Continued from last edition
Tears of a Fall Guy
Raymond Dimka is obsessed with the beauty of Tamar, a goddess of royal lineage, so to speak, but the girl does not even know about the lover boy. Any opportunity to steal a look at this belle becomes a fiesta for Raymond. However, he is soon moving into the mire of trouble when Felix, the heir apparent of influential politician and millionaire, Chief Gaius Hamba, slaps Raymondsfor ogling his girl and escort, Tamar. Humiliated and bereft of what else to do or say, Raymond promises to avenge the insult. Unfortunately, this altercation is taking place in the presence of an unobtrusive hitman who had a serious score to settle with the Hambas. The wife of Hamba is murdered shortly and not many believe that Raymond is innocent. Condemned by a competent court of law and awaiting the hangman, the feeling of his misrepresented innocence, phobia for imminent death from the hangman and all, potentiate his singing skills with dirges that attract national attention.
Ironically, these prison dirges turn to be a phenomenal force that draws attention to his plight, more especially on Lt. Henshaw, a security expert, who steps in and initiates actions that put issues in their proper perspectives. It soon became clear that justice was looking in the wrong direction when it was discovered that Mrs. Hamba was, indeed, murdered by her ex-houseboy. When providence set Raymond free, Tamar had got sufficient evidence that the man that was meant to die got into trouble because of his love for her. It was a perfect resolution because she, too, was emerging from the ruins of her failed unfortunate marriage to a brute like Felix, and ,like a marriage made in heaven, the duo ties the nuptial nuts.
George Nnamani is a firm believer that society has been bruised fatally at many joints by judging from the themes that dominate his story. Corruption in high places, blackmail, intolerance to dissenting voices, treachery and betrayal, international deceit and felony, adultery and fornication to mention but a few. His writings have always brought out the issue of conflict which he spurns around to illuminate its effects on the society, before arranging fodders on which studied solutions can be laid. Ultimately, the guilty had never gone without punishment which he feels should be the colour in the messianic world.
All the settings in his books (with the exception of The Call of the Chief Priest and The Vincent Nnamani Tales), has been in Eden of Alfador, a fictional geographical expression which typifies the kind of incongruous lives of contradictions of easy tendency to muffle the voices and wishes of the poor, the wretched of the earth found in many developing nations and promoted by some eccentric industrialised nations of the world. International politics is on a supersonic speed in most cases and most MOUs and peace pacts are mere formalities. In other instances, there are groups of international businessmen making money for themselves by receiving contracts from people with capitalist motivations to go and topple legitimate governments in distant locations. To these people, they could recruit the dogs of war from all fronts and infiltrate the ranks of civilian governments by the day. How prophetic these books written some years ago! Today’s terrorist activities and life of apprehension have been foretold by this writer!
Guilty without Reason
Life runs on a cycle of influences emanating from divergent behaviours of people against the norms of the society. When behaviours and norms collide, they ricochet, present the world’s indifferent shades of life: the good, the bad and the ugly. In this great novel, Guilty Without Reason (published 2019), George Nnamani brings these stiff colourations of life to bear on Alfador, a secular society seething with insecurity, cognitive apathy and where anything is possible under the cover of darkness. Although the work begins as entertainment banquet, it soon opens into other frontiers of serious consequences, taking its roots from the moral malady of a nation that has attitudinal problems as its major Achilles Heels. Monica is a ravishingly beautiful but a vociferous woman with very high libido and whose beauty enchants men in an uncanny way. She lives dangerously, has many male sex companions and has intimidate sex with them, yet broken her man, her fourth husband, to silence and submission.
John, her ageing husband, hits the anti-climax of his career as the Hangman of Stonewall Prison after he chanced on a condemned criminal, Moshosho, with who he enjoyed childhood pranks years back in their secondary school days and was compelled by his position to send up the gallows. He is in obvious depression about to meet his sticky end. Joshua Metu, a psychologist and criminologist of repute, is hired by the Federal Ministry of Information of Alfador and paid a mobilisation fee of one million dollars to rehabilitate over one thousand defected terrorists and repentant felons who had experienced “years of living like animals in the bush under intense brainwashing and radicalisation” (p.85). The contract includes the extension of similar services to other African nations under the sponsorship of the African Union. With the destiny of a continent placed on his shoulders, Metu becomes an instant celebrity. The narrative still moves with a persuasive rhythm and ushers its readers into the amorphous world of creation and its imperfections. Dr. Metu, though married to Ann, has failed to find sexual satisfaction in his frigid wife – a situation that secretly hurts Metu that has high desire for sex.
