That day – 30th ‘o May
a day like any other
with worried emotions Mama call’d –
at Head Bridge, her son has been nabb’d.
With rifle butts, they beat him
till his handsome face was a mess
“Stupid boy!Bloody civilian!”
They cursed, they scream’d.
In jail officers grill’d him
“A bu m nwa Biafra!”
He kept answering in defiance,
He was only sixteen and naïve.
When the town was sound asleep
and evil men on the prowl
they fetch’d him from his cell
on the third day.
While his kinsmen who should’ve
vouch’d his case are busy in Abuja
sharing their loot and scheming
to consolidate their hold.
Soldiers march’d him clad in his boxers
straight out of their Hilux,
the Nigerian Army guns tearing asunder
shot him. Yes, they shot him thrice – close range.
He was only sixteen, death came swiftly
his corpse – a candidate of acid baptism
was disposed of with reckless abandon
in an undug grave, without regard to family wishes
What is it – his sin, his crime,
hoistin’ a ‘dead’ tricolor flag?
Advocatin’ autonomy among die-hards
in this era of good stealings?
Where could I find smooth words
mothers tremblin’ grief to ease?
When I myself a widow of this siege –
“Talk! But omit – Referendum; leave out – Biafra!”
Doff your hat, citizen of Republic of Conscience!
Honour the freedom fighter who yesterday
at sixteen lost the comfort of his coffin
perish’d in battle for you, for me, for us.
Today, he may be your son, brother or husband
battlin’ the wills of a bully state – that
his ancestral lands shouldn’t a grazing field be
while the herdsmen’s AK ring – death.
It may be you tomorrow, your sister or wife
takin’ the risk only the unfree know –
exposin’ injustice that restrain civility –
the womb that birth Dictators is still fertile.
Don’t cheer, be unconcern’d or lazy
when they come for your neighbor
or wait till you’re bruis’d up, your honour
trampl’d in the sewer of baser minds.
Like bees in a beehive, let’s crowd around Liberty
let’s unite and grow green and march ahead
in Hope, Vigilance and Courage. To this –
let’s all be Biafrans!
Copyright © 2019. Ugo Nkwoala. All rights reserved.