Meet Baba Oloyin, 70-Year-Old Nigerian Man Who Sells Honey On Streets For Long Life
July 31st, 2014 – Meet Baba Oloyin, The Oldest Street Hawker In Osogbo, Osun State Nigeria
Meet Baba Oloyin, 70-Year-Old Nigerian Man Who Sell Honey On Streets To Avoid Death
This man is a popular figure in Osogbo and it couldn’t have been otherwise because not everyday that you find a 70-year-old man hawking items on the streets.
Many stare at him as he moves about, a loaded tray on his head, hawking in the streets and roads of the Osun State capital. Meet Pa Azeez Bamidele, simply known as Baba Oloyin, the oldest street hawker in Osun State.
The reporter encountered Pa Bamidele recently in Osogbo. As the old man crossed the busy road at the Okefia Roundabout, he was nearly knocked down by one of the ubiquitous reckless motorcycle (okada) operators along the former Rasco area. Firmly, the old man held the bottles of honey neatly arranged in a bowl. For a while after the close shave, he looked perturbed and agitated.
“Baba, e lo ku sile (old man, go and die at home),” the angry okada rider and his passenger yelled at the old man. They zoomed off after unleashing more expletives on the old hawker.
Soon, many road users and passer-by stormed the scene. While some sympathised and rejoiced with the man, some others wondered why he was still hawking at such an advanced age.
“Why is this 70-something-year-old man still hawking around Osogbo streets? Who are his family members? Can’t they stop him from hawking honey? Is he not qualified to benefit from the monthly payment of the N10, 000 to senior citizens under the state social welfare scheme? Won’t he be killed soon if he continues with this trade on the roads?” These were some of the questions being asked by the sympathisers.
In a chat with the reporter, Pa Bamidele said he had been hawking honey in Osogbo streets for years, adding that only death could stop him from hawking.
“I’m an indigene of Osogbo. My house is near Koledowo’s house at Itan Olokan. I’ve been hawking honey using my head to transport it for over 15years,” he boasted.
During the interview, 10 bottles of honey were in his container. His itinerary takes him round the increasingly busy roads in the state capital, including Okefia, Igbona, Olaiya, Ajegunle, Ayetoro, Idi Seke, Orisumbare, Oja-Oba and others.
On why he has refused to retire, he said: “I’m not a lazy person. I don’t want to die now and that is why I’m still hawking. I’ll die if I stop hawking. I’m sure of this. I cannot sit down idly at home or in a shop. Doing so will make me depressed and sick. How much gain am I making from the business? It’s not the money that motivates me but the fear of dying if I stop the practice.”
Has he ever attempted stopping? “Yes, several times. But after some weeks, I always find myself in the streets hawking again. My family and friends have made several attempts to stop me but I find it difficult to stop. Some of them have quarrelled with me on this issue. Even my doctor told me to stop. Not that my children are not supportive, but I know that once I finally stop this business, I’m going to die. I was hyperactive when I was young and it’s now difficult for me to remain idle. On the average, I make about N2,000 sales daily, but at times I don’t sell at all,” he informed.
Pa Bamidele said his honey had been a blessing to many. He said his honey was original and cheap, adding that he has some loyal customers that have been patronizing him for years.
“At my age, I cannot be lying and I’m happy that people believe me. There is a lot of fake honey in the market. Mine is original with no side effects. It’s also cheap. If you light up my honey, it will ignite instantly. It’s natural honey, not adulterated. High profit is not my priority, but I’m just doing something to keep death away. I’m happy that people appreciate my efforts judging from their patronage and care,” said the old man.
Baba Oloyin said hardly would he board a vehicle during his business hours, which is between 9am and 4pm each day, excluding Fridays. He called on Nigerians to take good care of children, the handicapped and the elderly.
While commending the Osun State government for its N10,000 monthly stipend to the elderly, he called on government to accommodate more elders and embark on welfare programmes that would empower more people financially.
[Reported By Mutiu Ganiyu, Daily Sun]