It was a very sunny wednesday in August 2010, I had run two shifts at work, morning and afternoon. I was so spent, so i looked forward to going home to a have a well deserved rest.
I had taken the car to the mechanic's two days earlier. My colleague whom I could have hitched a ride with, had closed earlier. Luckily, the bustop wasn't too far from my office, just a stroll down and i would get a bus, which i did. The Danfo was plying the Ikeja bustop route. Ipodo lama ti stop o(we are dropping all passengers off at Ipodo) the bus conductor said menacingly, I replied, 'no problem'. After all, Ikeja under bridge isn't far from Ipodo, I think the whole area is generally called Ipodo.
A smooth ride it was, we all alighted at the said Ipodo. Suddenly, people started running helter skelter, i was in a state of panic already, I quickly asked a man running past me what was happening, he pointed me towards the direction of Masquerades running towards us. Alas! It was their festival. Odun Eegun, they were beating everyone in sight...So I put my innate Usain Bolt skills which I didn't even know i possesed up until that point to test. I started running towards 'under bridge'. Two of the masquades inched closer, my chest was literally in my mouth at this point. They weilded long canes, whipping everyone in sight. I managed to get a Keke Marwa(Tricycle) who said he was going to Ogba, I had no business in Ogba, but I boarded the Keke anyway. The second masquerade caught up with me, though I was already seated in the keke, the tip of his cane touch my laps and he said 'Oloun Yo e' in a croaky voice(God saved you) as the Keke drove off... A sweet escape. It was an experience I would never forget.
So reading the story of the fourteen year old boy who ran to his death because a Masqurade chased him, leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I am all for culture and tradition. However, when it is being used to frighten innocent people, when it is being used as a tool of oppression then it needs to be addressed. I hope the boy's family gets justice. I hope there would be reprieve for them. This shouldn't be swept under the carpet.The socalled Masquerade must be punished.