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My Yoruba Introduction in Kabba

my yoruba introduction

My going to Kabba for my Yoruba Introduction is not your regular travel experience out of Lagos. I can’t remember the last time I went that far away from Lagos. So, I decided in my mind of mind, and for the very life of me, to enjoy the experience as much as I can. More so, when it was mentioned by my wife-to-be that there are annual events slated for the time period we would be in Kabba; I looked forward to not just to do the Intro, but to also lap up every beautiful experience Kabba has to offer. You cannot make someone’s son literally go that extra mile to claim his bride, and not organize series of events to grace his celebrated presence. Nah! Mi o ni gba.

my yoruba introduction

Reluctant To Travel For My Yoruba Introduction

Travelling many miles across the southwest of Nigeria with my family to meet my bride-to-be extended family for a proper Yoruba introduction in kabba is, one adventure I did not envisage. When it was deliberated on that we choose either our introduction or wedding to be done in Kabba, I asked questions because I didn’t find it to be a comfortable enterprise. This is borne out from the fact that my fiancé’s parent reside in the outskirts of Lagos; why cant we just save everybody the stress of moving such far distances on roads that are ‘very encouraging to travel on’ all over Nigeria.

It was a “meeting at a middle ground” situation when it was explained how, from their own side, they have to involve their people in Kabba town. Because they are a close-knit family and it has been a tradition especially for their daughters to go back to their home of origin for Introduction and Wedding. To avoid a stalemate of some sort, we had to give in from my side. Shebi na me dey look for wife. Let’s have the Yoruba introduction in Kabba, and Wedding in Lagos where we have known important players for the wedding.

My Yoruba Introduction In A Faraway Land

How long a distant can you go to begin the first official step into putting a MRS on someone’s daughter name. How long a distant can you go to prove that you are serious about getting married to the lady you want to spend the rest of your life with. Many artiste have been singing about crossing many seven oceans and mountains to meet the love of their lives. Contrary to the how sweet that utopia might feel like, the news of me having to travel all the way from Lagos to Kogi state did not meet me well. It was with much hesitation I welcomed that idea. Again, shebi na me dey look for wife.

Familiar Stranger

Never Been To Iyamoye Almost Forever

Funny thing is, you would think I am going to a geographical area that is totally foreign to me for my Yoruba introduction. Kabba alongside my home town, Iyamoye, in Ijumu Local Government form what is known as Okun community in Kogi State. A community of Yoruba speaking people, who were cut off from Ekiti, Ondo and kwara states, and made to be minorities in a new state known as Kogi. Born and bred in Lagos… the only time I ever visited home was more than 25years ago. You cant totally blame me for not being enthusiastic about going home, away from where I have known as home.

No Man’s Land

My Yoruba introduction in Kabba, and forming a new family, is taking me straight back home where I have no real connections. The irony, right? Who knows, maybe this is an opportunity to form new homegrown connections and revive the ones that were hitherto skeletal. Even Lagos, where my life began, is not what I would describe as a ‘hometown.’ A hometown shouldn’t be where you have so many crazies on the streets. And such a population explosion bearing down on the physical infrastructure and social amenities…. to such a deplorable level that an old, seemingly slow woman could play a fast one on you, in a bid to be the first to board a danfo. A proper picture — dog eat dog. No wonder the Igbos in Lagos claim Lagos is no man’s land. Say that to the Oba of Lagos.

From “no man’s land” to a land I can lay claim to as my hometown, I embark on a journey that will remove the woman of my dream, Omotoyosi, from the market of faworaja-s, sarewagba-s, shokoto tantirin-s, a lai ni nkan se-s, just the tip-s, Yoruba demons etc Imagine Omotoyosi, while growing up to be the woman that she is today, the regular on slaught from these female heart miscreants, but she ended up being mine? Being someone that doesnt spend all his energy on chasing a woman down, I am one lucky dude for having this spectacular babe to be my future bride.

How We Met

Before My Yoruba Introduction

How I met and fell for this rugged beauty is a tale of a man who discovers unpolished gold, holds on to it even though the stones are easier to pick and look most preferred by everyone around him. Such a precious gem that, you have to be well grounded and level headed like me to realise she’s not the type you will come across and want to let go. Her type is for keeps. Some of us open our eyes but open our minds even wider in order to see her type. Thank God for the life of me.

