In The Lighter Mood: “My Lord, please tell me where to keep your bribe?”

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Prof. Niyi Osundare has done it again with his classic poetry intervention as the putrid smell oozes out from the Nation’s Justice Temple.

With this buffet from an illustrious Swordsmith, my day is made.
Happy Reading:

My Lord, Tell me Where to Keep your Bribe.

A poem by Prof. Niyi Osundare.

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 pronounced judgement on the innocent.

I ask again, My Lord, tell me where to keep your Bribe?!!

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