Yusuf Mutiu Olaitan
No sons and daughters of the Ilorin Emirate will struggle to relate to the name Rukayat Batimoluwasi Ayinke. Alhaja Rukayat Batimoluwasi Ayinke omo Nda Salati, paternally, Omo Kokewu Kobere, maternally, both families which are integral parts of our Emirate, is one woman who exemplifies all the qualities of our proud Emirate. From her resplendent look to her sonorous voice to her ever-present-covered-all dress. Mention it, an Amazon worthy of every garland.
Alhaja is best enjoyed during Wolimat Eve. There, she’ll chant eulogies of the bride, groom, family, and friends, and will never forget to pay homage to the cleanest of Men, Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and also the Ulamahus (Islamic Clerics) of our dear Emirate, topping that long list is always is our most revered Emir of Ilorin.
Ilorin, no doubt, had over the years been blessed with men and women who pioneered and understood a special genre of music named Waka. From Alhaji Labaika to, Alh. Dodo to Baba Olohun Lalaaro to Alhaja Afusa Onisese to Baba Pakuta. All these people, ‘in their immaculate maturities’ (apologies to English football commentator, Peter Drury), did the Emirate a great pride.
From those legends, Alhaja Ruki as she’s fondly called carved out a special way of telling the story of our beloved Emirate.
In her unique ways of asseverating the beauty of the Emirate, Batimoluwasi, is always in the company of women of her age, some of them, backup singers, some of them, turning up with the chorus, and few of them do a kind of spontaneous production, not with a guitar, saxophone, keyboard or any form of a drum, but with their sumptuous ways of clapping their hands and using their mouths to create sonorous beats which will forever leave non-Ilorites in doubt as to whether the sounds coming from the women’s mouths is that of women or drums. Such is the uniqueness.
One art, alien but recently popular, amongst Afrobeats artists in Nigeria is crowd-singing, an art that is not new to Ilorites. In Waka, crowd-singing is normal, only that, it’s differently and brilliantly practised by Alhaja Batimoluwasi, bringing her backup singers to the hook or verse in a way that one will forget who the real act is during play.
Through the length and breadth of the Emirate, Batimoluwasi is well known, is she appreciated enough? I don’t know. We have over the years heard about people who didn’t do, say a quarter, of what Batimoluwasi had done and still doing, getting rewarded in their respective societies.
That Batimoluwasi will stay awake to chant eulogies of our darling Emirate, preach good deeds, pray for our society, pray for individuals, family and friends and in the process, entertain the audience in a way that will capture every soul, without slightly contradicting our religion, moral and culture are enough as reasons to give her honour, such, that our Government gives to people who do our society proud, say in sports, entertainment (like Big Brothers Naija), politics, business and other walks of life.
The loyalty of people like Alhaja Rukayat Batimoluwasi to the Ilorin Emirate and Islamic identity needs to be rewarded, maybe a state honour or recognition. That, I believe will further cement the name of our beloved City as one of the most respected cultural societies of our time and it will serve as motivation to other Batimoluwasis that deserve but are yet-to-be celebrated whilst inspiring the upcoming generations to emulate the appreciable and exemplary path towed by this Amazon and her likes.
Alhaja Ruki, will till the end of time remain, an inestimable treasure of our darling Emirate, it is therefore left to us as a community to give her every deserving honour we can think of while she is still much around with us; for she’s modest, brilliant, welcoming, and rich with the knowledge of our dear city.
Live long Alhaja Ruki!
Live long Ilorin!
Live long Kwara state!
Live long Nigeria!
Yusuf Mutiu Olaitan is a proud Emirate boy from Adewole. He can be reached via: