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REVIEW: Zero to Hero: A poetic journey

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By Ben  Lawrence

Able Poet, journalist and sports administrator, Eddie Aderinokun has joined the league of septuagenarian citizens, who are privileged to recount their long tortuous journey to adulthood.

As a poet, who is lucky to attain this Biblical benchmark of 70, Aderinokun in a yet to be published poetry collection entitled, Zero to Hero: Ode to Artist Without Compare begins a poetic excursion into life and God,an excursion, which seeks to offer meaning to man’s elusive search for fulfilment and his question about  infinity. In this preface to the cover of the unpublished collection, another notable journalist and literary critic gives a critical insight into Aderinokun’s poetic voyage.

Eddie Aderinokun

In this book, the author’s excursion into “The Infinity” is the ferment of a restive and creative brain. The puzzle that is “The Infinity” defies answers whatever anybody’s creative genius. Nature and its many worlds pose more problems than solutions. Why not then praise “The Supreme Master Artist”?

The author in many places questions fixation to some ideals as panacea to all man’s problems. Perhaps, not trying to ride on the tiger’s back about Africa’s past and the new world of technology, he digs into the past to unravel many wonders worked on the banks of the Nile, which didn’t prove the end of “The Infinity”.

Perhaps in that vain search for “The Infinity” the author becomes another St. Augustine of Hippo. A Berber in early Christendom when the Holy Bible ruled the Maghreb, St. Augustine had sought to find out the end of “The Infinity”. But, that was terminated by an event at a waterfront where he saw a little boy trying to empty the ocean into a bowl. He asked the boy what he was doing and the boy replied that he was trying to empty the ocean into a bowl. St.

Augustine told the boy that it was impossible and the boy paid back; “what also you are thinking is impossible”. The boy vanished into one knows not where.

When one comes to such a pass one begins to realize the baffling nature of “The Infinity” and to be more committed to God as St. Augustine did in the service of The Almighty. This Ode to The Artist-Without-Compare mirrors in poetry the many wonders of the Almighty: The limitless boundaries of the oceans and the mighty billows of their waves; the inter-locking mountains high as the zenith without measure. Yet the sky we see on earth here really has no height because the earth is delicately fixed at a degree to revolve round the sun, defying all the laws of relativity. No stands to hold it. No visible magnetic structure in the firmament suspending it at that degree. This book is written to glorify God for the mighty works and deeds.

It relates mankind to the ponderous varieties of life and living. In God’s own mosaic, the author picks on the black man and the continent named after Africanus, the man who mapped it when it was still joined to Europe and Asia by the Isthmus of Suez (now Suez Canal).

In verses the author paints its many features, peoples, cultures, especially its west coast, juxtaposing them with features in other climes. The beaches of Lagos, Accra, Banjul and Freetown come in handy for him to play the lute, their sandy expanses with men and women frolicsome, perhaps over nothing.

This author does not believe in Darwin and his theory of evolution. If Darwin claimed mat man came from one branch of some primates, from where did those primates descend? What of the rocks, the waters of the oceans, the mountains, the forests; from where did they come? And the earth, the author says is just a small part of the many waters. In the fear of the Almighty he muses: “Lord, grant relief, grant rest. After all are all the goodies mankind savour not from Heaven’s store supplied?”.

The author as a reporter of note knows the world. So he plays on his travels to tell his stories in verses.

Winston Spencer Churchill had an advantage over his contemporary politicians. He was a journalist. He did not resort to abstractions. He made facts to prove him right. Even in the only novel he wrote, Savrole, published in 1900, it was based on self experience in parliament and politics. So when Churchill coned those poetic lines: “If we must die, not like hogs” in one of his war speeches, it was still based on farsourcing from a black Caribbean poet.

This author shows this trait in many places in this book of poems. His knowledge of geo-politics questions a unipolar world which he believes now endangers the globe. Surely, he thinks the so-called collapse of capitalism is mere propaganda because America now applies socialist tools to stabilize its economy. This is where also he is an author who easily sees contrasts in human behaviour.

His rendition of Nigeria’s Sani Abacha’s performances, perhaps condemned as the most ruthless leadership, side by side the elected Olusegun Obasanjo’s and Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua’s, is worth reproducing here.

“In our Naijaland less we forget, under  Sani Abacha, life became one continuous  one-stringed living for many a citizen except for some occasional sugared chasms. Forget it not then the naira plunged to as law as twenty  To the Dollar. But sadder still today in the great land of the Niger  under Mister Yaro who loves to do ‘Adura’, one Yankee  Dollar regrettably today equals one hundred and fifty Naira. Paga Ah! Odour like an acid sword! Why? O Why? Many citizens moan.  O the  incredible weight of life”.

The preceding quotation from this book exemplifies the author’s bend for analyses based on contrasting facts. He is not lionizing Abacha but only revealing the face of the demeaning propaganda mounted by those who later have not been able to live up to what is required of their offices. He disdains elections as the only solution to all man’s problems. So he will prefer a Ghadafi to a George Bush.

Readers will find the poems long and without titles. One is told that it is the vogue in the literary world now. Some poems in the collection pay compliments to the black woman who the author says is endowed with innumerable physical and cultural attributes. This book is full of many phrases that could be quoted timelessly.

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