March 17, 2008

Is UNN Ready for NUGA 2008?

A visit to the school reveals nothing. Apart from the huge sign board strategically placed by the front school gate, nothing shows the school is making adequate arrangments to host the event. The Akanu Ibiam Stadium is in serious want of repair - roofless stands, sandy race tracks, weeds growing out of the concrete stands that will seat spectators. A few weeks ago, rumour had it Julius Berger had been contracted to renovate the Stadium and all shop owners on the premises had been served quick notices. We are yet to see any sign Julius Berger has Akanu Ibiam Stadium on its map. The new hostel building, rumoured to have been built especially for the participants of the NUGA Games seems to be finished.

A visit to the Akanu Ibiam Stadium on certain mornings will reveal something else. Training of the school's participants seems to be in gear for the NUGA Games. The football team can always be seen training energetically, chanting songs and doing their rounds of excercise; the Taekwondo students practice in one corner of the stadium steering clear of the tracks where the participants in the track events race across the sandy tracks occassionally halting as the Coach shouts instructions. The participants in the field events like short put and javelin throwing, get better with each throw. The entire school is watching to see how they will perform in Ghana come 19th of March,2008.

Boy Falls from Three Story Hostel Building!!

...and lives to recount the tale!!

On the morning of the 15th March, 2008, word spread around campus quickly that at about one a.m that morning, a second year boy had fallen off the second floor of the Eni Njoku hostel building, in the middle of the night.

All sorts of rumours spread, faster than the chicken pox epidemic currently pervading the school. From the feasible to the down right incredible, rumours about the circumstances leading to his fall, went from hostel to hostel even before the local women who sell Okpa very early in the morning, arrived. The truth was not given a chance that morning and only those who paid him a visit and those who read this blog will know the truth.

The Boy (name withheld for obvious reasons) fell off the second floor when he edged too close to the weak and rusted railing, after waking from sleep. In the pitch darkness NEPA (now known as PHCN), left the students in, "the boy" did not see the edge of the corridor and somehow he slipped through the rusted railing and fell onto the concrete floor two storeys below. Fortunately someone saw him fall, rushed down to assist him and raised an alarm. Sleepy students rushed out of their rooms into the darkness to come to his aid. They managed to rouse someone who possessed a motorbike (aka Okada) , so they could convey him to the University Medical Centre.

My source reveals that the injured boy did not get immediate medical attention, as the nurses prevaricated, asking somewhat unnecessary questions. Money appeared and so did a Doctor who examined the young chap and pronounced him okay for the moment until X-ray tests could be conducted to see if any fractures resulted. Unfortunately, the X-ray machine of the University Medical Centre was not functional and so the injured boy's brother's and sister would have to search for X-ray services offered outside the school premises (Lord have mercy!). Family members went into town to search a clinic with X-ray services and what they discovered is just as disappointing. One of the Clinics contacted said they offer X-ray services only on weekdays (Isn't that absurd? Why would they have such a myopic policy? Do people fracture bones only on weekdays?).

My classmate had to lie a hospital bed unsure of his condition until today. My schedule was so grueling that I could not visit, so I can't say if he managed to get the X-ray test done. The only wounds visible to the eye are his swollen fingers and wrist(he landed with them) and there's a bulge to the left of the knee cap of his right leg beside an ugly bruise. On the day the incident took place, he could walk around unsupported and gist with us.

The ONYEKA NWELUE Effect


This past weekend was unlike the others. The reason? Onyeka Nwelue stopped by to visit me in my hostel room on the Nsukka campus of the University of Nigeria. You are all wondering by now who Onyeka Nwelue is. Kindly wait till the end of this post to find out.

Onyeka Nwelue paid me a visit on the 15th of March 2008. Quite frankly, there's nothing unusual in that gesture (Onyeka, a few other students and I are members of a yet to be christened group of young, aspiring writers who meet often to criticize each others literary work) because we are colleagues. I chatted with him for a little while and then I had to hurry to the hospital to visit a friend who fell off a three storey building (another reason this weekend was unlike the others. See full gist in subsequent blog post). I left Onyeka in the company of a fellow writer and three of my roommates and then I rushed off to the hospital.

I returned late that day and it wasn't until Sunday morning that my roommates began discussing Onyeka Nwelue. They talked about everything from his atheist beliefs, to his literary work, to the mystery called "Yoga". They talked about the way he spoke with conviction about beliefs considered unusual in this part of Africa and they marveled at his impressive online resume.

