Arriving at Iseyin in Oyo State for the Ebedi International Writers Residency was pure bliss. The house was located in a very convenient place. It had a quiet ambience with trees blooming with abundant fruits.
Although power supply was nothing that could be compared to my home country, the administration provided a good standby generator for our use. The most intriguing aspect being the attention we received from the king of Iseyin: Oba Dr. Abdul Ganiyu Adekunle Salaudeen, made us feel like royalty. His cool lifestyle, beautiful wives and the reverence he receives from his subjects made us feel the importance of royalty to the people of Iseyin. Gloria from Kenya was particularly surprised at the whole royalty existence because it was not something practicable in her country. Of course we wrote to our heart’s satisfaction and Alhaji Bello, who happens to be the confidante and friend of the Aseyin of Iseyin |(also a university lecturer), as the king was called, took us around to ward of boredom.
On my last day at Iseyin (had to leave earlier because of some issues at work), while visiting the Oba to bid him farewell, I couldn’t help but ask about how he is able to make all his wives (rumours had it they were seven, he told us they were five) feel loved. He then told us a story of a man who had many wives. According to him, the wives fought because they were competing for who was the king’s favourite. They all called their husband to answer the question by choosing his favourite. The man asked for some time. While bidding time, the wives visited him one after the other in their bid to impress him. He assured them of his love and gave each of the ten thousand naira, imploring them not to mention it to their rivals. All the women agreed. When the time came for his answer, he called all of them together and said his favourite is the one he gave the ten thousand naira to. So the matter died down.
I must say I enjoyed my short stay at Iseyin, meeting most of the important people in a dinner organised by the residency’s administration, from Kofi, the manager, to Bode and the man in charge of it all, Dr. Okediran. My only problem was the fact that I could not get used to their palm oil. I realised Ghanaian palm oil, zomi, was not sold there, theirs had a distinct scent that I could not get used to and so got teased all the time. But it was worth it. Below are some of the pictures.