Book Title: The University Media Complex as Nigeria’s Amusement Chain
Author: Jimanze Ego-Alowes
Publisher: The Stone Press
Year of publication: 2018
Reviewer: Olutayo Irantiola
It is exciting to see a book that defines Achebe while trying to measure the extent to which scholarship has been overrated around Nigeria and obviously across Africa.
The first page of the book made it known that it is not only leadership that has failed Nigerians, scholarship has equally failed and this has led to the stagnancy of the society at large. Having said that, I will like to say that the comparison made by Onyeka Nwelue about the writings of contemporary writers as such as Helen Oyeyemi, Diekoye Oyeyinka and Chigozie Obioma and that of Chinua Achebe is not appropriate. I presume that the writers of the various ages in English literature also differ and this has led to the canonisation of literature and writers were grouped into eras. This is equally applicable to Nigerian writers and an era should not be used to discredit another era because different generations have various ideologies.
There was also an overwhelming mention of Albert Einstein, a physicist, in the early pages of the book, it got me wondering what the crime of Achebe was as he was benchmarked against Einstein. Eventually, it can be summed that it was a way of challenging the scholars from across the country to showcase their inventions other than in literature. This showed that many times, Africans have excelled in literature more than in other fields of human endeavor, especially sciences. However, the fluid and independent nature of literature would account for this success largely.
There is a striking part in Book One about how people go to school and return a moron. Pg. 40. This typifies the failure of scholarship and in turn, the failure of leadership. In the author’s words, “the state and/or nature of leadership is determined by the state of knowledge, not of the leaders- but more importantly- of the society, and, knowledge forever changes.”
To summarize the first book, we need scholarship that is truly an innovation and an invention. Another germane thrust of the book is why do we rewrite history at every point in time? The author mentioned that General Gowon and some other Nigerian leaders have committed series of offences but the history is forgotten and/or being rewritten. This is also happening across the country without recourse to the upcoming generation. It must be agreed that these is another failure of the Achebe generation was that they were unable to use technology to advance their people.
Equally, he introduced recent Africa scholars like Professor Lumumba and Professor Chidi Odinkalu who foregrounded their discussion on Tanzania. The author played on their varying discussion to show that post-studentship research is not adept enough to lead us out of our leadership failures. At another instance within the book, Tanzania was greatly compared to Nigeria in terms of her ethnic population and the dynamically unrelated settings. This reflects that various African countries cannot be totally lumped together in the narratives about the continent.
The final book in the text gets to speak to a businessman-banker relationship and how sore it has gone. With my little understanding of what is happening around the imbroglio, I can say that tribal sentiments has been one of the meanings being read into the issue.
The book is not bereft of cultural nuances; the author spoke of the Ogboni cult which originally started in Ijebu. He also spoke about Oriakuamong others. The book is also rich in history as it speaks of various generation represented by Achebe, Obasanjo, Dangote, Gowon and other renowned Nigerians.
Let’s sum the entire book up by taking an excerpt from Book 3, Chapter 5: “To resolve the Nigerian development question would be to teach and instruct the present Nigerian leadership-intellectual-media industrial complex that first, they do not have the brains they presume they do; and second, the “lack of leadership” they are agitated about is non-existent.”
This text by Dr Jimanze Ego-Alowes is a repository of quotes, analogies, analysis and contrast. It cuts across history, sociology, cultural studies and other areas of scholarships. I would want to add that the disconnection between the town and gown has been so much; we need to drive the change from the classroom to the media and eventually, these two can shape the leadership of the nation. Let’s all get to work by changing our world through ingenious ideas. It does not cost a kobo; do not hide in whining. Just invent and prove the New Nigeria as gifted as the best of the world.
This Lovesong for my wasteland
oetry is the oldest genres and advance form of composition. This offering, “Lovesong for my waste land, “is where poetry intersect drama. The poet uses action with purgation of emotion in the prologue. The thematic preoccupation of the poet literary motif hinges on the concept of land and its symbolic and metaphoric importance to the people. There is a story in our history. The Poet has been to the market place of thought. It is pertinent we borrow a leaf from his poetic messages. “The land is for us to Plough; not to Plunder”, a poem by Niyi Osundare and “This Earth My Brother” a novel by Kofi Awoonor are in corollary with Lovesong for my Waste Land. The Poet poetic lines ride the wings of the clouds and beat the drum of peace. Truth will always challenges the tongue of lies. It is not normal when abnormality becomes the order of the day. Wanton waste of our natural resource is the paradox for the love song. The country consumes what it does not produce and produces what it does not consume. There is more than meets the eyes with these poetic lines. The Poet urges the people to fight for their collective request. Changes can only come when the people know that they are part of the system. We have to dialogue to put an end to the labyrinth of violence. We have to dialogue to correct some mistakes of the past.