My roommates and I are diverse people with various religious beliefs and backgrounds who try hard to put up with each other. A lot of our discussions center on religion because we are religiously diverse - two staunch Catholics, a traditionalist, a Pentecostal, an Anglican and a Jehovah's Witness. They would have taken to him without hesitation were it not for his atheist beliefs. None of us had ever come across someone who did not believe there was a God up there. A God who sees all things. A God who sent his Son, Jesus, to redeem us. A God who listens to our selfish prayers. A God who forgives us abundantly... The list is endless. Nwelue saying God's word the Bible is as fictitious as Harry Potter was disturbing to all.

Everyone tried to take it off their mind and we huddled around two laptop computers so we could "google" Onyeka Nwelue. The Devilfinder search engine turned out about 176 results!! Everyone was suddenly in awe of the boy who had strolled into our room the previous day without putting on airs, causing us to ignorantly assume he was as obscure as the rest of us. The room was a little subdued as we read and discussed the many things he had posted on Poemhunter.com, his narrative on eclectica.com, and his blog.

Someone came up with the idea and we all scrambled to "google" our names. One after the other (not in order) the eight of us keyed in our full names with surnames and waited half expectantly for the page to load. Half expectantly in the sense that we knew we had done nothing to warrant the Google engine listing our obscure names but hoping that somehow we were on the same level with Onyeka. Of the eight names, four had listings. Of the four names listed, two were related unspectacularly to our school's website, one was linked to an online association, the other was listed because of his connection with an online community. Frustrated, a few of us kicked around the room. For the first time knowing we were "nobody" made us all feel ill at ease. It was as I kicked around that I remembered Onyeka's words one afternoon as we sat in an internet cafe. He drew my attention to the number of student obituaries that were posted all over school and said he was determined not to leave this world without making an impact on it. Hearing that come from someone my age was rousing.

"The Boy with the Steaming Pen" is what an article in the Nigerian Guardian newspaper called him. Onyeka Nwelue at twenty years of age has accomplished quite a lot I must say. I cannot begin to list everything he has achieved or overcome. Check out his blog and search for his writings on the internet. You will not leave without a reaction.
-----
I visited Chimamanda Adichie & Chinua Achebe's old house on the University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus! Read my post HERE!

Dear Beyonce


I was on a bus ride to Nsukka in Enugu State, Nigeria, and on sudden inspiration, used the song titles and lyrics of my favourite songs by Beyonce Knowles (with and without the members of Destiny's Child) to compose a "crush letter" (relative to the renowned "love letter"). What resulted was truly creative. The song titles are the words that are highlighted. Enjoy:

Dear Beyonce,
There’s probably nothing I will write in this letter to you, that you haven’t already heard, so I will be brief. To say I’m crazy in love with you would be an understatement; to say I’m dangerously in love with you would teeter on the truth. Every time I watch you my emotions surge, so I have decided to stand up and say what I feel deep within. Please Listen.

I’m wishing on a star that our paths would cross one sunny day maybe in Hollywood and I would stare into your brown eyes even if it's for a second. You inspire me to be better at what I do, challenge me to reach out for the impossible, that’s why I write this love letter. Such passion, such beauty, such talent! Oh! Beyonce, Beyonce. You are my enigma, my center. I find release in your art, I can’t find no substitute. B, I’m no beautiful liar, I’m no kitty kat. I’m a survivor. I'm a soldier, I’m your soldier. When I watch you on my screen doing your thing, it’s no longer me, myself and I; I’m your baby boy and you are my naughty girl.

Without emasculating myself, I’d never think I’m irreplaceable. I might not be able to upgrade you but I would never degrade you. Girl, I want to cater to you. If you give me the greenlight, I would love you flaws & all.


Lots and lots of love and admiration,
Osondu Nnamdi Awaraka

Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie - My Thoughts

Half of a Yellow Sun easily outshines the profusion of books published in the year 2006. Despite of the gravity of issues Chimamanda deals with here, she soothes the readers’ soul with her witty writing.

Half of a Yellow Sun hits you hard with terrific imagery describing suffering, the magnanimity of a million losses, tears and immeasurable pain; then drains you, leaving you wondering if you could have survived that period, and how your parents and grandparents did. It will have you futilely hoping such horrors never cross anyone’s path.
It's beautiful, soul stirring and poignant. Adichie leaves her characters emotions fully explored.

