And so I have been called upon to give an eulogy on my friend. You all know me. I can say of a truth, I have known Alade Eleshin Ara most of his life. We have been friends for almost seventy five years. We met when we were both helping our fathers farm their plots, which lay adjacent to each other. In fact, that was how we became friends. Both fathers were contemporaries in our great village of Ekunkan. As children, we ran down the dirt path leading to the stream and waded naked in the clear, pristine cool waters. We were innocent and simple. Our eyes not shrouded with adult concerns, our stomachs distended from our meals of fufu and mixed vegetables soup.
He was a great traditionalist. The great masquerade leader. He ran the youthful ring that brought forth our Gelede masquerade. I do not understand why you children insist on burying him as a christian! He was a staunch traditionalist, a true son of Ayo Oka. He embraced the ways of his ancestors and was proud of his beliefs. In his death, you people cut off the beautiful braids that adorned his head and shoved a crucifix down his throat. Alade was not a hypocrite. He never embraced Christianity. In what world does one justify this sacrilege? You stripped his power house of the gods of his fathers and trashed his totems. You burnt his ibante, his horse tails and cowrie adorned wrappers.
Is Christianity not about truth? Is it not about love? Is it not about temperance? All of which you have not displayed in your planning my beloved’s passage to the great beyond. You have shown absolute disrespect for his beliefs while he tolerated your excesses when you all went on the path of your gospel. You children and your viper of a mother raised a fund to build a new church while the old one fell apart, while your father’s roof began and continued to leak. If not for this pump and pageantry of a burial, it would continue to leak and you would not have done the emergency renovation of his home. Your home! You were all raised within these walls. He did his due diligence by you, did he not? Not one of you lacked. Even though your snake of a mother was disrespectful and bore children of questionable paternity, my Alade raised you all as his. Abi, you want to say you didn’t know. Oyeleke, stand up! Ask your mother! Akinkanjuola, don’t hide your face behind your wife’s head gear. Aduke omo Ogini, you know how your mother fraternized with the palm wine tapper, the Ba’ale, to mention a few.
If you children are representatives of the god you emulate, then you must worship the devil. I am too old, too close to the end of my earthly life to live a lie and be a hypocrite. I leave you with one prayer; may your own children treat you with the same magnanimity and care you extended to my friend. May your days end as his did. May your lives be a reflection of the seeds you have sown. Ase!