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Shells Without Flesh, A Lament for My
  Beloved Country, Nigeria

The land formed out of gold,
Temperate in warmth and cold;
Bursting out with abundance of smile,
Sidling away a thousand mile;
From the earth you are greatly fleshed,
In the earth you are greatly endowed,
Beneath the earth you are fully packaged,
Loaded with precious gifts of life;
From heaven you were given a great light,
That your light would brightly shine,
And your stars would beam in spackles,
That your sun would ever rise,
And remain constantly where it rises;
From the heavens you have received great favour,
With immeasurable downpour,
In the earth with un-sinking waters,
Vegetation is greenish and ever fresh,
Land so fertile and productive,
Mineral resources are invaluable,
And human resources are innumerable,
What a blessed land you are!

In subjection you were once afflicted by unknown forces,
In grace your fire rekindles,
Breathing a sigh of relief,
But unable to sustain the breath;
In self-defeat you now languish,
Subjected to greater torture,
Inflicted on self by self,
The richest turning poorest,
It seems good things irritate you,
And you delight in, and desire great evil,
Clapping and dancing in endless evil.

Structures that were built for you,
You pulled them down,
The ones you built by yourself,
You destroyed with your own hands,
Your immutable human relations you betrayed,
Good socio-moral values are left dangling,
Economic power crippled,
Railways and airways have wasted away,
Roads have become mighty pits,
For hunting human souls;
Safety and security are not parts of agenda,
And security agents have become greater security threat,
Truth is very great death trap,
Tell it and you are hung.

Light has gradually faded out,
Education is asleep,
Institutions are snoring,
Corruption is equipped with mighty teeth,
To crush and chew relentlessly,
Poverty is entrenched and enriched,
With greater power to sting,
The few undesirables have made themselves iron bars,
In the corridors of power,
Looting and breaking down walls,
Fashioning larger luggage and routes,
For footless and wingless currency to travel abroad,
In the velocity of light.

You have become a baker, who does not eat bread,
And a farmer who is famished,
An oil producer,
Who rather than export, imports the oil product,
You produce and nurture human resources,
And give them away,
To start afresh breeding the amateur;
You sow and do not reap,
You give birth to labourers and not hire them,
You hire a few and suffer them in penury,
All embassies in your territories are inundated,
With citizens streaming out,
Some on self-exile,

Many others seeking greener pastures,
Even from less privileged nations,
Great brains for productive endeavours,
Have converted to gainful fraud,
Trying to survive or live big like their robber-fathers,
Your good image has been washed away,
All your flesh has gangrened,
Leaving an empty shell behind,
And everyone seem unblushing,
About the indelible stigma,
Is this your fate?
O Nigeria my dear country!


I.O. Idamoyibo's next poem is The Shameless Negotiators.


 

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