For Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: Between her America and her Nigeria

In America, all men are believed to be created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. But Nigerians are brought up to believe that our society consists of higher and lesser beings. Some are born to own and enjoy, while others are born to toil and endure.

–        Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

The Nigerian writer, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is at it again. Her February 9, 2013 op-ed piece in the New York Times (In Nigeria, You’re Either Somebody or Nobody) in which she referred to some Nigerian house helps as “smelly” and “feral” is living rent-free in my head. I wish it would just go away. Nwaubani’s piece, on the fate of “househelps” or “servants” in Nigeria, is a profound commentary on how the West continues to view much of Africa, with the active connivance of many African writers, who traipse the West, hawking tales of grime, gore, wars and rapes – what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls “the single story” of Africa in this riveting video. I would only add to Adichie’s profound observations that it just seems that it is mostly African writers propagating the “single story.” Imagine the New York Times publishing a piece by a white author that refers to her help as “smelly” and “feral.” Heads would roll – as they should.

adaobi-192x300Let me also observe that research would show that the vast majority of essays in Western newspapers written by African writers are narrow in range, oscillating between protest anthems and Stepin Fetchit silliness. Nwaubani’s essay is groveling Stepin Fetchit Blackface pantomime designed specifically to gain space in a Western newspaper – for pennies. It is especially tragic how she has trivialized an important subject. Our writers need to own some responsibility for how we are viewed in the West. Some of that may be changing; many writers are shunning the West and her appetite for silliness, and writing and publishing their own stories themselves. Fame is not everything. Indeed, the writer Teju Cole has distinguished himself by his thoughtful provocative pieces about his world, our world, that display a wide range of interests and anxieties. You may not always agree with Cole but you come away wishing many African writers would look out the window and write about the world as Cole writes in this intriguing piece about the African writer and US president, Barack Hussein Obama and his unmanned drones.

Okay, let me take a deep breath and start over. Generalizations aside, Nwaubani’s essay, as appalling as it is, (yes it is, folks, it is awful, let’s not pretend otherwise) does serve the purpose of depicting much of Nigeria’s middle class as crass, narcissistic and shallow apostles of materialism, mimic people, in the habit of treating “the help” as feral simians, sub-humans not to be allowed in their living rooms, except to clean them, definitely not to be allowed to use their china. Is this a fair assessment? Who knows? Nwaubani may have unwittingly started an intra-class war. On social media, depending on where you end up, she is either an unsophisticated villain according to her literary peers, or a heroine, according to the moneyed class who race to London and America for premium ice cream and return to find that the “help” has made off with their jewelry and Euros. For the latter subclass, you only have to go to Linda Ikeji’s blog (here) to read the comments. In broken sentence after broken sentence, the mostly anti-intellectual crowd (“the thing is too long jor!”) offers high praise and  unrestrained glee at every sentence in Nwaubani’s essay.

How bad is Nwaubani’s essay? It is bad, really bad. Where should we start? There is the naïveté in assigning silly utopian qualities to America:

“Bigots and racists exist in America, without a doubt, but America today is a more civilized place than Nigeria. Not because of its infrastructure or schools or welfare system. But because the principle of equality was laid out way back in its Declaration of Independence.”

You wonder if she deliberately wrote a damning indictment of the Nigerian moneyed class as vacuous, unfeeling and materialistic, considering this stunning outburst which makes this reader want to scream, you are shitting me!:

My father detested it when our househelps sang. Each time a new one arrived, my siblings and I spent the first few evenings as emissaries from the living room, where our family watched TV after dinner, to the kitchen, where the househelps washed dishes or waited to be summoned.

Then there is the patronizing condescension:

“Some years ago, I made a decision to start treating domestic workers as “somebodys.” I said “please” and “thank you” and “if you don’t mind.” I smiled for no reason. But I was only confusing them; they knew how society worked. They knew that somebodys gave orders and kicked them around. Anyone who related to them as an equal was no longer deserving of respect. Thus, the vicious cycle of oppression goes on and on.”

And then there is this, and words simply fail this reader who gasps, Is Nwaubani for real?

Melancholic singing was not the only trait they had in common. They all gave off a feral scent, which never failed to tell the tale each time they abandoned the wooden stools set aside for them and relaxed on our sofas while we were out. They all displayed a bottomless hunger that could never be satisfied, no matter how much you heaped on their plates or what quantity of our leftovers they cleaned out.

childpoverty use thisSo, yes, I was appalled by what I thought was a shallow, poorly thought out essay that only served to diminish Nwaubani and all those like her that belong in that “high society” class of “the feral help stinks.” However after going through the comments in Linda Ikeji’s blog, I am beginning to think that Nwaubani may have unwittingly started a debate, even as she’s exposed her own narcissism. Everything has to have context. I have been away from Nigeria for decades and each time I visit, I am reminded of that fact. The things I witness when I visit sometimes make me shudder and the things I say as a result amuse my hosts. And their eyes go, “Dis one don loss for America!”

As Ebere Nwiro points out on ThisDay, here, child labor is a huge problem in Nigeria. Nwiro points out that what happens to the children of the poor and the dispossessed in many of those homes like those of the Nwaubani’s is unspeakable.

The Nigerian NGO’s Report reveals that a staggering 15 million children under the age of 14 are working across Nigeria. Many of these children are exposed to long hours of work in dangerous and unhealthy environments, carrying too much responsibility for their age. Working in these hazardous conditions with little food, small pay, no education and no medical care establishes a cycle of child rights violation.

