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By SYNW Anambra


It was a moment of encomium and a gathering of 'who is who' in the creative and literary arts, as young writers in Anambra State hosted the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival And Maiden Memorial Lecture, in honour of a foremost Nigerian literary icon, Late Prof. Chinua Achebe.


Organized by the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter), the literary event themed "Chinua Achebe: Our Heritage In A New Normal" and which held at the Anambra State Central Library, Awka, also was also used to mark Achebe's 90th posthumous birthday.


Delivering the Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture, titled "If the Dead Could Speak, What Would Achebe Say of Present Day Nigeria?", the Keynote Speaker at the event, Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze, described Achebe as "The Unacknowledged Nobel Laureate” and a legend, who will eternally be known simply his surname –ACHEBE, just like Shakespeare, Yates, Dickens, Shaw and Byron, and other great intellectuals and legends.


He said, “Achebe, as we all know, wrote extensively about Nigeria. At times, he did so presciently. In one instance, he correctly predicted a military coup. Though that happenstance was an inexplicable coincidence, he almost got himself into trouble with Nigerian authorities. In two other instances, 2004 and 2011, he rejected high national awards in protestation of the squalid “bankrupt and lawless fiefdom” Nigeria had become.


“At another time – in 1983 – Achebe wrote a pithy little seminal book, wherein he dissected with surgical precision, The Trouble With Nigeria. As they say, great things come in small sizes. There was perhaps a reason why Achebe wrote that small but mighty book.


“Before then, another pithy book, by Peter Pan Enahoro titled, How to Be Nigerian had given a unvarnished glimpse into the mindset of the true Nigerian; the mindset that led us to our present new normal and conundrum- a nation of severe and deep-seated paradoxes – where we know what is good for us, but refuse to do it; a nation where we have the best world class players in politics and sports, yet frequently elect and select Third-rate teams to represent us; a nation endowed with riches in human capital and natural resources, yet one that earned the dubious distinction of being the poverty capital of the world."


Further dissecting Nigeria's situation and challenges, Obaze who himself is an author, poet, and former Secretary to the State Government, added, "Were Achebe to speak to us from his grave, I suspect that against the backdrop of the Nigeria I have just narrated, he would say the same thing over and over."


"...In his lifetime Achebe spoke Truth to Power. Today, can those in power find it within their grasp to understand the Power of the Truth Achebe told Nigeria?" he rhetorically asked.


Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Occasion, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, who is also an author, art curator, veteran award-winning journalist, and MD/CEO of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, noted that Achebe was not only a great writer but also a great sage, and "a man who was to some extent of his age, a vendor of knowledge of the ages before him but also a harbinger of wisdom of the age before him."


He lauded the organizers of the event, which he described as worth sustaining, as, according to him, Achebe is worth celebrating for life.

 

In his address of welcome, the initiator of the event and Coordinator of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter), Izunna Okafor noted that Chinua Achebe Literary Festival which started in 2016 is an annual literary they host in honour of Achebe on his birthday (every November 16), and through which they call for Achebe's immortalisation, immortalize him in their own way (through annual publication of Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology), and also promote creative writing and literary arts in general.


He explained that the event was previously being hosted only as Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, but in this year's edition, being its fifth edition and anniversary, they introduced the Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture into it, which is the first of its kind hosted anywhere in the world in honour of the legend.


He called on the Anambra State Government, private individuals and corporate bodies to recognize, reward, encourage and empower young writers in the state, and also  pleaded with them to undertake the annual sponsorship of the event, in honour of Achebe the legend, who he said, till date, is yet to be befittingly immortalized with any ‘structure'.


On his own part, the Special Guest of Honour at the event, Prof. Peter Umeadi, who is also an art enthusiast and former Chief Judge of Anambra State, urged young writers to keep writing, and never get discouraged. "Before you can put anything out, you must be courageous. You don’t have to think 'Oh! What will people say about what I have said or written',” he advised.


