International Sisi Eko is a good lens to look at the Lagos experience-Prof Eghagha
Prominent Nigerians including literary luminaries, journalists, academics and students assembled at the Board room, Faculty of Arts University of Lagos on the 28th of March 2019 for the launch of a book: International Sisi Eko, a collection of short stories put together by staff and students of English Department, University of Lagos.
Prof. Hope Eghagha, HOD, English Department who alongside Prof Karen King-Aribisala edited the book stated the dire need for us as Africans to tell our stories, stating that it is wrong to enter your house through another man’s door. The book published by Kachifo Limited, under its Prestige Imprint is a collection of Lagos themed stories
Odia Ofeimun, Nigerian poet and polemicist who was a guest at the launch, praised the students and women who contributed to the literary work. According to him, “the women who managed to contribute are in the first class, they managed to sit down to write despite the distractions. They should be celebrated.”
Odia who cautioned them not to let their efforts be a one off thing but a life time enterprise stated that what the English department is doing is filling the gap that some publishing organizations are not filling. “Maybe we are not writing enough. We have a culture to enjoy something and not pay for it. A contributor to a book is entitled to an honorarium” he added.
The book comprises of sixteen stories which includes:I fixed it by Lola Akande; The Long Night by Paschal Nwankwo; Lucky by Chris Anyoku; Gabriel in Egbeda by Sola Ogunbayo; Mamman the Party Man by Hope Eghagha; The Thin Line Between by Bosede Afolayan; Two face by Tope Larayetan; and Two-Way Streets by Abayomi Folaranmi and others.
Eghagha who was once the former Delta State former Commissioner for Education said:”The truth is that we believe that Africans must tell their stories, don’t let another man tell your story. Don’t enter your house through another man’s door. When you tell your story you are going to convey your pains, joys and celebrations. You are not just going to communicate your weaknesses, you are going to communicate your strengths. What we have done is to tell the story of Lagos as we have experienced Lagos. Lagos has a spirit that seizes you when you come into this place. We have looked at Lagos from different perspectives. Having students and staff collaborate to write this way is an excellent thing and a thing of joy”.
Speaking further, he stated the inspiration behind the title of the book.
“There is a story with that title submitted by one of the contributors, ‘International Sisi Eko’. For those of us who were not born In Lagos, Lagos was the epitome of civilization.
“International Sisi Eko as a title is very good lens with which you can look at the Lagos Experience”.
Among the crème la de crème who graced the occasion were Reuben Abati, Odia Ofemun, Jewell Dafinone, Group Managing Editor of TheNewsGuru , Sam Omatseye and others.