Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD, REVIEWS

Unalloyed and Revitalizing: Thoughts on Amina Aboje’s ‘Promises on Sand’

Title:   Promises on Sand
Author:   Amina Aboje
Publisher:   Kraft Books
Year of Publication:   2017
Number of Pages:   87
Category:   Poetry
Reviewer:   Paul SawaPromises in Sand - Amina Aboje

Although I write the occasional poem, I do not see myself as a poet. Avid reader that I am, however, I consider myself competent enough to review any form of literature. After all, I am the end user. The myth that only a poet can review poetry has long since been debunked. When all the lights in your house go out, you do not need to be an electrical engineer to realise that something is wrong.
I’ve always appreciated poetry, but have a tendency to be overly censorious of lyrical fluency and the depth thereof in much of what is expected to pass for verse today. The book which I am about to review, not only dependably delivers on both of these criteria, but goes further to embolden the believer, tickle the lover, and reignite any dying embers in the heart of the disillusioned patriot into a blaze.
The anthology, Promises on Sand, is Amina Aboje’s first published work. It is subdivided into four parts.
The first section, “The Glow,” is my favourite. It affords the reader a glimpse into the primary essence of the mime behind the rhyme. The reckless abandon of an unfettered childhood expressed in “Voice of the Wind,” which gives way to the first gentle tugs of young love on the heart strings in “Fusion” and “Never Enough,” is tempered by the idealistic purity of “Stay with me.” As a theist with a deep love and appreciation for nature, I am struck by Amina’s liberal use of natural imagery with occasional glimpses of the Divine revealed in and through the natural world.
The second section, “Of Loss and Hope,” takes on a more sombre note, yet in its entire sobriety, hope is never lost. Amina juxtaposes the reality of death and consequent effusions of grief with the hope of rebirth and reunion. In the six lines of “Except I die,” I see physical rebirth subsequent to death, like the seed in nature; I see spiritual death and rebirth as the hope and joy of the theist; and I see the daily process of dying to self and thereby awakening to another life. Then, of course, Amina has not neglected to highlight the miracle of birth, disappointments, betrayals and the perplexing paradoxes in this pilgrimage of life, for which she asks for direction in “Guiding Rod” – pragmatism garnished with idealism. Did I mention that this section is my favourite?
Section three, “Time Transience and Nature,” takes the cake! The brevity in style (each poem consists of only three lines) goes to reinforce the transience of time. Like a butterfly from flower to flower, Amina flits from one thought to another … universality, diversity, beauty, nature … as if to remind the reader, “Life is brief. Make the most of it.” It is amazing what three lines of poesy can do. This is, without question, my favourite section.
The fourth section, “Pangs of Nationhood,” strikes to the very soul of Nigeria. Despair translates to despondency which then begins to nudge at a realization that births defiance, as in the closing stanza of “Promises in Sand,” where the citizenry rhetorically inquire of the political class, “…how can you think there’ll ever be you without me?” “The Accomplice” sheds light on the dynamics of the corrupt class while “Musings” gives voice to the common man who laments, “How did I become so common?” The senselessness of internal conflict, the gaping chasm between the haves and the have nots, and the shamelessness of treasury looters as expressed in “Mindless Battles” and “Guiltless Shame” is still unable to quench the undercurrent of hope in “Still Green” and “Centennial Bliss.” Patriot that I am, this section is my favorite.
If I were asked to do the impossible by describing this book in two words, I would say … Unalloyed and Revitalizing. Amina Aboje has, in this book – Promises on Sand, somehow connected the profane with the profound and the sacred with the sagacious. It is an excellent read, and I highly recommend it.

(Paul Sawa writes from Abuja, Nigeria. Inquiries on the book as well as requests for interviews and reviews can be got from the author by email aminaaboje@yahoo.com. Amina Aboje is the winner of the Mandela Day Poetry Prize 2016  and lives in Abuja)

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Posted in EVENTS, FICTION, THRILLER

ABUJA WRITERS’ FORUM HOSTS SEVHAGE AUTHOR, DUL JOHNSON; JIDE BADMUS AND AUSTINE OROKO ON 29TH APRIL 2017

The Abuja Writers’ Forum, one of Nigeria’s premier literary organisation is set to host Dul Johnson, incredible writer, scholar and film maker alongside poet Jide Badmus and the sensational musician, Austine Oroko.

