By Prisca Sam Duru
EBONYI State born and Nigeria’s foremost conspiracy crime fiction writer and author Obinna Udenwe speaks about his first traditionally published work, Satans and Shaitans, a conspiracy crime thriller offering the most intriguing answers to some of the ugly events that have shaped Nigeria’s political landscape.
“I didnt set out to write a book on terrorism, first I started in 2007 and by that time, it had a different title and it was about a girl and a boy who were in love and she was pregnant for him. I kept on working on that till 2011 and the story changed. By that time the effect of terrorism in Nigeria hit its climax so, I incorporated the plot that contains terrorism. Then the idea of occult organizations and terrorism came along as Nigeria continued to deteriorate into chaos. I finally decided to explore and merge both strands into one story with different twists. When you read the book you would notice two plots, the issue of terrorism and love. This was why my dad described the book as a love story set in the time of terrorism,” he said.
Throwing light on why he chose such title for his book, Udenwe explained that “In Islam, satan is called shaitan. In the book you have the Christians who are the followers of Jesus Christ and the moslems, followers of Prophet Mohammed. The two groups came together and formed a secret society called the Sacred Order of the Universal Forces and they control almost every sector of the country. They wanted to ensure that no other person aside them, rules Nigeria again so they established a terrorist organisation and the story goes on and on and at the end, there was crisis and the moslems called Christians shaitans while Christians called moslems, satans.
“I’m an Islamic scholar so for a long time, I did research on books on Islam. I read the Holy Quran several times. I got a gift of the Hadith from a friend, who also helped in the research. A lot of research went into writing the book, without which we would have published it earlier than we did. But we had to be sure of what we were doing.
“African writers seem scared to delve into conspiracy and crime fiction, thrillers and others especially the ones that have to do with issues of terrorism, jihad etc. So I felt we needed to start experimenting on these areas. We need to bring to the fore the issue of terrorism which is really destabilising Nigeria especially in the North East and gradually coming to the south and nobody is talking about it. The book will help people realise fully the effect of insurgency on people’s normal life.”
Title and the blurb
The talented writer asserted “I think we are no longer going to continue to be scared of voicing out on these issues. If we are scared to talk about it, no one will help us do that and it will keep escalating. Well, since the book came out, we’ve been recieving a lot of scary advises from people rather than threats.”
They advise that I should be mindful of how I should go about because they believe the terrorists will attack and the Christians will atack me beacause to some extent it indicts them. The book is liberal to both Christians and moslems, so there’s nothing to be scared of instead is people when they read the title and the blurb, they feel the author is not safe. But when you read the work you will appreciate it.”