Saturday, January 11, 2020 1:47 pm
By Akachi Adimora- Ezeigbo
Our song is for the One who crossed seven seas
And returned home carrying marvelous trophies.
You garland today and the future with great feats
Your Majesty, you are the jewel in our Literary Crown
Beaded with corals from the belly of rich waters.
Nigerian literature glitters because Ike wove tales
You inspired and empowered multitudinous voices.
African literature glows because you lighted undying fires
That dispel darkness, illuminate shadowy corridors.
Eze Ikelionwu XI, the Lion of ancient Ndike Kingdom
The pride of Orumba North, the wealth of Anambra,
Indeed the treasured wealth of grateful Nigeria,
Your fertile mind – your awesome creative ingenuity
Beckons us, your acolytes, to the feast of returns.
We will frequent your market and buy your wares.
You taught us well to decipher signs of the times
We are not a people that eat Toads for Supper, fat or lean
Though the danger of eating fattened toads is constant
We know that Our Children are Coming, impatient
Yet we hide our faces from the enfant terrible of this age
Let those who dare, touch the leopard’s tail, alive or dead.
It does not matter whether the leopard is bottled or not.
For the one who chases a chicken deserves a fall.
Naturally the chicken will escape unhurt
The wheel of the Eternal Potter will go round on its way
And return with manifold fortunes for the blameless.
As long as the sun rises, so will sunset follow,
Those who heed not the premonitions will not go unscathed.
It is a rare gift to see the end of something at its beginning,
But shall we expose the nakedness of our impotent gods
Before the inquisitive gaze of the supremely uninitiated?
You have been here awhile; you will be here much longer
To fulfill a destiny choreographed by divine powers.
Come, Great One, Man of Culture, accept our greetings,
As we celebrate your fifty years of wondrous creativity.
Join our communal dance of praise, in the land of the living,
For the one who deserves the highest accolade.
• Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo is a Nigerian author and educator, whose published work includes novels, poetry, short stories, books for children, essays and journalism. She is the winner of several awards in Nigeria, including the Nigeria Prize for Literature