After about ten years of waiting on US publishers’ decision on his manuscripts, UAE-based Nigerian biomedical scientist and poet, Mr. Ifeanyi Amadi said he is fulfilled and happy he was able to publish his two books- Tourist in Wahala Land and The Chemical Poems of Ayatollah Khameni in the UK.
He said the challenges of getting his books published took him to some publishers in the US, UK and Nigeria without success until he got AuthorHouse’s nod in the UK, which eventually published the two books. He spoke recently at an interaction with Arts Writers at Win Arc Gallery Ipaja, Lagos State.
“I started my journey to publish the books in US, after several attempts two publishers rejected them because of the tittle. And for nine years nothing was forthcoming. On the tenth year, I told my uncle I can’t continue because he was telling me I should wait to see if we can have a breakthrough. But before I went to AuthorHouse I also tried about three publishing houses in Nigeria. One of them said they can’t publish poetry or they don’t welcome poetry from unknown author and because of that I went to AuthorHouse in the UK,” he said.
Amadi recalled that as a student at University of Port Harcourt, he was an activist, who was never comfortable with situations of things then. He said hunger for positive change lured him to form a student movement to fight some of the ills in the society. But, he was disappointed when many of the students backed out of the movement for one reason or the other.
Undaunted by his inability to go ahead with the movement, Amadi decided to channel his energies into writing books as his weapons against these inadequacies in governance.
Following his revolutionary tendencies, his mates nicknamed him Ayatollah Khamenei, after the spiritual leader of the Republic of Iran. He combined this name with one of the famous Rosicrucian manifestos, The Chemical Wedding, to form the title of the collection of poems.
“Since I could not mix chemicals to bomb or create chemical weapon, let my book be a replacement for that. That’s how I combined my relationship with the love for Iran, their revolution, the love of Cuba, as well as their revolution and that of French revolution. I brought everything into it when I chose the name, The Chemical Poems of Ayatollah Khameni as title of one of the books.
“There was a time we planned to go for protest and planned to use petrol to bomb some facilities. But today, this is my gun, my petrol bomb and everything. So, this is the chemical weapon, which I am using to do my fighting,” he said.
On his hunger for change and the difference between his ideology and that of Boko Haram insurgents, he said: “I believe that there’s a big difference between myself and the Boko Haram in the sense that Boko Haram are against Western education unlike me. I am pro-Western enlightenment while Boko Haram is violently bombing people and shooting people who are directly and indirectly involve. For me, I know who I am fighting and I do not go to a church or a school to kidnap or bomb because I want change. I want change in way that it will not negatively affect those am fighting for. So, there is a whole lot of difference.”
Amadi has concise style of writing in the diverse subjects of his books, including regions and characters outside his Nigeria origin. In the three-act play Tourist in Wahala Land, the author presents a political satire designed to cast literary light on the corrupt goings-on in the dysfunctional systems of most third world states. The play presents a political satire designed to cast literary light on the corrupt goings-on in the dysfunctional systems of most third world states. It also points out the roles developed societies play in contributing to the failures of these third world nations and seek to expose the hypocrisy of some religious adherents who sneak into the red-light districts to partake in sexual activities at dusk while feigning chastity, sanctity, and sanctimony during the day. In all, it reveals the near absence of justice and communal welfare in a failed society as everyone struggles for what they and their cronies alone can benefit from the corrupt system.
The Chemical Poems of Ayatollah Khameni is a poetry collection offers a series of political, satirical, sarcastic, surreal, and adoring rhymes and rebukes to the events of our contemporary society. It is a collection of poems written mostly from a laboratory at the University of Port Harcourt, one of the prestigious universities in southern Nigeria.