Directed by Adebayo Tijani and Steve Sodiya, the new film Ijakumo: The Born Again Stripper is quite unlike the usual revenge dramas out there. The critical and sensational portrayal of religious figures is the standout feature of this film. The narrative is convoluted, to say the least, but the film doesn’t miss out on presenting the myths and supernatural legends of Nigerian culture.
Ijakumo revolves around Asabi and Olajide, who were once young lovers. Olajide used her goodwill, betrayed her, and went on to make a big name for himself as a pastor. He has now grown wealthy, using corrupt practices while working for the ‘Syndicate,’ and Asabi has finally returned to take her revenge for what he did to her in the past.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Ijakumo’?
Asabi is a proud tribal woman, and from the long-braided hair to the tribal marks on her face, she embodies the spirit of her tribe. Long ago, something terrible had happened to her that had shaken her to the core. That event is related to Olajide, who is one of the most powerful pastors in Nigeria. Olajide is the kind of corrupt man who can be described as a narcissist. He masquerades as a man of God, but in reality he himself is a non-believer and sees the others as fools who give their money in the name of religion. He has all the luxuries that one can dream of, and there is no sign that he will be satisfied with them. His lust knows no bounds, but being a religious figure, he has gotten away scot-free up until now. Asabi knows the truth behind his holy persona and is planning to bring him down.
Olajide works for a corrupt corporation simply known as the Syndicate. Its purpose is to prey on gullible people and create wealth for its members. It has connections with the local politicians as well, making it quite the force to reckon with. He has been a diligent worker for this evil organization and reeled in the big bucks, but even the Syndicate has a limit on how much of his vanity they are willing to tolerate. His latest vice is to visit the strip clubs and prey on whomever he fancies. Asabi plans to use this vice against him, which is why she summons Sharon, an exotic dancer from Uganda. Olajide is sucked into the plan even quicker as Sharon looks exactly like devoted church singer Mary.
What Is Asabi’s Plan?
Out of all the candidates, Asabi picks the inexperienced Sharon to be her Trojan Horse, who will infiltrate Olajide’s fortress and get Asabi what she needs. The fact that Sharon can switch her accent and make it sound Nigerian makes Asabi confident that she can get the job done. One fine day, when Olajide goes to the strip club, he catches a glimpse of the gorgeous Sharon, thinks she is Mary from the church, and is immediately turned on by her dual nature. He perhaps recognized his own duality in seeing Mary, which is why he grew so lustful. He had no idea that it was all Asabi’s plan to bring him down.
Asabi’s actual plan was to distract Olajide, which is why she sent Sharon. She knew Olajide couldn’t control his lust and, in the heat of the moment, would not care about the Syndicate’s thumb drive. The thumb drive was of utter importance for Olajide as it contained the names and bank accounts of all the members of the church he was stealing from. Whoever had that thumb drive could essentially hack into the Syndicate’s bank account and redistribute money as they saw fit. Asabi wanted that device so she could bring Olajide down on his knees. Without any money, he was powerless, and there was no better revenge than to strip Olajide of all his strength.
Why Is Asabi So Vengeful?
Behind every successful man, there is a woman. It would have been true for Olajide and Asabi had he not betrayed her. Many years ago, they were in a relationship together, and she loved him more than he could have imagined. Asabi had even gone against her father’s wishes not to see Olajide. If she had listened to her father, her fate could have been different, for her father was a shaman. He could see through people’s souls and knew for a fact that Olajide was only after power.
Olajide was a nobody when he was with Asabi. He didn’t earn any money and didn’t have any special skills. She was with him purely because she loved him, but he was with her because he knew that her father possessed the magic that could potentially make him powerful. One day, while they were playfully chatting, Olajide started to mimic the tone and vocal style of the preachers, and Asabi was quite impressed. She could see that he could really become a preacher. She took him to her father to help him, but her father declined, seeing that Olajide would use all his skills for wicked deeds. This didn’t stop Olajide, however. When he got help from a local minister, he started to learn the tricks of the trade very quickly and started to rise up in the ranks. What need did he have for Asabi now? At that moment, he realized that he could manage without her. If he couldn’t have her father’s magic, she was actually a burden, and so he planned to break up with her. The only problem for him was that she was pregnant and to “solve” his problems, Olajide did something unthinkable. He made her drink poison that made her sick and resulted in a miscarriage. He left her to die, telling her that he had no other option. He wanted to rise to the top, and she was just an obstacle that had to be removed. Asabi should have died, but a miracle saved her. Her father’s spells ensured she lived, after which he transferred his powers to her.
‘Ijakumo’ Ending Explained: Why Didn’t Asabi Use Her Magic?
Sharon had successfully gotten Asabi the thumb drive, and the plan to redistribute the wealth back to the accounts of the original holders had begun. When the Syndicate’s boss learned about it, she immediately got hold of Olajide and asked him to look into the matter. As far as Olajide is concerned, Sharon didn’t exist; only Mary from the church did. To his understanding, Mary was simply moonlighting as a dancer in a strip club. So when the news of the hacking reached him, he could only suspect Mary. He was certain that she had stolen the thumb drive. He brought her in and began torturing her. It is only when his team member captures Sharon and brings her next to Mary that Olajide realizes that they are two different women.
The reality was that Sharon’s adoptive mother had once visited Nigeria with a surrogate mother and was trying to have a baby. The baby was stillborn. Fortunately, another surrogate mother had given birth to twins in the same hospital. The twins were legally separated at birth. The child that was taken to Uganda was Sharon, and the other one living in Nigeria was Mary. They had reunited after so many years during such a horrific moment when they were about to die. Asabi comes in with her crew and takes out Olajide’s men one by one. Sharon is saved, but the badly wounded Mary succumbs to her injuries. Furious, Asabi uses her magic to kill Olajide.
Now, A question arises: if she had the magic powers, why did she not use them before? The answer probably lies in the detail that she wanted Olajide to suffer as much as possible before she killed him. Using the magic too soon would only ensure that Olajide got an easy death, so firstly, she used Sharon to instil confusion in him. She must have known that he would confuse her with Mary and that his lust would overpower him. Secondly, it cannot be said that Asabi used her magic only to kill Olajide. The mysterious disease that started to plague the Syndicate’s men can be seen as Asabi’s way of instilling fear in the corrupt gang about becoming the next victim. She must have used the spirits to spread the disease among the gang. These were terrifying techniques on Asabi’s part to ensure that Olajide suffered immensely before he was killed. In the end, she was proven right. Confused and beleaguered, Olajide was nearly on the verge of a nervous breakdown, shooting his own men in frustration. Only when he loses all his power and his existence is turned into hell does Asabi kill Olajide, ultimately taking her revenge on her own terms.