By EKANPOU ENEWARIDIDEKE
Prompted by certain developments in Bayelsa state, King Robert Ebizimor, the living music legend of Ijaw from Angalabiri town, has artistically cast his Royal Majesty A. J. Turner as the Liberator of Bayelsa whose unsolicited liberation activities have given him immortal colours in the state and beyond.
In this artistically mesmerising and penetrating portrait, King Robert Ebizimor, unconsciously assumes multiple narrative colours. A critical massage of this song titled A. J. TURNER: THE LIBERATOR OF BAYELSA STATE, throws king Ebizimor up as a poet, dramatist, novelist, authority on oral literature and a great philosopher.
In this single song, there are memorable echoes of Professor J.P Clark and Aristotle, the great ancient Greek Philosopher. It is this cosmopolitan-like stylistic blend which accounts for the communicative imagistic sophistication, philosophical and proverbial profundity and the richness in oral literature that literally bestow on the song the character of a play, novel, poetry and folktale – qualities that temptingly predispose critics to see the song as a complete work of literature.
In King Robert Ebizimor’s song, there are verifiable echoes of JP Clark as a poet and Aristotle as a philosopher whose philosophical tentacles are spread to every genre of literature. JP Clark had long contended that the ijaws are naturally poetic; this characteristic natural poetry of Ijaw people characterises the song. JP Clark had also long drawn attention to a language device often used by Ijaw people, and this language device called INDIRECTION, also flows in abundance in the song.
The song also parades echoes of Aristotle when he drew attention to dramatic techniques, particularly the plot. To Aristotle, a plot must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Again, a plot must have the structure of exposition, complication, climax, anti-climax and denouement.
All these elements which tend to move Ebizimor’s song from the territory of music to the territory of literary work, are beautifully blended into the musical piece on A. J. Turner – a musical piece categorised PANEGYRIC in the field of Oral literature.
Viewed from this angle, King Robert Ebizimor has metamorphosed into a folk story-teller. Indeed, this is a historic musical piece that enjoys multiple stylistic thrusts, elasticity and variability.
Clearly located in the plot is the fact that suffocating darkness has been cast on Bayelsa state leading to daily exploitation and underdevelopment of the people. The crop of politicians entrusted with the management of the human and material resources of the state selfishly strike acquaintance with self-aggrandizement and appropriate the resources to the detriment of the masses.
Revolutionary crop of politicians bubbling with development ideas dance weirei into the political arena in a struggle to reverse the precipitous turn of events. A conflict of development ideology ensues between the two forces. A. J. Turner, a revolutionary progressive, storms the arena carrying Seriake Dickson and eventually installs him as the governor of the state amidst mind-boggling intrigues and blackmail from the reactionary ruling class.
The darkness disappears. Even the once suffocating prison walls of under-development are broken open by A. J. Turner who deploys his resources to liberate Bayelsans politically. It is this reality King Ebizimor has artistically crafted into a musical panegyric – politically, dramatically and philosophically cast to the mesmerizing admiration of literary physiotherapists.
To the entire Ijaw people,particularly the likes of Governor Seriake Dickson, Peremobowei Ebebi, Walter Feghabo, Starley Garry, Chief Mitama Obodor, Bulouereketere, Didigba, Peter, Solomon, Dikifiye, Oruwane, Asiyai Etifa, Bekes Etifa, Darowei, Chief Asamaowei, Ketebu, Zimowei, Ben Bruce, Aziaki Etifa, Timi Alaibe, Fumudoh, Titi Isoun, Fred Agbedi, Puru and Mudabofa cast here contextually as characters for the artiste, A. J. Turner deservingly merits musical immortalisation cast in the mould of a panegyric. It is perhaps in veneration of the accomplishments of A. J. Turner that King Robert Ebizimor befriends the multiple communicative style in his musical panegyric.
King Robert Ebizimor’s musical panegyric on A. J. Turner begins strikingly with a soothingly slow rhythmic congruent instrumentation. This soothing instrumentation continues for few seconds and then rather dramatically, King Ebizimor projects his voice above the penetrating instrumentation and musically draws the attention of the world to the greatness of the man, A. J. Turner. Somewhat incantatory, evocative of Yoruba oracular poetry – King Ebizimor launches into a dramatic monologue:
A brave lion-hearted man
His Royal Majesty A. J. Turner.
A. J. Turner, the Obigbo Mikimiki I
The Olotu of Bayelsa State
The Iroko of Bayelsans
The Edagbudu I of Niger Delta
The Messiah of Bayelsa State
The Political Oracle of Africa
A. J. Turner the Obanema of Opume Kingdom
A. J. Turner the Lion, the Tiger
That fights bravely, not alone
But supported by Lions like him
No giant reigns without solid support
Base from his people
A. J. Turner, you are a Lion!
We the Ijaws acknowledge your greatness
A. J. Turner, May you reign Forever!
To be continued …