Posts Tagged 'values'

Truth

by 

 
Noel Ihebuzor
Truth looks on

darts in her eyes

impressed by our eloquence
bemused by our biases
irked by our piteous arguments
puny, puerile
rankled raw by our ragged rationalisations
still she remains silent
silent but sad as again
she recalls the deafness
of a world people by vain mortals
sorrowful, yet hopeful,
she surveys our clumsy
sheep led by gain gaits
our eyes fixed on stash
vision lulled and dulled
by the lure of lucre
as all logic is locked away
facts blended by simple reason
is now branded as sinful treason

Identifying corrupting arguments on corruption

By

Noel A. Ihebuzor

I shared these thoughts on corruption about a year ago. Recent events in Nigeria and reactions to them on social media prompt me to share them again.

Bad is Bad.  But to selectively focus on the “bad” committed by persons you do not like, hyping it and creating a mass hysteria around it whilst turning a convenient blind eye to the “bad” of other people you like is bad.  Blanketing out news on the “bad” glaringly perpetrated by persons whose causes you champion is bad. Bad is Bad.

Impunity is bad. But to selectively focus on impunity at one level and to remain silent when impunity is generously dished out by other levels of government is bad. It is to allow economics, religion and politics to either condition our perception or to dampen our capacity for impartial judgments and consistent demonstrations of moral outrage. It is to practice a morality based on expediency. Such expediency-driven morality eventually imposes a huge burden of dysfunction in our judgements, a dysfunction with unimaginable opportunity costs and which dysfunction indeed could then have untold deletrious effects on a polity that looks up to us as impartial watchdogs.

A song for the Girl Child

By

Noel A. Ihebuzor

 

Ekwe, ogenes and udus

from a dawning new day

play a sombre serenade,

whispering and suggesting

new worlds, new possibilities

 

and on the waking skies, words inscribed

on a rainbow-ed horizon hum

your amazing qualities of universal verity

 

Sister, daughter, seed carrier,

Future assurer, energiser, builder,

Calmer, softener, sweetener, peace maker

 

The tunes stir and wake you

 

you rise, a flower about to blossom

and gaze in sober silence at the signs scripted

in golden sprinkles on the aprons of  a dawning day,

your smile of innocence splays the sky

salutes the dawn and sprays the new day

with fragrances of hope and possibilities

 

And the rainbow-ed horizon hum on their truths

 

Sower, harvester, protector, shock absorber, sufferer

Nurturer, Nurse, first responder, stabiliser,  

Keeper, organiser, model, inspirer, teacher,

 

And I thought I saw a new smile kiss your face,

saw in that smile the dancing hopes

of glow filled futures for all

if culture and gender

do not suffocate the seeds you carry within for all

 

and in this dawning morning,

where hope sang to my anxious ears

and possibilities danced and beckoned

I prayed in silence for the world

to nurture and cultivate

the generous seeds of transferable greatness

that nature has richly embedded in your bosom

and your fertile and supple mind

so that we all could harvest from it

a future of gladness and greatness

 

**Adding my raucous voice to those celebrating this year’s (2013) day of the girl child.  Not the best of songs, but the intention should redeem all its imperfections

Noel

The 26th September March

By

Noel A. Ihebuzor

Our legislators are among the best paid in the world. If you look at their salaries and emoluments relative to either the mean, median and modal wages in Nigeria, then you are forced to take back that statement and to correctly say that they are among the “worst” paid in the world since their salaries are totally out of sync with the socio-economic realities of their environment. The Economist report has it that the basic salary of a legislator is about 116 times Nigeria’s GDP per person. Now if this claim is accurate, such a salary is not just bad, it is sinful. Our legislators ought to, in every responsibility, advocate for an immediate downward review of their salaries and allowances. I will be among the first to support a petition by the electorate for the immediate downward review of the salaries and allowances of these people.

Our history on demonstrations is not the best in the world. We appear to be totally unable to come up with demonstrations with peaceful endings. The fault is at two levels. The first is with the demonstrators.   Some of the demonstrators act with immaturity and are prone to demonstrating the worst forms of self- restraint during demonstrations. The second is with the agents of law and order who are not always “lawful nor orderly” in their conduct and who are not very skilled in handling demonstrations/marches and in crowd control. The combination of an immature group of persons and law enforcement agents who are not too skilled in the management of crowds during demonstrations usually spells disaster. Disaster arrives even faster when mischievous element, anxious to make either political capital or quick financial gains from demonstrations,  join this mix. The descent from a peaceful assembly and parade to confusion, mayhem, anarchy, tire burning, road blocks, extortion and other forms of disorderly conduct is rapid and the consequences can be very  painful, wasteful and socially divisive.

