Monday, January 30, 2017

The Hyena Anecdote

The hyena is a scavenger, but a usurper at that.  It comes around when other animals have done their work and meat is ready. A pack of hyena will always appear out of the blue to commandeer their own portion of the reward of another fauna’s labour.

In a park, the clan of hyenas assumed that their bravado had been taken for granted and no animal would dare put up a resistance whenever a pack of hyenas would come to harvest where they had not sowed.  As you may know, the hyenas are a lazy and loathsome pack.

A time came when other members of the park decided to turn the heat on the hyenas.  It was time to make inroads upon the clan of lazy but greedy and gluttonous hyenas and do away with them.  So they agreed to set bonfire in a crescent around the clan of the hyenas so that the only way of escape from the fire would be the opposite direction.

Spearheading the fire plan was the pride of lions.  The lions would lay ambush in the direction that the hyenas would run in their flight from the searing heat.

At the sudden burst of fire around the clan, the hyenas took to their fours in the race for life toward the only avenue of escape.  The lions waiting in ambush pounced, tearing in pieces many of the hyenas; while those that ran back went headlong into the raging bonfire.  The carcasses of the hyenas lay wasting in the field for vultures to feast on, as the flesh of the hyena is not a nutritious meal for other members of the fauna.  Thus ended the inimical presence of the worthless hyenas in the park.

If only a people will rise and call the bluff of the hyena-like loafers in their community, then the community will be liberated from those who laze about but looking toward harvesting where they neither laboured nor sowed.  The writer Chinua Achebe called them “efulefu.”  Yes, ndi efulefu must be resisted and put where they belong.

Those who do not work do not deserve to eat. And the Bible supports this concept. (2 Thes 3:10-12)

Frank Monye
27 January 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Gilbert Carter


The month of January appears to be crucial in the life of Gilbert Carter who was governor of the British Colony of Lagos from 1891 to 1898.  He was born on 14 January 1848 in England, died on 18 January 1927 in Barbados; his first wife died on 13 January 1895 in Lagos.  One can say that January meant life and death for Thomas Gilbert-Carter (Jnr).

As governor of the Colony of Lagos, Gilbert Carter would appear to be the first to move hinterlands on military expeditions – to further conquer the land – first to Ijebuland, then to Egbaland on route to Ibadan, Oyo and Ife.

Carter seemed to have enjoyed his interactions with the Egbas and so much was his fond memories of Ilaro (then regarded as part of Egbaland) that his second wife Gertrude Parker named the British colonial governor’s residence in Barbados “Ilaro Court.”   He had been transferred from Lagos in 1898 to Bahamas, then to Trinidad & Tobago and finally to Barbados where he ruled from 1904 up to his retirement in 1911. 

Ilaro Court in the parish of St. Michael, Barbados, was completed in 1919 – eight years after Carter had retired from the Colonial Service.  But as the memory of his Ilaro encounters lingered, Carter returned in the 1920s to Barbados and lived in Ilaro Court where he died on 18 January 1927.  Ilaro Court has remained the residence of the prime ministers of Barbados to date.

Diokpa Ndukwe A. Atube always talks about the need for an Olubor Hall in Lagos; and I am thinking that with the above historical narrative, we can brace up and do the needful in this regard.  Olubor natives in Lagos as well as in the Diaspora can, individually or collectively, put up an edifice if only to emblazon the name OWERRE-OLUBOR in faraway places.  We have seen how doing a similar thing has popularized the Egbas (or precisely, the Egbado, now Yewa people) outside Egbaland. 
In this era of cooperation and development, let the glorifying of Owerre-Olubor be our preoccupation, even if it means realizing this in other areas of human endeavours or actions.  Perhaps, a native may name his house outside the native land OWERRE OLUBOR VILLA, or OWERRE OLUBOR LODGE, or OWERRE OLUBOR COTTAGE.  In the same vein, a street in another city can be named OWERRE OLUBOR STREET if an Olubor native were the first developer on the street; for example, Eloseh Street in Surulere (Lagos) might have been named OWERRE OLUBOR STREET by Chief Nwankwor Elosie.  In Lagos alone there are more than a dozen streets named ABEOKUTA, rather than the personal names of the first Egba developers. 

It is in the above contexts that I remember the colonial governor Thomas Gilbert Carter (Jnr) who died today in 1927.  And lest we forget, Carter Bridge in Lagos was named after him.

Frank Monye: Lagos, 18 January 2017