OPINION

The World Gave Me An Ovation In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Shadow

-By Gloria Ogo

 And because we live in an era of validations and endorsements, none expected this new voice in the wilderness to be Gloria ogo. The audacity of the piece, the dare, the strike at societal conscience, this new call to reason could only come from a person with authority. So the media erroneously gave my voice to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Chimamda Adichie and Gloria Ogo
Chimamda Adichie and Gloria Ogo

I wrote Reflections on the man Nnamdi Kanu not because I was the most courageous or fearless of writers. I wrote the piece because after so long on the plight of the people, someone had to step forward and break the silence. Someone had to prick consciences, and repeat forgotten truths.

For there is an extent one keeps mute, then silence becomes a norm. It becomes a weapon. Hence a tag repeated often will eventually become the new truth.

So I questioned myself, how can an entire tribe become a breed of terrorists or is a narrative dependent on the hand wielding the pen?

And because we live in an era of validations and endorsements, none expected this new voice in the wilderness to be Gloria Ogo. The audacity of the piece, the dare, the strike at societal conscience, this new call to reason could only come from a person with authority. So the media erroneously gave my voice to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

This raised questions in me. A certain doubt. Was my name not good enough? Could my piece be so worthy, and yet the person who wrote it be so unworthy to be quoted?

Observers argued it was an honest mistake, that Adichie and I sounded alike. Some called my piece ‘the voice of Jacob in the body of Esau’. A lot of people asked me to be happy either way. That at least the message (of much importance) was spreading like wild fire, whether with my name quoted alongside it or that of a more popular colleague.

Nnamdi Kanu

I agree.

The relevance of an article is not necessarily its authorship, but of content and the value it conveys. Yet my worry was beyond a yearning for popularity or fame. It was rather a matter of principle. That things are done right and correctly. That a writer, even if unknown, be given due acknowledgement for her toil in a matter of such sensitivity. For courage and bravery, a tap on the appropriate back was not too much to ask for.

I will not forget to THANK friends who worked tirelessly to correct this misinformation about my identity as the original writer of the piece. My story will remain incomplete without you all. Without the power of collective solidarity.

**********

I want to speak of another type of courage, another type of humility and graciousness. This podium goes to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Like a big sister, she went an extra mile not only in denying authorship, but in mentioning the rightful author’s name. She momentarily stepped aside from the spotlight and gave me a spot to shine on her wall, a slice of the acknowledgement that was denied me. She did not have to do that. But she did.

She has done what is right and appropriate.Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

*******

According to his lawyer Ifeanyi Ejiofor, a scan of Nnamdi Kanu’ s heart showed that the heart has enlarged by 13% due to the beating meted to him by the Kenyan authority before beckoning on their Nigerian counterpart to take over.

And to this, a fact remains inarguable. That Nigerians have accepted global gross disrespect and inhumane treatement as a standard towards their being.

 It is even okay for the Chinese running companies in Nigeria to beat us on our own soil.

It is okay for the Chinese to beat us to stupor on their own soil.

But I digress.

We have accepted the status quo of being sub-human as proper. Otherwise one should have asked, Nnamdi was beaten for what purpose?

But before I retreat behind the shield of silence, one thing is clear. That my reflections remain valid as long as a man remains innocent until proven guilty.

 Till a verdict is read, let us be a people of deeper thoughts. Of not just a reawakening, but of decisions not to sell consciences

But most especially our votes in future elections.

Related stories REFLECTIONS on the man Nnamdi Kanu

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Gloria Ogo a graduate of Rivers State University of Science and Technology, is a Nigerian author whose numerous works of poetry and prose are widely read and internationally acclaimed.

 Among her published works are the novels, While Men SleptBlack Opal,  In Blood and War,
Black Mistress
, and  Black Diamond, including a collection of divergent poems,  An Apology From Africa, and a Writer’s Guide.

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