The land has witness The Years of the Elephant – when music was made out of the skulls of men. When two elephants fight the grass suffer it. Those who say the truth become the palace soup. The Year of the Wolf-all that was saved became food for phantoms and bandits. The Year of the Dog- Everybody barked after the band and now party of bandits. The Year of the Hyena – The Hyena claimed all our limbs except for those who spoke with their legs. The way in and out of the forest is identical. The Poet writes in “In The Beginning of Season”: what does the farmer think/ when to sleep, how to harvest or what to plant? / There is a land where thirst runs through the river/ p 15.
This river belongs to us. It is our collective inheritance. But this river of oil is our bane of disintegration. The laughter and smile that meet peoples face is fake. The land is famished. The Poet buttresses in “We have Ore but invent Nothing”: We have rain but hate to plant/ We have the heat and the glory of the rainbow/ But we kill our own suns with hurtful glee/ The earth swoons in the farmers hands/ But all we do is rape the land/All we know is maim the mind/All we plant are epitaphs for the dead/p19
It is those who work that the earth support. The rain brings food to the earth. In the Year of the Elephant- People work like elephant and eat like ant. The upland sun nourishes the plants yet the farmer gaze at the sun from the window of his heart. Our can we sing the songs of victory when our voice is stolen? How can we protest when bags of rice tame our hungry mouth? What can we make out of it when we sing the national anthem in fear? The Poet put across in “Why would I Think of Love in Times of War”: why would I talk of tenderness when the argument in the rafters can start a fire? / Why would I peddle laughter in a paroxysm of pain? P22. We are living in a country where everybody is a talking solution. Nobody wants to take action. Action they say speaks louder than words. Enough of false rhetoric! Let leaders lead. We have paragon of failed promises. If you were the solution would you tell us the answer without excluding the question mark? We are tired of lies. In “Ten Monarchs, Ten Seasons” the Poet writes: Believe the lies and query the truth/ or strangle the truth and embrace the lie/ Your life shall be long/ We have not reached the threshold/ But the crossroads are multiplying daily/ Ten Monarchs, Ten Seasons/ p27. Change can only come to the land when we collectively take away power from those misusing it during the election.
The state of the country is that of Victorian sensibility: a country not strong enough to divide and too weak to be united. We are not motivated to learn from the past. This is not the land our fore father’s envision. This is not the dream of the land. Tears from the eyes of the young and old; terror terrorizing the peace and unity of the land. When will this land become a bride again?
In “There Can be no argument on where I Stand” the Poet asks these salient thought provoking questions—Who stole the secrets of oil from the rack of Forcados? / Who at night decimated the harvest of Kano’s pyramids/ And started the ululation and the curse in the morning? / Who burnt the trees of wealth: rubber, cocoa, kola and palm/ Which sprawled the land and crossed many rivers? / Who bled the bellies of caves and aborted earth? /p28. This collection of poems is an overflow of powerful recollection of the past. The land is kind enough to tell her stories of rape and wanton waste of her resources – Lovesong For My Waste Land.
Intrigues, conspiracy as Jagagba goes on stage
ll is set for the stage production of Jagagba, a play by Abdul-Qudus Ibrahim, winner, 2nd Beeta Playwright competition.
A production of Beeta Universal Arts Foundation, producers of Our Son the Minister, the show holds on Friday July 19th to Sunday July 21st, at the Agip Recital Hall, Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos. Directed by Olabunmi Adewale, and starring Kunle Coker, Mawuyon Ogun, Bamike Olawunmi “Bam Bam”, Ese Lami George, Olarotimi Fakunle, Eden Attai, Kelvinmary Ndukwe, this 40-man play is a colourful folk rendition of great acting, with wonderful music from Debbie Ohiri.
Produced by award winning actress and producer, Bikiya Graham-Douglas, Jagagba is thought provoking, emotive and entertaining.
The King is dead! Who will wear the mighty crown Jagagba? Will it be Adebola, the King’s adopted son or Adesupo, the King’s estranged brother?
Amidst palace intrigues, political conspiracies and family traditions, Abebi the King’s widow offers her advice.
“You will be transported to a fantasy world that mirrors ours with societal vices that touch on relevant social issues like female inclusion, security and co-existence.”
