As the Coronavirus pandemic finally clamps on the entire country, there has been an outbreak of gallows humour everywhere. There are crooks selling “anti-coronary” health formula which wards off the deadly virus. Ladies’ undies originally stolen by ritualists suddenly surfaced in the market as magic face masks that kill the virus in situ. There are new born babies named with the dreaded Koro prefix. When pronounced with a devious inflection, the name Obanikoro suddenly acquired the status of a satanic royal contretemps.
On Thursday morning, seventy two hours after the national clampdown, boredom and ennui finally began to take their toll on citizens as the bizarre and the outlandish took front stage. Having lost her celebrity status as a native raconteur and ancient wit, Mama Igosun could no longer abide by the restriction and technical incarceration.
It was a beautiful morning with early sunshine. Spring has been advancing with ferocious intent and empty, evacuated streets welcomed the glorious weather. Snooper opened the shutter to let in fresh air only to be confronted by a most colourful sight.
There sat Mama Igosun in the patio, dressed like the priestess of an Egyptian deity puffing from a massive ancient pipe and swigging from a bottle of illicit gin which she clasped close to her bosom as she acknowledged cheers from essential workers and errant passers-by who had defied the clampdown.
“Wey dem Ekolo boy abi wetin dem call him name sef? Now dat I don fire pounded yam and cobra meat, I dey kampe like dem Owu boy”, the old devil snorted as she picked her teeth with her fore finger with stylish insouciance.
“Mama rere. Ogbologbo Aje ti hunrungbon l’ete”. (Good mother. The strange witch that sports a lush beard below her lip) one man said and prostrated with exaggerated respect.
“Okare omoluabi. Obinrin lo nkesi. (Well done. Yoruba gentleman. You are hailing a great woman). Wey dem Kooroona dem say de kill people? Kuruna no dey kill, but you fit scratch scratch your body finis “, the old woman slobbered as she gulped from the bottle.
“Kuruna baba jigger”, one man dressed like a pastor began to sing.
“Foolish man, dem never tell you for your jibiti church dat dis one no be Kuruna? Dis one na Coronavirus”, one hefty man spat in contempt as he approached the man of God with intent.
“Kai, dem devil disciple boku here. Corona na ogbonge Corolla. Dat one na real corollary. Make man come begin waka go”, the man of God muttered as he began walking away. Mama Igosun appeared momentarily mystified and unsettled by the exchange but the half-crazed dustbin woman came to her rescue.
“Ha mama, he better make you dey inside make Calabar boy make alligator pepper soup for you. Dis thin no be Kuruna at all. Dis one dem dey call Coronavirus and he don kill dem finish for dem Aso Rock. Dem police dey arrest everybody for road and dem dey smash and dem dey break bottle for Oshodi and dem dey push old women inside dem vehicle and dem dey whack dem bottom with bilala as dem come dey remove dem tobi and dem jagbajantis”, the crazy woman chanted breathlessly as Mama Igosun sprang up and seized her walking stick.
“Awusubillahi!!!” Mama Igosun cursed as she back-heeled into the house.