Every now and then, I decided to tackle the question again and again. Consequently, at this moment I believe that I write about Nigeria because I am Nigeria and Nigerian. I am one of the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s eyes. I am one of the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mouths. I am NigeriaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ears and most definitely I am her soul. I am NigeriaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s conscience also. I am her ambassador and everything I do both within and abroad will reflect either negatively or positively on Nigeria. Without me, my sight, my voice, my thoughts, there is no Nigeria. And if I am silent, then so is Nigeria. This applies to many other really committed writers and publishers of Nigerian affairs too. I and a lot of others write about Nigeria because we are probably insane in our passion for progress and the fulfilment of the most basic and the grandest Nigerian, nay, African dreams. For myself, I write for free, with no financial gains or political expectations and even if it might subject me to the abuses and persecution of those offended by my frank writings, or the way I see things. I do this because I am free and think progressively and know that freedom and progress are, ultimately, what Nigerians seek. A cautionary tale: When I was in secondary school Form 4, I wrote a poem about Chief Awolowo.Ã‚Â It was for a class assignment.Ã‚Â Subject matter was civics and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d just discovered Nigerian politics.Ã‚Â Also, I was already pretentious and full of myself.Ã‚Â This poem of mine so impressed the teacher that she asked me to read it aloud for the class.Ã‚Â Maybe because everyone had applied themselves to the assignment with unexpected sincerity, I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get slapped as hard as you might imagine with a know-it-all backlash.Ã‚Â Most of the class even clapped.Ã‚Â I thought, Hey, I should become a professional writer!Ã‚Â People will think IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m Chinua Achebe and shower me with applause! After class, this girl approached me.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“So, your poem,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re good with words.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬Å“Thanks,Ã¢â‚¬Â I said, with casual humility.Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yeah, totally,Ã¢â‚¬Â she continued. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But, you know, it didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t move me.Ã¢â‚¬Â With that, she walked away (possibly in the general direction of a career as a lawyer or medical doctor).Ã‚Â I stood there for a long time, with clammy hands, feeling the blood prickle my neck.Ã‚Â I was crushed.Ã‚Â She was, I knew, spot-on.Ã‚Â Who gives a damn how well-constructed a piece of writing is, if it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make people feel anything? But I never stopped writing, because obviously that would be a stupid move.Ã‚Â The process of writing doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t cause me the agony it does many writers Ã¢â‚¬â€œ you know the ones who wax rhapsodic about the torture of the blank page.Ã‚Â I sit down to a blank page and see a page that needs to be filled or written on.Ã‚Â Some days I write something decent.Ã‚Â Some days I write crap.Ã‚Â Whatever, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not like I wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be back tomorrow. One thing for sure is that through writing, I have made numerous friends all over the world. These friends, most of whom I have never seen, encourage me, criticize me, educate me, inspire me and invigorate me. Thus I know I am not bashing my head against a brick wall, nor writing nonsense all the time. And one day, I know I will get through to the thick heads of our leaders. There is a joy in writing, and I am getting it, even though it might be painful most times. Whenever I write about a particular issue that concerns me, I feel unburdened; a load off my shoulders and my mind free to write the next piece.
Nigeria belongs to me and writing is the vehicle I happily use to share her with other Nigerians and the world – joys, flaws, missed opportunities,Ã‚Â corruption, sadness, poverty, insanity and all.
Acknowledgements: My thanks to SOLOMON SYDELLE of NIGERIAN CURIOSITY for his blog article, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why I Blog About AfricaÃ¢â‚¬Â, Wednesday 15 January 2009 ( http://www.nigeriancuriosity.com/2009/01/why-i-blog-about-africa.html )Ã‚Â which gave me the germ of the idea to write this article and for giving me permission and authorityÃ‚Â to use some of his own original ideas, thoughts and words. He is a great Ã¢â‚¬Å“bloggerÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã‚Â Akintokunbo Adejumo lives and works in London, UK.Ã‚Â A graduate of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1979) and University of Manitoba, Canada (1985), he also writes on topical issues and has been published in newspapers and internet media including Nigeriaworld.com, Nigeria Today Online, Nigerians In America, Nigeria Village Square, Champions Newspaper, ChatAfrik.com, African News Switzerland, New Nigerian Politics, Gamji.com, Codewit.com, Nigerian Horizon.com, Nigerian Muse.com,Ã‚Â etc. He is also the Coordinator of CHAMPIONS FOR NIGERIA, (www.championsfornigeria.org) an organisation devoted to celebrating genuine progress, excellence, commitment, selfless and unalloyed service to Nigeria and Nigerians