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Imo-born poet and English Language student of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Nwagbo Ebubechukwu Bruno, is the winner of the September edition of the BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST (BPPC), the last edition for the 2018 season. The contest was themed: ‘NIGERIA 2019: OF THUMBS & PVCs’.

Nwagbo’s writings have appeared in several publications including, notably, THE TRAIN STOPS AT SUNSET: The BPPC 2017 Anthology; Poets in Nigeria (PIN) Quarterly Journal, Issue 8. His Spoken Word Poem ‘Try Your Luck’ made the long list of the Nigerian Students’ Poetry Prize (NSPP) 2017. In 2018, he won the Best Creative Student Award (Short Stories Category) during the OOU Knowledge of Language, Literature, And Journalism (KOLLAJ) Festival.

His winning poem ‘NIGERIA [IS] GETTING MARRIED AGAIN‘ had originally clinched the second position, behind ‘THUMPING THUMBS THINK OF TOMORROW’ by June 2018 winner Akor Agada Nathaniel. It however automatically won the first place, due to the BPPC rule that a poet cannot win the contest twice in one Season.

The third-placed poem is Blessing Omeiza Ojo’s song ‘THIS CAMPAIGN IS A ROADSHOW’.

Below are the top 10 poems:

  2. NIGERIA [IS] GETTING MARRIED AGAIN by Nwagbo Ebubechukwu Bruno
  3. THIS CAMPAIGN IS A ROADSHOW (A Song) by Blessing Omeiza Ojo
  4. NIGERIA’S CALL OBEY by Ahemen A. Korgba
  5. THE CHANGE I DESIRE: CHAPTER 1 by Maxwell Onyemaechi Opia-Enwemuche
  6. POLL DOGS’ by Ukpanyang Kingsley Ayi
  7. REWRITING THE STARS by Soneye Anuoluwa Olusegun
  8. THE POWER OF YOUR VOTE by Hussani Abdulrahim
  9. INSCRIPTIONS ON THE MOON by Godwin Nket-Awaji Alpheaus
  10. THE DOGS ARE BACK by BAYOWA, Ayomide Micheal


The trip to the top
Begins with a Passion never to give up
On ourselves till these crinkum crankum stops
With our PVCs we will mop out political flip flops
Appointing ambassadors who are alert like corps to be the new crops

Wild whistling wind will have to wrestle with our words
We will no longer be cajoled by overfed vocal chords
They are never tired of lording over many worlds
At the expense of other able lords
The ballot boxes will decide not the bill boards.

We might not smell a hidden agenda for mischief
But we will still bid goodbye to that chief
Whose ally is a guilty thief
So the time has come for bitter grief
To vacate the sit for sweet relief

Losing at the poll is never one’s downfall
Sometimes one wins when (s)he loses standing tall
Occupying an office is a call to serve all
Not just to stand tall and make us feel small
All for one or one for all
Someone must stand for us all

The throbbing thumbing of our thumbs can enthrone good governance
Dusting ourselves from the dustbin of irrelevance
Means taking our destiny in our own hands
With our PVCs and thumbs to execute God’s plans
Because whatever is left to chance has no chance

NIGERIA [IS] GETTING MARRIED AGAIN by Nwagbo Ebubechukwu Bruno

The currency in our hands today invokes even the dollar’s jealousy
Let us go with our Priced Virile Currency
To redeem our fatherland into clemency

With this currency, we will pay a bride’s price before the marriage minister
The mark our thump will sign in the marriage register
will pronounce our country happily married or aptly marred by next year Easter

Dear Nigeria getting married again,
Remember Esua who wedded for his stomach’s fractured gain
Remember, he saw his future welded to that exchange of avowed pain

When politetricians in wit come toasting with fried lies and baked beans,
remember Eden, our wooed mother who failed for the liar’s caked bins.
Remember the woe in the murder of all beings.

