National Anthem Annotated – Osowe Oluwagbenga

compat

 

 

Arise! O Compatriots,

For 12 years or more of our lives we’ve said those words,

Like robots and parrots, chanting and reciting,

But to the meaning of the words we give no thoughts,

So we refuse to arise, rather we chill and relax

While our nation continually rots,

 Yet we say we’re compatriots just because

We have our green passports,

Lies! Deception and Fallacy, I tell you

 

Why can’t we, Nigeria’s call obey?

So we can have our say, not standing aside

Our fathers ignored the call in their Days, and now we their children Pay,

 As unemployment, insecurity and deaths increase,

Day by day, our nation, a symbol of moral and infrastructural Decay,

Our progress Delayed,

So we walk around with our nerves Frayed,

And all over the nation people are  afraid knowing not if they would survive another Day,

Yet our leaders, looters still collect their fat Pay whilst many go hungry every day,

 But then they ask us to pray and ask God for grace

 

 

To serve our Fatherland,

I dare say that this is not the land of my fathers,

Yes, my fathers like Awolowo, Azikiwe, Balewa, Enahoro  Ahmadu Bello

Macaulay, who dreamt of a land of opportunities and equality for all;

And not this land where things have gotten out of hand,

Criminals getting contracts to secure the wealth of our lands,

And Justice goes to the higher bidder,

So poor thieves get jailed, rich thieves get bailed,

Amidst celebrations and congratulations,

Chieftaincy titles and national honours,

Women dressed in their finest attires, loud congratulatory music

From live bands, singing and drumming,

Presidential pardons, appointments and decorations for thieves

And those their necks- fit for the guillotine- we adorn with garlands

With no reckon for the damages they have done to our lands

 

Where then is our love and strength

And faith, Love is gone with the winds cause all I see is hate,

so men hunt and kill their brothers in the name religion and love for their Maker,

Oh, the irony of the madness that brings such sadness!

Mindless murders of God’s creatures in honour of their Creator,

Human beings whom the same God they worship did Create,

 because they are not of the same faith,

Yet my Bible says “God is love” and

Therefore I marvel, when one says he belongs to the Christian faith,

And the other to the Islamic faith,

But they brim with hate, killing and maiming

Precious creatures that the Almighty in His image did create

Just because they’d rather not relate

 

You tell me, why do we say that the

Labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain,

When I see our old men and women pensioners in pain,

Dying in their numbers while waiting for their labours’ gain

Men and women on whose back the nation was built,

My mother, your father, his uncle, her aunt,

Real heroes, stories of whom you’ll not see in history books

And tabloids that glorify the number of zeroes you’re worth

The fruit of their labours are in hands of criminals, expensive criminals

Like Yusuf who paid a fine of N750 000 for N23 billion loot in this land,

And you want me to serve with heart and might?

 

 

 

 

 

I laugh at your desperate expectations

And I believe you don’t mean when you sing

One nation bound in freedom, Peace and Unity

Know ye not that there can be no unity

When we have been stripped of our dignity,

Leaders raping the land with impunity,

In corruption showing their brilliance and dexterity,

Protected by the criminal ingenuity called immunity

So my people live in helpless anxiety,

Waiting for that Messiah that will restore sanity,

 

This situation of the nation takes me to the deepest heights of depression

But then I remember the words of the second stanza of the anthem

So with faith in my heart, I say this prayer,

To the One who can save this nation

And I urge you all to raise your voices in loud and melodious AMEN

 

O God of Creation, you are the very definition of perfection,

And not the aberration our leaders thank

When they dedicate their edifices of corruption,

In your wisdom, you brought this world into completion,

Then you gave man the power of production,

When you said we should multiply and be fruitful

So we can bring our earnest desires into fruition,

Please save our leaders from their delusions, (AMEN)

That makes them think that money is the only solution

Pumping money without innovation- libations to the gods of greed and corruption

 

Father! Direct our noble cause, (AMEN)

Rid the land of those leaders that have become to us a curse, (AMEN)

Guide our leaders right, (AMEN)

Let crime take flight as young men see the light, (AMEN)

That they might indeed work hard and bring to pass that future so bright,

Help our youths the truth to know (AMEN)

Let them cease from meaningless killings of their fellows (AMEN)

Let the blood of the innocent on our streets cease to flow (AMEN)

Help them in love and honesty to grow (AMEN)

And give them a desire for Living just and true, (AMEN)

From this present darkness, see us through (AMEN)

Grant our priests the desire to speak truth (AMEN)

Till we can truly those great lofty heights attain

Give us brilliant minds and help us focus

And we will build a nation where peace and justice reign.  AMEN

 

I am @gbengaosowe

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Boarding Tales (Episode X)

To read all the previous episodes, from Episode I to X, please click here

bosola 2

“Take them to the bathroom and search them” Mr Adisa ordered after searching Yewande’s stuff for over thirty minutes and not finding any of the missing items.

