Fifty-nine Lies

By Aniebiet Effiong 3 weeks ago

59 lies

 

I pledge to Nigeria my country,

To be faithful, loyal and honest.

To serve Nigeria with all my strength,

To defend her UNITY,

And uphold her HONOUR and GLORY...

                                                        

                                                          - pledge

 

I

I write to tell you that,

We are everything irony, paradox, metaphor.

Sometimes you need to look at us from the other side.

 

III

I write to tell you that,

Here, dreams are birthed, nurtured, attacked, and killed.

Every living thing dies.

And that,

               We now uphold broken honours and 

                   Faded glories.

 

VI

I write to tell how It feels to be;

Strong yet weak,

     Whole yet broken,

           Full yet empty,

                Alive yet dead,

                    Standing yet falling.

 

X

I write to tell you how,

We became the ridicule of people --

Their taunting song all day.

 

XXI

I write to tell you how,

A tyred Plateau boy became a living fire,

Running, in search of an escape route,

They said his sins were so heavy for a boy like him,

They said fire was the only way to cleanse him of his sins.

 

XXIX

I write to tell you how,

Pythons learnt the art of dance,

On the streets of Aba,

Coughing venoms as people were falling.

 

XXX

I write to tell you how,

We are caged in the freedom of our voice,

Freed in the prison of our silence.

 

XXXV

I write to tell you how,

Golds became dim,

Dimmer than the eyes of an Ondo boy,

Dimmer than the tinted glasses of our clergymen.

 

II

I write to tell you how,

                   We ran to our brother's land,

            Lost the colour of our skin,

   Returned charred and dusty,

To a soil, unknown.

This is to say we have no unity to defend,

We are scattered like the numberings of this poem.

 

XXXX

I write to tell you how,

Hot is the paradise our leaders had made for us,

And, how we are gradually dying of its heat.

 

L

I write to tell you how,

We were free from slavery to the whites,

But in bondage to the blacks,

They said it is better being a slave to a brother,

And, becoming a victim to a brother,

Than to a stranger. 

 

XXVIII

I write to tell you how,

We saw salvation and deliverance in 2015,

  - in the eyes of a Bauchi boy

  - on the skin of a Bornu man

  - on the cheeks of a Dapchi girl.

  

LIX

Finally, I write to tell you how,

We were told the fifty ninth lie,

Of how we were independent whilst in dependence. 

 

©Aniebiet Effiong

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Aniebiet Effiong
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