About a year ago, on Sunday, October 10th 2010 to be exact, I made my first public post on itualive! It was titled, Nigeria: Political macabre dance, Cecelia Ibru and the Ex-SAN. Before going public, I had also posted a review of Ijé, a Nollywood block buster that casted Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde. There was also a post on the exploits of Bishop Oyedepo’s of Living Faith Church that I got from Wikipedia. In the last one year, I have posted essays, poems, reviews and short stories in keeping with the theme of the blog.
I would not say writing virtually every week has been a walk in the park (especially when it’s for free) but hosting this blog has taught me a few things in life. One of such lessons is to start where you are no matter how little the resources available to you. Another is having what Ray Ozolua (one of my favourite lecturers back then in University) would call “consistency of purpose”. You never know what an idea may become or where that small business may transform into. If you feel a nudge to do something, it’s best to go full throttle. As at today, Itualive! boasts of more than 11,000 hits on the blog directly (minus indirect links through social media sites like facebook and twitter). I have readers from every continent in the world including France, Malaysia, India, Canada and Australia.
It all began one day as I read a Thisday online article after President Jonathan assumed office as substantive president in May of 2010. There was the argument about zoning and whether he had the moral right to run against the likes of Atiku Abubakar and Gen. Muhamadu Buhari. I dropped in a comment and I noticed I had a strong argument in support of “destiny” (I don’t feel so strongly about that now anyway). My comment was about 500 words and I thought, if I could feel so strongly about issues that affect we as Nigerians, especially on someone else’s article, I could take it a bit further by getting people to buy into my own ideas. Voila!
And so I spoke to my friend Oris Aigbokhaevbolo about it, he is someone Stephen King calls the ideal Reader (IR). If you are an aspiring writer out there you need to get yourself one. An IR is someone who would save you from yourself. Oribhabor gave me the morale support I needed while my girlfriend was there to you know, spice things up. Actually, she has eyes for colours, so she helps with the site’s aesthetics. Because of her, I know which colours look friendly to the eyes and all that. And so after the colours were sorted, I started writing. Itualive! has ran virtually every week in the last year and I am grateful to God Almighty for the grace to invade your computers and mobile phones unfettered. I have seen the readership base grow beyond what I ever imagined and sometimes I do wonder what you find so interesting. It has also given me some form of social responsibility to represent Nigeria in my own way.
I write usually about whatever interests me at the time but recently I have stayed away from political issues because I have become quiet disillusioned over the Nigeria’s political stratosphere. It is becoming more and more asphyxiating and it appears the decision makers may not be ready to save Nigeria from shame. I hear about 30 billion dollars is being allocated for yet another National Identity card project. What happened to the ones in the past? For heaven’s sake I was under the sun for hours waiting to be registered in Obasanjo’s administration. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that we need National ID cards to breath, are we saying that the people who “walloped” the money for the botched processes in the past can go scot free. What lessons should we be taken from this: that people can come together, decide to steal money and take Nigerians for a ride and be rewarded with more contracts? It’s bad enough that 30 billion is going to be drained ones more (because it is IMPOSSIBLE to have sustainable development with blatant corruption in government circles) on another jamboree but what is really staggering is that the 30 billion naira is for phase 1. Now they want to “chop” in phases. And the saddest part is that they probably will still get away with it. Recurrent expenditure is at an astronomical cost in the country. Government officials spend millions on frivolous foreign trips and are not accountable to anybody. I believe that one day all these nonsense would stop. It just has to stop. All the GSM networks were ordered to conduct a SIM card registration process, yet the NCC embarked on its own independent money wasting venture. Data that could have been pooled from the Networks had to be duplicated because people must chop. All the GSM networks I subscribe to have my photograph and finger print. And am sure it’s the same for most Nigerians, so why can’t the committee on ID card just collate all these data? Anyway I wouldn’t want to spoil today’s anniversary with corruption issues so let’s move on…
This blog hasn’t just been about writing, the feedback I get from many of you have been a source of encouragement to continue to strive for excellence. I monitor the traffic on the blog keenly and I have noticed that some write ups are read more than others and these write-ups make up the POPULAR POSTS on the left hand corner of the blog. I like to refer to them as the “Hall of Fame”. The top 10 most read posts have also helped me categorize the interests my readers have. For instance: the article on Oyedepo is the most read piece on the blog (and I didn’t even write it painfully) suggesting that most Nigerians take religion seriously. We also take good writing seriously as the second on the “hall of fame” is Oris’ “Boys and Girls
” short story (am pained that the second most read article here is still not mine but still..). My writings finally take seven of the remaining eight on the top 10 (phew!). After so many articles, the top ten may not necessarily portray the best writing as I have personal favourites that I believe deserve another mention. Chronicles of the Palm Wine Shop (Part 2)
to me deserves to be on that list. I have struggled with the idea of resurrecting Madam Josephine again. I believe she has a bigger role to play in the future so please stay tuned. Obliquity is a short story I penned a while back and should join the likes of Relationship: Recipe for Disaster
, Wedding Bells or Are My Ears Just Ringing
and NYSC and the Killing of the Innocent
in the list.