----
I visited Chimamanda Adichie & Chinua Achebe's old house on the University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus! Read my post HERE!

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie- My Thoughts


I had heard so much about Chimamanda Adichie's books (Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun) that I decided to purchase them and see what all the buzz was about. I haven't regretted that decision. Her books have affected me and the way I write. After reading Purple Hibiscus, I penned this down:

None of the reviews I read before beginning Purple Hibiscus prepared me for this phenomenal novel. An avid reader, I have never come across a book this powerful. I fell out of its pages sapped of my strength and close to tears. "Poignant" doesn't quite describe the story, "breathing" doesn't capture the characters, "exquisite" in no way describes the way Adichie writes. I have never seen anything like it. Adichie writes the way I dream of writing when I dream. Only The Times review manages to capture Purple Hibiscus - 'Immensely powerful'.

----
I visited Chimamanda Adichie & Chinua Achebe's old house on the University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus! Read my post HERE!

Two Africans I Admire



For decades, African men and women have shone like beacons locally and internationally. I write this essay to pick two Africans I admire, not because these are the greatest, or the most knowledgeable or courageous, but because their achievements have impressed me. The two Africans I admire immensely are South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and Nigeria’s Dora Akunyili. Their hard work, simplicity and down to earth manner is endearing to me. Their contributions, even if they do not directly affect you, have made them objects of national pride. The numerous awards and accolades conferred on them are not what have made them great- those are merely tokens of appreciation from indebted and approving kinsmen, it’s their struggle to rescue their country men despite all odds.

I shall begin with Nelson Mandela. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa on July 18, 1918. He was educated at University College of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand and qualified in law in 1942. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and was engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party's apartheid policies after 1948. He went on trial for treason in 1956-1961 and was acquitted in 1961. After the banning of the ANC in 1960, Nelson Mandela argued for the setting up of a military wing within the ANC. In June 1961, the ANC executive considered his proposal on the use of violent tactics and agreed that those members who wished to involve themselves in Mandela's campaign would not be stopped from doing so by the ANC. This led to the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe. Mandela was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to five years' imprisonment with hard labour. In 1963, when many fellow leaders of the ANC and the Umkhonto we Sizwe were arrested, Mandela was brought to stand trial with them for plotting to overthrow the government by violence. His statement from the dock received considerable international publicity. On June 12, 1964, eight of the accused, including Mandela, were sentenced to life imprisonment.

From the winter of 1964 to 1982, he was incarcerated at Robben Island Prison, off Cape Town. Confined to a small cell with the floor as his bed, a bucket for a toilet, he was forced to do hard labour in a quarry. He was allowed one visitor a year for 30 minutes. He could write and receive one letter every six months. But Robben Island became the crucible, which transformed him. Through his intelligence, charm and dignified defiance, Mandela eventually bent even the most brutal prison officials to his will, assumed leadership over his jailed comrades and became the master of his own prison.

During his years in prison, Nelson Mandela's reputation grew steadily. He was widely accepted as the most significant black leader in South Africa and became a potent symbol of resistance as the anti-apartheid movement gathered strength. He consistently refused to compromise his political position to obtain his freedom. He emerged from prison; a mature leader who would fight and win the great political battles that would create a new democratic South Africa. Thereafter, he was incarcerated at Pollsmoor Prison. After his release on February 11, 1990, he plunged himself wholeheartedly into his life's work, striving to attain the goals he and others had set out almost four decades earlier. His switch to a policy of reconciliation and negotiation helped lead the transition to multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Since the end of apartheid, he has been widely praised, even among white South Africans and former opponents. In 1991, at the first national conference of the ANC held inside South Africa after the organization had been banned in 1960, Mandela was elected President of the ANC while his lifelong friend and colleague, Oliver Tambo, became the organisation's National Chairperson.