Just Mother and Father In-Law

my yoruba introduction

The thought of travelling to meet my fiancé’s relatives and extended-extended relatives and extended-extended-extended relatives is not one I am eager to process. My world could just come to the slowest of speeds thinking about all the Yoruba traditional protocols that I have to observe for me to be deemed suitable for their daughter. By the way, if all the modalities would just stop at my father and mother in-law’s doorstep, oh my God, haven’t we just had a perfect Yoruba introduction in Kabba! We are best buddies LOL. However, my babe made matters worst when she told me she has a great grandmother I have to meet in Kabba. You cannot imagine the stress I put myself under just thinking about how son in-law(ish) I have to be in front of a generation that predates my grandfather.

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Unforgiving Speed To Kabba

It would have been a bit of solace if what I was told about the heavy traffic at the mouth of Lagos-Ibadan express road actually happened, that morning of 21st of Dec. That would have afforded me some delay from the inevitable. But, no. For my overexaggerated humiliation, the road was as smooth as butter on a slice bread.

And you need to see how fast, like an F1 racer, this bus driver was taking sharp turns, overtaking other vehicles on the road just to get me and others to Kabba; right in front of the people I have been hesitant to meet. He must be in on this plot to humiliate me. I should normally not be apprehensive about meeting my fiancé’s generations upon generations, but there are expectations. I had no idea what to expect even though I have talked about it with my babe. But God no go shame us. We move, still. That girl must be taken from them, by introduction in Kabba and by wedding in Lagos.

my yoruba introduction

Stop Over at Iyamoye

I made a stopover at my hometown, Iyamoye to get acquainted with my stranger Uncle who was to represent my father at the occasion. Man told me on phone that I needed to come see him before completing my journey to Kabba. He did not want to get to the venue of the introduction and be confused about who he came to stand as father for. In our brief meeting, I got to know about the land ‘we’ were fighting the neighbouring town, Ekinrin-ade for. In my mind, even though I acted all interested, my battle was not with Ekinrin-ade over land. It was with the whole of Kabba over Omotoyosi. “Balogun lehin obinrin” abi?

Uncertainty About My Introduction

Many months until the Dday, my mind had been meandering between certainty and uncertainty; between my whole son in-law outlook and the expectations; whether I still want to go ahead with the program or not. In all of this, one thing was certain: I HAVE FOUND THE ONE FOR ME. But no reasonable parent will just mail-in their daughter for you to wife up. My brother, there’s a process through which this is done. if not for that, we are no different from animals that live only by their instinct. It seemed, the months prior to 22nd Dec, would just stay or slow abruptly down for me to enjoy the excuse of not arriving at the date of my Yoruba Introduction in Kabba, yet. Unfortunately, I had no power over time, hence, here we are — The 22nd of December 2020.

Seeing Preparations

Despite the delays I prayed for which God did not answer, I could not wait for the dawning of 22nd Dec., the night of 21st. A beautiful workday Tuesday, perfect for excuses given as to the reason some of my relatives could not make the date with me. The sun shining to its brightest. Plus the unrelenting effect of the harmattan on everything including my breathe. I am dressed in my white long sleeve top and trouser, looking through the window of this beautifully built family house of my in-laws. It is the decoration and setting of the canopies and the chairs in the wide backyard I am observing. And I am wondering if we are having a Yoruba introduction or a Yoruba engagement ceremony.

A Rare Privilege

Meeting Toyosi’s Great Granny

For someone who didnt get to meet any of his grannies from father side, and granpa from mother’s, I count meeting omotoyosi’s grandmother, great grandmother, a rare privilege. Paricularly when I met her great grandmother, the way she recieved me, it was spectacular. At first she didnt recognise I was her great grand daughter’s husband-to-be. By the time it was explained to her who I was, oh my God, the outpouring of soulful prayers came rushing at me like a flood even though great grandma’s posterior was not threatening. It felt like I was the answer to her seeing her great great grand child or children. You know that kind of prayer that will push you to add to the population of the world just to make a statement. Hey, I would love kids that have the “great great grand” title no doubt. I just hope and pray that God keeps this great grand beauty alive and strong enough to witness the arrival of her great great grand kids from Omotoyosi.