If you are in Abuja, do make out time to go to Nanet Suites (beside Bayelsa House, down the road from Federal Secretariat) by 4:00pm for an offering of this great event. SEVHAGE Author, Dul Johnson will be reading from his latest novel, ACROSS THE GULF, a book on the civil war written from a new angle as would leave readers intrigued. This is the third book of Dul’s we have worked on and one of his finest. We had an argument on it – considering he prefers DEEPER INTO THE NIGHT, which is more literary. In his office a month or so ago, I told him that ACROSS THE GULF was a finer read considering it is more entertaining, thrilling and grasping. Being the fine scholar he is, he prefers the one with more lessons.
‘Well, it isn’t as if THE GULF doesn’t have a lot of lessons. But can you imagine that I edited the book and kept smiling all through!’
It is like a continuation of part of the stories in SHADOWS AND ASHES. I am always glad when I come across new narratives, especially when they are engaging. Across the Gulf is a book like that and I think we set the bar with the production of that book’s cover. I will be uploading it soon. But let me not talk too much.
Dr. Emman Shehu​ has done a good job of consistently hosting writers and artistes every month to a thrilling reading where the public can interact, have fun and get a feel of good literature. I have been a beneficiary of the event – as an invited artiste and as a member of the audience. I think – I don’t think, I know – that it is a place worth going to. IF you can make out time to be there, it would sure be worth the hours.
Did I mention that there is usually great music, a conducive cool (AC chilled) environment, great gifts from raffle draws, amongst other amazing things? Don’t say I didn’t tell you…

For a limited time, Dul Johnson’s book will be selling for a thousand naira at the event. Don’t forget,
Saturday 29th April, 2017; 4:00pm; Nanet Suites. Be there or be square – or whatever they say.

In conclusion, here is the writeup for the event by Ibrahim Ramalan, for Blue Print newspaper… Do share:

The Abuja Writers Forum (AWF) will on Saturday host Jide Badmus, Dul Johnson and Austin (Aush) Oroko for the April 29th edition of its Guest Writer Session which holds at the Aso Hall, Nanet Suites, Central Business District, Abuja by 4pm.
According to a statement signed by the Forum’s scribe, Edith Yassin, in Abuja, one of the guests, Jide Badmus was born and bred in Ilorin, and hails from Omido in Irepodun LGA, Kwara State. The first of four children, he studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Ilorin and bagged a Master’s degree in Information Technology Management at Binary University, Malaysia. He is a practicing Electrical Engineer in building services.

Badmus has had a flair for creative writing as a child and started writing poetry in 2002. He has a wide range of collections on various themes and shares his short stories, critical opinions and poetry on his blog http://www.inkspiredng.com. Some of his works have been published in national dailies and online platforms.

His debut book collection,There Is A Storm In My Head, appeared this year on the imprint of  Words Rhymes and Rhythm Ltd (WRR). The poems depict a storm of emotions as a result of life’s uncertainty, disparity between dreams and reality, and the thin line between love and lust. The author’s writing style is defined as simple and deep; his poems are usually brief and fast-paced, the readers are left out of breath and asking for more. He is inspired by nature and beauty.
Jide is married to a beautiful wife, Linda and has an adorable daughter, Nora. He is a Christian and a soccer lover; he is a Manchester United fan. Watching soccer, reading, writing and watching movies are his hobbies. He lives and writes from Lagos.

Dul Johnson is a filmmaker and author from Plateau State and currently lectures, as a Professor of Literature, at Bingham University, Karu. He began his career as a drama director with the Nigerian Television Authority, Jos, and worked for many years before retiring into Independent Filmmaking and teaching. He has won national and international awards with his films and dramas, including There is Nothing Wrong with my Uncle (a cultural documentary), The Widow’s Might (a feature film), Against the Grain, Wasting for the West, Basket of Water, and many others.
Johnson began writing in his undergraduate days, trying his hand at drama, poetry, journalistic writing and short stories. From the mid- to late 1970s he wrote plays for radio (Rima Radio, Sokoto) and for the stage – some of which were produced in his undergraduate days.

Johnson has published five major works: Shadows and Ashes, Why Women Won’t make it to Heaven (short story collections), Ugba Uye: The Living Legend (a biography), Deeper into the Night (a novel) and Melancholia (a play). The last two were presented to the public on 28 October 2014.
His latest publication, Across The Gulf, is a novel that explores  loyalty,resilence, nationhood, love and tradition bridging two generations and an entire nation.
Austin Oroko hails from Utonkon, Benue State and is a graduate of the department of languages and Linguistics Nassararwa State University, Keffi. He speaks French and Italian as well as a little German.

Born in Lagos, he likes to describe himself as growing up all over the world with his six siblings as they accompanied their father, a former diplomat, on his official postings.
At the age of fifteen he started writing and singing his own songs with a dream to become a star that will influence the world through his music. Although he owned a keyboard when he was younger, it was his love for the guitar that caught his fancy and has become his mainstay as a performer.

Oroko has been on several notable platforms including AM Express, AIT,NTA Entertainment among others. He spent a lot of time listening and studying classical musicians and the likes of Tracy Chapman and Stevie Wonder who have had a deep influence on him.
His music can be classified as Indie rock with a touch of soul and has recently released a single, Oxygen,
The Guest Writer Session which also features a raffle-draw for books, runs from 4-7pm and is open to the public.

