Showing posts with label novels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label novels. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nigeria: Where they do not read books

Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa with over 150 million people of different ethnic groups of which the majorities are Hausas, Igbos and Yorubas.


Nigeria: Where they do not read books

Do you know that more Nigerians in Nigeria are no longer excited about reading and even writing?

Do you know that majority of the members of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) do not buy or read the books written by fellow members?

Do you know that majority of the Nigerian publishers of magazines do not buy or read the magazines published by other Nigerian publishers?

Do you know that none of the authors who won the much coveted Nigeria LNG Prize or other local prizes has become bestselling authors in Nigeria?

Do you know that Nigerians spend millions of dollars monthly on sms and most of the SMS/TXT messages are unprofitable gossip?

Do you know that poverty is not the cause of poor reading culture in Nigeria but intellectual illiteracy and intellectual hypocrisy?

Do you know that majority of youths in Nigeria do not know who is Ben Okri, the youngest winner of the Booker Prize in in 1991 at 32?


Ben Okri


I have seen the book gathering dust abandoned in-between files and other items on the table. The book has not been read for months. I have read my own copy immediately the author gave it to me and I reviewed it on Bookalleria, a literary blog. Bookalleria is one of the few Nigerian literary websites owned by writers who love books, but most of the Nigerian writers hardly visit them. They would rather visit the social gossip blogs or frequent their Facebook that does not have any feature for their writings. Majority of Nigerian writers should be blogging and not wasting quality time posting tissues of the issues of their minutiae on Facebook.

Nigerians now prefer to browse more on the Internet.


Blogging is another form of writing and sharpening the craft of writing as the blog offers more space to express your feeling, thoughts and share them with the rest of the world. Molara Wood, Myne White and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are Nigerian writers with active blogs and a visit to any of these blogs is worth it, because they are filled with refreshing prose, poetry and drama written and posted by the authors and with interactive conversations with their readers. Unfortunately millions of Nigerians on Facebook and Twitter are ignorant of these blogs and have been missing the most original writings of these writers.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Over 800, 000 copies of the books of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie have been sold so far and translated into many languages, but less than 50, 000 copies of the bestselling books have been sold in her native Nigeria the most populous country in Africa with a population of over 150 million and over 20 million are graduates of tertiary institutions. Why have these millions failed to read the books of one of the most bestselling Nigerian writers? Intellectual laziness is common in Nigeria.



Majority of Nigerians do more talking than reading books.


Majority of the literate population only read the compulsory textbooks required to pass their compulsory examinations to acquire the paper qualifications they need to get their dream jobs. After getting these qualifications, they abandon their textbooks and rush into the rat race to catch up with the Joneses of their society.

The next publications they read are the daily newspapers, social gossip magazines and porn magazines. Then they go on Facebook to post the tidbits of their daily routines of their perishable pursuits. They spend hours chatting on the phone, gossiping and spreading rumours on the street, at home and in the workplace.

Many Nigerians love reading newspapers and society magazines and they are often seen crowding news vendors on the street.


Nigerians spend billions of naira on phone calls and text messages, so they cannot claim that they cannot afford to buy the few books written and published by Nigerian authors.

The increasing population of illiterates in Nigeria is caused the intellectual laziness of the majority who do not read books. Because how can people become literate when they hate to read and if they do not read, how can they write? So, the population of those who cannot read and write keeps on increasing daily. And how can they learn when they do not read? How much will they learn from sharing the badly written updates on their walls on Facebook or viewing TV comedies, reality shows or music videos that do not teach them how to read or write, but programmed to entertain more than to educate.


Nigerian pupils and students read for their studies and to pass examinations for the qualifications they need to get their dream jobs and to catch up with the Joneses in their rat race.


We are now embarrassed by appalling reports of mass failures recorded in the secondary school examinations and cases of graduates of tertiary schools who cannot write essays and are not better than graduates of high schools. One scholar said most of the universities are glorified secondary schools.


How can we revive the reading culture in Nigeria?

I remember the late 1970s and 1980s when hundreds of thousands of young and old people discussed and shared thrilling stories from the novels in the popular Macmillan’s Pacesetter series, Longman Drumbeat and Heinemann African Writers series.

“There were no GSM phones then,” said a friend.
“Mobile phones have not stopped American and Europeans from buying and reading over 600, 000 copies of the Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun written by our own Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,” I said.

I also mentioned that millions of copies of the phenomenal Harry Potter novels of J. K. Rowling have been sold in developed countries where mobile phones and social network sites are not excuses for not reading books!

“Millions of Nigerians copy Western haute couture, music and surfing social network sites, but fail to copy their reading culture,” I said.
My friend was speechless.

Using computers should not stop Nigerians from reading books.


The intellectual disorientation of our youths can be corrected by using the same media of mobile phones and social network sites to make them change their negative attitude to reading. We can use hype to motivate and stimulate their intellectual traits and gradually they will appreciate reading as they see the awesome benefits of a vibrant reading culture.


If over 13, 000 copies of the novels of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie can be sold in Nigeria, and then more thousands can be sold when others are motivated and stimulated to join those who are enjoying the passion of reading her books and they will soon be adding more books on their reading list.


Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books.
~ Harper Lee, author of "To Kill A Mockingbird" on May 7, 2006
.


