Sunday, 3 June 2018

Writers to the rescue in absence of consciousness

Guests at the May edition of the Abuja Writer Forum’s Guest Writer Session have advanced that writers the world over have in many instances rescued nations by deploying their art towards evoking thought (consciousness), eliciting responses and protesting bad leadership or governance.

In his presentation, the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Marcelino Cabanas Ansorena, who traced the evolution of literature in Spain as well as its contribution to the social development of the country, noted that writers the world over help motivate social consciousness particularly in certain unfavourable circumstances.

The ambassador, therefore, drew an analogy between the Spanish and the Nigerian literature, saying that the two evoke consciousness towards societal ideals.

“For example, in Spain for instance after Civil War, the writers made the Spanish society conscious of the circumstances in which we were living, especially the misery that we were living and the difference between the well-being of economy of the European countries.

“I think that also Nigerian writers are doing so. They make society conscious of the impact of for instance the situation in the Northeast wreck by the Boko Haram insurgents. I’ve read a lot of books about that and I see that it’s very important,” Mr Ansorena noted.

In her contribution, Habiba Alkali-Nur, the author of ‘The Pantom Army’, told the untold narratives of terror and destruction caused by the insurgency in the North-eastern part of Nigeria.

Mrs Alkali-Nur said she actually started writing as a form of mental therapy to try and get over the fear that was endemic in her and also in the entire atmosphere of the North-eastern part of the country in the early days of the insurgency, 2009.

“It was more like a diary collection at the time so later on it started materialising into a book and so most of the events where written in real time and the events are real life events and everybody who once lived in Maiduguri would attest to that,” she said.

Speaking on why she put her experience into writing, she said: “I needed to capture what happened and freeze it in time. If I now go back and read the book, I myself get surprised at some point because sometimes while some shooting were going on I was on my computer typing. That’s how I wrote the book.

“My sister told me she couldn’t read pass the prologue as soon as she started reading she started crying because she remembered every single thing we went through. I just felt that these stories needed to be told,” she said.

On his part, Foluso Adedoyin Agoi, popularly known as Folu Agoi, who is a creative writer, poet and literary critic, read from his new poetry collection, ‘I Know The Smell of My Lover’s Skin’ in which he romanticised his ideal woman.

Mr Agoi, however, pointed out that he is yet to find such woman with a blemish-less character and immaculate body mass, especially having experienced joys and sadness, conquests and capitulations in the hands of love.

One of his poems read: “I seek a woman
A real woman
Not a walking shadow …
“I seek a woman
A real woman
Not a mere piece of gorgeous flesh …
“I seek a woman
A real woman
Not a pretty bimbo …”

Asked whether he is by nature a romantic human being, Mr Agoi dribbled out of the question, saying that he didn’t like talking about his private life in public. He, however, confessed that his inspiration comes from the environment in which he lives.

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