 

 

SHARING IS CARING! CHEERS!

Posted in EVENTS

GUEST WRITER SESSION IN ABUJA HOLDS TODAY 30-07-16

The celebrated Guest Writer Session, organised by the Abuja Writers’ Forum, comes up today, the 30th of July, 2016 at the Aso Hall of Nanet Suites, Central Business District, Abuja. For small tips on previous sessions, click HERE.

Today’s session is themed around Nelson Mandela, whose day was celebrated earlier this month. Contemporary South African literature will be brought alive through talks, music, and other works of literature. But it doesn’t stop there… There will be four artistes to thrill; Kukogho Iruesiri Samson (KIS), Nwemneme Andy Chukwunonye, Margaret Hepworth and Dave Adzer.

The first is Kukogho Iruesiri Samson (a.k.a KIS), poet and literary promoter par excellence. He is the author of two books, What can words do? And I said these words. KIS is a multiple award winning poet and is the founder of Words Rhymes and Rhythm (WRR), an online poetry platform that has gained massive social media following. He is a social cause promoter and on days when he wants to, can be controversial – hee hee hee, yeah, anyone who knows him knows that. He has a passion for teaching and helping to promote the arts and social causes such as stopping rape.

The second guest for the July Edition of the Guest Writer Session is Nkemneme Andy Chukwunonye who is the author of Letter to Mandela. He is currently a Chief Research Fellow with the Institute and Conflict Resolution in Abuja. The poems in Hello Mandela, like that of the traditional African writer, are concerned with disillusionment and hope, injustice and the various challenges plus triumphs that are the lot of the African.

Margaret Hepworth is a teacher and educator who is the author of Clarity in Time, which features Mandela as a fictional character (she had to get permission from the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa for this). Clarity in Time is a story of courage that is themed on a young Australian teacher who realises that there comes a time when one has to leave the side lines of life and become active, if any change is to come. Hepworth is a big fan of Nelson Mandela and more than just using him for fiction, she uses his story and words (usually paraphrased) to teach and encourage people about reconciliation, forgiveness and rising above set expectations of self.

To cool all off would be Dave Adzer, the cool soft voiced musician and guitarist who has been a thrill at several Guest Writer Sessions before. He would be on hand once more to be the melody to all the words. Yes, in addition, there will also be the usual raffle draw for free books amongst other cool happenings.

If you have any enquiries about the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF), the Guest Writer Session You can send AWF questions to Edith Yassin on 08051614969 or send a mail to abujawriters@gmail.com, visit the AWF website at www.abujawriters.com. Other literary happenings in Abuja or the like? Come on, drop a note in the comment or send me a mail at eddieagema@yahoo.com. Is this where I also announce that I am an editor for pay and publisher?  😉

Whatever you do, if you are in Abuja, ensure you make out time to come to the Guest Writer Session today, the 30th of July, 2016 at the Aso Hall of Nanet Suites, Central Business District, Abuja by 4:00pm. Bring friends… Spread the word!

Posted in EVENTS

THE POWERED ABUJA GUEST WRITER SESSION

Abuja is king when it comes to literary fun… Yes, and we are not doing comparisons before you start calling Lagos and Makurdi 😉 The Guest Writer Session put up by the Abuja Writers’ Forum held at Aso Hall, Nanet Suites, Central Business District, Abuja is one of the most consistent literary events in the country. No contest. Each event brings together amazing authors and talents from different fields that leave you smiling. Past authors who have graced the event include award winning authors like Musa Idris Okpanachi, Kasham Keltuma, Gimba Kakanda, Tanure Ojaide, Halima Aliyu, Dul Johnson, E. E. Sule, Elnathan John, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Hajo Isa, Lois Otse Adams and even Chimamanda Adichie (well, hers was for a workshop)! Two months back we screened a movie by Ishaya Bako called Henia. I wrote a post on that. Read here. I had a reading there too with the beautiful painter Numero Unoma and the economist, Tope Fasua. There was also that fantastic time when they brought Satan to town! Hee hee hee, I am kidding. They brought Obinna Udenwe, the author of Satans and Shaitans along with his publisher and colleagues from Minna. The event always has lovely music and a great audience that includes writers, readers and fun seekers alike. The truth is it is always fun and you really wouldn’t want to miss the event if you are in town. It is a monthly event that holds every last Saturday of the month at the Aso Hall, Nanet Suites, Central Business District, Abuja, down the road from Eagle Square if you are coming from Area 11 and/or Asokoro and on the road to Transcorp Hilton/Millennium Park if you are going farther. Time is usually 4:00pm on the dot.