~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

Hot Topics

comScore Introduces Online Video Measurement Service in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Spain Home Values Decline In Third Quarter HMOs See Highest Rate Increases in Five Years, According to Aon Hewitt The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® Increases The Leapfrog Group Announces Top Hospitals of the Decade Some Small Glimmers of Optimism by Americans on the Economy Holiday Shopping World AIDS Day



Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Conspiracy of Lagos" Chronicles the Vicious Circle of Lagos Life




Bisi Daniels, the Author


Conspiracy of Lagos Chronicles the Vicious Circle of Lagos Life

“You don’t want the Hitler effect, do you?”

“No! The Bill Clinton effect,” she said, and shot him a knowing wink.

What is the Hitler effect in contrast to the Bill Clinton effect?

You have to read the Conspiracy of Lagos to find out.The latest novel of Bisi Ojediran (who is now writing as Bisi Daniels) is a clear departure from his thrilling novels on Peter Abel, the daring investigative journalist whose adventures have been chronicled in his previous novels. Conspiracy of Lagos is a romantic thriller, a political thriller and social documentary of Lagos rolled into one narrative novel.

Bisi Daniels’ novel, Conspiracy of Lagos is perhaps the first truly picaresque novel on the adventurous, dangerous and mysterious lives of those living in the mega city of Lagos, the New York of Nigeria. It is a socio-political romantic thriller that keeps you reading until the last word.Reading Conspiracy of Lagos is like watching a movie of the agonies and ironies of Lagos as experienced by Thomas Katta, the brilliant graduate of Sociology from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), who left his humble life as a teacher in his hometown of Moso in search of better financial prospects in Lagos. But Lagos would change the life of the Johnny Just Come (JJC) as we call every newcomer in this awesome city.

Thomas Katta’s 350 mile ride from the idyllic hinterland of his hometown Moso to the boisterous city of Lagos was not a smooth one as the bus he had taken broke down thrice on the way until he finally arrived Oshodi, the most dreaded motor park in Lagos at nightfall and thus began the nightmarish journey of his worst fears of the city that never sleeps. He was nearly lynched by a ferocious mob as he was mistakenly accused of stealing his own bag as he attempted to retrieve it from the thief. He ended up in a police cell that was like being cast in hell on earth as he was left at the mercy of the huge and terrifying thug, Kenny, a ruthless criminal with an existentialist philosophy of life. Kenny who was his terror later became his boss and mentor in political thuggery and robbery.

Thomas was later released from the police cell and he found his way to the ghetto of Ajegunle to stay with Mani Datatta, his buddy from university days. Mani was a promising guitarist who played at night clubs after his day job and he made Thomas comfortable and optimistic of the future until Mani was killed in a botched bus robbery. Thomas became homeless and had to become a bus conductor on the Ojota-Yaba route and slept in the motor park until the HomeCare Agency in Ikeja got him a job as a gardener in the palatial home of Chief Sola Adekunle in Victoria Island Extension. Chief Adekunle was a leading politician who later became the National Secretary of The True Nigeria Party (TNP). But Thomas did not stay long there, because he had to flee when the pretty and sexy Mrs. Moji Adekunle, the temptress became furious when he cleverly refused to sleep with her. He was later recruited by Kenny who had been hired by Chief Adekunle to kill him for lies Mrs Moji Adekunle framed against him. Thomas soon became a political asset to Chief Adekuinle’s party as the author of The New Lagos Manifesto that was instrumental in the election of Tunji Taylor as the new Governor of Lagos. Thomas Katta had to overcome the vicissitudes of the vicious circle of survival in Lagos in the midst of criminals and by unforeseen circumstances. He was a reluctant stooge of Kenny who was later killed during a bank robbery and later favoured by Mrs. Moji Adekunle who had become repentant and sober.

Thomas Katta’s most defining moment was when he returned the expensive wedding ring he had stolen to Mr. Ralph Mordy and broke down in repentance and then facing Mrs. Halle Mordy. He was now at the mercy of the couple he had joined Fanni to rob in Ikeja after the gruesome night of their botched heist in Ogba. Receiving the forgiveness of the Mordys marked the turning point for the redemption of Thomas Katta as they offered him a foreign scholarship to fulfill his academic ambition. And thank God for his rescue angel, Nancy Ojo whose commonsense and Christian faith reformed and transformed the life of Thomas Katta.

I have read Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel on sin and redemption, Resurrection and Bisi Daniels novel Conspiracy of Lagos has some precious moments of sublimity reminding me of the sober reflections invoked in Tolstoy’s last work.

The long testimonial sermon of the charismatic tall and handsome Pastor Peter Olutobi had echoes of the popular urbane and suave Lagos pastor, Paul Adefarasin.

I was wondering if a naturalistic depiction of Lagos would be realistic without the inclusion of the lingua franca of Pidgin English and the typical Yoruba lingo spoken by the Area Boys and fringe elements seen on the streets and motor parks in Lagos. It would be contradictory for them to speak good English as they were portrayed by the author of Conspiracy of Lagos. The author told me that he deliberately did not use Pidgin English and the typical Yoruba lingo, because most of his foreign readers do not understand Pidgin English or the Yoruba lingo.

Conspiracy of Lagos would be more appreciated when adapted for film production.

You can post your comments and reviews on Discuss "Conspiracy of Lagos".

The novel is available at the following bookshops:

1. Books4Everyone, Ikeja. Lagos.

2. CSS Bookshops

3. THIS DAY Media Centres

4. Glendora Bookshops and other major bookshops and hotels in Nigeria.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Nigerians Report.