I hear a march to protest NASS salaries is planned for 26th September, 2013. Details are still sketchy as to the locations, route, how and the form of this march. But it is important for the march organisers to recognise upfront the realities of demonstrations in Nigeria and to take steps to ensure that the planned march is peaceful and that their ranks are not infiltrated by elements with other intentions. They must also ensure that the march is not hijacked by persons or groups with party political motives and ambitions. It is important that clearance(s) for the march or marches (if they are planned for several locations) are obtained from the relevant authorities and that designated venues and routes are kept to. The organisers must therefore organise a responsible march and ensure that marchers march with responsibility and keep within the limits of the law. The law enforcement agencies, on their part, also must keep away from provoking the demonstrators. Their roles must focus on ensuring public order and peace and on protecting the lives and safety of Nigerians, including the marchers who they must see as simply exercising their democratic rights. The crowds must be handled with great sensitivity and tough tactics should only be deployed when breaches of the peace are clear and obvious. When this happens, response should swift, targeted and commensurate with the perceived risk and nothing more. We saw such swift and targeted responses in the police handling of the last riots in the UK.

I do not want to be alarmist but I am just calling attention to a planned event that could provoke clashes which then have the potential of snowballing out of control.  Clashes can be avoided if clear commitments are made before the march and adhered to by the marchers and law enforcement agents also agree to abide and actually abide by agreed principles of crowd control during the march. Incidentally, the planned march can still be headed off now (and valuable man hours and agro saved and possible disasters/hard feeling averted) if significant persons representing all the political parties from both houses of the National Assembly were to step forward now and assure the electorate that the NASS would be engaging in discussions with the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in the very near future with a view to a downward and realistic review of the salaries and allowances of their members.

Noel

HerStory

By Noel A. Ihebuzor

(A response to this poem which pains and troubles me)

 

I veil my face

I fake, I affect a pace

I strike a pose to please

 

I part unveil my ware

to attract, to beckon, to appeal,

all to strike a better bargain

 

draining nights

on these dark streets,

mean, dim

where for a fare fair

I fair sell my flesh and frame,

me tame, soul lame, filled with shame

before rates of exchange

driven hard, harsh, heartless

unequal, the weak cannot bargain

 

I empty my soul,

as he emptyng inside me, also empties me

so much pain,

for so paltry a gain

all so that you, my child

will not be empty

when you rise

 

In the mornings, when you rise

clad in your innocence,

as you eat and fill up, I sing for you

but also to forget, my smiles fake, as guilt

and self-pity gnaw at my insides

 

And I sink, I sink and sing to forget.

Review of Biko Agozino’s “Today na Today”

By Noel A. Ihebuzor

Title – Today na Today

Author – Biko AGOZINO

Biko Agozino 2

Publishers – Omala Media Ltd, Awgu, Enugu

Year of Publication – 2013

I have just been privileged to read a collection of poems  most of them in pidgin English by Biko Agozino. Onwubiko Agozino (Biko), is a Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA

The collection, titled “Today na Today” is made of 36 poems, 31 of which are in pidgin English and the last 5 in standard English. The poems treat a broad range of contemporary social issues in Nigeria from life in our typical urban ghettos characterised by “face me- I face you” type of accommodation to protests over the conditions of host communities in the oil rich Niger delta of Nigeria. The issues covered are indeed broad but a common thread of social relevance unites them all. Take the poem “Fire the devil”. Here Biko slams with very biting wit the rise in a theology that seeks explanations for social failings in the unceasing interference of the devil. Or consider “Black sperm” where the poet describes and takes issues with the social consequences of new developments and possibilities in fertility management and reproductive choices, especially the whole issue of sperm banks and artificial insemination.. “Time na Money” starts off innocently on the title of a song by Okri but ends up with a deep and shattering broadside on an enlarging cult of materialism. Poor people pay more is particularly disturbing and contains lines that etch their words in the minds of the reader

“Them fit prospect for oil self right inside we wife and daughters’ thighs

We only beg make them rub small oil for we cassava leaves make them shine”

These are strong words. These are powerful condemnations of the activities of the oil companies in the Niger Delta  (ND) whose failures and negligence along with other failures explain the abject poverty of the ND.

