Finally got around to getting the Nokia Lumia 520 phone to Ekene Ngige, winner of the Baba Risi Illustration Competition. And he came up with this picture. 😀 Enjoy this episode of Baba Risi.
Ekene and Baba Risi 😀
The commotion got closer to the court and Baba Risi rubbed his palms. Commotion like this always meant two things – plenty people were coming for the case, which meant plenty gate-takings. It also meant it was an interesting and important case to the community which meant an increase in the profile of his court. They had returned from Rosco’s party yesterday and he needed the money to recover from the spraying he had done at the party.
Rosco was back in position and with two boys, he was manning the door now. After that incident, he had been loyal and hadn’t done anything to give Baba Risi concern, but that didn’t mean the wily old man was letting his guard down. He kept a close eye on lieutenant, watching to see if the loyalty was a mask for some scheming.
The sight that greeted him when Rosco stepped aside to let them in would have been hilarious if it wasn’t a serious matter. A young man in NYSC uniform clutching a bible in one hand was dragging an egungun (masquerade) by the waist like policemen did when they arrested boys.
“Rosco what is this?” Baba Risi shouted, getting up and reaching for the juju under his table. No one tells a blind man war is coming.
Rosco quickly rushed forward and raised both hands in the air. “Baba, no shaking o, na the case wey bring the crowd be this o. The corper carry the egungun come ni. No shaking baba, twaile!”
“You for come tell me before them enter now,” Baba Risi reprimanded.
“Sorry Baba, I no wan leave the boys with the crowd ni. With the kain crowd wey dey, we must to double the gate fee o, you know say we don bleed for the turning of mama this weekend, so na Oluwa himself bring this kain blessing.”
Baba Risi smiled and sat back down “Beeni Rosco! Oya, make the egungun and the corper come, and make the audience enter.”
Rosco signaled and the boys who had stopped the complainants now separated them and led them forward, standing between them to ensure they didn’t descend into a scuffle. Rosco then returned to the front and did quick business collecting the fee as the people trooped in. Murmurs of “o fe bo asho l’oju eegun (you want to unmask the masquerade)” rent the air.
When the people were seated, they still didn’t become quiet until the trusty clerk banged his hand on the table and shouted hoarsely “order! Order!”
“Oya, corper, wetin be your name and wetin happen wey you dey fight masquerade like this?”
“My name is Calistus Okoh. I am a corper with the Local Government and I live in the house beside the big mango tree.”
Baba Risi nodded. He knew the house, it was owned by his friend Lasisi. The useless Lasisi did nothing for his house, leaving the tenants to fix everything there. The only good thing about it was that it was cheap; hence the corper would be able to afford it even on his meager allowy.
“We dey hear, so wetin do you and egungun?” Baba Risi asked.
“Today is not one of the egungun festival days, so nobody told us to stay in our houses. I just came out, going to fellowship when I saw this egungun and two other people approaching my house. At first I thought it was a coincidence, but it later turned out that they had been waiting.”
One of the guys beside the egungun spoke up “how you take know? You commot on egungun day, you no wan face the law. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse!”
“That is why you are hiding under egungun for your personal vendetta abi?” Calistus asked pointedly.
“Mr. Egungun’s PA, e never reach your turn to talk so sharrap until I call you,” Baba Risi said sternly. He knew the boy and he was one of those people that just gave being an agbero a bad name.
“Oga corper, you too, get to the point quick abeg, and speak small small English wey we go hear, all this vendetta pass us here, when you no be member of Higi Haga People’s Congress wey dey speak sacromatete and crinkum-crankum.”
“Okay sir. These people ran after me as I retreated…” Calistus said.
“Oga! Small English jare!” Baba Risi exclaimed.
“They followed me up to our gate and the two boys held me while the egungun began to flog with his long black cane. I even offered them money like we always do, they didn’t take, he was just flogging me”
The corper stretched his hand forward and Baba Risi could clearly see the big lumps formed where the cane had wrapped itself around Calistus’ hands.
