Archive for November 26th, 2012

So last Saturday, there was a full page feature on me in Saturday Guardian. It was some kind of expose on my life, my writing and the Coca-Cola “A Billion Reasons To Believe in Africa Campaign. ” I have reproduced experts below:

THOUGH the country is going through rough patches, it is often heartwarming to learn of young Nigerians, who not only believe in the country and what it stands for, but inspiring others with their exploits, both at home and in the Diaspora. Sylva Ifedigbo, a veterinary doctor-turned writer, is one of such examples.

Described by Pius Adesanmi, winner of the Penguin Prize for African Writing, as “the undisputable master of his landscape and his characters,” Ifedigbo has written extensively both on and off line.

His collection of short stories, The Funeral Did Not End, was presented to the public on Saturday, September 15, at the Kongi’s Harvest Gallery, Freedom Park, Hospital Road, Lagos. The book is currently enjoying rave reviews.

In the words of Unoma Azuah, author of Sky-High Flames, winner of the ANA Flora Nwapa Prize for Fiction, “Ifedigbo’s collection of 20 short stories traces the rot and ruins of a faltering society. The pains and betrayals captured in this compilation are mind boggling, yet Ifedigbo succeeds at sustaining humour, though dark, which gives his narratives an exhilarating edge. In all, this is a radiant outing; it bulges with promises.”

Born in Abuja, Ifedigbo, an advocate of good governance, believes in the use of creative writing and journalism in addressing Africa’s socio-political issues. He has indeed written severally about the deplorable state of the country’s education and proffered his own version of solutions in the various columns he maintains for some newspapers.

He attended School For the Gifted Abuja and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, from where he obtained a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree in 2007. Sylva was a regular contributor to The Saturday Punch Youngsters page between 2003 and 2006 and then the Campus Life page of The Nation Newspaper. Spectrum Books Ibadan published his novella, Whispering Aloud, in 2007.

Perhaps, being born the first child of two teacher parents, has, in some measure, fuelled this passion. However, according to him, the doggedness associated with Nigerians has been the major push. And this is the message he continuously preaches to Nigerian youths.

“I was trained not to quit,” he says. “You don’t achieve anything by quitting. I have a stubborn resolve to succeed in everything I do. The very religious people will describe it as faith. It is faith in the ability to conquer difficulties through hard work and persistence. I’m principally a writer. I am inspired by everything that happens around me, from the scramble at rowdy bus parks, to the headlines in the newspapers and even game shows on the television. There are so many stories to tell around us and no one else will tell these stories but us. Someone once said we are often nauseated by the screams of the bus conductors that we fail to notice the poetry in it… the rhyme and the repetitions.”

Ifedigbo, who took centre stage at the October edition of the Guest Writer Session, an initiative of the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF), says, “I think our young people are in a hurry to make it. There is nothing wrong with ambition in itself; but ambition not backed with requisite skills, experience and effort is suicidal. We want to ride the best cars, light up all the clubs in town, fly around the globe and paint the town red. But we forget the essential building blocks of success, which includes discipline, hard work and patience. It is this desperation that pushes our youths to crime, shoddy businesses, and the full time job of seeking ways to travel abroad. My advice is for us all to calm down; seek out our areas of strength; work on it; polish it until it shines. Then, and only then, will our dreams become reality; and all of this can happen right here in this country.”

AN indigene of Agulu, Anaocha Local Council of Anambra State, Ifedigbo, who is renowned, and also, often ridiculed for his enthusiastic defence of the good that is inherent in Nigeria on social media platforms, says, “Africa is the mother continent. It is so richly blessed with everything that it’s not hard to feel the creator was partial. Historical facts points to African being the cradle of civilisation. But centuries of challenges brought upon the continent by the rest of the world have seen it fail to achieve its potentials. If you look at the map of Africa and study the histories of the people confined together in the various territories as shared out by the colonial occupants, you will see that the continent was not designed to succeed. However, at some point we need to take responsibility for our fate and I’m glad that is happening now. A new Africa is emerging and the world is taking note.”

READ the Full piece HERE

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