Friday, October 26, 2012

A good year to be a writer!

This is ending as a very good year for me as a writer.
First off, I finally got a publisher to take interest in my collection of short stories. The collection “Footsteps on the Hallway” will be published Jan-Feb 2013 by Melrose books Nigeria.
I was also able to attend the Farafina Trust Writers workshop on the third attempt and learnt so much from superb teachers.
Then there are two of my short stories appearing in two PAN-African anthologies, African Roar and AfroSF in Dec 2012.
I sure have come a long way and perhaps should start feeling like a writer. We’re moving on. J

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Aluu 4 and the state of our mind

I want to be numb, but my soul cries too loud for me to ignore. I am supposed to have grown accustomed to pain, but things happen that remind me that I am a man and that in the heart of man, pain has an abode, try as much as you can, you can never escape its grip.

As I type this, the voice of two promising young men cut down in their prime by the kind of unmitigated blood-lust that our country have come to identify with, booms out from my laptop speakers. Like voices from the grave, the young men cry out that there “ain’t no love in the heart of the city”. It is eerie, like prophesies of that kind are, especially when one considers that the boys had pleaded for their lives to flesh and blood men that refused to show them a little love, people that refused to spare their lives.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Achebe and the Igbo narrative: not a single story


“Shege Inyamirin, arne kawai!” the man screamed at me as I sprawled on the red earth, my 20 litre water container, which a few moments ago was balanced on my head as I hurried across the railway track, was not too far away. I looked from the container,  which jerked as it expelled the water I had just fetched from Isa Kaita’s Dutse Close home, to the snarling man that had just pushed me, wondering why my being Igbo merited that much callousness. I looked towards my father’s chemist shop a few metres away, more worried about what he would do if the container was broken than going back to the long queue of people waiting their turn at the tap Alhaji Isa Kaita (CBE) had graciously provided for the public inside His expansive compound. Yes, the man had pushed me, and beyond his expletives that can only be summarised as "Igbo infidel", he offered no explanation and people around did not ask. Surely, why he pushed me, hampered as I was by my large container, was a question that should have been asked, especially as I had not impeded him, or brushed against him. My crime was having tribal marking beside my eyes that identified me to be Igbo, an ethnic group that everyone not Igbo seemed to hate—at least that was what my young mind felt then.

The event above happened about two decades ago in Angwa Shanu, a town in Kaduna North LGA, Kaduna state. It was one of several instances where my siblings and me were singled out and abused because we are Igbo. I recall it here to buttress the point that the Igbo have not had it easy in post war Nigeria and that the hate for the Igbo runs deeper than many care to admit. However, we do not need anyone to admit anything, that we know this fact is what is important, to us that is.

Growing up, I can’t recall my father telling us to be cautious, or to deny our Igboness, but we knew the ability to survive in a society hostile to our kind is our only defence. So, we learnt Hausa, learnt to recite the more common Islamic creeds and learnt to deny our Igboness. To avoid the Igbo stigma, we became Southern Kaduna, Benue, Cross River, Bendel or any other grouping, but never Igbo if we could help it.