Monday, October 27, 2008


For the first time in the last couple of months, an opportunity to escape from Lagos finally came last weekend and folks; I grabbed it with two hands! It was the 2nd Coronation Anniversary and Thanksgiving of HIS ROYAL MAJESTY, OBA (DR) EBENEZER AKINTUNDE AKINYEMI, THE ESELU of ISELU KINGDOM, AKAOSU 1. I met the respected monarch through another influential Oba about this time last year and since then we have maintained a cordial relationship. At 30-something, he is probably the youngest king in Ogun state today. Thus when the anniversary was approaching, Kabiyesi sent a personal invite to me requesting my presence at the event, so I had no choice other than to honour the royal invitation, though I had two other celebrity events to attend almost at the same time in Lagos.
Now, Iselu is a typical Nigeria rural settlement located very close to the Nigeria-Benin border after a town called Oja-Odan off Ilaro (The Polytechnic town) in Yewa South Local government of Ogun State. At Oja-Odan, there is a large and very busy market tagged “OJA-ODAN INTERNATIONAL MARKET”. I was surprised at the level and pace of activities in this market but my findings later show that, being very close to the border, the market serves as a transits point for cross-border smugglers who get their stuff into Nigeria after “settling” the Customs officials at thier numerous checkpoints along the roads. .
One major thing that caught my attention at the market as I took a walk through the market was the entrepreneurship of the rural women. Virtually everyone was busy with her “market”: from the ones selling pepper to the plantain sellers and the one waiting for customers to buy her charcoal. I was told that the history of the market dates back to over 100 years. As I was busy observing the market activities and trying to study the mentality of the people there, a fleet of glittering vehicles zoomed pass *viaam..viaaam..viaaaam*..there was a Hummer, one Infinity, a Benz ML450 FORMATIC and others. They were heading towards the event. This scenario reminded me once again of the wide gulf between the rich and the poor in Nigeria. Im mot sure whether the total annual income of all these market women put together could buy a side mirror of one of the ‘jeeps’ that just whizzed pass, yet in their own way, they work as hard as anyone but there is hardly anything to show for it. No thanks to our lopsided social system. It’s a sad irony!

From the market I moved to the venue of the event proper where a large number of guests were already seated under a giant canopy.(while I was doing my ‘market survey’ the event was already underway). Among the guests were high-ranking functionaries of Ogun state government, dignitaries from Lagos, Abuja and other places. It was quite an interesting occasion. Some of those who bagged chieftaincy include Chief (Mrs) Tokunbo Balogun, UNILEVER PLC’s Field Sales Manager, who was honoured with the title “YEYEMESHO OF ISELU KINGDOM”, Chief Olanrewaju Saheed Baba, THE AROLE OF ISELU..and a host of others .
below are some of the pictures from the countryside as recorded by Sola Folowosele

Of all the guests, the one that caught my attention was this guy called Musiliu Olusanya a.k.a MC OLUOMO. He is the 'Lord Mayor' of all the Motor Parks in ever-busy Oshodi axis of Lagos and he’s also the Treasurer of the Lagos State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). The guy drove into the venue in an eye-popping Hummer SUV in company with a large number of hangers-on. He came with his newest wife, Sikiratu Sindodo,(A Yoruba actress)..Most of the village youth were seen posing for pictures with his HUMMER..the guy became stupendously wealthy just collecting motor park wa o!

the entrance of the market(below)

market women displaying their wares(below)

A Charcoal seller waiting for customer(below) Nigeria Charcoal is now more expensive than Kerosine as a result of the upswing in demand for it when kerosine became a scarce commodity
Mrs Balogun receiving her certificate from Kabiyesi(below) Mrs Balogun and her Big sister(below)
Sikiratu Sindodo and her husband, MC OLUOMO(below)
MC OLUOMO's Hummer SUV(below)
the musician, Musiliu Haruna Ishola(below) Princess Adejoke spotting a beautiful hairstyle at the event(below)
another hairstlye..(below)