NIGERIA: PARADISE LOST?
The tale is told
Not by a few
About days of yore
When our land was covered with dew
And with milk and honey.
The days when money was not our problem but how to spend it:
When a few naira flew you to New York and back.
The days when undergraduates were fed three square meals a day
The days when mid-level graduates got high-level jobs
When our students abroad gave waitrons eye-popping tips
When our hospitals dispensed medicines and not hopelessness.
The good old days when brothers were brothers’ keepers
And not gatekeepers.
The days when most women were clothed in virtue
With few women of easy virtue
When taps gushed drinkable water in nooks and crannies –
The days when pure water was not stored in impure vessels……..
Then the hard-nosed locusts came!
Garbed in camouflage
Wielding weapons bought from the sweat off the brows of the bowed and bent
Presenting a façade of Salvation
Only to ravage the fruits of Redemption
Planting in their stead seeds of Division
And of Vaulting Ambition:
Igniting in due course embers of resistance
Championed by true patriots
Comprising many modelled after –
‘The best president Nigeria never had’.
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Soon, some of the hunters and haunted
Mutated into political vampires
Mortgaging the future of their kith and kin
To acquire vast economic empires.
Propping the retired and tired
As born-again messiahs
To lead the people on a voyage
To a nebular Promise Land
Only to land in a wilderness of recession
Where rebellion brewed amongst disgruntled disciples
Who murmured their desire for a new messiah.
Now, a wistful voice cries in the wilderness:
Whither and to whom shall we turn
For our Paradise to be regained?!
From Random Thoughts: A Collection of Essays and Poems by Tony Ekata
This poem, dedicated to Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Professor Ambrose Alli, was first published on January 5, 2017.
Feature image: Courtesy Nairaland.com