Praises for Okediran at Madagali unveiling

August 8, 2021

Guests turned out massively on July 29 when the medical doctor, author and politician, Dr Wale Okediran, unveiled his latest novel, ‘Madagali’.

One of the standout events of the recently concluded 2021 Nigeria International Book Fair was the presentation of ‘Madagali’, the latest novel by the medical doctor, author and politician, Dr Wale Okediran.

The ex-president of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and current Secretary-General of the Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA), unveiled the novel on July 29 at Harbour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Given his antecedents in Nigeria’s literary landscape, it wasn’t surprising that family, friends, associates, and the literati turned out to present the war novel in large numbers. Notably, a representative came from Madagali, Adamawa State, to be part of the occasion anchored by culture journalist and advocate JahmanAnikulapo. The Madagali representative, Ahmed Waziri Hassan, later presented the book.

Welcoming guests, the Managing Director of Evans Brothers Nigeria Publishers Limited, Lukman Dauda, commended the author’s long and fruitful association with his company. He thanked Okediran for choosing Evans to mid-wife the novel and disclosed his initial scepticism about ‘Tenants of the House’, the author’s fictionalised  account of his time in the House of Representatives the company also published.

“He had alternatives, and if I’m not mistaken, this is the fourth of his prolific writing that Evans has handled. We also published ‘Tenant of the House’. When it was first published, I wondered about the meaning, but by the time I read the book, it was fantastic,” Dauda said.

The publisher, who also thanked the Evans team for their diligence in getting the book ready for the fair, asked guests to purchase copies because the taste of the pudding is in the eating.

“As the Yoruba say, you don’t keep a distance to know how delicious a soup will taste. You have to move closer and have a taste. He did a fantastic job in the context of that story. It truly depicts what is happening on the war front between the Nigerian nation and the Boko Haram insurgents,” the MD said.

Dauda ended his speech with a prayer for peace in Nigeria. “We continue to pray that God in His infinite mercies will give us victory over the nation’s challenges. We also pray for peace for the people and residents of Madagali because it has eluded them for a long time. “

Chair of the occasion and the Minister of State for Health, Dr OlorunnimbeMamora, in a speech titled ‘When Fiction Mirrors Life’, commended the author for documenting the Boko Haram insurgency in fictional form.

The Minister, who Professor Chris Bode represented, disclosed that he so titled his speech because literary history is replete with works that fictionalise momentous events in the historical developments of countries.

He noted that ‘Madagali’ follows in the footsteps of Civil War novels, including Cyprian Ekwensi’s ‘Divided We Stand’, Eddie Iroh’s ‘Forty-Eight Guns for the General’and Chimamanda Adichie’s ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’.

Mamora expressed hope that the novel would draw attention to the plight of the Madagali people and bring relief to the community.  “Although the town may not be the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency, it deserves the book title hoping that the expected global and national attention to it among other badly affected towns in Nigeria will lead to a further hatred of the insurgency.

“We earnestly pray that apart from being a form of reading pleasure to many, the book ‘Madagali’ by bringing attention to this decade-old insurgency, will assist in the urgent and crucial role of finding a quick solution to the problem.”

The book reviewer, Dr Abubakar Othman of the University of Maiduguri, and a victim of the Boko Haram insurgency, also commended the work. He disclosed that it is a resource material for a newly introduced course in the institution.

“I’m delighted to review the book, ‘Madagali’, written by Dr Wale Okediran for two reasons. One, teachers of literature found the book very useful, especially at my university. We have recently introduced war literature, and this book is handy. Secondly, the book is about me. I should have written it but I was too close to the story to be artistic in presenting it. When Dr Okediran was talking about the book, I was privy to it right from its conception.”

Othman further noted that readers could approach the novel from three perspectives that also reflect the author’s personality. “You can approach ‘Madagali’ as a literary work of fiction, creative and imaginative, good plots, narrative techniques. All the literary devices are in this book.

“Second, the book can be approached as a manual for studying military intelligence and guerrilla warfare in contemporary Africa. So, we can recommend it to the military academy.  Third, and most importantly, ‘Madagali’ is a useful book for medical doctors involved in the counselling, management, and treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTDS),  especiallytime spent upon experiences in the war. So,  anyhow you relate with ‘Madagali’, you are reading an important book.”

Responding after the speeches, the author thanked the speakers for their kind words. He also appreciated all the guests, assuring them that he won’t stop writing as long as God gives him life.


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