The sun can be persuaded
to have roses in the desert.
The dew at dawn is as
soft as the outer reaches of the sun.
the hand that holds the Sword is loving and firm.
The scapel of the surgeon is sharp
to remove the errant tissue.
It is mercy.
The eagle lives on the crag
as the dove descends
and the sea breaks out on victory song.
The unicorn sniffs the golden air
for the sun is married again.
Ravens still growl,
At the dove,
They still stand with
Dead palm oil under
With blackened fingers
The curtain may rent
Seven trips to the rose
In light streams
The column weeps
The hump of their faith
Sprouts maggots of pain
Defying even the pleas
Of the saints.
Retire as a parent? Do we really retire as a parent? Are there retired parents in the sense I am writing about? I am sure you are wondering if after all that long silence, why do I come back with this?. Now is the time to think of myself as a retired parent. The loneliest thing I can think of right now. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean leaving paid employment. I am writing about stepping back from your responsibility as a parent and taking on the unpaid post of irritating adviser.
When do you stop agonizing over your child and simply let them get on with the experience of living? How do you watch them make mistakes, fall down on the job, and struggle to get back up? There comes a time when you just sit there and just pray. Get ready with the towel when they are about to spill it, but you must allow them to learn how to hold it.
Retiring as a parent is the toughest part of the job, it is your own final examinations. It is a nail-biting time, sleepless nights, when you bite back the words that jump through your mind but must not pass through your lips. Let’s play a bit of catch up so you know I have been through the game myself.
Remember all those times you dreamed about raising your own family? Yeah, you started with loads of enthusiasm. You did not mind the morning sicknesses when you had to evict almost your intestines because the new tenant in your life can’t stand water. Remember those dreams when you held a silent wistful conversation with your unborn child? I did, endless nights when I planned endless outings together just me and the child. It didn’t matter whatever sex, I was positive we were going to be the best of friends forever.
I remember infancy, the sleepless nights, feeling the anxiety of every ache, learning to croon to a child who was in pain and you had done everything. Doctors, nurses and your husband all assuring that the angel was going to be okay but your heart still raced.
You imagined all types of scenarios each one terrifying and then he closes his eyes and you notice he is sleeping and smiles in his sleep. You take a deep breath and utter thanks.
Do you remember school days? When you wondered why the teachers are determined to make your son think of you as some kind of idiot. I mean how could they call that subject mathematics for goodness sake? Those figures are for men planning to go to the moon. Your son takes pity on you and explains to you. Then you fall in love with him and quietly visit a teacher to give you private lessons, so you could help him with his homework. You get another education.
You have become used to being the center of his world until that world shatters when he starts talking about ‘her’. His eyes have a glow that signals the beginning of the end of the love affair. He is on his way out of the nest now.
Is it going to be an honourable retirement or is it going to be a stormy one?
Our children are offspring of a lot of combinations but most significantly, they are guests in our lives. We are guests too of the Creator in His Creation. That has nothing to do with whatever religion we pretend to have.
As parents, we have a set of rules we are to abide by, teach the child the working manual for creation and place him there capable and ready. Do we understand that bit? Teach, prepare and allow the child to get on with his own life? That is the job description really and there comes a time we are expected to retire as a parent.
Our success or otherwise is how much we have prepared the child. We note that the emphasis is on the preparation to live as a separate entity, not as an extension of ourselves.
What happens today?
The young man is no longer a child, but we don’t see that, we plan for him, call all our friends hunting for the elusive job for him, we plan the girl he is to marry, run his own household for him, in fact, we might even plan his thoughts for him.
At what point do we retire as parents and allow our children to get on with the business of being viable member of the community of Earth dwellers?
I am not done yet, I will be back.
We are continuing with our series on sexual violence as we chat about sexual abuse of children.
Do you watch the news? Remember the doctor who by the last count had sexually assaulted more than two hundred young people from as young as six. These children were under his charge as gymnastic doctor
What did you feel? when an enraged distraught father made a lunge for him. Okay, he was sentenced to more than a hundred years, but what about the damage to the children? These stories come to us almost daily.
