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A Zoology student of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, Izuchukwu Saviour Otubelu, is the winner of the March 2017 edition of the monthly Words Rhymes & Rhythm backed BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST (BPPC).

Otubelu’s poem ‘PREACHER, PREACHER’ was declared winner by the judges out of almost a hundred and fifty (150) entries received. It edged ‘SCENTS FROM DOWNTOWN’ by Oladipupo Solomon and ‘RUDU (CONFUSION)’ by Mustapha Gimba to first and second runner-up positions respectively.

This is his second victory in the contest. He was the winner in the September 2016 edition and was first runner-up three times in June, July and August, 2016.

The month’s theme was ‘CONFUSION: THE NEW WORLD (DIS)ORDER?’

Below are the TOP TEN poems:

  1. PREACHER, PREACHER by Izuchukwu Saviour Otubelu
  2. SCENTS FROM DOWNTOWN by Oladipupo Solomon
  3. RUDU (CONFUSION) by Mustapha Gimba
  4. SLEEPING DOGS by Otubelu, Chinazom Chukwudi
  5. BURNT BOATS by Gaius Isuwa
  6. THE THINGS I KEEP REMEMBERING by Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau
  7. SCARS by Dennis Felix
  8. SEIZED by Agbaakin O. Jeremiah
  9. PAINTER OF BLOOD by Hussani Abdulrahim
  10. NEW WORLD (DIS)ORDER by Kolawole Samuel Adebayo

PREACHER, PREACHER by Izuchukwu Saviour Otubelu

Preacher, preacher, which way does the wind blow?
The cocks have ceased to crow; the rivers have ceased to flow
I am a freeman with fetters around my feet
Enslaved to the fast-paced tempo of your heartbeat

Preacher, preacher, I am a blind man groping in the dark
I am a castrated dog that has lost the strength to bark
You steer the rudder; I float atop your boat
Your words have sharp blades that slit my tender throat

Preacher, preacher, I stack your barn with yams and grains
But my thatched mud-house lies stark naked in the rain
You spin a web of false truths upon the path I tread
I am an old man with no grey hairs on my head

Preacher, preacher, sweat seeps through the pores of power
That lie in lifeless bones buried in a cave in Zamfara
Matchet strokes have reduced men to ashes and dust and smoke
Religion is a naked sun that wears a black cloak

Preacher, preacher, you said religion is the way forward
Yet you taught my hands to wield spears and unsheathe swords
Tears trickled down my grandmother’s swollen eyes
When she saw Chike’s blood smeared across the face of the sky

Preacher, preacher, which way does the wind blow?
The cocks have ceased to crow; the rivers have ceased to flow
I am a freeman with fetters around my feet
Enslaved to the fast-paced tempo of your heartbeat

SCENTS FROM DOWNTOWN by Oladipupo Solomon

In a street downtown,
The smouldering voice of a young boy
Rises above the drones of a burning city
He is a phantom long abandoned
Along the city’s broken boulevards
Mama is an old wick, much too old to ignite
Yet they say the currency is sinking under heavyweights

In a street downtown,
There are flames in the soul of a little girl
Burns from the pangs of armed men
Who sold their hearts for the peeling walls of a petite city
Chibok is a lame girl searching for home, for comfort
Aleppo is an unclad boy lost in the rubble of an old souk
Oloibiri flows with milk and honey—sour and dry!

In a street downtown,
Young women wear night blindness on punctured pupils
As they measure the city’s length in pitiful parades
Young men bear arms, rewriting their destinies
On the pages of a broken slate

In a street downtown,
The heart of a poet sinks in deep solitude
Into old Titanic’s sprawling floors

How do we construct a future
From the dew of a fading past, of a fading present?
Who shall put off these unfettered flames?
Peeping from yesterday’s embers, from today’s ashes
So we could build a better tomorrow?

