Blues for the Second Fiddle -By Niyi Osundare

Filed under: Political Issues |
Niyi Osundare

Niyi Osundare

 

He is “little better than a receiver of stolen goods*”

Part One

I have a name that ends in ‘madu’
I’m a shameless player of the second fiddle
Yes, I have a name that ends in ‘Madu’
I’m a shameless player of the second fiddle
When the Senate King usurps the boat
He grabs the power and I the paddle

I row and row and row and row
With all the muscle in my menial arms
Yes, I row and row and row
With all the muscle in my menial arms
A boat full-loaded with scam and scum
And the rest of a clique that hurts and harms

The King holds the sword and I the sheath
He calls the shot and I come up short
Say, the King holds the sword and I the sheath
He calls the shot and I come up short
He slays valiant Honour with a practiced stroke
With me in tow, extolling the sport

The King tells his lies and I nod and nod
His noodle-nodder and sidekick supreme
Say, the King tells his lies and I nod and nod
His noodle-nodder and sidekick supreme
I see no evil and hear none at all
When he pushes his treachery to the wild extreme

The King’s own slave is the king of slaves**
Better a second fiddle than no fiddle at all
Hear? The King’s own slave is the king of slaves
Better a second fiddle than no fiddle at all
Bend and bow your way to the wanted prize
Adjust your height if your boss is tall

Part Two

Deputy several seasons, a stark, subordinate star
The second fiddle spawns my loudest music
Say, Deputy countless seasons, a stark, subordinate star
The second fiddle fathers my priciest music
Crooked calculation undid my vaunted height
I crawl to my quarry under the lowest bar

If I did it for Mark for six sluggish seasons
Why not for John and Andrew, Abu and Abba?
Asking, if I did it for Mark for six sluggish seasons
Why not for John and Andrew, Abu and Abba?
Who bows bags in this land of crawling men
Where the best wait and wither in gateless prisons

Loyal like a leech, addicted to broken vows
I grabbed my spoils from a stolen mandate
Say, loyal like a leech, addicted to broken vows
I grabbed my spoils from a stolen mandate
In this land of moral cripples
Truth and Honour have fled the national estate

Deputy, venal Deputy, and second-best for evermore,
I’m everything that’s vice in my equally afflicted boss
Deputy, venal Deputy, and second-best for evermore,
I’m everything that is vice in my equally afflicted boss
Whatever gain accrues from our backroom deals
Totals up, always, to the nation’s loss

Some call me cad, some call me crook
Some say I am a shameless eater of left-over
See, some call me cad, some call me crook
Some say I am a shameless eater of left-over
Better a second fiddler than no fiddler at all
My sense of shame lives in a pot with a leaden cover

*A poignant remark by Akin Oyebode in a recent internet exchange 

One of Africa’s foremost poets, Niyi Osundare is a Distinguished Professor of the University of New Orleans (UNO), where he teaches in the English Department.

 

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