By Kareem Itunu Azeez
I hope all of the inspiring professors I know would see this, and I hope they would raise their voices to a silt call.
I hope all of the great “SIR’s”, I know and whose names I shall mention as I pour down the pain in my heart towards how they perhaps have now started to neglect the children they raise, in the literary way, or rather they are raising, would try one more time to bring back the about to be thrown into the waste bin of forgetfulness, stand tall with the oceans of intuition, the almighty has placed in their hands.
Sometimes I say to myself how do these people get to move the world through the magic of their pen, the construction of their write ups, “Don’t tell me it’s what they learnt, I won’t believe, for I see them as semi-gods of literature”, that makes you want to read more, the destiny challenging poems that usually tells you, “discover who you are” were written, although I spent most of my times everyday, going through their works, but I still resume to the sad environment I found myself in today, then I ask myself what would become the fate of literary intellects, when our fathers have finally hung their boots, as they seem to one after the other, where would they have gotten to, with us, on this ship where we the offspring are now blinded by the treasures we see on the other side yet we don’t want to learn to paddle. But to the few of the great “SIR’s” I know, I definitely will give my all, with the little I know, so that they could in their different ways devise means to keep aloft the meaning and importance of literature to Nigeria and Africa as a whole, May they remember their sons and the hearts their works have touched, so they could graciously revive us once again and save literature.
Femi Osofisan(Prof) recently and sadly on his timeline, wrote a tribute, to one of Africa’s best, Atukwei Okai, who has gone far away to meet the maker of men, those sad words pierce through me, as an ardent follower of (SIR’s) prowess “Femi Osofisan’s word”, too many fatalities as of late, he had written, but sadly enough, the future of (PAWA) Pan African Writers Association, was what seems to be in danger,which seems to be the central theme of this tribute, I realise, if Atukwei Okai was a bundle of lofty dreams, then there seems to be lots of bundle of lofty dreams who seems to be in wrong directions, out them we could raise another Atukwei Okai for the future. Yet may the departed rest in peace.
They say the only way to hide a secret from the people of my clan is to keep it in a book, they were right, it’s a conventional truth that my land grinders don’t read, and the last hopes or let me put it the hopes in keeping alive the cubs remaining in the writers den in Nigeria needs to save us from the sad path we have chosen to walk.
If you should go online right now, and search for Africa’s top writers, you would see names such as, The late Chinua Achebe, Ben okri, Femi Osofisan, Sefi Attah, Buchi Emecheta, the writer of the Joys of Motherhood. Which sends me the way of our female legends, I hope they too remember that those who showed them the road they are passing through might have been gone, but they are saddled with the task to pass on the touch to their offspring for like daffodils we wandered lonely in gowns made of clouds.
We are now like grains in the wind, no one wants to invest in anyone who has never written a famous piece, no one wants to read your Articles if it’s not been edited or referred to them by some of the names above, oh indeed the world is truly leaving us behind and even all of our fathers too, because they seems to enjoy the lives their caucus is enjoying over the seas, alone and going away with their legacies, they don’t even know that we have nothing to hold on to.
Achebe’s first work “Things Fall Apart” (1958) is an intimate account of the clash between African native traditions of the Igbo people in southeastern Nigeria and European colonization. Weaving together oral tradition with Igbo folk tales, Achebe’s works reveal a tapestry of cultural norms, changing societal values, and the individual’s struggle to find a place in this environment. In contrast to today all we see in article by people never reflect anymore on our lost cultures, it’s rather about making money and motivational speeches.
And one of the recent writer of our time, Helon Habila After graduating from University of Jos in 1995, Helon Habila worked first as a junior lecturer in Bauchi, then as Stories Editor for Hints magazine, before moving to England in 2002 to become the African Fellow at the University of East Anglia. That same year, his first novel was published: Waiting for an Angel is a complex book that interweaves seven narratives, collectively speaking of life under dictatorship rule in Nigeria. The book won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in the African region, spurring the author to greater success. His two subsequent novels, Measuring Time (2007) and the latest, Oil on Water (2011) were equally well-received, and the list of awards and honors the Habila has gained attest to his sophisticated and poetic literary voice. At the end of it all they all move away from us where we could tap from the river of knowledge heaven has placed on them, it’s one of the tragic times neophytes like us are passing through.