You hear of children sexually abused, and do you sigh or just change the channel so you could watch a less disturbing story. How much have we lost that which makes us human even as we rush to our concept of civilization? We all talk about the freedom to express, freedom to be whatever sexual deviant we fancy.
Excuse me while I breathe the foul air of what our freedoms have done to our essential humanity. I am not an activist screaming equality for one vice or the other.
Let us take a look around and ask ourselves what type of world do we really truly live in, and what type of humans are now being incarnated into the world.
I am not interested in changing the world order, but I ask questions and I wonder. Let us read about Folake and her story.
‘I always wanted to be a doctor, not because it was the usual thing girls of my age expressed while in primary or secondary school. There was even a song that children sang and we would shake our waists in the moonlight as we all told our listeners our future ambitions. Even when I got admitted into the secondary school, I was clear about wanting to be not just a doctor but a cardiologist. I faced my studies really seriously and maintained an academic level that encouraged my parents that I really wanted more education.
Disaster struck in my third year in secondary school when Mr. Galadima came in as the Physics teacher. I was a science student and actually loved the subjects. I had maintained pretty good grades and maybe that was what got the unwelcome attention of my Physics teacher. My hand would shoot up every time in class, so he took notice. I didn’t understand the looks he would shoot my way until one evening at prep when he sent for me.
I innocently responded to his invitation that he wanted me to get him something from the physics lab. I got there and kept searching for what he had asked me until a pair of hands grabbed me from behind and spun me into his arms with such force that I almost screamed in fright. He covered my mouth with his hands and held me tightly. I was terrified. Mr. Galadima tried to calm me down by running his fingers all over me and kept saying I should calm down. He kept apologizing and said he had asked me to come to the lab because he wanted to talk to me in private.He said he had fallen in love with me I was an unformed 14-year-old.
I was tense in those masculine circle he had made with his hands and I felt my heart was going to jump right out of my body. It was beating so loudly. He kept pinching my breasts as I squirmed to get out of his reach. Then he begged me to kiss him. I had never been kissed so I gave a horrified no and tried to fight free. There was thus a silent struggle as I tried to duck from under his arms. He smelt awful and had bad breath as he roamed his face all over me. I was by now sobbing and doing everything I could to be free. I was scared that he was going to do something awful. Mercifully I heard the principal asking who was in the physics labaQuick as lightning, he pushed me under the table with a fierce whisper for me to stay still as he raised his voice , telling the principal that he had come to pick his lesson notes. He stepped out and went on the inspection with the principal.
I crept out and ran to the hostel, fetched water and scrubbed away at my painful unformed breasts. I did not go to my physics class the next day, and from then on failed my physics test. I lived in silent terror of being touched by a man because I always felt dirty.
Years later when almost forty I married. Of course, I never became a doctor as I moved away from science subjects. My principal would look at me and sigh. He would ask me if there was anything that bothered me. He used to say I was one of his brightest students. Each time I tried to say something, I would remember mum saying in real bitterness ‘Never put your trust in man, there are more like pigs’ she always ended the sentence with distaste.
I am four times divorced woman now. Gave up on the idea, my second husband did all he could to stop me cringing each time he touched me.
I never liked physics again and I keep wondering what I will do if I ever set my eyes on Mr. Galadima.
I decided this year to do something more on my website. I will be dedicating a day in the week to talking about issues on rape, the survivors, the problems, and quite a lot of things. I did try to bring the programme on the radio but have not been able to raise the necessary funding to make that work.
What is the Survivor series about?
I started it last year when I started sharing stories of rape and the rationale and madness. I use the word rationale for a reason. We say every madness or illness comes about for a reason. I intend this year to use my writing to raise awareness about this issue. At least I can afford this website and maybe with your help, we can make this awareness be helpful somehow to someone out there who may feel comforted or supported.
Yesterday, I was chatting with a group of young women, we all saw ourselves as aspiring poets. We chatted and the talk drifted to Feminism, is it a good thing? Should a woman be submissive in order to show that she is obeying the injunction of the pastor who every Sunday exhorts wives to be submissive to their husband? A question popped into my consciousness, will it be fair to ask a woman to be submissive to a lout and a rapist?
