‘He was there’ – Stirring Poetic Tribute To Oronto Douglas, By Famous...

‘He was there’ – Stirring Poetic Tribute To Oronto Douglas, By Famous Obebi Famous

By Seyi Peters | Staff Reporter on April 23, 2015
1
Oronto Douglas
Oronto Douglas

by Famous Obebi Famous

He is here…

He was there…
When the ‘kuntimoic blast of blunderbuss
…echoed through Chikoko…
…and sent shrapnels of torn flesh and deep craters of ecological resentment
…across the vast slushy menagerie of mangrove habitat…
The molten magma of sporadic outbursts had morphed into
…a frightening crude volcano that had erupted
…and purified the waning conscience of the land…..

He was there…
…firing from all viviparous cylinders
of reactionary ideas…
…from his fathomless vortex of cerebral arsenal
When the behemoth vultures feasted on the commonwealth
…and poisoned the green air with acidulated freshness

He was there too…
When the Emperor had no clothes…
…furious as a woman scorned…
…fiery as a wild harmattan fire…
…remonstrating-
…protesting-
…litigating-
…strategizing-
…advocating-
Environmental Justice, Human rights and fiscal federalism

…He was there…
…in 1995…
When the quixotic and farcical Kangaroo Tribunal
…hurriedly sat under the dark bespectacled silhouette
…and hammered out the historic…
Autic miscarriage of Justice…
At that time…
he defended the defenseless Hero
…of renown
…Oh Saro…
Now Oronto also is a Hero
Who will defend him…?
From the carcinogenic air of wasted ecology and poisoned ecosystem…
Of the darkening plains…
Tell Me…
Will Osuoka?
Will Tuodolo?
Will Azibaola?
Will Asari?
Will Tompolo?
Will MEND mend the fences of the smoldering walls?
…like Nehemiah..
Or ERA eradicate this mountain of ECOSOC injustice?
Maybe it’s you…yes you who is here
Who will be the next Boro…?
…the true Hero
That will confront Emperor Nero?

Like Boro
Like Saro
Like Oronto
…the three gargantuan Musketeers…
They were all in Kaiama
… in December 1998
When he mobilized thousands of Ijaw youths
to protest the incarceration of their dreams…
…and the audacious rape of their motherland
by a rapacious band of buccaneers…

He was there…
…during the famous Kaiama Declaration
Like a colossus, he traversed the entire globe
…fighting for social and environmental justice.
…in Okerenkoko…he was there…
…in Arogbo…
…in Obolo…
In Bundu Waterfront where it all started…
…in Yenagoa…
…in Patani…
At the United Nations…

In fact, O.N.D was a kind of Boro…
The brother of a Hero…
The Father of the Ijaw Youth Council…

Do you remember his hey-day?
…when…defiant and dogged as ever…
…in Harcourt’s Courtyard…
…in valhallic valour…
…he yanked the microphone from the firm oppressive grip of the guttural General…
…refusing to accept the xenophobic decimation of Odi…
And the wanton despoliation of the human ecosystem…
…even Odin…
… the one eyed king was able to see
That this odious genocidal mantra of democratic domination…
Was like the hollowed resonance of the ululations of the owl
…in the dark foreboding night…
…because as they say in Marxian dialectics…
… domination whether democratic or demagogic…
Imposes an ideology that presents domination as justifiable and necessary
…and the non-acceptance of it…
…a crime…
…that’s why they always cry wolf saying
… placard-carrying peaceful protesters
…and Civil Rights Activists and social crusaders…
Agitating for their inalienable rights
… are criminals and militants…
While the real looters of the treasury
…sit in judgment and watch in patent amusement
…as the hapless, helpless and hopeless
… Are silenced
By the guillotine or the hangman’s noose.

Oh! …Oronto…
The legal luminary…
Environmental generallisimo…
Illustrious son of the Chikoko soil…
You were there from the beginning…
…when there was no blood-curdling and bile spitting militant
Spewing volley of bullets at the kleptomaniacs…
Those who pilfer, plunder and pillage the commonwealth
From our backyards…our own oil…
… and apply the proceeds as tools for our annihilation
Like Iran has vowed to wipe out Israel from the face of the earth
Indeed, we are the Israelites of Nigeria
Someday we shall be free as Zambia was
But where is the Moses?
Oronto was a kind of Moses.

He was there…in 2010
..When by a masterstroke of destiny…
Without firing a shell…
Luck smiled on Goodluck…
And for the first time in the history of the unholy alliance…
A President emerged from the southern minorities…
Like a smothered fish in the sea
Popped up for a breath of fresh air…
…and the words: Ogbia, Ijaw and Otuoke soon etched themselves into the political lexicon.
Everybody streamed out and danced in the streets
…Even the flora and fauna to the tintinnabulations…
People quaffed outrageous bottles of beer in deafening bars…
In petrified unbelief and loud frolicking exclamations!
Given his impressive pedigree and impeccable intimidating credentials
It was not surprising that Oronto was invited to oversee the strategy think-tank in Aso Villa…
..and he delivered Goodluck in 2011…the first real test for him
Not so in 2015…
Four years is like a fleeting day
But our leaders never saw it that way
Prolonged battle with a terminal illness had kept him in bed for the better part of the electioneering…
Perhaps if Oronto had not been ill
Knowing him for his sagacity and strategy skills
President Jonathan would have won the 2015 elections…
…and perhaps too…on the flip side of the coin…
If Jonathan had won the 2015 elections
Oronto could still have been alive
Today…

But now…
The celebration and revelry is over
…and with it the allure and magisterial aura of power
Jonathan has lost one big thing…
And the Niger Delta has lost both the Presidency and Oronto
But will you…yes you who is here
Lose the fight for self-determination and resource control?

He is here now…
…though cut down in his prime…
At forty nine…
Oronto, like Saro and Boro
Has impacted lives…
Restored lost hopes…
Inspired dreams…
Silenced fear…
And finally conquered death!
By the cornucopia of his achievements.
…He lives on…
In the hearts and minds of true lovers of justice….
Oronto’s succumb to the clutches of death is a pyrrhic victory
For the oppressor…
‘cause like the Phoenix that never dies
And like the plantain stump that produces several progenies when cut down…
Many Orontos have been born
To fatally and eternally crush the gorgon head of this serpentine Monster.
…Adieu Oronto Natein Douglas!

Famous Obebi Famous is a The Trent reader. He can be contacted via email at [email protected]

1 COMMENT

  1. Your official writing complex, now I see the root of your ‘inspire’…..your true nest – the labyrinth of balladry….honeyed letters perfumed by, oh! Not Shakespeare, but Achebe, Ken, Otobotekere…..with callings crude as strong-drink….bellowing the mind with immeasurable expression boundless in their meaning.
    Thank you for that Eulogy. O.N.D must be smiling down at you….howbeit with prideful regret.

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