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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

TWF Diaries Lost in Time

Tuesday June 1st 2009
Early start, I was vexed with Bayo’s sloppiness with the costumes ending up in a strange ugly Betty sokoto sofe and monkey jacket ensemble plus wacko Pocahontas plaits. We travelled out of town at dawn and were in the village bright and early.
The entry into the village was emotional for me as I went back to the summers of my childhood in Ida Ogun village with my wealthy but distant cocoa farmer grandfather and the extended family. The sight of the growing plants and food, the smell of the earth and chill of the air made me choke on my memories.

We arrived to a village saying a collective fervent prayer to God in an apparent daily praise and worship ritual. They received us very warmly without a trace of the apprehension and fear we got accustomed to in other states and communities. The women in particular were warm and happy. Even our new armed policemen were relaxed; we had said an emotional good bye to our machine gun wielding MOPOL officers in Benin at the border of Ondo.

What was disheartening though was how dirty the village was, something the community should be able to organize to fix.
They have no toilets, water or electricity so they defecate on the footpaths around the village and the paths to the farms and forest.

I thought they should do less praying and more fixing but then one must understand that the combination of the scarring of the past and grinding poverty has robbed the people of dignity and more.

On dignity, the hunter Ogunjimi, ode aperin, arinpa ogun ogun a gbe o (learnt that today) is a very regal, beautiful looking man in his thirties l imagine with the stillness born of spending so much time in the forest and a rich cadence of voice any broadcaster would envy. He also has the innate, wry humour of his people.
Born in the village and raised to follow the family tradition of hunting, he was very intriguing.

The people were all pretty outstanding actually, the hunters wife was sweet and had the most beautiful smile, the loquacious Ebenezer who claimed he could disappear but could not be a councillor, the work proud palm wine taper Godwin and his shy wife, the old mama, the boy who looked like a runway model, the children.

There was the curious thing with a sudden rash which came upon the sound guy Jeff and suddenly l saw my own skin welting up as did everyone except the darker skinned Nigerians. The non-Nigerians panicked and l got teased about being oyinbo but l assured them it was probably some insects’ bites and will disappear by end of the day.

Lunch time was revealing as the village gathered around our vehicles expectant until Bayo decided to start giving out to the children the biscuits and drinks the Iyeye had given us in Benin.
From now on, we must feed the people, especially the children in the communities we shoot.

What was also quaint was the way the entire village got in on the shoot, contributing, acting, doing great waka pass and watching without obstructing.
It is interesting how diverse the cultural and ethnic mix is and the harmony of their lives. Are the idanre people more accommodating than others or is it just that poverty, religious and fuelled political tensions have not overcome the natural order of things?

Afterwards we went to the state house to interview the governor and his wife which was pretty pedestrian except that this first lady was open, friendly and not power drunk also the governor appeared earnest and genuine in his intentions. Time will tell.
Lesson to self; use self-depreciation and humour in interviews no matter how serious the subject or interviewee.

Afterwards we drove to Idanre hills, racing against the fast fading dusk light. Idanre is magical, you turn around the corner and bang, you are gob smacked by the sheer majestic beauty of the hills and the architecture of the ancient buildings around.
This should be an upscale health spa, beauty resort or something proving income for the state and employment for the yobs hanging about.

The crew from Cape Town where particular blown away by Idanre declaring it more spectacular than table mountain.

After all that, we finally finished and returned to a dinner reception by the state’s commissioner for information Ranti Akerele, an old friend and colleague. I left the crew in a party mood suspecting that the boys will be getting lucky tonight whilst l retired to bed a little sad dreaming about the lost potentials of this place and many others we had been to.

Lost in Time airs on TALK WITH FUNMI tomorrow Sunday February 27th on Africa Magic 6pm Nigerian time 7pm central African time.


L-VII said...

This sounds wonderful. I gotta put travelling around Nigeria on my list of things to do. It's funny that I dream of going to all these places but the thought of getting to know my own country better has eluded me thus far.

That has to be remedied.

Thank you for this.


Anonymous said...

Hello Iyanda, I am greatly challenged by your bravado. it really shows a good display of professionalism good sense of presentation. as research student in archaeology and tourism your works needs commendation. keep it up, lets look inward and see how we can change the lives of people around us particularly the rural people. i fall for you memories of the good old days of yours in the village.

Myne said...

This should be an interesting episode. One wonders if the governor had been to these interior places?

afrochic said...

once again, uve raised the bar in journalism. From you,im learning that one doesnt have any excuse whatsover not to excell. no posh pedigree,fancy college degrees, u practically grew through the ranks. i say a heartfelt thank you for lighting the way for others and making a huge difference.thank you for helping us appreciate how blessed we are. thank you for not paying lip service.thank you for investing your resources not on huge empty champagne parties but drawing attention to the plight of the helpless in our society. thank you for not doing this for the fame but the passion & a true desire to see naija great.ur beautiful inside & out.

Anon said...

Funmi, r u sure Gov. Mimiko is going to improve the living standard of the villagers?