The Death of a Nation

students study

When students study to know
Yet have to sort to pass
And sorting is incremental
Even with the horizontal
The process of exam
Becomes a sham
Semesters come and go
The system produces a mass
Of semi-illiterates
As university graduates

You need not deploy
Oppenheimer’s deadly toy
Much time will not elapse
Before structures collapse
Organs will rupture
On the surgical table
Your security architecture
Will be feeble and unstable
With drill-bits that can’t go far
Your geologists tap polluted aquifer

Your systems further weaken
Your masses, poverty-stricken
The dreaded Dragon has entered
Where only the Berlin Fourteen dared
As it is with your continent
So it is with your nation
Your education has lost content
Patriotism is now a strange notion

Your priests preach prosperity
And pay no heed to salvation
As the essence of piety
Gets only a casual mention

Urchins and clowns
In cassocks and gowns
Masquerade as clerics
In return for meager fix
From a political behemoth
Who’s spilled his evil gut
And relishes the carnage and rot
He and his ilk have wrought

How low shall we descend
Into this abyss without end
Millions deceived by a handful
Who perceive others as fools

We have failed to realize
That beliefs and tongues
Do not divide or antagonize
Rather, it is the divisive songs
Sung by men of many words
Who put their stained swords
In the hands of our children primed
Negatively, like robots, timed

Sons and daughters of nobodies
Shield them with frail bodies
While theirs in distant lands frolic
And ours our collective wounds lick

A nation dies
When ruled by lies
Of Toronto, Chicago
All negative cargo
For leadership
Of a sinking ship

Osai, Professor of Development Studies at Rivers State University,
Port Harcourt. Email: or
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