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How Did We Get Here?

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“How did we get here?” is a poem, born of pity and sadness. The poet, Activist Derrick Oritsematosan Agberen wrote the poem to undress the lamentable state of a nation whose situation worsens by the day.

The title of the poem is rhetorical. The poet’s decision to title the poem with a question foregrounds that there are numerous questions to answer about the sad state of a people whose narrative is littered with events of pity.

There are the themes of electoral fraud, power drunkenness/monopoly of power, selfishness, economic and leadership rot, and insecurity. In the first stanza, in which the poet interrogates electoral fraud, he wonders why the votes of the electorate do not count, when he says, “… that an individual’s vote supersedes so many” (2)? This line exposes the rigging which characterizes Nigerian elections, and the poet is yet to come to terms with why this evil is allowed to prevail. The poet is also unsettled by the crisis ravaging CDHR, an organization that fights for the oppressed as it quests to trigger the emancipation of citizens at all levels of existence.

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The fourth stanza of the poem in which he uses the words “voluntary” and “personal gains” alludes to the disagreements and selfishness, plaguing the unity of the organization. The poet shows his disappointment, using his ink, as he believes that it is time that the members shelved their personal interests and put humanity first. The pains, poverty, oppression, and ethnic consciousness, which are evident in the nation, are what inform the writing of this poem.

“How did we get here?” is a poem with a redemptive tone. The poet confirms his status as a vanguard of revolution in the way he fearlessly confronts the social ills of the country.

Despite the saddening state of the country, the poet portrays optimism. He does this when he suggests ways in which the country can be made right. He steers the minds of the reader to the past when things were admirable. He believes that ushering the policies of the past to the present will help restructure a collapsing nation.

The Poet Reads;

How did we get here,
that an individual’s vote supersedes so many?

How did we get here,
that the love of power overcomes the power of love?

How did we get here,
that the decisions of a few supersede the voices of a congress?

How did we get here,
that a voluntary interest turns personal gains while the masses are in pains?

I weep seeing the shape of the economy before us and the pattern of the government to frustrate our efforts daily
Instead of standing for the truth and defending the oppressed, we struggle over personal interests.

I weep when the security of the common man isn’t assured and his rights, infringed on by the same agencies; but we frown at one another over suprematism.

We are not sick or crippled, compared to the poor health system and her crippling economy going down the drains, yet we are happy taking pleasure when a man falls.

The languages, we speak, may differ; but the truth still remains; and it is the common goals we share, then what are the gains?

Peace, love, transparency, truth, and unity; combating every forms of social injustice, inequality and disunity!

We can change the narrative if we rise above our expectations.

We can change the system if we can hold strong to the constitution.

I have seen peace, and it is profitable;
I have witnessed war but unbearable.

It is wise to choose what can profit all of us
rather than invest in disunity by trading vain words.

We can go back to those days that we held our hands together in unity like members of the body that fights against transitional justice and impunity.

How did we get here?
How did we get here?
How did we get here?

Activist Derrick Oritsematosan Agberen,
Vice Chairman,Committee For the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR),Delta State Branch.

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