I am the man living in the city of ills.

I am the husband whose minimum wage can’t pay the bills.

I’m the victim who’s weary of looking to the hills.

I’m the harper who has forgotten his tune.

I’m the human flesh mangled on your bloody roads,

I’m the body blown to pieces in your northern woes.

I’m the homeless orphan abandoned to the streets.

I’m the child who eats from dustbins and sleeps on concrete.

I’m the innocent convict sentenced without a trial,

I’m your courts where justice is bought.

I’m your congested cities; I’m your deserted villages.

I’m the jobless graduate, I’m the struggling illiterate.

I am not a statistic, I am not a figure.

I’m more than percentages,

more than a conversation for your leisure.

I am not a mass of heads in your headcount

No, I’m more than the result of your census.

Can you see the tears? Can you see the struggle?

Can you see these hollow eyes dimmed by darkness?

Can you see the wrinkles in this young face?

Can you see the scars that may never be erased?

I am the Nigeria we’ve created.

I am the corruption, I am the cheat.

You are the groan, you are the grief.

I am the politician who slew his conscience for power

I’m the merchant who exchanged his soul for money.

I’m the banker who lives off rewriting the books.

I’m the partisan who sold his vote for a plate of pottage.

I am the victim who lives off victimising other victims.

I’m the slut, I’m the fraud.

I’m the cheat, I’m the coward.

But I take my destiny in my hands; I choose a different path-

Like a thief forgiven, like a man that’s changed,

I rise above the odds; I choose the right amidst the wrong.

I am her sinner, and I am her sun.

You are her victory, and you are her loss.

So we arise from the ashes, we rise from the grave.

We stop the bulk-passing, we take the blame.

It’s more than mere words, more than a debate;

Happy Independence.



I am a water engineer, interpersonal skills coach & teen counselor. I write on hope and rising above shame, rejection, fear & failure. Follow on IG @dipoadebayo

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