“A Song of Hope” and “A Wake-Up Call”

Art thou full of wealth and life,

Smiled upon by fortune fair?

Does thy strength overcome all strife?

Is thy learning great and rare?

Thou art not the first to gain

Health or wealth or power or brain.

Help thy neighbor rise today;

Thou art only dust and clay.

Culled from “A Song of Hope” by Dennis Chukude Osadebey (June 29, 1911 – December 26, 1994).

Lawyer, politician, poet and first Premier of Mid-Western Nigeria

I felt compelled to share this timeless poem, after reading Yemi Adamolekun’s delightful opinion piece in the Punch Newspaper, titled “A wake-up call for Nigeria’s elite”  The article and the poem convey the same message.

A few excerpts from the article are highlighted below.

Yemi, like many other Nigerians, is obviously very pained by the spate of avoidable deaths from Nigeria’s plane crashes and road accidents, by a health care system that is so crippled and ineffective in handling the most basic of emergencies, and by politicians who travel outside the country’s shores to seek medical attention while the local system rots from criminal neglect.

She went on to highlight several aspects of a completely deranged value system:

Sons and daughters; fathers and mothers; cousins, nieces and nephews; friends, peers and colleagues – die daily because we refuse to get involved in the system that shapes our very existence. Instead, we are concerned about our ability to give birth to our children abroad; get them into the best schools outside the country and make obscene amounts of money from the same inefficient system to sustain this lifestyle.

Wealth is no guarantee of immunity from the devastating consequences of a dysfunctional system:

If you have an accident on the Abuja – Lokoja Road, the Third Mainland Bridge or the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway today, if there’s no ambulance with the necessary equipment to stabilize you and get you to a functional hospital, you WILL die. That you could have afforded an air ambulance to get you to the best doctor in Germany, the US or anywhere in the world becomes irrelevant.

An example:

Mrs. Goodluck Jonathan’s mum was in Germany earlier this year for a medical checkup. She died a few months later in a car accident on a bad road in Port Harcourt. Ironically, the same road that killed her was then repaired for her funeral.

She concluded with a compelling call to action:

This is not about government, this is about us; each and every one of us. It’s about the loss of our humanity and the paralysis that has overcome us that prevent us from getting involved.

These are just a few excerpts.  I encourage everyone to read the full article, which can be found here.