There were sometimes when I thought the blog was a burden and some friends of mine came to my rescue. The only Lady on Itualive! Ladi Opaluwa has helped me in no small way. Her poems (especially The Question the Whiteman asked my father) has fingered my literary nerve inspiring me to do more literary writings. Her short stories and essays show she’s a class apart. Another writer who has also enriched itualive! is my sport analyst, Collin Obaitan. I really do wish you all could meet this guy. I have been friends with him for over 8 years and I still haven’t figured him out (and that’s a compliment). Credits shouldn’t even begin without mentioning Oris Aigbokhaevbolo again; he is also responsible for the success of the blog. I send him my first drafts at odd hours to edit and he always indulges me. He is myself acclaimed editor and can be credited for most of the good stuff you see. He is also to blame for the typos and numerous grammatical errors by the way!
I would like to specially thank everyone who has left a kind (or not so kind) comment on this site or on other social media sites. I also apologise as I know I have offended quiet a number of people with my post especially when sharing it on facebook. When I send bulk messages to advertise my post, my intention is not to run down your batteries but only to share the link. I have been warned sternly by some never to share my link in their boxes again. I do apologise for this intrusion and hope to improve on my sharing capabilities subsequently.
In no particular other, I would like to thank the following people for the encouragement they have rendered. I say a big thank you to Cheta Obika (my number one fan), Edewede Akpesiri Odia Ruki (aka Sui generis), Douglas Baye Osagie, Toni Kan (for being a mentor), Wale Mohammed, Olawale Fabiyi Taza, Jimlas, Ray Ozolua, Nnamdi Ndueche, Adaeze Ezemwa, Adebanjo Abdulazeez, Adebayo Paul, Adedigba Muyideen, Aghanemuzor Daniel, Amadin Erins, Amayo Osahon Ida Allison, Olaya Osayeme, Efe Xigma, Ubasinache Otuonye, Omozemoje Asse, Nwankwo Nonso, Abhulihmen Anthony, Christian Osi, Ejiro Diakparomre, Amy Louis, Anne Oba, Arinze Ekwem, Asikhame Oikeh, Basil Valentine, Bernard Onuorah, Dewunmi Odujoko, Bolaji Ogungbe, Bolanle Peju, Chukwuemeka Obiukwukema, Okeke Chukwuma, Dave Meres, Ebade Abu, Eburu Rhume, Okowonna Tochi, Samson Zinom, Oseyi Okoh, Emmanuel Eborka, Ene Jane, Faith Adogame, Goziem Nweke, Godfrey Umhenim, Otutu Allen, Iveren Akaaer. Idowu Akinloye, Muyideen Adedigba, Isa Musa, Olakunle Jones, Soni Akoji, Jide Atta, Kehinde Okusaga, Franklin Markson, Mary Aki, Muhammed Tahir, Ndubuisi Chinedu, Stephen Akinlua, Izy Umoru, Chuckwu Vera and lastly Mark Zuckerberg.
Forgive me if I missed out your name, but even the writer of Hebrews also couldn’t list all the names of those that walked in faith in verse 32 of chapter 11. I thank you all so much for the support and I pray that this time next year, itualive! would have expanded with more writers and more depth.
It has certainly been a pleasure…Cheers!
©2011 Ewoigbokhan Otaigbe Itua