Meat and fish, gizzard and croaker,
All rolled into one steaming hot and large bowl
of hunger as harsh as the sun in Sokoto,
And lack that grips us as firmly as a vice
as we sing in fuzzy voices: what shall we eat?
Rice and beans, egusi and fufu,
We hope for some but are fed full
of empty promises and malnourished dreams;
We ask only that we be allowed a chance to live,
But for that to happen: what shall we eat?
Bread and tea, yam and oil,
The stomach wants what it wants,
But breadwinners have won nothing
for the past eleven months and counting.
How we do we survive? What shall we eat?
Indomie and egg, macaroni and cheese,
The prices of foodstuff are higher than Everest.
Not that it helps but the biting reality of our crippled
economy has forced us to slim-fit our stomachs.
Yet the question still persists: what shall we eat?
Salad and baked beans, pizza and chicken sauce,
These are just fancy dreams, top-shelf ambitions.
It is not good to give the children’s food to the dogs,
But what happens when even the children have no food?
Again we ask: what shall we eat?
Garri and groundnut, plantain and pepper stew,
The cries of their fat belies in utter delight,
Suffused with all manner of delicacies while we roll
from one end of our mats to the other assailed by pangs of hunger.
To these ones we ask: what shall we eat?
Eat to live or live to eat,
It hardly makes a difference at this point, as we cringe at
the belching of our bellies filled with hot air,
And the sinking of our spirits in utter despair.
We keep asking with no answer in view: what shall we eat?
It is beyond reprehensible that the supposed
government of the people, by the people, for the people,
has succeeded so spectacularly in failing us again and again.
They enjoy three square meals a day; we can’t even get a square meal in three days.
In our own father’s land: what shall we eat?