Sunday, November 11, 2012

3 Years already . . .

Dear Dad,

We'll be marking the 3rd year since you physically left tomorrow. Some people say "smile he has gone to a better place and he is still with you." Maybe in another 50 years if I'm still around, I'll finally accept this but right now as each day passes, when a memory is triggered, all I can think of is how it could have happened.

How and why were you taken so soon is something I'm still bothered about, you were in my book, the very best of my world and you can't and won't be replaced.

So I hope you're good and when you take time to look down at us, your thoughts are that you bred a fine bunch of children and you have grand children who still know and say you love them.

In the time you've been absent, there are times I feel you'll be behind me if I just look back, or times I feel I can hear you whistle a tune you particularly loved. These times are precious, I know for certain you're not too far away. But on days when I'd like to share my worries, my victories or some moment I feel only you would be the best recipient of the words I'd like to utter, at moments like that, nothing makes up for the fact that your smile will only be conjured in my imagination and your voice listened to in my head.

I miss you dad, 3 years down hasn't made it any less painful that your gone.

Rest in Peace.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

Spotting Miss Trunchbull

Feeling totally exasperated and with a mounting dark mood after accomplishing only one of two tasks and thinking of the possibility of having to do a return trip all because our dear Government came up with this brilliant plan to ban Okada's, I did not give up on my trek but branched to refuel so I could live to trek again.

I walked into my favourite joint which should actually be avoided for health reasons, but which I walked into nonetheless today. Placed my usual order ' A Colonel's Meal Please.' I think its just adequate and not too filling, I still get off with the feeling there's still hope for my diet with this order.

Im beginning to tap my fingers, the chips which should have taken 4 minutes to arrive is stuck in traffic. That's odd I like KFC for their professionalism, I like to think there's a standard manual for service they must all abide by. This branch obviously werent schooled in Customer Service and Fast Serving.

A woman walks in, she's tall, not huge but big and easily dwarfs me. She orders 2 bowls of rice, 1 pack of french fries, 6 pieces of chicken and one bottle of water. It's an eat in order and it's obviously for 2 or 3 people. I stare eeked her order is been put together before mine, not funny at all. The service guy who took my order maybe seeing the look on my face, gets mine ready. I leave, not waiting to the usual confirmation of an order.

The woman sits opposite from me, she has everything on her tray. Then she starts with one bowl of rice and is soon done. A chicken goes next and then I look to the door to see if the person she was waiting for was coming in. Her body language seemed to say that much. Then the chips went next and at that point, I decided I had to sit through this to see what exactly would happen to all that food.

Yep. She finished it all up and at that point I began to wonder how she pulled it off. I mean there has to be some sort of bell that goes off in one's head when food is being gobbled isn't it? So she gets up and leaves and she's suddenly become way bigger than she looked before and all I could think of was ALL THAT FOOD ONLY FOR ONE PERSON HABA!

Ah Lagos!

I finally came to the conclusion based on first hand experience today the the Lagos State Government didn't really think through the implications of the ban on motorcycles aka Okada's.

As i tried to get from one end of Victoria Island to the other today, staring at the emptiness of zipping 2 wheeled previously considered menaces, I muttered unwholesome expletives under my breathe when a kind gentleman pointed out that going around the Island was nigh impossible without a car.

So it boils down to the fact that our dear Governor did not take into consideration the fact that some areas on the Island don't really have bus routes and the main mode of transportation were these bikes who now scuttle about like frightened mice.

We can all joke with the fact that the trekking we now experience, is some form of exercise, I totally agree, I felt the calories burn as I walked the strip of Akin Adesola only to branch off on Adeola Odeku when I spotted that Finger licking joint.

Sigh! An enjoyable zip and weave through traffic and having the hair on my neck rise just as we manage to maneuver out of a close shave is now history, but at what cost? Yes Okada's should be controlled, curtailed, nipped whatever it will take to bring order and discipline to their lot, but to have them off streets where they are truly needed isn't and hasn't been an obviously well thought out plan.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Uche Umez: Literary Africana: Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

Uche Umez: Literary Africana: Abubakar Adam Ibrahim: Abubakar Adam Ibrahim has been described precisely as ‘a writer to look out for’ by Helon Habila, the author of the magnificent Waiting fo...

Uche Umez: Literary Africana: Richard Ali

Uche Umez: Literary Africana: Richard Ali: In his review of City of Memories by Richard Ali, the literary critic and columnist, Ikhide Ikheloa, considers Richard as "perhaps the mos...

