Friday, November 03, 2006

The Activist by Tanure Ojaide

Kachifo Limited, the publisher of Farafina Magazine and FarafinaBooks, is proud to announce the release of an affordable, paperbackedition of Tanure Ojaide's novel The Activist. (N1,000)

The Activist is a thought-provoking novel about the Niger-Delta andits people. It is a compelling story that underscores the need forunity amongst the various peoples of the Niger Delta in order tosecure equity for themselves and all other nationalities withinNigeria. The novel dwells on environmental degradation, the antics ofthe oil companies and corruption among the local elites. The novelschronicles The Activist's struggle to set things right for his people.He leaves the comfort of his home abroad to join in the struggle toensure its success. It is a story of courage, sacrifice and defiance.It is a message for the need for change, set in a contemporary Nigeriasteeped in corruption and avarice.Exploring the political and social tensions of recent times, TheActivist probes the depth of the government's accountability to thepeople. Since the oil boom of the 1970s, The Niger-Delta has beenridden in crisis despite continued expansion in oil production. Thenovel deals with the need to have a government that works and isbeneficial to the masses.


The Activist is a headlong novel. We hurtle through the labyrinth ofcontemporary Nigerian life. One of the wonders of this fine book isthat its author never fobs off on the reader a routine plot, aprefabricated sentiment, or a serious lecture without ironicundertones. Ojaide refuses to be dull.

Colorful characters of every stripe intersect the growing tale—a proudlocal chief defending the indigenes, a co-opted and pompous Nigerianprofessor in the hire of the oil company, an area boy who rises towealth and power and lifts the Activist with him; but through them allthe figures of Ebi and the Activist predominate, finally triumphing,as figures of political savvy and good intentions. —Frederic Will, writer and Professor of Comparative Literature

The Activist is a monumental literary achievement and a passionateexploration of Nigeria's political complexity and social tensions ofrecent decades. The nameless protagonist, clearly a symbol of thepatriotic and visionary Nigerian, irrespective of ethnicity, tradesthe bliss of life overseas and joins the bandwagon to develop hisnative land in this deeply moving narrative linked by conflicting tiesof moral concern, human rights, environmental pollution, honor,courage, patriotism, love, betrayal, tragedy and triumph. A memorablenarrative, populated with characters so vital and real. A trulyriveting and startling tale enriched with colorful and highlysophisticated writing. Only a gifted writer could combine suchsophistication and passion. — Dike Okoro, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

Through the collective consciousness of three enigmatic characters—the Activist, a cosmopolitan and radical scholar; Ebi, a staunchenvironmentalist and womanist; and Pere, a carnivalesque agent ofchange and representative of the down-trodden in the Niger Deltasociety—Ojaide takes the reader into a masterfully woven web of localand universal issues. This novel is both a befitting tribute to thelate novelist, social critic, and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa and awelcome addition to the fast-growing corpus of radical literature inAfrica. ---Lokangaka Losambe, Professor of English and Chair, University of Vermont.

In The Activist Nigeria's acclaimed poet, Tanure Ojaide, brings hissharp sensibilities and writing skills to prose storytelling. Theprotagonist, makes a reverse trip from America to a home whose youngand able are straining at the leash to escape to the perceivedcomforts of the West. The rest of the story is that of a singleindividual who joins ranks with the long suffering people ofNigeria's Niger Delta who (along with their beleaguered naturalenvironment) are caught in the impersonal cash nexus of Global Oil andthe collusive African state. Always aware of the complex links betweenbroad structural forces and the minutiae of everyday life, Ojaideweaves a compelling narrative that illuminates the contradictions ofstate and society in contemporary Africa. The Activist, however, ismore than testimonial literature. It is visionary and bold as itattempts to answer the eternal question: What is to be done? At thismoment in our densely interlaced world, this book could not be moretimely. —Dr. Joseph E. Obi, University of Richmond, VA


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