The Ibru Palm Trees of Agbara-Otor


Teacher’s Diary

Akpofure Ibru – my friend, who is even more my husband’s friend, could never have guessed that I hold his origins and his family’s in such high thoughts. I know it’s only the little me (at the moment), but “the young shall grow! Amen. The palm trees of Nigeria’s Olorogun Micheal Ibru sway ceaselessly to the left and the right sides of the major motorways of Agbarha Otor. Their leaves continue to ensure that oxygen is continuously generated to this lovely village. I am a wife to the Urhobos, but very early in marriage, I fell in love with peaceful-fresh Igbuku Orogun and its environs like Agbarha Otor. To get to Igbuku Orogun, you have to pass by these luminous palm tree plantations of Akpofure Ibru’s extended family.

The thing about these palm trees, that arise from Agbarha soil, is that it assures me that locked in these villages are potential that will come to the fore and join other efforts to make Nigeria great again. A single palm tree has well over 70 products that can be generated from it. Examples are: baskets, palm oil, bio-fuel, vinegar, forage and twine, to mention a few. So whenever I pass by these palms, I bask in the ‘voices’ of hope that their fronds are innocently making and say a prayer for the great family of the Ibru’s that gave them birth.

I had a confirmation that I was correct about the presence of current latent potential in this area of Nigeria (as it is in the rest of our villages) a couple of weeks ago. As we turned into our own street, my arty-ears twerked to a Djay’s music-mix coming out of a not very sophisticated mixing console. For me, the arty-ness of this d-jay was in his choice and blend of music. He was cleverly blending Nigeria and international R&Bs, Soul, Rock, PopRap, Jazz and Hip Hip…but he did most justice to the likes of Tiwa, Davido, Phyno, D’bang, 2face and Wizkid. “Who is that?” I asked my answer came as we turned into our compound and an over-zealous older nephew-in-law screeched an eviction order at this raw talent to pack up and vamoose! Run he did, with speed.

At 6am on day wo of our stay-over, we woke up to an Afro mix by this local Djay’ nephew of mine. He had positioned himself at the bush behind our compound – console and generator, and began to serenade the air with his mixes. My husband hissed: “Ha! That stubborn boy again!” I turned away sadly and said, “no he is crying for help!” Our bestie-couple friends that had come away with us couldn’t contain themselves, they got out of bed, in their adjourning room and began to work-out with this young man’s mixes. In fact, in minutes, we turned the whole thing into an early morning general exercise session. By 8am, our local Djay had been given two complimentary cards by two people who were going to use him in Lagos for occasions in the new future.

Dear Nigerian youths, the key to success is relentless and belief in yourself, amongst other virtues. This raw-Djay talent bravely assaulted our rest to be heard. To everyone like me, who keeps pressing and prodding at my daily obstacles, I say “chin-up!” After the rain comes the sun. Your joy will come Nigerian child and you will be heard. You will not all excel in the academics. Even royalty needs manicurists, cleaners and tailors. Professionalise what you are good at! Don’t rest, keep going dear child.

Omoru writes from the UK