It is still a question that I am asking, where is the rationale for submission to such a human being? A young lady said with a firmness at that gathering that at least 7 out of 10 women in the country has been a victim of sexual abuse, assault and/or rape at least once before the age 60. Statistics? It can’t be proved because how many women actually report the embarrassment?
The quiet girl sitting beside me asked with an underlying anger in her voice, ‘who was going to take a girl reporting rape seriously’ She said the first thing the authorities will do is look at the girl and put her on the bench as an accused person. We generally see the victim of rape as the guilty party and deny the act of rape, even sometimes insisting the assault as the fault of the victim.
I would like from now on to borrow from Bobby Uttaro’s book ’TO THE SURVIVORS’ that a victim is more appropriately a survivor of the assault.
The world is now awash with stories of rape, sometimes culminating in the murder of the victim. Some of us may still remember the heart-rending story of the 9-year-old Pakistani girl raped, sodomized, tortured, killed and dumped on dump site like she was garbage.
My heart boils and I am sickened just reading such stories. Where do we go from here? A CCTV recording indicated that the heinous rape and murder was done by a full grown male.
Here in Nigeria, we hear tales of rape, violence, and sexual abuse from practically every village. If you a subscriber to my site, you probably read the story of the lady who was raped by her uncle on the farm. It scarred her for the rest of her life. An update to that was that she has died and the husband also died a few weeks ago too.
What happened to her? How did she die? Was she able to have some closure before she died? I am never going to get answers to that now. It is her story and some others that have impelled me to find whatever means I can to be a sounding board for survivors of this blight on the human story.
I hope you will be part of this experiment. There are assured confidentiality if you send your story. I am not an agony aunt, but we will share your pain, hope others will offer guides, support, and advice that may serve as some anodyne to your pain.
We will talk again next week on this subject.
Writing poems and poetry in a country that has very little appreciation for that form of literature can be a very daunting prospect. It has an almost nonexistent financial return.
This is quite an interesting topic for me to be talking about.Do you like poets or poetry?. My cousin looks askance when I ask that question from friends. There is always that pitying look in her eyes.
‘Can you live on your poems?’ she asks anxiously.
How do I explain the spontaneity of words and thoughts and images that come through poetry?
Do I live on poetry? I don’t know anybody that does, at least on my kind of poetry. But things are changing now, there is a new trend in town, they are called the digital poets, spoken word artistes. I watch and listen to them in bemused wonder.
Could I do that? I find I am too shy to do that, and to my bewilderment, I learn that my reasons for writing poems are kind of private.
Interesting don’t you think? I find writing poems was and still is actually my way of sharing my thoughts on a personal basis with you
I guess I always thought, you will read my poems privately, contemplate them and maybe nod or smile.
poems, poetry individual and reaction.
What set me into thinking this way?
Two things. One I received in the mail, information that I have made the final list of poets who will be published in a forthcoming publication of African poets including poets of African descent in the diaspora.
My publisher told me and invited me to read the link and suggested I might send in my poems.
I scratched my head, wondered what poems I might send. I write poems like I breathe, spontaneous and random sometimes. I have hundreds. They wanted only three. That was quite a decision to make. I could pick just any three.
Still confused I started reading back some of the poems and randomly chose three.
I did not even tell my closest because I have been part of several anthologies before. International anthologies as well as local and national groups and circles.I forgot about this one until a few days back when I received information that I had made the final list of poets.
I read through the list and it dawned on me that this was truly an African selection and that I was being given recognition as one of a list of Fine African poets.I felt small, thrilled and the wonder of it has not left me
The anthologies I had been part of, was always by invitation and I tended to know about it ahead. My publisher, Gerry Huntman, is not into publishing poetry, he just likes some of my poems. I am touched that he could think I would be chosen by a group who have not heard of me, read my poems before and would find my poems made their list.
So, when my cousin asked me if I could live on poems and writing poetry, I was silent, because I could not express my sense of wonder nor happiness that those words written privately would be read by a wider audience privately too.
Would you come to my site, and share with me?
I would be happy to share my poems and poetry.
