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BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST 2018: YABATECH POET OLAJUWON JOSEPH WINS BPPC APRIL 2018

Olajuwon Joseph Olumide is the winner of the April edition of the BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST (BPPC) 2018 which was themed: ‘MY AFRICAN HERO-INE’. It is Olajuwon’s third pole position finish in the monthly poetry contest.

Olajuwon is a final year student of Mass Communication at the Yaba College of Technology and a native of Ogun State. He teaches teacher of English Language, Literature in English and Cultural & Creative Arts at secondary school level.

The Lagos based poet’s entry ‘GOLDEN STATUES OF AFRICA’ which he dedicated to ‘worthy African Mothers’ beat Kolofo Adejo’s ‘GHETTO ANTHEM’ and ‘LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER’ by Izuchukwu Saviour Otubelu to 2nd and 3rd place finishes respectively.

The young poet had previously won the BPPC in August 2015 and March 2016. He was the first contestant to win two editions and is now the 2nd to win three editions, bettered only by serial BPPC finalist Chinazom Chukwudi Otubelu.

Below are the top 10 poems:

  1. GOLDEN STATUES OF AFRICA (for the worthy afican mothers) by Olajuwon Joseph Olumide
  2. GHETTO ANTHEM by Kolofo Adejo
  3. LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER by Izuchukwu Saviour Otubelu
  4. THE GOOD SAMARITAN by Akor Agada Nathaniel
  5. HEROES NEVER DIE by Godwin Nket-Awaji Alpheaus
  6. UNFADED by Ohiro Sarah
  7. BLACK POWER by Tukur Ridwan Ishola
  8. THE WIFE OF A FREEDOM FIGHTER: WINNIE MADELA by Anyanwu Timothy Chibuike
  9. REQUIEM KALAKUTA by Paul Chiwude
  10. FEROCIOUS FELA by Emmanuel Faith
GOLDEN STATUES OF AFRICA (for the worthy afican mothers) by Olajuwon Joseph Olumide

o fertile wombs of the black shore, blessed are you!
for nurturing your seedlings through impulsive seasons:
when scorched rays burned in rage; and the sea ate lands;
when the sky-god cursed our climes with regent drought;
in all, black gladiators yet emerge from your navels of care.

lullabies of African mothers are ancestral encomium
chanted to our ears when hydra-headed life nods us
into frailty of fear, and our mouths form self-pity cries.
“no scion of Akin* prides in garb of dread, man up child!”
this food for the soul has fortified forts of black brave men

mothers are the genuine sage when life loots away truth
from the rowdy market stalls where cowries of hypocrisy
are heaped on black warriors though their stallions stray!
“the brave who oft launches attacks with no retreat, one day,
may become eroded by unseen war”, yeye* warned jogunomi*

mothers are architects of nations as men build tall towers
when the walls begin to crack and thud, it’s their weakness
in my homeland, a cosmos of twin brothers split like red sea
when nature called their mother to rest from labour of life.
the brainy taps heritage of wealth from his mama’s spring

so, in this pantheon of my poetic heart, i have carved
golden effigies of ode for these African heroines of mine:
the makers and refiners of future Madibas, proudly warriors!
the making mothers and refining wives of ingenious men
the widows wallowing in the mud of survival to mould futures.

footnotes

1. Akin: a name from Yoruba lineage meaning bravery
2. Yeye: means mother of the son, jogunomi
3. Jogunomi: a brave warrior from Ibadan who ceased not to war
4. Madiba: Nelson Mandela

GHETTO ANTHEM by Kolofo Adejo

Kitchen empty, wardrobe naked;
credit plenty, dirty full pocket.
This hardship no be chise;
head dey parboil like rice.

Poverty don mark our face,
tears no wan give smile space.
Monday to Sunday na borrow;
life rough like Agege agbero.

But this dirty film no go play forever;
one day, our dry bread go soak butter.
This heart no go rust for pain prison;
one day, this rain eyes go enjoy dry season.

This dirty film no go play forever;
one day, miracle go wash this gutter.
This legs no go die for suffer church;
one day, we go shine pass D.P.O torch.

This dirty film no go play forever;
one day, beggar go give Cesar.
This burial songs no go master our mouth;
one day, we go vomit all with a joyful shout!

We no go ever allow today deceive us;
remember how many river bros Joseph cross?
Our akpu go surely turn cake,
na only small time e go take.

Till then, we gallantly dey push;
we no go fold hand dey look bush.
Our akpu go surely turn cake,
na only small time e go take.

LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER by Izuchukwu Saviour Otubelu

Dear Unknown Soldier,
Everyone supposes you haven’t got a name
But your blood pours along the riverside
Your face wears the smokescreen of injured pride
You have built a hut at the backstreet of fame

Dear Unknown Soldier,
Your garden is a safe haven for homeless babes
Yet your name’s missing from the pages of Vanguard papers
I do not find your statues on the streets or anywhere
Your deserved glories have dissolved into sour grapes

Dear Unknown Soldier,
You take a plunge into the sea when there’s a shipwreck
Yet the telecaster always forgets your name on TV
Your valiant deeds are swept under the cloak of obscurity
You haven’t got medals to wear around your neck

Dear Unknown Soldier,
Stray bullets of Biafran war lodge in your bandaged arms
But the market women do not sing your songs at the square
Children do not carry your placards to dance in the open air
Everyone is quick to forget your broken bones and blistered palms

Dear Unknown Soldier,
I remember the night you kissed your wife goodbye
With teary eyes, she watched you step away from the door
She wished you wouldn’t go but you’d sworn to fight for your country’s honour
Months later, she welcomed your headless body with a sigh

You remain a stranger in the face of your tireless fights
But in the blank pages of my heart, you are a HERO!

THE GOOD SAMARITAN by Akor Agada Nathaniel

Every contact with him was a contract of eternal value
His smile his time were too cheap to be true
He never had a clue of what he could do
Until he came to the rescue

His greatest weakness was the greatest of all virtue
This virtue could transform a vessel to a vehicle of value
Love made him a god not just his word
Saving a soul in a dying world

He was a hero who has a heart
An ordinary man with blood and bones
He pleasantly played out his own part
His heart was of flesh not of steel or stones

Today heroes are needed
You and I can be enlisted
The Good Samaritan is my favorite hero
He said saving the world starts from saving a soul

From zero to hero or hero to zero
The Samaritan sees everyman as a potential hero
He insisted that heroes are made and not born
That our decision in life determines our destination

This Good Samaritan is a black man
He is an African and a proud Nigerian
Everyone knows he is a Jesus fan
He is my father Akor Lawrence the vegetarian

HEROES NEVER DIE by Godwin Nket-Awaji Alpheaus

“Heroes never die!”
I spotted on cosmic graffiti,
Soused with icicles of sapience.
Their vestiges linger like bees on petals,
Transmitting pollens to renascent twigs,
On the bush paths, tree trunks they transverse;
Between zephyr, gusty gale of their season;
There I know heroes never decay like tree
Without wheat, but live like eagle in its eyrie.
They reincarnate in man’s coronary cosmos,
With shadows as sparkling as Jehovah’s;
Always ascending on plume of metamphorsis.

How did Opi’s* confluence gnaw Christopher’s** anecdote,
Yet he told me yesterday he died today,
And will still die tomorrow?
How did death disguise Achebe’s*** shadow,
Yet he strides in phantasm into faceless moment?
And million cold days, Azikiwe**** died – still dying unremittingly!
Yesterday, Madiba***** take a cold kip; elegies spiralled.
Today he continued his Long Walk in my nipples.
His cadence reiterates evanescent melodies of yester-festivity.

My dream becomes banquet, where sepulchral faces
Dine with moths, nocturnal birds frolic in the sky.
They seem to be more lively than my artificial father.
Their countenance tell tales of death throttled on deed’s gallow.

Dive on Time’s plume into paths,
Where feet streaked glistening footprints,
There, you will spot walls crinkled with heroes!

Note:
*Opi – a junction where Christopher Okigbo was shot during Biafran war

UNFADED by Ohiro Sarah

Tomorrow is like the cunny adder
Lurking afoot the greenery of time
It is the prized chest
Where all great treasures lay rest
The face of courage and strength
The unbleached cover girl appareled in red
It is the speaking ink
The fastest legs
The fiercest but fearful moments before the curtain is drawn

Yet
Courage sleeps in a dingy old bed
Her unbleached skin shivers inside a leaking roof
And the flood in her brain
Ink enough to swim in
Too still to scribble words

So
Let so great a cloud of “Ancestors”
Fallen and yet upright
Let them stand at the “T”
Where the junctions meet
Let them call forth the spirits of our inner selves
Let the words carry with them a great many convictions
A reminder too often forgotten
That we too are our own heroes
Fighting daily
For the freedom our souls seek

BLACK POWER by Tukur Ridwan Ishola

Brighter days give nights of our skins a chance
to shade sketches of our symbols of the (he)art.
.
A map with a horn cradles man & nurses him
to grow green & glow the sun’s eyes like melanin…
.
until he was free in chains: trailed, tailed
& trained through thorns & throes
to transcend time than trees of told truths.
.
As a slave; a distant relative like Kunta, home he hives
in our hearts to house these hands held together.
One like Maya makes mankind feel the fortune
that fares upon failures to find freedom
for herself plus her kit & kin home & abroad.
.
Scorned & severed of his sacred salience,
but silence is not Malcom’s best answer to this
treatment & inhumanity to humanity.
.
Michael also spoke to the man in the mirror where there was no water for others to drink & reflect with…
& water is blind; can’t tell if thirst is coloured or not.
.
Nelson would crack these walls of wails till
the prison yard becomes paradise through hell
in years spent to bloom in the cell of life through dearth.
.
A woman like Rosa would insist to sit when asked
to stand against her will in the wheels of a bus.
.
These (wo)men would break black boundaries
to shed more light onto the nights of bias & hurt
like stars across the sky until bright becomes the days
after prior darkness beyond the cradle of humanity.

