Inside The Calabash With Martinez

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What is it I hear about an ‘Abobaku’? For those who are not in touch with their Yoruba-speaking side, the Abobaku is the loyal steward of the Oba , on whose death he must prove his loyalty in service and be buried with him. It concept has both been tagged as myth and true history , however , some are yet to give up on the assumption that the tradition still exists and would be in play in the burial of Oba Okunade Sijuwade of Ife.


Meanwhile, reports have it that the Abobaku , on hearing of the death and burial arrangements of his master , took to his heels for fear of being buried alive with the late king, a news that made round in the papers. An action which was considered highly unnecessary as the tradition he feared was an obsolete one.

In fact, Lanre Akintilo said, “Quite a number of no-truths and distortion has been written regarding the eloping of an entity called ‘Abobaku’. In Ile-Ife, the person so referred to is called ‘Saarun’, head of the ‘Emeses’ who are stewards to a reigning Ooni. The Saarun is the head and closest aide who must go everywhere the Ooni goes. It follows in the days of hold that upon the demise of an Ooni, his most trusted aide and steward will be interred with him to continue his life of service to his master and as well show his loyalty.

“I personally know the Saarun that served late Oba Adesoji Aderemi (late Chief Yaya Arasanmi) While Oba Aderemi passed away in 1980, his late Saarun passed on in 1987, and seven clear years afterwards. The current Saarun will not be buried with late Oba Sijuade as the practice has since been stopped in Ile-Ife. So there is no need to elope. I am a proud son of Ile-Ife and I am well grounded in the traditions and cultures of my people. It will not happen.”


The Supposed Image Of The Abobaku Who Ran Away

But this would leave us all begging the question whether the man who ran away knew what he was running from. To have served the king probably all one’s life would avail such person the opportunity to clearly know and differentiate what is real practice and what is myth. But it would be sad to report the capture of the Abobaku who is said to have been eventually buried with the king .

This somewhat barbaric tradition of having to bury a live human with his king is also reported to be part of the Benin culture and in the far corners of the world, ancient Egyptian culture, referred to as the Ushabti.


If the Abobaku was truly recaptured and used for the burial rights or the entire story is a simple hoax, it still remains one conspiracy theory to solve.

In other news, Our hearts to go out the two people who lost their lives in the helicopter crash in Lagos during the week , the cause of which is yet to be determined after the chopper nosedived into the lagoon close to Onworoshoki in Lagos. Four others were rescued from drowning and taken to the hospital for treatments. Bristow helicopters has however, resumed flights as the remaining of its fleet have passed safety checks and cleared for service.


Meanwhile, in the northern African country of Egypt, another jet crashed between the borders of Egypt and Libya , not a commercial flight this time but one belonging to the country’s military fleet. Egypt denied rumors that the jet was shot down by ISIS and claimed it was due to a malfunction .


Away from deaths and crashes and on to a more comical side, word on the street during the week was that Adamawa state government in Nigeria earmarked the sum of N200million to be spent on Islamic prayer warriors tasked with the objective of praying Bokoharam out of existence. N200million? Is that the cost of a host of angels or a chariot of fire which will be used in the fight against Bokoharam?

Adamawa state government, on hearing this, was quick to discredit the report , denying that there is no intent to hire prayer warriors whatsoever. But what about the money mention? The government , however , did not deny earmarking the said amount in the fight against Bokoharam, rather it claimed it was to be spent on maintaining strategies and security institutions already in place to better combat Bokoharam. But we can bodily say that there is no smoke without fire right?


That is all we have on the Calabash this week, join us same time and place for more interesting reports on happenings around the continent.

About The Author

Mba Martinez is a writer and a political analyst who will always go the extra mile to bring you insight on the recent happenings in African news and politics.

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