Mandela has received over a hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He was inaugurated as the first democratically elected State President of South Africa on 10 May 1994 and stepped down from office in June 1999 after which he retired from public life. He is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela's clan. The title has come to be synonymous with Nelson Mandela. Mandela, on his 89th birthday launched an initiative called Global Elders, a group of 12 wise men and women, who will address global problems by offering expertise and guidance. He currently resides in his birth place - Qunu, Transkei

Mrs. Dora Akunyili is the other African I admire. She was born on 14th July 1954. From her primary school education through to her tertiary education, Mrs. Dora showed remarkable brilliance earning scholarships in her secondary and tertiary schools. She got her B. Pharm (Hons.) in the year 1978 and Ph.D in 1985, both at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN); she won the vice chancellor postgraduate and research leadership price in faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the 1984/85 and 1985/86 academic sessions. She served in six Senate Committees and various offices of Pharmaceutical sciences Committees of the University from 1986 – 1992. She received the family Health International USA Congress Award for the 10th International Conference on AIDS Yokohama, Japan (1994). She was appointed zonal secretary of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and coordinatiedall projects in the five south eastern states of Nigeria from 1996 – 2000. She was a post Doctorate fellow of the University of London, and a fellow of the West African postgraduate college of Pharmacy. She was also one of the six Nigerian ladies honored at The Hague by the International Pharmaceutical Federation in 1998.

She took over as Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) in 2001. Before she took charge, her countrymen faithfully swallowed pills of white chalk marketed as popular painkillers; daily they quenched their thirsts with copious amounts of dirty, germ-full water sold in satchets and nylon bags; they imported substandard products that even less affluent neighbouring countries wouldn’t let near their borders; her countrymen wolfed down loaves of bread baked with Potassium Bromate, to satisfy their hunger; they purchased expired market goods whose expiry dates had been cunningly postdated to increase their shelf life or sometimes ignorantly purchased them with their expiry dates written clearly. An astonishing 80% of all the medications sold in Nigeria were deficient in one way or another. According to statistics in 1990, more than one hundred Nigerian kids died from a painkiller that had been made with toxic ethylene glycol instead of propylene glycol. In 2003, phony Adrenaline led to the deaths of three children undergoing surgery in Enugu. Dora’s own sister died in 1980, as a victim of fake insulin.

However, Mrs. Dora revamped the food and drug industry, with an iron fist and remarkably strong will. Soon after she took charge, she restricted Pharmaceutical imports to just two airports, and seaports, and had them manned by trustworthy NAFDAC officials. Her agency made a list of 19 Indian and Chinese companies that have been indicted for manufacturing fake drugs and banned their products. She placed her own analysts in India and China to re-certify any drugs manufactured in those countries before they could be shipped to Nigeria. Under her leadership, NAFDAC conducted nationwide raids on nearly 800 drug distribution outlets, carrying out 90 “destruction exercises” on counterfeit and substandard medicine. Because of her candour, several attempts on her life have been made. NAFDAC’s offices have been firebombed and its staff attacked by gunmen. She says, “Drug counterfeiting is the greatest evil of our time. Malaria can be prevented, HIV/AIDS can be avoided and armed robbery may kill a few at a time, but fake drugs kill en masse”

Through various media she warns of the ills of fake drugs and the need for the common man to report any such criminal activity. She has boosted the economy by re-energizing the local drug making industries, and encouraging genuine importers and foreign investors. She has gained recognition for her dedication to her office. She has received over three hundred and ninety awards, among which are Person of the Year 2005 Award by Silver bird Communications Ltd, Nigeria (5th January 2006); Honourary Georgia Citizen by the State of Georgia, USA (24th June 2006); Honourary Degree of Doctor of Law by University of Bristol, London (18th July 2006); Transparency International Integrity award in South Korea (25th May 2003); She was also honoured as one of the 18 heroes of Time Magazine, New York (2nd November 2006). She is a Fellow of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and belongs to other learned societies, a few of which are New York Academy of Science, International Union of Pharmacology and International Pharmaceutical Federation. She’s also an Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR).

In a nation that has male dominance entrenched deeply in its various cultures, she has proved that women can be trusted with huge official responsibilities. She has made her country women extremely proud.

At a time when African are being badmouthed internationally, these two Africans give me reason to hold my head up anywhere “Africa” is mentioned. Yes, Nelson Mandela and Dora Akunyili have proven that Africa is not filled with drug dealers, swindlers and shady politicians. We have principled, responsible and hardworking nationals who will always stand for what is right, no matter the personal cost.


References: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/mandela/prison ;
http://www. Time.com/time/magazine/article.html; Lifesaver Hero: Dora N. Akunyili by Samson from Abuja, http://www.myhero.com/myhero/hero; The Roar, volume 7, No. 1 2006/2007 edition, October 2006 pg 72.

