It’s very advantageous that Nigerian writers are their brother’s keeper and not their brother’s ‘kidnapper’ as the later is wont in Nigeria today.
Nigerian writers are congenial, immeasurable people contributing immensely on tropical issues as they affect the socio-eco-political affairs of the country to a large extent. Though, some of them, their names are not ringing bell as household names. Many of them have disappeared from the socio-eco-political commentators’ scene. And I have been worried about their whereabouts because they have affected many lives positively with their write-ups.
If Nigerian writers have affected some lives positively with their articles and no one seems to care about their whereabouts since many of them have not been writing, I think it’s imperative that our consciousness in this country should not mainly be centred on the politicians and their politics whereas other things that matter are kept on speculation. As a great people, some Nigerian writers should be asked where they are when found wanton. If we don’t do that, it will amount that we Africans still want our best brains to continue to be found in the graves whereas in the developed world people are not blinking in making sure that they use their best brains. And, I have discovered one brain in Africa – Nigerian writers.
Without mentioning names, many Nigerians have benefitted and are still benefiting from the human resources hunts overseas, whereas intelligentsias in Nigeria are been neglected to the utopian height and no one seems to care. Intellectuals are much neglected in this country for politics and politicians. Why? The bequest of this has denied many of our children the opportunity to go to school or get a career and enjoy a better living in the future. And for the elders, some of them are wearing tears everyday when they remember that their days are numbered on earth and that they had spent all their life feeding on hardship, brimstone and hellfire occasioned by bad people in leadership positions in Nigeria.
Many Nigerian writers are not supposed to be in oblivion because they have contributed so much with their pen to the development of this country that I ask sometimes what was so special with those who were recently awarded with national honours if many of Nigerian writers were not honoured. Our emphasis in this country should stop to be centred on politics and politicians thereby we neglect the people that are ‘working’ in this country in the praise of those who are not ‘working’ but are just made popular by the public offices they occupy.
If many Nigerian writers were politicians and they later disappear from the public function, a lot of people would have been worried about their whereabouts. But, because they are just writers, it seems that nobody cares. But, I found it very hard not to ask about their whereabouts because a writer is also‘celerity’. Because, writers faces do not appear on the TV, newspapers and pictures regularly, writers are seen as a people not too good for representing organizations as their ambassadors? Unlike in the movie and music industries, immediately a musician, an actor or actress appears on the screen today, he or she can be considered worthy of becoming an ambassador of an organization, whereas many writers have what it takes to be an ambassador more than anybody on the earth in the true sense of representation – creativity.
I apologize if this is not in the best way of asking questions, but we must have the rest of our lives to celebrate our accomplishments. I apologize if I have wronged writers or uplifted their privacy but I think that a scene like this can inspire and uplift an entire posterity of children. I have to say that those that are recipients of fortune should not debase those who are unfortunate. Time and chance, made them so. Whether we like it or not, whether we love the western capitalism more than, our envied communalism will never be swept under the carpet like that. I have this belief, just as I strongly believe that with the strong combination of formal and informal education, communalism is the best network for creating social improvement even that many people see it as a war that they can concede.
However, writers who peddle provocative opinions on the newspapers are the real ‘ambassadors’ in the discerning mind. The Nigerian authorities should be helping Nigerian writers. Writers are not supposed to be allowed to be living a life of ‘existence’ instead of ‘living’. Newspapers reporters, editors and citizen journalists should ask about the whereabouts of any regular writer in the public parliament when found wanton. I will be glad if our reporters could trace many Nigerian writers’ whereabouts and carryout an interview on them. Because, it is very advantageous that one is the brother’s keeper instead of the brother’s kidnapper.
Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author and Media Consultant, is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State.