Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Africa , Literature, Niger Delta, Nigeria, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Social Movements, Uprisings, Writing

Needing This Revolution

“La résistance est une forme de collaboration” — Albert Camus

There are no groupings in my head.

I am not being spoken for.

No one will speak for me if I do not speak for myself. Tell this to those who have formed groups and begotten labels in my name: I will join you if only I hear my voice in yours. Not earlier. In this regard, I refuse to be called ‘the Nigerian on the street’ because there are Nigerians OUT OF the street.

If I am on the street it is not because of anybody. It is because of me.

I say this because I must divest myself from every resistance that collaborates. Clearly, there are those who wish that a revolt continues because it creates for them an ‘other’, thereby perpetuating their actions, their desire to stay on. These people wish to look at me and nod their heads, ‘yes, someone is agreeing with me in my irresponsibility.’

I will only speak against irresponsibility not because it is fashionable, not because the Irresponsible are irresponsible, but because behind ME lie years of scorn, thievery, greed, opportunism, political thuggery, untold violence, scammers.’

You see what I mean.

If I am careless, this resistance will be another form of collaboration. I will only succeed in speaking another man’s language.

Adebiyi Olusolape knows this. In ‘The Ideal Husband’:

‘Let her add on the name of another man

to the name of an older man

the length is a statement…’


And Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in ‘Mr Follow Follow’

‘Some dey follow follow them close sense.’


“Poetry makes me stop” — David Gruenewald

Pause and consider what happens I am bent on achievement and not on purpose. What form of satisfaction will I (re)gain when the antagonist has conceded? What is that satisfaction? Will I even be satisfied?

I will stop, right there, when all fists around me are clenched, voices chanting refrains. I will stop and be poetic. It will make no sense to be part of revolution that transforms my country’s economy and not mine.

Poetry makes me stop because in poetry all things become clear.


“I write to un-silence, not to speak.” — Hélène Cixous

I will not ask ‘are you listening to me?’

I will ask ‘why are you not listening to me?’

It is not that I am not saying what needs to be said. It is that what I am saying does not come from that point when everything becomes still. I am too much in the noise. I am so much with/in others that I am lost to myself.

All I am saying is that I want to speak because I have been unsilenced. Because I know what that silence is/was. Because I am not an alien to the things I claim to loathe.


“Need is the name of my vital discovery…One only needs need to begin to discover.” — Hélène Cixous

I need this revolution.

I must need this revolution.

I am needing this revolution.

My eyes are opening, I am discovering myself. I made the exciting discovery, for instance, that silence can be unseated. That I can un-silence. You might take this for granted; I do not. That I am able to take away years of being considered silent, matterless, absent, a blur? No, I do not take that for granted. This revolution has opened my eyes to things I did not know about myself.

I need this revolution to find myself. I must find myself.

“Me and you no dey for the same category…” — Fela Anikulapo-Kuti


  1. tunde

    Awesome! I like it!

  2. 'bola Jonathan

    It is always a pleasure reading your works, Emmanuel. Almost always orgasmic. Well done brother. I have said it and will say it again, you are a master at this.
    We needed the awakening, the realisation of the strength in our synced voices.
    We just hope we are not awakened to a nightmare

  3. morenike

    i like it.