Please join me in thanksgiving as I have just escaped from prison.
The place formerly known as Her Majesty’s Broad Street Prison has changed name to Freedom Park, but those in the know always sentence mere mortals to Theo Lawson’s Prison.
I was lured to the prison by a cooing female voice.
I was in faraway Awka, Anambra State, doing injustice to Buharific poverty when the killer call came ever so sweetly.
Miss Feyi Adelakun charmingly phoned me up stressing that Toyin Akinosho and Jahman Anikulapo wanted to know my flight schedule from Enugu Airport to Lagos so that a driver would be dispatched to the airport to fetch me.
The two masters of stampede, Toyin and Jahman, had not sent any airport ticket to me. Even so, Enugu Airport had been under lock and key for months on end.
I was somehow stampeded into taking a bus straight to Lagos – and straight into Theo Lawson’s Prison, sorry, Freedom Park.
It’s very much in character for Toyin and Jahman to stage inside a prison the 21st Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) under the auspices of Committee for Relevant Art (CORA).
My sentence in the prison was to serve as the moderator when my classmate, roommate and playmate, Professor Awam Amkpa, Global Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University (NYU), USA, delivered the festival keynote speech under the distinguished chairmanship of the legendary actress, Mrs Taiwo Ajai-Lycett.
There was the other service of joining up with Toni Kan to adjudge and award the Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Review.
Prof Awam and I had to go and meet with the chief warder, Theo Lawson.
Up the staircase, we met Fela’s daughter, Yeni Kuti, who happens to be the chief warder’s heartthrob, or is it heartbeat or heartstring – I can’t get the exact word now.
Please do bear with me for English is not my first language…
Yeni shepherded Awam and I before Chief Warder Theo Lawson who was presiding over a fat Cuban cigar alongside Prof Wole Soyinka’s son, Ilemakin, Makin for short.
Makin’s wife was around and we were soon joined by the angelic songstresses Yinka Davies and Muma Gee.
When Jahman Anikulapo stepped in, Makin promptly revealed that Jahman cannot tell the difference between fine wine and ogogoro.
As a wine connoisseur like his great dad, Makin presented bottles of choice wines before Jahman could bring any of the illicit stuff banned by the missionaries of yore!
True-to-God, this Makin can find trouble even inside a vacuum. I don’t know who he resembles in that!
Earlier, Makin had called the Deputy Managing Director of THISDAY newspaper, Kayode Komolafe, “a socialist turned socialite!”
Kayode Komolafe, whom we fondly call “KK” has since charged Makin straight to the Supreme Court.
Yes, this is the first case in the annals of Nigerian jurisprudence to start first at the Supreme Court without ever going through the High Court or the Court of Appeal.
Please believe this truth from me, as I have no lie in my system, for I am not Layi Muhammadu, or what is he called?
Well, I had to plead with KK to have mercy on my dear teacher’s son, Makin, but KK remains adamant, insisting: “Let justice take its course!”
Prof Awam Amkpa somewhat added to Makin’s overload when he revealed that the Nobel Laureate had warned him that he should “avoid my son Makin before he misleads you!”
There was even the case of Makin driving the legendary musicologist Steve Rhodes from Lagos to Soyinka’s home in the topsy-turvy terrain of the woods of Ijegba Republic in Abeokuta, Ogun State, only for Kongi to visibly feel sorry for the musicologist for surviving a ride with his son!
Makin’s mother happens to feel for Makin’s wife for the onerous duty of having two Soyinkas in her young life – one as a husband and the other as a father-in-law!
By the turn of midnight, Jahman Anikulapo revealed that Makin had like Mungo Park discovered where hot amala was sold at the ungodly hours on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.
Theo Lawson and Makin left with their spouses, obviously to make more discoveries of prisons and amala joints.
Our oyibo friend, the Frenchman Pascal Ott, who has more African brotherhood in his system than all the Nigerian prisoners in Theo Lawson’s Prison, brought along Benson Eluma to join up with Jahman Anikulapo, Yinka Davies, Muma Gee and my poor self for a trip to the hot amala place on Awolowo Road.
Once we got there, Benson Eluma fell fast asleep on the couch and never ate any amala. Yinka Davies and Muma Gee concluded that he had been knocked out by beer. We had to wake him up when were leaving.
I hit my bed in a jiffy to catch a whiff of sleep.
I woke up later only to learn from Pascal that he was kidnapped by the selfsame Benson Eluma whom we thought had been finished by beer.
Poor Pascal, he had to buy his freedom – as Benson Eluma demanded – with a ransom of four beers that early morning!
I swear by Fela’s Shrine – Yeeeepaaaa – Anything can happen inside Theo Lawson’s Prison!