“Where do we go from here?
Are we looking from where the sun don’t shine?
Opening with questions that are no where near rhetorical. Aysia, featured in “Is this the moment” seeks actual answers from whoever cares to respond because each time we dare to question, we shove it aside and leave the ailment until it festers. This time, the poet is in need of assurances that this is it because “these are the hearts that are beating…these are the voices that we hear.”
Bash recounts stanza after stanza as the questions overlap, whether this democratic transition is ‘the moment we’ve all been waiting for…for the heart of Africa (Nigeria) to beat again.” Because we have been in comatose for so long, no beep, no pulse, nothing to revive her (Nigeria). But now it seems that things are looking up as “i hear drumbeats of promise across the land.” Bash paints as he recollects strands of events that have drawn Nigeria back; “bomb blast, Bring Back Our Girls (a movement created to bring back the Chibok girls kidnapped), brain drain, wailing of political sirens that swallow the voice of the streets, walking at night with fear of flight, presence of gun men at worship centers, corruption, tribalism and ethnicity.
Sounding very much like Dike Chukwumerije’s “No Culture is older than Being Human” in voice and performance of this piece, Bash swooshes around familiar themes of pain, hunger, disdain, wish, hopefulness, ethnicity, corruption, war, patriotism and more. The repetition of “is this the moment?” is suggestive of wish, desire for this moment to be true. That things should begin to look up. Where Nigerians would dedicate their time to “when hard work had a face and didn’t look like corruption’s twin. And we won’t have to jump queues at filling stations to prove that we’re street smart.”
Released in 2015 when the opposition party APC came to power ousting the long ruling party of PDP, Amuneni would presuppose that the new dispensation would redeem the polity. Therefore, this was his attempt at reminding the emerging government and the populace of the many challenges the nation is fraught with.
The evidence of this deplorable condition of the country are captured more in a few descriptive lines like:
” Folding fists at the next police stop to earn a thorough fare” (Indicative of giving bribe to have a right to passage)
” Youths trading stock with patched flip flops in traffic” (indicative of the impoverished masses trying to survive)
“Cost of school fees driving sister to sell her body for bread” (indicative of how in a bid to survive, some prostitute)
“Jump queues at starving filling stations” (The largest oil producer as at that time, yet we struggle for access even in our filling stations)
Bash subtly reproaches Nigerians who have doubted and are still doubting the possibility of change even in the menace we experience. He reminds us that ” the queen’s yes men nodded to the puzzle of a Niger area” and that “is proof of belief” that we too should and must believe first, before anything would happen in the line of change and development.
Our diversity is our strength despite the clamour and scramble for partition. The North, the South all in a war that’d seemed unending from democracy to military and back to a democracy we’re yet unsure of.
In 2015 Nigerians wanted change in change and something new and different from the norm. That’s how our leaders have been recycled and have merely aged in place.
He seems to agree that we all have a part to play in this race for stability, justice and development when he states that hope was wrapped in “Ahmadu Bello’s turban, Awolowo’s rhetoric and Azikiwe’s eloquence…” joining forces to create what our children would (should) grow to know as “ONE NIGERIA.”
Having chronicled all the past and present events, he wishes that this transition (the 2015 democratic transition) be that moment we’ve all been waiting for…let it not just be one of those voices in our heads.
Fast forward to 2019, another democratic transition about to happen. Was 2015 the moment or will 2019 be the moment we’ve all been waiting for? How far have we gone from then?