“it was then the egungun leaned close to me and said in my ears ‘this one na warning. Leave Caro alone!’ That is when I knew who the egungun was.”
The whole courtroom did an ooh in unison upon hearing this.
“Ngbo, egungun, na true corper dey talk?” Baba Risi asked
The egungun said nothing and the one Baba Risi had tagged his PA spoke up “Na lie he dey…”
“Sharrap!” Baba Risi shouted. “Na you be the egungun, abi the egungun no get mouth to talk by himself? Warn yourself o.”
“But Baba Risi, the egungun na ara orun (heavenly people) now, so he no dey talk with our kain voice. Na why I dey talk for am,” the PA responded.
“En en,” Baba Risi said as he signaled Rosco.
From behind, Rosco gave the PA a hot abara (slap) on the back and the boy held his back as he went down on his knees trying to rub the back, saying
“ahhhh, egungun talk for yourself ooooooooooo”
The courtroom burst out laughing and Rosco moved behind the egungun and said loud “egungun, be careful o” as he raised his hand to land an abara.
Quickly, the egungun spoke in the normal egungun reedy voice. No one understood what he was saying and Rosco raised his hand again, turning his initial warning into a song
“egungun be careful ooo,”
The egungun got the message and said in his normal voice “na lie Calistus dey lie. No be because of Caro we flog am. Na because he know say we dey do egungun today, and he still carry bible dey pass where we dey dey go church we flog am.”
“It is a lie!” Calistus shouted.
“You say egungun dey lie? You no know say egungun be the ancestors wey come back come meet us? You no wan respect ancestor?” the egungun said angrily.
“Who ancestor you be? Na your type of egungun we dey talk So you dey talk say no be woman cause this flogging and you flog person wey dey serve this country for our community like this?” Baba Risi pointed out.
“He disrespect our tradition…” egungun responded
“Sharrap! So you wey dey form egungun anyhow no disrespect the tradition pass am abi? No be because people like una do turn am to anyhow things make people no respect egungun again?”
From behind a female voice came “Saliu! So you deny me for public! You no be man at all, and I don wan leave Calistus for you o, see as you come deny me here.”
A dark-skinned young lady walked angrily to the front towards the egungun.
“Saliu ke? Which Saliu be this?” Baba Risi asked.
“It is Saliu, the king of boys of Little Lagos, a silly miscreant,” Calistus answered.
This was the same Saliu that had brought Rolling Blender some time ago and tried to shoot Baba Risi. (Read about that HERE)
“Rosco! Commot cloth for this egungun face!” Baba Risi ordered.
Rubbing his hands, Rosoc unmasked the egungun and it was the same Saliu. He began shaking over like a leaf.
“So you dey use egungun dey fight for woman? Na wetin our tradition teach be that? You come dey form heavenly people, dey claim say this omo yibo disrespect our tradition. You omo Yoruba nko? Na your own disrespect pass!” Baba Risi shouted.
“Beeni! Yes. Stupid boy!” filled the air all over the court as angry people.
Saliu looked around and knew he was in trouble. Caro was on Calistus’ side, holding his arm and glaring at Saliu angrily. This was the woman he had gone to these lengths for. And now, the other boys had left him alone in front, even though it was one of them that suggested this egungun thing. the court audience was hostile, and Baba Risi and his people too we ready to deal with him. There was only one thing left for him to do. Baba Risi was saying now “As we don see say you no be heavenly person, you go chop the cane wey you give Calistus back, and na Calistus himself must flog you. Where the cane?” the courtroom cheered as Rosco went to the back to produce the cane.
Lailai, Saliu thought. Before anyone knew it, he bolted for the door of the courtroom. It is the person that they catch that can be flogged. As he got to the door, thinking he had escaped, a black cane wrapped itself around his midsection, sending searing pain through him. He looked in front of him and saw the real egungun people. “E don be today,” he muttered to himself as they surrounded him.
ff @tundeleye on twitter.