Nnadi preaches unity with the land of my birth
Nnadi, said he draws inspiration from his environment, adding that he has always picked interest on how people live, especially how they try to meet the challenges of life.
The author has had a fair share of reading novels. “I read most of the titles in African Writers’ Series, if not all. Novels from Pacesetters, Drumbeat, Mills and Boon among others were good company in my time; they helped my literary journey. But as you know, telling an important story may not depend on paper qualification. Otherwise, works like Omenuko by Peter Nwanna, Palm Wine Drinkards by Amos Tutuola would not have made much impact,” he added.
Writing majorly on poverty, he said, “overcoming poverty is the immediate focus of my writing. Nobody wants to see himself or family members wallow in abject penury. It created the hero mentality in my generation,” he said.
According to Nnadi, his new book, The Land Of My Birth, centres on Mboha, a fictive, but typical village in Igboland. It tells the story of how the people in the community are fed up with the drudgery that characterized their lifestyle.
“However, it was not once that these city dwellers fled their abode during religious or political violence. For a people still suffering from the trauma of the civil war, each flight evoked fear of another war. While the Biafra enthusiasts wish the war could be fought all over again in the hope of gaining victory, those who experienced its devastation reproach the thought of another war,” he noted.
On this score, the novel appears to share similarities with the works of Achebe, There Was A Country and Adichie’s, Half Of A Yellow Sun. He also shared that he is already working sequel to the book, as “there is so much to write about our country and people,” he added.
Nnadi disclosed that characters in the novel portray the realities of Nigeria’s political situation. “Some policies have been implemented in the country, which did not take account of the Igbo man’s economic situation. During the Udorji Award, how many Igbo men were in the civil service? Government did nothing to take care of those outside official corridors. These issues have built up over time, which resulted in the disequilibrium in our polity today. The novel touched on such issues.
“The Biafran agitation is symptomatic of the troubles with the Nigerian polity. The pains of the Igbo man, as a result of the civil war, especially the colossal loss of lives and property have not been addressed. Some would like the history written differently. But thank God for men like Wole Soyinka, who even at his 82nd birthday, refused to deny the truth of genocide,” he lamented.
“We had the best opportunity to take a shot at it when Alex Ekwueme presented himself for the highest office, but that was frustrated. Have you asked yourself why Igbo people seem to give Goodluck Jonathan unflinching support? The Igbo man’s egalitarian nature makes him a fair-minded creation. He is happy to see the commonwealth go round. On this point, I will borrow from Prof. Obewe, a musical icon in my locality. He captures it very well by singing that the number of meat in the Nigerian soup is enough for each to get a share,” he said.
He continued: “That feeling of injustice is exacerbated by the fact that it has not been rosy for the Igbo man. This is not denying a number of individual successes of men and women from Igboland. Some of the perceived success came with big moral questions, which has set our teeth on edge. After the civil war, the policy of the 3R – Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction – was declared. How well was that policy implemented? Remember that the late Governor Mbakwe was tagged a weeping governor. Why? While listing the challenges bedevilling the then Imo State, he broke down in tears due to lack of Federal Government presence in Igboland. I am not sure that the situation is much different today.”
He, however, stated that his generation is suffering from the collapse of the publishing industry in Nigeria. “Most mainstream publishers rarely accept unknown names and those that accept new authors insist on the writer contributing to the production cost. Yes, I want the novel republished in Nigeria to make it readily available and affordable. If printed outside the country, the finish may be better, but it would be too expensive for those who should read it. That has been my experience,” he added.He disclosed that the book launch would hold in Lagos sometimes in November.
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