Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
Jumu’ah (Friday) August 24th, 2012: Back from a tour of Sokoto metropolis, I promptly knelt over some jotting paper to record my thoughts and experiences.
After performing my Asr (early evening) Prayers, I left my home at 16:20hours intending to pay a quick visit to a contact who wished to offer me some token for the Eid celebrations, go to the bank and return home. The evening turned out better than I had expected.
Despite making enquiries beforehand, I ended up in the wrong spot. The major road was familiar, though the inner neighbourhood was not – the dusty and bumpy street and faces I was not eager to see. Not good; I am very cautious of my movements in this city.
The day I arrived Lagos in 1995, I boarded a commercial vehicle and explored parts of the city. Sokoto is retrogressive and entrenched in culture; any act – even if encouraged in Islam – not acceptable in the culture of the land earns one real-life horror.
Apparently my destination has two locations at opposite ends of the city. Our rendezvous was at the headquarters of Rima Radio and not its subsidiary, which was obviously better known.
Headed in that direction, I wondered why I had consented to the meeting. I had previously not been to the neighbourhood, and sincerely was not interested. The name of the neighbourhood itself filled me with consternation.
And there was the setting – broad dual-carriageway, moderate vehicular and pedestrian traffic and clean atmosphere. To my surprise, my acquaintance requested I disembark with the assurance that he would take me home. Although I had other plans for the evening, politeness meant I accepted the offer and waited briefly while he returned in his vehicle.
The journey home turned out to be a driving cruise around the city. He wanted to show me the city, he said. Oh! That was my initial intention when I relocated to Sokoto six years ago, so much so that I would ask my former guardian – one of the very few individuals of Hausa-Fulani origin to welcome me and despite immense pressures from his people – to take me along when he travels to his village. He was, however concerned about being inundated with questions regarding my identity.
I have travelled reasonably well and have lived in various societies. My spirit is such that I can pick up and travel easily to any region, until I crash landed in Sokoto and have since become conscious of my whereabouts.
We drove through some neighbourhoods, my companion as the tour guide, got close to the resting place of Shaykh Usman Danfodiyo and past the palace of Sultan Abubakar Sa’ad III. Have you met the Sultan? Nope, not after the indigenes made clear I was not welcomed in their land.
The cruise had to be discontinued, as I was beginning to feel nauseous and wanted to get home – too much sight-seeing for one day.
The evening’s excitement ended with an Iftar of ram suya (steak) – a sumptuous treat, a bottle of coke topped up with a bottle of malt.