Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Harrisburg, PA, USA

Link to the Song:

heard the song, “Poor Man’s Life” by Jamaican born Max Romeo, several decades ago. I recall that then, whenever I listened to the song, I always felt sorry for Jamaicans because I knew he was trying to tell the tale of what was happening in Jamaica. Even though Nigeria would not be said to be a developed country then, I still felt that it was sufficiently developed that what Max Romeo was saying would never apply to Nigeria. As part of the song, Max Romeo sang: “young men and women, trying hard but can’t get a job… O little children are on the streets, they all should be in school. Still others in the field, working day and night, while others walk around, it is a terrible sight”.

It is sad that, these days, when I listen to the song, I see Nigeria and feel Nigeria. Nigeria has become one of those countries that originally had a huge potential but fell into the wrong hands politically. The leaders have frittered away the treasury of the nation, enriching themselves to the tune of billions, leaving nothing for development of the country. When they pocket funds meant for development, there is little left to take care of the masses. Civil servants are owed months of salaries so they view government work with derision. Every time you turn around, the teachers’ union is on strike so schools close and students take to the streets, roaming from one end to the other. Because an idle mind soon becomes the devil’s workshop, these students soon become cultists and hardened criminals unleashing mayhem on the populace.

Max Romeo further sang, “ a poor man’s life , as I see it, is living cause he must, when will he ever be paid for the work he has done?..”. It is as if when he sang the song, he visited the future and decoded Nigeria’s’ future. It is sad.

Because of all these anomalies in a country that was once branded the giant of Africa, there is disinterest in every facet of life. Youths are averse to participating in the political process so every four years, those who have made politics a career are foisted yet again on the populace and the beat goes on.

Now take a listen my rendition of the song – Poor Man’s Life by Max Romeo

Author of the books- 1. Nigeria: Contemporary Commentaries and Essays

2. Surviving in Biafra: The Story of the Nigerian Civil War