One cannot in a short review of this nature cover all the poems in the collection but a few deserve special mention – Dialectical dialogue, Yabbis, Capital punishment, Slum dwellers, Odyssey, Below sea level, Too Much Generals, Knowledge be privilege, Again born again, You be witch and Brain drain all stand out. Each in its special way takes up an aspect of our social life and our experience of it, be it as voluntary emigres in God’s Own country or as forced prisoners/participants in the gaols of our country where social services are almost comatose, social inequities and cleavages are on the increase, misery and despair so palpable and a tendency to play blame games on the ascendancy and dissects this with a blend of humour, sarcasm, irony, wit and some compassion. But for my concern not to enflame current sensitivities concerning the Igbos and the Nigerian state in the 1967-70 period and even beyond, I would also have mentioned “Forgive” as one of the poems that stand out given its plea to the Igbos to forgive the wrongs done them during the civil war. I will keep clear of that. The topic is too delicate, but the theme of Victory song, a poem which celebrates the victories of the ANC and Mandela among others, is not. Read it and rejoice with the successes of the liberation struggles. Read it but please do not say “Cry, the beloved country” for some of the failed dreams, unfulfilled expectations and matters arising in the present from those brave liberation struggles of the past.

The last five poems in standard English (is there such a thing, by the way) – Abu jah, Say Sorry, Massa day done, Con and Blue – are a delight to read. Abu Jah is troubling as it reveals all the shenanigans and shoddy dealings in our new capital city, a city, where for example, one family gets allocated 8 plots of choice land out of 16,000 plots in a country of 160,000, 000 people and the person who was principally involved in making the allocation is either unable or incompetent to recognise his guilt and to say “Sorry”! “Say Sorry” is a listing of our failings in society, failing we should be sorry for and to turn away from. I could go on but it is best I stop here to allow the reader discover and enjoy this collection of poems where art is used to project social conditions, contradictions and challenges for herself or himself as I have done.

Biko has certainly enriched the literary world with this collection of poems. Some of the poems betray his Igbo origins in their choice of words, cadence and rhythm! “My water pot it done broke” in its form, structure, especially repetitiveness of lines, has all the elements of the akuku ufere –  akuku ifo  (poem tale usually with a refrain) we used to chant as children during moonlight plays –  “Ebele mu akuwala”.

I just have one problem with Biko’s efforts to write in pidgin – Biko him pidgin no trong at all at all – him pidgin na oyibo pidgin. Him pidgin na “ajebo” pidgin.  He mixes correct English forms with pidgin forms (he uses “them” instead of dem, for example). This is a weakness and a “corruption” of our “ogbonge” pidgin. But we can pardon this “corruption”once we realise that this professor of sociology and Africana plus poet at Virginia Tech, VA, grew up inside Naija but has lived outside the country for more than 20 years in places like the UK, the Caribbean and the US. (Incidentally, his  pidgin orthography is similar in many ways to the style of Chinua Achebe who used ‘them’ instead of dem in many of his novels).

The collection is published by a small publishing house, Omala Medsia, based in his home town, Awgu in Enugu State, Nigeria, and it can be ordered from www.lulu.com but I look forward to when this collection can be re-published by a more renowned publishing house but this is beyond the control of Biko or any of us. Decision for that lies with the publishing houses whose choices on what to publish are driven less by literary worth of a manuscript but by consideration of economics and market realities. But here, I stray and dabble into the difficult waters of the sociology of publishing. Happy reading.

An additional treat is that Biko Agozino recorded nine of the poems, mostly at Harry Mosco Studios, Lagos Nigeria with just one recorded at Paramount Studios in Nashville, TN. To listen to the recorded poems, follow the link here.  Enjoy.

Noel A. Ihebuzor

@naitwt on Twitter

The gravity of grafitti – wild hate singing on wide walls

By Noel Ihebuzor

 

Naming is dangerous, cheap

prejudice and hate,

foul the skies

with clammy paws and febrile strokes

spraying lurid ugliness

on the frames of non-consenting city walls,

obscene images and messages,

spewing and strewing hate and hurt

internal rot, riots and rages uncaged, intrusions,

extrusions ugly as rape, ragged, raging

Seeds of discord sow, soon sprout

creeping, spreading, spawning like

poisonous parasitic fungi on tired urban walls

revealing the jungle and darknesses within.

Their message?

Hate, discord and despair,

sad triplets, their grips cloud vision,

clog hearing and choke reason

as they slowly suck their victims

to ever resounding and noisy hollowness!

 

***Prompted by SLD’s Cultural Grafitti

http://susandanielspoetry.com/2013/02/21/cultural-graffiti-2/comment-page-1/#comment-21719


My calendar

August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Blog Stats

  • 22,227 hits

My posts

August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.