Metele

They say about this time 50 months ago
Boko boys own half of this town
with brute-will, they spread fear and death.

They had everything a monarch could ask of:
Power, Territory and Wealth (even choice
girls from Chibok without paying a dowry).

Drunk on fanaticism; deaf to reason
they swore by their mother’s milk
to defile, to inflict tears, sorrow, and blood.

But they’re now a rag-tagged army,
technically defeated and numerically decimated
we’re told. Relieved – we believe this claim.

But, here on the fields of Metele
after the insulting foes guns ceased their din
we shove bodies, far too many;

we piled them high till we could count no more
over there friends of freedom slumbered
we laid them to rest – comrades of 157 Battalion.

No medals adorn their chest
and stripes they never will wear
they’re just another statistic.

The Newspapers print shocking pictures, throwin’
out numbers of carcasses rotting in the sun
numbers that lay desecrated by vultures.

200 today, 47 tomorrow, 23 the next day;
why the numbers keep declining I don’t know
maybe they keep resurrecting like Jesus.

Our mothers who hoped a welcome hug are weeping,
our wives and girlfriends silent, they dare not ask
what happened and why; everybody is confused.

“Things like this must happen after a major victory”
the Army press corps says
but whose victory is this –

the rag-tag, technically and numerically decimated?
or the Green-White lads dodging like convicts
on the run without hardware and ammo?

Do not delude yourself Commander-in-Chief!
Our morale is high, we did it in Sierra Leone
Victory we snatched from Death’s jaws in Liberia.

Yesterday we bade farewell to our families without tears
today we shall stand in line, shoulder to shoulder
to meet our adversaries with spears but without a shield.

Tomorrow the world will sing our triumph-song
of death and shame. The death-list will hold
many a loved one’s names who fought bare-footed

while the 12-digit dollar purported procurement
becomes an accusation of who stole what on Facebook
with Comments, Shares and Tags Shekau would be gleeful for.

This – War profiteering, defeats me
rogue officers and crooked contractors signing receipts
for AK’s and Tanks paid for but never delivered.

The elect, the elected, the elated
what kind of times are these
when will honest men get their due?

Metele! Forge grief into strength, make tears ammunition
vow to your children and inhabitants, vow to the dead
no enemy boots shall trample or compel your submission.

In spite of these rude boys terror we’ll fight! We’ll win!
Let no one pity us, we’ll pity no one –
those who have done this savage thing to us.

Sergeant! This is no time for business as usual
leave fancy speeches and promises to politicians
this is an occasion to undo the wicked – a time for practical men.

Copyright © 2019. Ugo Nkwoala. All rights reserved.

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