By: Uzuazo Onwah (@ouzuazo)
Beasts of Mainland, Beasts of Island,
Beasts of creeks and Northern sands,
Let us mourn th’impending parting
Of the land on which we stand.
Mull the murmurs of the masses,
Bending backs in futile toil;
While the cabals clink their glasses,
Feeding fat from fertile soil.
Rabble-rousers raising rancor,
Cease thy cleaving bitter talk;
Tho’ our feet bear different markings
‘Tis the same path that we walk.
Brother, beat no drums of battle,
Sing no awful songs of war,
May our children tell their children
Tales of joy, not mournful lore.
Then on that day when our land quakes,
We’ll be standing hand in hand;
For we’ll reach across our fault lines
And defend this motherland.
Men of Mainland, Girls of Island
Boys of Creeks, and Eastern sons,
Let us sing for night is passing
Hope is rising with the sun!
The #BeastsofNigeria Anthem contest was announced via Twitter on June 3, 2017. Creative Nigerians were asked to compose an anthem with 5-6 stanzas that could be sung to the tune of Clementine, just like the Beasts of England one from George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Two entries were received from Uzuazo Onwah and Rabiat. The winning entry was decided by two award-winning authors: Tade Ipadeola and Kola Olatubosun and the winner announced on June 25, 2017.
This poem and the postscript were originally published in the first issue of Satire: Society’s Mirror, released in 2017 by The Arts and Civics Table Organisation (TACT), organisers of the Nigerian Satire Festival. You can download a copy of the magazine here.