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“Easy Motion Tourist” by Leye Adenle

Anyone who knows me well enough knows I always scavenge for the latest Nigerian Literature books. My latest read is “Easy Motion Tourist” by Leye Adenle.

In this book, the author calls our attention to the lack of social justice and inequality crippling our society. He reminds us that prostitutes are humans and they also deserve our protection and respect. He challenges us to protect even the low income earners in our society and in an amazing style reminds us of the repercussions of ignoring our restless youths, the powerless and the voiceless in our society. He also brings back the debate on the regulation — or the lack of it — of prostitution in Nigeria. Should prostitution really be illegal?

The author addresses prostitution, police brutality, money ritual and corruption in Lagos, Nigeria.

The story was narrated through the voice of Guy, a half-baked British Journalist sent to Lagos to cover the upcoming elections. In the churning city of Lagos, Guy soon got caught up in its frenzy when he got picked up by the police as a witness to a gruesome murder case of a lady whose mutilated body was discarded just outside the bar where he had decided to hangout.

The protagonist, Amaka, is a fierce young lawyer and the only child of a Nigerian Ambassador. She devoted her life to protecting sex workers from abusers and ritualists in Lagos. To take one from the smorgasbord of Pa: There are feminists and there are feminists, Amaka is a double feminist. She has a database for the sex workers and their prospective customers which she had built over time. The prostitutes would text her the plate number of the car of a prospective customer and she would respond by letting them know if it was safe or not. Once they got there, they texted her other details that could be used to identify the clients. Amaka’s character is not patronizing; she is not perfect. Sometimes she is the angel who protects sex workers, take some off the streets and even send some to school. Other times, she resorted to blackmailing men who maltreated the working girls as a means of revenge. Amaka is gutsy; she raises a middle finger as she takes on the rich and powerful who try to harm sex workers in Lagos.

In her own words to Guy: “Prostitution is illegal in Nigeria so nobody watches out for these girls. They are molested, extorted, short-changed, raped, killed, you name it. What you saw, it has happened before. Not like that, not so openly, but at its worst that’s exactly what we try to prevent.”

There are lots of characters in this book. They were mostly all over the place but Leye masterfully interconnects them — albeit fleetingly in some cases. Each character feeding off others as they grow into their own uniqueness. Amazing stuff!! I thought there were some well coined monikers for some of the characters in the book that are worthy of a mention. To name some: Catch-fire, Go-slow, knockout, and the hot headed police officer, Sergeant Hot-temper. The author used the character of sergeant Hot-temper to highlight the brutality and recklessness of the Nigerian police. The impetuous police officer killed prisoners for the fun of it, with little or no accountability.

Leye also reminds us that the Nigeria Police force is structured to — primarily — protect the rich and powerful in Nigeria.

It is also important to point out that the title of the book was inspired by one of the songs of the king of Highlife, the late Guitarist, Fatai Rolling Dollar — “ Easy Motion Tourist” which was about a nocturnal misadventure.

Easy Motion Tourist” is a deliberate book that awakens ones sensitivity and awareness.

Grab a copy, read and enjoy. I got mine on Amazon.

On Language and Nigerian Literature

NB: The target audience — to me — is very clear. The characters were not overly explained. Leye didn’t write like someone trying to prove his intelligence, he simply wrote. I thoroughly enjoyed it and not once did I roll my eyes because a Nigerian colloquial was overly explained for the benefit of the other. That was the only problem I had with Chigozie Obioma’s “The Fishermen”. Listen to Obioma describe Molue: A beat up squeaking yellow painted bus with a constant metallic rattle”. For what? Ordinary Molue? I understand the need to overly explain indigenous words for the benefit of the other; the reason may be economic and I don’t blame those who do it. I don’t blame those who feel the need to prove their intelligence too. We are all humans. I’m also guilty.

I gave my Chinese-American colleague Americanah to read and for the past one week, we have been talking about the book; she has a ton of questions. She totally loved the book. Here is what she told me about some of the Igbo words: “Olu, I came across some words that seemed to be Nigerian language, I had to google some of them to understand what they meant. Some of them are just expressions”. I was proud of her. That is a serious reader who gives a damn about the space she’s reading about not someone with a shocking sense of entitlement who thinks everything should be overly explained for them.

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On growing up and other random musing

I’m from a lineage of hopeless romantic lots–in our own way of course. We walk the talk, ask my mother. You will find her on WhatsApp, blessing her contacts with daily Open Heaven devotionals. She doesn’t know about Instagram or twitter yet, when she does, una go hear am. I imagine her on Instagram; gleefully posting Pastor Adeboye’s picture every day, with each day’s daily devotion as the caption–unapologetically. I would probably unfollow her—quietly; she might not know. I love my mother.

You know, some of these things are genetic. It is what it is. I see a lot of my father in me, even more than I would like to admit. I suspect, that, for him, love is a duty. To be there when we need him, to put our needs ahead of his and nothing more. Not so much of affection is involved. Again, it is what it is.

Over the past few years, I’ve carefully examined my strengths and weaknesses, especially when it comes to relationships. What I bring into relationships, how I compare and contrast to those who came before me (this includes my father, grandfather and one of my uncles whom I have also had the honor to watch from close proximity). I see them in me; their individual strengths and weaknesses. My father is not one to call you to say sorry when he’s wrong or draw you close for a hug, he would rather strike a conversation he knows you are very keen on having or quickly fulfil a request that had been pending-mostly monetary of course, or he would give you money without you asking for it. I could tell that he was making efforts to make it up to me in his own way. In retrospect, it wasn’t always enough for me but as I grew up, I understood that that was his own way of showing love. It wasn’t perfect but it didn’t make his love for me any less. Growing up, I realized, that our parents aren’t perfect and they aren’t supposed to be. I have learned to not see them in the “exalted status” of parents, but as humans who also make mistakes.

