion as subsidy in August to keep the pump price at N620 per litre.”

What happened? I thought petrol subsidies were evil, harmful, no-good drains on the economy that should be avoided at all costs. I thought the government had no responsibility to tame the savagery of market forces and to protect citizens from the full fury of the vagaries of international oil prices.

I thought the “invisible hand” was supposed to regulate prices unaided by any governmental intervention (which has been thoroughly disproved by the fact that petrol marketers arbitrarily increased their pump prices after Tinubu precipitously announced that subsidies were gone even though they were selling the old stock of petrol that had been subsidized by taxpayers.)

I thought it didn’t matter that unaffordable and extortionate petrol prices are causing hundreds of thousands of Nigerians to starve and die, small- and large-scale industries to collapse, unemployment to skyrocket, the economy to shrink, quality of life of the average citizen to plummet, and Nigeria as a whole to regress to the Stone Age.


With the naira on an unprecedently free fall against the dollar and global petrol prices on the rise, it’s inevitable that a liter of petrol would have been at least 1,000 naira a liter by now if the “invisible hand” that conservative economists have invested so much faith in were left to determine the pump price of petrol. It’s conceivable it could climb to 2,000 naira per liter in the coming months if the government doesn’t interfere with the vagaries of the market.

Why is Tinubu committing “economic blasphemy” by misdoubting the power of the omniscient and omnicompetent Invisible Hand to take care of everything? Why is he intervening to stop the pump price of petrol from getting to its appropriate rate? Does he want our petrol to be so affordable that our neighbors will smuggle it?

Does he no longer want to save money to build and renew infrastructure and fund education? (Never mind that we haven’t seen where the money saved from the withdrawal of subsidies since May has been put to productive use. Or that only the living and the healthy can use infrastructure and go to school.)

Well, I guess Tinubu and his ideological cheerleaders in and out of government are beginning to see what some of us have been saying for years: that subsidizing an essential commodity like petrol in Nigeria whose price affects every facet of life is not an option; it is an abiding moral imperative.

The government’s primary reason for existing is to protect lives. As is by now evident, withdrawing fuel subsidies in an oil-producing country that is the poverty capital of the world, that has one of the world’s lowest minimum wages, and that has no public transportation system is a trigger for mass suffering and mass deaths.

There is something else that must have informed Tinubu’s decision to stealthily halt the impending rise in the pump price of petrol: insurance against mass anomie and revolt.

Although Nigerians can be some of the most incredibly docile and self-hypnotic people on earth, it’s stupid to assume that they will always be so. As someone once remarked, “The day when large numbers of men have to choose between feeding their children and providing a roof over their heads—is the day when nothing will stop the torches and pitchforks.”

In other words, there is a limit to human endurance of pain and deprivation. Most people won’t listlessly just roll over and perish because of persistent adversity. People with an overpowering will to live who can’t survive government-engineered suffocation of their lives (which withdrawal of subsidies amid endemic poverty represents) will turn to crime out of desperation. That’s why the crime statistics in Nigeria have quadrupled since May.


But it’s going to get worse. For now, the victims of crimes are the poor and the disappearing middle class. The rich and the powerful are next if the current subsidy-removal-activated excruciation doesn’t abate. After the poor, the lower middle class and the middle class are dispossessed, the rich will become the next meal of the desperately poor.

“Eat the rich” is an enduring, often metaphoric, revolutionary catchphrase usually mouthed by conscientious, socially sensitive middle-class intellectuals to denote redistributive economic justice, but it could become literal in Nigeria once it gets to the point when only the rich—politicians and their underlings, wealthy businesspeople, and other government-subsidized fat cats—have all the food. That’s why so-called bread riots are historically the most common triggers of momentous mass insurrections.

Cynical conservatives in the West like to say subsidies for the poor are basically protection money to stop the poor from stealing and revolting. The rich in the West don’t want to be awake because the poor can’t sleep. The late Professor Sam Aluko captured it brilliantly in 1999 when he memorably said, “The poor cannot sleep because they are hungry, and the rich cannot sleep, because the poor are awake and hungry.”

