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THE RESONANT VOICE OF THE DEAD IN ADETUNBI ADETOYE’S REMEMBER US


By I.B Bright

Brain box is the power house of vehicle. In connection with the Greek mythology, the spiritual, like the brain box of vehicle, are in control of the physical. This view is also in tandem with the Yoruba metaphysical belief of the vicious circle of life.

For the Yorubas, the world is a composite of the physical and the spiritual. They believe that the unborn, the living and the dead have correlation. The connecting agent between the living and the unborn is the dead according to this view. Without the dead, Yorubas believe that human existence will be in a chaos. Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s horse Man evidences this belief.

In essence, the dead are the nucleus of existence. Given this, the paper extends the definition of ‘the dead’ intellectually to encompass the living beings who have effectively worked for the progress of humanity and anchored their humanity service for the younger generation to continue paddling the canoe of the human affairs, due to the dialectical reality of life that continuously necessitates the scientific assertion that whatever that goes up must come down, just as ice cannot escape thawing. In other words, ‘the dead’, as a phrase, is expanded to include the living beings that are not as vibrant as they once were at the service of the humanity.

The lackadaisical, in simplicity, are the quack, carefree political and nonpolitical humans who are exploiters of the humans’ labour, and embezzlers of the masses’ wealth. Acting amnesia accidental on purpose is also common to them.

Germane to the ongoing, Adetunbi Adetoye’s Remember US details and portrays the sorrow of the dead. More elaborately, the work chronicles how lackadaisical humans are to the dead. In the work, the dead agitatedly demand to be commemorated for their excellent deeds in life. Their voice is resonant in the piece.

For example, Stanza one describes the toil of the dead during their energetic and honeymoon period in life. It reads thus:

We fought for our tribe

Our tribulation you cannot describe

No one saw us die

The lines find more relevance in the context of the military – that is, the act of soldiering for the homeland defense. However, by extension, we are all soldiers of life defending a certain legacy.

This then adds a substance to the poet’s thematic preoccupation. For example, as soldiers always do; lecturers and teachers (in their own way) are also defenders of the dignity of their homeland against dark ignorance and modern barbarism. They are saddled with the responsibility of nourishing the human souls with enlightenment and the positive views of the canonical world scholars.

With their effort dispensed to the service of the humanity, it is sad that the credit given to them barely commensurate their effort. Research evidences that the retired Nigeria’s civil servants are incessantly evinced disappointment by Government’s failure to pay their pension regularly.

Given this, the dead lament in the work:

Our people remember us not

They now live in great comfort and safety

They have hurt us more than our enemies

For they pierce our hearts with hot daggers

If there is a word that is left to say

Then, it will be: remember us

 

The above reveals the anguish of the dead and the lackadaisical habit of the living. The dead are subjected to loneliness and penury. The livings, that virtually include the whole segment of humanity, in one way or the other, have failed to requite the love shown by the dead during their active period in life.

With much concern for them, the living should master the act of remembering the dead because if the dead go on strike human existence will be threatened. As we have pointed out, the dead are major actors in making the vicious circle of life spinning. Therefore, the dead deeds should be monumental to credit their efforts and to enable peace in the human world.

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About the author

Bada Yusuf Amoo