Buy #Hashtags from Amazon (Paperback and Kindle), Konga and Bookshops across Nigeria

My book, Hashtags: Social Media, Politics and Ethnicity in Nigeria can now be purchased from the following outlets:

Hashtag1

1.  AMAZON

Paper back: https://www.amazon.com/dp/9785572366

Kindle edition: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L2KS5TK

2. KONGA

https://www.konga.com/product/hashtags-social-media-politics-and-ethnicity-in-nigeria-4114142

BOOKSTORES

 Abuja

Salamander Cafe

Booksellers

Readers are Leaders

Adams Pages

Lagos

Patabah Books, Surulere

Terrakulture, Victoria Island

JED Megastores, Lekki

Page Books, Ikeja

Quintessence, Ikoyi

Roving Heights (delivers nationwide)

Ibadan

Booksellers

Port-Harcourt

BookVille World

Ilorin

The Book Dealers

 

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A Review of Bayo Olupohunda’s “Are You Not a Nigerian?”

Are you not a Nigerian

  • Title:                         Are you not a Nigerian? Thoughts on a Nation at Crossroads.
  • Author:                     Bayo Olupohunda
  • Publisher:                  Narrative Landscape Press, Lagos
  • Year of Publication: 2017
  • Page extent:              340 pages

The title “Are you not a Nigerian?” is jarring and emotional. One is forced to pause and make some deep reflections even before opening the book. The riotous imagery it invokes brings to mind the perennial search for the Nigerian identity. Scholars have confronted this question: what really defines our national identity? What is the role of ethnicity in defining national identity?[1] Is our ethnic diversity a blessing or a curse?[2] Hence, am I first an Igbo man before being a Nigerian or vice versa? Can I claim to be both? This is a question that will continue begging for answers.

Are you not a Nigerian is a worthy addition to literature in the subject area of national identity and memory. The author presents Nigeria’s recent political history in episodes, like a soap opera. This approach has the merit of not being interested in establishing causality. Rather it seeks to deepen the understanding of a phenomenon. This explains the author’s constancy in presenting the nuanced context of the stories he narrates. The reader is thus, aided to fully appreciate the Nigerian experience but equally given the liberty to draw his or her own conclusions.

Each post takes one back in to the past – a “once upon a time!” kind of feeling. In the first part, take the post “Encounter with a Blackberry Babe” for instance, now seems like an encounter with an extinct civilization. Who would have thought that a time will come when BB will be discussed with the awed curiosity of a relic? But this only jolts one back to the present, seeing how digital media has transformed our society. It is true that we still grapple with the binary bifurcation of media scholars – the digital enthusiasts and cynics. The author came out in this post as a digital cynic. It would be interesting to know if his stance has changed or has remained the same.

The stories in second section “the Nigerian Condition” evoke despair about our national reality. These excerpts accentuate the observation I made above:

They will converge at airports to welcome the leaders who had gone abroad to receive treatment… What a country? What a people?[3]

A trip on the famished road called the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway presents a chilling scenario. My heart was in my mouth; my blood pressure was in an all time high. To underscore my fear, I had rejected many invitations from family and friends to attend social events that require one to use that road.[4]

Also this section shows how Nigerian citizens have been perpetually brutalized by those paid to protect them – no bi today! This was captured in “Citizen Akpan and Lagos Task Force.” But from the ashes of stories like Akpan, hope has also grown. For instance, the #EndSARS campaign is a movement that was born on Twitter by one man – Segun Awosanya – who had the guts to say enough to the incessant and vicious harassment of citizens by the police. It soon grew into a movement that has gained considerable mileage in protecting Nigerians, especially the youth.

The third and forth parts of the book could be jointly renamed the more things changes, the more they remain the same. And since we are in an election season, it is pertinent to pay attention to these two parts the book. It reveals that Nigerians are the victims of the failed promises of Nigerian politicians and their government. All we get most often are empty slogans and nothing more. From a Breath of Fresh Air to Sai Baba and Changeall na scam!