That is why the welfare state was brought forth in the West. The International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences defines a welfare state as “a state that is committed to providing basic economic security for its citizens by protecting them from market risks associated with old age, unemployment, accidents, and sickness.”

Ironically, it is the same welfarist West whose institutions (such as the IMF and the World Bank) encourage, in many cases compel, developing countries like Nigeria to strip the poor of basic economic security through the removal of subsidies.

Of course, our rapacious, self-loving leaders who want exclusive control of the state’s resources for themselves and their families welcome the freedom from being responsible to struggling citizens that removal of subsidies represents. And slavish, unthinking ideologues of the “Washington Consensus” cheer on.


There is not an example of a single country on earth that has made progress on the basis of the cruel policies that the World Bank and the IMF impose on countries. As Professors David Held and Anthony McGrew persuasively showed in their book, Globalization/Anti-Globalization: Beyond the Great Divide, “Developing countries that have benefited most from globalization are those that have not played by the rules of the standard [neo]liberal market approach, including China, India and Vietnam” (p. 226).

In fact, even America, the patron saint of capitalism, doesn’t practice the sort of cruel, extreme capitalism that Tinubu is practicing and that even his opponents promised they would practice if they got a chance to be elected president.

As I pointed out in my December 10, 2016, column titled “Dangerous Fine Print in Emir Sanusi’s Prescriptions for Buhari,” when it comes to welfare of its citizens, America doesn’t practice on its soil what its institutions preach to developing countries.

I wrote: “But when the United States went into a recession between 2007 and 2009, it didn’t follow any of these neoliberal prescriptions. The dollar wasn’t devalued. Subsidies weren’t removed. The state wasn’t rolled back. The government didn’t retrench workers. Taxes weren’t raised.

“On the contrary, the government increased expenditure. The financial burden on the populace was eased with lower taxes. Government, in fact, sent lots of money, called tax rebate checks, to lower- and middle-income families so they could have money to spend, since recession is essentially the consequence of people not having enough money to spend. I was a beneficiary of the tax rebate, so I know what I am talking about. Financially distraught private companies (particularly car manufacturers and banks) were bailed out by the government.”

I don’t know if Tinubu and his team are finally realizing that the problem with fuel subsidy was the monstrous corruption in it and not the subsidy itself. Most of what passed as fuel subsidy was fraud. Any government worth the name should be able to tackle corruption and administer subsidies for the collective benefit of Nigerians.

But Tinubu was swept over by the idiotic anti-subsidy mass hypnosis that has engulfed Nigeria in the last few years.

This has ensured that Tinubu has had by far the shortest honeymoon in power. Why won’t he? He promised to hit the ground running but instead hit the ground ruining— with his infamous “Subsidy is gone for good” declaration on inauguration day. He promised renewed hope but is giving renewed hell. He promised the dawn of a new era, but people are seeing the dawn of a new error after Buhari.

Thought subsidy was bad. Why is Tinubu bringing it back? – Farooq Kperogi

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The humiliating troika of Obasanjo, Shettima and Bakare (1)



