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Home » Oil – Iria Bibite | Fubaraibi Anari Benstowe

Oil – Iria Bibite | Fubaraibi Anari Benstowe

Oil Battle and the Renegades

                 For Niger Delta, Nigeria

Here and there, gun-songs emanate from complex machines

Rattling, telegraphing the rhythm of oil and power.

Ceaselessly, they tingle machines to sneeze fire

Like dragons in dreadful combats

Ceaselessly, a boat wobbles at the arena of gun-power

“Shoot soldier-man! Shoot!” the headman screamed.

The sea bears witness to metals kissing boys to sleep.

On the road, men match with the face of dry leaves

On the road, metal beasts crawl snaily to riverbanks

On the road, poised camouflages crawl to sea beaches

And macabre music throttles my sleep.

In the Creeks, boys who left books and freedom tarry

They cook some earthquakes.

Dawn, hushed bodies drift with their charms

And bewildered folks stood to solve algebras.

At once, they said their guardians had left unannounced

It left at the creeks

Where they plucked flowers from women

And goods from men sailing offshore

At once, they said they are renegades 

And their fathers are ashamed


Singing and dancing are the gears

That ignite the fires on her feet.

Sounds of music sprout from backstage, she whirls

Her heart brimmed with extreme ecstasies 

And legs pulse, trapping dusts and sounds

Now beat the drums that make the trees dance

Strike the sticks that make our joy prance

Now beat atamgba, beat ekere, beat alili, and beat ngu

Set the ceremony of the celebrant going

Let earth witness her undiluted twist

But let the rain wait a little longer

And sun, to the rhythms of our wishes

‘cos the feet are itching

Ready the tread the ancestral maze

The rolling throb of Iria-Bibite

And to all that provokes the chimes on her feet.

It is the hour of ripples

When dances are scattered in the atmosphere

Like palm leaves entangled with ghastly winds

When the beauty of voices tingle earth’s fantasy.

There, on her limbs, she merges pot, fire, and water.


Fubaraibi Anari Benstowe is a Nigerian poet. He attended the Niger Delta University in Bayelsa State. His works has been published in Praxis magazine, Nigeria/South-Korea Poetry anthology, Journal Young African Literature (JYAL) 2020, 20.35 Africa: An anthology of contemporary African Poetry, Journal of the association of Faculty of Art Students, University of Ibadan 2020.  He was a top ten finalist in the Africa-Wide BN Poetry Award based in Uganda in 2014, and first runner up for the Eriata Eribhabor Poetry Prize in 2014