For those who do not know, Professor Niyi Osundare is a prolific poet, dramatist and literary critic.
According to Wikipedia, he is also renowned for his commitment to socially relevant art and artistic activism.
A recipient of the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA) for academic excellence in 2014, his poem about the hypocrisy of Nigerian judges and corruption in Nigeria recently went viral for the right reasons.
Read it below:
Please tell me where to keep your bribe?
Do I drop it in your venerable chambers
Or carry the heavy booty to your immaculate mansion
Shall I bury it in the capacious water tank In your well laundered backyard
Or will it breathe better in the septic tank
Since money can deodorize the smelliest crime
Shall I haul it up the attic Between the ceiling and your lofty roof
Or shall I conjure the walls to open up
And swallow this sudden bounty from your honest labour
Shall I give a billion to each of your paramours
The black, the light, the Fanta-yellow
They will surely know how to keep the loot In places too remote for the sniffing dog
Or shall I use the particulars Of your anonymous maidservants and manservants
With their names on overflowing bank accounts
While they famish like ownerless dogs
Shall I haul it all to your village In the valley behind seven mountains
Where potholes swallow up the hugest jeep
And Penury leaves a scar on every house
It will take the fastest machine
Many, many days to count this booty; and lucky bank bosses
May help themselves to a fraction of the loot
Tell me where to keep your bribe?
My Lord Tell me where to keep your bribe?
The “last hope of the common man”
Has become the last bastion of the criminally rich
A terrible plague bestrides the land
Besieged by rapacious judges and venal lawyers
Behind the antiquated wig
And the slavish glove
The penguin gown and the obfuscating jargon Is a rot and riot whose stench is choking the land Behind the rituals and roted rigmaroles
Old antics connive with new tricks
Behind the prim-and-proper costumes of masquerades
Corruption stands, naked, in its insolent impunity
For sale to the highest bidder
Interlocutory and perpetual injunctions
Opulent criminals shop for pliant judges
Protect the criminal, enshrine the crime And Election Petition Tribunals
Ah, bless those goldmines and bottomless booties!
Scoundrel vote-riggers romp to electoral victory
All hail our buyable Bench and conniving Bar
A million dollars in Their Lordship’s bedroom
A million euros in the parlor closet
Countless naira beneath the kitchen sink
Our courts are fast running out of Ghana-must-go’s*
The “Temple of Justice”
The roof is roundly perforated
By termites of graft
Tell me where to keep your bribe?
Judges doze in the courtroom
Having spent all night, counting money and various “gifts”
And the Chief Justice looks on with tired eyes
As Corruption usurps his gavel.
Crime pays in this country Corruption has its handsome rewards
Just one judgement sold to the richest bidder
Will catapult Judge & Lawyer to the Billionaires’ Club
The Law, they say, is an ass Sometimes fast, sometimes slow
But the Law in Nigeria is a vulture
Fat on the cash-and-carry carrion of murdered Conscience
Won gb’ebi f’alare Won gb’are f’elebi
They kill our trust in the common good
These Monsters of Mammon in their garish gowns
Unhappy the land
Where jobbers are judges
Where Impunity walks the streets
Like a large, invincible Demon Come
Sunday, they troop to the church
Friday, they mouth their mantra in pious mosques
But they pervert Justice all week long
And dig us deeper into the hellish hole
Nigeria is a huge corpse With milling maggots on its wretched hulk
They prey every day, they prey every night
For the endless decomposition of our common soul
My Most Honourable Lord
Just tell me where to keep your bribe.
Large, extremely tough bags used for carrying heavy cash in Nigeria
They declare the innocent guilty
They pronounce the guilty innocent