POETRIP: Civilize The Earth
Let my words be like rain for the earth
Let my words grow on the soil of my heart
Let my breath be a budding to the dreams of my eyes
I will give it all it takes to walk in my dreams
Look into my eyes and tell me you know the ways of the day unfolding with the hands of time
Unfolding with the promises of hope
I will have my share from the hands of the upland sun
Do not forget the hands of many children
My hands and knees in prayer tell
Time to learn the wisdom of the night
Time to learn the language of dawn
You are the fountain of my desire,
On this journey
I love to taste the honey in the parable of life
Let the day show me the way to the house of wealth
Let the wind bring forth good tidings to the chambers of my ears
Let the heart of men civilize the earth for a table of bread
Tomorrow, the world will be awaken from the memory of the night
Let the heart of men civilize the earth
Tumours and Butterflies, happiness like water
Book Title: Happiness Like Water
Author: Chinelo Okparanta
Year of publication: 2013
Reviewer: Adeniyi Taiwo Kunnu
Happiness Like Water is a brazen collection of short stories that are fictive realities of our lives. The part of us we love to share, or those moments which are locked up in our remotest recesses. Expressing itself in cunning artistry, the stories become personified as you would a speaking ink on an accompanying piece of white paper, rustling under the weight of a dexterous hand, crafting thoughts and moulding minds without being bridled.
On Ohaeto Street opens readers to the un-put-down-able collection. Eze and Chinwe become a married couple after the intrigues of evangelism by Eze. Chinwe’s ideals of a man she wants differ, but as would in many homes, her mother’s will prevailed and she becomes the wife of a man whose religious inclination and financial prospects are enough to make him qualify, thus becoming a husband to a woman whose life he values less than his cars and other material possessions. On page 15, paragraph 3: “But the more she looks at him, the more defeat she feels, because she knows that she’s no match for the car”
The challenges of child-bearing and the length a woman is made to go in getting it splatters the pages of the story which makes up ‘Wahala’. From the cleansing process at a herbalist’s, to the hosting of a family party, the threads of pain felt by every woman who makes effort at bearing a child resonates. Nneka, Ezinne’s mother would not be alive to see her daughter bear the name, mgbaliga – an empty barrel. Her daughter’s pain combines the pressure of not becoming productive for Chibuzor, her husband. Again, a woman’s pains rises to a crescendo as she desires the completeness that is associated with a woman’s lifetime cycle. The yearning, the challenges and eventual hope for the ‘fruit of the womb’ prompt deep thoughts.
‘Fairness’ is the third and most replete with comical relief of the stories. The mischief of secondary school students was explored, and what rib-cracking moments there were, as an attempt to have light-complexioned skin turns out way beyond expectation. Onyechi suddenly turns fair, while freely availing Uzoamaka and Clara the secret of her magical physical conversion. Experience turns out to be the best teacher afterwards.
The devious nature of humans gets the proper examination in the fourth story. ‘Story Story’ is in fact a narrative told about Nneoma and how desperation to have her emotions satiated and motherly longings gratified, results in satanic entrapment through her fetish practices. Four pregnant women lost both ways all for her to conceive a child. The zenith and seeming un-forgiveness of her actions is that, she seeks her prey in the church, showing penitence just for a momentary reprieve of graver ill.
Survival series is definitely on the cards as well. Charles Darwin in the Origin of Species says; the most adaptable to change of any living creature survives. By implication, neither the strongest nor the smartest cope, but the ones which understand the dynamics of change. Ada’s mother appears on a journey to death land because of her sickness, having initially lost her husband. Without a father and with a sick mother, Ada becomes a Runs Girl in the self titled story; seeking to cater to her mother’s needs and her education.
America and Shelter are in tow. With both settings in the USA, America examines Lesbianism in ways that only few have, while Shelter dwells upon the lack of choice for a woman in a grossly abusive relationship. the former considers the pains of same sex sexual preference and the latter flays the irascible excesses of a man who cannot take a count of his teeth with his tongue.
Grace is the seventh and arguably the most profound of the stories in this fiction. It is an unusual lesbian connection between a lecturer in religion and a student of the same department. From seeking answers to prodding on faith, to a sudden swing in mood and complete transfer of intimate loveliness to another; Chinelo Okaparanta demystifies the illusions of amorous expressions between same sex of old and young diversions.
Design pitches a simple Nigerian wife-to-be against a no- holds – barred former girlfriend. Nonso is the man who wants to eat his cake, have it and be a person whose tendency never to lose a thing, while opening his palm facing down is legendary. But legends die, so does the sexual theatrics and subtle ‘penile’ excesses of the man in the middle of an American girlfriend meant to be in the past by the name Celeste, and an unarguably dutiful Ifeinwa, who is now living in America to be a wife.