Yoruba Introduction in Kabba Like Engagement

my yoruba introduction

If Omotoyosi had not given me a heads up on how elaborate they go about preparing for a Yoruba introduction in the Ajibade family, I would think it is only a private gathering of in-laws-to-be wanting to get to know each other. Something to be done in the confines of Omotoyosi’s family living room. No fanfare, no music, nothing special. Just two families starting the process of not being strangers to each other. And the usual treating-your-guest-well and making them feel comfortable and accepted. By the way, I would believe we already had our Yoruba introduction when I took my parents to see Omotoyosi’s parents. It was a private affair with deep conversations. A deep rooted Mo mi n mo.

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Are We Married

This Much Put Into Introduction Means Marriage

Well, like I said, we move. If this event that has all the trappings of a well planned Yoruba engagement is what the Ajibades call an introduction, let the heavens rejoice with us this day. No retreat, no surrender. They are doing their own introduction while I am already doing my own Yoruba wedding. Toyosi had better not see herself as engaged. Since we are in the business of going-the-extra-mile, my ebony queen is already married. In fact, she has given birth to children upon children for me. Thank you very much.

My Yoruba Introduction Proper

Yoruba Introduction Like No Other

my yoruba introduction

Our “mo o mi n mo” started with the two alagas hired to anchor the event doing all the introductions. My parents were well represented by Captain Idris (as father) and mama Janet (as mother), both for the occasion, and a few other relatives from mother and father side, all from Iyamoye. From Lagos, I had Omoniyi (lil bro) and Uncle Lanre from mum’s side show their support. And sitting directly opposite my beautiful people from Iyamoye, was Mr. and Mrs. Segun Ajibade (Toyosi’s parents), her uncles and aunts, grannies and the rest of her Kabba relatives.

An Epic Gathering

my yoruba introduction

To be trivial, the gathering had the appearance of an epic battle about to happen between two opposing sides. One side is just waiting for the other to make a wrong move and the consequence of that would be the deciding factor in this introduction saga. Nevertheless, the only move that made the ‘standoff’ worth the wait was, the arrival of my iyawo afesana and her entourage of awon iyawo ile. We had not served Lagos enough of the opportunity of seeing this black beauty, we went all the miles to Kogi State to give them “hot-hot” while stock last.

My Own Bride-to-be

My dark chocolatey, in the midst of awon iyawo ile, dancing and taking leisure steps toward her people, saw all heads turn and attention stiff, at her direction. Sitting at the back in the midst of my people, I could see the smile of satisfaction on their faces. I was not expecting it. But I could see my people, both old and young, stand up from there sit like kids rushing toward the ice-cream man. “2 seconds everything burst,” and it became a joint ushering in of my bride-to-be. And you know how we do it at events in Nigeria; when we come together to dance with the bride and groom, naira drops… just like how it competes on the foreign exchange market.

Getting The Permission To Present Me

my yoruba introduction

It took some persuasion from the alagas to get everybody to go back to their sit. As for Toyosi, it was time to inform her parents, uncles, aunts and relatives that she was bringing her intending husband for proper introduction. It was quite a ceremony. Alagas sure know how to compound telling your parent “I want to bring my husband-to-be oh; please him accept oh.” Did they give Toyosi the permission to bring me? I was sure about their YES when Toyo came bearing in her hand a red cap. She could not mistake whose head the cap fit because it had to be the most handsome guy in the whole of Iyamoye.

By the way, I remembered how unsettled my mind was because I wasn’t sure about what to expect from my faceless in-laws in Kabba. Then it was time to go hand locked with Toyo right in front of the same people and be introduced formally as her husband-to-be. My mind of mind had to prepare itself because I had to see this through. God help my situation. I had come to a point of no return. The big elephant in the room had to be dealt with once, and for all.

Facing My Fears

Standing Before My Relatives in-law

To God be the glory, I wasn’t stuck to my seat. That would have been my saving grace, but I wasn’t stuck. I moved my legs and they were able to move. Wow! We were supposed to dance as we progressed to Toyosi’s family side. I tried dancing and slow down our progression a little bit, but madam won’t have it. She practically help my hand tight as I tried to pull her away from our steady and unceremonious movement toward her family.  I thought we were suppose to dance as a couple but I saw us marching instead because my own babe was applying decorum. Anyway, we got ourselves right in front of my in-laws and extended in-laws.

