You’ve always been the man of the people. You’ve always been there firmly to correct the societal vices troubling the creative minds especially poets and their poetry. You never let many things go unattended. Even those people who throw confusion into our art sometimes run away but you are always there like a brother and a father dishing out ways and means through which we can get things done in a very special way. When some said they don’t know you, I do know you and sometimes I begin to admire this new image of yours as a beholder of self-will like the lizard who fell down from the high Iroko tree and he felt entitled to praise himself if nobody else did. Soul brother, it is the curse of the snake, yes, it is their curse, if the entire snake lived together in one place, who would approach them? Who will look into their eyes? Who will dare go close to their domain? But they all live every one unto himself and so fall easy prey to man. This is the problem with us, with art, with Poets; with creativity from this side of the world. A big lump caught me in the throat the last time I watched poets exchanging words on Facebook. They threw words at each other and these are those whom we look up to; our mentors. But they failed us. It is human to fight, but those who build must first deny themselves of many pleasure.
Our people have a saying that a debt may become mouldy but it never gets rot. I have you in mine, brother. I have you here in my heart like those times I lay on the bed and think of Ivara throughout the dark fearful night. It is like that and like that for every one of us holding ourselves into lines and verses for those that are to come. It is not easy to be a man on this side of the world where we see blood and smiling skulls everywhere looking at us. Those skulls on the other side of the street telling us how colourful and cruel our home country is, those excited skulls reminding us to empty our being into a miserable land called Nigeria. But, we must survive. We must bank our strength on the altar of love and honesty for; with love we shall conquer all things.
We are the men of soul. When there is a big tree, the small ones climb on its back to reach the sun. We are here not for our making and when the day of departure comes, we won’t know about it. A man may go to Australia, become a doctor or an engineer, but it does not change his blood, the blood in his veins and artillery. It may seem like a bird that flies off the earth and still lands on an Ant-hill. We still have it on the ground. Keep keeping on. Keep making us proud. Keep telling us that writers can actually organize a better award ceremony like The Grammy Award, like the BET, like the Oscar award, like the Soundcity Award, like the Channel O award, like the MTV base Award; like the HipTV Award. I believe in your dreams that writers can be better than this. writers in Nigeria shall one day be celebrated not only on list that shows their names only but on a ground breaking platform where plaques and money shall be given. I believe that through hard work and unity, we’ll make it to that point. A man of great sense does not go hunting little bush rodents when his age mates are after big games, we will get there although it will take time but we’ll surely get to our zenith. We should always make room for others no matter what and this, you’ve being doing. Keep keeping on. Remember, we are men of songs; we measure out our laughter and smiles through the pleasure in our dancing steps. On a lighter note, though this is a letter directing to your bravery and courage upholding the man in us, respect to the same custom will mandate that we exchange greetings and know how we two are faring with life in our beloved country before dipping into the intention of the letter. Find a place in your heart to accept my tardy blessings on your nominations and list on different sites. How about father and mother? And siblings? Thinking about how you might feel now reading this on the screen of your phone, I can swear it is laden with revelations of how beautiful you let out those smiles on your face glow and radiate.
Yes, Africans are brave warriors and you are one of the sons of these warriors. Similarly, like your forefathers, you are a son of Chinua Achebe, a son of Wole Soyinka, the son of Niyi Osundare, the Son of Phunso Oris, the son of your father and that of your mother – the son of your lovers and those who allowed their face to beam with laughter whenever they see you coming, whatever, you will agree with me that an African man must fall in love and that love remain the reservoir of his stories or his memories to relate to his children when tomorrow comes. How else do I explain sharing my feeling of greatness with you, from miles away without seeing you and how you look like except through picture pixels, the happiness in your new look makes me believe that we have a longer journey through the face of poetry.
