THE FIRST FEMALE RULER OF L’EKO
- September 29, 2019
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Young Writers
The First Female Ruler of L’Eko by Oluwatofunmi Lawal
Retold by Jahdiel Ikwuegbu
THE VILLAGE OF L’EKO
Long, ago when the earth was ancient the palace of Oba Akinjobi settled in the village of L’Eko. A magnificent land indeed, rich in honey and plentiful in harvest, it was indeed a sight to passers-by and home to fugitives.
One sunny morning, the vendors were happily setting up their goods to begin their daily jobs at the village square. Oba Akinjobi a kind, old and energetic man went for his usual morning walk, admiring the village which had prospered over the years of his rule.
As his walk continued, it was almost afternoon, so he began his walk home. A few minutes later Princess Funmilola, his daughter joined him. Oba Akinjobi didn’t notice her. She was dark-complexioned with inky long wavy hair that blends with the colour of the mud houses.
“Papa, papa, is everything okay?” said Princess Funmilola tugging at the king’s attire.
“My dear, nothing. Just some business plans,” replied the absent-minded king.
The Princess knew something was wrong, so she changed the topic. As they neared the palace, one of the king’s workers, Baba Mofe met them and saw the depressed look on his face. Even though Baba Mofe confronted the king, he refused to say a word which put more curiosity in the minds of people.
The king felt the urge to tell his wife Olori Semipe his problem, so when he saw her, he confronted her “My wife we need to talk” said the king. He led her to mahogany stools under a tree in the courtyard and they discussed the matter.
He sat down and cleared his throat saying “My days on earth are short and I need to appoint Prince Kunle, what do we do?” “Kabiyesi,” mumbled the queen, “My son’s lifestyle troubles me, he is careless and irresponsible mostly found with touts…Aha!” said the queen.
“What happened?” asked the king.
“Let’s consult Baba, the ancient wise one” suggested the queen. A few minutes later Baba appeared at the palace where he saw the king and queen seated on their thrones and he knelt and asked why they requested him, they told him their problem. “We have to conduct a programme that will test the prince, emotionally, physically and mentally,” suggested Baba. “What are we waiting for?”
In the midst of all the boisterous people in the village, was Iya Mofe, a light skinned woman with woven hair. She was the wife of Baba Mofe, one of the king’s workers. They had a son named Mofe, a hardworking boy. Iya Mofe thought that being the king’s workers, her husband’s pay should be enough to buy her jewellery to show her friends but it was not even enough to buy a bag.
Even though she complained to her husband to look for a beneficial job, Baba Mofe refused.
Iya Mofe tried to upset Oba Akinjobi but failed. She came up with a master plan. She must eliminate anyone close to Oba Akinjobi, but how? She thought of her friend Moyo, the palace cook, who had mentioned the queen at least took a glass of milk daily. So she sent for her and deceived her, saying, “When you drop this potion into Olori’s glass of milk she would love all the women and do all they say.”
“Ehn! Really, it won’t harm the queen?”
“Of course! do you doubt me?”
THE TRIALS OF PRINCE KUNLE
The day finally arrived that Prince Kunle be tested, he was unaware what was before him. Meanwhile, at the palace Moyo gives the queen the poisoned milk who drank in haste to join her son’s trial.
He was given his favourite food amala and ewedu, all of a sudden, he saw a hungry woman, she asked him for food but ignored her and ate the whole dish.
A few men saw some hawkers and agreed to beat them and take away what they were selling. Prince Kunle even joined them.
Some people gathered and Prince Kunle overheard them saying Oba Akinjobi needed someone to take his throne, at that moment he was overwhelmed with joy and called for a party to celebrate. After seeing all that, Oba Akinjobi was devastated and had no choice but to visit Baba for advice but before he left he told the palace guards to put the prince in prison for his wrongs; to teach him a lesson.
When he arrived at Baba’s house, he felt upset and saddened because the trial did not give him what he wanted, the new king of L’Eko village; King Kunle. After hearing the bad news Baba was disappointed, he thought his idea will work but it didn’t work, A few minutes later one of the security guards of the palace rudely interrupted their brainstorming session.
“Kabiyesi!” the guard began, “My queen is dead, my lord, she was seen dead in her bedroom after the trials of the Prince.”
Surprised, the king hurried back to the palace and dashed up the stairs into his wife’s room and all he saw was the lifeless body of his wife in the arms of Princess Funmilola who was crying without control.
