I was not sure what 2011 was to be, beginning on its first night when clearing all the stuff from my head became a major task. I had not made up my mind what I thought would conform with what I had to do in my literary errands and basically on the idea of attempting a book as had been suggested by many of my friends, colleagues and in particular, my die hard fan, my cousin Daniel, who had insisted he would stop listening to me since I have been ignoring a book call until a book pops out showcasing my works, even though I had argued with him insisting what he had been reading over the years from my literature could be the book in question.
But Daniel who wants a book out soon when I had insisted I am not in a hurry to put together a book of sort on which subject or topic, or title I’m yet to contemplate based on the surroundings that probably could facilitate what the title would suggest and how the project logically should make sense corresponding with the items that gives a book the right outlook as in its title and subtitles as the case may be, have not in his own opinion, based on what he thought from reading all my pieces, covering autobiography, biography, criticisms, drama, essays, fiction-poetry, journalism, interviews, documentaries, music analysis, fashion-modeling shows and book reviews; suggested a title, topic and subject to start working on; even if I may have made up my mind and concluded what area of titles, topics and subjects I should be targeting from whichever project that pops up.
Since I have written on a variety of subjects and covered a lot in my exchange of correspondences with friends, family members, well wishers, colleagues in the literary stock and several others from all walks of life, I had thought of a piecemeal take, and on the average, looked for public opinion by way of exploration and on the last call, after all options had been lost, locate Daniel’s ideals since he’d the one who “wants the book out now” rather than leaving crates of unpublished works for posterity.
On what to be expected with regards to my works out there which had been conceived at a time not much had been saved in my literary chest but stories of life’s endeavors growing up and becoming a man, studying and learning every aspect of our societal being. But Daniel wants something to be done real quick but with my own intellectual ambition and the love I have developed for writing, and the passion, I’m not in a hurry, thus working at my pace for the book release and not conformed to any deadline. I hope that works, Daniel.
On this book release stuff, Daniel seems to have been on my case, and I have just been wondering if Daniel wants a gig of our own bad self, pub-crawling the city, or the days two sisters lured us to the church Rev. Hartford Iloputaife was senior pastor, when our heads were still burning from the heavy metal-disco fever-pure funk-decorum rap years we had committed our lives to, not minding the consequences we knew would follow, and a time gone by. Or does Daniel want me to write about the days of the “melting pot” at Suya Spot, Caban Bamboo, Reggae Nights, and the push me, I push you movement when it became a daily hustle to the music at Astor? Maybe, he wants me to tell more stories of the blast when Ruth Ehirim, her brother and friends stormed that hell of a party jam during his visiting days in Los Angeles. There are more stories to tell than he could imagine, after all these years we evolved.
Daniel is now more of a philosopher, of the back years theory with “socio-capital” contract ideals, of which in our arguments I had talked about change, evolution, revolution and applications of different other methods demanded by change, not relying or bent on the status quo I had written off as archaic, backward thinking that never created any impact on the “new world” besides the dangerous politics that comes along with sex and money which I have always avoided.
And Daniel would confirm my attack on Igbo “elite” for not getting things done over the years, insisting the Igbo had at all times been far better off than her counterparts, the Yoruba-Hausa-Fulani stock, in every aspect of life since the fabricated nation’s founding. And, Daniel would agree with my consistent commentary and analysis what Igbo had on purpose ignored over the years after the post-civil war/”reconstruction-era” and supposedly lessons learned from the pogrom Igbos were massacred from every location they could be found
Daniel also agreed with me in what I have written extensively to near exhaustion; the tale of the anti-Igbo pogrom and evidences indicating that, and succumbing finally, “not sucking up to me,” but would concur to straightening up to the facts. Despite that, the book on the waiting list, the telltale would be the real and done deal with Daniel, when found sitting on the shelves in public and, graded with kind gesture from its long wait.
Daniel is waiting.
