Tuesday, 17 May 2016


Author: Zaharaddeen Ibrahim Kallah
Genre: Prose
Publishers: Jemie Books
Year: 2014
Pagination: 178
Reviewer: Muhammad Abbas Liman

Zaharaddeen Ibrahim Kallah is a bilingual author in Hausa and English who made his name in Nigerian literary arena years back.  His 2010 Hausa novel, “Sadauki Mai Duniya” has been outstanding in the presentation of Hausa society as far back as 16th century.  His latest English novel titled “The Right Choice” was shortlisted and published under the maiden edition of Nigerian Writers Series (NWS), patterned after the famous African Writers Series (AWS) that published and projected many African literary icons such as Achebe, Soyinka, Sembene, Ijimere, Nwapa,  Ekwensi, Ngugi, and Amadi Elechi.

The novel “The Right Choice” took place in an imaginary country in Africa, named “Unity States”. It recounted some post-colonial events and the involvement of military in power, following their claim that politicians were corrupt. 

Kallah’s work is engaging in a masterly that observed how blacks had unquestioningly internalised colonial values by exploiting and raping their own countries for personal benefits. This, according to the writer, was among the factors that left the continent backward, thereby becoming the home of illiteracy, poverty, unemployment and insecurity.  

The book is built on his main character, Sameera Junaid Hassan who had disappointed her father, for not being the male child he always wanted. Just like Jean Toomer and Charles Chesnutt, the issue of sex preference is one of the themes tackled by the author. This matter is not only common in African societies but almost everywhere in the world. But in the context of Hausa society, a male child is the preference because of socio-economic reasons. Here, Kallah took a radical position by proudly creating an intelligent female protagonist. (See page 3-4). He avoided the view that it is the male child that would take care of the family if the parents are weak and old.  Similarly, he eschewed the view that the burden of rearing a female child was recognised as problematic. 

Kallah, just like Ibrahim Sheme in his book “Yartsana”, dwelled on the ills of sex preference and resultant maltreatment. In both stories, sex preference was linked with maltreatment, early marriage, prostitution and social exclusion. Social evidences however abound that the girl-child is more caring and responsive to filial duties.

On the brink of forced marriage, fortuitous salvaging of Sameera was ordained, when she was taken away from the village by a family friend, and that made it possible for her to acquire western education, which at the same time exposed her to world struggles to put things in order. As a historian, writer and journalist, Sameera joined a crusade to revolutionise her country, which of course paid off by making her a world heroine. The writer has joined writers such as Susan E. Philips, Julie Garwood, Grace Draven and Maya Banks, in the campaign against forced marriage.

Revisiting to dominant cultural beliefs, Kallah created Aliyu Usman, her husband, who served as a reinforcer of her values and opinions. In fact, they met during a conference where he saw Sameera as a person who was both academic and intellectual minded. Aliyu falls in love with her, so he used all strategy to ensnare her. The writer, created Sameera as someone very radical, a young woman that developed interest on Marxist-oriented sociological disposition. This can be seen in the conclusion of her paper, where she asserted that:  

When the proletarian
Pushed to the world
False consciousness
Faded away
Revolution has arrived:
No going back. (p. 2)

The Right Choice is equally about the state of Africa’s disarray, and sometimes, wanton anarchy, after the departure of colonial powers, and our trademark of ceaseless military incursion. The Unity States was not an exception to coup and counter coup by the military whom despite the claim that politicians were corrupt, ended up being equal or more corrupt than the politicians. The additional selling point of the book is the way it exposes the leadership of a black nation of Kallah’s creation, which is a true representation of most African countries. In page 35, the Unity States was shown to be an oil rich country with fertile agricultural lands. But all these were used for the benefit of minority, ruling the country towards a negative path, rather than towards the development of popular basics amenities, infrastructure and facilities, that leaves none worse off. 

