Plantains are agricultural products that Nigeria could earn foreign exchange from, just like the prestigious palms that prospered the nation of Malaysia, which was said came to Nigeria to take palm seedlings. It is a common contemporary tale that Malaysia succeeded where Nigeria has been irresponsible. Just like the palm-tree, the whole embodiments of plantain tree are useful; as consumable for humans and animals, with the leaves and trunks also usable for industrial purposes. Rainfalls in southern part of Nigeria this year have been around for about ten months, eating tremendously into the period of dryness, as plants that should have suffered from acute water shortage are still relishing in the benevolence of nature.
Unfortunately, some Nigerians are still given to laziness and stealing, while others have been enticed by the revolutionary farming of tomatoes, ‘the king’s gold’. We hope a revolution will happen in the growing of rice soon, as governments get responsible in creating reasonable off-takers for farmers’ products.
Among the many ways plantain fruits could be eaten is when they are allowed to ripe, and fried as dòdò. Either sliced in bits or cut into cubes, dòdò is a friendly accompaniment to other human meal contents like rice, beans, omelette, etc. The ripeness of plantain adds a unique sweetness that the unripe ones are not noted for. Even though unripe plantains have been taunted as having more health and nutritional benefits to the human body, they are not as desired as the ripe ones. Curiously, it is the opinion of some that sweetness has a way of diminishing one’s worth in life, as bitterness is believed teaches values and secures respite for the future.
Frying a ripe plantain, using vegetable oil, is considered tastier by city dwellers that are committed to status-making, while the use of palm oil is considered to be locally-inclined. Little wonder that a girl, who was visiting her man-friend, once insisted that the dòdò being prepared for her be fried with vegetable oil, as against palm oil. Incidentally, sugar daddies are no longer sacrificial, since the capitalist regime across the world preaches annihilation. Dòdò Ikire is in a class of its own!
One philosophical poetic saying in contemporary Yoruba socialisation that has popularised dòdò is the one to the effect that when one eats dòdò, apparently because of the sweetness, one would not be able to speak ‘òdodo’, which is the Yoruba word for truth. The linguistic similarity this has with the name of Kogi State governor-elect is very symbolically instructive, when viewed against the backdrop of truths and lies that characterised the recent governorship election in the state. The build-up to the election saw opposition elements claiming that Usman Ododo is a cousin from the same local government as Yaya Bello, the outgoing governor. Bello had disruptively ignored the calls for rotational consideration among the three political zones in Kogi State, and ignited the notation of politics as a game of number, through which he controversially secured abundant votes for his candidate, to beat other contestants.
However, the validity of democracy was questioned by the reported cases of sponsored violence and killings of members of opposition parties, with Dino Melaye lamentably displaying pieces of election sheets that he claimed were purportedly criminally used to diminish the votes of other candidates and inflate those of Ododo on a television show. Melaye has vowed to seek òdodo (truth) in court, in order to reverse the victory of Ododo, but other watchers are of the unverifiable but conjecturing opinion that the Nigeria judiciary has been sufficiently fed with dòdò, and would not be able to say òdodo (truth).
Ironically, truth is endangered species in the camps of Nigeria politicians, as they appoint themselves as regulators and holders of truth anytime they feel disadvantaged by a system like the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC). In both Imo and Bayelsa, members of the opposition are posturing as defenders of truth, while Hope Uzodinma and Douye Diri are configured as harbingers of falsehood. Anyway, somebody has educated me that democracy is about rigging, that would always favour the most popular candidate.
The police are still looking for the òdodo surrounding the controversial death of Toluige Olokoobi, the mother of ‘mummy be calming down’ boy, Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, who was said to have committed suicide by hanging herself. The suspicion is that there is no trace around the neck of the deceased to confirm the hanging narrative, as the testimony of the neighbours of the husband was said to have contradicted his claim about the circumstances surrounding the death of the woman.
One would have wondered why the social media sensations created by this family, particularly the connection of the family to Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State, who identified with Oreofeoluwa then, could not kill the vampire or agent of death that eventually killed the unfortunate woman. Honestly speaking, if not that it is now too late; I would have joined Oreofeoluwa to appeal to his mother to ‘really calm down’, and escape from the circumscription that led to her death. The police may not find the truth about this hazy death, but we must say the òdodo (truth) that would set others in gender and emotional traps free.
In an apparent murdering of truth, a man arrested for defiling a five-year-old girl claimed he inserted his penis freely into her vagina, even as another man, Olaniran Lateef, a teacher, in Ogun State, was accused of allegedly raping two of her students within a week. Rape is the new uniform in town, used by both the poor and the rich to perform power and spirituality, and the society would continue to trade away the truth about this condemnable reality, preferring dòdò to òdodo. One hopes that rapists would soon start losing the object or instrument of their criminality, to prevent further onslaught, and deter others. The performance of rape is transcendental of spaces and creeds, and the violence done to victims is waiting for expression someday, as everybody is potentially vulnerable. We are all victims!
All over the world, people in the present generation that live in self-deceit and in love with half-truths have made a sing-song of ‘nothing-but-the-truth’ and ‘absolute truth’, as if embellishments are strange to their culture. Lies remain an escape from the bitterness or crudity of truth for many Nigerians. In the face of all the contradictions we are struggling with as a people, there is the urgent need to tell ourselves the truth that we are a religious but backward country that forgets that only righteousness exalts a nation.
We must tell ourselves the truth: that families are collapsing; that democracy in Nigeria is too rewarding, attractive and expensive; that the mental health of Nigerians is being debilitated, and they are being ravaged by the excruciating economy, buffeted by poverty and dislocated by foreign socialisation; that religions kill, when isolated from basic human standards, in relationship and co-existence. We must spew out the dòdò that is gagging our mouths, and speak the òdodo that will set us free.
Rather than waiting to blame a government when out of power, as again being done by PBAT and Nuhu Ribadu of Buhari’s regime, we must learn to always say the truth to defend our institutions and the nation. We must not forget the truth about restructuring governance in Nigeria. We must embrace the truths that will make our fertile land yield its increase, after we must have planted responsibly. We must emplace companies and industries that would convert our agrarian products to industrial production, for enhanced productivity and improved economy. We must acknowledge the truth that Nigeria future is being violently raped, as symbolised in the physical, economic and psychical rapes ongoing across all spheres. We must love the truth that democracy is about inclusivity, mutuality and dignity, and not for dying, as we have made the whole world to believe.
If in need of a take-away, kindly mind your interest in dòdò, that your space for òdodo would not be jeopardised!