Having read too many books over the course of twelve months and reading uncountable newspapers, news-magazines and journal articles and texts in the same period, and having seen series of events all around the world one lives in, it shouldn’t take too much probing to elicit testimony that I have read myself to death and listing some of them makes it clearly so. I read Ngozi Achebe’s book “Onaedo: The Blacksmith’s Daughter,” Eeefy Ike’s “Peering Through The Depths Of Life,” and Alretha Thomas’ “Dancing Her Dreams Away.” Going through all the stacks of books I read this year, I found the following African-related books very interesting: Gray Stewart’s classic “Breakout: Profiles In African Rhythm” published in 1992 by the University of Chicago Press as part of my research projects, where the African cultural maestro touched every base of the musical genres that had augured well with African musicians tracing the link of the connections and how it developed, coupled with the formation of Monomono, on a cast of Johnny Haastrup, Ben Okulolo, percussionist Candido Obajimi, guitarist Jimmy Lee Adams and Friday Jumbo. Stewart’s book, “first on African music to examine in-depth” the musicians themselves was a good and fascinating read.
Believe it or not, I read Condoleeza Rice’s “No Higher Honor: A Memoir Of My Years In Washington,” a retelling of what we in the press and public in general have already known from George Bush and his policymakers’ years. I read “Liberia: America’s Footprint In Africa: Making The Cultural, Social, And Political Connections” by Jesse N. Mongrue, where discovering the rich history of Liberia and America, and why Liberia remains relevant today and enriched with interviews of scholars, Liberian community elders and detailed research; “Democracy’s Reconstruction: Thinking Politically With W.E.B. Du Bois” by Laurie Balfour on tales of Du Bois recommending words of his disciple, the Osagefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, saying for “political kingdom which must be sought first, one needed leaders with men and women, who could lead the struggle and expose;” “Life My Story: The Story Of A Girl’s Journey To Womanhood,” by Ebony E. Ferebee, in which Ferebee offers her victory over her own difficult, painful and abuse childhood as an example to offer young women, proving that it is possible to overcome your past and succeed as an adult; “And We Ate The Leopard: Serving In The Belgian Congo” by Margaret Baker-White of 1932, Dr. Lebia baker arrive at a mission hospital far up a tributary of the Congo River in Equator Province and Baker describing the unusual story of her family’s life in the Belgian Congo, and “Mirror Of Our Lives: Voices Of Four Igbo Women - Njide, Nneka, Miss Nelly and Oby - Narrate their stories of passion, deceit, heartache, and strength as they push through life, and each on a unique journey to attain happiness, self respect, and inner peace.
Also, on the list of my reading for pleasure and knowledge were, among others: “Zanzibar Kira Heri: Farewell Zanzibar” by Patricia K. Polewski, on the 1964 African revolt replacing the Arab Government - on Zanzibar and decreed that no unmarried woman could leave Zanzibar without paying 56,000 shillings; “Withches, Wife Beaters, And Whores: Common Law And Common Folk In Early America” by Elaine Forman Crane - Crane skilfully explores how deeply ingrained understandings of law and legal culture shaped the behavior of ordinary people in early America - whether the victims perpetrators, or neighbors; Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions happen,” and Appiah convingcingly points out, the ruling aristocracy was being superseded by a new class of economically successful men saying the popular press, working-class literacy, and democratic sentiments brought all British citizens into a unified community of shared knowledge and values; and “Dying Education: Necessary Reformation, The Nigerian case” by Alphonsus Emeka Ezeoke, stressing most of Nigerian schools are understaffed, especially schools located in remote towns and villages; that teachers shy away from going to remote or local towns and villages, and that the Nigerian nation must tap from its pluralism, and emphasize benefits therein.
Yes, Daniel is waiting on that book release. He do not want crates and boxes of papers somewhere archived for posterity. He wants it now.
I have collected a lot of materials - photographs covering a wide range of subjects, my own articles (published and unpublished), interviews, press releases, and several other related papers over the years, including correspondences I mentioned earlier, and I had thought the materials should be in shape enough for what Daniel had wanted me to do - “write a book” and nothing else. And as it did happen, I had thought of assuming a book as Daniel wants it, I might end up omitting a whole lot of stuff including what I had wanted to be a trademark kind of, something of its own unique style and stuff I always would be remembered for regardless of its take on commerce, flowing with its original intent and avoiding the intellectual mistakes which could be costly and probably diminish the entire process of my profound ideals.
I had also thought of the music industry, hiring musicologists I could use as consultants in the music machine projects starting from the “unconscious” years the vibes begun pumping into my ears and my eyes could not believe what it saw. And with all that on the trail by listening while suspending in “Limbo,” the obvious over the years I could lay claim on of entirely what had belonged to me knowingly, and what I had been known for from that literary point of view which I’d presume was how it should work, supposedly, as an independent thinker.
