From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja The decision to retain health maintenance organisations (HMOs) as part of the country’s health insurance programme caused a major disagreement between the House of Representatives Committee on Health Services and the executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Yusuf Usman. Usman, at the just concluded two-day investigative hearing…
Richard Inya is a Nigerian poet and short story writer. His works have appeared in ANA Review, Brittlepaper.com, Ake Review, Singlestory.org, Praxisonlinemagazine.com, Ebonyi Review, etcetera. Some of his works have also been adopted for use in their school systems by over eight states in Nigeria. He is the Vice Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors in Ebonyi State. He writes and writes and writes.
Every face now is a loud placard;
yours, your mother’s and mine.
Drizzling tears are emblems of
ebbing hope. Hope struggles like
confetti caught in a whirlwind.
We are a weighty pebble fighting
to stay afloat upon a murky pool.
There’s harmattan in every throat,
and thorns in every word, the words
we speak in loud sighs and silence.
The boom of doom is a scary tale
in the North, and at the South’s tail
is a fusillade of lethal shots echoing
the rhythms of militancy in the hearts
of men quartered behind the mangroves.
At every corner here in the burial place
of my umbilical cord are yawning mouths
longing for magnetic words to attract alms,
but the products of their effort walk like
a mother held up in the pang of contraption.
Who can tell the sharers of the sauce of life
pleasantries equal insult to an unfed mouth?
How would they know the wind has rejected
their songs? Yet the colour of things bright
and flowering, tells me, this shall also pass.
Oneness has taken flight
Like dew overpowered
By the sun’s manly face
So is commonality gone
Another’s corpse is a log
The tears of the bereaved
Are streams of misty fancy
Before dry-eyed consolers
The sanctity of blood now
Is adrift in a violent flow
Life is only a mushroom
The meal of termites
We are now like aged drunks
Admiring pallbearers’ wears
And funeral songs are lullabies
To the children of the unaffected
We are flies trapped in a keg
Of raffia wine; a stranded
Species lonely in its crowd
A multitude swept into solitude
We’d swear and curse and brood
And sue if a car crushes a dog
We don’t care to tell the children
A mad man is someone else’s son
We are oil-bean pods shattered
By the hand of an angry wind
Each freed seed journeys abroad
Into the belly of wandering ones
Our tragedy hangs around the neck
Of selective unity; we can’t see that
Unshared laughter weakens the teeth
As life is sweeter when lived together
Live for tomorrow
They that harry the earth
Give their dwellings away
And bid rodents come home
Wherefore their abode is gone
Owls thus take flight at noontide
Sojourn not among those
That treasure snake soup
If their traps catch them snakes
Let them savour the soup
If snakes catch their heels
Let them bear with herbal water
Make not light of the grave
For the earth fights her cause
Congregate not among the tribes
That call lightning flashes of light
For such tongues harry the earth
If the earth doesn’t fight her cause
Why does lightning speak vile words?
Why does thunder raise his voice?
Why does the cloud break into tears?
Why does the rainbow oft intervene?
The earth fights her cause
Tomorrow is heavy with our baby
Would we smile if it looked like us?
Who but a drunk tells his only son
One must get lost to learn new roads?
Today’s rat should not be burnt
Inside tomorrow’s fair castle
Tomorrow is the today that stays
Yet I speak not of men and pregnancies
But of the future that awaits the earth.
The stygian wind
Asikason Jonathan is a public affairs analyst and burgeoning political poet from Enugwu-Ukwu in Njikoka, Anambra State. He holds a B.Sc. degree in political science from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and has been active in the campaign for better Nigeria.
From the savannah of the North,
the wind sprouted,
Tossing everything that crosses its
Its fatwa is blunt: Western education is a sin!
Bloodbath it unleashed on the five.
Scores it cremated to their startling graves.
Lusting for the virgins in wait at Jennah,
The fanatic wind went on a bombing
Our girls the wind enslaved.
Our villages it razed to dust.
Tossing everything that crosses
The fanatic wind went on a bombing
Oh stygian wind when will you stop?
Oh political creature can’t you accept
Or hasn’t your “ungovernable” mission fulfilled?
Oh the fanatic wind went on a bombing spree.
With old masters at the helm,
The chimpanzee refused to return the cup.
Stalemate and nemesis came visiting,
And the stygian wind continues to blow.
The festival of blood
Ambuscaded by ungodly herdsmen,
Innocent farmers piled the pyre.
For the festival of blood,
In their very own farmlands.
Crook they jettisoned,
And machete not enough.
The herdsmen mutated into killer squads.
Nimbo and Agatu wail.
Weeping-laughing governor took the stage.
Come see leadership and neglect of human life.
What a wonderful celebration of mediocrity!
Foreigners our government called them
Non-Nigerians killing Nigerians in Nigeria?
Arrest they made not; arraignment they declined.
Surely ethnicity is at work here!
Oh God won’t you save us from the herdsmen?
The herdsmen that reap where they soweth not.
The herdsmen that rape both the young and the old.
The herdsmen that pitieth not the heavily pregnant
Oh God You have to save us
For our government has forsaken us
You alone can help us oh lord
Lest they say: where is their God!
In the shadows of Biafra
Agreement suffered disagreement,
And canons were let loose.
Raining in the sky of Biafra,
The scavengers called for feast.
Life and death brawled in a
But the scavengers had their ways.
With their cups overflowing in
the presence of their enemies,
Psalm 23 was in their lips.
Were these Biafrans that “heroes
Ah! Hunger was the weapon of
Kwashiorkor came knocking at
And the death dominoes began to fall.
The grim-reaper was the zeitgeist,
In the genocidal engagement.
The rising sun hurriedly departed.
And cessation was the secession.
Was it an enactment of David- Goliath
It beggars belief!
Vox populi swallowed vox Jammeli,
And the African strongman fell.
Surprisingly he spit the spit.
Jubilation seized the streets.
At last Jemmeh is leaving us?
Goodbye and riddance!
Then came the volt-face,
What a relapse!
Spit he spit he reswallowed.
Gosh! Fresh election proposed.
Ecowas sneezed, Jemmeh shuddered.
Has any sane man reswallowed his
Spit must be left where it belong,
There Jemmah belong too!