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Echoes from the grave

Think me not mad, believe me I’m sane, at least, if insane, not the much you think. Many time in the past days, the graveyard moved to my room, one with a bed, now beds – of muds, grasses, rocks, and some of nothing, bare, burnt! All in voices conceiving varying pain and anguish raise an anthem of their dirge, teaching me to sing the same. I am the voice of the dead, I know you think me now drunk or of a dark spirit lorded. – What spirit is as dark as the hatred by which we are spelled to erase our race?


Just in time, see their song in their words:
I am the voice of Haruna, Abubakar’s only son from Sabo Ngeri (New Town), Kastina, Nana’s only hope – the reason she’s called wife – he died in 2000, in Kaduna, by Christians who tried killing in vengeance of their brethren killed by some Moslems, but Abubakar’s family. Why should Haruna die?


I am the voice of Ebuka, the voice of Chinedu, the voice of Nkiruka…(even now I hear their voices aloud) whimpering for how they died. Mere corps members, first graduates of their respective – but not respected – families, they answered their nation’s call to serve their fatherland (the same ‘father’ who termed them LAZY YOUTHS) but couldn’t answer their father’s afterwards, for in Kano, they were smothered, torn in rags by a faceless little one, a girl of about ten, Ikanni, my neighbour’s daughter, poisoned against humanity that she chose to die for a cause to end lives of national faithful, the silent heroes, guilty for answering a ‘father’s’ call; whose reward some national figures get in acronymed titles and narrative currencies.


I am the voice of the invisible ghosts of Chibok, Maiduguri; the voice of the roasted dreams of Yanyan, Abuja; the aborted futures smoked in Southern Kaduna, the ragged destinies sliced in their homes in Benue, in Plateau… I am the voice from the grave, the tens of thousands, the unredeemed loss of our future, for in them died the President we need, the Messiahs for our land we killed before he was born, killed them before they could live – trying to save the same…


When chickens die, they’re sat over, when goats die, the family enjoys, a party throws itself, even a worm is enjoyed by the ants when so fated. But, what shall we do with our dead brothers, sisters, children, fathers and mothers? Already roasted by the fire from their hard-earned-money-built houses coated in ragged clothes…


I am the voice of the Ayomide (my joy has come) whose name you upturned when you quenched his sun just at almost sunrise. In his words, he dirged to my hearing. ‘Daddy, stop crying, I saw you as though through the window before the herdsmen’s invasion, before they separated my throat with silvery blade. In saw Mommy as though in her favourite blue gown. It was as though the family video played before me before they thrust the dagger with rough edges from my back through my left chest. I saw Tobi, my brother, he was crying, he was the last I saw before my eyes saw death in the eyes of meant-to-be-mortals…


I am the voice of the dead! The voice of the hundreds of thousands lives lost to tribal war, their souls unappeased; the voice of the souls of them forever imprisoned in graves and some ungraved, their dreams unfulfilled, flushed down drainages of bloodshed with no drop reaching hell yet for the years of red rains. We have never lived.


I am the voice of a great nation delighted in shredding her glories before her face. The great eagle turned vulture over her children. Cry! The bedeviled country, where homes are graves.

Akinsimoye Samuel Omoniyi


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