Song for Chukwukadibia, the ‘Desert Warrior’ at 85

(In honour of Dr. Newton Chukwukadibia Jibunoh)

ZIPPORAH‘s squirm was alarming to be Eucharist of a new year service
Disturbing for one who just took the flesh of Christ, Wafer at the alter
Noisy for one who should be communing with the Spirit at this glory moment
A heavy burdened believer
Now cast your worries of the Son’s shoulder
Let the midwife receive with joy in heart, A son, Chukwukadibia.

Come 20 years after the birth of Madiba
How could she have known?
That her Baby boy would have the Sahara under his feet;
A warrior from birth
When life came with Lemon at the right and whip blade on the left
Flayed the back of a boy, turned him to a work machine, a teen-age of bitterness
Bleeding eyes and open ears,
“Run, if you want to live”
Took to his hills
Eyes blazing like a tongue of fire, more fierce than the Pentecost
Enough to burn drought
Calm the sand dune
Quench the wild toothed Sahara
The quest for power.

“The poor nigga is gonna kill him self”
His desire will burn him
Imaginations will devour him
They said the flood in his mind will drown him in the desert
And loneliness will drive him insane
From the Red Sea in the West and the Mediterranean in the North
To the Atlantic Ocean in the west, he sojourned Algeria, Chad and Egypt, Libya, Mali and the rest
Behold the Desert Warrior
Who has tamed the wild tooth in Agadez
Raised walls of trees in Makoda
Let the farmers return to their homeland
The savior has come!

A collector and keeper
Of art, nature, lifestyle and memories
History preserved in Didi’ Museum
Little wonder Edith looks down with a smile
While we look around in awe and wonder
At the trees and creatures at Mandela’s garden

“The planet is bleeding with blood flowing everywhere”
But earth gave us a doctor to help stitch her up
“The seas and oceans are warming up and overflowing”
His voice steadily beckoning all to care for and save earth

Jibunoh planting at 85
Jibunoh at the planting of 85 trees to mark his 85th birthday, January 1, 2023 in Asaba, Delta state

A creator and a savior
Saving the universe, the trees, the animals and humans
Turning deserts to savanna’s
Now hyenas won’t have to go extinct
And squirrels, monkeys, apes and chimps will have more trees to swing around on
While we sing aloud with air that fills our lungs from these trees

Praises we’ll sing of his adventures
One, two, tree expeditions
Sojourning through lands and nations, tribes and cultures
Bringing home this monument
A statue of Madiba
Delta, Nigeria, Africa behold your son; Chikadibia

May the blessings of he who plants trees under whose shade they will never sit always abide with he who we celebrate today.


(Being a tribute poem, entitled DESERT WARRIOR, performed by Ugo Melvis at the reception organised for the 85th birthday anniversary of Dr Newton Chikadibia Jibunoh — founder FADE Africa, Nelson Mandela Garden Asaba, Didi Museum, Lagos — on January 1, 2023 at the Nelson Mandela Gardens Asaba, Delta State)

*(Ugo Melvis, a student of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra state, Igbariam Campus, is on internship with the Nelson Mandela Gardens, Asaba)

Ugo Melvis 1
*(Ugo Melvis during the performance)

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