Tolulope– Heroine From Beyond the Skies


(Pioneer Nigerian Female Combat Helicopter Pilot)

Ayon a yon!
Wo ‘Boro bi se yon galegale
Wo Boro
See how
This Exquisite Beauty from the skies
Glides, and bestrides
Our awe-stricken world;
She gallops and saunters
Foraging the skies;
Our warrior in the skies
Our woman of wars.

I have borrowed
One Ajon’s* cognomen
To decorate Yeyeyedo’s** offspring
From far atop the ancient hills of Ufe***.
This one is a warrior in the air
She is a warrior in a deluge of prayer.

You emerge
Fresh after early morning dewily dawn
And the warmth of your early sunrays
Taut our gaunt, cadaverous skins
Curing the bitterness of the vapid Harmattan Season
Of your December birth.

You came
With enlivening suntan of new sun rays
And we relish its soothing balm;
Soon enough it dawned in the dawn
That a new Messiah had arrived
From above the vaults of
The Ancient hills of Ufe,
Even in the KDJ Diaspora
With a periscope of redeeming forms
Permute the chaos of our world.

You are the lone cotyledon
That sprouts, and breaks open the glacial mound,
Promising the fruition of fresh phalanges of green beans
To the delight of subsistent farmers
The uncanny lyrics of Agbo**** can now be raised;
(Eni buru Elere mo je’Gi
No matter how dry the lands
The farmer of beans will eat fresh fruits):
Every generation must perforce produce its own Martyr
Your innocent eyeballs,
Very early in the morning
Has begun to drown the drought of our harrowed land.

Your promise
-That in the fullness of your time
You will fly the kites and planes of war
Rid our harassed and troubled land
Of murderous bandits, kidnappers,
A-K 47 –carrying herdsmen of dubious stock,
Cure our land of Boko Haram-
Has begun, just after the dawn
Of a freshly ripening day
To yield bountiful harvests;
Bringing mirth to the sorrow-surfeited souls-
Of our hapless land-
Where insecurity keeps our mind’s eyes open
All night long.

And, suddenly, suddenly
The killer of thunder–
Who brings certain death to the lightning in the stormy rain,
Breaking into the roaring socket of the sky
Routing the death- laden north-east forest,
Where hundreds of virgins before their teens
Have been converted into hapless mothers
From unknown, paters–
Has been slashed down
By mere freaky villains from yet uncovered destinations;
And yet unraveled motives.

And then,
The ardent hero-giant of our clime,
The maiden model of our time
Who harassed the forest mauling demonic dare-devilry argots,
Aiming to rid our land of death-dealers
Was halted, midrib.

Abruptly, so abruptly,
Before the moon has fully formed its song
On our nation’s thirsty lips
Awulele—thunderous ululations– have melted into wailings
Yangandan re-re-ja- praise chants– have exchanged batons for dirges
Our festival drums have fallen into sullen silence;
Joys of jubilation have yielded space to mournful mourning;
Yes, a convocation of dirges has spread
Across the surface of our earth.

Tolu our ardour heroine,
Carrying the touch ahead of the youth of the future—
Men and women;
Daughter of Arotile—
With a promise to supply the pillar that powers the house erect
(that’s the rendering of your name and the promise of your coming)
Only yesterday,
You led the land to victory song.
All that is left in that barn of harvest is a bouquet of tears
And the gnashing of sorrowful teeth.

You’re our rarest gift from the gods
(As your hurt and hurting mother confirms)
Whose early morning exploits
Daze and dazzle the world to stupefaction.
All we awaited, in the bright sunshine before yesterday,
Before the blight of gruesome death descended upon us
Was the Obitan nuptial tunes
Camwood on your hands and wedlock waters on your feet
(after more chivalrous epaulettes have been won)
Now, the house water- pot has been shattered
And the Palm-wine gourd broken into smithereens.
All the festive drums from Okunland have gone suddenly silent;
And the festive songs of Agbelege, Agbo, Obitan, Ejigi, Are iyawo, Tetebiare
Are hushed or gone raucous before the un-appointed day:
All choric voices from the cherubic choirs have gone mute;
On the whispering tales of end-time?

We are just witnessing the rise of a new Amazon
Sauntering forth from among the Galaxies of stars
To rev hope into our beleaguered Earth,
When the deluge of salt-water,
Welling forth from depths of sorrow,
Wrought by villainous forces of darkness on the prowl
Overcame our land,
Spawning a dreadful darkness on a bright sunny day.

I ask you, great daughter of our land;
Is this the death of dawn battling the eyelid of dew
Or a journey in search of an enduring Boon?

In the twilight of the eclipse of the dusky sun
And a flourish of light from a new moon,
Do we await the restoration of fresh hope
From the seeds that you have begun to sow?

I know
This story is not a flashy dash of an Elephant
Nor a brief occurrence of joyful times’;
You enthuse a bundle of hope;
An avalanche of early morning blessing
Whose sweetness we have begun to relish
In our season of drought

Dear Doyen,
Look down then from the Great beyond,
Hovering the sky with your iron plumage
With fresh plums of myriad bumpkin yields,
And farm harvests as new seasons grow–

If we mend our sordid ways
Bequeathed by the amblyopia of predators
And cut and tread new paths to the future.

Adieu too soon,
Minted morning icon
Joining the ancestors after mission hastily accomplished,
Having planted your many selves of heroes and heroines among us here;
Continue to return to us several, several times,
As ululations of your immortal self,
Thunder like cleansing rain from the Mangrove to the desert dunes.

(Your epopee has not been born;
The tongue to write your song still clings to the roof of our pen… with unformed alphabets)
*Ajoin is the Legendary/anthropomorphic Queen of Kirriland in Bunu, Kabba-Bunu Local Government, Kogi State, Nigeria
** Yeyeyedo is the heroine turned Deity of Ufe (Iffe), Ijumu LGA, Kogi State where Tolulope’s parents hail from.
*** Ufe is the alternative/original name of Iffe.
**** Agbo is a major Raffia Masquerade in Okunland.
Olu Obafemi,