…a people blessed, but despised

For a people blessed beyond measure, a people whose earth is a goldmine, and sea, a silver lining based on her abundant natural resources of oil and the splendour of the sea creatures, one would expect that the Niger Deltans would have it all.

But alas, the revise is the case as rather than being in splendour, you see a people in squalor; rather than have a society of ambiance, you see adversity, and much more in form of deprivation, molestation, and annihilation.

Delta, a region that accounts for over 90 percent of Nigeria’s proven gas and oil reserves, and currently earns the Federal Government more than 90% of its foreign exchange, yet the question that comes to mind is, “What and who would have made a king to sleep under the bridge?”

Damilola Abike Makanjuola née Fademi: A lawyer with passion for adire making *

“Spiked Beyond Spikes”, a 233 page fictional book written by Ekanpou Enewaridideke, a journalist and award winning author of several essays, and poems and published 2018 by Kraftgriots tends to give credence to the above puzzle.

In a compelling, exhilarating and captivating narrative, Enewaridideke tells the story of a deprived and impoverished people of South Oporoza under the imperialist leadership of President Waibode from the North whom many believe has a vendetta against the South, despite them being the wealth and health of the entire Oporoza.

The eighteen chapter book not only chronicles the pains of heroes of South Oporoza, such as Endorobou and Alabeni, etc. who stood against the tyranny of the ethnocentric leadership of Waibode but portrays themes on the love, betrayal, sacrifice and the indomitable role of gender in agitating for freedom from oppression, and in keeping the home front safe in times and days of trouble.

“Spiked Beyond Spikes”, a creative piece written in English language, blended with spices of Ijaw dialects, systematically mirrors the narrative of the Ijaw people sufferings, their agitations, misconceptions on the rise of militancy and raised the question of what next in present-day Nigeria. After being spiked beyond spikes in forms of denial of basic rights significantly on access to education, freedom of expression and freedom of association among others. What next?

Ijaws are fast losing patience with you, Loyibo tells Okowa

Again, one phenomenal aspect of the book is the careful, systematic and exploring way the author brings the reader into the strong cord binding the Ijaw people to festivals and rituals especially the belief system of the riverine community in deities, one of which is the Egbesu deity, the good of justice and just war.

The author also calls attention to the fact that Nigerians and Africans are gradually buying into the culture of the whites by downplaying and downgrading their belief systems.  He adds that the culture and tradition of Africa shouldn’t be allowed to go into extinction; rather, efforts should be geared towards revitalising it by appreciation and respect for them.

Enewaridideke does not only dabble into the future of redemption for the Tobus, Southern Oporozan community occasion by a providential ruler, but makes the reader understand that beyond the victory, overcoming the scar of war demands a bigger victory.

Reading the first chapters of the work, although readers will have to grapple with pronunciation of some of the Ijaw names, idioms and proverbs, the award winning journalist, Enewaridideke, an Ijaw man from Delta with glossary of Ijaw of Ijaw words and phrases makes the book a fun, so that at the end of reading, the reader does not only have his vocabulary expanded, but get attuned with the culture and tradition of the Niger Delta people.

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