Thursday 28 February 2013

"Dyed Thoughts" by Nwachukwu Egbunike

@omotayome for Twitter

“We are a people with no sense of history. Either that we choose to forget or that we have selective amnesia” - What Happened to Abacha’s Vision 2010? (pg. 81)

Dyed Thoughts is a collection of essays collected into a single book. Nwachukwu delivers memories of our consequent forgone pasts. Forgetfulness is a Nigerian antidote to piled-up decades of sufferings. How piteous! This book attempts so many things in one. Moreover, it endeavours a merger between the real world and the cyberspace. There is always a clear struggle between the upwardly mobile adopter and laggard receiver of the internet. With Dyed Thoughts, these two worlds are married, bringing into a paperback numerous essays of past print and online publications. Again, the internet has another shared victory. Indeed, this book is partly a testament to the internet inspired way of writing: the internet is breeding an army of daring writers.

“It really started as a joke: Patrick Enahalo proposed the idea that I start a blog. I really did and not take it initially, thinking that it will only serve as an avenue to massage my ego. However….he made me see it as a good opportunity of expressing my thoughts…and since then it has been writing nonstop.”  -  E Se Baba! (pg. 55)
In an effortful medley of several articles (past blogposts, print essays, previously unpublished write-ups), history is shoved to your face. And you suddenly wonder if what you have been tagging change has not been the effect of your traumatized delusional memories. Frankly, nothing is changing much, if not at all. All we have are hypocritical vagary of shoddy actions mocking us. Nigeria is a typical instance at that, Dyed Thoughts’ abundant pieces aptly informs us so.

“In Nigeria each household is its own municipal council. The success of this council depends on its ability to provide and maintain basic utilities. My municipality has been very efficient; we supply power (with a generator), water (through a borehole), security (with vigilante groups), and refuse disposal (with a waste contractor)” - Power Play (pg. 43)
For anyone who yearns for closure on our current sordid state, Dyed Thoughts is a comprehensive archive. Schools should have this book added to their libraries, it is a grounded material for further research. Dyed Thoughts prepares itself as much with well cited sources and a rich index. In reading this collection of essays, memories will come rushing over and the furies will be much. You will anew lament over long-decayed destines and your emotional strength will be quickly spent. Nwachukwu's nonfiction cleverly arranges our past woes to portray where we presently stand.

History is copiously packed in this book. There are loads of issues in it. You simply get the feel of the confusions this writer suffers as a Nigerian. He does not spare out an issue. In just a book of over three-hundred leaves, it would seem you have walked through this nebulous jumbled up country bound by seeming unity. But this is Nigeria, it easily can overwhelm even the best storyteller; the creative archaeologist; the astute historian. Nigeria is a massive rottenness, in telling her stories, brevity is game.

In this book, however, brevity fails Nwachukwu and the book is gravely affected. See why Nigeria may be overwhelming? Even in the words to describe her, you are manacled to your own retelling, convulsing from numerous reliving. Nwachukwu should have primed this book up some bits and spare us the boredom of going through the usual in a tediously stacked way. Everybody knows the usual: Nigeria is a failed state; there is no constant power; maladministration is rife; resources are being purloined. So what? We need a breather. The usual can only be appreciated when it is told in new wittier ways. These, just a few from a host of them, are not enough,  they are rather clichéd and trite:

The N628 million scam cries for justice. It is also a matter of public opinion because the people involved are public officials who had sworn to uphold the collective trust and not bring their office to disrepute. - Justice First and Later Mercy! (pg. 9)
Nothing seems to work here. The government whose primary responsibility should have been to provide the enabling environment for the blossoming of talents is unfortunately engulfed in corruption- Hope for a Troubled Land (pg. 16)
“Anambra elections have generated so much tension and trepidationElections in Nigeria have never been easy. Things have so degenerated that with each passing poll, the violence and godfatherism had risen to an idolatry pitch.” And the Winner is: Peter Obi (pg. 85)
Considering that some of the articles compiled in this book were written formerly for blogs and the print media, it would suffice if more creative editing had been done to fine tune the writings for current reading. Without that, what one has are only stacks of monotonous articles for the flexible media and the rigid writings associated with the print journalism. In that regard, the book bores. Dyed Thoughts regrettably lacks the literary strength for interesting reading. This book should never have been published this way; this is the opinion I hold after numerous readings of Nwachukwu’s book. Or maybe, what that opinion alternatively means is that the book was rushed over, with so many undesirable issues throttling it. Issues like lumpy mix of pieces, clichéd essays and dull language use. Many pieces in this book should be taken back to the press, stripped off its jagged wordiness and polished for more literary grace. The rich materials in this book are worth the rework. Nwachukwu’s book critically shows, in the space of some far and near recent years, the country’s ills, her nemesis and struggles. It shouldn’t be killed by textual ineptness.

Believe this: this book is hotly brimming with matters. With nine sections and over one hundred pieces, conversations are never lacking on any issue that may have spurred news within the period the pieces were written. From mundane chitchats, political discourses, intelligible rants, to foreign concerns subtly affecting the country; words are not miserly. Dyed Thoughts is a priced researcher’s tool. This book is deep and its thoughts many too. Nothing is spared.


  1. Wow! Excellent review Joseph. I like the way you fleshed out the bad and the good..and from the sidelines, I can relate with your words based on my observations of op-eds in newspapers, and the usual banter on facebook.

    1. Thank you so much, Samuel. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. I understand the monotony that comes with works such as this but you have really written a good review Joe. The creative touch you add to your reviews make them sound critically mild. Welldone man.

    1. Thank you, Ayo. I so much appreciate the comment. Please always come around to read more on this blog. Thank you once again.