By HENRY AKUBUIRO
Philip Ngozi Ifechukwude was the cynosure of all eyes as Imagine Lagos, his new collection of short stories, was launched in Lagos recently. It was a convergence of Ibusa personalities who came to identify with one of their own ascending the totem pole of creative writing.
In his review, Zik Zulu Okafor, ace Nollywood producer, said it was high time Nollywood started adapting stories like those in Imagine Lagos to into films because of its cinematic contents. He was fascinated by the author’s deployment of imagery and suspense in the book.
He applauded the writer’s descriptive power, thus, “Why I like the author is that his sense of description is so gritty that it takes you to the locale of the action. You could see what is going on by his description. He has a powerful sense of description.”
He aroused the interest of the audience further when by declared that the book contained many interesting stories. He spent time explaining the background that gave birth to the titular story “Imagine Lagos”, just as he x-rayed “My Mother’s Sister”, “The Cocoyam’s Tears” and “Christmas in Ayoko”.
A special guest, Prof. Pat Utomi, commended the reviewer for doing a remarkable job. He promised to get many copies to distribute to young people. He enjoined writers not to let their talents die. He recalled that, in 1977, he won a radio competition organised by Radio Nigeria, regretting that such competitions were no longer organised nowadays.
The book was unveiled by Mr Eluemuno Okafor, the representative of the Chief Launcher, Chief Steve Okonmah, who delighted by Ifechukwude’s writings, acknowledged that each work of his usually showed an improvement on the other. He urged everybody to encourage the author by purchasing the book.
Emeka Anokwuru, a journalist with The Sun, who taught the author during his stint at the author’s hometown, Ibusa, as a youth corps member, was excited that one of his students had become an author of note. “My joy is that somebody who passed through me is launching his book today. I am excited to be here today,” he said.
A former police commissioner, Frank Odita, said though he hadn’t met the author before, he ensured he attended the event because of his passion for Ibusa. He said, “I am delighted that a son of Ibusa is doing us proud. Anything Ibusa is doing is worth celebrating.” He urged Ifechukwude to write on Ibusa history to educate the people on their past.
Invited artistes ensured there was no dull moment at all. First to perform was a poet, Gloria Idegwu. Ayaya Mog, an Afrobeat singer, took to the floor later on; and the entertainment curtain was drawn with a spellbinding performance by Little Michael.
The author, who spoke The Sun Literary Review, at the end of the event, said Imagine Lagos was inspired by his over a decade sojourn to Lagos, “So, I felt like putting together some of the experiences I had.”
Why stories? He explained, “Most times some novels come with ambiguous themes. I decided to write stories for everyday relaxation and considering that we have an environment that is not reader-friendly. I wanted something that would stimulate that reading culture.”
He also hinted on his melding of city and bucolic settings, “I am a versatile writer and I have an orientation that interweaves. It cuts across city and pastoral setting, and my writings manifest these.”
For Ifechukwude, the satisfaction that comes with book launch goes beyond moneymaking. “It is not all about the money; it is about what people say about you and your writings,” he said. What’s more, he is yet to rest on his oars. “I can’t give up. Writing is part of me and I am part of writing. I will definitely continue.”