Drumito’s Lonely Trek
When I was admitted to the Polytechnic Ibadan, Iree Satellite Campus, in old Oyo State, my father, of blessed memory, warned me sternly. In his words, he cautioned; “Never you join any secret cult or Kegites. If you do, you will face a serious consequence.” With all obedience, I nodded, signifying my readiness to carry out his words to the letter. But when I got to the campus, having witnessed ‘gyrations,’ ‘Olobeyiotos,’ and various initiation ceremonies, I was thinking within my mind that I might join the Kegite club.
After witnessing various activities of the club, especially seeing their Chiefs, in ‘Agbada’ (The free overflowing cloth with wide sleeves) holding horse tails, and other ‘congos’ (ordinary members) in their simple ‘dansiki,’ (another attire not as big and wide as agbada) clad in their full regalia during both mini and world ‘gyrations’ I was already developing an affection for the club, even in disobedience to my dad’s warning.
One day after the lecture, I joined others to attend a mini gyration in their shrine (meeting ground), I was fascinated by their strange but unique language, which is a corruption and modulation of English, French, Latin and other languages combined. Terms such as ‘May you walk and never stumble, wataisi wataiso,’ ‘sunkrunmus, sunramus’ and the like, are common languages of the Kegites.
I also became fascinated by their greetings (locking your index finger with the same finger as the person being greeted). Their songs are a mix of borrowed Christian, Islamic and secular songs, which became melodious by the time those songs were blended with a well-arranged and orchestrated drum beating, giving rhythmic flow, led by the ‘Songito.’
The drum particularly arrested my interest being that I’m endowed with a unique skill of drum beating. I could manipulate any set of drums which was why when I attended the mini gyration this time, I was drafted as one of their drummers after seeing my artistry at manipulating drums, thus beginning my journey into the Kegites Club, of which afterwards I became a ‘Drumito.’
However, I had a close shave with death the day I was coronated as the Head of Drumito (HoD) of ‘Ilya du Poly,’ Iree Satellite Campus, under the leadership of Coordinator ‘Kokorikoko.’
This was to reward my artistry in drum beating and my loyalty to the club. By the time I became the HoD, I automatically became a member of Ground Counsellors (GC), the highest ruling body of the club.
During the coronation, a whole keg of palm wine was poured on me and I was completely drenched, even though I was not drunk. The ceremony was held after midnight, by 2:0 clock in the morning. When we rounded off the activities and dispersed, each member went home.
My hall, (Yaro Hall) which was off campus, was a little bit far. I had to trek home alone in the dead of the night. By the time I was going dead silence pervaded the night, and I could hear odd sounds.
I could hear the chirping of birds, and the classic summery insect noises by katydids, crickets, and cicadas. The night was eerie-shriek and I was scared stiff.
Earlier, the conglomerate of security outfits in the community had declared zero tolerance for night marauding and late-night movement. This was because the incidences of burglary, theft and armed robbery were rampant. Hence, they needed to beef up security and make vigilance activities more intense. The night guards were mean.
As I was trekking alone, inching my way through narrow roads linking one street to the other, I was completely overwhelmed by fear. I was thinking in my mind that if anything bad should happen to me, I would be blamed for it because my father had warned me.
It came to a situation where there was no longer any hiding place for me, because one way or the other, I needed to come out from the narrow passage I was trekking through and walk on the main road that led to my hall of residence.
But quite unfortunately, I did not know a night guard had sighted a figure (me), even though he wasn’t sure exactly what it was. I too saw his scary figure and I made an attempt to move back unnoticed but alas, the guard did not waste time.
He blasts his Dane gun, gboa! Whether he shot in the air or aimed at me, I would not know. I stood still, breathing hard, perspiring profusely. Perhaps the shot missed its target because I couldn’t feel anything except that my heart was pounding hard.
‘Come out from there if you don’t want to lose your life!’ the guard ordered. By this order, I knew there wasn’t any alternative other than to hearken to the hoarse voice blasting out at me.
I moved. My legs wobbled, and what remained of me was dragged out under trepidation, however still drenched, reeling from the sickening stench of the odour of palm wine. When I came out into the open, I quickly knelt, pleading, stuttering and telling them what they did not ask me. I described who I was. Later I was led into the main road.
Besides the guard that ordered me to stop, other guards were coming out from their hiding places one after the other. They looked mean, and their clothes dripped with the mixture of alcohol and their body odour.
They hung cutlasses, knives and other objects by their sides. They all wore amulet jackets embellished with objects like seed pods, shells, animal horns, feathers and many others, each clutching Dane guns.
They attempted to beat me but when I explained that I was a student they decided against it and started questioning me. I told them also that I belonged to the Kegite Club, and that I was coming from mini gyration.
The offensive odour of palm wine poured on me was a saving grace. They could make some deductions and the reason that I wasn’t a criminal but a drunkard. They warned me seriously and offered to see me off to my hall to determine the veracity of my statement.
When we got to Yaro Hall, they called out the landlord, while other students living in the hall also came out to know what has happened. Everyone saw me. I was ashamed.
The landlord pleaded with the guards after identifying me as one of the students living in that hall. That was how I was released. When I got into my room, I was downcast. What if I had been shot? What if my dad knew about the incident?
One day after the lecture, I joined others to attend a mini gyration in their shrine (meeting ground), I was fascinated by their strange but unique language, which is a corruption and modulation of English, French, Latin and other languages combined. Terms such as ‘May you walk and never stumble, wataisi wataiso,’
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