By Anote Ajeluorou
Apparently not happy with developments in Africa, especially with its under-development status in spite of huge material and human resources, Rome, Italy-based Nigerian novelist, Dr. Ikenna Kaius Ikejezie, is propounding a new, alternative political vision that could well place service above anything else so as to lift Africa from its parlous status. In what he calls Servicracy, Ikejezie in his novel The Learned laments the continent’s woeful development strides and calls for a rethink.
With a strong desire to return from the Diaspora and be part of the building process at home, Ikejezie gave vent to his unhappiness at the launch of his book last Saturday at the MUSON Centre, Lagos. He noted that democracy had failed to deliver on the continent, especially Nigeria with injustices easily noticeable in power equation across the country. He argued that only a reworking of the balance of power to reflect a genuine desire to serve the people better would bring genuine harmony amongst the people.
On his final return back home, he said he would write two novels a year with themes that would address burning national issues. Chairman of the launch, Chief Charles Ifeanyi, said the event was a refreshing one and described the book as an introspection into some of the salient issues plaguing society. He used the occasion to address the issue of plagiarism that so easily besets scholarship and commended the author for coming up with brilliant, original materials that had already been endorsed by the Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos as study text.
The book reviewer Prof. Charles Ogbulogo also commented on the vexed issue of plagiarism, saying it was a worldwide problem that needed serious attention from relevant authorities across the globe. Ogbulogo also stated that Ikejezie also made a deliberate attempt to create a friendlier world and provide alternative challenge to leadership in his novel.
Governor of Anambra State Mr. Peter Obi, who was represented by his Senior Assistant on Liaison Matters, Lady Ucheoma Ckwudum, urged the author to also launch TheLearned in Awka so as to bring the book closer to Anambra people as a way of encouraging them to read, saying, “It’simportant to bring the launch to Awka to wake up the zeal of reading in our people in Anambra. This book must be take home; it’s a serious book”.
Obi tasked the writer and other Anambra people not to avoid coming home to do things because of kidnapping cases.
Chief launcher, Chief ABC Orjiakor, who was represented by Sir Emma Onyejelem, said it was ironic that a state whose citizens are known to express aversion for education was producing some of the modern writers in the country.
On his part, the author Ikejezie said it took him 10 years to complete the book, and noted, “We’re all in the process of learning. I’d like to talk about the author as a thinker, a poet, a critic engaged in political ideologue. I want to be a full time writer and to produce a good novel every two years”.
The Learned, according to Ikejezie, is a play on words to lampoon man’s infinite love for titles. The Learned is a story of a woman who has a challenging pregnancy and would need to abort it to save her life. But her religious faith is against abortion. To overcome it, she and her husband had to approach a court of law to give a ruling for her to abort.