“Iyawo mi!” the king cried
THE TRIALS OF PRINCESS FUNMILOLA
After the death of his wife, Oba Akinjobi developed the characteristics of depression and the habit of paying less attention to his village. Mostly, he looked unkempt, and absent-minded, regularly crying the name of his wife sadly, saying “Iyawo mi, this is not what we planned, how am I supposed to join you now, how will I follow you to the land of the dead, now?
The king requested for Baba, the smart one, one more time. He wanted to know the steps needed to take to find the heir to his throne. After the conversation between Baba and Oba Akinjobi they decided to carry out a trial on Princess Funmilola, she was given the same test but did the parallel.
The Princess showed kindness on the hungry woman and gave her all the portions to eat, fought the men who attacked the women and when they could no longer take the beating, they ran away. In the last test when she heard her father’s reign will soon be over, she was sad to the extent she went to her room and cried uncontrollably.
When Oba Akinjobi heard this, he was full of pleasure and delight as he found out the characteristics of the heir to his throne. That night, he slept with a contented beam on his face and never woke up. The village was in total sadness because of his death.
Princess Funmilola was overcome with misery because she had lost both her parents in a period of six months. Her world just came to an end, her world was just family but they were not there in the time she needed them most in her life, her coronation.
“What, coronation!” she screamed. “I am not interested in being the ruler! All I want is my family, my mother and father” cried Princess Funmilola. She was comforted by the village women to be strong but she couldn’t just bubble all that emotion in her body as she had to let it out.
She began to cheer up and she was soon beginning to accept the role of the first female ruler of L’Eko. She tried to accept the fact that the more she had strange dreams of her father and mother telling her not to disappoint them.
Finally, it was time for the coronation of Princess to Queen and ruler of the village. The hall was beautifully decorated, displaying the culture of L’Eko on the other hand, the princess was having a hard time getting ready for the occasion.
THE FIRST FEMALE RULER OF L’EKO
The coronation had started, as the princess stepped into the hall, all eyes were on her. She wore a weightily decorated buba and iro, with a necklet made of cowrie shells mixed with pure silver and a pair of flat shoes as she walked majestically down the red carpet, she saw her parents waiting at the other end of it. As she moved closer, she saw her father bearing a happy grin on his face and tears of joy trickling down his cheeks, since her parents were dead, she shook her head to get out of her dream world.
“Your highness, what did you say?” asked the women of Iyalode association over the noise of the ewi chants being rendered on the princess as she walked down the aisle. The princess turned and nodded her head in happiness and continued taking small graceful steps towards Baba who was prepared to swear-in a worthy princess so history can be made.
It was a joyful moment for all the people of L’Eko and Princess Funmilola she was sworn in and as they were about to put the crown on her head as the first female ruler of L’Eko, the crowd went wild. Suddenly, Moyo caught the sight of the joy in the hall and understood the weight of what she did. She felt the urge to confess and she did.
“I have wronged my queen and I regret it. I am sorry but I have done the unimaginable, I killed Olori Semipe!” she confessed. All of a sudden the palace guards gathered around her.
“What, you did what?” screamed Queen Funmilola as her smile turned into tears.
Moyo was embarrassed, she needed to be punished because she had done the abominable but she thought she had to be punished with Iya Mofe .As she saw Iya Mofe sneaking quietly out of the hall she shouted out loud and pointed to Iya Mofe “It was Iya Mofe that gave me the poison to give Olori !
Quickly the guards grabbed Iya Mofe before she ran away.
The Queen was sad, she was led to the inner room to be consoled.
Later, the Queen requested for her brother to be released and she said. “My first act as the ruler – I want my brother to be released.” And as she said it was done, the queen was happy to see her brother she expected a hug but he laid down on the floor and prostrated, in tears. The heart of the queen flew upon and all the tears ran out all she could do was just to watch and cry and when she was out of tears, she picked up her brother and they hugged.
After a lot of thought, the queen decided to banish the culprits of her mother’s death to be banished out of the land, as the people of the village laughed at them and booed them out of the land. Baba Mofe and Mofe hid their faces in embarrassment, however they did not follow her.
Soon enough, the village returned to normal and the village prospered under the reign of Queen Funmilola.
Jahdiel Ikwuegbu is an 8-year-old pupil of Kayron International School. This piece is her submission for the Jordan Hill September Writing Challenge.