Others who graced and spoke at the well-attended event included the state's Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C-Don Adinuba; the Chairman of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo (Anambra State Chapter), Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene; veteran Nollywood Actor, Bob-Manuel Udokwu who is also the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Creative Media; the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Obiano on Secondary School Education, Dr Paul Ifeanyi, multiple award-winning author, Mr. Odili Ujubuonu.


Others were the Special Assistant to the Governor on Communications, Mr. Maxim Uzoatu; the Director, Anambra State Library Board, Dr. Nkechi Udeze; author and literary enthusiast, Mr. Isidore Uzoatu; and Architect Chinelo Ofoche, among others.


The event featured lectures, award presentation, Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition (sponsored by National Light Newspaper, for the participating secondary schools); art exhibition, discussion on the Fifth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, entitled "Achebe: A Man of the People"; cutting of Achebe's 90th posthumous birthday cake, among others.


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History will again be made on Monday, the 16th day of November, 2020, as young writers in Anambra State, Nigeria, set to mark Achebe's 90th posthumous birthday with a literary festival and maiden memorial lecture.


The event, Chinua Achebe Literary Festival And Maiden Memorial Lecture, is organised by the Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra State Chapter, in memory honour of Chinua Achebe, a renowned Nigerian literary icon, also reputed  to be the Father of African Literature.


According to the Coordinator of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers, (Anambra State Chapter), Izunna Okafor, the Maiden Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture, which is the first of its kind, will be delivered at the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival. 


He noted that the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival which started in 2016 and which is in its fifth edition now, will feature, lectures in memory of Achebe, dramatizing of Achebe’s selected books, open microphone/spoken word poetry, announcement of the winners of the 2020 Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition (sponsored by the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, for secondary school students), art exhibition, award presentation, among other literary packages slated for the date.


The annual event, he noted, will also feature the official unveiling and presentation of the Fifth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology entitled "Achebe: A Man of the People" (which is the association's newest collection of poems and essays published in honour of Achebe). The annual international anthology which is used to immortalize Achebe, Okafor says, contains poems and essays and reviews written and submitted by writers from different countries of the world, in response to a 'Call For Submission' earlier made by the association.


Izunna Okafor, who is also the initiator of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, further disclosed that the 2020 literary festival, themed "Chinua Achebe: Our Heritage In A New Normal" which is done in collaboration with the Anambra State Library Board, will, as usual, take place on Achebe's date of birth (16th November) at the State Library, in Awka, Anambra, Achebe's home-state, starting at 10:AM.


In his word, "The Maiden Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture will be delivered at the event by Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze who is a very good friend of Achebe, a writer, art enthusiast and former Secretary to the State Government in Anambra State; under the distinguished chairmanship of the MD/CEO, Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, who is also an author, art curator and veteran award-winnig journalist."


The 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival And Maiden Memorial Lecture is expected to be declared open by His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano (the Executive Governor of Anambra State) who will grace the occasion as the Chief Guest of Honour; while Prof. Peter Umeadi, art enthusiast and former Chief Judge of Anambra State will be a Special Guest of Honour.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (award-winnig global literary icon), Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (NLNG prize-winning author), Uzor Maxim Uzoatu (author of "God of Poetry"), Odili Ujubuoñu (author of "Pregnancy of the gods"), Isidore Emeka Uzoatu (author of "Vision Impossible"), Okeke Chika Jerry (author of "The gods Are Hungry"), Rev. Fr. Ositadimma Amakeze (author of "The Last Carver"); James Eze (author of " Dispossessed"), Paul Ifeanyi (author of "The Pregnant Virgin") among others, are expected at the event.


The 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival will be transmitted live by DigiTV, and will also have the presence of the State's Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Christian Madubuko; veteran Nollywood Actor, Bob-Manuel Udokwu; the Director General, Digital Entrepreneurship Office, Ifeanyi Anagoh, among other dignitaries, young and established writers from within and outside the country.


