Onyiliagha’s Political Thriller, His Own State Hits The Shelves
NIGERIA is about to raise a brief eyebrow in the direction of the beleaguered book industry, where a major reading experience that has just hit the bookstands is certain to cause some fidgets in the corridors of power. Although the PR outfit of the Enugu-based publishers, Delta Publications (Nigeria) Limited, insists that their new drama title, His Own State, falls into the genre of ‘fiction’, the plot, for sure, will pull a remembrance chord somewhere, and throw open the floodgates of the past for a retrogressive view of similar events of high-drama that occurred a bare decade ago.
In the story a sitting Governor is abducted from his exalted office by uniformed police officers, dragged before his ‘almighty’ estranged Godfather, and at gunpoint forced to sign documents that will transform his ruthless Godfather into one of the world’s richest men – in honour bound to the oath to which they both swore at a native doctor’s bush shrine.
The author, London-based Victor Onyiliagha, a son of Onitsha, Anambra State, home setting of the play, pulls no punches in his scathing commentary of “the tragic enthronement of mediocrity in a nation with enormous potential”. The author of two earlier works of fiction, Hemlock and A Day in Biafra, Victor Onyiliagha is wont to ask, “When even the judiciary is in the pay-pocket of the devil’s disciples, where is the hope for the ordinary man?”
Even the Presidency’s inferred approval of the abduction of the Governor in His Own State brings to mind the late Chinua Achebe’s rejection of National Honours on the grounds of the Presidency’s perceived involvement in the destabilization of his native Anambra State, scene of the alleged abduction of incumbent Governor Dr. Chris Ngige.
The pathos of a developing society scourged by the perils of deadly partisan politics is well depicted in Onyiliagha’s screaming message for there to be effected a radical injection of fear of God and transparency in the affairs of state. A statement from the publishers notes, “If Victor Onyiliagha is recounting a true-life event, it is not essentially our business. As far as we are concerned, he has presented a work of fiction, albeit a play. We are looking for creative talent, and we believe we have found one in this author. This is a rich work of drama and art, which we believe will take its place as one of the finest works of our time”.