A United States of America-based Nigerian author, poet and playwright, Michael Ovienmhada, on Thursday formally launched his new book, ‘One Hundred Years & 5 Chronicles.’
Speaking at the virtual event which was well-attended by top Nigerians in diaspora, Ovienmhada said the book is a sort of mini-library and the dream of a stage play director or a filmmaker.
According to him, “There are six stories and three poems in the book.”
He continued, “In the first story that bears the title name, 100 Years, it details an intricate weaving of the major events of the 20th century. In this book, I chose Muhammad Ali as my protagonist, and I am telling the story of the 20th century, weaving in and weaving out like a bird weaving an intricate nest; that is what I am serving you in this book.
“You are going to get the story of the events that happened before the birth of Muhammad Ali, the First World War, Prohibition, and the Great Depression before his birth in 1942.
“You are going to get to know about the Second World War, Jim Crow, Brown versus Board of Education. You will see Thurgood Marshall tackling segregation, Martin Luther King coming on the scene after the killing of Emmet Till, Rosa Parks saying I saw the death of Emmet Till and I refused to go to the back of the bus.
“Also, you are going to see the killing of John F. Kennedy, and how he tried to fight segregation before he died. You will see how LBJ took the mantle and was able to do Voting Rights and Civil Rights, and the War against Poverty also known as the Great Society. You will see the debacle of Vietnam and Watergate.
“As I am weaving in and out, you will see the story of African countries, how we started to gain independence in Africa, and how things began to unravel with Military take-overs. You will also read about revolutions in South America, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Evita Peron.
“The other five stories include; King Jaja of Opobo written as a tetralogy, (4-part series), The Legend of Joromi; I want a divorce; 60 Seconds at the Highway Restaurant, and Babariba & the Magic Box. It also comes with three poems titled: An Ode to Atlanta; A Rose for Alice, and a Hoop for Kobe.
Also speaking at the launch, one of the book reviewers, Joke Silva, a veteran Nollywood actor, said a friend had dropped off a copy of the book for her a few weeks ago with a note that read: ‘Omö, read this book’.
“I got on with it immediately. The first thing that struck me was that this was a completely new author on the horizon. The second thing that struck me was the quality of the language and structure of construction. The third thing that blew me away was that the author covered all genres of literature in one book with a masterful delivery at first strike.
“Now, I can stop fretting about the dearth of reading in our culture because this book is so well written that it will wake up a ‘dead’ reader.
“It is a beautiful work of literature. Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka can now, in my opinion, rest assured that they have a worthy successor,” she said.
Pastor Ituah Ighodalo called the book, “A work of genius. A masterpiece.”
Dr. Joseph Ohens, beaming with excitement simply said, “This should not be a surprise to anyone. He is an old boy of Annunciation Catholic College Irrua. I am the current President of the North American chapter.”
Dr. Osahon Enabulele, the newly elected President of the World Medical Association called the book “the pride of the Benin Kingdom and an example of the brilliance of its people.”
The chief launcher was Chief Omochiere Aisagbonhi, a Canada-based business mogul, while the moderator of the event was Dr. Toks Idowu, a Lagos based insurance executive and CEO, assisted by Omobolanle Osotule, a communications expert, and Dr. Tokunboh Oseni, a Lagos-based medical practitioner.
The book is available on Amazon and bookstores in Nigeria.