“The Prearranged”: Review By Poetic Oracle

The Prearranged


We must pay heed to “THE PRE-ARRANGED” by Leonell Echa

“They will respond to hashtags and social media noise but ignore the statesman who silenced that little girl’s voice!” –Leonell Echa

Must we die every day?! Must we come again and again to this crossroad of damnation, gore and the deepest of shame? Must we perpetually be the most unbeloved of nations? From the onset of “The Prearranged” with barely restrained rage Leonell cries at us,” Yes, we are one!”

As humans, we are faced with diverse demons, predicaments and abounding ‘wahalas’, not the destitute child in the gutters, not the president of the world’s greatest country, no one is spared. The opening extract/reference of the prearranged mixed with afro-American hip-hop star Jay-Z’s most conscious debut yet, speaks clearly of the common enemy confronting our humanity. Thus, we are called to set aside petty differences and discover a unified higher purpose.

‘Please I am begging you, please help me”

Yes, it began as a plea, employing a most potent literary device, repetition, that artful master of emphasis, of ensuring permanence; Leonell armed with puns, idioms, proverbs and good old blunt facts throws in our face the nightmare and shame that is our politics. Pleading, our lives should matter, that no man should turn a blind eye to the misfortune of another, that we must value dignity, love and human lives over vain material acquisitions.

Divided against ethnic lines, besieged by greed, poverty and mental deprivation, the African youth in particular is lost not just in a quicksand of mis-identity but stuck in a quagmire of conflicting purpose. This situation is not helped by our irredeemably accursed leaders, wolves posing as shepherds ever since Nigeria, the free trade zone, the international grazing field, the global black market, and killing field declared in 1960. Listen:

“They will scatter the ants then destroy the colony

Pitch the youth along religious lines and call the war holy!”

Keywords: “scatter, ants, destroy, colony!” Leonell bemoans our appalling leadership that in recent times have seen droves of Africans sold as slaves, insecurity and famine at an all time high, relieving again the menace of the slave trade era, hear:

“The stories never change; there is only a change of actors

The campaigns will dress up the news to make us believe that it is all about us…”

Detestable leadership! Leadership, that is unperturbed by the kidnap of school children from the safety (ironically) of their homes and schools. Leadership unmoved by the plight of pensioners! A country in darkness, soon to murder every citizen for the abhorrence of becoming the world’s biggest grazing field!

“The prearranged” condemns the abomination we call a senate! The rot we call the presidency! The travesty that is a house of representatives! And the madness we call followership! All in this sunken ship nicknamed Nigeria!

Leonell does not shoot only at the leadership; he fingers the “masses” too in this relentless attempt to obliterate any essence of our humanity. Listen:

“The masses are used to understanding no culture!

So they confuse a pigeon with a dove and an eagle with a vulture!

All they need is something little to stir them up

and they begin opening their mouths drinking water from every cup!”

Christian or Muslim, rich or poor, wise or foolish, Leonell urges us to think deeply, offer mutual respect to one another and reclaim our destiny or lose not just our lives but those of generations yet unborn.

Just when you think there’s a respite,and it can’t possibly get any worse in The Prearranged, Leonell strikes!

“Another kid will still die in that hospital bed

And not even the hospital will remember what drug that kid was fed!”

This is the present reality of our healthcare system, need I say more? Of course not, but the prearranged is not done!

“They’ll push for education and ask you not to stay out of school

Then increase tuition to make you look like a fool!”

Tell me of punch lines, yeah, but the prearranged is not about that, it is about punching lies. The lie of false education! The lie shielding child marriage and teenage molestation, the lie that your vote will count when your life doesn’t!

Lest I forget:

“They promise integration when the constitution is a sham!”

Did I hear you say hardcore! Hard truth I say!

Subtextually what does “The Prearranged” imply? As humans are our live ordered? Our actions preordained? Our every thought, joys, pains and death prearranged? If so, what then must we do? Leonell, God bless the bard! Does not leave us hopeless or up in shit’s creek with no paddle. He shows us a way out.

“Never be interested in a government who is more interested in votes…

Rewrite history to give an honest account…

do not cast another vote that no one will count!”

Consider the recent darling of cinemas “Black Panther”, the cry of innocents at Miango, the themes of love, integrity, fairness, justice, and peace, re-echoed by prophets and bards at The Jos Poetry Slam, the Abuja Literary Society, The Guts of Gods, The Custodians of African Literature, and many vibrant energies at war with the enemies of our common good.

Equipped with righteous tools, let us recollect the values of our founding fathers and those before them. Let us recreate our lives, our country our tomorrow, Leonell urges us to do away with”remote” debilitating lifestyles and take ‘control” of the course of our nation!


“No bee survives if the sting is coming from inside the hive!”

Welcome to the arranged!


Onotu David Onimisi is a British Council Creative lives Alumni. A 2013 first stage winner, Youth Enterprise with Innovation presidential initiative in Nigeria, he is the secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors in Jos. A graduate of Theatre and Communication Art, with an M.A in Play Creating, he is passionate about education and enterprise as it relates to the socioeconomic development of all peoples. This desire led him towards obtaining a post graduate diploma in Education with the National Teachers Institute Nigeria. Published in national dailies across Nigeria, his writings have appeared in international anthologies such as the Nigerian and Cambodian poetry partnership.

As a judge on numerous literary awards, Onotu David, is widely travelled and can apt be described as a community development champion. Script writer and editor per excellence, David spends his time at the Dorz Crafter Studios in Jos where he sharpens the creative abilities of young people towards greater high flights.

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