10. Why do you focus on Nigeria a lot these days?
A: Are you kidding? Nigeria has been in the news even before I started talking, but if you prod me a little bit more, I might tell you that it’s because I’m going to return there in less than three months, and I am interested in its success. Staying back in the US is not only not an option, it is escapist and does not really count as progress. There is a stipulation to spend at least two years in my country after this programme before any application for permanent residency in the United States afterwards. That way, beneficiaries of the Fulbright can get to contribute to their countries of birth and residence. The better Nigeria gets then, the better for me.
9. Are you really looking forward to going home?
A: Yes, actually.
8. What will you miss the most about the United States?
A: I’ll miss the friends I’ve made. I’ll miss my host parents, Papa Rudy and Laverne Wilson, I’ll miss Chris and his adventurous spirit. I’ll miss Olga even though we don’t see each other much these days. I’ll miss my students, my office, and my wonderful Professor Mattson who shares the space with me. I’ll miss my department and Belinda, its beautiful head and Sherry its cool and sometimes mischievous secretary, and also my friend Catherine in the language lab for allowing me trouble her many times. I’ll miss the genuine smiles and laughter I get from colleagues, and I’ll miss the days of uninterrupted superfast internet access. There are so many lovely people that will kill me for not mentioning their names here. I’ll mention them in due course.
7. What will you do when you get home?
A: I have a tentative plan, which is to go around my country to places I haven’t been before. I also hope to visit places I’ve been before but which hold a certain interest for me and for friends. I think I have only visited about seven states in Nigeria, out of thirty-six. I have a long way to go. I also hope to return to the University to complete my Master’s programme in Linguistics and/or Language Documentation. Would it not be better if I come over to do it in the United States along with a PhD? Maybe. We’ll see how that goes.
6. I love those your photographic artworks. How can I get one?
A: I am raising money with them for Jos, Haiti and for Chile. If you’re interested in participating in the project, check out the very simple instructions here.
5. Creatively, how have you been keeping yourself occupied?
A: I’ve been reading extensively because I’m afraid that there will be too many books to carry home when I’m done here. I may have bought too many. So it will make more sense to read them now, and give them away. I’m actually worried that my excess luggage will be filled with books. I don’t know if I can handle that. I have also been writing: a memoir, poems, and translations. You’ll be the first to know when they get published.
4. Are there any more places you will definitely visit before you leave?
A: Yes. That will be New York from where I hope to depart to Nigeria.
3. How are your students doing this semester?
A: Never been better. They murmured when I told them that this time the final exams will not be to write a short story like the other folks did last semester. In their own case, they will be presenting a short drama or a Yoruba song for an audience of their mates and former students. I like the idea, and they’re catching up on it too. I’ve finished grading the mid-term exam and I’m happy that they actually know more than I give them credit for. They’re the best students ever. We’ve saw Chimamanda’s TED video again last week. It was the first time of seeing it this semester.
2. I like your blog. I hope you won’t stop writing. I want to contribute in the form of a guest-post. What should I do?
A: All you have to do is to send me an inquiry, or just send in the guest-post and let me look at it. You can find the previous guest-posts here. What kind of guest-post do I prefer? I don’t have preferences. I just want to read other people’s interaction with the world, either in poetry, prose or rants.
1. What do you think of the Libya’s president Colonel Gaddafi’s suggestion that Nigeria be split like India along religious lines so as to bring permanent peace and stability?
A: Not only is the idea sick and repulsive, it is shallow and lacks the right substance needed for any permanent solution. First, organized religion is one of the biggest problems of the world right now, so to make it the basis of state is not only dumb, it is retrogressive. There is no doubt that the North is mainly Moslem and that the south is mainly Christian. However, the northern Nigeria is not totally Moslem, nor is the southern Nigeria totally Christian, and that is one of the causes of the Jos crisis. So this begs the question: where will the boundaries be drawn if such a division were to be made? At the Niger River? Where would Plateau, Kwara, Kogi, and Oyo States fall? And what purpose would it serve to have any part of the country run by a religion that has never been known to hold the elites and the politicians to the same standard expected of the poor uneducated citizenry. If the law is an ass, religious laws at levels of state are even dumber. What the country needs is to live up to its ideals of a true federalism where each component parts are autonomous to the extent of its fiscal responsibility and obligations. Organized religion is the enemy, as is ignorance, arrogance, and complacency.