Born on 16th November, 1930, Chinualumogu Albert Achebe (popularly known as Chinua Achebe) was a foremost Nigerian literary legend and critic, who died on 21st March, 2013  at the age of 82.

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So many people live in the illusion that when they get to the top that everything will be easy and rosy but on getting to the top, it is not really what they thought. The freedom myth is the mentality that when you get to the top, that you are no longer limited - no more problems, worries or someone to answer to.

Some folks have a wrong idea about leadership. They see it to be a ticket to an easy life, the magic that will make them popular, solve all their needs and problems, but when they finally get to the top, they are surprised that it is not how they pictured it.

If you have been at the top in an organization - family, school, workplace, church, etc., you will agree with me that the top is not a bed of roses. There's a saying that, "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." The truth is that when you move to the top of the leadership ladder in any organization, your responsibility increases. As you rise higher, more is expected of you. At this stage, you cannot live or do things anyhow, the impact of your actions and inactions are very glaring.

Leaders who truly want to make positive difference don't sleep at the top, they wear their thinking caps, looking for ways to fulfill their mandate and leave great legacies. The top is not crowded because at this stage, more is required of you.

The essence of this treatise is not to scare you from aiming for the top but to get you set for the challenges that comes with being at the top. The best way to prepare for the top, handle it demands efficiently and effectively is by taking the initiative and responsibility to improve yourself today. Self-improvement is one of the greatest investment you can make because it's ROI (return on investment) is life-enriching. The best time to get ready for tomorrow is today...no more delay. See you at the top!

I remain yours truly,

Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

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By SYNW Anambra


Prof. Justice Peter Umeadi is set to grace the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival And Maiden Memorial Lecture, as a Special Guest of Honour.


Prof. Umeadi, FCArb, who is a former Chief Judge of Anambra State and Life Bencher, confirmed this in his acceptance letter to the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (SYNW) Anambra State Chapter, which is the literary body that organises the November 16 event. 


The letter succinctly reads in parts, "I gladly accept to be the Special Guest of Honour at the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Maiden Memorial Lecture slated for 16th November 2020 at Awka, Abambra State.


"Accept the assurance of my warmest regards."



On his own part, the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers Anambra State Chapter, Izunna Okafor, said the Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture, which is the first of its kind, will be delivered at the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, which is a literary event annually hosted in honour of Nigerian Literary Icon, Late Prof. Chinua Achebe in celebration of his life, works and legacies.


In his word, "The Chinua Achebe Literary Festival which started in 2016 and which is in its fifth edition now, will feature drama, open microphone, announcement of winners of Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition, award presentation, unveiling of the Fifth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, “Achebe: A Man of the People” published in honour of Achebe; art exhibition, entertainment, and other literary packages slated for the day."


Izunna Okafor who is also the initiator of the Achebe Literary Festival further noted that the Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Chief Oseloka Henry Obaze, who is a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) in Anambra State and Keynote Speaker at the event themed "Chinua Achebe: Our Heritage In A New Normal".


He also revealed that the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival And Maiden Memorial Lecture will hold on 16th November (Achebe's birthday) 2020, at the Anambra State Central E-Library, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria, starting at 10:AM.


The event, according to him, will be chaired by the MD/CEO, Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC), Sir Chuka Nnabuife, who is also an author, art curator and veteran award-winnig journalist.


Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezigbo, Odili Ujubuonu, Maxim Uzoatu among other prolific Nigerian writers are also expected at the event.


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By Izunna Okafor




It was indeed a blend of tears, encomium and fanfare as Nigeria's multiple award-winning author and literary crackerjack, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie buried her father, Late Prof. James Nwoye Adichie.


The burial ceremony, held in Adichie's hometown, Abba in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra, began with a Holy Mass presided over by Auxiliary Bishop Jonas Benson Okoye of the Awka Catholic Diocese, and drew the attendance of Ex Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, the Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Professor Charles Esimone, among other intellectuals and personalities, including the members of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter) who went to commiserate with the Adichie Family.


