By Chris Onuoha
Nnamdi Paul Agbakoba, a multi-talented performing artist, author and poet in his recent conversation with the media proffered solutions, embedded in his latest efforts, books. He focused on many years of creative works and reflected on his recent adventure into the world of book writing with special interest on youths.
Having engaged in creative works that span for decades, he recently decided to go into book writing. With a career that started way back in 1971 as a young dramatist starring in an epic opera production “The Sleeping Beauty” at age 12, he went further exhibiting more zeal and enthusiasm in performing art by staring in a high school drama production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice as “Antonio” at age 17.
The flow continued in his high school days as he adapted and performed poems from renowned poets – Wole Soyinka, J.P. Clark and David Diop among others in a TV show known as Youth Forum in Enugu.
Agbakoba later became a Newscaster in the then Nigerian Television, NTV Enugu in the late 70s. In 1980, he proceeded to United State of America to hone his career in broadcasting and TV/Radio production. After return, he was very active in movie production and floated a production studio called ‘Vision Questron Production’. Having had a stint in the Nollywood movie industry, he decided to tilt and engaged in writing books.
Born in the famous Agbakoba dynasty in Anambra State that prides itself with the renowned human right activist/Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba, the Federal House Member representing Onitsha North and South, Hon Gozie Agbakoba and others, Nnamdi Agbakoba carved a niche for himself in the creative industry. With his recent effort ‘books’, much is seen in the trend that runs in the family which is ‘human right’ projects. Nnamdi also runs and NGO, Society Against Terror And War (SAT-WAR).
Virtually all the books written so far, hinged on human right issues: terrorism, youth restiveness and cultism in our schools. And also, there is a 30 minutes documentary on child abuse called ‘Pans of Bondage’ for sensitisation drive on child right. Others include Terrors of War; That Child; Pictures & Poetry of War; Deep Secret and yet to be published biography: a compendium of life and times of Olisa Agbakoba at 65. Besides, there is an educational material ‘a postulation of new theory on education’ meant to promote reading culture among students in the country.
In one of his works, “Deep Secrets” Agbakoba displayed deep sense of ingenuity with well-crafted style of writing. ‘Deep Secrets’ is an outright discouragement of social vices among youths. It specifically tackles the twin evils of student cultism and examination malpractices that have almost become a norm in Nigerian higher institutions and even secondary schools. These twin evils have had adverse impact on mostly vulnerable youths who are involved in antisocial behaviour.
‘Deep Secrets’ is the story of Okechukwu Obiefuna, a freshman Law student in a Nigerian university, who is lured into cultism by Justin Agorum Ike, an older student in the same department whom he had come to love and trust.
Okechukwu’s life begins to fall apart after a cult clash that claims Justin’s life. Unable to get a hold on himself, he opts for suicide. Not even the preaching, counseling and exhortation from his godfather, George Obanye, can change his mind.
The storyline is narrated from the first person point of view and embellished with a high dose of irony and suspense. The beauty of the book lies for the most part in its conversational approach and accessible language, which makes it easy to read and assimilate.
In other works such as ‘Terrors of War’ and ‘That Child’ Agbakoba captures some obnoxious treatment African children go through. According to him, “Child abuse and the terror of cultism should be condemned.”
“It is unbelievable that terrorism emerged just a year or two after I started writing my first book, “ Terrors of War” in 2002 and militancy and terrorism reached Nigeria only three years later. I fear to imagine what the world will be like in another 15 years from here,” Agbakoba stressed.
All his works so far has garnered huge appraisal from various bodies that include Education stakeholders in the country, community leaders and office of the Vatican, Rome, for quality contents.
Agbakoba however disclosed that education ministries and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, were working to endorse the materials to include among recommended books in Nigerian schools. To him, having come this far, every need to revive reading culture must be applied to keep the legacy.