Dear Nigeria getting married again
In this election let us cast our seed into the ballot’s belly but not in vain
In this erection let us cast seeds in our field, bail her out- free
and green again

THIS CAMPAIGN IS A ROADSHOW (A Song) by Blessing Omeiza Ojo

I don’t know you can dance with so much firepower
until I watched you move to the voice of a cantor.
You told me campaign had to do with roadshows
and no longer with ease and manifestos.
Then you swore to remove every crumb
with your honourable thumb.

But if your thumb is so dear, why offer it for sale?
Your anguish and tears are now without bail
as you watch your chosen elites fail.

This coming hour is for redemption
and not for franchise abdication.
So why dance on the street
in the name of campaign offbeat?
Is your thumb no longer at ease
or have you been paid some fees?

But if your thumb is so dear, why offer it for sale?
Your anguish and tears are now without bail
as you watch your chosen elites fail.

NIGERIA’S CALL OBEY by Ahemen A. Korgba

Four years lead to a day
When Nigeria’s call they obey
With actions not words they convey
A longing for a new and better way

“What a joy it has been” some may cheerfully reminisce
But for others years past were not filled with comfort and bliss
Their hopes of a brighter future rely on this
And so the importance of the outcome they cannot dismiss

The number of queues will surely abound
As those yearning to have their say flock around
In their hands a simple card may be found
But the power that it holds is truly profound

Young and old they arrive with intentions to rock the boat
As their choice this day empowers them to demote or promote
And their decision to do this is something of note
For they become change agents by simply casting their vote

THE CHANGE I DESIRE: CHAPTER 1 by Maxwell Onyemaechi Opia-Enwemuche

If the change I desire
begins with me as I respire,
then the onus is on me to do better
& take charge never to falter.

Those who chant these natural hymns
Are not exempted of their sins
For all hands must be on deck to perform
& avoid every unholy norm.

The change that I seek is here
& I desire a little breathe of fresh air.
I’ll dust my voter’s cards
& not bear conspicuous placards
For the time to act is now
& not to cry foul.

This is the change I desire.
I will perspire & never retire
Until my change comes dancing
With victory & unending singing.

The change I desire
Is not to openly walk into fire,
But to consciously vote my conscience
& end a tumultuous era of political nonsense.

POLL DOGS’ by Ukpanyang Kingsley Ayi

Surely the dogs rally, drooling for votes
At the bleak chiming of polling bells.
Once again, power shuffles shells
As parties brandish greedy throats!

Truth wears a condom of lies,
And their words become sterile.
The cost of cheap talk—an indigenous peril—
Grazing hope before our eyes.

We lick our ‘bitten thumbs’ in despair,
Smear ‘Savagery’ on social media,
Hallow PVCs like panacea,
Catch our breaths in prayer.

But like a clock strapped to the wall
The nation winds in a circular dance,
Talking of ‘times’ without covering distance
On the path where greatness cures our fall.

Youth peeps out like a star in our night,
Boasts it can walk on our troubled waters,
Harvest our dreams within our borders,
Lest we trickle out in flight …

Youth insists despite the barking of dogs
To oil the crown that reeks of Age,
Not too young to salvage,
Not too young to outrun the dogs.

REWRITING THE STARS by Soneye Anuoluwa Olusegun

We have journeyed on broken bridges and hovered through flaming caves;
On crumbling bricks and through hollows of hell and hades.
Our past pricks and the fear of a futile future hurts our heart.
Our hourglass of hope counts down in our river of sobs
and our faith falls for it is tough to put our trust in thumbs.

These thumbprints and card slips have become our Halloween;
our periodical party of masks and pumpkins.
Every thumb on paper event is a checkpoint of putrid pains and regrets;
Every wait for a change breathes a factory of sighs
but if we hold the garments of hope once again
would our thumbs rewrite the stolen stars and light up the darkened sky?

Like paper planes on karma airlines our progress planes keep crashing back.
Polly polls through two purple parties panic our prayers of change
but hope will drive our wheels of faith once again.
Yes, hope will drive our wheels of faith once again
But tell me the truth,
can these thumbs rewrite the stolen stars and take our pains away?

