How Do We Spell Nigeria (after Roger Bonair-Agard)

A is for Apathy
B is for Boko Haram
C is for Chibok

219 girls were taken in April of 2014
Several hundreds have been taken before and since
Like a game, like commodities, like things that can be moved and replaced
Kidnapped, slaughtered, bombed
This is a game; and we are toys

D is for Damaturu
E is for Elite
F is for Fuel

We have become accustomed to disarray
desensitized to disorder, disaster
We expect nothing
and nothing in return we get

G is for Government
H is for Health care
I is for Insurgency
I is for "I underestimated Boko Haram..."
I is for Irony

J is for Justice
K is for Ken Saro-Wiwa
K is for Killing Us Softly
L is for Lavish Living
M is for Mega Churches
M is for Military
ill-equipped, tired soldiers

N is for Nigeria, paradox as we are
A smiling people with crooked teeth
A patient people with vicious tongues
A strong people with weak wills

O is for Oil
O is for Ogoni
O is for Ojukwu
P is for Private Jets
P is for Patience and the buses she impounded in Abuja
Q is for Queues
Nigerians are still learning how to stand in queues at banks
Nigerians are still standing in queues at filling stations

R is for Revolution
Needed, wanted, prayed for but we're still here
S is for Stella Oduah and her amoured vehicles
S is for Soyinka and his integrity
T is for Tipping Economy
Africa's largest economy cannot provide its citizens with constant power

U is for Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, gone too soon
V is for Visas
Anywhere but here will do
W is for Weddings
If only our lives were as pristine as the parties we throw

X is for Xenia
We must learn to love each other
Y is for Youth
Bows drawn, arrows in quiver, simmering, waiting
Z is for Zeal
We are Calebs
Though they say that we are grasshoppers
These grasshoppers will take possession

But we are still waiting
And that's where we're at

This poem was inspired by Roger Bonair-Agard's How Do We Spell Freedom


  1. More inspiration to you. :)

  2. I have returned to read this poem over and over again and each time it tells more truth than the last. And this, even though I'm Ghanaian. Beautiful.

    1. Delalrom! Thank you. Even though you are Ghanaian, you are my brother and we are in this together. Thank you :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This is so so on point! Please permit me to put this poem on my blog...and who exactly should i credit for it? Ibiene Oguntoyinbo or Ibiene Bidiaque? I actually clicked the link from Delalorm's Afrilingual.

    1. I'm sorry I'm so very late in responding to you on this. Yes, you can put it on your blog. Please credit "Ibiene Bidiaque". Thank you


Post a Comment

Popular Posts