by Oluwaseun Abiodun Ogunleye
As virtually all legendary histories have their heroics, disasters, tales, myths and cultural backgrounds and heydays so was the village of Oniyangi. Oniyangi was a relatively small, peaceful, culture-oriented, law-abiding and the name that rang a bell from the time immemorial. The village was situated upon the hilly topographic vistas lands in the southwest coast of Nigeria. It was surrounded by beautiful landscapes beneath the thickly forested shrubs and tall ancient trees in either part. These thick, shady and green landscapes expelled cool breezes which displayed a naturally symbiotic relationship between the villagers and the protective nature.
Oniyangi was also home to so many cultural vocations, handicrafts and artefacts such as farming, palm-wine tapping, blacksmithing, gold-smithing, carvings, drum-making, singing, cloth-weaving (aso oke) hunting, herbalism to mention a few. These vocations were handled and handed down to the subsequent generations by the progenitors who were skilful with a lot of natural intricacies in their fields of endeavour. Thus, Alapini, the son of Sokoti Alagbede Orun, was a great hunter, herbalist and an invincible wrestler whose back had never touched the ground.
Legends have it that Sokoti was the only hunter had killed several dangerous animals such as Elephants, Lions, Anacondas, Tigers and Crocodiles with his magical cap. He was said to have wrestled with various evil spirits, genies, witches and ghosts during his usual nightly hunting expeditions. Hence, Sokoti handed down the baton of his nefariously powerful, uncanny and unfathomably potent charms to his only son Alapini.
Alapini was also more personage, urbane, powerful and naturally distinguishing than his deceased father. The vilalgers of Oniyangi often extolled the uncanny magical prowess, might and power inherent in Alapini to effortlessly making rains, healing various serious sicknesses and epidemics, hunting wild and dangerous animals and wrestling and defeating any man who would dare challenge him to a contest. He was a versatile and a symbolic representation of his heroic and great progenitors. Moreover, on countless occasions, he won the annual village contests in wrestling competitions which was held at palace square. Those contests had the presence of the entire village inhabitants and the king who would sit at the conspicuous vantage positions to watch, cheer, jeer, boo, and then pronounce the eventual winner unanimously.
Apart from the unparalleled, unassailable, invincible, impregnable and unbeatable combative skills which were the intrinsic part of Alapini’s dexterity in wrestling, he was a dare-devil solo who never went on hunting expeditions without bringing home big games. He was also versed in herbalism, and so many spiritual oriented problems, sicknesses and difficult situations had been surmounted through his dogged efforts. The villages that surrounded Oniyangi more often than not came to seek the spiritual help cum assistance of his from the shackles of witchcraft and epidemics such as leprosy, smallpox, chickenpox, epilepsy and other minor problems like barrenness, fevers and many others.
Alapini Oosha, as he was popularly called, was the only chosen hunter that solely provided bush meat for the celebrations of the annual village rites and festivals in which wrestling was the grand finale. The villagers would eternally be grateful and indebted to his unassuming exploits and efforts in ensuring that serenity, sanity, idyll and orderliness were pervasive in entire village. Alapini with his wife Amope, the daughter of the village Baale, and his two male children Ogunwale and Akinrinde, would sit together every nightfall, after which routine supper had been eaten, to discuss about his experiences while hunting in the forest. Succinctly, most of his expeditions were really scary, magically uncanny, incredible and mind-blowing. He recanted that he had been challenged many times by dangerous and powerful genies and ghosts in the forest.
Alapini thought of making his two male children to succeed him when he was no more. But he was also afraid of that they might not be as dogged as he was as they were too timid to even handle a gun. Moreover, Amope had different plans for her sons. She wanted them to grow up and take up more fascinating vocations such as farming, palm wine tapping or blacksmithing. However, the fears of making his father’s name and antecedent go into extinction made Alapini to effortlessly teach his family some herbal concoction preparation methodologies and a few others needed incantations to cure minor ailments.
Sadly enough, Alapini’s departure was sudden and unannounced! The immediate and remote causes of his death soared like an ancient eagle. The sad news shook the entire village and its environs. Some people were of the opinions that the cause of his death was owing to the fact that he had wrestled with a more powerful genie who had killed him eventually. Some gathered that he had been killed by a nefarious charm bracelet laid down for him in his farmland. Some said that he was killed by the thunderstorm while trying to control the tide of rainfall in the forest.
Either true or false, his body was found life in a pool of blood, whilst his gun, protective amulets and the regalia he wore were all stained with blood. Hence, the whole village was thrown into tumultuous confusions and mourning forever. People wept, wailed and ululated for days after which his body was interred to the ground through the regimented traditional rites performed by his fellow hunters.
Amope vowed to relentlessly, fervently and emphatically fish out whoever or whatever killed her husband and bring such to book.