It is the first week of the last month of the year, and I wish you every happiness as we make ready to wrap 2017 in mothballs for the Historians and Timekeepers of Creation
The romance of this year is slowly coming to an end and we are beginning to look with dewy eyes at the charms of two-faced Janus.
That is the way I feel these days. I ask myself what has been the experience. As a writer, I keep asking myself that question. I have spent most of this year doing something I enjoyed.
February saw the concluding trilogy of my Numen series. It has been an enduring love story for me. When Numen! finally came home to Nigeria, I was at the peak of an excitement that was difficult to put into words.
Then Gerry gave me something that I have been hard-pressed to put properly into words, my books could be printed in my own country under a special arrangement and friends could buy my books here in Nigeria. That was something.
Blood contract my first cut as a writer with an international imprint. A story about the Niger Delta and my impressions
Numen yeye my first contemporary African fantasy series, and book one of the Numen series. The book helped me to identify myself as African and gave me serious thoughts on my traditional beliefs and concepts.
Rose of Numen, I enjoyed writing because it made me see my gods and goddesses as humans who could go through the emotions of love, confusion and even the garden jealousy that besets us as human beings. Goddesses can fall in love, worry about their future too. It went well with my African concept that we were monotheists with several gods and goddesses as messengers to one Creator.
Then there was the last of the trilogy, Numen! which was more like a political commentary about traditional roles in a fast-evolving modern Nigeria, their relevance and the symbiosis of ritual, tradition and governance.
I have spent the last three months in a school that has brought me out of my rosy-eyed expectation of smiling to the bank, to the brutal and harsh reality of getting book retailers, making them see the necessity of helping a poor author get recognition. I have learnt to smile when I get to a bookseller and find my books have been dropped at the back of the shop. I smile when he hurriedly dusts it and makes the pretence of bringing it to the front of the shop.
I have been awed and humbled when I see a pharmacist, tell me his favourite chapters of the book he has taken time to read and had even bought one for his shop clerk. That made me humble, and feel I have not wasted my time.
I know the problem, we are a nation that only reads to pass an examination and I am not a popular detective writer, nor a romance writer so I am a hard sell. But I know that Blood contract is very popular. Those who have read it tell me so and there have been enquiries on how to render it in another medium
This is November, time to make ready for Christmas and the festivities are picking up.
It is the season to relax, review the year and look for gifts for family, loved ones, those you will like to say hello, thanks, and I love you.
Buy one or more of these collections from the following places:
The Kidz Castle (TKC) opposite Film house, Akure Mall (Shoprite) Akure
GTbank sme market hub
Or visit the website https://biolaephesus.com
Look forward to meeting your enquiries.
There was silence as they stared at each other. They were half-brothers but had remained friends because Babatunde acknowledged he was six months younger in age and that had pleased Tope. When Babatunde graduated, there had been slight tension as Tope had expected that his younger sibling might put on some airs as the educated one, but both their mothers had genuinely acted like he was the senior and congratulated him on becoming a graduate in the family.
Papa had been nice too, always recognizing Tope as the older and head of the house after him. Any rising jealousy had thus been nipped in the bud. Babatunde asked him if he would like a beer and Tope shook his head negatively saying he had taken care to drink some really nice palm wine at the local canteen.
Babatunde took the items to the kitchen and returned to find Tope staring in awe at the full life-size photograph of Ife. The photograph took a whole side of the east wall of Babatunde’s living room. It was obviously taken as she stood by the hill amongst flowers and stream. Babatunde watched his brother and had a small smile on his face as Tope turned round. However, there was real alarm in Tope’s eyes as he pointed to the photo and looked at Babatunde. “Why do you have that here?”
“Why not here? It is mine and I happen to live here.” Tope stared for some long seconds, shook his head and went back to the couch. He seemed irritated all of a sudden and that puzzled Babatunde.
He knew the issue of Ife had always bothered his brother and Babatunde was at a loss how to handle it. In a quiet voice, he spoke to his brother. “Look it is my problem and not yours, so why don’t you simply accept it?”
“Papa wants to know if you have any plans of marrying. Even Joseph got married.”
“Is that why he sent you or has he chosen another bride again?” Babatunde asked, searching his brother’s eyes. His hands were clenched at his sides but his voice was even and steady.