“Slappy must be pissing in her pants from ecstatic joy”. I thought looking at the wide grin on her face.

*****

There was no way I was going to allow Slappy and her friends humiliate me in the smelly bathroom. I may be down but I still felt the need to hold my head high.

In a split second that was too short for anyone to react, I slipped my dress off and stood naked except for my pant and bra. I looked at Mr Adisa’s face and almost chuckled at the way his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down as he stared unabashedly at my body.

I made as if to remove my panties but a junior girl rushed down from her bunk and hugged me, shielding my body with hers.

“Bosola, please don’t do that, there is enough damage done already, please don’t.”

I felt a tug on my heart as I looked into her face; Feyisayo my first friend in the school, the one who had abandoned me after my escapade at the stream.

Her action released Mr Adisa from his transfixed state and clearing his throat he finally found his voice.

“Dress up, young lady.” he said averting his eyes.

Yeye, I thought, after he has already memorised every contour of my body, why bother to avert his eyes now.

I pulled the dress back on and bringing it down, I caught Yewande’s eyes, there was a gleam of amusement in her eyes and she winked at me. I shrugged inwardly wondering what that was for.

“Seeke, pat the other girl down.” Mr Adisa instructed.

A sulky Slappy went to Yewande and patted her down.

“She is clean.” Seeke said.

“Ladies, do you want this done the easy way or do I have to beat the truth out of you both?”

I smirked, the efficient Mr Adisa was back, he had been able to tuck the lecher back into the corner where he hid and brought it out whenever it was necessary.

“Sir, it is true that we spent the night with those guys but we didn’t take anything from them.” I replied

The room buzzed in excitement at my words, I looked around and saw that almost all the girls in the school had somehow found their way into my dormitory. I couldn’t blame them, it wasn’t everyday that you get to watch a real life drama free of charge.

“Those guys will be in this school on Monday morning, if by then you girls haven’t confessed as to the whereabouts of those items, I would hand you both over to the policemen that will come with them.”

“In the mean time, I’m calling your parents as soon as I get back to the office; they have to be here on Monday morning.”

I felt a pain go through my heart, I thought of how my mum would wail, how she would ask the seven elders of heaven why they allowed her to be saddled with a Jezebel re-incarnate. I thought of how she would remind Jesus how she had served him all the days of her life and how she wishes he would take me away. I could see her writhing on the floor in my mind’s eye.

“Take her away lord, take her or change her. Elohim, don’t make me kill this child by myself.”

I thought of my dad’s reaction too and decided he would be disappointed. However, he will recover faster than my mum would and start the process of getting me into another school that had “disciplined” teachers and students.

Ishhh, I sighed watching Mr Adisa as he stormed away.

I climbed my bunk to sleep but woke immediately the breakfast bell rang. Nothing will stop me from eating not even the thought of possible expulsion. Yewande joined me midway to the dining room and held my hand. I thought of snatching it away conscious of the several eyes that trailed us but decided it was better we stuck together, partners in crime that we were.

*****

The rest of the day went on uneventfully until another shrill bell went off midway into our siesta. My heart rippled in alarm and I wondered if the guys had decided to show up before Monday. The bell ringer announced that all students were to report at the assembly ground immediately.

“Here comes the shaming of a thief” I thought.

I walked to Yewande’s bunk and once again we linked hands and walked together to the assembly hall.

Since it was an informal assembly, there was no need to line up according to our classes, so I stayed behind Yewande.

We all kept quiet at Mr Adisa’s signal, he announced that the principal was on his way and there should be absolute silence.

My heart lurched in trepidation, the principal yet again; I took deep breaths trying to brace myself for what was to come.

The principal entered the assembly hall few minutes later flanked by some old men and women.

This can’t have anything to do with our crime I thought.

He climbed the hall platform and after greeting the students, he announced that the Iyalode and Olu Awo of the town would like to speak to us all.

“Iya Pupa”, someone in the next line whispered. “It has to be Iya Pupa.” The girl added

The Olu Awo addressed us and after greeting and commending us for being well behaved he announced that the masquerade festival had been slated for the coming week.

“Iya Pupa is coming out this coming week. As most of you will know, there are certain regulations that govern her outing. No woman in this town must have the same hairstyle with her. We do not know what her hairstyle will be so we will advise that you all leave your hair undone.”

Everyone started talking at the same time, I looked at Yewande confused but she simply shrugged and smiled.

“Take this” she said handing me a lollipop.

“Thanks.” I replied unwrapping it and popping it into my mouth immediately.

Quiet everyone, Mr Adisa bellowed. The hall went silent at his command and once again I wondered how he does it. It was always a mystery to me how he could be firm and irresponsible whenever it suited him.

“Also, there will be no movement in and out of the town in the coming week. The Olu Awo added.”