Independent thinking does not eradicate or suggest anything void of proper counsel. On that account, mainly, on the East-side bands during the post-civil war-reconstruction-era of which I have been well versed to a point being called a musicologist should not be an exaggeration, or hype, on the ground that, I have, too, written widely on the seventies hippie years of my time and culture in which I have been a living witness.
And I have thought of its compilation on a photo-journal kind of format, inviting Uchenna Ikonne, the vintage Nigerian and African music analyst who runs the Comb and Razor Blog and the Comb and Razor Music Group. Uchenna has done so much everyone would agree with me he deserves a national prize for the fact that he dusted off the Eastside bands’ archives and brought into light, vintage Nigerian sounds worthy of mention.
It doesn’t look good at all when much has been said and written about performing artists on the African continent - Dessoui Bosuma, Diblo Bibata, Doctor Dynamite, C.K. Mann, Nsala Mauzenza, John Nzeze, Tabu Ley Rochereau, Joseph Kabesel, Docteur Nico, Antoine Kolosoi, Antoine Armanso, O.K. Jazz, Manu Dibango, Fela Kuti, Sunny Ade, I’ Orchestre African Fiesta, Remy Ongala, S.E. Rogie, Francis Fuster, nana Ampadu, Babatunde Olatunji, I.K. Dairo, Orlando Julius Ekemode, Kanda Bongo Man, Remy Salohmon, Mimi Kazidonna, and the list goes on and on - and a little or none has been said or written about the casts of the Eastside bands dating back from the 1960s when many of the recording artists, too, featured through the Lagos 60s West African musical digest. Not much is known out there about the era’s Eastside bands' sensations of the time
So, if I should be bent to music, where do I begin? weighing back to the nineteen sixties I had yet to know in actuality any of the East-side bands that had begun before it was credited as an original of its own musical genre even though not understood fully in its surroundings within the West African regional coasts.
However, I had thought of running a full time schedule analyzing and interviewing some of the casts from the Eastside, alive today, which would have been enormous task in its capacity, but good to know an analyst had been around in what I thought was a very good development since I had not much travel time undergoing all the projects alone; that is, assuming I did initiate it in a way to involve others, others as joint group/partnership. I had only attempted putting the package through when I created Samaka Music and the Samaka Studios on the West-side of Los Angeles, sitting on the Washington Corridor, waiting for new acts and talents.
In any case, Uchenna had already developed the idea of Comb and Razor Group/Blog and record label on the trail to compile every sound of the era - 60s, 70s, 80s - that be, introducing the vintage years to a Hip-Hop generation with the blend for possibilities to coining a new musical genre for a generation that had been evolving to something else.
I did write some few lines at the Samaka Music Blog until I found no need for it since Comb and Razor, Likembe, Afro Funk Forum Music Blog, Voodoo Funk, Matsuli Music, Steve Ntwiga, Paris DJs, Benn Loxo, African Music, Pan African All Stars and Wrasse Records were spending quality time providing information on the vintage African collections. That break took me elsewhere to explore other areas. Regardless, I did keep up with the tally; attempts to locate Emma China (Wings), Keni St. George (Ozo), Bob Miga (Strangers), Ani Hofner (One World) and numerous other cats of the day. And also attempts for Emma China to release information on his colleagues at the EMI Recording Studios, Wharf Road, Apapa-Lagos; including Johnny Flemming, Charles Effi, Duke, Arinze Okpala, Dandy, Jerry Demua and Emma Dabro - the original casts of Wings during the post-Spud Nathan years, and the years of prosperity for the Eastside bands, which also included Founders 15, Herald 7, Aktion 13, Supreme Cee Jays, Super Wings and Ben Alaka as the best session man ever to play the drums.
Embarking into another area of research was not easy. I had diverted my attention to do something totally different, and this time around, it would take a lot of work; and it would be time-consuming. It also had to do with quality time to get some of the projects well situated.