Babatunde saw a strange look come into the eyes of his half-brother. He tried to make light of the almost heavy silence.
“Why are you worrying about me? I have been busy with school but you are even older and should have been married by now anyway so what is holding you back?”
“Papa says that you are wanted back in the town as Ifa is to decide the new king and you are to report to the elders,” Tope announced abruptly.
He gave his brother a look that Babatunde recognized as reluctant respect.
Babatunde had a small frown conveyed in his eyes. ”I hope I can get time off from work, my boss is not around now and the one acting on his behalf could be tricky about giving permission.”
Tope shrugged and announced he would like to turn in for the night as he had had a long drive, was tired and gave a big yawn to prove his point. He said his goodnight and hurried off to the guest bedroom.
Babatunde sat back in the living room contemplating his impossible dream. Would Ife ever love him like he loved her? He wondered how he was going to learn to live with it if she did not.
He did not know what he was going to tell his father who was getting on in years. He had tried to shake himself into the reality of his impossible longing and go on with his life.
Now a pharmacist and employed, he still had been unable to date. Not for lack of offers he reminded himself.
He threw himself fully into his work and that was some relief.
The hair on the back of his head prickled and he knew Sasa was around. He sighed and invited his friend in. Sasa now moved closer to him in the physical plane. He could almost always see Sasa in the misty form.
Sasa had identifiable features—a tall, distinguished but youthful old. He still teased him by calling him Fancy Pants particularly if they were having an argument.
Sasa was looking at the Blue Mountains. No, there were no mountains near his home but each time Sasa visited, he showed him things.
Babatunde learned that it was Sasa’s inner thoughts that beamed to him and when they connected he could experience and see one of Sasa’s homes.
Sasa gave him a wry smile and a look from deep blue eyes. “When you have finished, maybe we can have a decent conversation.”
Babatunde smiled. “Has a king being decided?”
“You tell me, young Lion.”
The holiday season is drawing near. Take a look at Numen yeye and buy a copy for a friend if you already have one yourself.
How did it all start? It might be a good question if we all check why we are here on earth, on terra firma, and see if we had a beginning. The classic argument about what came first, the chicken or the egg. We all have a story to tell and I want to tell you about a lot of things. I have wondered if I should just start from the middle of the story but how do I make you understand who I really am?
How can I penetrate the mists of confusion and the bandages that cloud the inner understanding of our journeys into gross matter?
I could tell you about me when I ventured here, about nights wide awake wondering where the help and understanding were going to come from. I could tell you about being black, being proud and being hungry. I could tell you so much about the times I walked the stairs, my heart in my mouth as I got called all kinds of names and had problems identifying my own name. I could tell you how I had to learn to keep my own counsel. I could also tell you so many other things about me. But where do I start?
Let us begin with my earthly mother, for I knew her before I was born in climes of golden rain and blue sunsets, where the water spoke to you of the journeys it had made from the green-sided mountains when silence and the winds were songs that caressed her heart. But my present earthly mother swayed to a different music and came through bands of light so bright into this realm that we still wonder and are mystified at the speed with which she forgot why she came. We called her Jasmine but she needed lessons and traveled down to earth and got the name Fehintola, which in their language meant ‘she leans on honor’.
visit biolaephesus.com for more details
I have been wondering what I should talk about. I have too many topics all needing a hearing from me. I am still writing about the violence issues. I mean domestic and sexual violence. I got quite a lot of responses and was surprised that the responses were across the sexual divide. A couple of issues came up along those lines. What would be the best vehicle to show these issues? A friend said the medium does not really matter if we keep talking. I watched a television programme in which a popular actress appeared to be interested in promoting the fight against rape and it saddened me. She appeared to have trivialized the issue of rape. I finally understood what Bobby Uttaro meant when he said he was leery of the magic of television.
You can not imagine the horror of being raped, you cannot put yourself in the mindset of someone who has been raped. The first thing is the sense of shame and thereafter is the fear. It has to be handled in such a way as to make you feel able to talk about it. We don’t seem to understand and there lies my own personal frustration with the supposed care providers of rape victims.
