Palemo, means ‘pack up and go’ in Yoruba. It is also a place where thieves roam with guns given to them by local politicians, to terrorise their local community into submission, as and when needed. It is a place where compassion is mistaken for stupidity and people’s thoughts are dictated by one thing and one thing only; survival.
Palemo is hidden in plain sight. The 1000s of people who use the Third Mainland Bridge, which connects Lagos Island to the mainland, see it every day on their car journeys, yet do not see it – they’re much too concerned with escaping the notorious traffic and making it to the other side of the bridge, preferably in one piece and most preferably, without an encounter with robbers.
Ironically, for a coastline settlement, Palemo lacks drinking water. It is also covered in shit. The stuff is everywhere. Perhaps, it is the reason why it is said that the inhabitants talk so much shit.
One such inhabitant is Baba, the hero of #lookingforbono. And for all his ‘shit’, Baba, an illiterate 50-odd-year-old with body odour, bad breath and the “social skills of an animal” (a character’s words, not mine), finds himself a most unlikely international hero, when he decides to look for Bono of U2 fame, so that he can ask him to tell the Nigerian president to provide water for Palemo residents.
Will Baba find Bono?