Who did they have the last time? That was June 25th 2016 (the event is for every last Saturday of the month). There were three guest artistes. The poet, G’Ebinyo Ogbowei who in addition to other awards has also been shortlisted (more than once!) for the NLNG Prize in poetry. He read from his book, Marsh Boy and other poems. Now, the fun part is Mr. Ogbowei is a lecturer and a pastor. However, when he started reading his poems, everyone forgot that part. Like the typical Niger-Deltan, most of the poems in the collection – and those he read – were about the troubles in the Niger-Delta. He also spoke about the agitations in the land, recalling a childhood of beauty that is now only a footnote of history. The pain was apparent. There was another side of him shown though… The lover man. He read some love poems that had people smiling. Mr. Ogbowei is an elderly man who has this commanding presence and when he reads, ahhhhh, it seems he is in a new world. Word after word just drop flowing, captivating the willing listener…

The last edition also had Edify Yakusak who read After they left, a thriller that focuses on the killings in the middle belt. Edify’s narrative is gripping and explores a part of us many of us wish never was. She read, deeply concentrating on her text as everyone watched, thinking of the graphic images and frustrations she conjured from her imagination. The other person on the list of performers was Sidney Okwoche, a final year student of the Federal University of Technology, Makurdi studying Forestry. Sidney thrilled us to some fine music. The songs were largely environmental issue based. Not a few of us had a rethink on a lot of issues. Sidney uses his music to protest injustice, particularly those against the environment and humanity. Interestingly, he only had a guitar and his voice. Nothing else. But, he did great justice. After the performances, there was a raffle draw for books and other gifts which a lot of people won. I was there with Aondosoo Labe and Aidee Erhime but none of us won anything. Better luck next time, abi? We gisted with a lot of people after the event and resurrected creative passions. These events can really inspire one…

So, who’s next and what’s to be expected? I thought you’d never ask!

The next session of the Guest Writer Session comes up on the 30th of July, 2016 at the Aso Hall of Nanet Suites, Central Business District, Abuja. It is themed around Nelson Mandela, whose day was celebrated earlier this month. Contemporary South African literature will be brought alive through talks, music, and other works of literature. But it doesn’t stop there… There will be four artistes to thrill; Kukogho Iruesiri Samson (KIS), Nwemneme Andy Chukwunonye, Margaret Hepworth and Dave Adzer.

Again, I think it is going to be worth the thrill. So, if you are in town, why don’t you drop by? It is always fun! If you have any enquiries about the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF), the Guest Writer Session You can send AWF questions to Edith Yassin on 08051614969 or send a mail to abujawriters@gmail.com, visit the AWF website at www.abujawriters.com.

 

Posted in EVENTS, REVIEWS

WHEN SATAN CAME TO ABUJA: WRITERS BEWARE!

If you know anything about Abuja, then you know it is the new city of sin. Not so new. It has taken over from Lagos and all those other evil lands. Preachers have done their best but it seems there are a lot of people who are fighting the prophets… Have you heard about the church of Satan? There’s much happening in the capital city.

So, I came to Abuja but there are several people who know that already. I should blog about what has been happening since Sunday. The capital city is burning with activities and every day has been some day of book and book magana plus one religious this or that. Now, let’s talk about yesterday, Saturday 30th April 2016. It was the Abuja Writers’ Forum’s Guest Writer Session at Nanet Suites. The artistes of the day were Obinna Udenwe (author of Satans and Shaitans), Ishaya Bako, a film maker, and a musician, Austin Oroko. Yeah, Obinna was the Satan holder. Of course, you know that is what this piece is about, no?

The session started with a musical interlude – okay, maybe an opening – by Austin Oroko. Next, Obinna Udenwe read some pieces from his engaging thriller, Satans and Shaitans, which was joint prize winner for the Association of Nigerian Authors’ Prose Prize 2015. The book is about terrorism in Nigeria and shows a backstory of what might be happening – of collaborations between the most powerful and wealthy people in the country; Christians, Muslims and everyone else. All of them working to ensure that they maintain power and get stronger in their caprices. This book if looked at critically might be confused as the testament behind what has become Boko Haram today. Remember it is fiction though. Obinna hinted that when he wrote the book, people had mentioned that he would be killed. Well, he published the book in the United Kingdom in 2014 and Nigeria in 2015. Still, he was still alive.

Ishaya Bako took the next turn showing his twenty-minute movie, Henna. The movie is set in a typical Northern Nigerian environment. It is centred around Reina, a girl of puberty age who is meant to be given out in marriage to a Mallam, just a few days after seeing her first menses. Now, we are shown Reina is a very brilliant student. It becomes disturbing that her dreams would be cut short because tradition dictates she must submit to the whims of a husband. I was touched because when I served in Bantaje, a community in Taraba state, some years ago, I had some of my finest and most beautiful students just disappear from class. It is like, you just don’t see them again. Much later, you might find them in town or get the memo from someone – they are married. The end.  Somewhere else, her friend Amina, dies after being married at a very early age. Ishaya’s narrative is engaging and he puts a twist to the tale that defies what would ordinarily happen in society. This was the second time AWF was hosting Ishaya. I was there at the first when he screened Fuelling Poverty, which I hear has been – or was – banned.

