IBADAN, THE CITY THAT DEFENDED THE REALM (PART I)
I have always thought of writing about this city where I was born and raised. It will be the least possible thing I can do to shower her with a flush of honor. Ibadan is one the most popular cities in the world. There is no intellectual on the planet -who is still living - whose ears has not borne the slightest bit of knowledge about a city in Nigeria called Ibadan. She is beautiful, ugly and her weight in history and space has created a sprawling crater straddling the largest land torrent of sand and forest in the forest belt of the Western Sudan. The rusty roofs have given expressions to artistic thoughts in form of poetry and photography. But rusty roofs are not good for shelter against the rains. That's her cunningness. She shows you beauty in ugliness.
In Ibadan, I have seen the relationship between the universe and the individual. The cunningness of the city is reflective of the character of the typical IBADANIAN. Ibadan has many sides - both to the story and to the terrace. A drive through her belly presents to you the image of elitism and poverty. If you stood on the borders, far away at night, Ibadan is presented by the night with a glimmer of shimmering electric bulbs cloistered on many hills. If Ibadan had not been so beautiful, cunning and made the way she is, a "holy man" wouldn't have called her Nazareth which ordinarily should have been the place from which came Jesus Christ our Lord.
And yes, Ibadan is a stubborn city of defiant people. The city is stubborn, the people are defiant. At one point in their careers many great fighters and liberation enthusiasts have had to visit the city for some form of tutelage. And all intellectuals of Nigerian origin have had to learn inside of her and there is a long list of them. The cunningness of Ibadan is yet manifested in her political and literary artistic glorification which coincides with her architectural failure. The modern builders of the city have little touch with modernity.
To better understand how the city was built, you definitely want to look into her history;
There was an era of kings and queens, when the only significant locomotive of social and political change was solely based on the instincts of a lord who ruled the people with iron fist and whose position was only preceded by that of the gods. During that dark hour, a dim glow of a future giant torch began to glow dimly from a distance [in history]. The warriors who founded the city had no idea what system they were forging and what succor the negros of the forest belt will find in her.
Ibadan was a war camp founded by a commander of a regiment from City of Ife. Lagelu had founded the city in 1829 by uniting two districts he had founded into one. Three times Ibadan had been ravage by destructive wars that threatened its survival. The aim of the three invasions was to obliterate the rebellious city from the Yorubaland geography. Yet she survived and children survived. One of the invasions bothered on the intended iconoclastic behavior of the women and children of the city - a small settlement then - towards the masquerade culture.
After surviving three major invasions, Ibadan grew in strength but refused to have a king or keep slaves. A free city and a military power. A political phenomenon that the Japanese of the era would have envied. I won't compare the city's rejection of the monarchy to a form of modern western democracy at all. It will be a foolish idea. Ibadan was a military state and at its head was a Lord Protector or olubadan who was selected based on bravery and character.
Ibadan warriors had an organized army and each structure was lead by a war lord who was also a chief hunter. Hunting was the way the expanding Ibadan Army trained its men in the art of war and defense tactics. The evidence of the advanced technique paid off shortly.
Photograph source: hotel.ng
Ojo Aderemi, President of the University of Ibadan Students Union (2017/18 session) can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org and his articles appear on his website platinumderemi.com
Follow him on twitter @oj_deremi
Timilehin Tue July 23, 2019 at 6:50am
Splendid use of words.
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