Ambrose, his friend, a pediatrician, has a workaholic banker as a wife, who, for the few hours she could save for herself, is obsessed with movies and, thus, gives her husband no emotional consortium. Very significantly, too, Alfador, though blessed with a lot of natural resources, is unable to contain corruption and insecurity and is also dancing with uncertainty over the practicability at Alfador of the newly introduced Administration of Criminal Justice Act. All these characters in the novel are impelled to sublimate their secret hurts in one way or the other. Then, the tone of the novel begins a guttural dirge! Monica Ibenda, is murdered alongside a young man called Machine at Joni Street. This attracts serious media hype and dominates public discussion with so many hypotheses. The job of finding the killer of the duo falls on the shoulders of Mr. O’Connell who is encumbered by the perceived high number of male friends Mrs. Ibenda has in her career in adultery.
Again, he is under pressure from human right lawyers to respect the fundamental rights of detainees according to the new Act and free Mr. Ibenda from continued detention or face litigation. Although John, the disgruntled husband of Monica, appears the logical murderer of his adulterous wife, Mr. O’Connell has a strange feeling that the dying John might not be responsible for the crime. All is just getting tough for the detective. John is being goaded to the dock. The hand of fate is strong, and courage fortifies it! A last minute move for explorative analysis of the telephone calls and messages from the slain woman’s phone and the release of these materials by Hometel network providers become a platform that actually locates the killer. The copious text messages for Mrs. Ibenda from one Martina, who even promised to kill for her love, were indicative of serious sexual relationship.
Martina is identified, and the forensic analysis of the finger marks found on the stick used to kill Monica and Machine identifies Martina as the killer. If Mrs. Ibenda was also into lesbianism, it was bad, but the story gets messier when Martina, the controversial and unobtrusive killer of Monica and Machine turns out to be someone the society had relied on to mend broken hearts and who used the name ‘Martina’ to hide away true identity. He is Dr. Joshua Metu of Mets Consults, Eden. A legal battle starts off in earnest, and Metu’s lawyer, Nat, exploits the fact that his client was at an appeal court at the date and time the crime was committed, hence with the impossibility of bilocation, his client deserves to be set free. The court is constrained by the hard facts before it and soon Metu is coasting home a free man. While driving his client home, Barrister Nat got more than he ever imagined when Metu admitted to him that he did the killing and that, indeed, he was absent from the court on the day in question but had to bribe a court clerk to insert his name in the attendance list in order to be exculpated.
Nonetheless, he is driven home only to find a house vacated by his wife and children and also discovers that his Mets Consult office has been closed. At about the same time, the Interpol comes for his arrest to be tried in any African country for reneging on the work he had promised to do and defrauding the continent of a million dollars. With his obvious drift into oblivion, there was no way he could know that even the victory he secured at the high court in the murder trial will be appealed against…
The author engages the interest of his reader by his use of sharp and appropriate words enlivened with allegories, figures of speech, idioms and humour. There is a powerful thread that unites all the segments of the story coherently from its beginning to its end. The theme, sequence and resolution of the story are in excellent mode and demonstrate a superior literary control. There is concord in the characterisation. For instance, on page 16, Ambrose observes thus: “Is this a mere coincidence or is it part of the evil day that the four of us, me, you, Lord Haman and John Ibenda have a common size!…We’re all small men, united in diminutiveness”.
This description unites well with what a witness interrogated by the detective called Chuzzy observed on page 83. He saw another man, a small man, enter the home, referring to Joshua Metu. The work shows how human beings can easily veer off into the weird world of delinquency while pretending to be good. Dr. Metu and all other high ranking personnel incriminated in festering adultery speak volume of human deceit. Man can also be unpredictable. Nothing could have ever made anybody look in the direction of Metu in connection with the murder except the incredible capacity of the author to form a tie-back that could form an anchor in establishing a link to resolve his story.