During the screening, Ishaya moved around, getting comments from members of the audience even as NTA interviewed him. Luckily, we didn’t say anything wrong or he would have caught us! Hee hee hee. Anyway, it was time for questions and answers.

Several questions were asked. Notably, Paul Liam challenged the love angle of Obinna’s narrative and said that the character, Donaldo, had not been properly developed and there weren’t pointers to what he eventually became – a murderer or so. Then, we were whispering, and the idea mainly from Paul Liam that there was a link between Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Obinna’s Satans and Shaitans was raised. There is this thing about the wicked Christian father who deals with the daughter in the two novels. In the case of the Obinna’s novel, the father is an Evangelist. Nana Sule, who sat beside me, was the one whose mouth we chewed the question into. The question was if it was possible that the author would have made a different person the wicked one, say the mother, or made his narrative markedly different from Chimamanda’s. Obinna replied that there was no way he could have done so because in Igboland, where he comes from, ‘fathers especially Christians like that are known to be the callous and wicked ones.’ Mothers are caring so there is no way he could have written it differently. Oh well. Now, we know that Igbo renowned Evangelists are all abusive and vicious. Thanks Obinna.

There were other questions thrown the way of Ishaya Bako the film maker and Austin Oroko – the Otong Kong smooth sounding musician. Oh, I should add that Nana Sule after asking Obinna the question above threw some words towards Austin: ‘I like – scratch that – I love your voice!’ Hmm, no be small blush o! Before the event started, he had passed by us in the restaurant and the girl had complimented his hat with a twinkle to her eye. We noticed the blush then, though I tried to cover up for my guy. So, the house went all rowdy at her ‘I love your voice’ compliment o. Dr Emman Shehu, our AWF President had to hold Austin’s head down so that it wouldn’t swell too much and blow.

There was a raffle draw for books to be won. Almost all of my people from Aidee Erhime to TJ Benson [who was shortlisted for the Saraba Manuscript Prize, Fiction Category], Nurudeen Temitayo [publisher of AMAB books who published the Nigerian version of Satans and Shaitans] Nana Sule…won. Halima Aliyu was the only one who didn’t win o. Halima is the Lead Editor at AMAB, the author of Fire on the Tip of Ice (a collection of short stories) and a brilliant mind. We sat together through the event – did I say that before? I was touched when a father brought his son, Favour, to me to sign Home Equals Holes for. I pray more parents would expose their children to such forums early enough.

It was soon time to head out after taking pictures and all those good stuff of chatting, yabbing and all. I tried to convince two new acquaintances, Aisha and Hadiza Obi to follow their thoughts to join AWF. I hope they will.

Did I mention some of the other guests that attended the event? Okay, there was Abubakar Adam Ibrahim [award winning author of Whispering Trees and A Season of Crimson Blossoms], Emma Shercliff, the fine critic Mike Ekunno, Dr. Abigail, Amina Aboje, the Galadima of Lokoja, Hajo Isa…amongst others. The AWF Guest Writer Session holds every last Saturday of the month at Nanet Suites, Central Area, Abuja while they have critique sessions every

IMG_20160430_181447
Emma Shercliff, Su’eddie & Abubakar Adam Ibrahim [Grinning in a shaky picture thanks to Halima Aliyu’s excited hands]
other Sunday in the month but the last at Terazzo Lounge, Port Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street in Area 11, Garki Abuja. 4pm prompt for all events. Hola if you need any more info or if you want to register into the forum. Anyways… back to that Saturday night…yesterday.

I got my stuff and took a walk with three friends – Laolu was one. The literary discussion had only begun. But let me not bore you too much. There’s so much to be discussed on the literary scene and new narratives to be written with others meant to be rewritten. I only hope we are courageous enough and get the platform to engage meaningfully.

Bonjour!

Posted in ESSAYS AND LITERARY JOURNEYS, EVENTS, LITERARY MISSIONARY

AWF’s Dexterous August Melange by Elvis Iyorngurum

Tope Fasua, Numero Unoma and Su'eddie Vershima Agema
Tope Fasua, Numero Unoma and Su’eddie Vershima Agema

The August edition of the celebrated Guest Writer Session inadvertently coincided with the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Given the over-zealous security lockdown associated with the latter’s events, there was a lot of anxiety as to whether the Guest Writer Session would hold. But in keeping with the age old show business maxim, the show did go on albeit over an hour behind schedule.
Numero Unoma, psychologist and photographer, exhibited captivating images of scenes in Lagos and Abuja from an on-going series. The amazing thing about her images is that they are pictures familiar places, but taken in such a creative way to bring out completely new perspectives. She presented a graphic narration of how life goes on around the popular Lagos Civic Centre on Ozumba Mbadiwe Drive, captured from the towering heights of the famous 1004 apartments.