Of course, this is not to say I know these important figures in my life like the palm of my hand, but to the best of my knowledge, I have watched and taken what I can from them. Their life—to an extent—showed me some of the signboards that displayed the twists and turns in life and I made sure I paid attention. What this has done for me is not to magically take away my weaknesses or amplify my strengths but it has definitely helped me to understand myself better and also given me a profound  sense of awareness; and so I consciously fight every day to work on the weaknesses and retain the strengths. It is a journey; probably a life time journey, I don’t know.

The love of my life, sometimes, albeit halfheartedly, says to me: “I don’t even know what I’m doing with you”. Make no mistake, I am fully aware that I’m a piece of work. I take solace in the self-awareness of my own weaknesses and with love I am able to sometimes avoid these mistakes. I am by no means claiming that self-awareness has miraculously turned me into the fearless hunter in the forest of a thousand demons, who can wade through the arrows of life unscathed. Of course not. It has only given me the hope that every day brings a fresh chance for me to be better, and that all I can do is to try to be better rather than venture on a futile quest for the idyllic. Utopia is a farce.

It has taught me that—just like those before me are not perfect, I couldn’t be perfect no matter how hard I tried.

Sometimes, I find myself in some situations and think, how would daddy have reacted to this? How would my Uncle have reacted? Which one is best? What should I do? To be honest, it gets scary sometimes, almost to the point of paranoia.

This attitude is borne off my willingness to learn from those who came before me and my acknowledgement of how similar I am to them. The acknowledgement, that some of the demons I’m fighting are the ones they fought and conquered or the ones they are still trying to conquer or the ones that conquered them.

My biggest lesson so far has been to operate at the topmost echelon of consciousness and awareness with those around me, especially my loved ones.

Literature has also helped me a lot. It has helped me to see the imaginations of people that are different from me. It is interesting. Literature has helped me to reduce my biases, and also breached the gap between my strengths and weaknesses. Reading is good. I should read more. Books are powerful; they have the power to ferry one into other people’s minds; even the minds of dead people. I love Chinua Achebe’s mind, I’ve been there several times. Even though he is dead, his mind is alive. I walk in there anytime I want to. Books are beautiful.

I am thankful for the growth. I am thankful to those who came before me; who lived a transparent life that showed me some of the twists and turns in life and gave me their shoulders to stand on so I can see farther than I ought to.

The Books I read in 2015

One of my New Year’s resolution at the beginning of the year 2015 was to read 5 books before the end but I ended up reading more than 20 books. I would like to share the list of all the books I read in 2015 with you guys, with the hope of inspiring someone.

 

  • I was able to read 13 out of 16 books written by James Allen. In retrospect, I think James Allen’s books taught me out to think; they opened up my mind and they were all very inspiring. I couldn’t have read this books without the help of Gbenga Onaderu. Somehow, Gbenga is one of those who inspired me to read more. Here is the list of all 13 books.

 

 

As a man thinketh

From poverty to power

All these things added

Out from the heart

Through the gates of good

By ways to blessedness

The life triumphant

Above life’s turmoil

The mastery of destiny

From passion to peace

8 pillars of prosperity 

The way of peace

The heavenly life 

 

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  • Books written by the Father of African literature himself- Chinua Achebe. Generations to come will still thank Achebe for his books. Our children’s children will read his books and thank him for telling our stories. In years to come, these stories will only exist in our minds as our cultures continue to evolve. Here are the ones I’ve read so far.

 

Things fall apart

There was a country

Man of the people

The trouble with Nigeria

No longer at ease

Arrow of God

rrr

 

 

  • I read Half of a yellow sun and Americanah written by Adichie Chimamanda and I thoroughly enjoyed them. You can find my brief review (here)

 

  • Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. This book was given to me as a graduation gift by a friend. It is a good book for anyone who lives in America.

 

  • Dreams of a Father by Barack Obama. I despised myself for not having read this one all these years. From the first day i picked it up, i just couldn’t stop.  It piqued my interest in the life the father of POTUS lived and that took me to the next book I read.

 

ju

 

  • The other Barack by Sally Jacobs. An extensive research on Barack Snr. Well done to the gutsy sally Jacobs. I would post a brief review soon.

 

  • No excuses by Brian Tracy. I struggled with this book but I still completed it. Nothing much about the book after all the fuss. It was recommended by 2 of my friends and I thought I had to read it.

 

  • Ghana must go by Taiye Selasi. I couldn’t finish it, the book was just too subtle for me. I will try again in 2016.

 

  • Here is the last one, and I’m not done reading it yet. The Grand master’s insight on China, United States and the world by Lee Yuan Kuan. Lee was the first prime minister of Singapore and he ruled them for 31 years. He marshaled Singapore from a third world country to a first world country so trust me, his opinion is gold.

 

I also read a lot of articles and I read a lot of people on daily basis. Here are some links;

Pa Ikhide,

Demola,

Feyishope

feyi fawehinmi,

 

Vincent Ajise,

@demiladee,

@geezone007,

@Tolu Ogunlesi.

 

That’s it folks. These books and people have added inestimable values to my life and I certainly paid some prices. The ride was wonky but we go again.

 

 

Happy New Year