Tunde Odesola
The humiliating troika of Obasanjo, Shettima and Bakare (1)
Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, September 29, 2023)
Like humans, words have birthplaces. Russia is the birthplace of the word troika. In the once-upon-a-communist-but-now-a-democratic-capitalist country, troika means ‘a group of three’. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a troika as a Russian vehicle drawn by a team of three horses abreast.
As a Yoruba expression, ‘i-k-a’, the last three alphabets of ‘troika’, has cousins in the English noun ‘wickedness’, the adjective ‘wicked’ and the noun ‘highhandedness’. But high-handedness is what I have in mind for drawing an inference from ‘ika’ in this article.
A typical Mr. Vladimir, Put In a Yoruba context, is likely to define tro-i-k-a as ‘three high-handed acts’ and not just ‘a group of three’ which the noun means in his native Russia.
Army General, Olusegun Obasanjo, whose street-bequeathed title, Ebora Owu, highlights an eruptive and combative character, was in his khaki element two Fridays ago in Iseyin, an Oyo town 100 kilometers north of Ibadan.
With his graceful wife, Bola, in tow, the ex-military head of state, ex-civilian president, farmer, writer, teacher, engineer, historian, theologian, sports lover, Egba high chief and ex-3.0, headed to Iseyin as a guest of the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, for the inauguration of a campus of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.
I’m not bound to explain what 3.0 is, please. Go and find out what a three-pointer is in basketball, and stop thinking that ex-3.0 means ex-third-term seeker. I no fit talk so.
Love him or hate him, Obasanjo is a man of great destiny, having many trophies to show for countless life battles. Each time some of his seniors, mates or juniors stopped flying bullets, fate shielded Obasanjo.
Following a bitter 30-month war – July 6, 1967, through January 13, 1970 – with Nigeria, it was to Obasanjo that Biafra surrendered in January 1970, barely eight months after Colonel Benjamin Adekunle aka Black Scorpion handed over to him in May 1969 upon his (Adekunle’s) redeployment by the Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon. Many accounts of the war say Adekunle laid the foundation for Biafra’s surrender and was ably supported by his lieutenants consisting of Alani Akinrinade, and Alabi Isama, among others.
A diligent soldier and well-respected civilian leader, Obasanjo got medals afield but his home front was not as garlanded.
He got battered in the nose a couple of times, like the bombshell letter titled, “Dear Daddy, you don’t own Nigeria,” written to him by his firstborn, Iyabo, in December 2013, in which the former senator, veterinary doctor and America-trained epidemiologist ruled out further communication with her dad, whom she called ‘a liar, manipulator and two-faced hypocrite’. Iyabo said she didn’t write the letter to seek political favour, insisting she was only saying the truth about her father.
About a year after Iyabo’s letter bomb, Obasanjo, in his book, My Watch, alleged his daughter was induced by the Goodluck Jonathan administration to do a dirty job. Obasanjo had earlier fallen out with President Musa Yar’Adua, whom he helped install as President before Yar’Adua succumbed to sickness and Jonathan succeeded him.
However, a more devastating blow to the face of the General had preceded Iyabo’s letter when his son, Gbenga, alleged in court that he (Obasanjo) slept with his (Gbenga) wife.
Despite the shifting sands of the family front, Obasanjo maintained a firm footing on Nigeria’s political terrain, his solid personal achievements forever etching him into public consciousness.
I think it was based on the record of his larger-than-life accomplishments and charisma that the younger engineer Makinde invited OBJ to Oyo State to witness the showcasing of the Fashola Farm Estate and the inauguration of the 34.85km Oyo-Iseyin Road, both in Oyo town, before journeying to Iseyin for the unveiling of the brand-new LAUTECH campus.