It was intriguing to watch the first signs of daybreak, the gradual build up of human and vehicular traffic on the road and the resumption of full commercial activities, all captured in still images. Indeed, in her exhibitions, the audience watched what life is like on a typical day around that vicinity, from daybreak to sunset. Another intriguing aspect of her pictures was how they captured the several weather changes that a typical day in Lagos witnesses. One moment, the weather was bright and sunny and in the next, a mass of clouds was seeing gathering and then a downpour and the sun was back all in very brief moments. These are common natural occurrences but to watch them unfold in a sequence of bright, clear and beautiful still images is a testament of the genius of the mind working behind the camera. Her images of Abuja focused around the National Mosque and were no less graphic and intriguing.

 

 

With Tope Fasua, it was a swift progression from the world of photography to that of business and economics. An economist,accountant, financial consultant, prolific columnist and blogger, Fasua read from his latest book, Things to do before your Career Disappears. Like Unoma, he painted vivid images for the audience, only his were the grim pictures of the threat globalization poses to the economic survival of people in the developing world. He cited Nigeria’s dependence on a single commodity for foreign exchange earnings, its import-dependent economy and the inability of the leaders to respond adequately to the looming threat to the country’s economy as the greatest risks, which if not mitigated, will spell doom for the country in the near future.
Employing his deft knowledge of economics and oratory ability, Fasua broke down into simple terms the economic jargon that often makes the understanding of its terms and concepts a mystery to most people. He explained the gains of globalization such as the ease of communication, spread of information and attendant opportunities for personal, economic and social integration and development. But he said globalization, like every human concept, has its great disadvantages, especially for developing economies like Nigeria.
He said under the present economic order, especially the push for free trade, the big corporations will continue to grow bigger at the expense of smaller ones. According to him, the high cost of manufacturing in Nigeria as against the low cost in China has created a trend
where businessmen prefer to take their jobs to China, and the consequence is that from far away China, a big corporation can stretch its arm and take away the job of a small scale manufacturer in Nigeria. He said there must be limits to the extent which government allows imports as total liberalization will kill the country’s struggling manufacturing sector.
Fasua also decried the high cost of governance in the country. He described the situation where a Nigerian legislator earns many times more than the presidents and primes ministers of countries with even better economies as scandalous and a situation that demands for stiff resistance from the people. Answering questions from the audience, the economist lamented the frustration of talking when no one is willing to listen. He said as an individual, there is a limit to where he can take his efforts to help the Nigerian situation. He advocated a crash in the cost of governance, the strengthening of our local technology, a halt in government borrowing and also advised Nigerians to cultivate the culture of saving and wise spending.

 
Bring Our Casket Home: Tales One Shouldn’t Tell is the title of Sueddie Vershima Agema’s latest collection of poems from which the Benue-born poet, writer and development enthusiast read on . He read ‘Bless the Inky Winds,’ ‘Paintings,’ ‘Life’ among other poems, thrilling his listeners with his simple, yet sophisticated lyrical prowess that is firmly etched in every line of his collection. Sueddie says he thrives on looking at other senses to words
and delivering messages in ways that are easy to grasp and that he did not fail to prove in his reading. The highlight of his presentation was a short story he read titled, ‘A Lust Intervention,’ in which he employed the tools of humour, imagery and wordcraft to such heights that drew loud applause from the audience. Agema said his writing is inspired by his Tiv roots from which he draws most of his linguistic artistry. He writes across the major genres, and is an editor as well as development and cultural enthusiast. He has a love for Post-Colonialism, African Literature and New Writings. He is the Vice Chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA, Benue Chapter); is an alumnus of the Benue State University’s Writers’ League and a member of the Abuja Writers’ Forum. He is also the team leader of SEVHAGE Literary and Development Initiative.
The presentations elicited a lot of responses from the audience who were also treated to some musical interlude by two guitarists, Chukwu Echefu and Tokunbo Edward. There was a presentation of certificates to participants of the intermediate class of the forum’s Creative Writing Workshop.
Winners of the forum’s monthly writing challenge were also presented with their prizes and a raffle draw was conducted with members of the audience winning book prizes.

 
The audience left at the end savouring a deft mélange of photography, politics and poetry, ensuring the Guest Writer Session continues to live up to its reputation of a dynamic platform for celebrating the vast spectrum of Nigeria’s creativity.

 

 

Elvis Iyorngurum is a poet, Editor with 2Feet Africa and the Secretary of the Abuja Writers’ Forum. He writes and works in Abuja, Nigeria.

