​Whose Cake, Whose Yams?: Of Buoda Ayo and Baba Adakeja, By Simbo Olorunfemi

old lady copy editIf you live in Lagos, the livelier part of it, you must know Buoda Ayo. He is the Bus Conductor who insists on shouting himself hoarse in the name of getting passengers’ attention, even when his bus is heading in no particular direction. He barely makes sense with the names of bus- stops and landmarks, his speech corrupted by dentition challenges. His front teeth mostly gone, he whistles in tongues, struggling to convey meaning to anyone. He feigns bravery, yet he is only able to fight byrunning away from the fight he always finds a way of orchestrating over nothing. Heavy on paraga and other supplements, he is light on the ground, yet always calling for a fight. Where all that it demands is a simple meeting of minds, Buoda Ayo has already taken off his shirt, insisting on a fight. You cannot pacify or reason with him.

He fights with drivers, passengers, paraga sellers, prostitutes and other conductors. The street is his boxing ring. Fighting is a way of life for him. He who loses, only lives to fight another day, he says. For him, it is one day, one trouble. For some time now, Buoda Ayo has taken on a new hobby – taunting Baba Adakeja, without provocation, pulling his beard and taking flight. He throws potshots at Baba Adakeja, Baba will not talk. He hired some area boys and armed them with megaphones to disturb the peace of Baba Adakeja, the man did not respond. He has accused Baba of all sorts, the man has ignored him, yet Buoda Ayo will not stop. He says he has immunity and has become a figure and Opposition tout in the community, and so must continue to speak, even if it does not make sense.

Only recently, one of Baba’s mai-guards, investigating an incident of stolen yams from the neighbourhood barn traced some of the yams to Buoda Ayo’s backyard, in a barn behind his house. His team decided to cordon off the place so that the yams will remain intact and not be tampered with. Now, more than ever, Buoda Ayo is in rage. He has pulled off his shirt, saying he is ready for a fight, claiming he has immunity and is even ready to die over this matter.

The people have been asking though – How come you have so many tubers of yam when you are not a farmer? He has no answer? Did you buy them? How much did you declare to be in your pocket when you hijacked the bus from the other conductor? How come you have so many tubers of yam stored away when people are so hungry that they have taken to stealing pots of amala? How come you have so many yams and the mortar has not waxed lyrical in almost a full season? Buoda Ayo is yet to respond though. But he is pointing his finger in the direction of Baba Adakeja, who characteristically, has not said a word. Buoda Ayo has found a way of bringing Mama Adakeja into the arena, even when there is no evidence to back his claim, but Baba will not budge. His town crier has only served Buoda Ayo a warning of the implications of his claim in very strong words.

Sources tell us though that there is much to be learnt, in this case, from the words of wisdom offered by another town crier – one of the three community leaders of the former society of king makers, a Sheriff from the town of a warring god. He asks: How do you pull down a man’s trousers in the market and then take him inside the room to say you are sorry? Perhaps Buoda Ayo can tell. Definitely, time will tell.

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