Friday, October 5, 2012


Writing in a socially challenged society: going the social commentary routeIn a nation where many have come to view works of art, be they visual, auditory or the written word, as an escape from harsh reality, some have argued that making these problems the main thrust of works or art constitute a form of double torture. They argue that the man on the street would rather read about happy people, rich people, people in love and people having fun, rather than the problems that stare them in the face every day. They don’t want to read about poverty, sickness, corruption and the like, because they know all about it, these ills stare at them from their mirror, and from the eyes of every stranger they meet on the street. No matter how plausible these arguments sound, the truth is that they are a very false premise with which to judge what one should write or should not write about. That people want an escape is something that everyone can readily agree with, but that they still have to come back to the same reality is another that should not be ignored. It is therefore of great import to record the society as it is, not to mock, but to show. And by showing, attention can be brought to these ills and perhaps a redress began. Perhaps it is with this need to show and become a catalyst for the much needed societal change that a crop of new age Nigerian writers are shunning the urge to pander to the wishes of those who advocate for writers to provide escape for the average man on the street, by making social commentary an integral part of their work.   With the support of Coca-Cola’s “1 Billion Reasons to Believe in  Africa” campaign,  iRead will be hosting some of these young people whose writing have given ample voice to a new generation seeking to change their society for good. Four writers, drawn from across Nigeria, all with strong elements of social commentary in their works published this year will be reading from their work and interacting with the audience about the Nigeria they see now and the one they hope to usher in through their writing.

1: Ukamaka Olisakwe:

Ukamaka Olisakwe is a new generation Nigerian novelist with amazing talents. Her debut novel Eyes of a Goddess will draw tears out of her readers. She is a banker in Nigeria with a degree in Computer Science. Ukamaka is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Communication and Linguistic Studies at the University of Port Harcourt. She is a young mother of two daughters and one son, and lives with her husband in Eastern Nigeria.

2: Richard Ali:

Richard Ali is a lawyer who hails from Idah, Nigeria. He was born in Kano, lives in Jos, Nigeria, and is presently Publicity Secretary [North] of the Association of Nigerian Authors. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Sentinel Nigeria Magazine. His novel “City of Memories” was published this year.

3: Emmanuel Iduma:

Emmanuel Iduma was born in Akure, Nigeria. He obtained a degree in Law from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. His interests range widely, including web technology, digital art, visual art, and creative writing. Emmanuel works mainly as a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and has won awards and received recognition in each genre.Emmanuel is the co-founder of Iroko Publishing, which has published Saraba as an electronic magazine since February 2009. His work in Saraba has been acclaimed globally, including in The Guardian (UK). He is currently the editor of an online mashable anthology of African modernity. He is the author of the novel “Farad”.

4: Sylva Nze Ifedigbo:

Sylva Ifedigbo is a Doctor of Veterinary medicine, a writer and a Corporate Communications professional.  He is an award winning essayist and author of the novella, “Whispering Aloud” and collection of short stories “The Funeral Did Not End”.Sylva’s Essays have appeared in The Punch, The Nation, 234Next, Nigeria Village Square, Nigeria Dialogue, amongst others. He manages a weekly column on Daily TimesNG.  He is also the features & Reviews Editor of Sentinel Nigeria and an Ambassador for the Coca-Cola A Billion Reasons To Believe in Africa Campaign.

CORA House
1st Floor
95 Bode Thomas Street
Date: Saturday 13th October 2012
Time: 3-6PM

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Maybe Nigerians Read

The smell of incense, the fullness of Mass and the sale of books. Absolutely interesting day, brilliant idea and a whole new experience in marketing books.

When I got to the Christ the King Catholic Church Ilasamaja about 8.15am, I wasn't entirely sure how the day was going to go and if it would be worth our while at all.

We hurriedly set up since we were informed first Mass would be done at 8.30am. It didn't end until 9.15. So there I was beginning to be sceptical because I already thought, this is a church not a reading community. Not that my thoughts was too far from the truth.

First mass finally ended and there was an influx of Parishioners coming to see what books we had, I panicked, thinking, how the hell were we going to cope with not just the books which they thought looked interesting, but with all the questions they asked. I might as well have been a lecturer with all the explanations I gave concerning books today.

Amazingly though, I virtually witnessed what I had taken to be a cliché, my very first experience dealing with a group of non reading Nigerians, who believe reading or buying a book isn't so important especially for children. The shock of it as I saw kids who looked clueless and parents who made me feel I was Einstein was truly disturbing.

