As tributes pour in for legendary guitar boy, Sir Victor Uwaifo, who passed on last Saturday at 80, the story of his great song “Joromi -”” as culled from Eburu, a curator at Revelation Tourist Palazzo” built by Victor Uwaifo – renders a telling affiliation to the mood of the Nigerian nation today, the spine of national unity, and the character and conduct of leadership, particularly with the state of injustice and insecurity.
The Nigerian leadership is urged to let the passing of Victor Uwaifo serve as guiding light into a sober reflection on how the strictures that hold Nigeria together, the backbone or spine of national unity, as passed on by the founders of the Nigerian nation are being managed and strengthened.
The spine of the Nigerian nation is, for better or worse, parallel to the character and commitment of its leadership. And, now the story.
Joromi was a famous wrestler in ancient Benin. He dislodged everyone who dared him. He was the champion. When his father was about to die, the only thing he bequeathed to his son was a warning.
The daring Joromi climbed on top of it, while his sister turned into a fly and accompanied him. When they eventually got to the zenith of that tree, they grew out of the natural state and they landed in a place called ‘hell’ where Joromi noticed, regretfully, that the least person in hell had two heads. But he was determined to fight. A battle line had been drawn.
From one to the other, he conquered all of them – from the one that had two heads to the ones that had six heads, he destroyed all of them plucking off their extra heads and telling them categorically that they were better off having one head.
“‘Who asked you to have more than one (head)? On earth, we have one head. Who asked you to have more than one head?’ Joromi queried. When the seven-headed spirit, Ugbogweli, appeared – in fact, he was breathing and smoking fire all over him – that was when Joromi’s sister began to sing.
Joromi once more turned deaf ears and for the first time as he ran down to the battle line, he witnessed a bitter piece of death for the very first time. Life was off him and the man called Joromi died.
Luckily for him, his sister spotted a leaf that had life in it. She plucked it, squeezed it and applied the juice on the five senses of the brother who now regained consciousness.
This time when he stood up, he was no longer ready to fight and he began to race back to earth but Ugbogweli would never let him go. When he got to the bridge between hellfire and earth and was about to cross to the latter, Ugbogweli stretched his hand to grab Joromi but luckily for Joromi Ugbogweli could not run his fingers down the back of Joromi.
The curator then makes a curious statement: “Those of us in this part of the world hold the belief that the encounter that Joromi had with Ugbogweli is the cause of the spints humans (and nations) have.