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My Odyssey by James Ademuyiwa

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From the ovum of a mother,
Who faced procreational famine
For numbers of years, to the hands
Of a drunk patriarch whose days of
Wealth later became a thing in yore,
I was nurtured and cultured in a country
Cursed with resources in the hands of
Callous men, whose tales of looting were
Reported in the Tell Magazines I inherited
From my polygamous father

Then, praises were rewards of the evil men
While the just were made to Live in Lion’s den
Under the watch of the feral Khaki men,
Just as I was made to bow to the lashes from
My Muslim cleric as I memorize the Arabic
Letters of pain every twilight of my younger days

I was taught that Islam is a Peaceful religion
Only to grow to know that my cleric omitted
Some parts of his tutelage that talks about
The bad eggs, that would later turn the Northern
Part of my country to a pool of blood in the name
Of Allah!

Maybe it was justice that my parents were hunting
That led them to Christ, probably to justify the culprit
That cursed them with average life, who cares?
It only gave me the chance to learn about the Pharises
Whose worship were to please men, just like the
Faithful marauders of my nation, whose only truth
Can be known when they seek for my fathers
And mothers thumbprints to seal their fates to
The throne of power. But, justice was found missing
When there was Hope in 1993.

At the dinning table at nights, while we enjoyed
Our meals cooked from the pots of crippled joy,
There, Papa told me stories of his good bad old days
When a thousand naira would buy a car, and the change
For quality clothings, of the unstable democracy
Of the morals that can only be learnt at family tables,
Of how announcements would be made before
Electric power would be taken, of milk, of honey,
I would shake my head for the unborn, not knowing
They were regretful tales in form of prophesies to
Our present days.

While I wash his 504 car, he would tell me stories
About education, of the premiere University in my nation,
Of her premiering power, even her premiering of fraternities
At higher institutions, of the strike-less days of education,
And of the quality and honor of education in his days
But, when the winds of present day education blew past
My ears, I was sorry for myself, knowing extra years
through strikes and  Stereotype knowledge are
the songs they sing nowadays

But, I told my Dad, though you had better days in the
Dark days you boast of, but can you see the light?
The one brought by technology and modernization
That made us develop speed, only to shut ourselves in.
Catching me unawares, he gave me accounts of crimes
Caused through the light I boast of, of the Internet fraudsters
Who believed they are avenging our enslaved forefathers,
Knowing not they are dimming the light they seem
to see at the end of the tunnel. Then, I shivered for tomorrow

Taking advantage of his memory, I told him of change,
Of the rebirth of democracy, of the votes of the electorate
That count, of the gradual break in stereotypes of the media
With their agenda setting, of the,  Erm the…
He broke my flow and he added,  “of the advertisers influence
That now shape the quality of news on the TV, Prints,  Radio,
Of the legality of hate speeches and slander in my new democracy,
Of the youths that spend their lifetime on Social media
Trashing their lives bit by bit through megabytes sent to
The cyberspace, of the mediocrity that governs youthful learning”
Ha! I was shocked, looking for a way of escape, but I couldn’t
Give in to the ways of 21st century slaves who see “Shayo” as
The only way to be freed from despair.

Yet, I dream of a nation where crude oil is an arsenal
When national treasury needs to be boosted and not looted,
Where farm produce become the pride of her people
Where unemployment boards oblivion flight, taking along
Corruption in a first class flight. Where education standard
Will no more call for tears from the eyes of the past heroes
Where terrorists would sing hymns of farewell to arms
A nation where power supply would be the secret of productivity
And Westerners would wish to be named Nigerians,
Having suffered to be granted the Nigerian Visa…

Till my dreams come true,
I still put on the breastplate of a forgotten citizen
Wrapped in the straight jacket of poverty,
Girdled with the loins of helplessness,
Walking in designer shoes of hope,
As I drench myself in the swamp of a nation
Who’s sole illness is rooted in resource curse
Hoping one day we’d be freed from callous men.

by

Jamesconco Ademuyiwa

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