Palemo means ‘pack up’ in Yoruba. It is also a place in Lagos, Nigeria, that is hidden in plain sight. The 1000s of people who use the Third Mainland Bridge, which connects Lagos Island to the mainland, go past it every day on their car journeys, yet they 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 a lot of shit.
One such inhabitant is Baba, the hero of #lookingforbono. And for all his ‘shit’, Baba, an illiterate 50-odd-year-old man 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.
So far, in the book:
- He has been on BBC World Service and cussed out the interviewer in Yoruba
- He has been courted by an international NGO with shady Chinese connections, eager to cash in on his fleeting fame
- He finally had conjugal relations with his wannabe-Nollywood-actress wife.
But he has yet to find Bono and persuade him to his cause.
How will Baba find Bono? #lookingforBono