Tumours and Butterflies is about the indifference to make a mother get out of an abusive relationship. She stays put, while Uchenna, her only daughter could not enjoy the least cordiality with her parents, particularly her father. He falls ill, her mother calls, he remains unbearable, his wife supports him, Uchenna takes a final walk-off and nothing seems the same again.
Chinelo Okparanta elevates the women-folk as angels to say the least, whereas the men are sure the albatross of the she-human kind. This position evidently demonstrates a deliberateness to enable women assume more power and positivity, which in itself is good, but her obvious stance may give this brilliant author up as one whose world and literary view needs utmost diversity and elastic geography, which in itself would be very needful..
On page 144 she writes, “Happiness is like water…. We are always trying to grab onto it, but it’s always slipping between our fingers….”
Personal journey to rediscovering values
Book title: The Last Flight: A Personal Journey to Rediscovering Values
Author: Dapo Akande
Publisher: Ceenai Multimedia Ltd, Gbagada, Lagos
Year of publication: 2017
Reviewer: Maureen Ihonor
“The Last Flight” is a book that touches on many cogent issues bedeviling the Nigerian society. It is replete with numerous anecdotes and analogies while it ekes out critical lessons learned from personal experiences.
The book implicitly questions the human, nay, African tendency to conjure up complicated solutions to problems when simple ones will do just fine. Manners, Integrity, Neighbourly love, Discipline and a common good approach to Success( M.I.N.D.S); all are as simple as they come and if rediscovered, embraced, widely and faithfully adopted, could do wonders to the mindset of our people and ultimately lead to the much needed rejuvenation of our society; the progress and wellbeing of our society.
With hints of an autobiography, ‘The Last Flight’, notes the author, betrays the unmistakable influence a 20-year sojourn in the United Kingdom would expectedly have on the outlook of the author even if he did return to his motherland over two decades ago.
This book sets out to subtly coerce the reader to self-examine, reflect and assess his own set of values. It has something for everyone as I believe anyone who reads it will discover something in it that speaks their mind.
The Last Flight unapologetically preoccupies itself with the Biblical notion of Good Success while great attempt is made to contrast the self centred nature of Success (so prevalent in these climes) and the more common good complexion of Good Success. Great pains is also taken to trace a strong link between the pursuit of the common good, the fulfillment of one’s purpose and the notion of Good Success.
As the book draws to a close, it gradually comes to the conclusion that all the best intentions, grand political and socioeconomic solutions, may eventually fail to provide the apparently desired result if we as individuals don’t demonstrate genuine love for the other. No matter how grandiose the development plan, if a solid foundation of love for our fellow man is not set, the plans will fall flat like the proverbial pack of cards. Love produces Character and Character develops a society.
Though ‘The Last Flight’ “shies away from categorically expressing an opinion on whether it’s a little late in the day to significantly change the mindset of the older generation; it does however, repeatedly and with much hope express the strongest belief that it’s not too late for the younger generation, if only we start now by inculcating in them time tested values inherent in MINDS. MINDS, an abbreviation of my recently registered NGO, MINDS Reform Initiative, has the sole aim of propagating these simple, long lost ideals.”
The scriptural verse which says a child who’s shown the way to go will not depart from that path when he grows up has never sounded truer. The soul, the spirit and the very essence of ‘The Last Flight’ wholeheartedly aligns with that revered English author, William Wordsworth, who once said, the child is the father of the man.
Just the right edge of keen sports imagery thrown in as dessert. The chapters are both short and fast and all stories are interspersed with just the right amount of quotations. The inclusion of extensive quotations from other publications, the Holy Bible and from world renowned scholars fully demonstrate to the reader that the author’s vision enjoys worldwide and historical foundations as some have been successfully utilised to improve past and present societies round the globe.
Oladapo is eager to demonstrate that a change in personal mindset is not only possible but is actually the only way for each citizen to move towards the long awaited “new Nigeria”. His style is non-judgmental and rich with personal experiences of authority figures in his life from childhood; people who have and continue to affect him tremendously.
“The Last Flight” is a compelling work. I could not put it down. It is not only a theoretical analysis as each idea expounded in one chapter is fully given a practical review in the subsequent one. It will be difficult not to like Oladapo’s unpretentious style. His work provides a window of opportunity for change in present day Nigeria, a change that can only come about when each citizen develops his mind by following the steps provided.
I would recommend the book to everyone – young and old, who wants to witness some positive change in our community and country. Oladapo’s invitation to all of us is to hasten to board the flight as it may be our last opportunity.
Mrs. Maureen Ihonor is the founder of Cedar Multilingual School.
