I was in Abuja recently and happened to walk behind a couple who were obviously not residents. Like all visitors, we were just going round the shops looking for somethings to buy as a memento of our visit to the nation's capital. From their conversations, I reckioned they were Yoruba.
After some time, we chanced upon a leather shop with all kinds of leather sandals, shoes, wallets and something that looked like thongs. Faced with such an array of choice of leather ware, the woman could not but exclaim, in Yoruba.
'Ha! Awon Hausa yi ma ni bata orisirisi o!
(These Hausa people have so many types of shoes o)
To which the husband replied sarcastically and rather self derisively:
'Eyin Yoruba o ni bata. Nigba'to je pe gbogbo awo yin le ti je tan ni ponmo. E wa ma wo roba kiri abi ke ma wa Italian leda l'Aba'
(You Yoruba people cannot have shoes, when you have eaten all your leather as ponmo. That's why you wear rubber sandals about and look for 'Italian' leather in Aba).
I couldn't help but laugh particularly as the man with his bald head and full tribal marks was really putting on a show to everybody's delight.
With the number of cows, rams and goats slaughtered daily in Lagos alone, the hides and skin industry should be booming seriously. In fact we should be exporting leather but unfortunately, we eat more than 95% of all the hides generated. Given that ponmo actually contains little or no nutritional value known to man, it is a mystery why Lagosians (not just Yorubas) savor it so much. It is like a Lagosian's meal is not complete without some ponmo on top.
Did you hear about the Yoruba man who was invited to Buckingham Palace as a guest of the Queen for whatever. After the dinner in his honour, my country man was asked to give a vote of thanks. he thanksed the Queen profusely for the honour done him and went ahead to comment on the meal itself. He said:
'It would have been a sumptuous meal but unfortunately there was no ponmo!'
What exactly makes ponmo a delicacy? Anybody knows?