By Olalere Faģbola
The man who enjoys an adventure outside the general experience of the race, and imparts it to others, must not be surprised if he is taken for either a liar or a fool. But I make no pretence here of the fact that I have often ventured into zones of thoughts un-surveyed by many, yet heaven is my witness that I am writing only the bare truth on all I am about to serialize here : That I undertook a fact-finding mission to kamberi land of nudists ( where both children and adults dressed naked and half-naked) is no longer news, what was news and is still news is that I had the singular honour of sleeping on the same iron ( vono) bed upon which the Sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo slept when he flew his helicopter to the land of the nudists in the 50s.
That was a time the Action Groupers combed all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria for votes. Talking of journalistic adventurism, I should be forgiven the boast if I tell you the stark truth that I have never been found wanting there.
Knowing that the outstanding reporter is one who goes to get the scoop which the Editor has not assigned him to pursue, (my delicacy)I am equally at home with the Editor’s creed on the race to keep deadlines ; not waiting until R.J .Minney’s order: “Go out and get the story. If you can’t climb the fence, fall over it, but don’t come back without the story. ”
When curiosity nearly killed the cats of many Nigerians about the truth concerning Sharia in Zamfara, especially at the period the land conducted the first amputation of the hand of Jangebe who was convicted of stealing a cow, I left Ibadan barely two days after the successful launching of Governor Lam Adesina’s biography of my authorship (April 2000) and made my way to Gusau for the love of separating news from noise; facts from fallacies and truth from mere opinions.
Let me here get on with my story on how I stormed the land of kamberi; Agwara, now in Niger State. But before I take readers through the drunken road to the land of the nudist, it should be noted here that the fanatical defiance with which the kambari people resisted moves to get them to cover up was uncommon. The Masai in Tanzania ,the Dukkaris in Sokoto and the Kambaris of old Niger state were once colonies of nudists who were later brought into the mainstream of modernity where they waved off gallivanting about stark naked ,but the Kambari of Agwara, had bluntly for many years refused to be persuaded to wear clothes.
As far as records have credibly revealed, the then Premier of Northern Region,Sir Ahmadu Bello in 1965 stormed Agwara district with about 200 bales of assorted clothing material for distribution free among the nudists but most of them refused to accept them while those who secretly collected the clothes refused to wear them.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo had also carried his campaign to Agwara during his tour in which he flew to the colony in his helicopter and slept there without succeeding in getting them to embrace clothes.
As the State Correspondent of the Punch in Kwara state, I was one of the few journalists in 1983 who covered the campaign of Dr.Olusola Saraki (Former Senate Leader and Strong man of Kwara state) to the area and it was a 24-hour, non-stop ride, in which Dr. Saraki led us,even in a round the clock trip to the area which did not leave the people with a change in their resolve not to wear clothes.
Thanks to the creative strategy employed by the Asaju of Journalism, Chief Michael Asaju ,former National President of Nigerian Union of Journalists who was then appointed as the Kwara State Director of The Directorate for Social Mobilization (MAMSER) and through whose encouragement and incentives, I embraced rural-centred journalism practice.
Having set up MAMSER in 1987, following the recommendation of the Political Bureau which was constituted by the Federal Government as a vital vehicle for the social mobilization of Nigerians , the organisation embarked on political education of the masses, particularly in the rural areas at which frontline MAMSER was glad to have found me while it publicly affirmed with pleasure that I had been the only journalist in Kwara to have ventured into giving coverage to rural areas and subsequently medalled me as the Best Journalist of the Year (1988).
I must quickly at this juncture put the readers in the picture of how I intend to tell this story under four series:
(1)The Drunken Road To Agwara: Tale of Primitivity at its abnormality; Nudity at its savagery; Crudity at its beastiality and Tradition at its Absurdity.
(2) Unveiling the Powerful People playing politics with the nudity of the People of Kambari land and the Struggle for Self-Emancipation.
(3)The secret of how Kambari Nursing Mothers keep their breasts as pointed as the tips of a sharpened Pencil.
(4)Spirituality In Kambari Land and the “Disappear-At-Will “Magic Snuff.