Sa’ada Isa’s Award-Winning Poem, “Prayers for a Country of Reintroduced Shege”


Splendors of Dawn had just ended its poetry and short story competition the August-October 2023 edition, which drew in over twenty-five excellent entries. The primary focus of the subject, “BREAKING CHAINS, BUILDING TRUST: NIGERIA’S ACCOUNTABILITY REVOLUTION,” was on the country’s efforts to address corruption and accountability.

The expressiveness of Sa’ada Isa, the winner of the Splendors of Dawn Poetry and Short Story Competition. Isa’s winning composition, “Prayers for a Country of Reintroduced Shege,” strikes a deep chord as a moving examination of Nigeria’s hopes and dreams, capturing the spirit of hopelessness and the unwavering desire for change. Here’s the poem:

My mother, tired of carrying this country in her belly
hopes to birth it undead, but the doctors keep leaving hospitals
& a woman without equipment is offering to midwife her.
She found more at the last poll––the testaments to my country’s failure.
The truth is: that we are maimed by our thumbs––our actions & inactions.
2011, 2015, 2019: this is the third time her patriotism is failing her.
It’s another season of hope––the year is just starting & the ship
is sailing to where we do not know yet. My mother anchors this home
on prayers because her palms are too light to hold the next round of shege.
& I, who once trusted a blind man for my destination taps into her faith.

# No2corruption.
# Vote4accountability.


Verse 1: Symbolic Imagery of Nationhood: In the opening lines, Isa paints a vivid metaphor of a burdened mother, embodying Nigeria’s struggles and aspirations. The nation, depicted as a weary mother, seeks to birth a renewed Nigeria, yet faces obstacles akin to delivering a child without essential support or resources.

Verse 2: Chronicles of Disillusionment and Responsibility: Isa skillfully delves into the recurring disappointment of electoral processes, highlighting a sense of disillusionment and collective responsibility within the populace. The mention of multiple election years underscores a poignant narrative of failed expectations and the recognition of the citizenry’s role in shaping the nation’s fate.

Verse 3: Navigating Uncertainty with Hope and Faith: The poem navigates through the uncertainty of the future, symbolized by a ship sailing into uncharted waters. Despite the unknown, there’s an unwavering reliance on prayers and faith, signifying the resilience and determination of the Nigerian people in the face of impending challenges.

Verse 4: Embracing Collective Action and Change: Isa’s concluding lines encapsulate a call to action against corruption and a plea for accountability. The reference to trust in uncertain directions metaphorically underscores the need for a renewed sense of unity, faith, and responsible governance to pave the way for a transformed Nigeria.

Conclusion: Sa’ada Isa’s “Prayers for a Country of Reintroduced Shege” stands as a testament to his literary prowess, earning her the prestigious recognition as the winner of the Splendors of Dawn Poetry and Short Story Competition. Through poignant imagery, vivid metaphors, and a profound understanding of Nigeria’s societal fabric, Isa’s poem encapsulates the struggles, hopes, and collective aspirations of a nation yearning for positive change. It echoes the imperative need for unity, integrity, and accountability in steering Nigeria toward a future grounded in progress and resilience against corruption.


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