Adeboye Babalola

Ojo is his name, Ojo the trouble – Lover.

He loudly calls to Trouble when it’s passing by,

Inviting him to come into his home and spend some time.

With his arugog, a hook –tipped pole,

He hooks Disquiet’s feet and makes it halt perforce,

That he may have the pleasure of its company.

When he finds in his way a tangled coil

Of trouble rope, he knowingly puts a foot in it

And gladly drags it on with him.

He invites a  good-for – nothing person to his house,

Just for love of quarrelling.

He’s a reckless rascal through and through;

He hardly hesitates before he knifes

A person who does not agree with him,

And when e’er he hears a quarrel going on,

Or sees some people hard exchanging blows,

He tries to find out what has caused the ire-

Whatever lies at the bottom of the case.

He’s as frightful as the Iron god, for

He sometimes runs about in the streets

Holding high aggressively a glittering axe.


If a boy is mischievous and his mother likes this  fact,

We owe the neighbours sympathetic greetings oft,

For the  trouble which the boy daily puts them in.

True to type among the mischief  of the trouble Lover’s doing

Are these: “I will marry that girl,� he says,

“I will marry her unfailingly,

No  matter to whom she has already been betrothedâ€�.

He is fond of marrying wives of other men,

And so he often finds himself in hell at home.

For sometimes his stolen wives are past mistresses

In the art of domineering over husbands, of all kinds.

For instance, he once married Shango’s wife,

That is, the God of Thunder’s spouse,

But in his house she made him ill at ease

By belching fire from her mouth whene’er she spoke.


He often proves as obstinate as Mortar was

When fussily he ran to the Mortar-Pounding Square,

In the town of Yampounding – Speciality,

And said, “I will become the Oba here,

I will ascend the throne, no matter who objects,�

His bosom friends tried hard to make him change his mind.

“No! No! Don’t  force your way to gain the Obaship!â€�

again, Mortar stubbornly refused the advice,

he still insisted on becoming king.

At length, indeed, he did ascend to the throne.

Then he regrettingly experienced that hard fact

That “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crwn.�

Mortar can never have rest and peace of mind,

Because of several of the laws in vogue among the people there:

“In Mortar’s absence, no woman Shall pound any yam,

In Mortar’s absence, no powerful, pounded medicine shall be made�.

Calls for Mortar’s services were numberless,

And he suffered diverse agonies in consequence.

Red pepper berries stung his eyes,

They also stung his mouth and nose,

And made him feel uncomfortably hot

Within his stomach’s walls.

His ears were split, a hole was bored through his chest,

And, at last, his entire frame was split in two.


It’s the Trouble – Lover who carries home from farm

A dead bush-fowl, despite his knowing very well

That it’s a widely-held belief among his class

That this act will make evil spirits kill

His mother. Or compel his father ascend

The Elders’ Hill.

And faintly, it’s the Trouble-Lover who tells you,

“I want to sit with you�.

If you reply, “There is no room,�

He will retort, “Sure, there’s room for me to sit

On the summit of your nose�.

Such is the Trouble – Lover;

For him, there is no rest, day or night.

US - Africa Literary Foundation

Chimdi Maduagwu, PhD
Executive Director
US-Africa Writers Foundation
Dr. Bode Osanyin
Chairman, Department of Creative Arts
University of Lagos
Department of Creative Arts
Akoka, Yaba
Lagos, Nigeria

Website Copyright © 2002-5 US-Africa Writers Foundation.  Selected writings copyright by their authors