So in the research for new directions and getting all the facts in order, especially when I had to deal with persons of interests in related interviews on one-on-one basis extracting information everyone needed to know that has not been told; and which as of its time seemingly had been way overdue and could not be told with time going by fast, and the subjects in question expiring and about to take along with them all the vital information they had. It is, in this way, in many occasions, that datas, archives, stuffs in storage for later future use like crates of papers, newsmagazines of years and decades, and other devices that had been used in keeping records, records most valued for references in centuries to come needed for inclusion into new ideas and lines of thought reexamining the importance of the old and the new reemerging on a totally different platform by way of accepting what had been as a new era surfaces.
I have quite often asked why we humans curiously keep the tabs of inventions and things like that, and all the challenges that demands our engagements. And when I found myself in research institutions and places of that nature, even not having to, but all put in a way that calls for directives for something positively drawn to achieve the intended results, and not to generate a premature publication which might be unnecessary like the kind of research projects that pops out and have nothing new or special to say at the moment, ending up a waste of time and resources.
This is what happens when one locks himself in to commit to do things benefiting humanity, as we all, of course, have been beneficiaries from one theory to another; from one invention to another and from one discovery to another, as the list of the purpose goes on and on.
I have mentioned at length the importance of collecting photographs, tapes and interviews which ultimately has been a work in progress, engaging and looking forward to conclude the series of projects which could be in any category, and while pursuing the project with caution for thoroughness, and at the same time “quiz-survey” the applications and objectives if the materials gathered would be good enough and presentable when released and when the whole idea in the long hurdle, is, eventually, known, accepted, endorsed and taken to be a work worthy.
Besides music, photographs and illustrations of sort in that order, essentially notes on historical figures of political, innovations stock, I had thought of including landmark interviews of persons who had shaped our culture in their time and how what they did changed the course of history. But again, I had thought about time, space, and convenience, coupled with what the people may want from the moment of research and surveying, and from the time of completion to general release.
Notwithstanding, I remember in January of a promising 2011, mapping out some strategy and with a little bit of consultation, worked to the execution of what had been laid down for the year, and while with a handful of moderated plans on the suspended works at Samaka Studios, the continuation of music compilation and a possible tandem with Naija Records run by Mike Egi out of the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota; I had also thought of adding a great number of West African musical icons over time even if it had to take series of volumes to put into perspective, and actually being a major score to a level that depicts paying homage to the acts that had brought West African music to the fore.
Musicology, I had thought, in any of my personal endeavors, unless collectively engaged, to be first included either by mentioning it and my fascination with a particular artist or performer, and either from my growing-up-kicking-it days, to the time I had begun to understand music patterns and the genre that accompanied it. Though since what I had originally conceived in January to getting it through as the year winds down, was, a conversion, the blending of music genres to one form kind of display and perhaps with a coinage introducing a revived or new musical genre which would open by testing the market to find out which vibe in what had been a mix would be appropriate and would go with the flow of the time.
When Egi and I had thought about this venture, I had not fancied the idea of “jamming” entirely the old stuff he had propped up when the combination had been realized to the point of adjusting and collaborating with the old stuff, which had to me, become old-fashioned compared to how the changes were wanted to be made. So, too, as Egi had talked about the “revival,” the adage of “old wine in a new bottle” with all that reggae compilation and jazzy tunes I had added to help give the project a different kind of flavor that would meet up with the original composition for our time and an expected blowout on the charts. That in line, I was writing other stuffs of great literature, too, especially, essays and articles related to the political environment of a troubled Nigerian national state, and particularly, the disturbing politically volatile Igbo related states, which happened to be my region of origin. I have written to be exhausted on arising matters in the area, my home state of Imo, and despite the attempt to engage for better management of “governmental” affairs through a compromising deal, it was not hidden that the state was clearly not workable.
Even with my backlog of unfinished and yet to be published essays, articles and journals, I made up time to go through the problems of the Igbo related states, and on the expedition, Imo State in particular, where a new administration/political party won the mandate to run the affairs of state promising a new dawn. We had agreed at a related meeting to be committed and honestly, engaged to make things work from a Diaspora standpoint showing a common bond with the home government for good governance. That aspiration looks more of a mirage and we may never get to find the promised dawn. What we seem to have found had been a continuity of a region still with the desire of state of empire and anarchy, and in retrospect, the very same state that had been previously battered beyond recognition with the hope that lessons would be learned from a regime that patently made it abundantly clear it did not care for the well-being of the state of affairs but rather to go by order of its intent - a succeeding regime to payback its “done deal” guaranteed pledge to hoodlums and political thuggish elements that helped put it in power, which now has the same resemblance by way of its operations - assassinations by contractors and consultants that has tripled in less than ten months of the new regime.
