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Like a tamed snake unskinning

Unskinning is easier for the untamed

Free from the hostilities of machinery

And the bush is wide and natural

Like a baby after the painful toil

Born fragile, crying for help

Until grown-a long often tedious course

Like a woman spending her wealth

For smooth skin that will never be sewn

What hot pain during this process

And what’s the aftermath?

The maturity of an African child

Is full dependence and sluggishness

Eighteen is of the European West

And a double is uncertain for ours

For we know not yet after forty years

Independence is a gradual growth

The ability to regard other existences

To note life as not for one man

To be ever ready to consider others’ right

Before the personal-the less necessary

This in the lucid eyes of those who know

Our masters fought for a hundred years

And France followed America

In its hard quest to unskin

Violence is truly unholy if indeed

We agree to be holy-to know and do

I weep my continent is yet not independent

Ethiopia, alone, stayed uncolonized, but what thence?

Liberia is over a hundred but dependent!

All, already born struggle to grow

Or already old struggle to unskin

Here at home, ours a dormant exercise

While illiteracy grips the Niger border

There live empty vessels-the day chameleons

In Benin and all within her zone

And the East-the insincere strugglers

Are seekers of contra-band independence

For three men have defiantly disagreed to agree

Embrace multi-disagreeable sounds

Or imported problematic creeds

A writer writes to entertain or educate

A farmer farms to feed the weak

A doctor protects and cures the sick

But the worst foes amongst our kind

Though may be hailed by dubious sycophants

The self-made-rulers or those enforced on us

Who only alter portfolios without new faces

In the blind demo-crazy of black nations

But we seem not to realize.

The price of it, guileful, looks cheap

Oppression, tyranny, we clamoured before

Let us be free for we are mature

Now the tears of our fathers’ joy

And the labour of our heroes past

Are pitilessly-woefully let in vain

And we ever claim to remember them

The Great Heroes are sobbing with hot tears

In their graves for the foil of their sweat

Arise fathers, arise Lion Hearted Men.

Arise Azik, arise Balewa, arise Bello, arise Awo

Arise Nkrumah, arise Kenyatta, arise Nassir

Arise Sankara, arise Nyerere, where art thou, Mandela

Arise fathers! Arise fathers! Fathers of strength!

OOOOOOOOOO arise, arise, arise, arise, arise…

Hear the wail of departed lover

And turn this scrambling land to what we like

But have poor feat to attain

Scram! Ye traitors of uncertain fate

Hollow effeminate hearts with savage flairs

Allow the breeze to invite breeding rain

To smoothen the soil for new crops to grow

And only the unstained new crops

Can pay the cost of our dear independence

But which land can they peacefully grow?

Is it where our potentials are impotent?

The improper imposed, the proper deposed

Millions screening for where to sweat and feed

While only tens stride, relax and feed fat

Undeserved, yet with no or little toil?

And our lashings gyrate within their stingy hands!

Is it where laxity overflows our schools?

The primary has no system, the secondary a foil

And the university-a striking point

Where students, proving to be fully mature

Are left to the Devil and Mysteries

And the teachers only wait the end of months

Education is not well with us

Our homes don’t check, our schools don’t curb us

And our students for wanton enjoyment

Enjoy the random strikes and rustications

Chasing, seducing, rioting and ranting

While they that manage to wallow through

Persevering with unflinching will and zeal

Heckle their poor souls at the end

‘What for all these toils, my Lord?’

The price of it, guileful, looks cheap

We can shift names, OAU can become AU

Like a tamed snake unskinning

Unskinning is easier for the untamed

Our eyes are open, our ears alert

Our tongues ready, our limbs dependent

We are ready to start it all again


O fathers and mothers of the glorious past!

Today your posterity shed tears of joy

In remembrance of that day yours of pain

Won the victory for our dear dear home

May your lone homes wherever they are

Be turned to the Gardens of Eden

And your noble souls might and broad

Be in divine perfect peace

Inspire in us the refined thought

The strength, the love and selflessness

That we may serve with full knowledge

Nigeria - our African Pride

These we ask O Lord of the World!

On this day of merriment.

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