How does Alani contribute to Yaremi’s loneliness in Bayo Adebowale’s Lonely Days?
In Lonely Days by Bayo Adebowale, Alani is the only son of Yaremi and Ajumobi. He works in the city of Ibadan as a carpenter where he has prospered in his own little way.
He rarely visits Kufi village, his birthplace, even during his father’s lifetime. After his father’s demise, things are no more different from what they used to be. He successfully dodges his responsibility as the only male issue of his late father.
When he eventually appears, he fits into the author’s apt description of the prodigal son. He returns briefly with just two loaves of bread, a big tin of custard and a tin of sardine for his mother—after eight good years in Ibadan!
As if that is not worse enough, he bashes Yaremi’s hope that he will spend some days with her. Within few hours on Kufi soil, he hurries back to Ibadan where he has impregnated a lady. He neglects in the course of his actions his mother’s ordeal in the hands of the village elders.
Although Alani may not have been in the village for so long, he is however not unaware of the dictates of the culture and traditions of the village; most especially in respect of marrying off widows. He knows his mother will be remarried by a man of her choosing. Yet, he pretends as if he is unaware of this. He only promises to take his mother to the city later on when he could have taken her with him at that very moment to:
- Keep her company; and
- Save her from the herculean task of remarrying another man.
Instead, he dashes for the city leaving his mother behind lonely and full of reminiscence. Ordinarily, and as an African child he is supposed to be, he ought not shirk his responsibilities. His mother is his responsibility.
Talking about responsibilities, he defiantly refuses to take over his father’s landed properties despite the stern warning from Uncle Deyo that if he refuses to take them, the said properties will be bequeathed to others in the village.
One thing is clear however. Alani is not the kind of son any African woman will pray to have. The Yoruba would say, “tí bàbá bá kú, bàbá ni yóò kù”, meaning “if the patriarch of a house dies, another takes his place.” After the death of Ajumobi, Alani ought to take control of the family but he is not in any way doing anything close to that. Rather, all he cares for are:
- His uncompleted house project;
- His pregnant girl friend; and
- The luxurious life in the city.
He does not in any way alleviate his mother’s widowhood tribulations and loneliness. Even the small Woye is more responsible than Alani.
If not for Yaremi’s grandson, Woye and her daughters, Segilola and Wuraola, the pressure would have been so much for Yaremi. Same with the loneliness.