Chief (Mrs) Alice Oyetunji is not so much drawn by old age even though she has clocked 84 years. In an encounter with our correspondent, she recalled so many experiences she had gone through in life, especially what life looked like in the colonial days.
Starting with what Nigeria used to be and what it is presently, Madam Oyetunji said the long lost glory of Nigeria could only be regained if the country returned to farming.
She said the discovery of crude oil in the country was the beginning of most of the problems which Nigeria is facing today, as it encourages laziness and corruption among the citizens and leaders.
The success of every society lies on parents within the society, especially the mothers. I am disappointed with the manner today’s parents handle their children. Imagine a girl will wake in the morning without kneeling down to greet every elder in the house, or a boy without prostrating around the house for elders
“Most of the problems we are facing today came when they discovered crude oil. Before this time, everyone depended solely on his or her hard work which was majorly farming.
“In those days, the country was doing well and the leaders then were faithful to their fatherland. Most of the major monuments in this country today were built during the time that Nigeria depended and lived on agriculture. But look at the situation of things today, because of crude oil, everything falling apart and the citizens are now living like slaves in their fatherland. Don’t let us deceive ourselves, Nigeria will only regain its lost glory if we return to farming like in those days.
LIFE OF VIRTUES, IN THE 1940s
Recalling her experience in the days of yore, Madam Oyetunji said, “As a Nigerian in the mid-40s when we were younger, we usually thanked God that we were Nigerians. Though we were under the white people, our leaders too worked with them and they made life interesting for us. “Each time we see the white men in our town in Ogbomoso, we always cherished them. I was later motivated to become a teacher when I saw that the white and few blacks that teach then know virtually nothing about life.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t fulfil the dream because my parents could not afford to sponsor me. And mother tried a lot to make sure I make it but all to no avail. That was when I concluded to go into farming with my parents. But even with that, we enjoyed everything then.
While recounting on her early years in life, she said only the hypnotised person or one operating under a spell would engage in stealing as life was peaceful enough.
“At that time, you rarely hear that a thief steals around you. People don’t engage in such an act except very few people who we all believed were hypnotised for the act. It was only people that were cursed that would steal because already you have all that you need. But evil people in those villages then can curse one to steal in other to rush his or her image in public.
‘BICYCLE WAS TODAY’S CAR’
Madam Oyetunji also shared that major means of transportation then was bicycle as people could barely afford a car. “Bicycle was the major means of transportation then. Heads of each family ensured that they have it because of their movement to the farm daily. I can remember when my father bought a bicycle then, it was a big celebration.
“We children at home didn’t sleep on that day; we sat on a mat beside the bicycle, touching and discussing till late hour. My mother cooked for neighbours on that evening as they all gathered in our house for celebration.
“Some of them that bought bicycles before my father were sharing experience with him while he carefully listened to them, as they tutored him on how to maintain his bicycles. “The bicycle was brought from Ibadan, the modern city then. My father travelled to buy it and our mother was praying for him. In those days, the feelings of your father having such a thing was like when your father buys a big car nowadays,” she recounted amid broad smiles.
‘MORAL CONDUCTS ARE LOST’
On the loss of social values and poor upbringing in children of nowadays, Madam Oyetunji lamented that many parents had failed in their responsibilities.
“The success of every society lies on parents within the society, especially the mothers. I am disappointed with the manner today’s parents handle their children. Imagine a girl will wake in the morning without kneeling down to greet every elder in the house, or a boy without prostrating around the house for elders.
“We don’t even understand a lot of things happening in our society again. When you see cloths that a Yoruba girl wears nowadays, you will be scared. Where are we going in this life? Madam Oyetunji asked, looking worried.
She also added that parents of today have a lot to do in the area of training their children.
“The children of nowadays are not being trained the way they should. Parents are just leaving them to chance. Children now live permissive life without control and the standard of morals is very low. The olden days were decent and serene while the present world is full of confusion.
“Presently, unlike before, youths do not even aim to finish their education. Some would voluntarily drop out of school and be roaming around. I love people behaving well and if the person is someone I can correct, I would take steps to correct the person,” the octogenarian demurred.