The war apparently is now waged between the state’s self-serving political and landowning classes which includes an “influential Diaspora” bunch that all of a sudden had become the generators of the chaos obviously inflaming the land on the grounds of their own personal interest. They are paying off security agents, night watchmen, the national police forces, their own hired thugs and hoodlums to create and unleash all sorts of mayhem, on purpose, in the state they had once pledged to protect and secure by all necessary means to bring about a governable populace.
Imo State troubles had just begun. When the Los Angeles area Imo Diaspora had gathered on a call for oneness and action for thoroughness of system in the state through its democratic practice, starting all over with a clean slate and with an ideal to make Imo a model of all states among her sister states from a platform allegedly written by its “Diaspora elite” on the basis of the American ideology they are adapting, little was really known that another gangster-like state was about to regroup and rethink its strategies. All the meetings, talks and quests to revive Imo from its bad governing image had been a front by a behind closed doors Diaspora to convince and compel its people that the state’s outrageous record and image was as is, would be a thing of the past.
Imo is a gangster state. The worst had just begun. Governor Okorocha’s hoped for firepower to keep the state in check had been neutralized with emergence of total chaos at an alarming rate and if not apprehended would be disastrously unbearable, and may lead to a state of emergency which could perhaps throw the state into turmoil in its administrative fabric, ushering in a mandate from a federal-run political party, if not a dictatorship by a military junta assigned from Abuja.
The reason I talk about chaos and the possibility of a military junta running the state is drawn from what has been going on in the region over time and as it becomes evidently clear the situation has not shown any sign of getting better rather getting worst and dangerous by the day as all that talk by Okorocha upon being sworn in to make drastic changes for a better Imo State wanes in about eight months that oath of office was taken.
Looking closer at it, Imo has been the worst administered state since the Fourth Republic, and with the combination of twelve years Achike Udenwa-Ikedi Ohakim squandered and an emerged Okorocha that is now full of uncertainties, the people are now concluding the state is going to hell by all accounts, and the assumption Imo was to be a model is definitely wrong and misleading. In as much as Imo has been used on purpose by the machineries that run the affairs of state and in disguise as the ruling party (PDP), in the country since the country’s latest attempt at an experimental democracy when the military juntas ran out of tactical options, Imo has been the guinea pig of the party corrupted from its inception by Obasanjo, it has been clearly understood that the indigenes - Diaspora and homeland - had been the ones to destroy itself, which affects the state, crippling it with the lost of hope and in its condition, no remedy.
By March 2011, every political animal in Imo on a different party affiliation talked about the need to fixing what had been a collapsed state resulting from Ohakim’s-led maladministration even as Abuja would not admit it, and the quest to reclaim the state’s good name from its first cut of the Balkanization process; and the people who made up the place on the set of tearing the Igbo nation apart when all about Imo and Anambra had been intentionally designed as opponents in a knockout game; and the addition of insult to dishonor when Imo had to be torn into two parts, and Anambra, too, having Enugu cut out on a continuation of the balkanization theory, a pattern to create political differences as strategy and a well orchestrated plan for enmity among a people of the same lineage. It was during this time of creating more states in what had been East Central State, even though East Central State, from around it, emerged Rivers State and Cross River State as another plot for division between the minority speaking Igbo states and East Central State that was a full Igbo stock. The confusion, henceforth, would not see an ending.
As very much intended, the March syndrome of being on the crossroads, on the premise of having to put an end to the state’s direction to nowhere, the magic game came into play, which would determine the seriousness of the people when time for the polls draws near to either elect a new governor or have the incumbent continue on the appeal to get the work done on a second term run as concluding part of projects planned to be completed on a “contract” of projected eight years to physically see the work done. It had been the only thing that gave hope to a gullible and vulnerable people, which held them together.
