A message for change is embedded in Ifechi Jane Odoe’s published dramatic piece On the Brink, a virtuous push for indigenes, Adewole Ajao writes
With corruption remaining endemic to various parts of society, satirical pieces from notable writers have become a welcome development. It was in this light that budding writer and UNN graduate Ifechi Jane Odoe compiled her seven-part drama On the Brink which was published by US-based publishers Authorhouse.
With a title that does not sugar-coat the theme urging for change, the light-complexioned writer who has also written extensively for The Guardian Newspaper after she caught the writing bug in secondary school recalls that she was inspired to pen the 133-page drama due to her sentiments on corruption, and other perceived problems of the country. According to her, the feeling of forging her first book was similar to that of having a first child.
“The book is like a mirror of who we really are,” she explained. “It also calls for us to be a little bit more serious on things like corruption. The greatest problem is corruption. We need to examine our value systems because you have someone three years ago being nothing suddenly becoming something and people do not question the source of this person’s money. That is what we need to look at as a country and we have to go back to the family.”
Her sentiments towards the problem are portrayed via a handful of characters in her book. They join the bandwagon of selfish leaders after suddenly finding themselves in the corridors of power. Rather than using their positions to repair its ills, they conform to the enrichment craze. For her this was not peculiar to those topping the food chain. Even common men have been infected by the get-rich-quick syndrome.
“The image I am trying to paint is that corruption exists even in the lowest of places,” the writer added. “Even your security man might not allow people to see you unless you drop [money]. Even you driver might cheat you during errands. Corruption is a national problem and it affects us all, and we will get to a period where the society might not hold.”
With vanishing values gradually being replaced by vice and the struggle for fleeting wealth, Odoe’s remedy is a total overhaul and a return to the basics. In her book, this is reflected via Better Land, who breaks the cycle of suffering.
“It eats at the substance that makes us exist as a society. When that substance is taken away, we no longer exist. We are getting to a point where we have to decide what to do to take us around. The call is why it is necessary for us to say enough is enough and turn back.”
The hero of her publication is also symbolic, but in her view, one person’s virtuous living was enough to inspire others to adopt the exemplary traits needed to place society on the much-awaited road to the Promised Land.
“Like in a family of ten, God just needs to bless one person. So in the book, the character is symbolic. If you have like 500,000 of him in Nigeria, things would change,” argued Odoe.
Sparks of a revolution are also perceivable in the book which was published abroad and looks set for a movie format. Already available on the Amazon website while it also prepares for a stage debut, Odoe said her book’s theme did not douse her beliefs in the country.
“Revolutions can also be ideological. When you can change an existing system or the psyche, it does not mean blood has to flow. If in the next 15 years we are landing on the moon, I would be the happiest.”