THE ‘SOYINKA‘ IN ME BOOK REVIEW
After reading the 39 pages long collection of thirty-seven poems, it is quite impossible not to concede to the fact that, renowned English romantic poets like John Keats and William Wordsworth had reincarnated. This masterpiece from one of the leading contemporary poets in Nigeria proves that the efforts of great Nigerian poets like Wole Soyinka are not in vain, and would be ably continued by the succeeding generations.
In the opening poem- Kongi, Eniogun at 82, the poet masterfully eulogises Wole Soyinka using Yoruba-written lineage praises of the Nobel Laureate, and making a very direct comparison between Soyinka and his patron god- Ogun. In Saratu the poet vividly dramatizes the unspeakable maternal trauma experienced by the parents of the 270 Chibok girls who were abducted in April, 2016 by the Boko Haram sect. Lagos bravely depicts the woes befallen the peasants living in Lagos. It describes the ordeal the common people like food vendors, artisans, traders, bread-hawkers have to suffer before Lagos roads and bridges could be constructed and kept clean. It bitterly lampoons the hypocritical nature of the Lagos State Government who prefers to keep its roads smooth and clean even when thousands of peasants are starved in the process.
In Abeokuta (I) and (II) with the aid of onomatopoeia, the poet is able to describe the ancient city of Abeokuta as a peaceful capital city with a unique feature of gorgeous rocks. In Nigeria, the poet persuasively addresses Nigeria as a pitiful child would address his mother beleaguered with problems and challenges. The poet implores Nigeria, and indirectly, the poet implores the Nigerian leaders to extricate poverty and unjustified death tolls in the country. It calls out to contemporary political leaders to have compassion on the suffering masses, and create a more amiable environment for the poor who were not poor by birth. And in the concluding poem- Kongi In You, the poet reestablishes the existence of Wole Soyinka in him, detailing the extent at which one of the greatest African authors had inspired him.
The language of the poems is quite condensed and direct, though it is also simple and accessible. Most of the poems are written in free verse, and there is the occational inclusion of Yoruba expressions in the poems, giving the reader a strong African sensibility which is inescapable. Dada Olanipekun with this dazzling and highly didactic book has presented to the world Africa’s most celebrated literary icon, Wole Soyinka, and just like Soyinka he had reacted brilliantly to the social, political and economic denigration of Africa by the so-called African leaders. Dada took a bold and dauntless stride in writing controversial Odes to great people and places like Fidel Castro, Wole Soyinka, Nigeria, Abeokuta, Lagos etc. I strongly recommend this book for intensive and extensive reading.
Dada Olanipekun is a poet and short story writer. He has published in several notable anthologies in Nigeria and other parts of Africa and the Diaspora. His worked appeared in Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) publication: Voices from the Fringe (1986) and Lines from the Rocks (2006). He also coauthored God Rules Ikenne. He is also the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Prestige Newspaper.
He published Songs of the Wind (collection of poems) in 2014. He is currently the Chairman of the Association of Nigeria Authors (ANA) Ogun State Chapter. He enjoys playing box guitar and taking photography.