INCORRUPTIBLE JUDGES OR WHAT?
This is a powerful poem by professor Niyi Osundare depicting our present Nigeria. It am moved to write this Facebook article, because without justice and equity no democracy thrives, instead delayed chaos and revolution brews. My Lord, Tell Me Where To Keep Your Bribe? By Niyi Osundare
A poem by the renowned Nigerian poet My Lord 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 My Lord 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 My Lord 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” Is broken in every brick The roof is roundly perforated By termites of graft My Lord 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 Prof. Niyi Osundare