Incompetence weds corruption

Incompetence weds corruption

Thursday, February 9, 2023 12:03 am

Professor Niyi Osundare

By Niyi Osundare

The Quickest Way to Kill A Nation

Pepeye, nigba too m’owe
Ki lo be l’udo se?*

Incompetence weds Corruption**
And a dark, unruly tragedy is born
As the Nation thrashes about
Like a snake without a head

Do you really wonder
Why so much power
Should be thrust upon
Those with so little sense

Do you wonder why
Those with no eyes
Have forced their way
To the fore front of our chase?

They who have no heads
Have stolen our caps
Those with no legs
Have taken over the daintiest of our trousers

Toasting the talisman of tribe and tongue
Invoking the charisma of creed and class
They sneak their serpents
Into the quietest corner of our garden

Jumble up the geography
Of our bearings
And exploit the sorrowful saga
Of our grand un-remembrances

Always, the wrong foot forward
Then our tales of incessant woes
How can a land so lavishly endowed
Be so medievally misruled?

The mindless clique who rule our pack
Have killed our soul and frittered our faith
Those incapable of thinking
Have now turned our “Leaders of Thought”




Lukurumusu wrested our Golden Crown
And headed straight for the putrid mud
His mouth stuffed with the corpses
Of assassinated oaths

Fierce and frequent was
His quest for that Crown
He crawled, caviled cajoled, cried in countless bids
Till a mongrel coalition rewarded his frenzy

Now up in the saddle
And finding, so fast, the Crown
Too big for his middling head
As an unraveling Nation rues its fatal choice


The Nation bleeds from all pores
Old separatist animosities re-draw the map
As Luku retreats into a conclave of clan and cronies
Merit and Good Judgement his prime disposable virtues

Clan over competence, tribe above truth
Square pegs in round holes
And the Nation grabs the reverse gear
And speeds, break-neck, into medieval darkness


Now Bandits stoke our fears
An oil-drenched Nation lacks
The brain to power its progress
A mindless paint-over of a battered currency

Has thrown the nation’s debt-drained economy into a tailspin
The ‘cashless’ country dreamed up by
Emefailure, Chief Witchdoctor of the National Vault,
Has turned Nigeria into the saddest joke of the Universe

From the rocky seat of power
It has been silence, empty, disdainful silence
But why did Luku fight so hard for this Crown
When he knew it was too heavy for his head?

Unspeakable hardships harass our being
Untimely deaths deplete our ranks
There is not a single corner in this land
Untouched by this plague from our mindless Pharaoh

Unhappy the land where rulers cannot THINK
And/or are too haughty to know
The world asks with impatient consternation:
Why is Lukuland such a Netherworld of Fools?

Ignorance kills a Nation
Our own is already close to a disgraceful grave
What do you do with/to a Nation
Which so conscientiously disables the able?


* Oh Duck, why your frantic craving for the river
When you knew you lacked the power to swim?

** For more on Meritocracy and Competence, see Nigeria and I: Getting Politics Right to Make Nigeria Work, by Ladipo Adamolekun

Niyi Osundare, one of Africa’s foremost poets and academics, is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of English, University of New Orleans.


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