Love was present at the breaking of the day in a very cold morning and there was this call for a fight for love. The sounds made by crickets and toads from a nearby river was mixed by the striking of the town crier’s gong. The combination of sounds at the dawn can be likened to sounds made by a beat’s producer in the studio; it was clear and alarming.
Ijakadi and the people of Kore woke up to the King’s message delivered by the aged town crier. It is almost four decades of the reign of Baale Shokoya in Kore Kingdom, three of the four decades has had Egunjobi filled in as the village’s announcer. He is highly regarded in the land so whenever he opened his wide mouth to deliver a message, the villagers are always at alert to hear him loud and clear.
‘’As you all know our Baale will be celebrating forty years on his forefathers’ throne in a fortnight, my Lord has declared that he will be giving out his only daughter in marriage during the celebration. All able-bodied men should prepare for this year’s wrestling competition whose champion will get to marry Princess Anikeade. With all said, the parrot returns to his nest’’ Egunjobi proclaimed.
As soon as he delivered the message, Kore kingdom opened up as the buds of a sunflower. Windows and doors were opened, dogs hopped out of huts as hunters prepare to hunt for games while farmers took to their sacks and cutlasses as they prepare for their farms. While these occurred, Ijakadi flexed his biceps and triceps. It was the best news he has heard in years.
‘This is what I was born to do; fight and fight. What now happens if I fight for love? A thousand bulls will not stop me’ Ijakadi said as he wore his kembe and dansiki. His name really means to wrestle, he has fought and won many bouts in the land. If he will be stopped from marrying Anikeade, then he has one opponent and that is Ipade; another warrior who has been his rival for years. They have both shared the championship in recent times.
He dusted his cap and paced to Pa Fagbola’s abode. The oldest juju man in the land who lived under a Parkia tree in the forest was a place to be for Ijakadi at the moment. He just has to be crowned champion so that he could inherit half of the kingdom after marrying the beautiful daughter of the king. If his muscles couldn’t do it, the old man will help in his fight for love.
‘My son, you don’t need juju to beat your rival. The gods are with you’ the old man said to him on arrival even before speaking a word. ‘so finally, you will pay obeisance to me at last as the second-in-command of the land when I rub Ipade’s mouth in the palace mud’ he grinned.
Ijakadi who couldn’t wait for the day to come showed up in the palace as planned. The palace was full with villagers while the neighboring king was also on hand to celebrate with Baale Shokoya. Many people have also come from far and near to witness the occasion especially the wrestling competition.
The wrestling competition began then Princess Anikeade showed up. She was dressed in royal apparels, her shuku braids were styled with cowries while her ankles and wrists had colorful coral beads. She had waited for years to get a man but her father has insisted it is not yet time. Now that it is time, whoever triumphs would be a perfect choice. Ijakadi had goosebumps as he saw the princess.
He pouted on the mat as he awaited his turn to fight for love. Soon, it was his turn. He rolled his kembe to look like a short. He saw his opponent as a new born baby that he would send back to the uterus with an uppercut. As he approached the opponent, the beauty he saw the other time struck his heart and smiled again.
‘Hey bro, you’ve got a call. Wake up’ it was after a slap on the back that Ijakadi jumped out of bed. ‘Broke guy like you dey mark February 14 on your calendar, wonder shall never end’ Femi said to his roommate. ‘Well, it’s 9am idiot, we’ve got a class you know’ he concluded.