Francis Okechukwu Ohanyido is a public health physician and philosopher-poet based in Kaduna state Nigeria. He started writing very early in life with most of his early influences coming from the works of wordsmiths like Achebe, Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Chinweizu, and Ekwensi to mention just a few. He is the author of two collections; The Clankind Anthology and The Red Masquerade. He is also a prolific fine artist and designer. In th early nineties in the spirit of the Neo-African Renaissance, he started a Pan-African intellectual wave called Afrisecal Movement (sometimes called Afrisecaism). He has won many awards in the different genres of literature like the 1996 St. Pirans Poet Laureate. He is married to another young and equally versatile poet, Paula Iriowen Ohanyido, who is an Ecologist and lecturer in Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna. They are blessed with two children. He is an active member of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Kaduna alongside Kaduna Writers League.

Poems by Francis Okechukwu Ohanyido

Jumbo Nights

Francis Okechukwu OhanyidoIf I were a poor Gardner
And you the only rose abloom in my garden
I will not give out a whiff of your scent
Not even to the mighty persuasive breeze...

There is not an act, a word, or look of yours
That my soul has ever forgotten;
For it has beheld the curios rosy gem
Sought by kings and warriors alike
In a willowy Bini girl
Perhaps, on her hand lies the cradle
For the jewel of my heart.

If I were a dotting lover
And you the only object of my heart’s desire,
I will not choke you with emotions
But I will consume you with the nectar of love.
Its Jumbo Nights,
Like something Heaven had sung about.
O I feel consumed in a sweet way!
Its Jumbo Nights, what else?

I, Master Of Solitude

Once upon at time,
I was the Master of Solitude.
Once upon a time, in my prime
I discovered your eyes
That thawed the age-long Ice
Deeply embedded in my Heart, letting my fears
To take flight
-With tears,
As the Hall of my self-imposed altitude
Came down to mother earth’s light
And crumbled.
Thus opening a new horizon of reality
That forever broadened into infinity
And I was humbled
Into a new attitude.

Tell Me

Tell me
When it all shattered
The dream and visions
Of a greater Nigeria.
In the wee hours of the morn
I mourn the fall
Of our strife-torn
Project Nigeria.
In dreams at nights, I hear them call
Hollow discordant voices
Babbling in different tongues
-Some in anger
-Some in hunger.
A nation with few choices.
Dirty greens
And tattered whites
Littered my dreams.
The weeping faces
Of Awo, Zik, and Aminu Kano
Haunted my waking hours.

My reality ...is another nightmare;
Tell me what I don’t know.

From Kirikiri’s Grip; Freedom

From a life as Kirikiri’s GUEST; oh! Who would not fly?
From breakfast of sand half- cooked beans; oh! Who would not cry?
For one day taste of freedom, oh! Who would not die?
For one day of fresh Lagoon air, who would not sigh?

Our nation is on her knees crying
We must go to her aid or keep trying
She is bleeding from wounds
Inflicted by passage of tyrant boots
We must desert her not, we must not flee.

What are we but mortals doomed to die?
So then lets head for death’s corridors
For therein our hopes and solace lie.

The dead need fear no tyrants, nor do graves have chain
Even when earthly freedom is not ours in pain,
Who shall take that reserved for heroes? Who brings liberty’s train?
Definitely not my soldier- brother Cain!
Yes its time to do battle, my brave hearts
Come quickly to combat, the tyrant’s chalice is full
It is our call to build freedom’s gate
And let not fear of inaction be our fate.

Broke ‘N Joy

Had I the heart
To face the truth
Often and often told
That the root
Of all that is evil
Is neither money nor the Devil?
But the unchecked love of MONEY,
And the daughters of Eve
Who give much joy?
A Joy so temporary and phony
And the looted money
Forever ringed with vultures!

Finally I can heave
A deep sigh of relief
For having divorced from
The fast life cultures
That stemmed from
A wrong belief
About my TRUE needs in this Life.
For now, I have realized peace
And not without my sleep!

Be Alert!!

O House of the Niger
Come let us talk
For word was secretly brought to me
Amid disquieting dreams in the night
My ears caught a whisper of it: BE ALERT!

What did it mean?
I prayed, meditated and then understood.

We must learn to be alert
To the times in which we live
Beware the company of thieves
Who suffer the ‘Nigerian Syndrome’?
Where everyone loves a bribe
Where promotion is in tribe
Where money is truth and conscience his boot
Where gangsterism and cultism reign supreme
Where success is eating while others starve.

Yes we must be alert always
And give deep thoughts
For those who draw iniquity
With cords of falsehood
Who roam our neighborhood
Doing evangelical ‘419’
Who have replaced light with darkness
For the day of the Lord will come like a thief
In the night, LETS BE ALERT!


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