I looked at Yewande again, a smile curving my lips, she looked back and winked.

“No man or animal must enter or leave the village for the next one week. Thank you my dear students, I will like to assure you once again that you are all safe here.” The Olu Awo said concluding his address.

One week of grace I thought. It occurred to me that the guys might not see a reason to still come to the school after one week and I felt my heart lurch with hope.

The principal addressed us and we all dispersed afterwards. Everyone including me started undoing their hair while still on the way to the hostel, all except Yewande.

****

We were still on our way back when a junior boy told us that Mr Adisa wanted to see us both in the assembly hall.

We went back and saw him sitting on one of the chairs placed on the raised platform. Toluse was standing beside him and I felt my feet drag in shame.

There were two seats in front of him and he asked us to sit. I tried to meet Toluse’s eyes but he was determined not to meet mine. His expression was unreadable.

Okay, there goes my first relationship here, I decided shrugging.

“Listen both of you”, Mr Adisa started clearing his throat

“The principal had directed that I should still call your parents and tell them to come on the next Monday after the Masquerade festival.”

“I’m going to the office to prepare your letters once I leave here.”

“Yewande, you will be expelled because yours has been a repeat offence. Bosola you would be suspended for three weeks because you are a first time offender.”

“Are you girls okay with that?” He asked.

Yewande shrugged like she couldn’t be bothered but I kept mute,

“Anyway, it’s okay. You can both leave now.”

“I’m so sorry” I said as we walked back to the hostel.

“It’s no problem; there will always be another school. I won’t miss this school though. So many twisted things happened to me here. But I have handed over to you; I’ve given you my mandate so I’m happy”

“What does that mean?”

“Don’t worry you would understand when I’m gone.”

****

The time was 1.00am; I woke up with a start and wondered what it was that woke me. I rubbed at my eyes and saw the light of the room was on; it was as if everyone was chanting in their sleep. I tried to listen to what they were saying;

“Blood of Jesus, Blood of Jesus”

Why are they all mumbling blood of Jesus? I asked myself even as the answer rang loudly in the night.  A wail, a growl and then an unnatural and non human cry, it seemed like that of a dog but I was shocked that a dog could make such a sound. A great fear enveloped me and I immediately murmured “Chukwu biko zoba’m”. God please protect me.

The murmurs had turned to a scream by then and they would go down as soon as the wailing went down only to come up as soon as the wailing starts again. I joined the chants too and glanced at Yewande’s bed. She was still and wrapped from head to toe in white. It wasn’t the first time I would notice her pure white blanket but something about it scared me that night.

The wailing finally stopped about half an hour later and everyone relaxed with some going back to sleep. I couldn’t sleep and lay there with the dread still in me. I started wondering if it would have been better to have been expelled after all.

“She is the one” I heard suddenly, the voice belonged to my bunk mate

“Haa, it might be Iya Pupa oo” the second voice said. They were both on my bunk mate’s bed whispering.

“No it’s not Iya pupa, it’s her. Iya Pupa’s stuff does not reach the school and besides you know this wailing thing happens even when Iya Pupa’s masquerade is not coming out.”

“You may be right though because this wailing does not happen when that girl is on suspension or out of the school.”

“Ehn ehn, you see now”

“I heard she is being expelled though, I can’t wait. Aje Oshi.” Useless witch.

I pulled my wrapper tighter wondering if it could be true that Yewande was a witch and was responsible for the wailings. I looked back at her bunk, her blanket was still over her head and it was as if she hadn’t moved at all since the last time I glanced at her. Everyone in the room had woken up except her; every one’s hair had been undone except hers.

“Hmm”, I sighed my mind racing wildly. Winks, shrugs, that unruffled stance, the I don’t give a damn attitude, the hair that wasn’t loosened. Hmm, I sighed yet again

 Two sentences jumped into my head, bringing a massive head ache with them.

“Take this”

…….”But I have handed over to you; I’ve given you my mandate so I’m happy”

“Lollipop, mandate” I whispered aloud suddenly remembering the stories of witchcraft being transferred through sweets and biscuits.

I am already a prostitute and a thief I thought remembering the books and the =N= 2,000 I had hidden under my bunk mate’s mattress. “Why had I even done that?” I asked myself for the umpteenth time since we left the guys’ apartment.

Bosola the Prostitute, Thief and perhaps Witch I thought a shiver going through me. I would gladly prefer to remain just prostitute and thief but the witchcraft part scared me.

Perhaps I’m scared for no reason I thought. She said I would understand when she leaves; perhaps I really will I concluded allowing sleep to take the reins.

 

Thanks for bearing with me, reading and sharing these series ever since the first episode.  This will be the end of  Bosola’s boarding tales. Yewande’s story will start soon. Thank you so much, I appreciate you. Chukwu Gozie gi. God bless you.

 photo credit: google images

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