Olalekan Ololade Sobande

Oh! No! Why Boko Haram - Poem by Olalekan Ololade Sobande

From the west
Sun comes hurrying with the heat
Beating sharply
Here and there
5. Like a mad man chasing nothing.

The sun whistles by
And Africa trees bend to let it pass
The Sun whistles by
Whilst olumo rock bend
10. To provide us shade in Abeokuta.

And the hot season just breaking
Then came the afternoon of a hungry march
A hot and hungry march it was;
The Borno and Benin-kebbi
15. O! NO! Boko Haram lay like twins.

Each afternoon a human skeleton collapsed
Left for Lagos state on the plain;
River Niger and River Benue
Across the countryside
20. As the cool water lapped their sore soft feet.

Each afternoon a human skeleton collapsed
Left for Ibadan and Calabar on the plains;
In Delta I can look the sun in the face
But the friends that I have lost in Jos
25. I dare not look at any.
No the gods are not angry, Boko Haram are
Boko haram calling, “O! NO! Boko Haram.”
“Let me never feel the fury of your fire.”

Kudos to the silent mature spirit of Nigerians
30. She is sick, Boko Haram is wicked
Boko Haram lies poisoned and said
“Hurray to the next to die”
“10 dollars to her next victims”
“10 dollars to the next whose breath Boko Haram shall suck.”

35. I laugh with sorrow
For once I will laugh at the sad gift of the sun
And besides
You dance when you are sad
You must be from my country.
40. The FCT and the Kaduna
O! NO! Boko Haram lay like twins
“with a noise of lamentation”
But with tears close and sharp behind the eyes.
O! NO! why were Boko Haram ever created?
45. No the gods are not angry, Boko Haram are.

Poet's Notes about The Poem

Like the works of all true and great poets who are committed to their art and are sensitive to human suffering, Olalekan’s war poems show his deep concern for the violence and the destruction of human life. This poem, with its horrifying and disturbing imagery, is related to the terrifying present of Nigeria and the defiant personal courage like “I laugh with sorrow” and “you dance when you are sad” as well as an inspiration from the traditions of the past.
The fourth stanza tries to fathom the origins of oppression and protest in the specific history of a human group and indirectly acknowledges responsibility for one’s painful existence using Boko Haram as a good example.
The fifth and sixth stanza approach the result and problem of oppression and protest by the path of possible reconciliation and compromise. But this approach proves futile for some unexplained reason.
The final stanza simply re-states and presents very poignantly the condition of the oppressed and the deprived, a condition only relieved by the simple tone which affirms hope deferred but never destroyed: “You must be from my Country”.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Poem Edited: Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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