Iya Ibadan – Mojolaoluwa Oke

Iya Ibadan,

Thank you for the land in which I was born,

I praise you for the culture I live for,

The boli I buy from an old mama on the street side,

The recharge card that I know will be everywhere I go,

The groundnut that I only buy from trusted vendors,

The gala can always be rely upon when hunger sets in,

The largeness of the land but the closeness of the people.


Iya Ibadan,

If only the outsiders knew your valuethe insiders too.

Though the frequent power cuts do frustrate,

It’s only love for you that I can demonstrate.

Although the okadas swerve into tight positions

And cause intolerable, unnecessary traffic,

It only lasts for a moment. I cannot stay mad at you.

What many people forget

Is how you brought them up in their childhood,

How you carried many beautiful memories,

How you protected them when danger loomed

For they are here now to tell the tale

Of how a car almost hit them,

The experiences of driving to the movie theater

On a weekend with a group of friends,

Or the marveling of the city’s scenery

At a sunset where the clouds and sun

Form a watercolor painting

And the tall trees add a firm contrast

To complete the masterpiece.


Iya Ibadan,

You’re on a rise; you’re flying,

But we just don’t see; our eyes are clogged

And our negative outlook as blocked

Your progress from our notice

And we fail to give you your deserved acknowledgements.

Forgive us.

We’ll realize once again what a beauty you are

When driving down the road with the window

Rolled down, head stuck out, marveling once again

At the glorious masterpiece.



Iya Ibadan – in this poem,  Mother Ibadan (conventionally, it means mother of Ibadan)

Boli – roasted plantain

Okada – motorcycle (often refers to motorcycle riders, who often act as a cheap means of transportation of people)

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