By Ade Adeogun
Have you heard that Baba Kekere, the ‘Adele’ of the zoo flew to the land of the queen to confer with the lion king? He did not tarry for long lest the hyenas appropriate kingship of the Zoo unto themselves. Hmmm! Those ambitious hyenas cannot be trusted for even twenty-four hours. Anyone who knows the history of the chief of the hyenas knows that like ‘Odewale’ he would kill his father and marry his mother if it is a condition to step onto the throne of lion king. But we all know the history of the Zoo. We know that a hyena can only become king by happenstance. No matter how ferocious a hyena turns it cannot usurp the position of the lion King unless as an ‘Adele’. Unfortunately for the head hyena, he has chosen the wrong moment to aspire to the throne. Not now that members of the lion tribe are guarding their inheritance. Not when the rhinoceros are asking for the throne or a plebiscite to determine the future of the zoo. Hmmm!
Life in the zoo has been very interesting of late. With famine in the land the monkeys have taken notice that baboons have been chopping while they work, leaving little or nothing for the hardworking monkeys. As the Rhinos (led by one that returned from the wild) chant ‘to thy tents o Israel’, the Hippopotamus, elephants and even members of the hardworking monkey family are nodding in sympathy. All the animals seem to have unofficially agreed on the need for a jaw-jaw to decide the relationship between the animals in the Zoo. The smaller animals that question the supremacy of the lion tribe demand for equity. That monkey, baboon, rhino and even the lion must work and contribute to the zoo barn before anybody can chop. Or else, let monkey eat what monkey works while baboon should feast on what it worked for. If the baboon chooses to lounge all day whilst monkeys work so be it. It should feast on the returns of its lounging business rather than waiting for the national barn to distribute what was harvested from the garden of the monkey. This is animal farm all over, except it is not George Orwell’s 1984.
Come to think of it. Can all the animals survive in separate zoos? Even though the lion takes pride in flaunting its supposed aristocratic nature and ability to hunt its own food, it cannot survive without the smaller animals. Or what would the lion prey on? Can a lion feed on the carcass of another lion? The elephant (The ‘Ajanaku’ himself) in its majestic ‘mammoth-hood’ need to feed on grass, but it is said that an elephant does not feed on the grass under its belly. Even the Rhino with its itinerant grazing habit that is similar to the Fulani herdsmen needs other forests to foray. Will it survive in a smaller zoo? Where will it get water from given that the only source of water in its part of the zoo flows from a brook situated at the heart of the Lion’s den? Can the Hippopotamus tribe survive on drinking colored water? Will they appropriate onto themselves the fresh waters of neighboring seals and other lesser sea creatures?
I shudder to think of the post zoo chaos… the catastrophe of several zoos with no discernible order. Each unable to survive on its own because it has severed relationship with other animals with whom they share symbiotic relationships. Relationships hitherto taken for granted but jettisoned on the altar of over-rated sense of self-importance. Who would warn the animals leading the chorus for the disintegration of the zoo? Which of the gods will pass the message to all animals of the zoo… that the nose may be smelly but it gives breath to the body. Who would remind the gatekeepers that though the buttock conveys only shit, but without it the body would have no peace?
I leave with a message to all animals in the zoo irrespective of size, tribe or leanings. There was a reason for the zoo. It was not in error that this particular zoo was created with its diverse animal species. All animal tribes must embrace each other seeing more of the good in other animals rather then the evil perpetrated by those who were propelled to the headship of the zoo by default. The problem in the zoo is not between the different species but between the monkeys of all the tribes versus the baboons who would do everything to retain their desire to lounge while monkeys work. Let all inmates of the zoo come together to hunt down the baboons, irrespective of size or specie. A baboon lion is equal in character to the baboon hyena. What they have in common is to feast on the hard work of the monkeys and keep all monkeys in perpetual slavery. Rather than clamoring for replacement of a big zoo with smaller zoos, all elephants, rhinos, Hippos, Orangutans and the hardworking monkeys should come together to rid the baboons of their ‘baboonness’. Let the zoo survive but let them chain the baboons!