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Dear Ken, It’s twenty years now since you left us. I’m partly from Rivers State given that my mum is from Opobo. I was only but a child when they took you away from us. I was just fifteen years old then to be precise. My father had sent me to get the dailies when the news of your demise hit the nation. I became distraught as a child seeing that my countrymen and leaders had truncated the strongest voice of truth in that era. I shared in your anguish while you were incarcerated by the government because I understood the importance of your struggle to liberate the Ogoni people from the clogs of tyranny and by extension, Nigerians from slavery. We can’t forget so soon that your approach to the struggle was purely intellectual and peaceful. You took no arms against the sea of trouble which was an attestation to your respect for the Nigerian entity. What you told the nation to guard against is actually our reality today. Our waters have become so polluted that we can’t even fish any longer. We have no potable water to drink. When you told the government to provide basic amenities for the people of this region, they declined. They allowed their selfishness and impropriety to fester uncontrollably and people took the laws into their own hands. Now the nation struggles with myriads of problems because since you left, the economy has been driven only from the production of crude oil. Every other alternative variables have since been jettisoned by this unidirectional approach to grow the frontiers of our national fortune. We haven’t made any headway, we still don’t have electricity, no structured educational system, no plan for the 18 generation of unemployed graduates, no healthcare system, no roads, no life, but corruption lingers strongly and its venom is splashed on our taste buds by every administration that comes visiting. Ken, I read your book, A Forest of Flowers – the nineteen short stories that mirror the absurdity of life. Your literary prowess is amazing and indelibly prophetic. I like the interplay between imagery and magical realism in your work. The infinities trading through your story line brings the Nigerian reality to real focus as a far cry from the pursuit of happiness. As I read your essays, I found the true solutions to our problems and the unexplored adroitness in us to make a difference. You long told us to have a national conference to discuss our affairs but we felt your ideas weren’t good enough but we finally had it when we found our fingers terribly burnt by the threats and realities of insecurity, regional agitations, internal and external conflicts, and moral degeneration. The military Head of State that accused you of treason died eventually, and his loot from the nation’s treasury has been discovered in over six parts of the world. His tyranny took his life and Nigerians rejoiced when providence struck from the left side of fate. He laid lifeless after the encounter and the rot he bequeathed to us has continued to haunt this nation from the very day he died to this day. But alas! Hope is near us. We will continue to entrench the legacy you left behind, we shall stand on your ideologies to bring this nation to greatness. We pledge this day that the labour of our heroes past shall not be in vain; that our faith in God will lead us to the pursuit of happiness and we hold this truth to be self evident that all men are created equal. Ken, we love you. Until we meet again to part no more. Rest in peace. Your Protege, Barr. Evans Ufeli     About the Writer: Evans Ufeli is a Lagos-based Lawyer and Writer. He is the author of the acclaimed novel “Without Face”. He lives in Victoria Island Lagos, Nigeria.

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This article was first published on 17th November 2015 and updated on May 3rd, 2016 at 10:13 am


Evans Ufeli is a lawyer and the author of acclaimed novel, ‘Without Face’. He is also an Alumni member of the Writers Bureau, Manchester, a highly sought-after conference speaker with a passion for the concept of change. He lives in Victoria Island, Lagos. You can visit his blog or contact him via Facebook or Twitter by clicking the icons below; send an email to or call 08037712353

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