Exploring an enduring Yemoja festival
It was a calm Monday evening, the weather was peaceful. Guests gathered at Ita Agbole in Ejigbo, a suburb of Lagos, where renowned multimedia artist, Jelili Atiku, explored an enduring Yoruba festival, Yemoja, which celebrates the feminine energy.
Tagged, “The Sacred Feminine Energy and Spiritual Values”, speakers at the seminar, Kafilat Abene Raji, Iyalorisa Omitonade Ifawemimo, Jumoke Sanwo, Jacob Stanton, and Ayo Akinwande, shared knowledge on the festival values to the indigenous African bodies. Speaking during the seminar, the convener, Atiku, whose art involves installations, drawings and video, to interrogate socio-cultural and political issues, emphasised that the essence of the seminar is to “discuss the Yoruba spirituality on the essence of feminine energy, and trace its values to the well-being of the society and the people.”
Elaborating on the festival, Stanton who participated during the festival procession at Brown University, Providence, RI, USA alongside other students on a course taught by Atiku, an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, on the theme Decolonized Bodies, Spirit Bodies: Tracing Indigenous Knowledge of Africans reveals, said the Yemoja Festival at Brown University introduced him to the practice of Ifa.
“I had been in Atiku’s class for the entire semester, but since it was a class, it was structured very theoretically. It was only participating in the festival that showed me what these festivals are actually like and how they are infused with spiritual power.
“At first, I was very shocked by what I saw, and I didn’t know how to interpret several of the things that kept occurring during the festival, such as when Atiku would drink gin and spit it out or when he threw offerings into the water. However, as the festival progressed, I began to feel the spirit and power of the festival. I remember as we got in sight of the water, it got warmer, it was a cold day, and it felt like the whole festival fell together,” Stanton said.
Stanton, who spent some time in Ejigbo, Lagos, added the festival taught him the power in indigenous belief systems. “Prior to taking this class, and participating in the festival. I most likely would have looked at these practices as being outdated or not based in ‘true’ spirituality. However, feeling the power of this festival, and the way that our group came together in that moment, shows me that these practices are filled with truth and spiritual power. This festival at Brown was of very serious importance.
Brown University was able to build its wealth upon the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the state that Brown is located in was one of the most active slave trading states in the United States. Further, the water in which we worshiped the Yemoja Orisha was used to transport these enslaved peoples. For this reason, the water is intrinsically tied to oppression, specifically the oppression of black bodies. For this reason, practicing traditional African beliefs at this water represents coming full circle. It serves to cleanse the water from its evil past and the pain that is within it. Many of those participating in the festival were black Americans who may have ancestors who partook in these practices but have no knowledge of this due to the erasure of slavery. Due to this, participating in this festival represented a return to this legacy and a reunion with our ancestors.”
He further stated that participating in the Yemoja Festival has greatly changed his beliefs on African culture and tradition.
“After the festival, I see these practices as a key to black people acquiring spiritual growth and working to liberate themselves. And my stay in Ejigbo was incredible. The first memorable aspect was the way in which the whole community.”
rallied around Atiku during his dispute with the king. This provided me with a model for who I want to be in my own community. I was amazed at the amazing hospitality that I was treated to during my stay. The people were so incredibly nice and welcoming even though many of us couldn’t speak with each other, due to me being unable to speak Yoruba. I was deeply moved by the spiritual devotion I felt within the community. The community was alive with a spiritual power and unity that deeply moved me and has me longing to return.”
He expressed delight in associating with the Yoruba culture, rituals. “It is incredible to be associated with Yoruba culture. Every time I think about my name, or have someone refer to me by ‘Ajewole Ojomo’, I feel absolutely full of pride. I feel that I have reclaimed a heritage that was lost during slavery and by the mechanisms of the United States. It’s incredibly powerful to see black people as Princes and Kings and to know that I now have a place within this system. This is incredibly powerful because in the United States, black people are constantly ridiculed by being told that they have no culture and portrayed as are criminals. I feel that I have connected with a legacy and heritage that is life sustaining and offers me a pathway to freedom. In Ifa, I see a way to continue my mental and spiritual decolonization and liberation. I feel that I have been connected to a force and culture so powerful as to liberate me and all of my descendants.”
Artist, curator and writer, Akínwande hinted that the Yemoja Festival has been a great opportunity to learn more about the culture and traditions, “and documenting the rituals, processions, activities around the Yemoja Festival. The Festival has become a rallying point to awaken the people towards the traditions. It has become an event that is enshrined in the Ejigbo calendar. The people get to become participants and spectators in these celebrations.”
