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Lamentation For A Nation

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Activist Derrick Oritsematosan Agberen’s “Lamentation for a Nation” induces rumination. One cannot wonder what influenced the writing of this poem, as it is very obvious that it was the deterioration of social flaws. The poet engages the mentation of Nigerians, as he asks questions that border on the people’s proclivity for selfishness and ethnicity. Agberen is taken aback that activists are beginning to manifest interests in issues they swore to repudiate. Moving away from the boundaries of activitism, the poet laments the retrogression that characterizes the Nigerian space. He deplores rhetorical questions to crystalize that 61 years after the end of servitude, Nigeria has continued to retrogress,when he says,”… 61 years of independence, yet we don’t have the freedom to exercise what we struggled for…”(7). This poem hinges on his desire to evoke curative thoughts in Nigerians with a view to educating them on our horrid narrative as a people. The poet is perturbed that despite gaining independence, the stench of unemployment, dictatorship, violation of human right and other social crimes continues to hover around us,when he says…”Unemployment and negligence — reasons for crimes, yet the government keeps frustrating us with lies…”(19,20) and also in lines(5,6)when he says…”Her rights, infringed on; her independence, stolen when the same military cabals determine what happens in a democratic society, hence it turns military democracy…”
Agberen’s volition to invest his analytical energies in investigating these issues foregrounds that the issues need urgent attention and should be stifled from continuing in the end of the poem,when he says…”Now is the time to demand true democracy — a democracy with the people, where the people make the laws and decide the policy initiatives.
Now is the time to bite the bullet and not be afraid to die
Now is the time to take advantages of the time…”

The Poet Reads;

We smile now because of the profit we make from it, thinking we aren’t part of it.

We cry now because of our refusal to stop it. Now, it has become a routine, hence a habit.

Her rights, infringed on; her independence, stolen when the same military cabals determine what happens in a democratic society, hence it turns military democracy.

61 years of independence, yet we don’t have the freedom to exercise what we struggled for. Her civil rights, deprived. What, exactly, do we live for?

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Taking her rights from us, while we are alive, stops our very existence; yet we aren’t persistent.

We are free to express ourselves, yet there are extents to what we can say?

They say we are free to associate and to clamour for change, yet when we do, it is called treason?

Where is the freedom and where is the change?
Where are the dividends of democracy?

Show me a nation that never spoke and watched dictators determine and regulate her economy; I will show you a nation that can never rise and in her doom.

Unemployment and negligence — reasons for crimes, yet the government keeps frustrating us with lies.

We struggle over religion and ethnic supremacy, forgetting that for nation to grow, its tribe and religion must die.

Show me a nation that isn’t ready to die for what they believe in; I will show you a nation that can never break out of slavery after 61 years of independence.

Where are the resistance?
Where are the alliance?
Where is her story and where is her glory?
Where are the heroes we taught in history?
Where are the voices to speak for the people?
Activists are quiet. They’ve turned against themselves, hence against the people.
All, turned to their vomits; all, turned to what they detested so much, wining and dining with the same folks we are supposed to ask what happened to her dividends of democracy.

Now is the time to demand true democracy — a democracy with the people, where the people make the laws and decide the policy initiatives.
Now is the time to bite the bullet and not be afraid to die
Now is the time to take advantages of the time.

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

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