But that hope was an illusion, and with the concept of recycling the same people to run the affairs of state, the much anticipated hope may not come, which is now being seen in Okorocha’s much expected administration of good governance and getting things done in the state; the state’s most indigenes, if not all, gave up and could no longer live on empty promises, counting on Okorocha’s miracles, and that with their predictions of near certainty based on developments around the state, that Okorocha’s miracles of fixing Imo “is just another mirage.” What has been totally confusing is a Diaspora that had waited over the years as bad leadership took its toll on the state. The wait and the hope that all would come to form and play out naturally was a tactic of endurance and playing to the gallery of the handles, of a failed state, deliberately engineered from the center - a folly, inept, and corrupt administration from the moment it commenced operations. And with such attitude, the rest followed the direction of a central government that had no sense of purpose, which is where the center had to be held accountable.
But when Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan isn’t doing much independently to use his sense of judgement as the commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces; and, when known that the Islamic murderous gang Boko Haram are composed of people he should know very well, the “untouchable elite” that had thought the nation’s resources including its human capital had been their own personal tool they had every right to use for whatever purpose in demanding what they had wanted, anytime, from the country, and with Jonathan having no clue how to go about a situation only him and his kitchen cabinets could effectively trail and apprehend the moles of the bloodthirsty cannibals harassing the country in its claim of agitation for an Islamic state.
The irony, until the threats which Jonathan’s government should take seriously and the firepower of Boko Haram and other murderous gangs in the country are neutralized, Jonathan’s regime do not have answers, which is wholly mind boggling and, therefore, he should quit so the country can chart a new course. We’ve had enough drama and it’s no longer necessary. I’m sure Daniel would agree on this one while I shop around for publishers.
In my related discourse and exchange of correspondences over the months with Aloysius Duru, on a very old subject, Saint Saviours College and ts alumni that had nothing to show in lifting the image of the school founded in the 1950s by the locals and missionaries. I had argued with Aloy on the same topic that I raised awhile ago at a related forum when a complicated case of misappropriation of funds got into the hands of those trusted with handling of group funds, keeping it intact and viable took the opportunity to embezzle what had been secured with them, keeping funny books, which I questioned.
Aloy had connected me with folks we were all in class/school together at Saint Saviours, but the thought of alumni had been distant in their current trend of thoughts - one of the many reasons most of the schools we left behind are in decay. I had contact with all except Malachy Ijemere whose lead somewhere in Alabama I’m yet to locate.
In fact, very few that I have talked to or encountered by other means of communication have I been able to exchange our ideas and intent on addressing the issues of alumni and Alma Mater, and the areas of academic discipline that needs attention from the time of abandonment no one remembers. I had also emphasized on the need to collect data as much as we could, locating “Old Boys” putting it into perspective and, laying out how to go about the projects and keeping up with tracking the conventions as they may arise. As it turned out, the interest was not encouraging and how the problems could be solved on its own and with such manners, beats me.
With education that has gone down the drain over the years as a result of neglect, coupled with a failed state where nothing gets done; and on the contrast, a whole lot could have been done considering the products of Saint Saviours in key positions and professionally accomplished folks all around the world, and yet, no single alumni or project dedication to show for it.
My final suggestion on a deteriorating Saint Saviours looked at as “none of my business” kind of issue, and much the most important, time for all Saint Saviours Boys to start collectively and publicly, a network of awareness and intentions of projects ahead that would bring to the fore a standard learning academy fully equipped for broader intellectual development, preparing students for further academic pursuits which would generate the kind of orderly communities typical of organized societies with a resemblance of Igbo Republican ideals of our forebears.
Again, enter the cornered world of a memoir and what had been my take in that regard which would reflect all that one had done in the past, and which had to deal with tales of imagination, worlds of fantasy and, realistically, the simple truth. Checking all that list and a haul of accumulated literary works, a memoir’s almost done in my books when the time approaches, that is, if one had planned it that way which probably would fly with Daniel's demands even if as I intend to overlook the concept of commerce and leave it all for posterity - benefiting humankind. Daniel had agreed on that until lately when he begun the movement for a book now campaign to persuade me take the step and get the whole idea of book publishing rolling.
Meanwhile, I am still thinking about a documentary almost done, and which would cover a great amount of area in its capacity beginning from the pre-West African states, conquest, to the present state of the region and what had changed over time. But Daniel haven’t seen anything yet; he wants a not cozy line of thought for me, and also not one that I loathe; but the thing for me is what I had thought in the works of time dealing with issues of the future had been more important and not the commercial success which isn’t a guarantee, as Daniel Likes it.