Akinwande, who was the co-curator/Curatorial Advisor, Lagos Biennial 2017 emphasized that the images of the festival has become a reference point in the culture scene. “The Festival in Ejigbo, is the celebration of the feminine energy in Yoruba culture. It is not about “addressing” but more about showing to the world, the importance of Women and the role they play in our culture.”
A transcontinental saga
Title: Imminent River
Author: Anaele Ihuoma
Publisher: Prima – Narrative Landscape
Press, Lagos, Nigeria
Year of Publication: 2018
Reviewer: Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
There is the compelling need for me to go back to the publishing of Alex Haley’s Roots in 1976 to find a book that bears comparison to Anaele Ihuoma’s debut novel Imminent River. Just as Haley after hearing grandma’s tales, Haley traces his roots back to the adolescent Kunta Kinte who was kidnapped into slavery to America from West Africa in the 18th century, Anaele Ihuoma regales us with the intriguing story that goes way back to early 19th century West Africa. The soul of the tale is the old matriarch Daa-Mbiiway, the bearer of the formula to prolong life.
Ihuoma stresses from the beginning that Imminent River takes its roots from fact as he writes in the author’s note: “This story may be fiction, but it is built on, rather than merely imitating, real life. The grand matriarch of the epic, Daa-Mbiiway is unashamedly a great maternal aunt of mine, by the same name although spelt (if it ever was), Daa Mbiwe. One of my most exhilarating exhibitions as a little boy growing up in Eziudo community, my maternal home, was when I was asked to go to Itu, now HQ of Ezinihitte LGA, Imo State, Nigeria, by my maternal grandmother Daa Nnennia Iwe, nee Abii, to go visit Daa Mbiwe.”
It is a mark of Anaele’s mastery that Daa-Mbiiway who uncannily disappears at the beginning of the novel curiously ends up holding the entire tale together through the spell of the much-coveted longevity recipe.
The span of the novel divided into three parts can be appreciated thus – Part One: The Progenitors (West Africa. Early 19th Century); Part Two: Prodigious Leap of Limbs (West Africa. 19th Century to Early 20th Century); Part Three: Blindfolds and Iron Fists – The Rocky Road to the Imminent River (Southern Nigeria: 20th Century). There is a mini-section in Part One bearing one chapter (14) entitled “Mid-19th Century: Trans-Atlantic to New England).
The book ends with “Epilogue: Ajaelu Tastes the Hiatus Music” where we read: “Urem Okakuko sat, pensive, in front of the Centenary Hall, Ake, Abeokuta, bathed in her own tears. Inside the Hall, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong were performing Satchmo’s ‘Back O Town’ and Armstrong himself, the lead vocalist, was rhapsodising.” Further down the epilogue, Ihuoma writes: “It was 13 July 1934. Duke Ellington had released his hit track ‘Symphony in Black” in New York. That same day, not far from the Centenary Hall, a baby was born to the family of Pa Ayodele Soyinka in nearby Isara, Abeokuta.”
Let’s call that baby Wole Soyinka, the future Nobel Laureate in Literature who was Ihuoma’s Head of Department at the then University of Ife from 1978 to 1982.
Ihuoma’s blend of fiction, fact and fantasy in Imminent River intervolves the longevity progenitor Daa Mbiiway and her husband Okpuzu, the feuding plutocrats Jesse an Opuddah warring to take custody of long life medicinal formula, the matriarch’s hostile sons Chimenam and Dioti-Ojioho, the suitable boy Ezemba and the village belle Agbonma whom Ezemba loves madly, Edidion whom Daa-Mbiiway almost adopted as a granddaughter, the treacherous and cultic High Chief Nnanyereugo Chris Ojionu, Urem Okakuko the story teller, Wopara etc.
The quest for certitude is not deterred by a letter that informs: “I have just realised that there is no such thing as the Longevity Formula. Or rather that the documents we have, with figures purporting to point us to Eldorado, is nothing but an attempt to send us on a wild goose chase.” Cracking the Nsibidi code of the Longevity Formula remains a life-affirming mission.
Disunity in the land makes the people susceptible to conquest and slavery. Conspiracy rules the roost. The comeuppance of evil comes translated in the news headline: “Strange River swallows HCO’s Ojionu Cottage.” It is a brave new world in which “Youths Demand jail for Eagloma cultists”, by listing “the alleged crimes of the fraternity to include, murder, unhealthy sexual practices, the so-called ‘Eagloma double’, political blackmail, archaic cultural practices such as bride battering and perversion of justice.”
Ihuoma’s Imminent River strikes a chord with Ayi Kwei Armah’s 1978 novel The Healers in which the protagonist Densu envisions African unity, just as the hero Ezemba gets the ultimate introduction from David thusly: “Sir, my name is David. I’m the son of Jesse, the healer from the Healing Home. We were rescued from the sea of malevolence. We are here to help the just retool.”