Incidentally, rape victims can be male or female, child, adult, and for crying out loud, an old woman being raped by her own son! Don’t gawk, it has happened.I am not going to mention real names here as I have not the slightest intention to embarrass the poor woman
Madam Angelique used to be a lively woman, in her late sixties. She looked after her herself and would be seen in quite fashionable clothes as she went to town. She lived alone except for the occasional visit by her last son who worked outside the town in Lagos. Mama Gelly as neighbors called her would chatter nonstop about this son John and you could tell she was besotted with him.
Suddenly, after one of such visits, it was noticed that Mama Gelly did not go round the neighbors to regale her friends with the last exploits of John. Strangely too, John left abruptly. Mama Gelly’s room was always darkened unlike the bright lights we were all used to. We assumed that she was not home and that was why we saw only the security light on most nights. I had misgivings though as that was not in the nature and style of this lively woman. I decided to be a real nosey parker and went to her front door, knocked but got no answer. I was walking away assuming that the old lady was maybe not in the house but something made me look back, and I was rooted to the spot in complete shock
Mama Gelly was holding, a dirty, bloodied sheets to her chest, her eyes were swollen both from beatings and tears. She swayed on her feet in a strange dance with the horror she was living through. I ran back to her just in time as she folded over like a rag doll in a faint. I led her back to her room and burst into tears. Her room looked like a hurricane just hit it
Three hours later, the story came out in bursts of a tired woman. John had come to visit as usual, but there was something unusual this time about him and his mother sensed it. She asked him if he was having money troubles, but he simply shook his head and would stare at her strangely. Mama was nervous suddenly and kept to her herself thinking if she gave John time he would eventually say what was on his mind
John refused his dinner but kept drinking and she told him she was going to bed. She also asked after Angela his girlfriend and got a snarl in response. Not prepared to put up with such rudeness mama headed for her room.
She must have slept off because she said she woke up to find John’s wandering hands on her person. She talked sharply to him but he was too drunk to reason and a struggle ensued. Mama was quiet and I looked around the room. It was clear, my heart sank and a horror of what she must be feeling shuddered through me.
‘Mama, tell me the worst’ I asked softly, my heart was breaking
‘Can’t you tell? The abomination is complete, you cannot rape your own mother and survive seven days’
We stared at each other, then, she whispered;
‘How do I go on living, after he dies, who will I share my grave with, they can’t bury me next to his father because I am a soiled tainted corpse’
She stared at the clock on the wall. That was the like maybe the hundredth time she had done that. She walked to the front door and looked out again. There was no sign of any car. The road was lonely only the loud ticking of the clock gave an indication that something was happening anywhere. Yes and the very loud thumping of her heart, it was racing and making her sweat. Her throat was dry and she drank water again. Gradually, her heartbeat slowed to a crawl, she pressed her lips together, sat in the chair and closed her eyes. That was when she heard the whimper. The whimper of a distressed infant. Kike opened her eyes and sighed. She wondered if she should go to the room and look again. One thing she was sure about was the fact that she was steadily going mad. It was close to closing time and she knew that her husband would soon be home. That was why she gotten dressed even as she fought her rising anxiety each day. Kike wondered what she could make for dinner because this time she wanted to shoe Deji that she was getting over her loss. That was why she was dressed up and remembered that she sent for dinner from the eatery down the street. She wanted to thank her husband for his patience in these weeks when everything had been just one long blur of pain.
The door opened and she pasted a smile on her face as she turned to say a warm welcome to her husband but was frozen into a stare as she saw nobody. Kike stood up and walked to the open door suddenly terrified. The whimper of the infant suddenly came again and Kike instinctively put her hands to her ears as she moaned. ‘You are a dead baby, back to where you came from, why are you torturing me like this’ A hand touched her and Kike screamed. Deji held her tightly and whispered in her ears telling her it was okay, he was home now. Kike collapsed in tears holding on to her husband.