In his homily, Bishop Okoye described Prof. Nwoye as a hardworking man who used his wealth of knowledge, intellect and finance to serve the humanity, looking at his past records and legacies. He thus urged Christians to always show love to anyone they come across and live a worthy life that will not only give joy to humanity, but also earn them eternal repose at last.


On her own part, Chimamanda Adichie, who read the scriptures (both in Igbo and English languages) during the pontifical burial mass that held in St. Paul's Catholic Church, Abba, said her father lived an examplary life and was the kind of man everyone would love to have as father.


"My father was a very remarkable, kind and loving father. He was also a patient and honest man of integrity. He always had time for his children. In fact my father was the bedrock of whatever I am today. So I don't think I could have had a better father than him. I love him, and I will miss him so much," she said.


Contributing, former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State who was also the Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 Presidential Election recounted his encounters with the deceased, and attested that he was an iconic man of peace who left enduring peace and legacies for his children and the society.


Popularly addressed by his chieftaincy title of 'Odelọra', Late Prof. James Nwoye Adichie who died on Wednesday June 10, 2020 at the age 88, was the first professor of Statistics in Nigeria. He is survived by Mrs. Grace Ifeoma Adichie (wife); Ijeoma Adichie, Uchenna Adichie, Chuks Adichie, Okey Adichie, Chimamanda Adichie, and Kenechukwu Adichie (children), as well as many grandchildren and other relatives.



Izunna Okafor writes from Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria

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Osita Eze, Youth Pastor
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     Permit me to begin by commending the efforts of Senator AbiodunOlujimi for initiating the Gender Equality Bill recently rejected by members of the house of Senate. An erudite person may want to find out what the bill is all about. The bill proposed by Senator Abiodun Olujimi on the 15th of March, 2016 was to guarantee gender equality in politics, education, employment and marriage. The bill also seeks to protect the female gender against gender discrimination. The bill was rejected by a larger number of Senators in Nigeria because an aspect of the bill does not agree with what our traditional and reIigious institutions preach.

In my opinion, the bill is worth the consideration of members of Senate for many reasons.

     Firstly, I believe that there would be no meaningful development in every sector of Nigeria’s economy without the maximum involvement of the female gender in nation-building. The female gender is capable of increasing the financial, intellectual and technological base of Nigeria if given equal opportunities and rights as given to their male counterparts.

     Secondly, the rejection of the bill will never makeNigeria achieve conformity with the United Nations Conventions on gender issues. The poor representation of female gender in Nigeria in workplaces, educational institutions and governmental agencies will continue to negate international, regional and national benchmarks of at least thirty percent representation of the female gender generally agreed upon by members of the United Nations of which Nigeria is an active part of.

     Furthermore, everybody in spite of gender is created with specific talent and skill which needs to be expressed. Equal rights and opportunities to employment and education will provide an enabling environment for the female’s personal development and give them a senseof belonging to a nation which has their interest at heart. The female constitutes about sixty percent of Nigeria’s population, yet they occupy less than fifteen percent of the political postsin the national, state and local government levels-a trend which does not speak well of Nigeria as the most populous black nation on earth. The female gender must be given their place of pride in the scheme of things. The law will serve as the template to achieve this. The bill must not be delayed but immediately passed into law.

     Lastly, the rejection of the bill will only continue to promote gender discrimination and this will continue to make women insecure, deny them meaningful employment, expose them to exploitation and sexual violence and encourage other discriminatory practices against women. To avoid all these, the Nigerian Senate must therefore wake up to its task of making credible laws and accept the Gender Equality Bill presented before it. Its failure to do this would simply mean one thing: hatred for their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.