RUDU (CONFUSION) by Mustapha Gimba

I prayed for the day to come
When the crowd will gather
And cheer for me

I waited for that day— and it came
Like a gust of wind
On a market square

On that day
It was a fifty naira affair
The crowd cheered
Only to the amusement
Of my battered face
In ruthless course for my change

SLEEPING DOGS by Otubelu, Chinazom Chukwudi


Arise from thy beds, sleeping dogs of woe
For thither waters wither the morn dew
Beyond vast valleys that bald beggars go

Mad goes that fast horse; trouble tells its foe
Tongues twinkle like stars, yet birds sing forth few
Arise from thy beds, sleeping dogs of woe

What land is this that lore tales mumble so;
Where glowing smoke laughs whilst cooks stir sour stew
Beyond vast valleys that bald beggars go

We thirst unfilled before thy fountain’s flow
As days birth rays, our broken bones to hew
Arise from thy beds, sleeping dogs of woe

Thy sword slays the brave flute that dares to blow
The face of thy sky that race far from blue
Beyond vast valleys that bald beggars go

Like wild winter, you throw thy icy snow
To boo yon wives that our eyes pray to woo
Arise from thy beds, sleeping dogs of woe
Beyond vast valleys that bald beggars go

BURNT BOATS by Gaius Isuwa

this swinging sounds of blames
echoing far away from the shallow
depth of our carefulness

this dirge that pierces our ears
with the sharp fang of regrets
as we celebrate sadness
from the shallow depth of our carefulness

are we not the ones?
the ones that left our fuel
at the hands of a match lit?
swallowing our joy and love

how do we then, crossover?
when our boats are burnt
how do we then, crossover?
with burnt boats?


the things i keep remembering
is that, we burn the world, from here,
with our smell of smoke, like incenses
cutting corners to find a room in the clouds
we make songs a little more than a collection of notes
sometimes, it is how we say a prayer for my brother
& my mother & the names of the boys that made ashes
the remains of burnt bodies, other times, it is the way we mourn
i try to squeeze my body in their coffins— the hearts of people
crying for them, because people who are burnt in a room
as they sleep do not fit in coffins, they are placed in a teacups —
and i hear the echoes of their broken souls, like disjointed arms
they are displaced from here, placed in a dream, stranded, made
to live in a town that has no street.
a boy woke us one dawn, with tears that reeked of terror
& terrible absence, we knew what every sigh meant
they burnt his father and made him watch.
he was seven. another body has been made steam floating to clouds
it rained in Barnawa, that evening,
we rushed into the fall to save water for our farms.
the news says Barnawa is peaceful.

SCARS by Dennis Felix

the dance begins in silence
at the crossroads
then spreads to the streets

as a reluctant dawn reaches out
sprouts a hand
of six blood-stained fingers

the red in a rainbow grows
grows outrageously crimson

even as the sidewalk bleeds
with the scars of a mutilated daybreak

taproots dig deep to drink desolation
from the heart of a despoiled earth

the lacerations cut deep!
the desecration is complete

the gory story tells itself…

SIEZED by Agbaakin O. Jeremiah

In my city where-
waste is the currency of wealth,
we don’t ask if you’d mind
a bowl of iyan, white as fright.

The maids ambush guests with dead meat
resurrected in steaming ogbono soup,
Nene shawled with parboiled Ugwu;

And let their lips flail in shock
inside the ocean of iced Lacasera,
too lost to say: eku alejo wa.

Perhaps it was some goblins
giggling in the Gorilla Glass,
that spelled my Android keyboard,
creating an error: Nigerianers.

When writing, I asked my smart slave
to type about a people cast in several spectra
of tongues: broken as the sun shatters
into splinters of rays before it touches earth.

But with a cyborg’s cold omniscience,
she suffixed the prompt: Nigerian-ers:
again I swiped the silk-smooth screen gently
not to incense the mad goblins;
the mockery peeled my pupil in a rite of fresh discovery:
to see the invisible chains on the minds of gods.

The revelation was evident from the suffix itself:
our servants inflect us into
something to be bought,
reduced to pieces of thumbs with kingdoms
to be seized during elections.

