The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Fiction from Mexico City

Hope is a Nigerian
 

 

Born and raised on the sub-urban streets of Lagos, Efe Paul Azino has evolved a poetry uniquely his own. His poems are welcomed in the realm of academia and acclaimed on the streets.

Widely regarded as one of Nigeria’s leading Spoken Word Poets, Efe Paul has been a headline performer in many of the nation’s premier performance poetry venues, including Anthill 2.0 and Taruwa. For over a decade, Efe has continued to deliver Spoken Word Poetry locally and internationally, gracing platforms at seminars, workshops, conferences, tertiary institutions, community development fora, as well as churches.

Reflecting the sufferings evident in numerous African societies and the hope that keeps them going, Efe Paul’s poems resonate with the high and the low, cutting across social and religious boundaries. His poems are centered on socio-economic and political themes and are enhanced by a strong voice, keeping his audiences entranced for the full length of his performances.

A one-time member of the Editorial Board of The Effective Manager Monthly, pioneer Editor of Mageuzi Magazine and Next Generation, a monthly Newspaper dedicated to raising youth awareness on socio-economic and political issues, Efe Paul is a vital contributor to national discourse and his essays are featured in national and international dailies and journals. A curious student of life, his readings and learning span various disciplines.

The voice of a generation, a seeker and speaker of truth, an entertaining poet and performer, Efe Paul leads a generation of poets in successfully lifting poetry off the printed page, out of the shadows of academia and making it accessible to the people.

 

You can watch a video of Efe performing this poem here.

 

Hope is a Nigerian

 

By Efe Paul Azino (Nigeria). Featured in Issue 22.

 

Hope is a Nigerian

I know because I’ve met her

Last week she looked at me through the eyes of a widow

Whose husband died on a pension line

Her only son a stow-away in a North African cell, Europe on his mind

Yet she forges on

It ain’t just a rhyme

I tell you,

Hope is a Nigerian            

They say federal lawmakers take home over N20m a quarter

Still the minimum wage of million other Nigerians can’t feed, clothe and educate their sons and daughters

But why isn’t there blood on the streets!

I don’t get it

Ha

Hope is a Nigerian

So she endures the consequences of the greed of her politicians

She inures her pain in the, often, banal creativity of her musicians

About 40% of her children are trained in public institutions

Where the students have no desks to sit on

1/3 of her university graduates

Are hardly literate

Yet she argues her future is bright

Hope is a Nigerian

At night she powers her homes with generators and leaves before the morning light

To beat the traffic

Her roads a sorry sight

It’s pathetic

What she has to put up with yet she suffers and smiles, I tell you

Hope is a Nigerian

She hardly flinches when she announces she’s the giant of the continent

Its largest producer of oil

But 90 percent of the proceeds are controlled by one-tenth

of the population while the others drink off the sweat that flows from their tireless toils

Everything in the natural seems to have failed her, so she seeks the divine for help

She prays for security and she prays for health

She prays for wealth and she prays for bread

She prays for peace, begging God to keep her disparate tribes together

even if by the string of a thread

Hope is a Nigerian

So she prays

Hope is a Nigerian

So she stays

The bloody revolt that beckons

Hope is a Nigerian therefore I reckon

in the not too far distance awaits her change

Because hope makes not ashamed

So let Nigerian hope and let Nigeria pray

Let Nigeria fight and let Nigeria say

The substance of our hope someday

shall be

Hope is a Nigerian

I know, because hope lives in me