The last part reveals an open secret, that there are no political parties in Nigeria. Rather we have a club of people who are only interested in having a direct and unlimited access to fame, power and our common wealth. Peter Ekeh’s seminal theoretical statement[5] advances a reason for this intractable issue: the two publics. This disparity between the primordial and civic public; the private and public morality; the ‘our own syndrome’ versus the common good continues to plague Nigerian politics. The absence of ideological foundation in party politics was aptly captured by Aisha Osori: “there is not much to distinguish Nigeria’s two main political parties: the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC), at least not in terms of ideology and core values.”[6] Rather they both share in the godfather syndrome which Isaac Albert succinctly defined as gladiators who “use their influence to block the participation of others in Nigerian politics. They are political gatekeepers: they dictate who participates in politics and under what conditions.”[7] Similarly, Adeniyi[8] recorded the unprecedented rate of defections that was witnessed at the threshold of the 2015 elections. What has really changed; nothing, absolutely nothing!

The curation of memory is no easy task. Yet this is a task that has to be done because no nation has progressed without confronting its past and learning from it. This is what the Oluphunda achieved in Are You Not a Nigerian? We are invited to take a look at Nigeria’s contemporary past through the Olupohunda’s personal lens, the lived experience of what is now referred as ‘his truth’. As Achebe said, ““until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” And for this we should be very grateful to the author for doing this thankless job and hence saving us from being afflicted with mutilated versions of our own history.

 

Endnotes

[1]           Ukiwo, U. 2015. The study of ethnicity in Nigeria. Oxford Development Studies, Volume 33, Issue 1, 2005, pp 7-23

[2]           Osaghae, E. E. and Suberu, R. T. 2005. A history of identities, violence, and stability in Nigeria. CRISE Working Paper, No. 6, January 2005, pp 1-27

[3]           Olupohunda, B. 2017. Are you not a Nigerian? Lagos: Narrative Landscape Press, page 41

[4]         Ibid, page 43

[5]           Ekeh, P. P. 1975. Colonialism and the two publics in Africa: A theoretical statement. Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Jan., 1975), pp. 91-112

[6]           Osori, A. 2017. Love does not win elections. Lagos: Narrative Landscape Press, page 15

[7]           Albert, I. O. 2005. Explaining ‘godfatherism’ in Nigerian politics. African Sociological Review, 9, (2), page 82

[8]         Adeniyi, O. 2017. Against the run of play: how an incumbent president was defeated in Nigeria. Lagos: Kachifo Limited (under its Prestige Imprint)

 

Afonja’s his-story of the Oyo Empire

A Review of Tunde Leye’s “Afonja, the Rise”

Lagos: TLspace Media, 2018, 358 pages

By Nwachukwu Egbunike

Afonja Front and Back Updated

Afonja, the Rise is a story of a revered warrior of Oyo but above all his-story of one of the greatest Empires of the Yoruba Civilization. Tunde Leye did not conceal his reason for writing this book:

Because our history must be told…

Around lanterns and around laptops…

So that we may know.

So that we may learn.

So that we may remember (p iii).

Leye’s work is an ambitious task to rendering memory from the perspective of a young man in love with his past. And he does this through a voracious employment of the past – the shared patrimony of his lineage, the recorded history of his people and the many oral traditions – but with the tools of the present. The opening verses which best captures both his intentions and actions – that runs from the first page of the book to the last – are these “around lanterns and around laptops”.

Leye book seems to re-echo the theoretical synthesis of tradition and modernity of Louis J. Munoz who maintained that tradition is simply “the past in the present.[1]” And also of Jaroslav Pelikan who asserts that “tradition is the living faith of the dead.”[2] Leye’s synthesis in Afonja, the rise tells a story that although focused on this great Kakanfo of Oyo Empire, yet is at the same time not really a story about the warrior. The book unwittingly paints a graphic picture of the intrigues of the absolute monarchy of the once invincible Oyo Empire. It takes one on a journey through the personal life of each character: sorrow, joys, victories and the blunders of war, the betrayals and the intrigues of a royal court.

It is through these firm brushes that the author inserts salient points about traditional rites of marriage, the profundity of proverbs or the supremacy of the Alaafin. Yet within this absolute monarchy, lie traditional checks and balances. One sees in the last chapter the wisdom of the past: if the king is too stubborn to take correction, his subjects must cover their heads in a basket and tell his some home truths. Yet if he remains obdurate then the same tradition that deified him will also be employed in granting him an express visa to meet his ancestors.