As a journalist, Sameera’s attempt to expose the illicit and uncharitable ways of leaders, has put her in a defensive position. The Head of State, General Danjuma was uncomfortable with her and went outside propriety, to state that:
The criticism of our government is getting too much. Could you imagine a woman editor in The Unity Newspaper being too radical? She wants to destabilize my government.” (p. 33)

The ruling elites tried to use all draconian and unethical means of silencing Sameera from her antagonism of their government by many means: principal of which, was money being the first step and commonest measure of silencing people in African nations. Poverty and poor living standard warrant the use of money to bribe journalists from writing the actual happening in black nations. 

Sameera refused to rescind her critical position, but got more vehement and released her promising novel “the law of the jungle”, which was critical of the incumbent head of military government. This irritated the ruling elite and they quickly acted in their universal language of repression and the brutal lust for inflicting injury: the author successfully painted a sinister scene, thus:   
It was 9:30pm. She was driving her brown Golf back home. When she drove into Bintalo Avenue, the street was quiet: only birdsongs could be heard. When she got very close to her house, a Toyota Jeep by the side of the road rushed to her direction. She quickly searched for the brake in order to avoid a collision. Four men in military uniform came out and one of them pointed a pistol at her. (p. 79-80). 

Kallah was deliberate, moral and ground breaking in setting intellectualism against corruption in the Unity States. Sameera and her husband were all writers and at the same time journalists who founded a Newspaper company. Media houses were used in fighting the cause, despite the risk of persecution and assassination of journalists who attempt to uncover the dirty game of the military government. The story of Sameera’s abduction appeared on the front pages of national dailies (see page 82).
It becomes thought-provoking and disturbing to observe that the scenario of detention and killing of journalists in third world countries of Africa is persistent whenever they try to perform their duties as social police. 

The writer, just like Stieg Larson in his “the girl who kicked the hornets’ rest” rightly believed that there is need for enlightenment about the need for social reorientation against corruption and criminal acts. Journalists like Nafisa Muhammad in her literary column gave a detailed account of how the military attempts to stop journalists from performing their duties. This is not unconnected with the perverse desire of power-holders to control the flow of information to the masses.  

The detention made Sameera very popular in her country. Masses joined hands to protest for her freedom. The reaction made young military officers to topple the dictatorial government of Danjuma. Although, no justification for military incursion in governance, the coming of Brigadier Saleem Sa’ad paved way for Sameera to join politics and win the seat of president, becoming the first female president in Unity States. 

In typical Hausa society of today, it is uncommon to have women holding high ranking position of president or governor. But, Kallah’s book has trailed the blaze in the crusade for gender inclusiveness and sensitivity. He consciously defied social boundaries and borders, to create an ideal activist in a woman. We will do well to acknowledge that even in conservative environments, there are minds who are progressive. The author has shown uncommon bravery in his campaign (See page 125). 

Even though it is uncommon in contemporary Hausa community to have females in high ranking positions, history has it that women were served as queens in traditional Hausa states in pre-colonial period, such as Daura and Zazzau where Queens Daurama and Amina spur forth a whole socio-cultural stock and were also known for valour. Noting this, Kallah has toed the path of Tendai Huchu, Dona Kapelli and Kadir Nelson in their books “the hairdresser of Harare”.

Following this socio-linguistic antecedence, it is not surprising that Kallah’s strong character Sameera, was regarded as one of the most powerful female presidents that attempted to actualise her vision of an economically and politically vibrant African continent, like the USA. Sameera through her ambassador to Nigeria, revived a strong diplomatic relation with Nigeria in order to help the country get out of the trauma of poor leadership. Like an ideologue, Kallah craftily lends his voice to the clamour for a United States of Africa. He did everything to portray the possibility of collective African co-existence and co-operation.

