Saturday, June 27, 2009

When my last candle burns out...

I was checking though Salisu Suleiman's ( blog when I found the following interesting entry - please read, think, and comment.

When my last candle burns out, I have no more fear. I have learnt to see in the dark and think through the noxious fumes. The growling of diesel generators and the shrill of grinding machines do not distract me anymore. I was born in this cacophony and will die with it. They are a part of me.

When my last candle dies out, I see with a new clarity. I see the one who promised to declare an emergency. Two years on, I see no declaration, only an emergency in life, and all around. I see those who said $16 billion was spent to cook a pot of stew that nobody could eat. I see them putting down the pot to see what went into it. After two years of ‘maybe’ and ‘maybe not’, I see them return the pot back on the fire. And throw in another $4 billion dollars.

When my last candle burns to the ground, I, alone in the dark can see; my homes are hungry, my industries are hungry, my offices are hungry, but no one knows when the stew will be ready. Through the choking fumes of generator smoke, I see the one who staged a play on the public stage and promised to catch the wasteful cooks who burnt $16 billion in a pot of stew. I see him going hither and thither, lapping in the public adulation and our entreaty that at last, the beautiful ones may have been born.

When my last candle flickers out, I see in the dark, a different soul. A soul that saw N5.2 billion meant for rustic souls. He lost his mind, bared his dirty soles and leapt into the hot pot. Last time I heard, he was cooling off at rural, rustic Kuje. Just a bit of poetic justice. I have learnt not to salivate at the scent that once promised so many dishes, praying even as I know that redemption is only in my grave. The pot of stew I see is spiced and spliced by the golden curry of diesel merchants.

When my last candle withers and dies, through the mind-numbing, metallic monotony, I make out the tragedy of the family just above my flat. Six of them there were. The father just bought a generator for the first time, and the family celebrated their elevation from the pits of daily darkness. It was their last celebration, because when the morning came, we the neighbors found six frozen stiffs, choked to death on the fumes of their new generator. It was not the kind of elevation they dreamt of.

When my last candle runs out of life, I see another family that also ran out of life - roasted to death when a power surge went through their electrical appliances. They all came out soles first - not a single soul left that home. And there was no explanation, no compensation, just commiseration. One more dead family. I see the artisan who can find no work, and when he does, can get no power to do it. I see the repairman, sallow with sorrow. Every appliance in the neighborhood is broken by power surge, but he cannot get a little power to fix them.

When my last candle can give no more light, I see with a new sprite the brave entrepreneur whose courage was crushed by the burden of diesel; I see the banks that spend N20 billion on generators; I see the telecoms firm that powers all its masts with generators; I see the millions of homes dying slowly from the noise, the fumes and the cost of generating power to light a few bulbs and to get a bottle of cold drinking water; I see the offices where no work gets done and the tall building no one can get into; I see the planes landing in the dark and respiratory machines asphyxiating the sick.

When my last candle sputters and dies, I await the release of sleep, I think of my young nephew whose first word in this world is not ‘baba’ or ‘mama’, but ‘nepa’ and the next word one ‘genrator’. He does not know what it means to wake up to the sounds of birds singing in the mornings, or to listen to the simple silence that whispers from nature. His is a generation that is bred on the noise of generators, grows with the fumes of diesel and studies with the flares of a million candles. Without the drones of generators, he is restless; without the fumes of fossils, breathless; without the burden of darkness, clueless.

When my last candle chills out and the stifling room heats up, I have no more worries. I have learnt to sleep through the heat and through the noise that seems to spring from just outside my window; mean medallion for many midnights murdered. I sleep through it all. I dream of my dream that got stolen; I dream of my heart that got broken, I speak the words that never got spoken; I lament the ideas that never got proven, and curse the crooks who kept me craven. I see everything ever so clearly in the dark.

When my last candle fizzles out, I cringe inside my heart with the burden of pain when I picture the merchants of gloom laughing to the banks with burden of gain. I cringe at the waste, at the cruelty, at the shallowness of spirit that would keep an entire nation in the dark, just so that a few more unneeded millions can stroll into the bank. I see them as they wallow in deceit and false claim, hearing nothing, seeing nothing, couched in the pretext that at the helm shall they remain, unmindful that from the depths of darkness, a new light will spring.

When my last candle burns out, I cry about the jokes on me, about how in the scriptures, when it was said, ‘let there be light’, there was light. But in my country, when it was said ‘let there be light’, $16 billion grew wings; I cry because the honest are wretched, and thieving knaves knighted; I cry because eyes are not for seeing and ears not for hearing. But through my tears in this dark, yet revealing place, I reach the ultimate truth: that they may walk with lightening and speak with thunder; they may drive my brothers into exile, in time shall we all surrender; together we will go yonder. When there is time to think and ponder, all the white lies and dark truths will be asunder.

When that very last candle dies, there will be nothing more left to conquer.

(Please note that the above entry is not mine, and it was copied from Salisu Suleiman).

KOYE-LADELE Mogbekeloluwa,


  1. Actually, check out the first paragraph. I will not die with it, because I will live to see Nigeria get better...

  2. koye nice work. keep it up.
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