“This poem, written at my Superior, Colorado, home last week comes in response to the continuing news of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in the north of my native Nigeria. Though I’m now an immigrant to Colorado (moved here in 1997, naturalized in 2001), this story has affected me deeply, and many others worldwide, in contemplating the effects of terrorism perpetrated with impunity. One of the girls — the brave Deborah Sanya — managed to flee her captors and told a horrible tale of the raid on her school and its aftermath. The Nigerian government has proved inept in the quest to locate and rescue the girls. The poem touches on how the history of Nigeria — of military meddling and coups, including sowing the seeds of ethnic and religious strife — has led to this helplessness to provide basic security in her own territory.
“The refrain of ‘consequences’ comes from ‘Path of Thunder,’ a poem by Nigeria’s greatest poet, Christopher Okigbo, used with the added themes of ‘Another One’ and ‘Power People’ included in a poem by his nephew, my friend, Victor Okigbo.”
Uche Ogbuji is the author of a collection of poems entitled “Ndewo, Colorado,” a Colorado Book Award finalist. You can listen to him talk about it here.
[ “Fulani Girl” photo via Flickr by Irene Becker. Kajuru, Kaduna State, Nigeria. ]