A Song For Greatness Gone: In Memory of Christopher Okigbo: Chiedozie Ude

By Chiedozie Ude (May 21, 2020)

Dedicated to Oyinma, a lover of everything African.

Goodbye to a great genius
Who has crossed heaven’s gate,
A sufferer of the warrior’s fate
A destiny that is heinous.

Why did you have to fight that war?
Did not Ojukwu have other men
To prevent you from the lion’s den?
Or were you born to war adore?

Biafra cries as it mumbles your name,
Lamenting the great works lost
In your battle lust
The Biafran dream also burned with your flame.

For your daring, we have a tomb,
For bravery, a martyrdom,
The price you paid for freedom —
A facade of doom.

You sought the paths of thunder
In return you found man-made brontide,
Weapons which the Soviets supplied,
Now, you get to rest under.

Mother Idoto mourns her child,
Her watery presence is reinforced by her tears,
Grievous sounds enough to raise one’s hairs
For a prodigal who has forever been exiled.

Who now shall tell of your legend,
Beautiful river goddess?
Shall we also witness
The coming of your end?

On Nsukka’s hell grounds
There fell Okigbo Christopher,
Defending his ideals on anarchy’s altar,
A ram for the gods of the battlegrounds.

Wild you were in your creativity,
Unrestricted by colonial subjugation,
You rose to international acclamation,
A man with artistic proclivity.

Brief was your stay,
No sooner here than the other side,
An eternity where you must now abide,
Leaving only a piece of your intellect for display.

Your star departed when it was brightest,
Twinkling into the great beyond
Never again to respond
To the cock’s siren, even at its highest.

Dee Christopher, martyred for the Biafran cause
An ideal you dearly held
One which was mercilessly shelled
By the enemy’s airforce.

This hour stand I enchanted,
Overwhelmed in the labyrinths of your astuteness,
Which, by far, surpasses the ocean’s saltiness,
Wisdom which Mother Idoto granted.

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