Gone are the days of Professor B.J, (Bolaji Jeyifo)
I believe, sir is hearty and doing greatly, wherever he is this moment, they deserve their leisure time, premium times once wrote this about him, “He is clearly patrician in the way he acquires and disseminates knowledge but his general lifestyles are very simple and cool. BJ, as he is fondly called by many people, loves words— Yoruba and English—which he uses inexhaustibly. He also loves big ideas which he invests in and wrestles with endlessly.Professor Bolaji Jeyifo. (B.J)
Born and bred in Ibadan more than 70 years ago, Jeyifo’s childhood was tempestuous because he made many considerable efforts in resistance to the codes of conduct imposed on him by his immediate society. His rebellion could have damaged him irreparably but for his sharp brain anchored in intense and wide-ranging readings. He is one good example of a man saved by literature”. And I keep to my heart the last words saved by literature.
Also fast in transit seems to be the times of Professor Wole Soyinka, permit me sir to mention the full names, (Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka)one of his book on goodreads “death and the king’s horseman” is regarded as the most famous on the site, one wonders this legendary fraternity creator and Pioneer, for the goodwill of the then youths, but today I have this feeling that the Professor might be disappointed in what has become such great creation, no wonder some might term us a wasted generation.
and without forgetting someone blessed with so much more than he has become professor Femi Osofisan, to mention a few of the scoop of a plethora of brains and writers I know, Dapo Olorunyomi, Tunde Akanni, the closest to me, Lagos State University lecturer who’s trying to bring back the patches that remain in the struggling world where writers of today seems headed.
I cannot speak for everyone who has chosen this path, as I have, I cannot even command the many editors out there to give hear to my anguish because everyone Now seems to focus on only that which would benefit their pockets, why won’t the stars grow dim, when even the educational system of our land falling down the pecking order with reckless abandon. I feel sorry even for myself.
Now Its even hard to give your time, to books and writings that tells of current events and touches the mind of the ones coming up, who will save us from the pit we have fallen into, what hit us, we cannot say, though the centre seems to have fallen, and the wanderers which we are, all looks to be covered in debt, our brothers and sisters now realise the only way out is overseas, land of our masters.
To Chimamanda Adichie, all I see now ma, is her prayers on one of the social media call Twitter,an ardent follower of her quotes, and inspiration,of which I always retweet each time I see them, that place seems to be the only place we can communicate to those we now regard as our mentor.
Who will take the pen from her, long after she decided to enjoy the long walk to no more writing, even though she might in one way or the other continue to look through the pages of today. I hope you listen to us, we that carries a nameless pain and have dedicate all our time to follow those who we see as role models and for mentors without been disappointed. They say the world have evolve, but knowledge does not evolve, sanity would still remain sanity, but today, I see my peers as they dance into ignorance of time, they filled there memory with despair borne out of depression, and unwillingness to know more. The music of today which is part of literature not the type I we taught, “shaku-shaku” I ain’t a lover of fun but In moderation and it must make sense,but nowadays the culture is already lost what sense do I then expect from imported trends.
“SIR’s” if you have seen this, I hope you realise how much we still need you all, and your works are not complete yet, though everyday you still pass your remaining knowledge, for we have tarried to long in the wilderness men call life, is it about the writings that shook heaven and earth, let’s dive a little bit, to the ones that captivated many a readers, Chinua Achebe, “things fall apart” knowledge like this no longer trends in our ways and culture of life anymore, okay let’s shift further to features about men, all that I can look upon are now elergies and dirges of heroes, of men and women who have gone by, and no one seems to tell us anymore that we need our articles to fight the war of corruption that’s engulfing our once filled with milk and honey country. Today professors are giving their all also, and I hope before our time is also up, literary intellects would have come out once again, and their won’t be just few of the strong ones remaining but everywhere would be strong men who will challenge the order of the day, towards what is right, toward doing the right thing, thereby making those who’s voice cannot be heard, those who’s hands can nolonger pick pens again, to be happy and say to themselves truly the Labour of our heroes past is not in vain. I halt for now with fond memories of writers and poets such as, Chinua Achebe, Atukwei Okai, Camara Laye, Kofi Awonoor Williams and many more, who’s works have gone on to shape the african children and writers.
Kareem Itunu Azeez is a Public Affairs Analyst.