And so it was in Afonja the rise, the Oyo Mesi rejected their king. It fell on the chiefs to pronounce the solemn declaration that went thus: the “Alaafin Aole Arogangan, I have brought a message from Oyo and it is a message you must receive. The gods reject you, the people reject you, the earth rejects you” (p 345). The response of the Alaafin is instructive: “My curse be on you, for you disloyalty and disobedience, so let your children disobey you, if you send them on an errand, let the never return to bring you word again, to all the points I have shot my arrows, you will be carried as slaves, my curse will carry you to the sea and beyond the seas” (p 346).

Although the book maintains a loud silence as regards the fulfillment or otherwise of this royal curse, it worth emphasizing that Alaafin Aole Arogangan ‘obeyed’ his subjects and committed suicide. This is why Munoz insists on using the term “Yoruba Civilisation[3]” rather than ethnic group, nation or even nationality in the describing the socio-political governance of the people of south-western Nigeria. It is only a civilisation that has an inherent memory and institutional measures of state that can enforce the rule of law. Thus, no one is above the law and not even an absolute monarch. These similar traits have characterised great civilizations of the West. Yet it begs the question, if the Yoruba civilization was this organised, is it not painful that Nigeria of the 21st century tethers under the weight of despotic leadership. A country where impunity is the norm and some people are not only above the law, but are now the law?

However, Afonja, the rise also is traumatic – albeit painful. This is because one has this feeling of despondency while reading the book. It seems that the only thing we learn from history is to repeat history. And thus it is that the unending intrigues by all the powerful characters within Leye’s story had one thing in common – selfish personal interest.

Afonja wanted to be Kakanfo at all cost. The lust for power blinded him to become a pawn in the hands of Alami whose only ambition was to “dip the Koran into the sea” and create a kingdom in Ilorin over which he will preside. Same goes for Bashorun Asamu – “the prime chief in the Oyo Empire, second only to Alaafin” (p 5) – who thwarted the young Aremo who defied tradition by not accompanying his late father Alaafin Adesina to the grave but rather wanted to succeed him. Asamu succeeded in preventing Aremo from ascending to the throne. However, he miscalculated by making Aole the Alaafin who he thought he could easily manipulate. This of course misfired. The obstinacy of Alaafin Aole became the price the Oyo Empire had to pay because the king wanted to assert that his nobody’s pawn and in the process went overboard.

Like Oyo – kingdoms either rise through the dint of hard work of people or fall due to the unmitigated vicious ambition and treachery of men. Unfortunately Toye Ogunyemi’s prayerful hope “that the mistakes of the past[4]” are never again repeated seems unanswered. A messiah was sold to us, but sadly a hegemonic irredentist sits on the throne. Not heeding the lesson of history continues to haunt us.

Tunde Leye’s Afonja the Rise is a labour of memory, one that nudges us to never fail to remember. Although the opening chapter leaves the reader with a scathing feeling, trying to navigate the maze of a character too many – the book is well written. Leye employs lucid prose with a well constructed suspense and a splendid use of flash backs. Afonja the Rise is like a ferocious hurricane that sweeps you from the first page and only dumps you at a distant shore of the last page. I recommend you buy the book; it’s worth every second of your time.

 

[1] Louis J. Munoz (2007). The past in the present: towards a rehabilitation of tradition. Ibadan: Spectrum Books Ltd

[2]  Jaroslav Pelikan (1984). The vindication of tradition. New Haven and London: Yale University Press

[3]  Louis J. Munoz (2003). A living tradition: studies in Yoruba Civilisation. Ibadan: Bookcraft Ltd

[4]  Toye Ogunyemi (2015). Ibadan Empire: Republicanism in a pre-colonial African Nation. Ibadan: Rasmed Publications Ltd

Ezenwa Nkachukwu Egbunike, a Year After…

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Ezenwa Nkachukwu Egbunike (1945-2016)

“Life is changed not ended…”

This is one of those times when words become meaningless. The senses are so attuned that silence seems the best response to riotous emotions. The deep sense of gratitude within many layers of grief are so palpable that only time can cure it. A year today, you breathed your last on this spatial and ephemeral space.

