FEATURE ARTICLE

Wednesday, July 3, 2019
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WHEN WE WERE WARRIORS

"Do do do re re mi do."

e deciphered the code of the flute. Do do do - strangers approach the land. Re re - they are armed. Mi do - we must likewise arm ourselves. Aare roused himself and ducked into his eku behind his own quarters in his compound. He noticed the women were also rising and taking necessary precautions. In times of war, a community must always be to prepared. They'd survived Kiriji wars by being alert, prepared, and valiant in battle.

He greeted no one. In his eku, he poured libation to his gods. His guns were loaded and ready to go. He doned his etu and checked the gourds of oogun strategically positioned on the vest. He touched his kuye to his forehead. Rather than getting shot and dying in battle, he'll become invisible. He was a seasoned warrior. He'd proved his prowess in war even to Ibadan. A handful of strangers were no match for their army.

Satisfied that was as it should be, he emerged from his bunker to the sounds of the drums of war:

"Koriko nde

Ewura oko nde…"

The blood began to rush in his veins. The hairs on his body twanged. By the time the drummers struck the bata notes of the Aare Ona Kakanfo, his every molecule vibrated. "War!" he cried out, ready to charge. Then he woke up. He'd been startled awake by noises from outside. Sons, their wives, and children crowded into his room, "Kilode?"

They whispered, trepidation and fear drowning their words, "It's Fulani herdsmen! They've taken over our farmlands and towns. They are killing people. We have nowhere to go."

The old warrior, asked in disbelief, "Ni Ikire? (In Ikire?)"

The cowering horde nodded in unison. They hid behind one another, each trying to cover himself with another's body.

The old warrior shook his head in sorrow, "When we were warrriors…"

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