Monday, 19 February 2024 04:40

Incompetence weds corruption - Niyi Osundare

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Niyi Osundare Niyi Osundare

The Quickest Way to Kill A Nation


Pepeye, nigba too m’owe

Ki lo be l’udo se?

     And a dark, unruly tragedy is born

As the Nation thrashes about

     Like a snake without a head

Do you really wonder

     Why so much power

Should be thrust upon

     Those with so little sense

Do you wonder why

     Those with no eyes

Have forced their way

     To the fore front of our chase?


They who have no heads

     Have stolen our caps

Those with no legs

     Have taken over the daintiest of our trousers

Toasting the talisman of tribe and tongue

     Invoking the charisma of creed and class

They sneak their serpents

     Into the quietest corner of our garden

Jumble up the geography

     Of our bearings

And exploit the sorrowful saga

     Of our grand un-remembrances

Always, the wrong foot forward

     Then our tales of incessant woes

How can a land so lavishly endowed

     Be so medievally misruled?

The mindless clique who rule our pack

     Have killed our soul and frittered our faith

Those incapable of thinking

     Have now turned our “Leaders of Thought”



Lukurumusu wrested our Golden Crown

     And headed straight for the putrid mud

His mouth stuffed with the corpses

  Of assassinated oaths

Fierce and frequent was

     His quest for that Crown

He crawled, caviled cajoled, cried in countless bids

     Till a mongrel coalition rewarded his frenzy

Now up in the saddle

     And finding, so fast, the Crown

Too big for his middling head

     As an unraveling Nation rues its fatal choice

The Nation bleeds from all pores

     Old separatist animosities re-draw the map

As Luku retreats into a conclave of clan and cronies

     Merit and Good Judgement his prime disposable virtues

Clan over competence, tribe above truth

     Square pegs in round holes

And the Nation grabs the reverse gear

     And speeds, break-neck, into medieval darkness



Now Bandits stoke our fears

     An oil-drenched Nation lacks

The brain to power its progress

     A mindless paint-over of a battered currency

Has thrown the nation’s debt-drained economy into a tailspin

     The ‘cashless’ country dreamed up by

Emefailure, Chief Witchdoctor of the National Vault,

     Has turned Nigeria into the saddest joke of the Universe

From the rocky seat of power

     It has been silence, empty, disdainful silence

But why did Luku fight so hard for this Crown

     When he knew it was too heavy for his head?   

Unspeakable hardships harass our being

     Untimely deaths deplete our ranks

There is not a single corner in this land

     Untouched by this plague from our mindless Pharaoh

Unhappy the land where rulers cannot THINK

     And/or are too haughty to know

The world asks with impatient consternation:

     Why is Lukuland such a Netherworld of Fools?

Ignorance kills a Nation

     Our own is already close to a disgraceful grave

What do you do with/to a Nation

     Which so conscientiously disables the able?

Oh Duck, why your frantic craving for the river

When you knew you lacked the power to swim?

** Niyi Osundare, one of Africa’s Foremost Poets and Academics, is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of English, University of New Orleans.

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