Poem: ‘Ambassadors of poverty’ by Philip Umeh – A brutal truth about Nigeria’s contemporary condition

Ambassadors of poverty are
The corrupt masters of the economy
With their head abroad
And anus at home
Patriots in reverse order
Determined merchants of loots
Who boost the economy of their colonial order
To impoverish brothers and sisters at home

Ambassadors of poverty are
The saviours of the people
Office loafers in the guise of workers
Barons of incompetence
With kleptomaniac fingers
And suckling filaments
Position occupants and enemies of service
Locked in the corrosive war of corruption
With their people’s treasury
And killing their future

Ambassadors of poverty are
The dubious sit tight patriots
Frustrating the corporate will of their followers
The beleaguered, hungry and famished owners of the land
People priced out of their conscience and power
Incapacitated by destitution
Unable to withstand the temptation
Of crispy mints and food aroma

Ambassadors of poverty are
The political elites
In air conditioned chambers
And exotic cars
With tearful stories of rip offs
Tucked away from
Their impoverish constituencies
Lying prostrate
With death traps for roads
Mud for water
Candle for light
Underneath trees as schools
Rat for protein
Fasting as food
And alibi as governance

Ambassadors of poverty are
The rancorous elites In battle of supremacy
For the control of power
And their people’s wealth
Mowing down their own
With white man’s machine
Oiled by the prosperity of black patronage
Counterpoised by deprivations
As the corpses of their able-bodied men
Women and children lie un-mourn
In shallow graves
In their fallow farmlands
Long abandoned

Ambassadors of poverty are
The round trippers
The elusive importers
Of unseen goods and services
Sand inclusive
Who trip the economy down
By tricking form M
For harvest of dollars as import
When their people see neither money nor food

Ambassadors of poverty are
The able-bodied men on the street
Without motives, without vision, without mission
Men fit for the farm
But glued to the city
Hungry and desperate
Constituting willing tools in the hands
Of political overlords
For mission of vendetta
Against political foes
In their fight for power

Ambassadors of poverty are
Those whose actions and inactions
Reduce their people’s expectation to nothingness
Those whose antecedents
Have lost the spark to inspire
While their people lie in surrender
Having been defeated by poverty

Ambassadors of poverty are
All of us whose in-actions
Steal our collective joy
Because of what we should do
Which we never do
As we bargain away
Our conscience in the market place
Under the weight of poverty
To assuage our hunger
And our master’s will

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