In searching for answers in memories of our past and looking at places where we’ve been to and people that are caught up in recent measures of lives that defined our country in the past. Dotun, you have written yourself and others into freedom, your first offering, the second offering and the third offering into the world of creativity has established you into a god of your own self. These offerings will wake us up someday into the world as you’ve seen it. you’ve taken us into rooms that stink of sorrow, into rooms that have many ghosts of our ancestors and into a rooms that has death itself, you’ve given us body of maps to some many destinies that are extraordinary as they are haunting and howling to see a new world to come, you’ve deliberately coated reality as you’ve seen it with beauty and ashes and gullible men and women searching for a better home. May we always remember that I’ll always have you in my heart till the end of time.
I think my mouth is running too much .I think I shouldn’t spare time in telling you the purpose of this letter. Few weeks ago, you have being in my mind. You created a bound in my heart; I think I should remind you that “Boys Are Not Stones” Anthology which you published under My Aceworld Publication has gathered momentum. I think I should let you know that I really appreciate your effort and the time you put into to make our dreams a reality. I acknowledge everything. I appreciate everything. Though this letter is coming very late to you but pardon my inability to send this when I suppose to send it. I just want to let you know that you are loved and you belong here in my heart. Thanks for everything you’ve done for us from the beginning till the end. We care about you and your well-being. I love everything you are doing. I love the driving spirit you put in your art. We may not have seen other, maybe because fate has not brought us together or maybe we are shy to ourselves or maybe we avoid meeting each other or maybe; distance is the barrier but I admire you from this distance; from this distance between us. Like a brother, like a mentor, like a senior partner, like a self will personality; like a man of the people, like a god of whom you are, I admire you so much. Have it in mind that when tomorrow comes, your names shall be among those names that shall be on the first list of names on history pages. He that fights for a never-to-do-well friend has nothing to show for it except a head covered in earth and grime. I believe in you, you have a dream. I believe in your arts and I believe in the man you are becoming and that is why I’ll always fight for you. I’ll always remember to remember that we started this race together and when I get to the other part I will wait and wait until you come and when you get there before me, I’m sure you will also wait for me. if we get there together, we will embrace each other and tell the wind how sweet it is to see each other. Michael, every wave that comes back from surf brings a memory and an affections of mother and her children, sister and her brothers, father and his concubines, brother and his lovers, and; of herself mostly before it return to where it was made. Remember that in the long run, it goes back with the loneliness in her mouth of those she visited leaving them hopeless and needless of someone to talk to. Mother taught us that the best thing to do is to start music from her palms and forget those ones that father played last before he died. I know that you won’t remember where you are now and what you’re doing right now. I don’t know if you won’t say my name holding your tears. I know you don’t even know how my face looks like. I know you won’t even miss me. Do you? (Smiles) Is home still home? I think the mistake was that we never keep to time even when it watches over us. Father told me before his death that home is at the mouth of the ocean. He said that her mother’s daughter once sat and watched as a revelation was lost with the tide. Father said he told her that tomorrow she would be fine but she was never fine until her death. Tomorrow, these words of mine may just sink in the belly of your thought, i may just wake and squiggle to remove it and keep it safe. I am that boy your imagination said was turning into the image of a moon in the eyes of the night. This is the boy holding and writing for his friend, a broke letter, a letter of lost and confusion and thank giving, he fitted himself in a bottle and thought of a better means of plucking out or separating your mind from the other mind that wishes you bad. And let tides, like memories, carry me away if this letter is not from my heart to you.
I may not have seen through your wonderful soul or be answerable to the call of your heart but this is the line where love letters crossed path, and I’m holding and giving out a beautiful smile to you and to those that are to come, I am leaving a line, a line where friendship is like a proverb spoken with a Kola nut in the mouth. May we always remember that life itself is a journey in which two shoulders must rub each other perfectly well to remain in sane. I may not have written to you about love, marriage, or studies but I know that God has been the pillar to which you have been standing on. Till the day we shall meet to laugh like never before I’m still that boy you know from the street of Aba. A boy whose pen has refused to be frustrated, may we always remember.