Professor G.G Darah
In this season of literary festivals
In this gathering of great tribes
For the specimen of intellectual polyvalence
I can’t set out to sing of the priest of great value
Whose fame lurks in all nooks and crannies of the world
And soars to high heaven
Without calling on Uhanghwa and Aridon,
The gods of inspiration and memory to fortify me
Put a new song in my mouth
And perform effortlessly like ororile Ojaide of Agbon
Okabou Ojobolo of The Ozidi Saga or Homer of the Iliad and Odyssey.
Let the drums thunder with a joyous uproar
The king of the jungle roars.
The eagle has settled with the crows
His unrelentless wings protecting the chicks.
Let the heart of this weary soil rejoice in her son
In this homeland, Where
Holocoast flushed thousands In Jesse and we wept bitterly
More dirges When Ken saro wiwa and other compatriots were hanged because they showed the world,
In this land laden with sorrow,
filled with agony,
Ah, our streets wailed, Oja! Oja!!
It was like chill descended on the land, as Odi and Gbamaratu smelt the ordour of massacre.
In this land where our black gold has become a curse
Our water no longer cleanses us
Neither can we see our reflection on our once crystal clear waters
In this land where the lands no longer shows the fruit of the labour of the farmer,
yes, Esaba’s offspring fought and won many wars with his words.
Our warrior of words fought many bloody battles without spilling blood.
The giant of knowledge!!.
Oh yes, Niyi, gardener of words
Described Godini as “fertile minded don”
The mashed cassava that has become like fine garri!
Library of wisdom
That dug his head into the forbidden
And brought out sweet fruits.
After sipping from the chalice of ancient ones
Committed the lores of the land into our hands.
And so we now dance to the battle of songs of udje
As we regale our children’s children with the enchanting tale of Princess Oyeghe.
I recall with pride and sense of fulfilment the achievements of Ogberianrien!
Whose Afrocentric scholarship and commitment
to the celebral ordination transforms him
As an avatar at whose giant feet Marx, Engels, could have taken lessons, on socialism
His footmark remains on the sands of media
Where he fearlessly provoked the awakening of wounded masses.
As he sang the songs of freedom, of liberty aloud.
He dared and spoke truth to power,
He couldn’t be silent
Just as he wrote in anger against retrogressive forces
No not one could stop the intellectual militant.
Like a scavenger
He brought hope out of nothing.
Conquered the failures of Sisyphus.
For when the going got tough he got tougher.
So allow me engrave his name on my lips.
Should I say more?
Leave me I will say more!
The great teacher,
With immense productivity and robust intellect
The merchant and interpreter of metaphors and idioms with control and mastery of the English language
This accolade is for you.
The son of Abram who has become father to the sons of Abraham.
And has shared his wisdom to all.
The oracle of words
The great one who uses every ounce of his brain and brawn
to advance our just cause, the cause of the Niger Delta
This salutation is for you
Who donned the realm of scholarships and journalism
Kinged as an essayist, folklorist, cultural activist and all…
We celebrate you. Migwo!!
NOTE: Oghenetega Emoghene is a final year female student from the Delta State University in English/Literary studies department. A budding poet who recited the poem at the occasion of the 70th birthday ceremony which attracted overwhelming applause by the dignitaries. The occasion attracted the high and low in the society, including traditional rulers and was chaired by the former Delta State Governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori . ”AN Ode to G.G Darah, Ogberianrien’’ is an eulogy written in the simplest diction and laced with few imageries that are self-explanatory to honour an African great literary giant professor G.G Darah on his 70th birthday celebration which academic contributions and teachings have transformed many in the society. An Urhobo man from Delta State who has made a great stride of intellectual contribution towards the long years agitation for welfare from marginalization oppression by major ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. The Niger Delta region whose region produced the black gold and the proceed is being used to develop other regions at the expense of Niger Delta, the main region oil is found is left in agony and penury with diseases killing the inhabitants while those men, especially the youths are shot to death but by the Nigerian military at the slightest provocation of violent or peaceful protest.