 

Original Source: News Diary Online http://newsdiaryonline.com/awfs-dexterous-august-melange/#sthash.bIWE6986.dpuf

 

 

 

 

Posted in BOOK THOUGHTS, ESSAYS AND LITERARY JOURNEYS, EVENTS, LITERARY MISSIONARY

AWF READING FOR 31st AUGUST 2013: HOMECOMING with Tope Fasua and Numero Unọma (PERSONAL THOUGHTS)

Well, it’s back to Abuja for me and I am reading at the Abuja Writers’ Forum. As part of the monthly Guest Writers’ Session that the Dr. Emman Usman Shehu led organisation conducts at Nanet Suites every last Saturday of the month, I would be reading with Tope Fasua and Numero Unọma.

It’s been fun, you know. There have been calls from everywhere with the ‘Hey! I saw you in the papers’ and all. Surprising that the calls only started coming in after Dr. Shehu called to ask if I hadn’t seen any of the papers… Well, I still haven’t seen any. I copied the link from THISDAY online and discovered that I had been described as a ‘Cultural and development enth’ … Whatever that means! Had mon belle note the error to me and I got to check the dictionary to see if perhaps some editorial mishap had blessed me with a name to go for ages. Oh well! It wasn’t to be. So, for the record, I believe that’s meant to be ‘enthusiast’.

The AWF Readings are always a thrill and there is hardly ever a dull moment. I have been at most of them since the very start – was that 2008? It gets better each year and with each passing month. This year has been really cool! Only last month the AWF session had three guest ‘writers’ – artistes more of – at the session – all of them award-winning in their own right. They included poetry maestro, Musa Idris Okpanachi who read from his From the margins of Paradise which left lots of people grabbing copies to learn new vibes for their boos. Fortunately, he’s my paddy so I got lots from the original himself! SEVHAGE had organised an event for him two months earlier so it was only a reliving of that experience. Two filmmakers, Kalsham Keltuma and Ishaya Bako  thrilled us all with breath-taking short films. There were celebrities in the house including the lovely Mrs. Eugenia Abu (who came with her daughter and in her trademark kindness bought books there that were donated to the students and Corp members in the audience); Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and ElNathan John (journalists, writers and yup, Caine Prize nominees); Elvis Iorngurum; David Ishaya Osu and the like. It is usually like that. Lots of people come from far and wide. Dr. Kabura Zakama, Jim Pressman Mike Ekunno, Steve Fiberesimma are notable faces there. Now, in my bid to post this quick all the names do not come to mind but trust me, there are usually lots of interesting known, famous and infamous faces at this event. There are also lots of gifts won at the raffle where one qualifies by simply being present! Wow!

But to the August reading…

 

Tope Fasua
Tope Fasua

Tope Fasua would be reading, I believe, his book Things to do before your career disappears. He was at AWF last year – I was at that reading – where he read from his book, Crushed. Tope  an economist and chartered accountant, prides himself as one of Africa’s young modern historians and sociologists , by choice. Apart from keeping a column with the Abuja-based Sunday Trust newspapers and writing occasionally for other media houses in Africa, he is passionate about contributing his quota to the debate about Africa, using his home country, Nigeria, as case study. A position showcased in his debut book, CRUSHED, which is increasing garnering attention as a major out-of –the-box perspective. Tope is an engaging writer and personality whose brilliance shines in his speech as well as books.

 

 

Numero Unọma, whom I can tell from our gist today, would be expecting to show some photos and making an attempt at sounding intelligent – or so

Numero Unọma
Numero Unọma

she says. Hee hee hee. She said she would be expecting some questions…curious ones, cheeky ones, perhaps even rude ones. Hopefully, she wouldn’t be disappointed. For the record, Numero is a Nigerian visual artist and writer, with her deepest roots in photography and poetry. Calling herself an Afro-neo-feminist, she has lived and worked in many different cultures, and studied first psychology, then photography & multimedia. All these inform her work, bringing to the fore a perceptive subtlety in her visual work, and a brutal candour in her writings. Her visual work has been described as photographic poetry and her poetry as semantic imagery. She is as fun as she is fair skinned and yup, I can assure you you just would love her exhibition which has found lots of applause in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, other parts of Europe and West Africa.

 

 

Su'eddie Vershima Agema
Su’eddie Vershima Agema

Su’eddie… What would I be reading? Have you ever heard me read a short story? Okay, maybe once. But there is the chance to hear the other part of me that isn’t completely verse. Well, a short story and poems from Bring our casket home: Tales one shouldn’t tell. I guess I would have lots of buddies around since AWF is home so I would have to gear up. As I write now, I remember that a prophet has no [what’s the word?]…. eh, no something not nice [I would remember the word later if I am so honoured 😉 ] so I would have to be at my best. The Association of Nigerian Authors (in Benue and Abuja and other parts), the Benue State University‘s Writers’ League, and far more, the Abuja Writers’ Forum have given me some criticism that has helped me get better each day. I think I am still improving – even as I write. We would put all that to the reading tomorrow in addition to all the other talents gotten in the increased readings.