I reliably gathered that some of the traditional rulers on the governor’s entourage at the twin events in Oyo town, also travelled down with him to Iseyin while the hosting Iseyin-axis traditional rulers had patiently awaited the governor and his entourage from Oyo.
These fatigue-inducing events preceded the outburst by Obasanjo, who wracked his throat, spat up and collected the spittle with his own face, upon seeing that the traditional rulers didn’t stand up to greet the governor at the venue of the Iseyin event.
The traditional rulers didn’t see Obasanjo’s sucker punch coming, though they’re called the second-in-command to the gods. It landed terribly on the face, like an Antony Joshua blow, sending crowns crashing down in shame.
The General shouted, “E dide! E joko!” If the traditional rulers had not obeyed his command, what would he have done? Absolutely nothing! And the flame of his rage would’ve been shamefully extinguished before the eyes of the world.
But Obasanjo isn’t a General for nothing. He understands the use of surprise as a great principle of war, and he knows how to pick his fights. He wouldn’t bark such an order to the Oba of Lagos, Kabiyesi Rilwan Akiolu; the Awujale of Ijebu, Oba Sikiru Adetona; the Owa of Ilesa, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran; the Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Victor Kiladejo; among others.
He wouldn’t have said such to the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade; or the late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi. I can imagine how both Sijuwade and Adeyemi would have disdained the order with looks that say the bagworm bears its troubles on its head, ‘arigisegi, ori ara e ni o fi ko’.
Apart from the surprise principle of war which he utilised at Iseyin to the hilt, Obasanjo also employed other war principles such as mapping out his objective, going on the offensive, hitting the mass of his target, using the economy of force, manoeuvrability, unity of command and simplicity.
Exploring manoeuvrability, Obasanjo knew he had no authority to ask the traditional rulers to stand up because he was no longer in power, but he cleverly drew the governor to his side, knowing full well that none of the rulers would risk disobeying his order, and be seen as anti-Makinde.
Obasanjo, the Olori Omo Ilu of Ibogun-Olaogun, said in angry Yoruba, “You kings, I greet you for coming, but let me say something, any event the governor or the president is, all traditional rulers there must stand up to greet the governor or president. Stand up! Sit down! (The kings obeyed his order amid an uproar).
He continues, “In Yorubaland, two things are respected, among others – age and position. The governor has a higher position than any oba when he’s in power, even when I was president, I prostrate to kings, but when we are indoors, kings prostrate to me. Let’s uplift our culture.”
The advocate of do-or-die politics left power more than 16 years ago and he, also, doesn’t know the ages of all the rulers at the event. Therefore, he couldn’t, as of the time he was making the speech, say he was older than all the rulers present. So, on account of position and age, which he canvassed, Obasanjo had no grounds to utter his infamous order.
Some of the rulers at the event were the Okere of Saki, Oba Khalid Olabisi, a first-class monarch; Alado of Ado Awaiye, Onpetu of Ijeruland, Olugbon of Orile Igbon, Onjo of Okeho, Onitede of Tede, Onisemi of Isemi, Eleyinpo of Ipapo, Alageere of Ofiki, Ajoriwin of Irawo, and many other kings in the Oke-Ogun zone of Oyo State.
Some of the towns in the zone are Iganna, Iwere Ile, Ilero, Ogboro, Igboho, Ago Amodu, Ago Are, Baasi, and Okaaka, among others.
I had laid in wait for the response of the Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, to OBJ’s attack on the monarchs. I had expected the response via a public statement, but Kongi, being an adept hunter himself, attacked through an ambush, assuring traditional rulers who were part of the audience at a book launch that he wouldn’t bark at them, “Stand up!, Sit down!” because ‘this is a cultured gathering’.
To be continued.

