By: Ololade Ajasa
As fetish and harmful alternative fiction, popularly known as ‘Juju’ may seem, they sure have their own positive impacts as well.
Growing up in Ota in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and the early 2000’s one would not have been in oblivion of a very powerful and mysterious man whose African magic was a rare, unparalleled and unmatched gift. A man whose fear of God, despite his expertise in traditional medicine was second to none. A well disciplined and no-nonsense Awori man. His mysterious powers back in the days made Voice of Awori crew to pay the immediate family a courtesy visit. Sit back and relax as we take you through the life of late chief Muritala Lawal Okeose, popularly known as, ‘BABA MADANWO’.
See picture below….
Late chief Muritala Lawal Okeose was born into the family of Ali Lawal several decades ago, say 1900 (exact date not known), somewhere in Iyesi-Igbesa, Ota in Ogun state.
He had four wives, his first wife was mama pupa, an indigene of Igbesa, Igbe compound who had eight still births for him and because of this challenge and the quest to have a child, he consulted an Osanyin deity at Abule ‘ADANSERE’ who gave him a masquerade known as ‘MADANWO’. Afterwards, he had two children viz: Lateef and Khadijat Lawal at the age of 60.
He was a very fierce hunter, a mat trader, an herbalist, a barber and owned the first canopy rental services in Ota way back.
Chief Ramoni Okeose Lawal, the baba isale Oje, Ota who is a nephew to late chief Madanwo and a heir to Baba’s shoes was on ground to fortify Voice of Awori with needed information.
See his picture below…
Baba Madanwo came to limelight in Ota and across Awori land after he challenged and fought Epo masquerade owned by Pa Alimi Elegbede.
Epo masquerade comes out six days after the beginning of Egungun festival in Ota. In the constitution of Ota when Epo masquerade comes out for a show, no other masquerade is allowed to come out that particular day, palm oil sellers do not sell their wares too and he does not hear the cry of other masquerades. Baba Madanwo who was not satisfied with the autocratic rule of Pa Alimi Elegbede and his ‘Epo’ masquerade. He dared the Epo Masquerade by asking his little Masquerade (Madanwo) to go and display at Igbale (Egungun shrine). The Epo Masquerade heard the voice of Baba Madanwo’s little Masquerade and went to Igbale, getting there, he met the little Masquerade and they ended up in a very fierce traditional fight( like the one you have seen in Fadeyi vs Abija’s movie scenes). Madanwo conquered Epo Masquerade. The feud soon got to the hears of the late Oba Titi Dada, the then Olota of Ota. On getting to the oba’s palace, the Oba ruled that other masquerades can henceforth perform on the sixth day of the festival, and it also made the late monarch in conjunction with the former DPO of police in Sango Ota to give Baba Madanwo a certificate as a night guard, here comes the beginning of his prominence.
The profession in which he stood above equals, his disappearing and appearing skill was atypical. He could be in the comfort of his bed and challenge any suspicious person within his rubicon. Some people recounted their experience with the late veteran when they were mysteriously challenged by a voice suspected to be baba Madanwo’s at the wee hours of the night. Narrating, ‘back in the early 90’s when we used to go to vigil, enroute the Okede-Mefun axis, a voice would just be heard, asking us to stop right there. Where are you going? And we would answer, we are going to church ni o, then he would ask them to hold on while he remove the charms he used as road blocks, then they can pass. But if the suspect is presumed to be evil or has any hidden deeds, he would be apprehended by baba Madanwo’.
Late Baba Madanwo was the marshal in general of all night guards in Ota. He watched over several kilometers of road alone without calling for assistance, say for his African science and fictions.
Another witness recounts how well fortified with fruits and farm produce his farm was. As close as the farm is to Iganmode grammar school, Ota, no student dared go to his farm to pluck any of his fruits or farm produce without seeking enough permission from him. He was well disciplined to the core and he despised stealing of any guise.
A misunderstanding ensued between Baba and one of his customers who Baba used to watch over his car somewhere around Mefun in Ota, he challenged baba on the security fee that he do charge that the money was humongous and also questioned exactly what Baba was watching over? He replied him and said, ‘don’t worry, you said I am not watching over anything abi? No problem. It will interest you to know that the following day, the four tyres of the person’s car were stolen right there under the nose of baba and he did nothing to prevent the stealing. It then dawned on the fellow that baba’s night guarding services worth more than his charges.
At the twilight of his death, he had a premonition as narrated by the nephew, he told the him so many things, out of which is, ‘he must not practice traditional medicine unless his is 70 years old, the son is just two years from attaining this standard that baba laid. Baba Madanwo died sometimes in July, 2002.
Baba Madanwo had a dog called ‘Aboki’, the dog was his aide-de-camp, according to the narrator, he was full of mysteries just like baba Madanwo himself because he was fortified with the same African magic as baba’s. Without Baba Madanwo , Aboki would not have been in existence and without Aboki, there could have been no baba Madanwo. The dog also possessed metaphysical powers that could appear and disappear, he could watch over the community even when he is in his room.
The said dog used to run errands for late Madanwo and he had healing powers too, out of which, when a patient with a sore comes to baba for healing, the dog would lick the sore and it would disappear in distance time. The dog is also remembered for chasing and tracking down armed robbers even with their vehicles.
Another powerful weapon in the hand of the late siege was his Bees(Oyin) who he seldomly send out on very special missions. When touts begins to disorganize the Egungun display at Okede, baba Madanwo would unleash his Bees on the boys in order to scatter or caution them. He used to send out the Bees on other missions too.
Let me quickly recap a case of a young man who saw one of his ex-girlfriends in Baba Madanwo’s place, unknown to the man, the lady was Baba’s wife. The guy sat with the lady and they were having a tete-a-tete, on sighting the young man with his wife, Baba challenged him and when the man hinted that they were old friends, Baba got furious and was quoted as saying, ‘Omo te si iwo wa? Ko mi se pelu iyawo mi li ile mi niru asiko yi e’? (in Awori dialect). The guy took to his heels and baba got after him, it was a cat and rat chase, it took the intervention of eminent people in the vicinity to intervene and dissuaded Baba that the young man is one of his compound sons. Baba then had to forgive him. Fast forward to some years later, when a duo ensued between the young man and some people during Egungun festival and he was beaten with a charm, it took the intervention of Baba to heal the same guy who sat with Baba’s wife right in his house sometimes ago.
He was a nice man, generous, capable, able, proficient, adept, adroit, accomplished, skillful and gifted.
Despite his skills and experience in traditional/ alternative medicine and African magic, the late Baba Madanwo never joked with Jumat service on Fridays, infact, according to a close source, he never missed any Jumat service that he knows of. The Dog, ‘Aboki’ would always go with him to Jumat service on Fridays and stay somewhere while baba performs his religious obligations.
Below is his family eulogy….
Muritalabi Oli baba Lateefu
Baba Kadijah janganjangan
Tiran Ashoro roo bi oko Idi Ope
A nle bo leyin, o nle ara iwaju
Omo amubieyaa lawani
Omo agba ni je ori Adan
Omode ni je ori Eiye keye
Omo Igbesa malee oloye
Omo abi gun jebo, abi gun jebo ma ba rorun
Omo iwaju oloko tin sowo agedegede
Oloko tin su yebe yebe loju omi
Omo arugbo ode eyitin fi aya faa
Omo agbo digbo okere
Omo agbo dere ni Isheri mo de
Omo oni yan kokoo to mu ju eta sulo.
Edited by : Asanbe Dayo
- Chief Ramoni Okeose Lawal
- Ayedogbon Segun
Prince Kazeem Adesina Olowo Eshin