Performance Poetry Title: Onarebu

Poet: Akeem Lasisi

Duration: 5:28 minutes

Reviewer: Olutayo Irantiola

The creative landscape in Nigeria is now getting exciting as the interlocution between the town and gown has improved tremendously. The opening of this video makes us understand the Akeem Lasisi is responding to a poem titled “Blues for the new Senate King” written by Professor Niyi Osundare. Contrarily, this response can also be taken as a continuum of “Udeme” the laudable constituency project.

The title of the poem got me off my feet because I felt people like Akeem Lasisi, who are well versed in Yoruba language could be sharing a folklore with my generation that does not really have a deep understanding of the language. A view of the video gives an analysis of the hard work of those in the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly and other political offices.

The nation cum the national treasury were described in the Nasional Cake Restorant. The word “restorant” can be further analyzed as the “place of rest for the senator” and the “rant of the electorates from a distance”. Furthermore, there are various types of “rants” as there are praise singers and the grumblers who have the right to ‘jumbo say’ as it’s a price democracy must pay.

The refrain of the poem speaks a volume about the atrocities committed by the elected and selected political office holders such as Honorable, Senator, Minister amongst other political office holders-

“Onarebu rora bu okele,

Iyan n tan lo lawo,

Onarebu rora bu okele”

As it happens in many hometowns were these politicians hail from, they have palatial mansions while their constituents live in mud houses. Thereafter, the honorable was feasting while the electorates around him are famished; the middle class had something to grub but it is not sufficient to fill them up. The Onarebu was exhibiting his abundance to these hungry people with the claim that he worked assiduously for his wealth from the chambers.

The Onarebu claimed that the assembly job is daunting and that a well-fed body that can be actively involved in all these activities. According to poet, there is a need to build their energies for the pilling bills that needs assent; the shock of the long hours of plenary sessions; the complexity of the game in which they engage the Presidency; budgetary scrutiny and the riotous days in which they have to scale the assembly fence and the imminent boxing days when fathers have been seen to be exchanging blows on national television.

Ironically, the greed of political officers is seen in the worthless donation to electorates. The constituency projects of these people do not impact positively on the lives of their people and they use it as an avenue to further stack wealth for themselves. This leads to the buildup of anger in the electorates and they become violent towards them. Ultimately, it is a case of one rich man amongst six paupers, he is also poor after being attacked.

This is another quality performance poem from the Yoruba cum English poet of repute. May the songbird live for ages to correct the societal anomalies by pricking the heart of extremely rich few who are storing up wealth for generations yet unborn. We hope that the capitalist mindset in us will give way for an egalitarian society.

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