The Agbalagbas Make Mistakes Too -Pope Jay
I am a Yoruba boy and from my conception till now, I have been in an environment that has instilled in me moral, physical and a lot of other values that depict this fact: the bitter herbal native concoctions my mother drank that almost made me rethink my coming to the world, the variety of slaps I received when I gave an elder something with my left hand, the beautiful headwear popularly called the ‘fila’ in the native tongue that a man was to carefully bend towards the right and its feminine version known as the “gele” with which ladies do a lot of tricks to their head, I have to mention the sweat of satisfaction that oozes from your body after a meal of hot Amala with Gbegiri and Ewedu soup (popularly and politically known as abula) or the heavy satisfaction you experience from Iya Ekiti’s Pounded yam and Egusi. These are but a few perks of this Culture. So YES! The Yoruba Culture of Nigeria is a beautiful and well loaded one.
However just like every other good thing, it has its Shortcomings. One of these Shortcomings is the incorrect portrayal of the Elder as perfect. In the Yoruba and most of the other tribes in Nigeria, a man is expected to learn from his day to day experiences and use these lessons to guide the younger ones in order to avoid his mistakes and improve on his achievements and so it is therefore expected of a child not just to respect someone older than him/her but to also obey without question their instruction. But every once in a while, the elder forgets that he himself is still in the learning process and lets himself get corrupted by unnecessary pride that comes with being in a position of power.
Another beautiful part of my culture and most of the diverse cultures in Nigeria is our variety of Proverbs which are mostly composed and used by the elders. Perhaps these wise men noticed that even the elders are not immune to mistakes and the Children are not always wrong as they noted this in one of their proverbs; “Omode gbon, Agba gbon lafi da ile ife” which means that it is the joint mental contribution of both adults and the younger ones that makes any society grow. I would then love to tell that mother who wrongly punished Junior that it is not a taboo to apologize and that Baba that he should listen to what that omo kekere has to say sometimes.