Monday, August 25, 2014


I have no doubt in my mind that in Africa many of our good creative writers have not been given the recognition or credit that they deserve. Or that we simply do not hear about them again, and future generations become ignorant regarding such an author. 

This came to my mind recently when I came across an old book written by a Nigerian writer, Aderemi Adegbola. The name did not ring a bell - my own generation appeared not to be aware of the gentleman. Not only did I read the book (titled Frank Talk) but I did some research on the author. 

Mr Aderemi Adegbola has not only published a number of books (rather before my time) but he also came across as a hard-hitting writer  labelled as a non-conformist when he was younger. Some 30 years ago he was elected as the Secretary General of the OSCE. He was at the time strongly identified with Iseyin. 

That he was (is?) hard-hitting is clear from the book, Frank Talk where he identifies with the down-trodden masses and condemns "Conscienceless power pitched against Powerless Conscience". His flair for words, philosophy, and writing in general can be seen throughout this work.
Adegbola's candour and bravery can be also be seen from his topics - like "No wreath for Dele Giwa (an outstanding journalist who was brutally murdered), "the transient nature of power", "Awo: the sage lives on", "Tai Solarin: saint or sinner" "Celebration of madness" etc.

The author confesses what we already suspect - that he had been in love with creative writing since he was a kid. There are references to The Young Writers Club (he was a
fervent member) when he was in secondary school; and he enjoyed erstwhile English Language classes as a kid.   

But it was the late Dele Giwa that inadvertently stoked Adegbola's passion for beautiful writing. As he recollects in his book: "Then (one) was fortunate to buy a copy of the Daily Times in 1977. You came across the page edited by Dele Giwa. You read the page and swore to make the purchase of the paper on that day of every week a regular affair...

"You read "Parallax snaps" by Dele Giwa.  You read the piece (many times) looked for a razor blade, cut the piece out and pasted it very close to your bed...When you had got many cuttings of the pieces, you created a file for them for easy accessibility...".

 Aderemi Adegbola went on to write and publish  many articles and stories himself, but I for one do not believe he fulfilled his literary potential; there is nothing strange about this - it has happened to many African writers, and it is worse during our times. I
know a number of pensmiths with initial great talent who later got to the stage where they even hated the craft of writing! 

Having said this I feel that Mr Adegbola would always love the world of writing, even if he might no longer be as hard-hitting as in the days of his youth? But these are just conjectures.

Other books by Aderemi Adegbola

Saki : enough is enough : (commentaries on religious and political wranglings) by Aderemi Adegbola

Footprints :Colonel Abdulkareem Adisa's legacies in Oyo State by Aderemi Adegbola

Oke Ogun : agonies of a neglected people (incorporating who is who) by Aderemi Adegbola

-          - By Leke Giwa

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