What’s in a Symbol?

...merriment on Curse?
On a discuss sometime last week, with my colleagues, we came up with the dearth of Yoruba language and then, to proverbs and their English translations. A mention was made of “Igun' and 'Akalamagbo' birds in Yoruba language and the search for their English names. We drifted to Eagle and its Yoruba name. We were divided by 'Awodi' and 'Idi' nomenclatures, though, close enough (since we know that Yoruba language could shorten a name and still meant the same even in a slight difference in pronunciations). For example; Alapata (butcher) is same as Apata and Adekunle as Dekunle.

'Eye Awodi': The Eagle kept me wondering since then. The Nigerian Coat of Arms (our National bird) has Eagle standing on top of the shield. We are made to believe that it represents 'Strength'. The Eagle is present in the national emblems of both ancient Roman Empire and modern United States of American civilizations. Nigeria, aspiring to be 'Giant of Africa' probably, adopts Eagle too while our constitution was also modeled along Americans. United States of America has 'Liberty and In God we Trust” as their motto so also was Nigeria 'Peace, Unity, Freedom' but was changed in 1978 (we didn't fight for any freedom they must have reasoned) to 'Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress'.

'Awodi jeun epe san'ra' - Eagle merriments in curse.

Let's examine this within the Yoruba idiom and it's transliteration to Nigerian situation. Why must our symbol signify merriment in curse? Are we not doing many things imaginably insane?, crude?, and wicked, yet, sentimentally, alluding all kinds of reasons why we should forge ahead in questionable "unity and faith". How explainable is the 'quota system' that qualifies a candidate in Gombe with 58 points or Kebbi with 9 points while Lagos candidate should score 133 to gain admission into University in a test of 200 questions? The helpless boys and girls from eastern fringe are worse affected, under an alleged nation in search of peace! Some of the students from alleged educationally backward states would later rapidly get promoted to ranks of director, permanent secretary and later federal minister or legislator based on 'quota system'. They will be making laws that shape destinies of us in millions!

Nigeria it is, that a head of a federal institution, allegedly exposed as abusing his office and tax payers money to womanize and all he could deny was he did not have a hand in the employment of the woman and that in any case, they were both adults. Really? No shame in reveling in curse?

Ai le w'oju Awodi l'oje k'Aladie so o di Oosa - Because of fear, Fowl owner turns Eagle to a deity!

The likes of IBB, OBJ, and other shameless corrupt leaders are relevant because they have some of us still worshiping them in the rottenness that has become our lots. Some of us still venerate at Bourdillon Road at the feet of a demi-god who runs Another Corporate Network so as to have a bite in what belongs to us.

'Awodi nfo ferere, o l'ohun fe m'Oluwa. Ibi ti yio fo de ko ye mi o, o fe s'eleya ni' (Juju musician General-Prince Adekunle)–

The eagle soars relentlessly, to high heavens expeditiously in reaching God's enclave, but shame shall it's lot be!

How over ambitious! 'Giant of Africa” and “Big Brother” are some of the idiosyncrasies we pride ourselves in recent times. We strive to outdo each other as if we are permanently in a competition. At bus-stops, in Churches, at social gatherings, we want to be noticed and feels 'Me and only me first syndrome'. That he has 3 (three) houses, I want to have 10 (ten) and even more that no one can beat. Nigeria gives neighbors grants and electricity, when the home front is hungry for the same items, all just for pride and to look big!

'Awodi nra baba, inu al'adie nbaje' - As eagle hovers, owners of chickens grieve in nervousness.

Nigerians are ridiculously becoming more perfumed as thieves and untrustworthy. It takes extra personal effort to shed the toga anywhere in the world as a' genuine working class' Nigerian because of the toga '419' and 'Yahoo-Yahoo (an acronym for scams in Nigeria) some unscrupulous Nigerians had given Nigeria. We even cheat the name 'Eagles" when we compete; last week, a Nigerian soccer star (a twin) celebrated his 25th birthday in UK while the other had his 33rd in Nigeria! We don't trust our politicians because of their penchants for stealing and they too, to our face, steal us dry!

Our leaders are truly Awodis –Eagles, how?
Emi 'o le j'oye Awodi ki nma le gb'Adie-I can't be conferred a chieftain, titled; Awodi, if I can't steal a fowl!

So, no wonder they are concerned only about what they can steal.

A kii ko Adie re apata loju Awodi - No one exposes fowls on top of rocks in the sight of Eagle.

An NGO on voters' registration awareness were frustrated when all they got as response from street and local voters was 'how much are you going to pay so we can go to registration centers” They have been tutored to believe that “you better get what you can get anyhow from them before the election”. See how they understood the power of votes (fowl) and the Awodis?

Awodi re ibara...won se bi eye ku – The Eagle went home and his adversaries thought he was dead.

With all the Eagle symbol that has good meaning and many advantages, among which are success, power, triumph, royalty (imperialism) or social status, and omniscience, I think we are only displaying one out of ten; resilience; 'never-say-die' and 'suffering and smiling'.

If we ever have the chance to sit together for true National Reform, it may make some sense to take a second look at our name, symbol and motto.

Ile ni a nwo ki a to s'omo l'oruko; Family antecedents or values dictates the name of the child.

Deleola Daramola
Cleveland Ohio, USA

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Articles by Fay Deleola