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Literati

FIX THE POLITICS

By Dike Chukwumerije (Poet)

A broken road does not understand Igbo
It will not maim the Fulani and let the rest of us go
The accidents it will cause will take all lives
For when a vehicle somersaults it breaks all bones

So, you can speak Nupe till morning comes
It will not build libraries in our public schools
And when a woman, a young woman, lies dying in childbirth
Your fluency in Ijaw will not save her life

For Christian or Muslim, it makes no difference
When you’re being driven around in an ambulance
From hospital to hospital in search of oxygen
Northerner or Southerner, you will die suffocating

You will die of causes easily preventable
Like no fuel for police to respond to your distress call
No water, no light, no nurses, no jobs
Nothing kills as efficiently as bad governance

As Politicians in Office who do not pay salaries
Whose response to bad roads is bigger SUVs
Who set up committees, and publish white papers
Presiding over affairs that never improve

Politicians in Jeeps, with minds in London
Perpetual latecomers to every meeting
Irritated by anyone with a different opinion
Who see ‘The People’ as a throne to sit on

Politicians in Power, who personalize the State
Who criminalize criticism, and terrorize dissent
Nothing in society kills as efficiently
As a Politician in High Office with low mentality

For you see? Boko Haram will burn down a classroom
But a Politician can swallow the entire school system
Can fold our Power Stations and put in his briefcase
Can roll up the Railways and keep in her house

Politicians can file our sea ports away in a drawer
Can cripple all our farms with no fertilizer
No matter the passion you bring to your start-up
Government can kill it with just one pronouncement

And no degree you hold, no grammar you speak
No decision you make to just face your work
No protest you stage can save you from those
Elected to make and enforce our laws

The way they see things is a wall around you
For you cannot drive faster than the person driving you
No matter your wealth, education or achievement
You are subject to the mentality of those in Government

Politicians in Office hold the yam and the knife
For to elect is to give the elected power over life
Which child will remain almajiri or become someone better?
These things are in the hands of the people in Power

Politicians in Office hold the farm and the seed
For to elect is to give the elected the power to decide
Whether Security operatives can murder citizens and walk away free?
These things are in the hands of those who run the country

So, if you are tired of it all, then strike at its roots…
If you are tired of needing a letter from a Senator to get a job
If you are tired of seeing your hustle frustrated by public policies
If you are tired of insecurity, then fix the politics

If you’re tired of the hunger, the anger, in our streets
If you’re tired of the number of children who die before age 5
If you’re tired of the dreams suffocated in our youths
If you are tired of this shame, then fix the politics

For until they are there in Public Office
Men and women with a heart for public service
No tribe, no tongue – just a commitment to build
A functional nation that fills us all with pride

Until they are there in the highest Office
Men and women with a heart for selfless service
No region, no religion – just commitment to Nation…

Until we elect them, we labour in vain.

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