1. Iyan-pounded yam
2. Ogbono- a local African soup
3. Ugwu- a vegetable.
4. Lacasera- A popular beverage drink.
5. Eku alejo wa- A Yoruba statement for “thanks for the hospitality”

PAINTER OF BLOOD by Hussani Abdulrahim

Learning to polish blood, our blood
into stranded molecules etched on silt
is the self-imposed ritual of the big man whose big tummy bounces like jelly.
Just for his #10000 we turned the city into a conundrum of seething smoke
flying hither, thither like stunned birds whom the sky can no longer contain.

The shouts of men and quaking hearts of children were the supposed
tunes of arousal
furnished by lustful gongs reaching for a waterfall.
We the hell-makers- we’re bronze gods burning thickly like the sun
shining chrome like the delirious joy a cattle-whisperer evokes in a lamb
telling it that it’d grow into a handsome lion and death dripping from
brown leaves and coconut air shall be wary.

But then, we the painters of madness-
from where shall we arrest redemption when we’ve become clumsy stars
in a failing galaxy?
Of what profit betides this insanity
when our gullible souls become flimsy cobwebs hanging from the ceiling of hell?
Before we realized the magnitude of the incursion
It wasn’t strangers we killed, destroyed or burnt
but our fathers, mothers. Siblings, our abodes
letting their blood drip like the pitti- patta of teary rain.

And when the turn of our season came again for carnage to be
fertilized and grown like bahama grass
peanuts was no longer the price but his son:
“this time, let your only son lead us
if we must die; we die together
let thy blood be the worthy appeasement for thy dubious gain
and our blood- libation for the sorrow-stricken earth
a landmark for dawn’s tourists who’ll paint not with blood
but the awesome peace of their curiosity.

NEW WORLD (DIS)ORDER by Kolawole Samuel Adebayo

a TRUMPet is sounding in a distant land
and we hear that some black skins
are being raptured into a heaven
of sun, and dust, and elephants.

they say that this heaven
is the country home
of men hewn from black stones.

i hope these skins will see
that heaven is a land flowing with milk and honey.

i hear a man is building a wall
and even the Pope cannot pray it down.
they say he brags about his victory over a woman
in a war of words that burned the world into mutters.

here in this part of heaven,
our king drove himself into a holiday.
his health is receding like how our money
is swiftly walking the wide way of recession.

this is the way of the new world:
a king casts others into waters of disorder,
and we all don’t know what he’ll tomorrow order.

a governor is scurrying through deserts
on a night of one thousand silences.
no man must see him. our money
is walking in shadows— stealth.

this disorder is the new world
and we are all looking for salvation…

Izuchukwu, who hails from Isiekwulu village in Ukpo, Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State, also writes fiction and essays and has some of his works published on various platforms, including the Kalahari Review and Nigerian largest poetry sharing platform, Words, Rhymes & Rhythm Poetry. He takes over from February 2017 winner EMMANUEL FAITH as the BPPC Champion.


He will be awarded the top prize of N7000 cash prize, certificate, and books. Other poems in the TOP 10 will be automatically entered for the ALBERT JUNGERS POETRY PRIZE (AJPP) 2017 and published in the BPPC 2017 anthology. Each poet will also receive a certificate and free copies of the anthology. The certificates and books will be awarded at the Words Rhymes & Rhythm Literary Festival 2017.

The BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST (BPPC), a brainchild of Words Rhymes & Rhythm (WRR), is a monthly writing contest aimed at rewarding the under-appreciated talent of young Nigerian poets. It was instituted in February 2015 in honor of Brigitte Poirson, a French poet and lecturer, editor, who has over the years worked assiduously to promote and support of African poetry. Now in its third season, and being one of the few credible contests, the BPPC has since grown to be one of country’s most popular, especially among the younger poets.


NOTE: Submissions are being received for the APRIL 2017 edition on the theme: KNOWING SELF: THE MENTAL HEALTH SILENCE

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