    However, while the above-listed reasons may be valid, I have a few reservations on the aspect of the bill that emphasizes gender equality in marriage. I am of the opinion that a woman may not enjoy equality with her husband in the true sense of the word.This is because our traditional and religious institutions do not preach gender equality in marriage. The men have always been the leaders of their various families and have always been responsible for their welfare. Their authority to lead is believed to have been bestowed on them by God Almighty.No one dare alter this natural order.

    In addition, male and female were created with physiological and behavioural differences. They were never created to be competitors-they have their areas of strengths and weaknesses. Each of them must discover and learn to cherish these differences in their own interests.While it is true that men and women were created to play different but complementary social roles, it is important that men should stand and speak up for the women in their lives. Defensive mechanisms that would promote the welfare of their female counterparts should be put in place.

    In the interim, it is advisable that Senator Abiodun Olujimi should take into consideration some of the sentiments expressed by her colleagues especially on issues pertaining to gender equality, make basic amendments on the bill and re-present it to the Senate.

    In conclusion, I want to state this clearly that the Gender Equality Bill is not a battle of the sexes; it is not a bill that removes the submissiveness of women to their husbands neither is it a bill that seeks to erode the responsibility of the women in her home. It only seeks to give the woman more opportunity to assist herself and the man in the home. It is a bill that will benefit the men andthe society at large.

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Is Pantothenic Acid a Magic Cure for Acne?

In 2014 a study was published that reported success treating acne using a high dose of pantothenic acid, also known as Vitamin B5.   As you can imagine, as a Naturopathic Doctor specializing in acne I was immediately all over this study.

Could there really be a magic pill for acne?  It seemed too good to be true.  After digging into the study, trying the protocol with my patients and investigating pantothenic acid a bit more I decided to drop pantothenic acid from my acne protocol.  Here’s why.

The Study

One small study is not usually conclusive, and this holds true for the research paper published in 2014 suggesting that pantothenic acid could reduce acne lesions.  More research needs to be done – but it did spark so many questions and interesting insights!

The study was conducted with 40 patients (mostly women) over the course of 12 weeks.  Patients were given 2.2 grams of pantothenic acid daily, and at the end of 12 weeks the number of blemishes on the skin was compared with their baseline (the number of blemishes on their face at the beginning of the study).

The chart of results is shown below:

zdffd

The blue bar represents the number of acne lesions at baseline and week 12 in the patients taking a pantothenic acid supplement.  The red bar represents the number of acne lesions at baseline and week 12 in the patients taking a placebo, which means participants THINK they are taking an active medication, but they are not.

As you can see, even though there are some significant results with pantothenic acid, there is also a tremendous result with the placebo – when the study subjects just THINK that they are taking a remedy.  This is called the placebo effect, and it demonstrates that our mind is incredibly powerful – when we think we are taking a remedy we will experience healing.

My question is – even though the study claims that pantothenic acid reduces acne lesions by 67% – how much of that improvement is actually attributed to the placebo effect?

The other interesting thing about the study is that almost all the improvement in acne was seen in non-inflammatory acne, which is blackheads and small whiteheads.  

Acne that was more inflamed, red and cystic did not see the same improvement as milder acne.  This suggests that pantothenic acid is more effective against mild acne.

What is Pantothenic Acid?

Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, is converted in the body to Coenzyme A (CoA).  The  functions of CoA include converting fats, proteins and carbohydrates into energy, regulating skin function and cortisol production.

These functions are especially important in acne pathogenesis because pantothenic acid can affect fat and oil production in the skin, regulate keratinocyte proliferation, and moderate our stress response – all factors in acne pathogenesis.

For years we thought that pantothenic acid was delivered to our body solely through our diet.  Many food sources contain pantothenic acid, and it is highly bioavailable and absorbable.  It is found in eggs, meat, poultry, lentils, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, while grains, nuts, and beans – basically most of the foods that are included in a healthy diet! 

Why does pantothenic acid help some mild cases of acne?

If you eat a diet composed mainly of processed foods, you may not get the amount of pantothenic acid required to keep your body healthy.  A daily diet of processed cereals, peanut butter sandwiches, sodas and pizza is void in all nutrients (not just vitamin B5)! 

