THE ADAOBI TRICIA NWAUBANI I KNOW AND LOVE

“BIGOTS and racists exist in America, without a doubt, but America today is a more civilized place than Nigeria. Not because of its infrastructure or schools or welfare system. But because the principle of equality was laid out way back in its Declaration of Independence.”

“FATWA on whoever said that!” (?) Not so fast.

The recent unpopular post by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, titled “In Nigeria You Are Either Somebody Or You Are Nobody” in the New York Times Online, has raised a lot of dusts, provoking the righteous indignation of well meaning Nigerians both at home and abroad. Her head is being called for by even slobbering dim-witted lots, who have not read more than the caption of her article. I have been put at loggerheads with good friends and colleagues over the objective view and open mind I chose to approach the matter with. The bone of contention was the lopsided comparison of Nigeria with the United States of America.

Adaobi had opened her piece with: “IN America, all men are believed to be created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. But Nigerians are brought up to believe that our society consists of higher and lesser beings.”

While I think that this is true, it is still laying it on too hard, to my mind. To say Nigerians are brought to believe that all men are not born equal is an aberration to the tenets of Our Union as a Federal Republic. On the New York Times Blog, I have commented that:

While I will not say “na good thing” or “na bad thing”, I am of the opinion that the postulate:

“…America… is a more civilized place than Nigeria.”

Is prodigally pandering to Amelika wonder; which is a misguided and inchoate rouge-tinted view favoured by such gullible Nigerians as the Haves and Have-nots- who voraciusly consume Hollywood and condemn Nollywood.

But, looking below the surface of the… piece, I see a allegorical undertone. There is a current of satirism running below the surface, churning and playing up the subliminal dirts of global politics… And I hold this view to be true and self evident.

I know Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. I loved her, still do. Although, she has became unpopular in literary circles as a backlash from the unpupular post in. My friend Adaobi is the author of the Commonwealth Prize For Literature Winner I DO NOT COME TO YOU BY CHANCE; she is a journalist of repute and have held, and still holds offices of great responsibilities. I met her in 2009 in Port Harcourt, during the Garden City Literary Festival holden there. She had been one of the resource persons at the event. And resourceful she truly was. All who meet and befriend her will attest to this fact.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, did not come across to me like one who would look down her beautiful nose at any one person who may not be in her class. No, not at all. She is a elegant, smart, vocal, and have that personal carriage that Men Of Little Faith dread in independent and upward-mobile women. But Adaobi’s diva aura was what attracted me to her, beside her glorious singlehood. It started with asking her for a autograph which she obliged me without a fuss. And from the moment of signing that autograph she never forgot my name.

She had that ready smile for everyone everywhere, anytime and anyhow. I was in her Creative Writing class. Many times I came across Adaobi around the Hotel Presidential (venue of the GCLF) she seemed to possess an inexhaustible supply of zest. Myriads of time I ran into her in the lobby, the lounge, the bar, on the lawn, in the book stalls, or the workshop rooms, she would greet me or return my greetings. Adaobi would address me familiarly, and will always stop to have a chat with the shy me, as well as with anyone who craved her attention. I was really shy in those days. But Adaobi looked past my faults to be friend with me. Sharing her contact was not a big deal for her like it is to some highfaluting Nigerian socialites and elites. She was available for all who subscribed to her mentoring, and she truly imparted genius on me, a literary neophyte, when our paths crossed.

While we may be quick in our righteous anger to condemn Adaobi for her perceived error of misrepresentation without trial, let us, while doing that, reason with ourselves whether we are less culpable of the sin we condemn her for; the sin of pandering to the American Dream, which is nothing more than a dream. You see, the same reason leaders will not build refineries or schools or hospitals or invest here? And the likes of My Sweet Adaobi will always pander to all things “Amelika Wonder”

In my comment on the blog post, I said:

While I will not say “na good thing” or “na bad thing”, I am of the opinion that the postulate:

“…America… is a more civilized place than Nigeria.”

Is prodigally pandering to Amelika wonder; which is a misguided and inchoate rouge-tinted view favoured by gullible Nigerians, the Haves and Have-nots- who voraciously consume Hollywood and condemn Nollywood.

But, looking below the surface of the masterfully crafted piece, I see a allegorical undertone. There is a current of satire running below the surface, churning and playing up the subliminal dirts of global politics. My view… and I hold this view to be true and self evident to all who care to look.

My views, as stated above, are by no means coloured by my sentimental affinity to Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, but I strive for a objective and a middle-way of looking at her latest offering. I wish we would all try sometimes to see things from this perspective; and deal with perceived erring friends with open minds. None of us holy pass.

I still Love The Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani of I DO NOT COME TO YOU BY CHANCE, and this Love covers the multitude of her sins. So Help Me God.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

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