March 07, 2008

Outside the Gates of the US Embassy in Nigeria

I arrived the US embassy in Nigeria in a bright yellow taxi cab on a bright Monday morning - quite early I should add because I was advised to- and was surprised to see a mob of Nigerians in a corner outside its gates. They were waiting for the appointed hour to queue up, so they could gain entry and attend various appointments. Because there are usually lots of people, every applicant strives to arrive early, really early, so they can be attended to. The sign on the huge gate stated that applicants could begin to queue at five-thirty am, I had arrived by six-thirty am and since my appointment wasn’t till 11am, I had a long time to wait. I had brought some reading material, but quite unlike myself, I put it aside and chose to study the throng of people I was waiting with.

The security guards were very much alert, perhaps due to the recent terrorist attacks on some US embassies in foreign countries. We were briefed on the items that we would not be permitted to carry through their gates for security reasons. After the announcement, I returned my attention to my fellow would be immigrants. They came in all shapes and sizes, conditions and demeanours. There were husbands and wives towing toddlers; there were single men and women, some looked educated and sharp, while others (some scantily clad) left my seatmate and I pondering aloud how they intended to earn a livelihood when they got into the United States - if they got into the United States; then there were college-age youths who looked naΓ―ve and excited. They all had hope, desperation and anxiety etched on their faces.

Is our motherland Nigeria, such a hopeless case that our best and brightest are shipping out in droves to more affluent countries? Cars drove past, in between the waiting crowd backing the lagoon, and the embassy gates; its occupants looking out on us both in wonder and embarrassment. How many billion dollars worth of oil do we ship out daily? How many hectares of fertile land do we have? The answer to these questions leave much more unanswered. While musing, something occurred to me. I had been sitting outside for over two hours and had seen no activity at the neighbouring embassy. It was almost as though it did not exist. I came to the conclusion that people were not very enthusiastic about migrating to a country less affluent than the United States.

My long wait for my appointment was over. The time was eleven am. There was a surge to form the queue, and everyone was shoving and jostling for a more prominent position in the line. I found my former seatmate close to me once more and he quipped that this was another form of slavery except, unlike the colonial times when people were kidnapped or hoodwinked into going abroad; nowadays people are willing to be shipped. How many people enter for Visa Lotteries? How many of those people win the lotteries? How many of the people who win, get the Almighty Green card, finally make it over there?

Endless questions. I did not have time to answer them, though they weighed heavily on my mind. I concentrated my efforts on maintaining my position on the line. I want the American dream James Truslow Adams spoke about. Most people worldwide want the American dream. How many can have the American dream? I strongly believe it’s time we fixed up our country and the continent at large and created the Nigerian dream, or perhaps the African dream. Then other persons in other countries will jostle at our embassy gates for Nigerian visa's and passports. For now, the best and brightest (me included) will continue to leave the Nigerian shore in droves.

Abuja - Out of Nigeria


My plane touched down the runway of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and taxied to a stop. It was my first time in FCT, the "hyped” capital of The Federal Republic of Nigeria. I had not seen anything awesome yet, but I kept my fingers crossed as I took a drive from the airport into the city. Along the way, I saw a whirlwind of dust on the side of the road. It was spinning fast and raising dry leaves. I had seen whirlwinds of the same proportion in Port Harcourt so I was not impressed.

Immediately I drove into the city, I sensed something wrong with the picture, but I could not place it. Then it hit me! There was a conspicuous absence of hawkers and beggars; also we had driven for about thirty minutes without encountering any traffic jam! That could be termed abnormal in most states of the country. Little did I know I would be seeing much more “abnormal” activity during my trip. Along the way my cheerful cab driver Abbas, pointed Zuma rock out from the many surrounding hills. What set Zuma rock apart from the rest? I did not ask, it seemed pointless to do so.

If I was waiting to be awed, I was in for a thrill. The central district was so interesting, I had to turn my head frequently so I would not miss anything. Damn that camera I forgot in Port-Harcourt! There were architectural beauties everywhere I turned; Nigeria Defense Headquarters, Radio House, Transcorp Hilton, Nicon Insurance to name a few! It seemed like the architectural firms in Abuja were trying to outdo each other by producing elaborate, breathtaking designs. Nothing so exotic as to compare with first world cities, but definitely impressive for a developing African nation. There were lots of tall buildings under construction that were certain to be eye poppers for the average unexposed Nigerian. Yet despite all this development, there were lots of greenery and plant life everywhere I turned. This was sure to please conservationists. A calm and beautiful place, Abuja boasts of some of the most beautiful views in the country, which will wow the worst skeptic and please those with refined aesthetic tastes.