Thankfully there was to be a competition, so they had to buy books, well if that was what made these Parishioners buy the books, I had to applaud.

All in all, bottom-line we raked in sales. Would our presence today translate into a reading awareness? I'm not entirely sure about that, unless of course more competitions are organised and prizes as an incentive to get more eyes stuck to a book. Maybe.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ebedi Writers Residence


Three writers have commenced the June 2012 residency program at the Ebedi International Residency Programme, Iseyin, Oyo State.  The writers, who will be in residence for a period of six weeks include: Richard Ali who was born in Kano, Nigeria and obtained a LL.B. from the Nigerian Law School. He presently practices Law in Jos, Nigeria. His novel, City of Memories, was published by Black Palms Publishers.  He served as Editor, Sardauna Magazine from 2005 to 2007. He was shortlisted for the 2008 John la Rose Short Story Competition, and attended the British Council Radiophonics Workshop the same year. He has been active in the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), serving as Secretary for the Plateau State chapter for two years and is presently Publicity Secretary [North] of the national body. He is, at present, Editor of the Sentinel Nigeria [online] Magazine and is Chief Operations Officer of Parresia Nigeria Limited, a new Publishing company based in Lagos, Nigeria Publishers. He will use his time at Ebedi residency to carry out research on a historical fiction and finish work on his debut poems, The Divan of the Four Winds, which his publishers are eagerly awaiting.

The second writer, Niyi Fasanmi is a Lagos based writer and teacher. A polyglot, who speaks Yoruba, English, French and Russian, Fasanmi is the holder of a Master of Science degree from the University of Lagos. Some of his works include, The Story of Ajantala, BARRICADES, AGAINST THE CULTURE OF SILENCE, and THE FLOODS. Niyi will use his time in the residency to complete his ongoing novel and interact with students of secondary schools in Iseyin in the areas of fiction and nonfiction writing.

 The third writer, Awwal Sakiwa, a Book Illustrator, Artist and Comic series writer is presently the Director, Hill Top Art Centre, Minna.  He also teaches Fine Arts in Government Secondary School, Minna, Niger State.   As a testimony to his good standing as a versatile artist, Awwal illustrated most of the books published in Minna Niger State and designed the Niger State logo. He founded the Arts In Vogue Gallery, Minna where he trained many apprentices who are mostly now self-employed.  A passionate comic series writer, he is the author of a comic book, “The Story of Bayajiddah”. Some of his other works include, designing the mural on the  walls of institutions such as:  Hill Top Art Centre Minna,  Ijah Central Mosque,Wuse,  Tunga Central Mosque Minna,  Calvary International School Aware Ondo State, Will Bright International school Akure, Ondo State to mention just a few. While in Ebedi, Awwal will work extensively with secondary school students from Iseyin on his pet project called: “Let The Children Live” through which he hopes to mentor children in the areas of Fine Arts and Comic Book writing.

The Ebedi International Writers Residency Programme, Iseyin, Oyo State is an initiative to give emerging and established writers an all-expenses paid convenient environment in which to complete their ongoing works. Since its inception two years ago, the Residency has played host to several Nigerian and Foreign writers who in return have also mentored many secondary school students in Iseyin.  The residency is being managed by a Board of Directors made up of Akintayo Abodunrin, Alkasim Abdulkadir, Uche Peter Umez and Maryam Okediran who is the Chairman. Applications stating a Curriculum Vitae and a 500-word excerpt of ongoing work should be sent to the Board Chairman at

Uche Peter Umez

Books and more

I liken Book reviews to the story of the 3 blind men and the elephant. 3 men were brought before an Elephant, stood on different sides and had 3 different reports to give about what they felt they had touched.

That's just like a book, the book being the Elephant and each reader a potential blind man. A book with this illustration, is even worse when it comes to expressing opinions. Readers come from different backgrounds, think differently and so will have different opinions. What's amusing however is the different opinions that could be generated from one single book.

I love reviews really. Its a peek into another person's mind. Some reviews leave you excited, some leave you wondering. Some will take you looking for the closest book store, some leave you wishing you shouldn't have bought the book.

At the end of it all, a review is that which it is; one person's opinion and thoughts on what has been read.

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 2012

I'm back and if an award for the laziest blogger exists, I should get it.

This year has been pretty amazing. Not sure where I should begin from. But maybe the fact that from loving books to finally printing them sorts of summarizes it nicely.

Okay I also seem to want to write more. So forgive me Bloggy for staying away so long, but hey I'm back aren't I?