Minutes later, after washing her face of the carefully applied make up she had put on to welcome Deji, she tiredly told her husband that she really needed to visit her mother in the village
‘You think a visit to the village might help you? Mama left three days ago. Kike, you need to start living again. We can always have another baby’
Yes, we can as soon as this one accepts it is gone. I think the baby is uncomfortable wherever it is right now’
Deji gave his wife a puzzled look, ‘why do you say that it was a stillbirth, it never opened its eyes’
‘They took him’
Deji clamped his lips determined not to be drawn into the conversation that Kike was angling for. He had told his wife he was not buying into any story that there was more to his losing his son than the doctor had told him.
Today, I am talking to Biola Olatunde, author of the book Blood Contract. I was thrilled when I met Biola on a social networking site because she is a writer and a Yoruba writer at that. Because I researched Nigeria and especially the Yoruba culture for my Fahdamin-Ra series, I could tell immediately that she was Yoruba by her name. When we started corresponding back and forth, I found that she is an extremely talented woman with a long list of accomplishments, such as being the producer of a small independent production company, a writer many scripts and a producer for radio and television programs, as well as writing and producing plays, and a published author. She also runs a small concierge service that takes tourists around to interesting places in Nigeria. I don’t think that she ever sleeps!
I was fascinated by her book, Blood Contract, so I quickly acquired it and dove in right away. It is about a man named Kenawari, who lives in Port Harcourt, a city in Nigeria, but not at the Izon village where he came from. He has married a white American woman, started a family, and for fifteen years, he thought that he left his old life far behind. However, Ken ends up being sent home to the Niger Delta to investigate a kidnapping at his home village. The story is an unfolding mystery as the reader learns more about the present day case that Kenawari is involved with, as well as uncovering the secrets of Ken’s past and why he left the Izon, never intending to return. He meets new people in the tribe as well as people from his past, in a mysterious area that is shadowed with old secrets.
Before I read the book, I was unfamiliar with the Izon tribe and life in the Niger Delta swamps, but Biola tells the story so skillfully that I was soon there with Ken, thoroughly absorbed in the plot and characters. I love how she tells a thoughtful story of the turmoil in a man’s life while showing us a people who struggle to survive.
Now, let’s hear from Biola:
What inspired you to write Blood Contract?
That is an interesting question Chaz, I wanted to correct an impression amongst my people that everyone who lived in the Niger Delta was a militant. I had met quite a number of them and found them fiercely devoted to their watery seascape. They are generally hardworking, stoic and taciturn. I had a chance to live amongst a particular tribe of the Niger Delta and learned to respect them. I wanted to present them as the same as every other Nigerian with more reasons to question the rationale of being part of an entity that does not recognize them as equal partners
Your main character, Kenawari, is from one of the 250+ tribes in Nigeria, a different one from your own. How did you become familiar with the Izon tribe of the Niger Delta?
I worked with one of them as a broadcaster. Being of a curious nature I wanted to know his people and at first, he was suspicious but gradually saw I was sincere so he would tell me about his tribe. The Izon makes for the fourth largest tribe in my country and the richest in its resources of oil and gas. It is, however, the most neglected part of the country until recently.
What message in Blood Contract do you want your readers to grasp?
Essentially, the message of Blood Contract is a social commentary of humanity’s failure to recognize fundamental rights of everyone, to dream, and work towards having that dream actualized. The human society is the same everywhere. Being a member of a part of the world that has been stereotyped as backward, it was ironic that we also discriminate against ourselves. I thought it was dumb to do that, human beings have a right to be rational and the demands of the izon and tribes of the Niger Delta was genuine. I also did not want to write a romantic story of the bad guy and the good guy but wanted to show that the society we live in accommodates all. The good, the bad and the ugly.
The difficulties that Ken goes up against – the poverty, the robber barons, and kidnappings that happen in his village – are those problems present in the Izon tribe today?
Of course, those problems still exist not only in my country and in the Niger Delta but in every part of the world I imagine. We have not found Utopia yet anywhere I reckon. Kidnappings have gone on even in other tribes and armed robbers have become really daring, but not as a result of being Izon but as a consequence of the imbalance in the world generally.
You can purchase Blood Contract from my publishers IFWG PUBLISHING.COM
These books of Biola Olatunde are now available in Nigeria.
Rose of Numen
You can also buy them from the following places
KTC @Akure shopping mall Akure.
Sunshine booksellers.com University of Ibadan
Leading bookshops in Akure