yearn not for the conflagration
consuming my country now
but for the time, long gone
which our today’s red horizon cannot recapture,
as omens and portends abound
and hell seems empty
and all its dwellers relocated to my country,
playing political kokoma
whose melody sounds like a dirge,
in the nightmare alley.
The time I yearn for but not weeping
is the one whose sweet events
are etched in my memory bank
and passing time has not blotted it out.
Although, sometimes forgotten
but fortuitous events
do recall them to the fore.
The period I remember and caress
is not imaginary, but real,
for when we exhume
the political history of our past,
its archaeology of knowledge
will transmit to us,
without any possibility of error,
that, there was once a country
and time when Christians and Muslims
participated in each other’s festivities
of Christmas and Id El Fitri.
Yes, time was
when citizens of my country were blind to religious divide
and Hausa was suggested as our national language
There was a country
where, a man of Muslim-Hausa extraction
was the Mayor of Enugu, a Christian town,
and while his Mayorship reigned
mist did not turn to torrential rain.
And there was a country
where a man of Igbo extraction
won a landslide political election
in the predominantly Yoruba territory.
But we note with regret,
how religious intolerance has surfaced,
and ethnic politics and ruthless power game
has become the norm
eroding national consciousness.
while the center watches
as citizens splintered into fiefdom along ethnic lines
driving political variables into a state of no longer at ease.
Does not our nation exhibit the three frightening characteristics
of a volcano – simmering anger, eruption and destruction?
A teetering path that leads to the status of humpty dumpty –
a path to national suicide.
I miss the Nigeria of the yesteryears,
the Nigeria of my elementary school years
while growing up in the then coal city, Enugu.
Remember I am not living in the past,
but have only brought the past into the present
and have draped it in toga that will define its future
even though past, present and future are relative terms.
Augustine C. Ohanwe
November 13, 2012