• Photo Credit: Vanguard News
I searched the internet
and made a broadcast on Channels
on every media planet
Did you find my Fundamental Human Rights?
I have gone everywhere
To the market, to the firmament, to the mosque, to the court, to the church
I have searched everywhere
In different books, in different shoes;
deep into the killing lagoon
seeking, finding, asking
Have you found my Fundamental Human Rights?
When you wake up every morning
To realize your life has been issued an ultimatum
And your future — condemned to death by hanging; inflation or some artificial scarcity
When you go out to the street
And all you see are owls glaring at you in the morning
and death jogging, leaping and limping right behind your future dreams
When all you see every day are potholes of the 60s, go slows now and then, prohibitive prices of goods and dilapidating standards of schools
When you sneak into the night
In your candle, heat infested rooms
To scribble down your pains
And tweet all your sorrows
Because it was your fault to be born a Nigerian, in Africa. Black and Negro.
Where liberty and dignity are reserved for ogas at the top
But agitation and expression — purgation of the poor
Yet all you get in return are some boots and guns lurking, knocking on your door
Asking to know why you sneezed and coughed without seeking any permission
In a country where women are bathed with acid for not dancing to the bata of men’s dowry. In a country where people are aborted in suicide
‘cos they choke in a nation that is tropical yet can’t be technological
In a country that can’t invest in electrical power but can be drunk with political power
In this country I keep asking
Where is my Fundamental Human Right?
They are mantras on activists’ lips
They rarely get to the ears of Lady Justice
But if I can’t have my Human Rights
At least I deserve to have my humanity Left
Litterateur famously called Literati, Babajide Michael Olusegun writes to heal, teach and opine. But when none of these seem to flow with his writing thoughts, he seeks an alternative in what he dubs “Spokentry” — that is to say, spoken word poetry. Don’t ask him what he does for a living; he is still busy living. He was shortlisted for the Uganda-based BabisaiNiwe Poetry Prize in 2015 and is a mentee in the BabisaiMentorship Programme.