Sunday Magazine

Momife: A poet’s quest to lift the youths via deep reading

For Obiora Momife, a poet, and social commentator, the country’s future depends on the willingness of the youths to spend quality time reading. But as things stand, he strongly feels that the youths are not living up to expectations, and this does not really inspire hope.


All around him, Momife sees young adults with the raw potential to excel in whatever field; he sees very conscious and intelligent youths that are equally ambitious, but he is equally disturbed that only a handful of these youths truly realize the overwhelming effect of deep reading.


Based on his education, travels, working experience, he concludes that the path to real success lies with deep reading. It means quality time spent on real books – paper backs and hard backs that can be easily retrieved for reference after a while. The new thing among the youths is reading on computers, and quality time on social media.


To redirect the youths to return to the later has become a personal crusade that he is willing to give his all until the message hits home. Momife has seen nations rise and fall; he has also seen what science and technology can accomplish; and he knows that no nation can make real progress without investing on its youths.


If indeed the youths represent the country’s future, then they should be encouraged to read to nurture their brain power. Momife, like some Nigerians, detests the ways of the “noodle generation” that are easily influenced by America’s hip hop culture and the ways of life in other Western streets.


He uses poetry to call on both the youths and those in positions of authority to the dangers thereof.


At a recent book reading event in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, he read three collections of poetries- ‘Where Two Roads  Meet’, ‘So Far Away’ and Eyes Of The One Who Loves’, in a bid to once again stress the need for deep reading among the youths. He has so far written four collections of poetries that were published in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, Momife, says his works are about God, himself, social ills, and the society.


His works also focus on national issues, politics. He is however quick to distance himself from political partisanship. In most of his poems, Momife uses pleasure, love, pain trouble, miseries, as raw materials. He wants people to remain positive, and not allow the negative side of life to overwhelm them.


“Push hard, keep on praying, for I depend on prayers. I depend on God. I depend on the supernatural, because, there things people do naturally on their own and still depend on the supernatural for help.”


The chairman Rivers State Chapter, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Adi Wali, agrees with Momife. Wali, who also spoke at the book reading event, however, feel that government and private schools should pay teachers very well, for them to teach the pupils with adequate concentration and commitment.


“The problem we are having in education in the country, is with educationists themselves, because Education Ministers and Commissioners of Education are educationists themselves, and from reputable Universities,” elder Wali vouched.


“When one takes time to read what people post, when they say they are making communication, or interacting, they are too poor. It’s affecting our written English, interaction, conviction, attitude, and everything about us.”


Regretting that the people’s culture is fast dying, because of advent of the ICT, Wali observed that in the time past, handwriting was celebrated as a major course and people were thought how to write with the slate from primary one, even as reading was also a course.


Momife is working on something, a new work he hopes to publish in the nearest future. In fact, three of his works are ready for the prints: Spirit of Diversity; Crosses and As the Wind Flies. He however maintains that he will continue to promote deep read  ing among the youths. Born in Gusau, Zamfara State, Momife, is a member of the Association Of Nigeria Authors ( Rivers States Chapter) and hails from Oba, Idemili South Local Government, Anambra State.


He studied Visual Art at the University of Port Harcourt, where he graduated in 1991. He later worked as a Cabin Crew for 11 years with the now rested Nigeria Airways. His stint in the aviation sector also saw him receive training in customer services/care and safety emergency Procedures (SEP), at British Airways Training School, Cranebank, London.


Also, he trained as a First Aider at Gatwick, Virgin Airlines Training School. He runs a youth based programme known as Think Right Choose Right Initiative. With the primary goal of restoring values and principles to our young people, making good, informed choices and decisions. Also dealing broadly with the challenges of identity crisis with its gross attendant negatives on self worth, self image of individuals in/ and society.


He stumbled into poetry as a means of expression whilst he was unable to continue his Art for some personal reasons. He published and publicly presented his first collection of poems titled “ROSES and THORNS” in 2011 at Terra Kulture, VI, Lagos. Also, published: “So Far Away” 2014, “Eyes of The One Who Loves” 2015 and “Where Two Roads Meet and other poems” 2016.


He publicly presented the three in Port Harcourt in 2016. Apart from writing, he lives and works as an administrator/ logistics officer in Port Harcourt with his wife Isioma and their four lovely children.


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