Because our generation needs a voice

Efe Paul Azino: That Place We Once Called Home

Efe paul Azino

Efe paul Azino

That night we crossed the precipice
headlong into bedlam and destruction
That fleeing pack of confusion
pouring through the borders
our images captured by feverish reporters
for the global news media
Yes, remember the chaos?
That was us
Hours after the Northerners rejected
the elected candidate from the south
rogue Imams spitting blood in their ears
igniting their hearts
after the killed the first Christian
after they torched the first house
Anuka, his wife and three daughters
aged two, six and eight
perished in the flames of hate,
that night
Their story and images
of the carnage in the north,
took flight
on the wings of bits and bytes
to greet anxious eyes and ears
across the south
who consumed the news on their
mobile phones, computer screens
television, newspapers, word of mouth

So fresh fires were lighted in the east
and the old drums began to play
accompanied by new songs and strange dances
a festival of violence was underway
Aminu, Jubril, Ahmed
detached limbs
a severed head
and entrails forcibly ejected
from the stomach that once housed them
Who can douse a raging inferno
by spitting words?
Paper barricades
can’t hold back angry floods
who could stop over 250 bickering tribes
from dissolving their fragile union
into a grisly mess of tears and blood

And so the South-South declared themselves
the Niger Delta Republic
and claimed as leader
the stone the others had rejected
while in that old cosmopolitan space
in the south-west
simmering discontents erupted
the Yorubas attacked the Igbos
the Igbos attacked the Fulanis
natives of the Old Bendel fled the city
It didn’t take long
before that vexatious divide was breached
and the poor fell upon the rich
Segun, Nkechi, Dickson
guilty as charged
tonly evidence the mob needed
was driving in an air conditioned car
from Lekki to Okokomaiko,
territories were marked by thugs
from Bourdillon to Marina,
nary a word was heard

“Peace, keep calm,
the situation is under control”
They yelled from the capital
The police joined the looting,
the army splintered
into groups of tribal militias
angry young revolutionaries
stormed the Senate building
We feigned sanity
until madness could stomach
our hypocrisy no more
it unleashed itself
and we dispersed
scattered across a thousand borders
where we now lay
broken like our dreams
Poets, doctors, teachers, lawyers
critics of a government we now long for
abandoned by faith
we embrace doubt
the only viable prism
through which we now view a world
given to fits of hysteria
With the bitter taste of nostalgia
in our mouths
our minds reach back
for the space we once called home
that place they once called Nigeria

Widely regarded as one of Nigeria’s leading spoken word poets, Efe Paul Azino has been a headline performer in many of the nation’s premier performance poetry venues including Taruwa, Anthill, Naija Poetry Slam, and Freedomhall amongst others.

His poems, essays and short stories have been featured in magazines and journals across the world. His forthcoming collection, When the Revolution Spoke, is due out in 2014.

He blogs at:

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