The humiliating troika of Obasanjo, Shettima and Bakare (1)

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The god that cut soap for Wizkid (2)



Tunde Odesola
The god that cut soap for Wizkid (2)
Tunde Odesola
There’s no god-like mother, orisa bi iya kosi. A praying mother for that matter. Eyes shut wide in her bowed head, brow sweats as bosom heaves up and down while tongue speaks in supplication for her offspring to grow in wisdom, blossom in understanding, blow in success, live in health and enjoy the good life. The prayer of a mother.
Father is the mirror, baba ni digi. He’s also the unsung hero. The overworked engine. Father prays, too. But his prayers are short and practical, they are against real threats. His prayers are more physical than metaphysical.
May God hearken to the prayers of every parent on their children. The more bad the child does, the harder the parents pray. May the joy of every parent on their children not be cut short by destiny killers, like naira and kobo flogged the destiny of MohBad to death with the koboko of drugs.
It’s good. Nigerian youths are rising across the states, demanding a probe into the death of MohBad, the youngster and songster whose star dropped off the sky into the sea on noonday, a few days ago. Like many Nigerians, I know the nation’s music industry is a haven of hard drugs, but the fast-spreading #justiceformohbad movement, however, should curb the power of life and death wielded by barons, producers and record label owners. Though death has stopped Ilerioluwa Aloba aka MohBad and his promise, the awareness created by the #justiceformohbad movement will set many up-and-coming musicians enslaved to music labels free. Rest in peace, MohBad Ìmólè!
Oak grows from acorn. Mighty grows from mite. A casual telephone call to a former colleague, Folasade, inspired this article. I was touched by the good-naturedness of Wizkid’s mother, who stayed connected to her humble beginnings. As Folasade recounted her moments with Iya Yetunde, I saw her influence in the musical works of her son.
If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it, goes a popular catchphrase. Nigeria, her youth and music industry are fast becoming broken like the rickety bicycle of the village drunk nicknamed Keke baje o seto. Nigeria needs to fix the menace of drugs. I wonder how Iya Yetunde would have felt at MohBad’s death. Like the caring mother she was, I guess she would have been shattered.
A testimony that her prayers on Wizkid were being answered manifested when her only son flew her to Dubai about three years ago for a medical checkup.
Folasade recalls, “Iya Yetunde wasn’t sick from COVID. She went to Dubai for a checkup in the heat of the COVID pandemic. Because she and her husband were very close, they went together. When she was through with her checkup, she flew back home with her husband. When they landed in Nigeria, Wizkid told their driver to bring them to his two-storey mansion in Lekki because he wanted his mother to have adequate rest. He knew friends and well-wishers would throng his father’s Surulere home if his parents went there from the airport.
“But Wizkid’s tactic failed because Iya Yetunde was a golden fish. Family and friends still thronged Wizkid’s Lekki home, and the privacy he sought for his parents became a mirage. After some days, Wizkid bought another house in Lekki, where he moved to, leaving the sprawling two-storey house for his parents. They never moved back to Surulere. She gave me a room on the middle floor where I slept when I visited while she and her husband stayed on the topmost floor. The house has a swimming pool.”
Recounting another act of kindness by Wizkid’s mother, Folasade said when Iya Yetunde visited her in Abuja, she (Folasade) cooked a pot of soup and told her to help give it to her (Folasade) son, Akinola, who was seconded by Accenture to MTN.
“My son was then working in Accenture but he was outsourced to MTN. So, when Iya Yetunde was going back to Lagos after a visit, I told her to help give my son the pot of soup I cooked. She asked me why would I want her to take a soup from Abuja to Lagos. She said she couldn’t take it. But she got the phone number of my son.
“A day later, my son called to ask if I told Iya Yetunde he was having a birthday party. I asked him why. He said she stormed his office with different kinds of dishes enough to host a wedding reception. My son said he had to share part of the various dishes with his colleagues. That was when I knew Iya Yetunde was also a caterer. In fact, she catered for MTN and other big multinationals. When I asked her why she was still into catering despite her son’s success, she said catering was her hobby, and that she didn’t want to be idle. After this, she regularly cooked for my son,” Folasade said.
Folasade, who disclosed that Iya Yetunde was quite older than her, also shared another display of humility by her. “One day, she came visiting in Abuja. She had an afternoon flight to catch and I had to go out in the morning. So, I took her to a friend’s house to stay till the afternoon because I didn’t want her to feel lonely. My friend, Aunty Funmilola, was an ex-caterer with the OSBC, she owned a school in Abuja. When we got to Aunty Funmilola’s house, I called her aside and told her to help me take adequate care of Iya Yetunde. I said she was Wizkid’s mom. She said Wizkid ko, Wizkad ni; she thought I was joking. I didn’t press it. I just left Iya Yetunde in her care and went away.
“Aunty Funmilola collected her number it was during their subsequent telephone discussions that she got to know I was saying the truth. Iya Yetunde never threw her weight around. She was honest, kind, sincere, humble and very down-to-earth.
If there are only two Nigerian Afrobeat stars who love their mothers and are proud to show it, Wizkid is one of them. The love he has for his mom shines through in the various songs and verses he dedicated to her. The song ‘Ayo’ is a special dedication to her. Also, he recorded ‘Jaiye Jaiye’ in her honour, featuring Afrobeats legend, Femi Kuti. Wizkid referenced her in ‘Pakuru Mo’ and some other songs.
Iya Yetunde never dissuaded Wizkid from doing music, she gave her blessing and support, praying, guiding and hoping he turns out well. And Wizkid didn’t disappoint her. Wherever she is now, I think she’s happy. Ayodeji omo Balogun showered his mother with love and affection as if he knew her time was petering out. My heart-felt sympathy goes to Wizkid’s dad, Alhaji Balogun, Wizkid’s elder sisters, family and relatives.
Adieu, Iya Yetunde, the god that cut soap for Wizkid.

The god that cut soap for Wizkid (2)

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