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I’m going back

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Kole Omotoso

I’m going back to my native land Never again shall I roam! (2ce)
I have been to hell here,
I have been in purgatory!
I’m going back to my native land
Never again shall I rome!

This was Mr. Dafida Trouble speaking liberally about his grandfather, the original Mr. Trouble The First. We had words to this tune. It was simple:

I’m going back to my native land

Never again shall I roam. (There was no rome there then when the song was taught at primary school).
I have been to London,
I have been to New York
I have been to French Paris!
I’m going back to my native land.
Never again shall I roam!

When Dafida pointed this discrepancy out to his grandfather the old man smiled his usual bitter smile. He felt like going on one of his hubby horses – the limitations of the human tongue to say what volumes of things one can say in this place world and time eternal. And don’t mention semiotics to Mr. Trouble The First. For when every other human part has become tongues speaking the world to the world where is the instrument to record all? No, he would stick to the song.

He asked his grandson why “home” rhymes with “roam” in English but “ile” relates to “ilẹ” in Yoruba? Where is home? This place, our home today, will it be our home tomorrow? This street will change. The name will change. The buildings will change. Where will our home be tomorrow?

Dafida could not answer. He did not know when the next question escaped his mouth: Where does Trouble come from?
Trouble comes from everywhere. From everything. From everybody. Trouble. . .

Dafida cried out: “I mean the name Trouble! Grandfather!!”

The grandfather hemmed and hummed. It is a long story and it is part of this narrative of the song about going home and putting a stop to roaming. The name means questioner, the one who must ask questions. But then he who asks questions tends to be seen as questioning what exists.

The questioner wants something else. And something else which does not yet exist causes trouble. So, I was known, a priori, trouble-maker.

Now at what point does a trouble-maker become the Trouble he makes? Dafida said he didn’t know. His grandfather said the trouble-maker becomes the trouble he makes when he asks questions about himself, questions which only others can answer. Others like his mother, first and foremost.

Then his father. Then others who are confidants of both of them together and separately. Expanding everywhere until nobody knows the question any more. But back to the song!

Not so fast! Granddad! Origin of Trouble and I don’t mean the generic noun.

It is a quick story. We are Kingmakers, we are not Kings. One person was put forward for King. We asked for his story.

The narrators told some woolly story that had neither beginning or end, neither head nor tail. I asked who fathered his father. The King makers refused to entertain that question. I left the gathering.

The person was made King and I was asked to prostrate for him. I refused. I was accused of making myself a King. And since there cannot be two Kings on the throne you must die! I was not alone. Majority of Kingmakers supported me. They could not kill all of us. They exiled us, not to a place of our own choosing where we would set up alternative Kingmaking system.

No! Each of us and his family were sent to their cities and towns. Messengers went and informed our hosts that we were trouble and his followers. Now to the song.

I’m going back to my native land
Never again shall I rome.
I’ve been to hell here
I have been to purgatory,
I have been in-between!!!
I’m going back to my native land.
Never again shall I roam!

Home is not fixed as long as we are on Earth. You have heard of the Ifa divination narrative:
Here is home,
There is home.
Everywhere is home.
Ifa divination was made for the roamer.

The roamer was going to Edo Ibini. He wanted Ifa to tell him if he would find a home and be prosperous. Ifa divined for him the verse of the fortunate roamer who arrives on the day of dividing the wealth of the late King. On that day, the fortunate roamer gets half the wealth of the late King and settles in the city of Ibini.
Here is home
There is home
Everywhere is home.
They made sacrifice. It happened as Ifa said it would happen.
They danced. They sand here is, there is home, everywhere is home.

So, my song, my grandsong, is not about home here on Earth.

Our collective Wisdom, gathered in the volumes of Ifa divination poetry tells me that the earth is a market place. Our lives are transitions lived in the market place. This is the place of show. It is the place of our heroics. It is the place of our failures. Our wealth here cannot go home with us. It stays in the market to be re-distributed in the market place. Everyone in the market benefits from our successes just as everyone suffers from our failures.

And where then is this home you are returning to, grandfather?
That Wisdom I was speaking about says this Earth is a market place and Heaven is our home. What is the nature of that home? Nobody knows. We all try to imagine a place that would contain our spirit eternally! Which architect had ever built a city where there is no eating and no drinking? Which town planner has had to conceive a city without strive and no contestation? Without stomach infrastructure there is no need for any other infrastructure! There will be no Kingmaking. There will be no place for Kingmakers. We speak of the land of blessings, the holy land and the land of eternal beauty. We speak always of its glory. It would be sweet to quit roaming and get to our native land!

bankole.omotoso@elizadeuniversity.edu.ng


In this article:
Mr. DafidaMr. Trouble
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