Excuse me, Mr. Vendor!
What are the headlines of today?
“You’re right on time.
It’s the same old stories:
Problem and Wahala in our land:
The lion and the squirrel in battle,
The politicians enslaving the civilians,
What else is on the headlines?
“I hear discordant tunes in Oyibo land,
I hear redemption songs on tired lips
Innocent souls lie still in pain,
People seeking refuge in other lands,
Chaos and trouble in the kingdom:
Explosions, shootings and cries echo loud.”
Alas, for the havoc!
But who are those perpetrators?
I ask again and again.
“I think the culprits flaunt religion as the culprit:
Religion! Religion, I called thee
But thou have become a people’s nightmare
A wicked misconception of true devotion to God,
No, I think politics is dancing with souls
The human mind has gone crazy
The cankerworm, yes the cankerworm
That turns a beautiful heart into a heartless one
Even in my fatherland, they crave for blood.
Where are you, Peace?
I ask again and again,
Where are you, Peace?
The Peace which the prophets preach about?
I weep but that has left my body feeble and weak.
I am dying.”
What is this story again?
Oil, our natural inheritance!
That Black Gold has become the birth-right of the gods,
A right forced upon them by them.
And they make me a passerby in my fatherland.
For oil, my tears flow freely like rainfall.
The song of inequality resonates gloom:
The wicked faces of corruption
Where personal interest has become the norm.
Who speaks equality for us these days?
Liars and hypocrites, with no conscience.
Please shield me from this arrow, dear God!
Fuel is gold, but silence is golden.
I called mama today and she wept.
Are you sick, Ma? “No, I am not.”
Then what is your plight?
The kerosene tank has run dry”
What is this O’ God?
Kerosene and fuel scarcity?
The agitations of poor citizens
The same lamentations of yester-years.
Any more stories?
“I hear Katakata in our campuses:
Lecturers and students palaver,
And fellow students in a deadly game of ego.
They flaunt Cultism, they crave for blood
They lay ambush for a fresher
And bury a voice of tomorrow
Oh, I dread their fury; I dread today’s school,
Oh, I mourn for a lost soul.”
What’s it again? Mr. Vendor!
“Kidnappers are on the prowl for you and me.”
But why me?
“Because you have the price of their greed.”
Where do I run to? Whom do I embrace?
When evil dances about in Papa’s land?
I am on a threshold to stay or to return
I want peace!
I want life!!
I want security!!!
Until you release the mantle of oneness,
Until you stop the bloodshed,
Until oil bring back hope,
Until then, I will seek peace elsewhere.
I will stay until you change your acts.
Do you have more headlines?
“Yes, my daily struggles in life.
I have many mouths that suckle me.
A vendor’s plight, the sick headlines:
Where is the road to the king’s palace?
Where the masquerades are dancing,
where they gather to offer supplications
And break kola nuts with stained fingers,
To appease the ancestors of our battered land,
Seeking peace and forgiveness,
For the broken promises of yesterday.
I wish for hope in the dark sable tunnel
I wish for a true change to our conscience
I am only a vendor,
Going to and fro with my daily jingles,
Begging for food by the roadside.”