For instance, Metu had, while joking with his friend Ambrose, said “…a stick and a blow to the head with it, and the job is done” (p.158). At the heat of Metu’s involvement in the murder scandal, the shocked Ambrose could only ponder over those words of a friend he did not really understand. The work has a message to nations under the yoke of crime–ridden activities as demonstrated by President Ignatius Haidara who not only granted repentant terrorists amnesty but quickly opened a Citizens Rehabilitation Centre with a desire to “replant humanity in them” (p.85). This move was initiated for good and handed over to a ‘trusted’ Dr. Metu, who ,like someone emerging from a nightmare after rehearsing a psycho drama, burst all. The writing also exposes how men and even women use the new media of communication, ostensibly the mobile phones, for their nuisance values and how men’s names are surreptitiously saved with such feminine names to shield people’s true identity. In the novel, Monica Ibenda used the feminine names Doris for Lt. Col Yishack Hezella, Miriam for Pastor Praiseworthy Nabania and now Martina for Josh Metu. The author, in what could be interpreted as a caveat, appears to suggest that the world is becoming too small and too close for escape as items recorded and deleted in mobile phones could easily be recouped by network providers!
He also appears to suggest that a holistic view should be taken to address the difficulties associated with the implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act or its adaptation to fit into the psycho-social environment of African nations. While not supporting torture and duress in the course of police investigation of crimes, he seems to think that the requirement of the Act that suspected criminals under investigation be treated like royalty will not only frustrate police investigations but also increase the spate of crime in society.
George Nnamani has really entertained and tasked everyone. Guilty without Reasons is steaminº with the effervescence of well brewed wine with irresistible freshness. The book is recommended for government officials of different arms, police detectives, operatives of the Department of State Security, the military, paramilitary organisations, schools of higher learning, vocational training institutions, research centers and, indeed, to all and sundry.
The author’s style
George Nnamani has a unique style of writing novels. In spite of the fact that he is a prolific writer, he takes his time in articulating his plot and characterisation. He develops these novels over time in such a way that it is difficult to fault his writing. His writings derive their success stories from his arresting descriptions which are enlivened by the use of metaphors, bombasts, allegories, philosophical dirges and humour. The suspense level of his writings is consistently high and the manners he rounds off each work is coherent and leaves one with the urge to read a sequel. Most of his fans who have read A Lawyer’s Temptation have been calling on him to write another book on the eventual fate of Abel Meregini, who, they believe, is a scapegoat of the Hallo-Peter’s money laundering.
They argue that Abel is on his own, ‘enjoying’ his financial misfortune when the money bag seeks him out and decoys him into bizarre conducts. The author seems to have hearkened to this wish of his teeming readers, for, in Guilty without Reason, we see Abel in court representing a client. Abel is out on bail pending appeal. In law this is a temporary freedom as what becomes of him is still dependent upon the eventual outcome of his appeal. The sudden appearance of this tragicomic character in this latest book hits the reader instantly with the heartwarming realisation that the last had, indeed, not been heard about Abel Meregini.
The resolutions of his writing have always brought to the fore the need to internalize in the minds of his readers the virtues of love, charity, fair play and justice and always leave a memento to his readers thus: there is strength in meekness; after the rain come the shine; and no evil goes unpunished. The dominant streak in the writings of George Nnamani is his style of weaving the thread of love to unite the different segments of the society that are in bits and pieces because of the vicissitudes of life. He had let this streak of love as a universal tonic for peace and harmony to prevail, not only in his writings, but in his private and official action. A few examples suffice. Love for the dignity of fellow man made a man named Ngwu to contradict the resolutions of his Igbodike clan that labelled members of another hamlet as slaves. He had preached, though without success, for better treatment of the maligned hamlet and for their possible re-absorption. Love begets love and, although Ngwu’s position is stiffly opposed, the message has been passed. His gesture eggs one Mr. Omeke from the stigmatised clan to take his loaded dane gun to attend the funeral of the sage whom he saw as an upright man. Love gives him the courage to walk into an unwilling assembly of the rival clans, to fire his gun in reverence to the deceased and quietly walk home to mourn his rejection. If only everyone had had the benevolent mind of Ngwu, love would have healed all wounds and the mayhem that later followed could have been avoided. This is evident in his first novel, The Call of the Chief Priest.
It is the clear perception of injustice that is about to be meted out to an innocent girl that drives a prison warder at the risk of losing his job to secretly let Barrister Donald Jimi into the travails of a condemned prisoner, Benita, in Wrong Neck in the Noose. The matter turns sensual when, in Benita, Donald Jimi sees all the traits of his late wife whom he so much loved. Driven by this passion, he takes risks of unimaginable dimensions to save the innocent girl.