 

If you are in Abuja, please make it a date to come. If you can pick copies of our books, that would be great. I can assure you, they are affordable and definitely worth it. And if you can’t, just ensure you come. Have fun. What would you lose? If you are not in Abuja tomorrow or can’t make it to the Guest Writer session, make it a date to attend the next (and all subsequent) AWF readings.

The place is Nanet Suites, beside the Federal Secretariat. Time is 4pm and date, of course (for this month’s reading), 31st August 2013. Our hosts, the Abuja Writers’ Forum. See you there.

 

 

Photo Credits:

Tope Fasua (Tope Fasua)

Numero Unọma (TCD Photography)

Su’eddie Vershima Agema (Vzoren Photos)

AWF Session Pictures (Dr. Emman Usman Shehu)

 

Writers and audience at the AWF August session
Writers and audience at the AWF August session
Dr Emman Shehu and Mrs Eugenia Abu (holding a gift from AWF)
Dr Emman Shehu and Mrs Eugenia Abu (holding a gift from AWF – my book 😉 )
Posted in EVENTS, LITERARY MISSIONARY

Su’eddie Vershima Agema, Tope Fasua and Numero Unoma to read at Abuja Writers’ Forum (31st August 2013)

[From THISDAY Newspaper online 24th August 2013 and a few other papers… 😉 ]

It promises to be an exciting August edition of the Guest Writer Session with Numero Unoma, Tope Fasua and Su’eddie Vershima Agema as they seek to showcase various aspects of their creativity on August 31 at Nanet Suites, Abuja.

Numero Unọma
Numero Unọma

Numero Unoma is a Nigerian visual artist and writer, with her deepest roots in photography and poetry. Calling herself an Afro-neo-feminist, she has lived and worked in many different cultures, and studied first psychology, then photography & multimedia. All these inform her work, bringing to the fore a perceptive subtlety in her visual work, and a brutal candour in her writings. Her visual work has been described as photographic poetry and her poetry as semantic imagery.

Unoma worked for many years in wealth management with Merrill Lynch, registered as a stock-broker on the NYSE and NYMEX. Her greeting cards, mugs and jewellery in particular became synonymous with the expression of a contemporary African identity from the diaspora.

Unoma has exhibited her work in the US, the UK, Europe and West Africa, exploring a range themes relating to environment, identity, sexuality, displacement and assimilation. She has published poems and essays in various media. She is a founding member of the Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Initiative, and parted ways with the group after the third edition.
Tope Fasua,  an economist and chartered accountant, prides himself as one of Africa’s young modern historians and sociologists , by choice. Apart from

Tope Fasua
Tope Fasua

keeping a column with the Abuja-based Sunday Trust newspapers and writing occasionally for other media houses in Africa, he is passionate about contributing his quota to the debate about Africa, using his home country, Nigeria, as case study. A position showcased in his debut book, CRUSHED, which is increasing garnering attention as a major out-of –the-box perspective.

His latest book, Things To Do Before Your Career Disappears, maintains his trend of thinking. Described as a clarion call, the book “ purviews beyond the problem of global unemployment, but speaks to economic and social decisions being made by individuals, households, companies and governments.”

Fasua contextualizes the lessons learnt from contemporary economics into the African setting, because he believes that Africa offers the best raw case study for now, while more worl should be done by Africans themselves in documenting, implementing and refining their best ideas.

Su'eddie Vershima Agema
Su’eddie Vershima Agema

Su’eddie Vershima Agema writes across the major genres, and is an editor as well as development and cultural enthusiast. Su’eddie has a love for Post-Colonialism, African Literature and New Writings. He is the vice chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors (Benue chapter), an alumnus of the Benue State University’s Writers’ League and a member of the Abuja Writers’ Forum.

Agema has a degree in English from the Benue State University, Makurdi, where he is currently pursuing a Masters’ degree in development studies. He has a published collection of poetry Bring Our Casket Home: Tales One Shouldn’t Tell. He is currently editing a short story and poetry collection of writings from different writers themed on last year’s floods.
The Abuja Writers’ Forum Guest Writer Session started in June 2008. The Forum, apart from the celebrated Guest Writer Session,  holds critique sessions of works in progress  on Sundays  at the International Institute of Journalism, Hamdala Plaza, Jimmy Carter Street, Asokoro, Abuja.

ADDENDUM TO NOTE:

VENUE of the Reading: Nanet Suites, Beside Federal High Court (A walk from the Federal Secretariat),  Central District, Abuja

TIME: 4pm (Not African time sha o!)

DATE: 31st August 2013