Ihuoma’s reputation as a poet is well-established. He has equally done commendable work as a playwright. His novel Imminent River is ample evidence of his roundedness in all the genres. His power of description can be enchanting, as note: “Even though he liked to reassure himself that it was Agbonma’s character, rather than her looks, that held his attention, he would be hard pressed convincing God in heaven that her physical beauty had no part in it. She had such lush supply of eye lashes and brows. Her deep, brown eyes themselves appeared to be set deeper from the rest of her face. This tended to project her face outwards, giving her something of a permanent smile and an inviting visage. You would think Leonardo Da Vinci had wanted to capture her in that immortal brushwork but could not and had to settle for the Mona Lisa instead.”
Musicians’ union holds workshop on sales of music
As part of efforts to generate revenue for its members, the Nigerian Union of Musicians (NUM) is set to hold a workshop on the sale of music on the internet.
The workshop which will take place on July 4th at Constantial Hotel, Benin City, is significant especially as millions of Dollars are lost yearly by musicians that do not sell their music on the internet. Selling on the internet means wordwide sales, translating into huge revenue gains.
The Union in a statement said the event will also feature posthumous awards for music icons such as Rex Lawson, Celestine Ukwu, Sony Okosun, Christiana Essien and many other Nigerians musicians of blessed memory.
The special guest of Honor is the Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora, Mr. Osaze Ero. Also invited is the commissioner of Justice, Prof Yinka Omorogbe. A goodwill message is expected to be delivered by the American ambassador to Nigeria. Musicians from far and wide are expected to grace the workshop.
“The NLC and RATTAWU, the mother bodies of NUM are expected to play very important roles in this august occasion of their baby union NUM,” the statement reads in part.
It will be recalled that in 1960 during the independence dance party, it was NUM that insisted that a Nigerian musician plays instead of the Jamaican musician that the incoming government had slated. The union had their way.
PFA 426: Day Performing Arts students thrilled audience
PFA 426 is a course in the Department of the Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Ilorin. However, appearing before the audience has indicated that the students were trained to be productive and vibrant in theatre practice in Nigeria. What makes this fact indisputable is that the students are final year students. It is a course in dance.
It is even more significant considering that all the student dancers are final year students who will soon graduate and enter the labour market. The presence of professors, doctors and other sound scholars in addition to the students on campus confirm that they can attract and pull a crowd wherever they perform.
The reaction of the audience through claps and smiles is also a pointer to this. Those present in this excellent dance programme tagged 400 level Dance specialists in Dance from across the world are the HOD, Prof Solomon Ikibe, the immediate past HOD, Prof AbdulRasheed Adeoye, Dr. Tayo Arinde, Mr Adakole Amali and Kazeem Rufai-Ahmad. It was choreographed by the duo of Felix Akinsipe and Kehinde Olalusi.
The wisdom of these dance lecturers to make each of the five groups to choose a name gives professionalism to the exercise. Their names are Golden Dance Company, Sporadic Dance Company, Multifarious Dance Company, The Originals and Extraordinary Global Concept Dance Company. The dancers were really at their best prompting the comperes, Julius Ayodele and Amira Adekunle, to describe them as fantastic and cute dancers. Indeed they are flexible and versatile dancers as they did excursion across the world doing dances from all cultures, including African, Indian, English among others. The aesthetics of the performance is obvious in the costumes and props as well as the manner they are all put to use. The smiles from dancers show that they know the nuances that add joy to a dance.
The musical accompaniment added harmony to the event. Akinsipe said the course is fashioned in a way to let the students know that theatre, especially dance is profitable. Prof Ikibe said he was really entertained because all the groups did well with special features they showcased. He commended the English students who took the course as a minor, urging them to take a cue from Tosin Tume who today is excellent dancer, choreographer and dance teacher. Prof Adeoye urged the groups to take the skills to the outside world. He also urged students to take the course seriously by attending the classes so that they will learn all the rudiments of dance.
The screwing of Nigeria by corruption
Title: Nigeria: Why Looting May Not Stop
Author: Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
Publisher: Oasis of Greatness Publishers Ltd, Benin City, Nigeria
Year of Publication: 2019
Reviewer: Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
It’s corruption, stupid! I am only aping Bill Clinton’s campaign slogan: “It’s the economy, stupid!” There have been many pretenders who as Nigerian leaders claimed to be waging war on corruption. It should not be forgotten in a hurry that General Sani Abacha did stake a strong claim as per fighting corruption and actually jailed many Nigerian potentates, but the looted funds of the goggled general are still being brought from abroad in large caches. So much with boasting about fighting corruption as a Nigerian leader!
Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye, a highly regarded Nigerian columnist and writer whom Chinua Achebe described in his memoirs, ‘There Was A Country: A Personal History Of Biafra’, as “one of Nigeria’s prized journalists”, undertakes a heart-wrenching dissection on the vexed question of corruption in his book Nigeria: Why Looting May Not Stop. He speaks for the common people as he dedicates the book “to the ever-suffering Nigerian masses, hapless victims of the perennial, brutal looting of our commonwealth.”
Divided into two seamless parts, to wit, Part One: ‘Deadly violations of a malformed giant’, and Part Two: ‘Sundry thoughts…’, the book paints a pathetic picture of a country in decline due to the rapacious antics of its ruling elite.
In what he titles his “Forethought” at the beginning of Nigeria: Why The Looting May Not Stop, Ejinkeonye stresses: “Not a few Nigerians believe that any day their country is able to make up her mind to end her obscene and ruinous romance with the stubborn monster called Corruption (emphasis his), she will automatically witness the kind of prosperity no one had thought was possible in these parts. Just imagine the amount of public funds reportedly (and un-reportedly) stolen or squandered daily under various guises by too many public officers and their accomplices and the great transformation that would happen to public infrastructure and the lives of the citizenry if this organised banditry can at least be reduced by fifty percent!”
Ejinkeonye depicts a woebegone nation of forlorn folks eating from the dust bin. It is a wretched land where a cow thief bags all of 12 years in jail because “in Nigeria, it is, perhaps, safer and more rewarding to be a successful criminal than a poor honest man.” For the author, the immunity clause of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution is quite obnoxious. A letter entitled “First Witness: How I Joined The Looters’ Club” written to the author by a self-confessed “highly-placed and very influential lady, a distinguished member of the country’s ruling elite, a well-connected political leader, super political organiser and one of those who decide the direction and future of this country” is mind-bending. Another letter entitled “Second Witness: My Elevation To The Eating Class” comes from a “Chief (Dr.)” who from entering the university with forged results “wanted to make money fast and live big.”
The author argues that until a new set of Nigerians shorn of the selfishness of the “I-Better-Pass-My-Neighbour” breed is raised looting may never stop in Nigeria. Ejinkeonye argues earnestly that “it is time to do away with the current retrogressive style of governance and adopt a more creative approach for the good of all.” For him, the word “credible” ought to be “totally banned in any discussion on Nigerian politics and Nigerian politicians.” He damns the “419 chieftains in the Senate” and slams “thieves on the throne” such as state governors who hop off to overseas once they get their monthly allocations.
The author laments that the government means nothing to the people and cannot even be compared with a refuse dump because “even refuse dumps serve some useful purpose.” Nigerians happen to be “dying for looters” as Ejinkeonye writes: “When the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega announced the winner of the 2015 presidential elections, it was reported in the media that not less than 25 people died and several others were wounded while madly celebrating the announcement.”
Cry, the beloved country of costly presidential visits, even if aborted, in an epoch “when squander-maniacs are in charge” whilst rewarding profligates against the background of Nigeria’s image crisis.
Ejinkeonye is indeed a compassionate writer blessed with conscience and morality, whence his warning on the spread of kidnapping from the Niger Delta to other parts of the country and the appendixes of Boko Haram insurgents and the upsurge of herdsmen’s attacks. He highlight’s the letter-bombed journalist Dele Giwa’s assertion that “one life taken in cold blood is as gruesome as millions lost in a pogrom” while condemning the murder of innocents by degenerate policemen. What the author calls “disastrous generator culture” happens to be an interminable Nigerian affront. Ejinkeonye does away with modern-day political correctness in maintaining that immorality should not be taught in schools in the name of “Sex Education” or “Sexuality Education”. His stand on religion is that “salvation is an individual thing, not a group experience, and everyone will answer for his life as an individual.”
Faith17 hours ago
Rev. Mother Esther Ajayi’s shakes Lagos with ‘Celebrate The Comforter’ event
News16 hours ago
APC crisis: NWC splits
Politics16 hours ago
INEC, 2019 election and server debacle
News16 hours ago
Cabinet delay may send Nigeria back into recession –Experts
News16 hours ago
Insecurity: Osinbajo confers with S’West monarchs
News16 hours ago
Fulani shouldn’t be asked to leave south, says ex-security adviser
News5 hours ago
FG will fix all roads in Niger – Lawan
News16 hours ago
COZA: Police invite Timi Dakolo, wife to Abuja for ‘criminal conspiracy’