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Trouble is babalawo for one day


The reason the lady came to see the Babalawo was because she was frustrated by the diagnoses that her usual Babalawo, Baba Efe, gave her was rather tedious. Iyaloja had gone to Baba Efe to ask for advice on setting up shop to trade in the new shopping mall being built in the town.

If she set up this shop in the mall, will she sell, will she make profit and will her customers love her? She put two and two together, or as some Nigerian journalist I know but will not name would say, put too and too together, (o fi eeji p’eeta), and went to see Baba Ifa, also known as Baba Efe.

Malls have always been part of retailing in Nigeria, only they were not called malls at that time, the time called pre-independence and post-independence. We must not forget the days of CFAO, SCOA, KINGSWAY. These stores disappeared after the indigenisation decree. Overnight there was miniaturisation of products for greater spread of distribution to the common people. A packet of washing powder divided into fifty parts and packed in cellophane bags, a packet of loose sugar portioned into twenty parts and sealed in cellophane bags, salt and matches, milk and tea, and anything that people buy but cannot buy in great quantities were miniaturized and sold down the lower class habitations. And so the big stores disappeared. Now they are back again. If those stores appeared because a middle class that bought bulk was appearing in Nigeria, they seemed to have disappeared leading to the miniaturization of goods. Now that it seems that they are coming back again, the big stores are reappearing as malls.

Baba Ifa brought out his opon ifa and threw the opele. He threw the cowry shells a couple more times and declared that Iyaloja would trade and profit at the new mall but she must sacrifice. Iyaloja said she was ready to make whatever sacrifice was called for in this her new endeavour. Baba Ifa said that she would need the right foot of a left-handed man and the left foot of a right-handed woman. These two feet of different people she must burn together with different currency notes from different parts of the world including and especially U.S dollars, British pounds sterling and Chinese yuan. The ashes must be buried at the entrance door of the shop, which entrance must be different from the exit door.

She went around for weeks looking for these human feet without success. She could not find matching feet to the specification demanded. There were many suppliers who also tried to fool her to think that they were giving her what she asked for. But they charged her an arm and a leg, so to speak! So, she decided to visit another Babalawo.

A friend, also a frequent customer of seers, pastors and vision-vendors, recommended her to a new modern priest of Ifa. When she got to the ‘office’, she found Oga Trouble as the main consultant, or Baba Ifa for the day. There was an ante-room where those who had come to consult were seated waiting their turn to see the new Ifa priest. When she finally saw him, he was surprised to see him in a sky blue three piece suit with a cream coloured shirt and a bow tie of the same colour as the suit. The Ifa priest greeted her with a pleasant smile, invited her to sit down on the couch and asked if she would like something to drink. Not having had such a reception before at the place of an Ifa priest, she was confused and she did not know what to say. Rather than ask for something to drink, she blurted out that she had come to consult the Ifa Priest on her new venture. Maybe she was in the wrong place?

You are where you should be, Iyaloja. His pronunciation of her name was off key Yoruba, like a mix of Cuban/Brazilian Yoruba. You are going into trading in these modern malls, abi? Iyaloja was surprised about what she was coming to consult Ifa about. Again, he smiled and said that he had googled her name and Google had revealed unto him her silent desires and secret hope for plentiful profits. Was that not what she was after? Iyaloja confirmed her desire and prayed the modern Ifa priest to tell her what he saw for her.

Trouble, the Ifa Priest for the day, said that he needed to refine her wish further. What was she wishing to trade in? She wanted to trade in shoes. The priest turned to his computer, the modern opon ifa and googled footwear. He checked out how many stores in the particular mall she wanted to trade in traded in footwear – 97 stores traded in footwear. They sold children’s shoes, men’s shoes, women’s shoes and disabled and specially needed shoes. On further refining the search, only ten sold shoes for men and women and none specialized in women’s shoes. So, when Iyaloja asked for final solution, the Priest said that Ifa advised that she specialises in women’s shoes and special shoes for disabled and people needing specially constructed shoes. This was an area where few people traded.

Iyaloja thanked the priest and asked for the sacrifice she needed to make. Trouble asked if she had consulted other Ifa priests before coming to her. She said she had and told him what sacrifice she was asked to make. Why feet? Because people walked to the mal, l and so feet for sacrifice. Trouble asked if more people did not drive to the mall, arriving in personal motorcars, public taxis, uber taxis, keke napep, okadas and bicycles! So, far more people arrived at the mall on tyres. It means that if anything is to be used for sacrifice it should be tyres, which is common to all the means of arriving at the mall and at her shop. She agreed and she was asked to bring a tyre. This tyre was cut up and used to make foot mats. These foot mats were placed at the entrance and at the exit with ‘welcome’ and ‘thanks’ written on them in four languages. She also paid a consulting fee. Thus ended the first day of Ifa consulting done by Trouble and his company.

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