Kogi 2016: The Unseen Poem by Abdullahi Suleiman Otiwe

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What emerges from the sea drown?

Even when the Captain claims to sail

With the blatant ship of no engine

So shall forever wreck on the sea

We had no snail to crawl in the wind

Nor had we summer in the harmattan

Yet another season shall not long be born

In the virgin eyes of no happy slaves

Had we little thought in the sojourned

Trekking faster than the lonely moon

Belief upon the machine that hits the Nation

So we shall voice through the golden mouth

My state and I; the foes in a race

My state and my people; the unseen poem

Feeling between us; much heavier than casket

Yet the ants bite us in our corps awaiting funeral

By no means had we cause to rejoice

With the stings deposited in our veins

Yet all the bees have risen again

To finish their uncompleted mission

And my state for long retrogressed

Backward along the ethnic lane

Bygone by the pregnant fruits

The burden that fell upon us

For not long yet another time

To try our hands in the magic box

With the slim paper that contains our fate

To decides consensus of Abraham Lincoln

For long we had cried; tears dried

All flowing flooded to the Euphrates

For we made no pledge with monarchy

To ruling our palace instead of governed

Once upon a time; time has come

Black or Red; all is vanity upon vanity

Simply needed is the crow of the cock

To wake my dying state for progress



This poem; “KOGI 2016: THE UNSEEN POEM” is indeed a poem of 36 lines which vividly captured the political earthquakes in the so described “retrogressed” state of Kogi. Owe to the effects of bad government in the state since the birth of the state itself, Abdullahi Suleiman Otiwe , 20 as young as he is, has written this poem exposing the injustice that has been for long pervading the state. Hence the themes of the poem are centered on injustice, corruption, nepotism, sectionalism, tribalism and the government betrayal to the people. This makes the poet to compare the government to monarchical structure because to him; “…we made no pledge with monarchy/to ruling our palace instead of governed” meaning the government has no clear mandate of the people.

Without prejudice, Kogites will be in no distance time holding an election to determine who held the affairs of their state in 2016. Hence this is the reason why the poem is titled “KOGI 2016: THE UNSEEN POEM”. This has thus draws the curtain to the experience in the state which the people are subjected to because of their inability to honoured the leadership of their choice resulting to political unrest and violence cooked by the various political parties in the state to claim victory in an election by all necessary means without minding “ whose ox is gore”. This poem sought for new directions in appealing to both the political leaders and the people in general to make the election violence free by making the will of the people to prevail.



In the first stanza, the poem begins with rhetorical question on the effect of bad government by putting thus; “what emerges from a sea drown?” Asking what is the result of bad government and proceed to say; “even when the Captain claims to sail” which means even when there claim a leader but with no achievement, then the poem in the last line of the first stanza posited that the government has failed on its primary objective. Putting it in poetic form, “so shall forever wreck on the sea”.


The second stanza depicts the feeling of the people toward their government and thus called for collective sympathy as they put; “we had no snail to crawl in the wind/nor had we summer in the harmattan”. Declaring the have benefited nothing from their government nor had they anyone in the realm of the affairs of the state from whom they can have their share of the national cake and yet calling them to vote in the forthcoming election in the state in no distance time as the poem emphatically puts; “yet another season shall not long be born” in their presence who are the victims of the government and its administration. As such put forward in the poem that another election is called for “in the virgin eyes of no happy slaves”


Stanza three, first line declares that they have given no mandate to the government or they were not accorded full responsibility in making the choice. In their words; “had we little thought in the sojourned” and yet the tenure is coming to an end as it runs out “…faster than the lonely moon”. Here the hope of the people is awaken to making their choice this time in believing “…upon the machine that hits the Nation” literary means having confidence in the Electoral Commission owe to the introduction of Card Reader which helps in the changing of government at the top and so they have decided to “…voice through the golden mouth” which is in an election.


The fourth stanza describes the attitude of the Poet toward his state as he has great dislike in the manner of the state’s reaction to his people. Hence the Poet being patriotic says “my state and I; the foes in a race/my state and my people; the unseen poem/feeling between us; much heavier than casket” and yet the government is inflicting hardship upon them. This is evident from the last line of this stanza as the Poet put; “yet the ants bite us in our corps awaiting funeral”


The fifth stanza pictures the hardship suffered by the people in full and so they have no reason to be happy with their government because of “…the stings deposited…” in their “veins” and yet the leaders who put them in this sorrowful condition have started posting posters to running their affairs once more as evident from the poem, “yet all the bees have risen again/to finish their uncompleted mission”.


This stanza traces the reasons for failure of the state to progressing to self-wills, corruption and tribalism which circled the state as the ideology of the “…pregnant fruits” who are the political god fathers in the state and “the burden that fell upon…” them.


The stanza seven is all about the people’s hope to come out in no distance time to decide who governs them base on the real principles of democracy as in free and fair election.


The stanza eight recalls again the unhappy state of mind of the people as they declared; “for long had we cried; tears dried” because they have “…made no pledge with monarchy” to ruling their “palace” according to few interests instead of governing according to the best interests of the majority.


The last stanza declares that time has come for them to make their choice of leadership noting that in Kogi 2016, there is only one political party that is qualified to win the election; it is neither APC nor PDP but the sovereignty of the people as put in the poem thus; “Black or Red; all is vanity upon vanity/simply needed is the crow of the cock” which will inevitably lead to the progress of the state as the Poet puts; “to wake my dying state for progress”.


BY: Abdullahi Suleiman Otiwe (08064188686/asokogi@gmail.com)

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