While I was receiving love messages from friends on my birthday, I was on my way to Ikorodu, Lagos to reflect and rediscover what was responsible for my present drift to the area I am now popularly known for. Yes, I returned back to the ancient city of Ikorodu, my place of birth. A place where ORO festival used to be celebrated. At this festival women were not allowed out and men whipped themselves on the streets
Things had indeed changed when I arrived Ikorodu.Yes, Garrage was still the same, buzzling with lousy sellers and buyers.The statue of OGA, the first hunter that arrived Ikorodu some 100 years ago was still there.
Coming back to Ikorodu brought back loads of memories to me: The people I met, the people I grew up with and loved, the people I schooled with, the people I prayed with, shared my dreams with, and most of all: My mother(Her grave is in our property there).
The towering Methodist Church still loomed gloriously, a tower that I could see from where we lived when I was young. Ayangbure’s palace had been renovated and this was good to know.
First, I went to the house I was born and weaned at.It was actually old and delapidated. I couldn’t recognize any one there, save a very old woman who couldn’t see me enough to recognize me. Near by was the flat that my parents had rented for 16 years…It still looked very beautiful with of course new residents. Alhaji Lassissi had done a good work to keep the place neat. Obafemi Taiwo Street had now been tarred and new houses built.
I moved over to my nursey school, a place that I had studied between 1986 to 1991. The place now laid in ruins…The school had closed. Tears filled my eyes. I had attended St. George International School, one of the best schools at the time with about 600 students back then. And yes, you guessed right…My parents owned the school. Why it closed in 1999? Only my parents can tell.
Just across the road, a road called Igbogbo road, was the secondary school I attended between 1991 to 1994. It was established in 1949. Its name? Oriwu Model College. I would later complete my secondary education at Goodwill Secondary School, the first private School in 1997.
Igbogbo road was still narrow…Police Barracks was now fenced…Anglican Church along Ireshe road was looking still beautiful. Anibaba street, where Segun Arinze used to live as a buding Nollywood star was still tattered. Later, when Segun Arinze would meet me doing my thing in a television studio in Akwa Ibom state, he simply said, “Go to Lagos”, he did not know that I was coming from Lagos
It was also good to return back LIFE CHAPEL at the LIFE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, the place I was dedicated as a child, the place I learned about Jesus and got filled with the Holy Spirit, and learned to pray and study the bible. Most of who I am today stemmed back from the trainings of that place. It was there that I met people like Pst.Tolu Boluwatise,Tolu Meduna, Tolu Dee, Tolulope Nwani, Philip Temi, Alex Adegoke Oyelade Tinuade, Tosin Olateru,Isaiah Olateru, Olufemi Lawani, Peter Lawani, Erick Boachie and many ,many friends who are today scattered all over the world.
As at the time I entered LIFE CHAPEL,I noticed that the place was under construction.The hall brought back memories upon memories.I walked around, looked at the buildings, the trees…some of them as old as 30 years.This is the same Bible Seminary that Matthew Ashimolowo studied in the 1970s.
All in all, My going back to Ikorodu made me rediscover those things that made me me. Yes, I have lived in Uyo for more than 6 years straight….but all the people have seen these years are the manifestation of trainings I received in place called Ikorodu.
Yeah, it is true, I am still an Ikorodu boy.