I highly commend the way Kallah attempts to change the view point of our world with the sophistication of his thought. This could vividly be perceived in the speeches made by president Sango and Sameera Junaid at African Union summit. Below is excerpt of President Sango’s poignant speech:
“You will believe me that the African continent is battling with security lapses, while the world in this globalised era has opened new forms of understanding and mutual relations. We ended in confrontations, conflicts and wars that have never been in the history of Africa, similarly explosions and suicide attacks that were never in our tradition, neither is the killing of innocent persons.” (p. 166)

While Sameera’s speech was proffering, inspiring and capable of restoring hope for the possible regain of the lost glory of African continent, when they were living in peace with less conflict as opposed to contemporary times. Hear her:  
“The world of globalisation shouldn’t be for hatred and war, but for multilateral relationships. It could be linked with olden days when the mode of transaction was trade by barter.” (p. 167)

All these are good examples of where the writer has artfully presented a counter-perspective, a realistic narrative on both continental situation and the measures for overcoming problems bedevilling our nations. So doing, he has theorised and sermonised by encouraging Africans to firstly look inward. 

By Kallah’s powerful depiction, the achievements of Sameera as a woman in a traditional Hausa Muslim society would boost the morale of other women to emulate her, even the writer has carefully modelled her as a role-model to many, thereby re-presenting long-held perceptions that saw women as burden and disappointment by proving them wrong. Even Junaid Hassan, the father of Sameera who previously referred to his home full of girls as useless, regretted his actions and sought forgiveness. Below is the repentant emotional outburst of Junaid Hassan.  
“Sameera, I must cry. I too need your forgiveness, my daughters. The way I treated you during your childhood was bad, just because I thought to have a family of only women was disastrous...”(p. 77).

What Kallah did here would definitely discourage people with such behaviour of treating their female daughters badly. Children are all gifts of God irrespective of their sexes. They should be treated equitably with fairness, love, care and guidance.

Though the Right Choice is set in an imaginary country, the narrative perfectly fits a country like Nigeria that was colonised by Britain and later handed over to native politicians. Nigeria just like Kallah’ imaginary country, is experiencing acute corruption, social inequalities, and abuse of power and human right, for decades. The country witnessed many military regimes and political governments, yet it is still a sitting duck. The author, through his favourite characters, has done a wonderful job of depicting his ideal state and ideal qualities.  

It is obvious that the book has made very good attempts to offer solutions to economic, social and political crises. Kallah rightly believes that no nation thrives when its leaders are corrupt, because he saw them as the root of evils that will destroy the nation. He therefore advocates a standardisation of rules and foreseen a time when punishments would be meted out without fear of favour. Without doubt, Nigeria is currently experiencing such changes envisaged by the author.

The present Nigerian government, as if reading from “The Right Choice” is fighting corruption. Deviating from the usual, it is checking and questioning government officials, charging them towards transparency and patriotism.  

Kallah’s work has successfully displayed the kinds of inhumanity that result from causing political instability and economic difficulties. The book recommended ways out, though the hard work of some of its key characters. This work is unique from many other African writers in terms of style, plot and diction. The book is therefore recommended to all categories of readers: to the young, for the development of positive attitude; to the old, for reconsideration of ways; to the poor, for a rekindling of hope; and for the rich/powerful, to boost humanism and patriotism, in the ultimate knowledge that, in the end, it is humanity that prevails.

Muhammad Abbas Liman is staff of the Registry, Bayero University, Kano. He can be reached on bassleem@yahoo.com

The Refreshing Style Not Tackled So Far In Nigerian Fiction

Author: Zaharaddeen Ibrahim Kallah
Genre: Prose
Publishers: Jemie Books
Year: 2014
Pagination: 178
Reviewer: Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu

The most important components to attract and hold readers are the style of the writer and his ability to express himself and his story in such a way that differs from other stories heard over time. Many books have been published in the literary world, but very few have been recognised and appreciated. Stories are common and everywhere but only few attract esteem readers and listeners. 

Just like in Sefi Atta’s “Everything Good Will Come”, “The Right Choice” is a very interesting book that attempts to tell a story in the refreshing style not tackled so far in Nigerian fiction. The author has told a story of a young woman who played a significant role in returning her country into democracy and at the same time, actively involved in partisan politics, giving her the opportunity to become the first female president in the country. 