Ezenwa I know that you can see and hear the trudging of my heart as I try to write this…. The price of love is to be vulnerable for both the object and subject of love does not end here. Rather it lives in the memory of the lover.

Your transition was not sudden, yet it took the winds off our sails. For a year you battled the excruciating result of a failed state. You bore the marks of the many millions who our highways have swallowed into the void of nothingness. For a year we struggled to save you but it was not be as we had hoped.

Then it happened… That unforgettable day a year ago, when the doctor gave that damming report, “he’s gone!” The damn broke, I wept!

Time stood still. The pent up emotions tore with ferocious shamelessness. It had ended here under for you.  The door down below has closed and that up above opened up in welcome.

It’s been a year that zoomed past in voracious haste. The ties are stronger, more delicate and refined. In life you shed the torch that we might find and keep to the way. In life that ends not, you kept faith with us, morphing into an intercessor of unimaginable fecundity.

It does not end here… It never will. Your life was indeed a libation poured out for us. You planted and watered the arid desert that now blooms with fragrance of fresh flowers. You never minded the thorns so long as we picked the roses. You were that seed planted in rocky field that grew to become a forest. If anyone were to ever deserve being named ‘sacrifice’ you personalized and lived it till the end.

Ezenwa Onicha, you’ll remain the man I hope to become.

 

being a Nigerian and living in Nigeria has been equally fantastic and depressing – Nwachukwu Egbunike (Writer, Publisher, Author in Global Voices and Social Media Researcher)

Yes, there are substantial differences between creative writing and writing for research purposes but they are not so diametrically opposed to the point of being rivals. I am a writer – creative or research – all na writing!

BN MAGAZINE

Nwachukwu Egbunike  is a Nigerian writer, Publisher, Author in Global Voices and  Social Media Researcher. His book, Blazing Moon, was shortlisted for 2015 Association of Nigerian Authors’ Prize for poetry. In this interview, he talks about writing, life, politics and education.

nwachukwu-egbunike-1

Welcome to StraightTalkWithBenneth. Thank you for agreeing to this interview, it is a great honour to have you join me.

I got to know from the research I conducted that you are a social media researcher, blogger, essayist and writer. Tell me briefly when did you even know writing; especially was what you wanted to do?

 

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Nwachukwu Egbunike’s Blazing Moon: A Review

‘Bayo Adegbite reviews my collection of poems “Blazing Moon”

Thoughtivity. com

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Book Title: Blazing Moon
Author: Nwachukwu Egbunike
Year of Publication: 2015
Publisher: Feathers and Ink
Pages: 110
Genre: Poetry

The world of Blazing Moon is perhaps can be best captured by the words of Kola Tubosun “The perceptive musings of a thinking man living in challenging times . Thoughtful, aware and introspective, Egbunike publicly invites the reader to share in his skeptical penetration of conventional patterns.”

Indeed the very first thing that draws the reader into the collection is its organic nature. The reader can see the poet persona like a child, maturing with every step taken further into the work. The poet draws the reader into his world, the world of the blazing moon as through the eyes of a child. First the world opens, with the poet persona’s awareness of himself (my Story is Mine), then he moves gradually to encompass a second person (Your…

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A Review of Nwachukwu Egbunike’s BLAZING MOON.

Uchenna did a review of my poetry book “Blazing Moon”. I hope you’ll like it.

ITCHY QUILL: a Nigerian's blog

In a world where very few are increasingly being looked upon to set the pace for the rest to follow, Blazing Moon jumps onto the stage with the intention of doing the very opposite. From the moment the curtains part and light comes up on stage, we are ushered into a strange world altogether. In this surreal world, imagination is unfettered. Nothing is impossible.
One could rightly guess that the poet deliberately placed MY WORLD as the first poem in this collection in order to clear any misconception that the reader might be tempted to entertain. And as such, one only has oneself to blame if one comes out of Blazing Moon feeling disappointed in any way. The first two lines make that point as clear as day: “Let me take you to my world/ My own creation.” It is important to get one thing clear from the very beginning…

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