There were large four lane roads that ensured a steady and free flow of traffic. The taxi cabs I saw were neat and did not spew out black carbon monoxide like those in other states. Then of course, there were the exotic rides…cars that define affluence. Peugeot 406 rides raced down the roads with other sleek automobiles. Where were the poor people I wondered? I was informed later of the “satellite towns” where the lower middle class and the poor co-inhabit because life in the big city is much too expensive. The city was unnatural by Nigerian standards. It had been forcefully weeded of the poor and needy. It was empty of real life – the larger percent of the Nigerian population- the poor. Abuja is probably the most well planned Nigerian city and the first without a durable plan for the poor. A shame, for a country with lots of the poor. If you plan to take a trip to the Federal Capital Territory, take along a fat wallet and don't forget your camera!

My Blogenesis

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to Incessant Scribbles. I had penned down something well thought out and appropriate long before now, only to reach the cybercafe and realise I have left it back in my room. Who needs that silly sheet of paper anyway...

I settled down to write after I finished secondary school. I wrote a lot of poems, and a lot of other stuff I'm glad you won't be able to grade, and I kept them. I did not show them to anyone neither did I tell anyone I was writing. It was for my eyes only. That was the same way I acted when I began writing lenghtier prose. I delayed showing my work to my siblings, friends and family. In hindsight, I think I was anxious. I was not sure how they would react.

Here in Nigeria we tell stories. A lot of stories. Parents tell their children stories, grandparents gather their grandchildren and tell them stories. It's in our culture, it's in our blood. We tell stories often...we just don't seem to write as much. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we don't have books written by indigenous writers, we do. It's just that writing is still somewhat a foreign idea. Telling your parents or friends, in those years before third generation writers such as Chimamanda Adichie drew more attention to the art, that you wanted to be a writer was like saying you wanted to be a musician. I use that analogy because when my parents were kids, music was not the ideal career path. Parents did not support kids who studied it, it was something rebellious, no-good teens did.

I might be wrong, but I think one of the reasons our parents are so worried when we talk about pursuing the arts is because they fear we would not have enough to support ourselves and in the future, our families. Yes, pursuing a literary career doesn't pay the bills always. It doesn't guarantee a steady source of income in this part of the world. Our parents know it, we too can see it with our young eyes. So what do we end up doing?. We relegate to the background our inherent talent and pursue a career we don't not love, just so we can be more comfortable. Just so we can fit into a society that neither supports nor appreciates art. I think it's also possible (it seems to be the case with me) that we are not sure of exactly how much talent we possess. Is it below average or just average writing skills? As is the case with me, there were not many successful Nigerian writers I could relate to until Adichie came along. A girl who is not as far off as our literary greats- Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Elechi Amadi etcetera. A girl whose story I could read and draw parallels.

I'm not saying I have broken away from the norm and "I'm pursuing my dream". I'm just speaking out. My generation does not entertain itself with literature. If entertainment doesn't come from a screen we are apathetic. Growing up, I developed an interest in books. So much so I genuinely appreciated a book my mom got me on my birthday (Enid Blyton's The Rabbit's Whiskers and Other Stories) . I don't think many of the kids in my generation (Millenial) would smile happily if presented with a storybook or novel as a birthday present instead of a brand new game console. Without the genius of Joanne Kathleen Rowling, millions of kids worldwide would never have discovered the sweet joy, words on a printed page can give. The joy derived from flipping pages, wondering what the character is going to do next, trying to guess what the author will write next. The joy that you get from being drawn into a book, into someone else's world and coming back out savouring the experience days, months and years.

People my age (those in their early twenties) don't carry novels, that's for girls. I can count on one hand the number of friends I have with whom I can discuss literature. I can't count the number of times I have felt embarrassed for carrying and borrowing books when my peers were borrowing game consoles. Fortunately, I never discarded the habit. I love books now and I will love them till I die.

I am trying my hand at writing, I want to see if I can affect people with what I write. And to do find out that, I need an audience. That's where YOU come in. I would be immensely grateful if you stop by as often as you can, and check out what I have written, and if I have written anything, I need you to leave your COMMENTS. No matter how harsh they sound, no matter how little you think you know about writing to judge me, Leave a comment. If you think I'm really good, SPREAD THE WORD. I will appreciate it very much. It won't be easy juggling school work with this but I will post as often as i can.

THANK YOU for your time,

Osondu Nnamdi Awaraka