BANDELE AND HIS GHOST TOWN / A SHORT FACTION/ BY EHINDOLA ODUNAYO

Bamidele spoke to me with fear that the last of something working that is cassava mill brought here by his father would soon stop working and be gone too. “There is nothing about this place that reminds me of its prime time” bamidele said, has he inspects his mill.

Idera was always too small to be recognized as an actual town. It only appeared so in some time back and every four years. This was when it became home to district voters. The town is also noted for its cassava cultivation and processing.”Home of garri” he mumbled. But when the government owned Mills closed sometimes ago, it took the village with it. There are no more jobs and now, other than old men and there women with few young ones the village is nearly a shadow of itself.

Bamidele lives beside a old cassava mill beside the road in a town that doesn’t literally exist.

He doesn’t miss the buzz of pre and post election periods, his wives are company enough.

He does, however, miss the visits of white farmers who for thirty years, they came. They left the big cities, drove the winding local path three hours farther from the metropolis into the wooded savannas, past un weeded cashew plantations through rough separates to arrive here. “They use to come by all the time in their big wheeled SUVs but those are gone too”.

It is difficult to live in this far North central Nigeria sub-region where the post office doesn’t even deliver mails and where there’s hardly cell phone service-its hard to be heard.

This part had flourished on the first instance of settlement. But like every village around, it had everything taken away from it, except for a blunt undocumented history. Idera will most likely remain like this. That the town has vanished is enough evidence that being central to neighboring towns, it rather shrinks at the expense of unprecedented enlargement of these neighboring towns.

Things won’t be the same for this town said Bamidele a member of the old defunct Idera Progressive Union. Noting that the new school being built in Alabe could further increase the influx of people to the village and enough to negatively affect the prospect of attracting more people to Idera “could be devastating” he said sighing.

The question is who will get the proposed telecommunication mast. Can idera beat Alabe, Ikosin, Budo Are, Afin to it?

Back in his old house,big but almost as empty as the village, all Bamidele can do is watch as five fake villages compete for one of the most important socio-economic thing a community can have in this modern century.

The five are never particularly close: idera  claiming to be the senior and vice versa,so the suspicion runs deeper than the shallow nature of this villages. Bamidele said they arrived as family, butted heads and split into five. While the the neighboring can not compete with idera in terms of development, they do have something that Ideras does not;  strong internal unity.

Its not easy to pass through idera without noticing a farm or two, set right on sight- a couple of houses, the one cassava mill and its constant mechanical mourning. Thin statured Bororo with painted eyelids lockinG in corners along road. The church building is also at the entrance of the town. Opposite it is the half collapsed local health center that now housed goats and sheep.

Idera isn’t just racing away from time here, the half mile trek of a road parting buildings sideways is eroded.

“How funny is it that politicians visits here” Bamidele said with a disgruntled voice ” campaigns and afterward election come with a soiree and enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, all this visits from the media and politicians weren’t enough to give them good road, reliable phone service. The town is emptying out as people decided cared less about ill located and underpopulated sub village.

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