They stand in twos in strategic locations savouring the quiet nature of the night under the winking stars. Littered all over the floor are the ìràwés and
dead flowers making efforts to live again by the caress of the tender breeze and sight of aspiring couples. It is uncommon to see two standing still and stuck like the Yoruba cultural èère ìbejì which separation might spell doom. Silhouettes abound in shapes and shades as diverse lips whisper sweet nothing to curious ears. As for the courteous Igi ìsáná which paves way for a carefully tarred road towards the school clinic, they dare not meddle as they are destined to watch and wish without more. Cascading the environment is a keen contest of beauties, sizes, shapes and pickup lines. Brazenly, walking through the concourses of this love setting single is like a blind negotiating for an expensive wrist watch- ìrònú fit kill person! In a frenzy of introspective imagination, a realistic sketch of Cupid appears close to the moon for true lovers to behold at this sacred lane of the institution. The love lane is just a few metres away from the motor park of the 1975 born Better by far university.
There is no doubt that there are several joints in the university of Ilorin- the skyways, walkways, coca cola village, SUB arena, PGD boulevards, law park, law resorts etc. These joints are celebrated for the fun and respite they afford callers anytime a need to live beyond the academic race comes. However, as a well travelled student within the various locations in the school, the engineers that constructed these venues were unable to construct nature there- the positioning of the moon, trees, stars and whirlwind tone like a notification of Orò’s approach. This sleepless night afforded me a chance to reflect and give the verdict that the LOVE LANE is the mother of all joints. Forget the romantic touch of the zephyr while sitting or standing under those trees adjoining the DSA’s office. After all, the DSA would not hug you except you make a first class, but I contend that we all deserve a hug. An embrace beyond an academic one given by our Deans on occasional basis.
Sailing on the sea of worthy pasts, I have come to realize that those things that money can’t buy are actually at the love lane. Beyond the prejudiced supposition of immorality prevalent in institutions, the love lane is themed with plethora of world changing factors- friendship, love, trust, inspiration, compassion and motivation. There are instances where strolls are taken to this joint to await coolers from our female counterparts when the week of pride dwindles. Down moments when they need a shoulder to lean on and cry for the outcome of that CBT exam- at the love lane, we allow them. It does not matter to us that the man who won the heart is in Ile-Ife as long as we can be there for their sisí in ònà ìfé (love lane). The love lane is a world that proves the unity in diversities. It is an avenue where you can lap a partner bigger than your destiny without getting fatigued.
There, inspiration for the poem, Sisí ológe came and we did write it. We observed that the lavender of some female callers endangers the sleeping birds and bats. At the love lane, we saw the vision to create the Àsàké poetic story based on the ladies changing partners like a chameleon changes colour. From those lines reflections were provoked from far and near. Lessons taught and learnt beyond the love lane. From the thought of the dead leaves and flowers struggling to live again by the wind’s touches at the love lane, we wrote Ìràwé and readers took a pause to ponder on the transient nature of life and temporal nature of beauty. The Ìgboro poetic complaint to the street that won a prize was inspired by a mere stare down the love lane. Though, there is no doubt that while some trust at the love lane, some thrust, a few rot and others love. But an attempt to put an end to the business at the love lane because of a few rough edges is like avoiding sleep because of death.
Dear Professor Abdul-Ganiyu Ambali, as one of my revered Facebook friends and academic father, I am aware that you embrace incredible ideas. With that, you have really transformed the school. In the spirit of that, if you get to read this, may I beg thee to preserve the love lane for us? Or better still, create another love garden where my alma mater can produce the Romeo and Juliet that won’t commit suicide. Upon this, I shall apply for a break from my firm to submit a proposal and defend such with recommendations before the Senate if this offer is considered worthy of acceptance. And sir, tell those security men to stop parading that joint at night as if their lives depend on it. If they are eager to work, the Nigerian Army is largely recruiting. Their unsolicited interference is affecting the input and output over there. I know you would be thinking our academic life will be jeopardized, that is not so sir. Habeeb Whyte and I were among the trustees of the love lane back then, though with different motives. You may check our academic records and activities on campus, we were not bad. And at the risk of sounding proud, the council of legal education rated our set first in Nigeria in the just concluded bar exams, and the love lane helped in cooling down tension before we went to the law school.
On Thursday, I shall step the soil of my alma mater again to honour the invitation of UCJ. Meanwhile, I shall stage a protest walk to the faculty of law to confirm whether the callup letter I saw online was the same sent to the school. If yes, the Dean would have some explanations to make. He should tell me the crime I committed to warrant being thrown to Borno. But before then, I shall head for the love lane to offer some poetic sacrifice to Cupid. After all, the Bible reads- ìfé ni àkójá òfin.
Omoni ‘Toye Olusanmi