Rose of Numen
Rose of Numen is a sequel to Numen Yeye. It therefore continues Ife’s tale. Ife channels still the spirit of Numen Yeye, a princess from the kingdom of Light. Her mission, her purpose in life is now crystal clear and the extra-ordinary in her is still intact.
Rose of Numen begins in the prologue. The reader is afforded a glimpse into the past and into the metaphysical world of Rose of Numen, Ife herself. Princess Numen is prepared to embark once again on a journey to another world, the earth, which, however, is inextricably linked to hers. Her purpose, her mission is enunciated, and then the reader is jolted into the present.
Ife gets a scholarship from her old principal to study medicine at the University teaching hospital in a Nigerian city, Ibadan, and her life becomes “professionally fulfilling” afterwards, to borrow a phrase from the blurb, but that is not the end point. She must act out her predestined role on the planet earth.
Ife plunges headlong into her purpose, her mission, releasing the extra-ordinary locked up in her and effectively using the knowledge of her extra-terrestrial connection in the process. She begins with a gathering of a mini festival held at certain periods of the year for women of childbearing age by Yeye, the priestess.
She focuses her lens on the culture and tradition of her people, wounding and healing at the same time. But she is not the only one in Rose of Numen whose fate has been predetermined. Babatunde her soul mate, has also been saddled with the responsibility of ruling and protecting his people, not as the chief medicine man nor as part of the inner circle of Ifa, but as a king. Not until towards the end, both the reader and Babatunde remain obvious of this truth.
Just as Rose of Numen, Ife, immerses herself in her mission to humanity, stripping people of superstitious beliefs, pointing iconoclastic finger at the practice of human sacrifice, reuniting broken homes and restoring to them the cocoon of family love and care. Opening the key to the riddle that dribbles many, with regards to whether reincarnation is a myth or fact, exhorting the woman to see themselves as carrying “a secret flame the man needs to grope his way through life, so also does Babatunde, the young lion preoccupies himself with the kinship issue.
Babatunde is a necessary part of the inner circle of Ifa priests. Based on this knowledge, Adewumi, one of the princes, and whose status is in doubt, approaches Babatunde, with the intent of bribing his way onto the throne, but he is disappointed.
Following the latest in a spate of prince Adewumi’s futile efforts to bribe his way through; Ifa’s declaration of a missing prince and Babatunde’s firm refusal to be dissuaded, Babatunde is framed, accused of fraud and thereby suspended. A lawyer and close friend of Ife, Yomi, however shows up like a knight in shining armor and consequently, Babatunde is rescued.
Ifa, in the first attempt at selecting a king, declares that a prince is missing. The tale of the missing prince and potential king resounds around the village, even rending its air. Consequent upon this, prince Adejare, on the one hand, who had shown sign of promise decides and backs out of the kinship tussle. Prince Adewumi, on the other hand, seeks redress in a law court. The selection procedure is called to question. Babatunde, the young lion and an upholder of tradition however becomes victorious in the long run, but that is also not the end. The State Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs requests for a fresh nomination and instructs that a representative of the ministry shall be asked to witness the selection process in order to give fairness a chance. At this point, the reader sees tradition and sacred secrecy coming face to face, clashing with civilization and openness.
While still puzzled by the mystery of the missing prince, Babatunde dramatically encounters an old man through which he gains a fascinating insight into the tale of the first king and his missing son, and the two women who, before they could do anything were warded off by the roar of a lion. The day comes. The ceremony begins for the selection of the king. The procedure is simple: each prince is to step forward, mention his lineage and the spirit of the king his forbear will be called forth. Adewumi is the first to be called forth. He is asked probing questions. Answers fail him. The mask falls and it becomes patently obvious that his claim is false. He turns out to be a product of his mother’s shameless and senseless escapade with a farmer.
However, to the utter dismay of everyone, Babatunde turns out to be the missing prince during his first earthly journey. He has reincarnated as Babatunde. He has the symbol of kingship, a pointer to the identity of the sought-after prince and king.
While dissociating herself from the crops of feminists, who believe that the woman has been long conditioned in the environment of masculine dominance, hence the need to liberate her from the shackles and pands of male dominance, Olatune in Rose of Numen gives the woman a new focus. The woman carries a secret flame that she must light in man. Among others, she revisits culture contact, bribery and corruption, predestination, the link between the spiritual and the physical world (a theme which the farmland of African writers have ploughed appreciably), and dwell more on incarnation and reincarnation. She presents us in this work of fiction, with two interconnected and interrelated world, and with the characters we go many a time on foray from this earthly plain into the world beyond.
Numen Yeye is an intriguing and captivating novel that is laced in flowery language, garnished with local idioms. Biola Olatunde indeed rises to the challenges of originality and creativity.
Like a meandering gentle rivulet, the well-etched words flow smoothly as it takes on issues of global concern that borders on emotions: pains, loss, joy and love, with a force. Also, we hear the resonance of love as it permeates through the thickest of hearts to produce a relationship that cannot be forgotten in time.