As it had happened, again, on March 26, 2011, enter George “Olili” Ilouno’s 50th birthday bash at the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California, while I had already been in communication with Innocent Osunwa, the radical teacher who talks robust Igbo politics and the trending stuff, he talked much about “me,” the subject, and book release that has been way overdue, and that regardless, the collection of essays and related commentaries binding together. It’s been overwhelming and Daniel had not been the only one on my case to pop out my literary works.
What had happened before Olili’s bash almost made me make a sudden 180-degrees about face to the event, asking myself if indeed my works should be more important to put together, or Olili’s one night, hard partying and joyous festivities. My works are a lifetime thing that goes with the territory.
I would be covering Olili’s party for Life & Time Magazine, and upon arrival, the ballroom had the biggest Igbo cultural crowd I had seen in a minute. I met folks not seen before. While partying with folks and exchanging pleasantries with loved ones, I found myself circled by the Los Angeles area house members, like mobsters who had been on a mission. I have committed a crime, so they say. My crime was an article written in July 2010, about an Igbo club in Greater Los Angeles that couldn't live up to its creed. During the time I was circled and a Case management Conference paper served me by Ifeanyi Ibediro, who allegedly had nothing to do with the lawsuit, these so-called house members were bumping fists, taking up hi-fives, bumping chests and jubilation on a case that’s yet to meet panels on the Case Management Conference and how to resolve whatever was Ephraim Obi’s (Plaintiff) beef with the article that I wrote. An article that did not mention his name in any way. I’m not sure what they did. I left it as is, and did not let it bother me or distract my attention for the purpose of the evening.
Also, what had happened that night, house members circling of a photo-journalist carrying out his assignment, covering Olili’s event, did not surprise me, but laughable considering their mood; high spirits of relief that they have got their victim who had been their nightmare.
“Yes, we got him,” they all would say to each other. “Let him write again, We have neutralized his pen writing firepower. He thinks he’s the only one who can write,” they seem to be saying. Like John the Baptist, in the biblical son of Elizabeth and Zacharias, and before Herod, the ruler of Jewish Palestine under the Roman Empire, was imprisoned and beheaded for blasphemy. Like Socrates, the Greek philosopher whose philosophical ideals was alleged to corrupt the youths and when asked to recant his principles which he wouldn’t, was executed. And like Jesus Christ before the Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, seeing no crime that Jesus committed, washing his hands off the trial of Jesus who was crucified by the Jews.
Such was the atmosphere at Olili’s bash, in my case with Ephraim whose motive had been to use me as a guinea pig in his years of unproductive law practice in California, and his Case management Conference call as a litmus test, who was at the gathering and part of the circling culture that poured out to see the decimation of my writing career. As it turned out, Ephraim and his clueless gang of law-suing colleagues who as I may presume had no clue of what they had proffered on the basis of contents of the said write-up, wanting me dead or alive by way of subduing my literary work, in their 2011 quest for Igbo elitism and oppression of peoples and denial of the First Amendment Rights.
2011, so to speak, was a year of ups and downs, of turmoil and triumph, of tragedy and blessings, and of new discoveries and fortunes. I learned some tricks though never would get into it, never; on the British press and News of the World in the scandalous phone hacking burst involving the deputy features editor, Paul McMullen, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson. It was a tabloid sensationalism and “gutter-snipping” journalism which told how newspaper publishers goes to any length to get its staff paid handsomely digging out the nastiest news-holes out there on the hangers of its reading public.
For 2012, Daniel wants a logical, intellectual discourse on “What Nigeria Owes Nd’Igbo,” “What Nd’Igbo Are Doing To Themselves,” “What America Owes The Blacks,” and “What The Blacks Are Doing To Themselves In America,” which I had thought should be fascinating and on a firmer ground of argument.
On a year, overall, a world in economic crisis never seen before since the Great Depression; a world changed dramatically in technology; a world we now live in, that has become closer and closer; a world full of uncertainties with crisis in all of its surroundings, and a world now armed with weapons of mass destruction with the capabilities to end time, we surely hope it becomes crisis free, hunger free, full of love and a place we all could dwell together.
And let’s begin on that sound note. One World, One People and One Destiny. Peace and no more wars!