Without love, this scenario would have been impossible. The love for fatherland in Mission to Alfador compels people use their bodies to form a barricade around President Zack Troja, when Edwin Bohama, in concert with some fellow traitors in Zack Troja’s government and hired killers, gain access to St. Vincent’s Villa determined to assassinate President Troja. It is patriotism that drives Harrison the super cop all the way to the Forest of Sophia where he gets infected with the love of one of the felons, Jennifer, who, compelled by the grief of her dead lover, Caleb, opened up to Harrison and provided information that saved the fall of an empire.
It is the love and mercy for sinful mankind that makes St. Paul and Gamaliel, under God’s divine guide, decide to give Adaman and Evelyn, the dead loveless couple whose spirits are standing trial before God, the opportunity to wake up from death and find a way of gaining more understanding for salvation in Broken Rings.
But for the love and cooperation of Harrison the Super Cop and his colleagues in the Police, a scandal of monumental proportion could have been covered up in A Lawyer’s Temptation while the love for the future of the animal kingdom compels the Buffalo to challenge a vociferous and dangerous lion that insists on rigging a popular animal election in Vincent Nnamani Tales.
The aversion for injustice in the Tears of a Fall Guy and the reminiscences of the pains of an old friend compels, Lt. Bonaventure Henshaw, to start off a process that climaxed into the excavation of the truth about the true murderer of Lady Fiona Hamba, and so on. Even then, George Nnamani does not hide the fact that where love stands, evil lurks ominously like a silhouette.
He is an all-rounder who has traversed many quarters of Igboland presenting lectures on spectacular areas of life geared towards improving the lot of mankind. He hates indolence and never stops to rebuke, even in jocular forms anyone, who fails to work hard for honest earnings. His lecture pamphlet, Tottering Advocacy, Brimstones and The Road to Zoar is a tale of professional malaise among some lawyers especially the new breeds, who have the tendency to take certain court procedural decorum for granted. To him, a little more of painstaking effort and contemplations would have saved many.
Besides, he took on parenthood in The Imperatives of Fatherhood Under the Child Right’s Law delivered to raise alarm on the tragedies of a society that is being whirled away from the ancient and noble norms of our continent in Africa by worldly distractions leaving in its wake a stream of deviant children. He is the Editor of the Enugu State Judiciary Magazine, a publication that entreats its readers to the happenings within and outside the third arm of government. Lately, there is Customarius, a public enlightenment publication of his Court, the Customary Court of Appeal, Enugu State. Like the former, the latter medium often features the irresistible cartoons from OKB. Readers of the magazine wonder who is OKB. I do not wonder. I know.
Being close to him, I get bothered about his ever busy writing schedules which hardly leave him with any moment for leisure. I was still bemused by his ‘restlessness’ when he hit the nation with Journal of Contemporary Customary and Sharia Law Issues in Nigeria currently trending in legal circles. Prodded to reveal the spirit behind this innovative move, he said tersely that the much-needed understanding, tolerance and mutual accommodation between the North and the South in Nigeria could only be realised if we read and understand our different ways of life.
Nnamani is a man who would be writing a voluminous novel and a 400-page Law Report Book at the same time and still finds time for his conventional law duties. I see him as an ambient who could at a time be ruminant, all by himself and at other times, freely floating with other demands of associations. At a point, he nearly painted a picture of a farmer who is constantly tilling. He wrote and packaged Samankwe Plays, an explosive judicial satire in 2006. In spite of its readiness for the press, he seems to have forgotten all about it. Instead, he has turned his attention to other writings. When I reminded him of this, he laughed it off, confessing that he has no reason not to publish the Samankwe Plays, which had become ready for over ten years. Considering how overly explosive this judicial satyr is, I will not be surprised if it hits the bookstands eventually with a new title and, wait for it, a pseudonym!
His Lordship has also written two law textbooks: Judicial Remedies Pending Appeal under the Nigerian Law, and Practical Approach to Legal Advocacy in Nigeria, and co-authored a dozen others. For sure, George Nnamani knows where he is going. He believes that the labourer is worth his wages, if not now, may be later. He, indeed, is an uncelebrated Mighty Pen from the continent of Africa.
Dr. Louis Ezema, a liberal writer and novelist, holds B.A (Hons.), M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is a lecturer in Nigeria universities, including Godfrey Okoye University, Thinkers’ Corner, Enugu.