The dinner of turning-tables is at hand.
Democrats will mount the pulpit and read their scriptures.
The beauty of the dawn would await the molding of our palms
but with these black cards laying on our treasured tile;
Tell me the truth,
can these thumbs rewrite the stolen stars and heal the bleeding Nile?

Our thumbs are weary of printing torrid textures on paper
but our choices emaciate and our options opt out.
So whisper it into the stream of silence and let our souls part.
“Can these thumbs rewrite the stolen stars and paint us a perfect art?”

THE POWER OF YOUR VOTE by Hussani Abdulrahim

When brays the burgle of ballot boxes
Shepherds will saunter draped in fabrics of manifestos
Drumming of golden compasses yawning into greener pastures

You’ll hear supple words swim into minds
Seductive gestures capable of fooling death
Of kissing a desert with enviable flood

You’ll hear the splashes of laughter
Turning into the impeccable trumpet of sea waves
The poignant pleas and gentleness seeping from souls
All in a bid to out do each other
At finding nests in the head of her populace

The man with the white cap
Says fire leads to the garden of nirvana
The man with the red
Says the parched desert
Undresses into an endless river full of fish
While the man in green
Says there is an Eden
Through the narrow route of grit and distress

My mother once said:
All these crows cajoling the mark of your thumb
Are lizards;
You can’t tell whose stomach runs

But the ball remains in the court
Of the compassionate herd
In the careful truth and armour of PVCs
Lies the migration into seasons of enduring bloom

INSCRIPTIONS ON THE MOON by Godwin Nket-Awaji Alpheaus

Brother, the day has dimmed;
It’s walking towards dusk, soon moon will gleam;
Stars will flash their evanescent teeth,
And go out, showing our murk-flanked earth,
Where clout pouts at our lustful hearts.

It’s time to survey the land;
And to survey, it’s not thunder’s flatulent sound,
Nor the ephemeral deluge of its rain,
(For it’s the prototype of our yester-pain);
But to uproot geriatric trees and plant new grains.

It’s time to weed out paraquats in our farm.
Do not substitute your PVC for obsequious ram.
Let’s make our cognitions sentient,
And hunt rapacious whales from our ocean;
Brood mullets, mussels for affable living.

Season has turned; it’s another rein of rain;
Rain whose precipitation only erode our grains…
Do not let its perfidious flood immerse your mind,
For it’s mere sophistry played on a blind mind
Like a game of draught by two drunkards.

Tomorrow, we’ll convene again at the pool,
And swim, showing our floaty souls.
We, flotsam on the rattling tide of PDP and APC,
Will affirm fate or mirth with our PVCs.

Look at the inscriptions on the moon –
While it’s not yet another noon –
Before thrusting your PVC
On the kleptomaniac palm of APC and PDP!

THE DOGS ARE BACK by BAYOWA, Ayomide Micheal

The dogs are back to their vomits to repeat their follies-
with masks on, bony cheeks and flat bellies,
with tales easily mistaken with stories
and fresh cold promises.

The dogs are back to their bony meats,
to the dregs, in two legs and
beguiling gaits; predecessors’ traits.

With masks on,
they are ready to dance to our beats like masquerades,
earn our accolades,
even jump down the high cliffs,
just to walk us down the polls with our pollex.

The dogs are back with sweet tongues,
to promise gigantic mound of scum-
lives after the death of their ink-stained thumbs
and flowers on their sorry tombs.

Even if we know the dogs will soon leave
and cause us to bite our fingers,
but for their manifesto,
we’ll lose our voices to their catchwords;
Power! Change!
and become blind to papers changing hands.

The dogs are here, in front of we pukes,
with new stale promises,
desperate to become our dukes,
ready to propagate PVCs-
just to make our thumbs strike them flukes.

Nwagbo will take home the N8000 prize money and join the other TOP 10 finalists from February to September for a chance to win the 2018 ALBERT JUNGERS POETRY PRIZE (AJPP). All the top 10 poems for the 2018 Season will be published in the BPPC 2018 anthology. The finalists of each edition will also each receive a certificate and a copy of the anthology 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 African poetry. Now in its third season as 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.

The next edition of the BPPC will be announced in February 2019



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