THE WIFE OF A FREEDOM FIGHTER: WINNIE MADELA by Anyanwu Timothy Chibuike

A revered holy book said she was a product of a single bone.
It convinced the universe that she was a weaker vessel even before she was born.
It mapped out for her the status of a subordinate.
It made her recognition so much dependent on her luck to procreate.
With an ambiance of racial prejudice engulfing her youth,
She convinced herself and promised a quota that is not mute.
Nomzamo; she knew her part was that of strives and trials
She was determined for the June 14, 1958 knot with a Madiba docked for betrayal.
Now, married to a freedom fighter,
Her Ideal idyllic bubble paved part for painful pleasure of dark moon
with no honey
8115 Orlando West of the 50s and 60s was not a place known for couple’s jolly.
Wife of a freedom fighter is a suspect under restrictions.
Marrying to a ‘terrorist’ is accepting to live under suspicions.
It gives matrimonial bed adorned in the blissful Robben Island,
Where nuptial kissing and hugging are for the oppressors to command,
And conjugal coitus covered in cloudy cogitation.
Wife of a freedom fighter is a subject to the whims of the might.
Wife of a freedom fighter is with no freedom and right.
Wife of a freedom fighter is a frail widow,
Tramped upon extensively like an Argentine meadow.
Hauled from Marshall Square police station to the hellish Brandfort.
Enjoying the Ninety Day Detention Act and the Terrorism Act.
Wife of a freedom fighter is a married single woman fathering her children.
She was seen by the King in Proverbs thirty-one verses between ten and
thirty one
She may quite be a single bone; she is not a weaker vessel.
She married him to free him and them.
She is Winnie Mandela, the heroine.

REQUIEM KALAKUTA by Paul Chiwude

How dark was the eve of hush noise,
When the sounds of the jack boot,
Crouched to silence the lone voice,
Who sang tough with his open tooth,

Lo, they came terrified by his guts,
For he had no weapon but his song,
With a message that drove them nuts,
To liberate the masses from their torn,

Like a zombie in the night they came,
Brandishing rusty gun and dagger,
Their shirts were worn and legs lame,
In service to the pot bellied of swagger,

Oh, you princes of vibrant kalakuta,
You fear not the men in khaki and beret,
For your saxophone has broken the junta,
And your fist have punctured their ferret,

In your calmness they saw boldness,
Standing tall where many feet tremble,
Gladly daring the whips and the coldness,
Of a ruthless era of iron clad rumble,

But despite your dark travails,
Your spirit was never conquered,
Despite the shrine’s ruins and wails,
You still gave strength to the shattered,

Now the sunlight and crow dawns,
Vanishing away the relics of the past,
Your legacy and beats still yawns,
Reminding us that a legend still last.

FEROCIOUS FELA by Emmanuel Faith

All hail the king of Kalakuta republic,
Whose resplendent regalia radiates in mesmerizing music,
Erupting from a polished potpourri of cacophonous choruses
– cymbals clashing loudly in captivating cadences.

The dazzling director-boisterous bevy of ladies,
With whimsical waists that wriggle, like KSA*s steps in the eighties
Have you been inebriated with a cup of felagoro?
A polished potpourri richer than ogogoro*

A sapient soldier whose weapon were neither guns nor swords,
But synchronizing symphony of sagacious stringent words,
That oppressed the oppressors and relieved the masses,
– rained torrents of taunts on paunchy politicians in secluded classes.

Those zombies were once zealots whose zeal and zest was zapped,
Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop3, isn’t that how strength is sapped?
Your yellow fever was a Blackman’s cry reaching bleaching divas
And the boisterous beats of beast of no nation sends callous shivers.

Water no get enemy, but heralds of truth breed many,
The slaves of colonial mentality, whose malady has no remedy,
They did an army arrangement and invaded your apartment,
But rays from the scorching sun cannot falter the firmament.

Anikulapo, you held death captive in your pouch
Till it stealthily encroached into your couch,
Your shakara and grah-grah4, made everything scatter,
As the world of Afro beat suffered a disaster

But you live in our hearts, your name, your fame, your thirst and quest.
May your music make mellifluous melody to your soul wherever it rests.

Olajuwon will be awarded the N8000 cash prize, and his poem, along with all the other TOP 10 finalists, will be automatically entered for the ALBERT JUNGERS POETRY PRIZE (AJPP) 2018 and published in the BPPC 2018 anthology. The finalists will also each receive a certificate and free copies of the BPPC 2018 anthology, to be awarded at the Words Rhymes & Rhythm Literary Festival 2018.

 


The BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST, 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 for poets, the BPPC has since grown to be one of country’s most popular, especially among the younger poets.

Click here to Enter for  BPPC May 2018

Author: admin

I am a member of the WRR editorial team.

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