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A poetic appraisal of the state of nation

By Prisca Sam-Duru & Vera Samuel Anyagafu

The literati especially lovers of poetry were treated to a special reading of some selected poems during the July edition of “Read-It-Loud”, a reading initiative established by the United States Public Affairs Section in collaboration with U.S-Africa Literary Foundation for positive change in literary world.  The reading which brought out some of the ills of the society took place at the Public Affairs Section of the Consulate, Lagos.

A total of four poems written by four different poets were read to an audience comprising poets and other writers in different genres of Literature. And as it is customary during the programme, the poems were analysed by the audience.

The selected poems were coincidentally, intertwined in a single theme which centered around lamentations on the prevailing circumstances in the country. All the arms of government particularly the show of shame that took place recently at the Rivers State Assembly, were heavily criticised for their involvement in disgraceful acts.

In Scoundrels of the Senate written and read by Macaulay Akinbami who also moderated the entire session, the audience was confronted with the state of the nation. And through the use of elements of sarcasm, mockery, criticism, personification and very strong language, the poet communicated his  state of mind.  The  poem begins on a very tensed note, portraying the poet’s feelings of pain, anguish and displeasure.

But towards the end of the poem, the poet’s feelings of despondency shifts to hope as he sees light at the end of the tunnel. His belief is that the masses will someday and soon for that matter, revolt against bad leaderships and begin benefiting from the resources of the nation.

Another poem, Inner Conversation by Adelabu Faida, though underscores role of destiny in determining what a person becomes in life, bad governance was not spared. The poet lamented his inability to cater for an only son after his wife passed away, due to bad economy. Instance of this is found in; …Now, I looked up in my impoverished state  and demanded…of scarcity, of poverty, of my inability…

Even though destiny at this point was identified as one of the major factors responsible for pit falls in people’s lives, Nigeria leaders since independence were largely accused of throwing the nation into the doldrums. Participants regretted that while Nigerians are hunted by a blur future, the present has become too perilous for them to feel safe in their fatherland.

Inner Conversation in no small way, ignited heated debates, controversies and arguments at this juncture and the house was divided. Religion was called all sorts of names as few blamed Nigeria’s predicament on its impact on the people. This group maintained that the people’s religious differences make it absolutely difficult for them to rise up in one accord and fight corrupt leaders.

Others disagreed, positing that tribalism has been the bane of the country. Some others accused the character in Faida’s poem of not being smart enough to recognise opportunities and making the most of them. Many however, declined to tow this line, stressing that even when the individual makes effort to utilise available opportunities, lack of an enabling environment ends up frustrating such efforts.

Other poems read were, The Stranger by Ifeoma Akobi and Lady Kuku written by Ayo Omoyeni.


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