kumeku, you are my father! If not for you, I would have been a miscreant
Anu a na-agba egbe, o na-eri nri. How do I translate your substance?
Unbothered by exhortations of the timid; unencumbered by scheming of the compromised. You were there when things were revealed to me. You inspired me, you encouraged me, you force-fed me the tales of days gone by. When I wavered, you egged me on. When I tired, you replenished my spirit. When I stumbled, you aided my fortitude.

Ekumeku, you are my father! If not for you, I would have been a wasteland.
Nnukwu mmanwu anaghi efe onwu. How can I explain your essence?
The children of yesterday's abomination have become the soldiers of today's misfortune. Steeped in the mania of vituperative melancholy; assaulting the bastions of decorous sobriety. You it was, who beseeched me when in doubt, who berated me when I cowered. Reinforcing the self-evident truths that my myopia had failed to register, you guaranteed my allegiance to the struggle for a revamped reality, amidst the wretchedness of my society.

Ekumeku, you are my father! If not for you, I would have been a bastard.
Nnukwu mmiri gburu Enyi. How should I transcribe your greatness? 
The upheaval that has suffused our society finds expression in the misery that maligns our honor. The dregs and scum reign as plenipotentiaries, while vampires and impostors traduce our efforts. You it was, who buoyed my optimism, even when I was faced by the threats of harm to body and soul. When I was thirsty, you sated me. When I was weary, you relieved me.

Ekumeku, you are my father! If not for you, I would have been a leper.
Ikenga gburu Efi. How can I articulate your inspiration?
The nuisance, who was made an outcast, has become the truth that guides our convictions. The "demons" of our forefathers' quintessence, were cast out and consigned to obscurity. The civilization that Dr. Bekee brought to our foremothers has so far corrupted our existence. Rattled and caged in the amnesia of history, we will reclaim our history as the gospel of our redemption.

Ekumeku, you are my father! If not for you, I would have been a vagabond.
Alusi na-agba mgba. How do I recount your magnetism?
When the shrine was desecrated, when the elders were put in chains, when fully-bearded grown men were shaved bare and canned in public while naked; you it was who revived us. When the proselytizers came a' wooing, when their brethren came a' warring, when the sandal kicked our ancestors in the buttocks, when the jackboot stepped on our necks not too long after. You it was who appeased the oracle, who pacified their wrath.

Ekumeku, you are my father! If not for you, I would have been an orphan.
Ichie na-akpu uzu. How should I interpret your vision?
When we were banished from the boundaries of enlightenment, when we had been despoiled by the wicked; you it was who healed our mutilations. When the children looked up and saw their father's nakedness. When the village priestess was raped by the village idiot, and when their "love-child" became the Warrant Chief. Alu! Tufia! You maintained my sanity, implored me to plan and map-out my strategy. You admonished me to wait till I was stronger, till I was in a position to exterminate this sacrilege.

Ekumeku, you are my father! If not for you, I would have been a quisling.
Ebubedike gburu Agu. O di ofele? How do I personify your struggle?
When pestilence bestrode the land like the proverbial colossus, when a psychological famine defiled the populace, when mental castration became the mantra of the new elite. When nouveau riche became an excuse for deflowering our norms and customs, when civilization and development became euphemisms for disemboweling our society, and when societal suicide became a culture to be embraced. You dissuaded me from capitulating to inducements; you prevented me from crossing over to the aisle of mediocrities.

Ekumeku, you are my father! If not for you, I would have been an assassin.
Aka eji eje agha. How do I reclaim your life-force? 
When I was courted by the emissaries of the new reality, when I was threatened with the fate that befell martyrs before me, and when debauchery had become the accepted etiquette. You reinforced my better judgments, you prevailed on me to defer to informed reasoning, and you compelled me to beware of injustice.

Ekumeku, you are my father! If not for you, I would have been a victim.
Anyanwu na-enye ndu isi. How do I deliver your sermon?
When men of timber and caliber were replaced by the minions of rascals and urchins, when night and day were preempted by rampant trials and stagnating tribulation throughout the land. When salivating hordes of mystical parasites had foreshadowed our attempts at restitution, when rascality was given free reign and impunity was given a seat at the head of the table. When incestuous transgressions were waved off as juvenile peccadilloes, when rationality was substituted by accelerated repugnancy, and when the hand of the grim reaper reached into every hamlet and every home. You it was who made me indomitable, you it was who strengthened my steel. You it is who toughened my grit. On those forgotten nights and on those lonely back roads, chased away from the avenues of expediency, you it was who cushioned my feet.

Ekumeku, you are my father! If not for you, I would have been an imbecile
Onu ora anaghi atu onwu egwu. How do I persevere in dispersing your message?
When the hounds of hell were let loose into our society; upturning, violating, vandalizing, and deracinating everything in sight, you it was who calmed our apprehensions. When my spirits and intellect were retreating under duress, maligned and vilified by the ascendance of criminality in our society; you it was who refreshed my intelligence. And now that the final countdown has begun apace, now that the charades of history have been revealed for what they are; now is the time for me to make my stand. With my back against the wall, and with the vicissitudes of fortune staring me in the face, I will stick to my charge and be slain (if need be) defending the rights of decency.

Ekumeku, you are my father! Ekumeku, you are my father! Ekumeku, you are my father! How many times have I called you? Go back to the beginning and count; 13 times over shall you smite their offspring, 13 times over shall you expunge their existence, 13 times over shall you strike them with Amadioha's thunder and lightning. 13 times over shall you do what? What did you say? Come again… 13 years shall we wait for redemption? Mba nu! No! Eziokwu bu ndu! But what can I do? If you say so, I will comply.

Ekumeku, you are my father! If not for you, I would be lost; if not for you, I would be mad; if not for you, I would be a living dead. That which the Haitians call a zombie, living yet dead, dead yet living, in a suspended state of arrested development. Mentally retarded and psychologically emaciated, intellectually maligned and philosophically stunted, morally challenged and emotionally malnourished. This, Ekumeku, this farce I cannot stand. You are my right hand and you are my left fist, with you at my side and behind me and within my soul, I will press on till I slay evil's perpetuators and ignominy's perpetrators. The man can't die in the face of tyranny. For it is ordained, he has a date with destiny. Ekumeku, you are my father!

By Chukwuemeka Uche Onuora

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