Tuesday, 17 May 2016

‘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

No comments:

Post a Comment