Oh Yes, it was as if I have landed on this planet after a long sojourn in the moon as my feet step into the Odokoro’s forest, the path way leading to the cemetery home of Dino Melaye, a senator representing Kogi-West Senatorial District.
The bushy swampy road is a jungle connecting Senator Smart Adeyemi’s home town called Iyare to Aiyetoro-Gbede, the home town of Senator Dino.
I called it ‘’Dino’s cemetery home’’, because his private palatial residence is located beside a cemetery littered with graves.
My eyes nearly pooped out of its socket as I breathlessly watched Dino’s gate man (Fulani man) sitting inside the estate with his bow and arrow talking to himself.
‘’Who is he talking to? Is he communicating with the dead? One million questions raced through my mind.
In a lighter note, sighting the loquacious senator facial appearance, he looks like someone who is the chief spokesman for the dead.
As I put on my journalistic hindsight and probed further, I was confronted with a hard truth…..The graves are interred with the bones of those young and old villagers who perhaps have voted during the 2015 General Election and later died without having a taste of the Eldorado that Dino and his political associates have promised.
Before setting out for this adventurous journey, my spirit was high hoping to see a village and town basking in the euphoria of State–of-the-art facilities and modern social amenities, following the robust contribution Senator Dino normally make in the floor of the hallowed chamber during plenary.
Recall, that before the current administration, Dino was a serious anti-corruption crusader who made Former President, Goodluck Jonathan’s administration more difficult.
Dino, now a senator, who drives some of the most expensive cars and lives a life of opulence, has been a subject of discussion, as people are not happy with the way he flaunts his ‘’stolen’’ money publicly.
As my colleague and I took off from Smart Adeyemi’s humble abode, through the jungle we were consumed with fear.
As we moved as fast as the motorbike could carry us, the road was inching its way towards the low clouds, and the symphony of the transmission and suspension left little room for casual conversation.
We stared as the poor town melted away with the fading daylight and the Okada man continued to update our progress with sporadic facts and itinerary details in hushed tones. The road was rugged and rough that stretched many kilometres away from Iyare to Aiyetoro.
It had been a long day traveling to Aiyetoro, especially from Kabba only to arrive late in the afternoon and wearily, we watched as we ended up on a stream that cut across the dingy road.
My thoughts turned to dinner for having not eaten the whole day as we passed through rickety buildings and makeshift houses that dotted the town. The villagers were poorly clothed, hardly speaks English. The Schools were in terrible conditions with no portable water.
Anyone who spends enough time in Aiyetoro will notice that the villagers are friendly, but hostile especially when you mention the name ‘’Dino Melaye”.
The name ‘’Dino‘’ to the villagers is synonymous to betrayer.
As we arrived in the bushy village, I could barely contain my excitement. However my excitement was cut short when we discovered that the village has been cut off from power supply in the past 3 days.
The streets were already dark as our motor bike rider navigated his motorcycle to Pioneer Hotel which happened to be one of the best hotels in the village.
We watched the young and the old washing away their sufferings with fresh palm wine and bush meat in different palm wine joints.
Aiyetoro literally means ‘’Life is settled’’ but for the village dwellers the reversed is the case.
Enjoying the warm evening air, we settled into the hotel, and I quickly ordered for a drink…non-alcoholic Please…
With a lighter head than I would have expected, the malty dark brown drink I ordered smelt of currants and dried fruit.
I took several long sips of the malty drink and settled back into my bed and dozed off.