“The Right Choice” is additional voice towards gender balance. Following, many writers in Nigeria, more especially the female writers who were seen as promoters of feminism have protested in their writings on social sexism and patriarchy. Female writers such as Flora Nwapa, Buchi Emecheta, Ifeoma Okeye, Zaynab Alkali and Chimamanda Adichie have dedicated their writings towards gender balance and female upliftment. Even in northern Nigeria, indigenous female writers who write in Hausa such as Balaraba Ramat in her novel ‘Wa Zai Auri Jahila’, Rahama Abdulmajid’s ‘Mace Mutum’ and Halima A. Matuzu’s ‘Kugen ‘Yanci’ among others have tried to balance socio-gender ascriptions towards intellectual equality across sexes.  

Like Toni Morrison, Ayan Hirsi Ali and Nuruddin Farah, the author was able to create his strong female character who was fearless in what she does. The central character, Sameera Junaid Hassan who was a writer and journalist had inspired a political revolution in her country, which gave her opportunity to be lobbied by one of the strong political parties to contest for the office of the president. The author of the ‘Right Choice’ delivered his theme and the projection of a female protagonist, with the forcefulness of Ousame Sembene’s discourse about women right and Wilkie Collins portrayal of substantial women such as Miriam Halcombe. 

“The Right Choice” was written in 17 chapters in a lucid style, and the narration is gripping through to the fears, dangers, adventures and joy experienced by the most conspicuous personality in the book.
Quite characteristics of most fictional works, the book was set in a utopian land in Africa, daubed the Unity States of Africa. The name of the city tells about the author’s creativity and political awareness-leading a voice in support of black USA.  

An important plot in the book which connected with other plots is the way Sameera’s father, Junaid Hassan, an ex-military officer was disappointed with her birth for not being the son he passionately wished to have. As a result of that the ex-military officer treated the whole family badly. Sameera was lucky to be taken away and brought up in a foster family, where her talents were encouraged and that gave her opportunity to obtain her first degree in History. I saw this scene as one of the major themes in the book because; traditionally people see women as liabilities in the society and get disappointed by their births. But, the kind of achievements made by Sameera as female proved these people wrong that woman can do it; women can equally match their male counterparts. The author skilfully created disappointment after the birth of Sameera, but balanced it by creating heroine out of her. 

Prior to their marriage, Sameera and Aliyu were depicted by the author as intellectual friends who shared academic common ground. The author displayed his artistry by engaging his characters in scholarly debates, as where they attended an international conference in Ghana: the African Dialogue., where various intellectuals and political thinkers with different ideologies came together, to share their experiences, beliefs and perceived prospects for Africa (p. 15). The author seems to lean towards Marxist political thought, as his character’s intelligent and emphatically aspire for a socialist humanist environment. 

He also showed how various scholars from African countries discussed about their problems. Aliyu and Sameera in their joint paper shared their views with regards to African problems. Their paper argued that:
There must be three questions to ask: what has been happening to poverty? What has been happening to employment? What has been happening to inequality? So if all these three have declined from high levels to low, that country has been in the period of development. (p. 17-18).

The characters compared Dudley’s theory with what has been happening in their country, which is also a true replica of what is happening in African countries. Aliyu and Sameera’s paper was so radical in their recommendations. This can be seen in their conclusion:
Since the so far little development benefits were restricted to the dominant classes and their allies, radical solution could be better displace the corrupt and unjust administrators. He cited an example with France, about how the revolution of 1789 brought sanity, equality and justice. July 14th 1789 has since been celebrated as the French national day. He added. (p. 19)

In a nutshell, the book invites intellectuals and scholars to debate on African problems and way out. The author related his debates on the issue of poor leadership and severe corruptions in Africa which is taking the continent off the track of development. Therefore, the writer is of the opinion that fighting corruption, the corrupt and unjust leaders as the only vehicle of African development. 

The other plot is the one that featured Sameera performing her duty as a journalist and writer. This put her in trouble with the military regime in the states. As an editor of the Unity Newspaper, her constant write-ups attempt to explore the messy corruption of the military regime, under General Danjuma. The Unity States of Africa that was shown to be an oil rich country with fertile agricultural lands had ended up with high rate of illiteracy, unemployment, insecurity, debt and poverty. 

The above plot is a clear image of what had been happening during most military regimes in a country like Nigeria. Therefore, even though the book is set in an imaginary country, it shares common problems with Nigeria. The author indicated how the military claimed that politicians were corrupt and that gave the excuse to overthrow them, but they were later found to be more corrupt than the politicians.
Another important plot is when Sameera released her novel entitled, ‘The law of the Jungle’, which was critical of dictator General Danjuma. Few days later, she goes missing, taken to an unknown place. (p. 79-80). 

Her colleagues, the journalists kept writing about her loss, linking it with several attempts by the military to kidnap her. They argued about many assassinations of journalists and illegal arrests. Sameera’s arrest had raised a number of protests in the country, which created too much pressure for the military regime. Even foreign media houses joined the campaign to pressurise the dictator, where their correspondents from BBC, VOA, CNN and Al Jazeera were with demonstrators to give live coverage. (p. 91).

Many military regimes, not only in Nigeria, but in Africa had violated human rights and freedom of speech. The continent witnessed a number of assassinations of journalists by the military officers, while many were illegally arrested. Following Sameera’s personality, it was not surprising when Zaharaddeen put his character in conflict with the military regime, in an attempt to perform her duty. But it perfectly fitted in the dictatorial leadership exists in the continent. 

Therefore, the arrest of Sameera Junaid by the military is what led to a coup where sympathetic Brigadier Saleem topples General Danjuma. This is what paved way for Sameera to join politics after the Brigadier dealt with the powerful mafias in the country and brought sanity in the country’s leadership. The Brigadier had tried to design a transition plan to bring the power to its rightful owners, the politicians.  

As Sameera emerged as President of her country, the author side-stepped his readers from the suspicion that his book was largely modelled after Nigeria. His powerful Sameera attempts to revive her country’s diplomatic relationship with countries such as Nigeria in order to consolidate her relevance in the politics of African Union. By this, the author is trying to justify his stand that the country he created in Africa is only creativity and his story has nothing to do with Nigeria. 

In the book, we saw how Sameera through her ambassador in Nigeria Nasiru Imam who also happened to be a writer and journalist, invested a lot in Agriculture and tourism in Nigeria. In an interview with her, Sameera believed that Nigeria is a sleeping lioness in Africa that needs to be woken up in order to work towards the betterment of the continent. (p. 155) 

The author had shown that his female president is capable of delivering her national assignment, equally as men would. In that regards, Sameera herself saw many women as capable, but were only limited by the men folk. (p. 155)

During an interview with Sameera on the secret behind her success as first female president, Sameera, believed that she was born to lead, and responded that: 
“I will answer your question. What make me successful are hard work, commitment and love for my country. Our youth nowadays do not want to work hard; they only want luck to come their ways. Life doesn’t operate like that; you have to struggle for a living. Similarly, I love my country, I know you too have love for your country and you might die for it. If there is this type of spirit in me and you, we are going to come together for a common goal, and we can make it, because two good heads are better than one,” (p. 156)

The above quotation by Sameera is enough to stimulate not only female youths, but males as well, irrespective of their ages.
However, just like many books published in Nigeria the author failed to call a spade a spade by avoiding centring his book in Nigeria. From pre-colonialism to post-colonialism one cannot fall to discern that the Unity States of Africa is non-other than Nigeria. Multiple ethnic groups were amalgamated by the colonial masters up to the period of independence when colonial masters handed over to politicians. But, not long after, the military overthrew them and established dictatorial government. These images are taking us back to the history of Nigeria from its pre-colonial period to 1914 of its amalgamation and so on. 

The author also relied greatly on writers, journalists and academics as engine of good governance, forgetting politicians in the crusade. The first appointment made by president Sameera after her inauguration was appointing her old friend who is also a writer and academics as her special adviser on Foreign Affairs. Her husband Aliyu Usman, who is also a writer and journalist, has served the administration of General Saleem Sa’ad as Chairman of Development Trust Fund. Similarly, Nasiru Imam who was a strong pillar in Sameera’s administration is equally in the same shoe.  

Despite the fact that Sameera Junaid was the first female president, it was assumed that she would promote equality by appointing a good number of women in her government. But the only woman who was part of her government was Asma’u Abba. This is raising the question about opportunities to women, under a female president. 

In the Right Choice, there are many lessons to learn more especially as the author tried to refer back to history and also link the story with the current global age. His book will take its reader from periods of dictatorial governments up to final return of democracy in Nigeria and many African countries. 

The author portrayed the media in a beautiful way to strengthen democracy and good governance and shaping the spirit of selflessness and love for one’s country. So also, the book highlighted the place of traditional rulers who are closest to their people, than other appointed or elected leaders. During transition programme of General Saleem, he invited traditional rulers to his government to play their roles. Besides all that, the book has given a woman a very important and difficult task and that has to do with penetrating into the politics of African Union in trying to bring them together for a common goal. And that is to have a united economically and politically vibrant African continent as the United States of Africa. In fact this is what makes the “The Right Choice” an international breakthrough. 

I really found “The Right Choice” a very interesting novel that one reads with enthusiasm and relentless desire to see the next page. Therefore, the book is a justification that Zaharaddeen Kallah is proving that the new introduced Nigerian Writers Series (NWS) is attention-grabbing and capable to compete globally.

Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu is the Vice Chancellor of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). He holds double professorships in Science Education (1997) and Media and Cultural Communication (2012) from Bayero University Kano, Nigeria.

‘Long Silence’ Is A Cloud Of Literary Aesthetics: A Review Of After A Long Silence

Author: Zaharaddeen Ibrahim Kallah
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: Adamu Joji Publishers
Pagination: 60
Reviewer: Muttaqa Yusha’u

 After a Long Silence’ was a poetry collection authored by Zaharaddeen Ibrahim Kallah, the former Kano Branch State Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA).  It is a collection of forty four poems published by Adamu Joji Publishers (A.J).  I may boast to say that Kallah’s collection is unique of its kind, and a must read for: students, literary critics and teachers.  After a long silence, is a collection that burst the bubble of literary imagination, which impregnated the ink of the poet’s decades of literary sojourn.
The collection’s discerning message across various overlapping themes could be expressed using Alhaji Maitama Sule’s famous phrase while bemoaning the state of the Nation in Nigeria, as he decried that the society is embedded by, chaos in politics, corruption in the economy and immorality in the society. Given this problem besetting the Nigerian Society, the poet raises so much questions affecting the way the Nigerian society is derailing to a state of comatose, as a result of poor governance.

Therefore, the book is recommended to those interested in understanding the intricacies, challenges facing our world, and prospective imagination of bettering our society; restoring sanity, and returning our society to its glorious past.
Beneath Kallah’s long silence is a cloud of literary aesthetics, expressed in powerful diction of metaphors and euphemisms that sought to unravel the social ills that beset out society. In his opening poem, The Choice, the poet unpacked the social decadence among our youth who form the bedrock of our society. In fact, the poet’s poignant emotion about the youth of today is elucidated thus:
My heart cries in pain
When I see young ladies
Who choose to lose their vaginal pride
And open their doors and windows
For a little pay
In this life of choices
It is better to sing the best song
That can change life
With much sweeter experience (p. 11)

The poems were unassailably premised by sociological and political underpinnings that defined the context of the writer’s inspiration. The poet seeks to bring a dialogue that aims at changing our world, as contended in Marxist tradition that philosophers have interpreted the world in so many ways, the aim was to change it.
Kallah seeks to change our world through the power of his pen, as bemoans policy choices by the political class; this outcry was captured by a loaded poem titled poverty of ideology, thus:
Sometimes I found myself in confusion
When I hear their cripple reasoning
And blurred foresight
Administering out of calculation
That sails under-unreality

I reduced Kallah’s collection to political-sociology given the recurrent themes of the book, as virtually each  poetry is coloured by Nigeria’s socio-political reality, governed by intransigence of political leadership to address the Nigeria’s social question; poverty, un-employment, destitution, election, moral erosion, election rigging, and corruption, all of which rendered the state weak, or predatory. This imagination is captured in the following poem, National Cake:
The atmosphere is full of Luxuries
For the few members
Surviving out of sweat of the majority

Sharing the cake differs
With a gap beyond imagination
Masses cry over this inequality (P 15)

The writer went far to equally  evoke more questions about the Nigerian political economy, the Poet being a student of Global sociology, and taking cognizance of Nigeria’s integration into global capitalism, situates elite accumulation within the wider context of the politics of dialectical globalisation and its consequences on our economy.

A story of monster in Nigeria
Brought through neo-colonialism
Re-shaped through globalisation
Regime by regime
Same old song sung
Privatisation, deregulation and concession
Given room for stealing and looting
A due process stealing

Nigeria witnesses bogus policies
Full of deceit and confusion
It is time to put a stop
To this new world of slavery

Thus, the way and manner in which the poet imagined the Nigeria’s social question, revolving around social inequalities, corruption, declining ethical consciousness and abuse of power, for more than a decade, is depicted in the poems -National Cake and Poverty of Ideology, and the poet’s quest for a human agency through a viable political leadership to address the aforesaid challenges, a kin to Martin Luther King famous speech ‘I have a dream’. The poet also dreamt of a better Nigeria in the following verse, encapsulated in the poem, My Dream, and the poem prognosis is stated thus;
A leader who is in for a change,
To do away with all the dead wood,
Hangers on national resources,
Sucking the poor without respite,
A leader who treats pen robbers,
With the calamity of a hurricane,
A leader who makes life better for all (p 32).

This poem  is highly revealing and prophetic in the Nigeria’s current anti-corruption crusade, from the dreaded  Arms purchase imbroglio (Dasuki Gate), to several probing of the way and manner in which Nigeria’s patrimonies were  cornered by a tiny population, that  abuse their oath of office and engulfed in self-enrichment. Moreover, the poet has a humanistic vision of how our world should be, in a world governed by hatred, prejudices, sectarianism, phobias, and parochialism. All these have plunged us in wave of crisis as exemplified by the Arab Spring, migrant crisis in Syria, dethronement of Gadhafi, and overthrow of Mursi-led Government in Egypt.  The poet implores for a spirit of togetherness that require us to avoid our prejudices, be they ethnic, religious, sectarian and class, for a prospective and egalitarian world that is predicated on the ultimate vision of our creation, of knowing and loving one another, despite our differing creeds. The poet normative claim is contained in the following excerpts from the poem: the Global Age:

In the global age
Life should be good
Leaders must be just and truthful
Masses loyal and obedient
Understanding the essence of living
Humanity is about reason not madness
Global Age is about peace and development
Globalisation shouldn’t be for marginalisation
It shouldn’t be for war and deception
It should be for peace, love and dialogue
It should be the new trade by barter
(p. 36-37)

However, Kallah’s lamentation of the Nigerian state is soothed by beautiful emotional verses on love, care, life, death, sports, determination and tributes to some fallen heroes. The Poet recounts his emotional journeys, romantic imaginations, and the search for a life partner; extolls virtues of some Nigerian Heroes. All these made the collection all encompassing, and appealing to readers of various age, sex, and class.

Muttaqa Yusha’u is a PhD candidate at the University of Malaysia. He can be reached through myushau@gmail.com