I hail from Ikire and I love Dodo Ikire. Beyond the childhood nostalgia and emotional affinity I have with this popular delicacy, I have given some thoughts to the uniqueness of the most famous thing that my ancient town has been identified with for centuries. By the way, Ikire is a university town situated between the two university cities of Ibadan and Ile-Ife in the Southwestern Nigeria. Our people are enterprising, innovative and welcoming. They are also particularly creative if one examines the way and manner they have prepared, packaged and popularized Dodo Ikire for years. The ingenuity of our women is only a part of the story.
In general terms, Dodo is the Yoruba word for ‘fried plantain’, a delicacy which many West Africans love to eat with jollof rice and or beans. The general Dodo is made from ripe plantain, cut into slices. But Dodo Ikire is a unique nibble: it is made from over-ripen, almost decomposed, plantains, (which many farmers might want to throw away for loss of market value). Yet, so unique is Dodo Ikire that Prof. Sidi Osho and many other food technologists and scientists have written well-researched papers on the nutritional and economic values of Dodo Ikire.
Beyond the social, cultural, economic, and, increasingly intellectual importance of Dodo Ikire, (some postgraduate students in social anthropology, economics and history are now researching Dodo Ikire for projects and dissertations), a deeper reflection on this snack shows how ingenious and relevant an almost rotten item (plantain) could turn into a well-cherished and yet rarely rotten and even uniquely tasty thing (Dodo Ikire). This noble nibble from Ikire shows to us that we can always inject life into a dying idea; that a new life is always possible once one is still alive and kicking. Dodo Ikire shows to us that we can always create and re-create our realities; that our ideas will never run out until we stop thinking; that we can turn what may perish into what we can cherish. Dodo Ikire tells us that life is about innovation.
Dr Oseni is a Lecturer at Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria