By Damiete Braide
Recently, Sam Amadi, a writer based in Dubai, UAE, was in Nigeria to launch his two books, Tourist in Wahala Land and The Chemical Poems of Ayatollah Khamenei, published in the United Kingdom (UK) by Authorhouse.
In an interactive with arts journalists at WinArch Gallery, Baruwa, Ipaja, Lagos, the biomedical scientist and debutante author disclosed that the poetry collection offered a series of political, satirical, sarcastic, surreal, and adoration rhymes and rebuked to the events of our contemporary society.
“It portrays Khamenei’s character, a little like him and a little not like him. It is the trick. Though the image is there, one does not need to blink to know the character in the poems. We discussed it with the publishing company who involved their legal team in the process and they noted that there was nothing wrong. They twisted the name, removed some letters and came out with what we saw.
“I also looked into it to see whether there would be any religious bends and tunes that the Arab would not like. I amended the ones that were amendable and removed those that were overtly aggressive, and we came out with something mild and tolerable to the general society, and can also fit into Arab societies.”
The Chemical Poems of Ayatollah Khamenei is a collection of poems written mostly from a laboratory at the University of Port Harcourt, where the author bagged his bachelor of technology degree in biomedical technology. He also holds a Latin diploma certificate in Roman classics from St. Joseph Major Seminary, an affiliate of Urban University, in Rome.
The biomedical scientist and poet has a unique style of writing in the diverse subjects of his books, including regions and characters outside his Nigeria origin. He was a student activist and aspiring scientist as he wrote these verses and was known to be keen about revolutionary figures, writings and events.
The biomedical scientist declared, “I’m a seeker of truth and knowledge. I never limited myself when I was in school. I read widely and saw that even before me there are so many scientists who are authors, poets, and in different forms of writing. Che Guevara, the Cuban Rosicrucian was a medical doctor and also a writer. We also have Cyprian Ekwensi who was a pharmacist and writer and Vaclar Havel, a chemist of Czek Republic. Agostinho Neto who is one of the A-list poets in Africa and the first president of Angola is a medical doctor and a poet. So I grew up in education to begin to understand that it is almost like a personal journey.”
The author added, “The whole motivation for the poetry work is actually revolution. I was a student activist in school. I went as far as creating a student movement that would bring about change in the university system and in Nigeria. But when that wasn’t working out, most of the students saw me as extremist while others saw me as championing personal goals, and wanting to use them to arrive at that goal. When I saw all that: the tribal, religious, ideological differences and the vision, I decided to look inwards to channel my energy towards writing.”
His second book, Tourist in Wahala Land, is a three-act play. In it, he presents a political satire designed to cast literary light on the corrupt goings-on in the dysfunctional systems of most third world states.
It also points out the roles developed societies play in contributing to the failures of these third world nations and seeks to expose the hypocrisy of some religious adherents.