One Little Victory At A Time

I was basking in the euphoria of my victories; of being able stand freely in front of my in-laws that I could not follow through with the first few instructions given by the alaga. I was too lost in the fact that there were no fiery darts fired at me. I did not see arrows flying straight for my heart. And no one had fire blazing on their head. I took momentary looks to observe and I found out that these were just beautiful people. When I finally came back to myself, I was able to connect with the alaga. She gave me some drilling. But it was few. She did not stress me at all.

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Words had it that the items I brought, as per the Introduction list, was robust and well presented. Particularly of the fruits, the Iyawo Iles were so pleased with it. Words like oko Toyosi ma try yi. awon eso gidi lo ra wa. That alone gladdened my heart. looked like it wasn’t so hard to please my kind of in-laws. So, the Alaga picked these Items one by one to show my in-laws this I have brought for the Introduction list. Each Item had good significance in the way it is used to pray for thee successful outcome of a couples relationship beyond the wedding level. One good example was when the alaga picked a bunch of good looking bananas and she said we are going to be fruitful and have as many children as that bunch. Yes, I want my Yoruba children, BUT not as many. SCHOOL FEES!

Who Doesn’t Like a Good Thing

Talking about presenting something well packaged and pretty to the in-laws… my very own black, smashing, natural beauty, was presented to my families. The girl that looks so fine in all weather, was presented to my families. So rugged a beauty, I have seen ‘finer’ babes, only under humongous plastering of make ups. Babe so fine, i told her “just a light make up will do for your face. I dont want anybody doing practical with your face. Don’t allow anybody add those things to your face that will make you look like fireworks” My eyes were wide open to the market, to choose a beauty not celebrated by the mainstream, and one with the natural inclination toward a wholesome family life. How we met is a story for another time.

Advice and Prayers

About Life After My Yoruba Introduction

What followed was words of admonition from Toyosi’s big uncle and Revd. Alonge from my side. Then we had Toyosi’s parent come to pray for us. And my parents for the occasion, Mama Janet and Capt. Idris, they also prayed. And what better way to end my flamboyant yoruba introduction in Kabba if not with fanfare and dance. So, to bring all to a close, we danced with everyone who assembled around us. You know the usually; how naira drops like it does in forex market. It was a naira rain galore. Finally, for as many who were fans of us for that day, we had photo shoot with.

Botched Fun Events in Kabba

Abo Masquerade Festival Pulled Through

 

I had plans of going to Kabba to enjoy not just my introduction but the other events I was told about. We went to Ogidi (father in-law’s hometown in Kogi State) 20min drive from Kabba, to see the Nike Arts Gallery but there was no show. The place was deserted. And I was excited about going to a place they call Obangogo Waterfall but we got news that it was not going to hold because of COVID19, same as Nike Art Gallery. However, what came as a consolation to me was the Abo Festival that the gods of Kabba land did not allow COVID19 to consume.

As a professional photographer/videographer, I had to document it in photo and video. If I didn’t have it documented, I think I will be filling your screen with text of how it went. Just enjoy the photos and video if you will.

Conclusion

Vote of Thanks

Like dieties that require you to go through some processes in order to appease them or get what you want from them; humans are no different. And for a man who knows his woman did not drop from the sky, he knows there are people he needs to see before taking their daughter. We are only small gods in material human form. I went on a journey to a place I am not used to because it was required of me: my sacrifice to the gods that will gift me Omotoyosi. Anyway, I had a great time with these human gods. I want to thank my parents for their support and my people from Lagos, Abuja and Iyamoye. Uncle Adex came all the way from the U.S. for this occasion. Thank you sir for making the journey. My mother and father in-law who made the whole affair like that of two families and not in-laws. Thank you very much. And Kabba people who made me feel at home. Thank you. Dad Tosin and Omoniyi. Thank you very much. My good friends: Miss Odili, Philip and Azizat, Tofunmi MADABE. Thank you. God bless.

By the way, there’s more where my Yoruba introduction photos came from. And I want a hashtag coined from a combination of our names for our 2021 Yoruba wedding ceremony. Mine is Mayomi. Hers is Omotoyosi. Let’s see who drops the most creative hashtag for us to tag our social media postings. Please use the comment section below. For best wishes, please comment below. For criticism, comment too. You are all welcome.

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