Friday, March 24

My Country Nigeria, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Dear Nigeria,

You are the Country of my Birth. The Country I waved your green-white-green flag proclaiming your independence from the British invaders. You are the only country I had known, until you turned your back on me, slaughtering and pursuing me and my people into Biafra. I was inspired by your song, your dance and your beauty, yet you hated me; you despised me and my people, discarding us and our God-given gifts and talents – killing us with your envy and your swords.

I was deeply devastated, and in grave desolation.

Everything I dreamed of was gone.

Your richly coloured flag turned to blurry, bloody red.

Your beautiful rivers filled with flowing innocent Igbo blood.

Your mountains and forests littered by bones and dry skeletons of the dead; and the forsaken souls of the weeping children – the ones who once waved that green-white-green flag, chanting songs of freedom and short-lived songs of redemption.

My name is Okey Anueyiagu, a thoroughbred Kano boy. My parents sojourned to the North in search of greener pastures – to spread their wings of love in lands faraway from home, and learn the ways of others. My parents once told me that, in order to be a good citizen, you must leave your home and travel, imbibe other people’s ways, embrace and love everything around you. These things they did, and brought me into this world to do.

My parents never told me that I was Igbo. They told me that my ancestors were from Awka, the great land of industry and honesty. They told me that I was a Nigerian and admonished me to love her with all my might, my strength and even my life. All these I did, until I was reminded by my neighbor, my brother and friend, Tijani, that I was a Nyamiri; a stranger from the despised Igbo land. I had to learn this on the day of my greatest wish- the day I wanted to be the best Nigerian that I could be. I was crushed. Ever since, I have lived in a limbo, in fear, and in a state of total razor’s edge anarchy.

Nigeria, listen, because I want you to understand me; to know that you have inflicted so much pain on me, so much repugnance on us and for nothing. My spirit and soul are still holding on, still dreaming – but for how long?

I know that you will scoff at me and my writing, calling it a useless ranting. I know that you will shout me down, blaming me for all the suffering and pains that have befallen me and my people. You will even wish me death and call all the injustices and inequalities of my lifetime, befitting and deserving. For these, and the difficulties of holding on, I will always allow myself to love and dream of the day of reasoning, and perhaps of reckoning also. Perhaps then, you may listen better now to my cries for a better country, and a different kind of equality, justice and peace.


Dr. Okey Anueyiagu Is The Author Of Biafra, The Horrors of War

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