“When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations……When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.”
– President John F. Kennedy on October 26, 1963 at Amherst College, Massachussets.
Glancing around me
Sordid is what stares at me
Despondent I can’t help but be
So discouraged never have I been
As I peeped into the horizon
So easy it is to discern
Prancing around unencumbered
Is the joyous Evil
Triumphantly bouncing across the land.
Evil is not just joyous
Evil is wildly celebrating
Stomping its deleterious feet cockily
On the dead soldiers of good
While the truth guards are comatose
Inebriated in their numbing stupor
Unable to resist the well armed soldiers of Evil
With an air of invulnerability
His environment, Evil arrogantly surveys
Astonished at the feat accomplished
Amazed at the ingrained beautiful carnage.
Delirious in their triumph, enamoured by their leader
The soldiers of Evil began a sudden rendition:
“All hail the Godfather!”
“All hail the Godfather!!”
“All hail the Godfather!!!”
Evil has vanquished the Good
Foot mat of Evil, Good has become
Right cowers at the sight of might
At the sniff of ineptitude, rectitude dithers
Honesty recoils at being honed
To great odium, hard work was put
As shrapnel of poseurs permeate the polity.
On the throne, Evil sits
In its splendor and majesty
On its right and left, its chieftains flanked
Ensconced in glowing regalia of guilefulness
Corruption, fraud, theft, laziness, greed, deceit
Lies, shamelessness, kleptomania, impunity
All flouting their new found power
While in their own indulgence, they revel.
The dregs are now the new pegs
Signposts to the new mess
Gonging for the inglorious goons
The advent of a new moral order
Heralding the victory of Evil
The triumph of falsehood
Indicating the harrowing defeat of Good
The odious crippling of rectitude
Open torment of integrity; and
Agonizing conspicuous disgrace of dignity
The Evil’s moral order is simple
Vice it brings as Virtue
Forgery camouflaged as forthright
Dictatorship it deodorizes as Democracy
Mercantilism as Progressivism
Scallywags as Saviours
Scoundrels as Saints
Scamps as Stars.
Evil’s formidable forces
Well oiled, marshaled and organized
New moral order, determined are they to enforce
The clime they infest with crime
Evil’s cretins fermenting as vermin
Looting unencumbered in peace time
Maiming the morals of the critical mass
Dispossessing the people with strokes of pen
To the power of Evil, big thanks
Out of our clime, it has caused
Integrity to take flight
For cover, dignity has dived
So deep, sincerity has sunk
Chastity is thoroughly chastised
Honour, hounded to hiatus
To tatters, etiquette is thoroughly torn.
In this Yoruba Nation of ours
In this our land of Oodua
On these hallowed grounds of ours
Conscripted in a contraption called Nigeria
How did it come to pass?
Where did we go wrong?
How did we miss the signs?
How did this happen?
This Victory of Evil?
How is it possible
On this hallowed grounds
Where Moremi once sacrificed for the Nation
Where Sodeke once strived for independence
Where Basorun Ogunmola once demonstrated valiance
Where Ogedengbe Agbogungboro once defended his people
Where Ishola Fabunmi Oke-Mesi once insisted on self-determination
Where Kunrunmi and Latoosa were once Field marshals
Where Seriki Ogunsigun of Ijebu-Igbo once spilled his blood
In defence of Ile-Ife, the Source of Yoruba virility.
How did this happen?
This Victory of Evil
On this hallowed grounds
Of great Kings, Nobles, Chiefs and Warriors
Where once marched the Great Obafemi Awolowo
With his all conquering visionary army
Of patriots and seminal administrators
To restore the pride and glory of our people
And reinstate the dignity, honour and hope of our people
How did we get to this point?
Where unabatedly across Yoruba land
Evil and its foot soldiers are celebrated
How did we come to accept
Lies, lies and lies
Falsehood, fraud and effrontery
Mediocrity, mendacity and hocus-pocus
As moral parallels of dignity, integrity
Honesty and sincerity of purpose.
In the days of yore
The leaders who led and set the pace
Men of character they were
Their dignity they valiantly vaunted
Their integrity they jealously guarded
Their people, culture, tradition and heritage
Were covetously protected
While allowing the dynamics of change
Take its constructive and positive toll
Organized and orderly society, they still maintained.
Mass media is midwifing miasma
Securing sepulchral solace to the marauders
The intelligentsia is in intermission
Crippled and corralled into collaboration
Human Rights activists are deactivated
Civil Society, soiled in its marshy morass
All lured into love of filthy lucre
Signifying the dearth of conscience
Evil is confidently strutting the land
Its soldiers arrayed against the hopes of our people
Secured in the efficacy of ill-gotten wealth as its weapon
So sure that everyone has got a price
In this period of anomie, especially and particularly
Buying up everyone that is buy-able
Mauling anyone that is maul-able
Recalibrating the destiny of any recalcitrant
Standing in its evil path.
All the sages of old
Through the stages of History
All the philosophers of now
Molding the here and now
And all the seekers of nigh
Paving the path to pace
All the faiths of the earth
Believe, agree and teach
That Evil will never overcome good.
But now, this is not it and now it is not so
Evil seems victorious, its soldiers prowling all over
Yet if they are right, and so they must be
All these sages, philosophers, seekers and faiths
Then this victory of Evil
In this land of Oodua, nay this Nigeria
Can only be akin to that of Pyrrhus’
That King of Epirus over the Romans in 280 BC
No more, no less!
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
– John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961
Article written by ‘Remi Oyeyemi
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