But it turns out that a pantothenic acid deficiency has less to do with diet, and more to do with the microbiome.

More recent research has revealed that B vitamins are not only acquired through our food but also produced by our microbiome.  In fact, studies are suggesting our most important source of pantothenic acid and other B vitamins is actually from our intestinal microbiome.

This means that if your gut is not healthy and balanced you could be experiencing a deficiency in pantothenic acid, regardless of how much you eat in your diet.  And this is why high-dose supplementation of pantothenic acid is able to positively affect mild acne in some people.  It is thought that a high dose is able to flood the pantothenic acid receptors temporarily to produce CoA in the body.  As discussed before, CoA helps regulate lipid metabolism, keratinocyte turnover and the stress response.

But think about it – in our diet we need approximately 5mg of pantothenic acid per day.  It takes 2.2 grams of synthetic pantothenic acid daily to trigger the response that should be happening naturally in our body.   As a Naturopathic Doctor, I want deeper healing for my patients.

Why do I not recommend high-dose pantothenic acid for acne.

1. As a Naturopathic Doctor I am always investigating the underlying cause of a condition so I can solve the problem for good. Taking high dose pantothenic acid daily does not solve the root issue.  It masks an underlying problem.  Once you stop taking the supplement, the acne will come back.

2. One of the root problems of acne is an imbalanced microbiome. This is what leads to a deficiency of endogenous pantothenic acid in the body, which can negatively affect lipid metabolism and epidermal regulation which can lead to acne.  Instead of targeting the pantothenic acid deficiency by flooding the body’s receptors with synthetic pantothenic acid, my goal is to re-regulate its natural production in the body.

3. When the microbiome is balanced, not only will the body produce adequate amounts of pantothenic acid, but many other imbalances in the body will also improve. Digestion will start to work optimally, inflammation will decline and hormones will start to naturally balance.  Supplemental pantothenic acid will not affect any of the other imbalances caused by an unhealthy microbiome.

4. Supplemental pantothenic acid only affects mild acne, and often my patient population have moderate to severe acne – which means that deeper and more complete healing is required.

5. High dose pantothenic acid works for some people, and not for others. I like to eliminate guesswork as much as possible which is why I choose not to use it in my patient protocols.

The Bottom Line

Supplemental pantothenic acid is a band-aid solution for a much more serious problem – an unbalanced microbiome.  In my practice I choose to solve the underlying issues and get rid of acne for good.

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Book Title: Verdict of the Gods

Playwright: Iwu Jeff

Publisher: Transconventional Publishers

Date Published: July, 2020

ISBN: 978-978-979-443-0

Number of Pages: 84

Reviewer: Nwokeabia, Ifeanyi John.



When gods choose not to let the rain drop, the effort of a rain maker is in vain. The birds of the air always feel betrayed and confused when a thunderous fart is released in the air by an unknown spirit. The land, water and the entire space of Achara which has experienced in the past, peace and transquility, turns into a mourning zone. Night visited Achara community in a broad daylight.Iwu Jeff's play, Verdict of the Gods is an epic tragedy. It exposes a land in turmoil. But the big question is: can sins of fathers be visited on their children?

Sleep has become a stranger to the eyes of the citizens of Achara. Eze Obioha, the traditional ruler of the community is disturbed;  his emotions restless. An elder cannot fold his arms and watch a goat suffer in parturition. He seeks measures to dispel the spell wreaking havoc in his land as a leader who has the well being of the people at heart, and consequently, his family suffers the same endemic,. He's traumatised and unrelentingly quests for answers and solutions to the plight of his people.

In page 9 of the play: 

EZE OBIOHA : My daughters are down, they can no longer speak...we have followed every smell our nose can perceive, yet we have not seen any rotten thing. Where is the smell of evil coming from? Oh! My ancestors, please give us another eye, another nose, another ear and mouth. The ones we are wearing have no use ... Our gods are silent my people. I am not spared from this calamity. The spell is everywhere...

Eze Obioha being a leader who feels the pain of his people, he continually summons his cabinet members to put heads together to find lasting solutions to their problems. The cry of his people has become a thorn on his fresh and he sometimes laments to the gods questioning them on the ways his community or himself has wronged them.

In pag 77, he has this to say:

EZE OBIOHA: ...my son died two nights ago; before he died, an extra hand came out through his chest. My daughter was suddenly struck with imbecility... Who did my fathers offend?

Countless questions are asked and ountless visitations, made to the shrine of different Dibias but all efforts prove abortive. The gods remain remain 'mute' and 'tongue-tied', refusing to draw humans to the closer view of their boiling angers. Drought and famine become two beautiful maid married without a bride price, gummed like bedbugs to their land and refusing to leave. Death toll keeps multiplying on daily basis. The living prefers death as solutions are not in sight. Who will save the dying land?

Amidst the seriousness of the play, Iwu introduces two characters: Ezemma and Nwokeocha, who are members of the cabinet to ease the tension arouse by the unfolding events. These two revered men help to crack the ribs of the readers with comic banter.

In page 20;

EZEMMA: what am I saying? Wisdom! Wisdom! Igwe, I am full of...[Nwokeocha intrudes]

NWOKEOCHA [scornfully] Madman!

EZEMMA: will you shut up and listen to...

NWOKEOCHA: What wisdom can one possibly get from a lunatic? I do not blame you; a child that suckled a goat's milk will definitely act like a goat even in his old age. You need to return to your mother in her grave so you can have a taste of her breast milk.

EZEMMA: [Rises and faces Nwokeocha] How dare you call my dead mother into this? I see, you have really want to show me that you have grown enough hairs around your manhood.

ELDERS: Chai! [Elders exclaim, laughing and turning left and right] Enough!

NWOKEOCHA: [Stands up, pointing a finger at Ezemma] And you whose hairs are now overgrown into a forest, you need to be weeded...

This play is both revelational and revolutional. On the former, Iwu reveals that there's more to scapegotism as a concept. Some great African writers Wole Soyinka, Femi Osofisan and a host of others in their various plays, but Verdict of the Gods introduces a new scapegotism. However, on the latter, it demolishes the stereotype created  in most African writings, where the  God of the new religion is often given ultimate power of purifying African lands of its mess. In Verdict of the Gods, it is different as the  African gods reign supreme in sanctifying their people and their lands of sins.

The masterful ink of the playwright is laudable in his ability to select suitable words for his characters. The social standing of his characters are discernable through the quality of their language. Every scene in this play is opened with a beautiful African proverb dancing into your eyes and the use of African proverbs by the characters show the rich culture of Achara community.

The cover design of the play has great significance in the over development and arrangement of the play. Its from cover has the head of three gods joined together in a threesome unity. However, the play is not arranged in Acts and Scenes but it's divided into three - Beginning, Middle and End. The use of three gods has Biblical allusion of God the Father, Son and HolySpirit. That's, the Trinity in one God. In this play, one discovers that these Gods are one and their verdict is equally one. Despite the deviation from play's convention of Acts and Scenes, the play maintains the three unity of place, time and event which solidifies its beauty as a play. Although some might raise alarm on his use of uppercase in 'Gods' but I don't think he has committed as grammatical blunder on that. I think, it's a question of choice.


The Playwright 

Iwu Jeff ( Iwuchukwu Jephta) is an award-winning writer who has written in the three genres of literature - poetry, drama and prose. His works have gained homes in different Anthologies and online publication.

From the beginning, through the middle and to the end, the play is suspensely decorated and readers won't have any reason to drop it for a moment until one gets to the very end. Are you ready to discover the verdict of the gods for Achara people? Are you equally ready to discover how a wounded lion got its healing balm? Grab your own copy of Verdict of the Gods.

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