Nwaubani missed an opportunity to showcase to the world the plight of poor children in Nigeria, In Nigeria, millions of children are simply born into wars that they did not ask for. In an unregulated labor market that is generally abusive of adults, children are worse off. Many are beaten, starved, yes, physically and emotionally abused by unfeeling adults. And many of them are fated to attend the schools depicted in this horrific video. Poor adults who serve as “househelps” fare slightly better. Compared to the US, where I could never afford help, labor is cheap in Nigeria. And those with the means take advantage. Drivers routinely ferry the middle class to parties and drinking joints and wait in the cars for hours on end until “oga and madam” are ready to go back home, or to the next joint. As Nwaubani points out, many of these children come from the hinterlands, places of little hope. As horrible as it sounds, for many of them, in a country like Nigeria, ruled by the unfeeling, stepping into the dangers of indentured servitude may be their best way out. Many have struck it rich by stealing from their masters and escaping into the darkness. Labor is largely unregulated in Nigeria and abusive child labor is the big gorilla in Nigeria’s living room. If this was the issue Nwaubani was trying to highlight, she chose a strange way to do so.

hausa ng_children_childlabourAgain, if the New York Times had published an essay that described an American socio-economic class as “smelly” and “feral”, heads would have rolled. This is an outrage. But I have us only to blame. Nwaubani is smirking quietly somewhere, perhaps nursing a drink prepared by a “feral smelly help”; she knows the drill. This is all noise-making; it will pass. And she will live to write another silly piece again for the gleeful West. She knows that Nigerians are long on emotional outbursts and chatter but short on enforcing laws and abiding by good structures. In the absence of unenforceable laws, the hell that the dispossessed go through in Nwaubani’s Nigeria will continue. That is how we roll.

This is not the first time Nwaubani has gotten folks baying and howling for her head. She is a darling of Western newspapers because she routinely sends them absurd howlers that exaggerate her intellectual challenges and amplify Nigeria’s woes. Here is a piece she wrote for the New York Times, titled, In Africa, The Nobel Laureate’s Curse, in which she famously pronounced, “Ngugi, Achebe and Soyinka are certainly masters, but of an earnest and sober style.” As if that was not bad enough, she dismissed Ngugi’s call for writers to write in indigenous languages by uttering this baffling one:

Many fans have extolled his brave decision to write in his mother tongue, Kikuyu, instead of English. If he truly desires a Nobel, I can’t help but wish him one. But I shudder to imagine how many African writers would be inspired by the prize to copy him. Instead of acclaimed Nigerian writers, we would have acclaimed Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa writers. We suffer enough from tribal differences already. This is not the kind of variety we need.

This exasperating opinion inspired vigorous rebuttals like these ones from writers and blogs: Carmen McCain, Chielozona Eze, Chuma NwokoloKinna Reads, Nana Fredua-Agyeman on ImageNations, Kola Tubosun on NigeriansTalk, and Molara Wood. An uncharacteristically angry Eze, seeming to speak for the group railed: “To me though, what began as a promising essay somehow turned into a mishmash of cowardly ideas, the core of which sought to suggest that it is separatist for a writer to write in his native language or even to claim that he is a writer from his ethnic group.”

To be fair to Nwaubani, she does think a lot about these things and she is never shy about sharing her views, as in this piece in the UK Guardian about Nigeria’s reaction to the BBC documentary on Makoko, that squalid place where some of these “househelps” come from. In responding to the yelps of racism, etc, by many Nigerian intellectuals of stature, she said this:

The Nigerian obsession with image often approaches neurotic proportions. What people think of us appears to take manic precedence over who we really are. You might imagine that the rational response to some of the infamies we are accused of across the globe would be: “Are we really like this? If we are, then let’s do something about it – quick.” Instead, we perpetually harangue and speechify to “correct” the world’s impressions of us. If it isn’t moaning about the depiction of Nigerians as criminals in the movie District 9, it is berating Hillary Clinton for daring to describe the situation in our country as heartbreaking and our leadership as a failure, or boycotting Oprah for warning against Nigerian 419 scams on her show.

When all of the dust settles, it is quite possible that Nwaubani is in her own way, an incredibly honest commentator on Nigeria’s current condition. She had to know she was indicting herself and her family in this shame that is child slave-labor. There is no excuse for what happens to thousands of children in Nigeria daily, none whatsoever. There is no excuse for what passes for democracy in today’s Nigeria, none whatsoever. There may be an explanation; which is that we are undergoing a perverse form of Darwinism, the rich eating the poor. Our ruling and moneyed class is doing to Nigerians what the colonialists would not have dared do to them. Black-on-black crime is what I call it. At some point, the rich will run out of the poor to feast on. Maybe then, like Nwaubani’s America that was “founded” by those who saw the original owners as game to be hunted down and annihilated, maybe then we will all live in peace and liberty and prosperity. For now, the beat goes on.

28 thoughts on “For Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: Between her America and her Nigeria”

  1. Oh wow, i saw this coming. I have been waiting for a review to this piece, please please tell me someone that i wasn’t crazy to lose my mind over lines like “a few years ago,i decided to start treating them as somebodys”. Like wow!

    1. You know the “anti-intellectual crowd that offered high praise and unrestrained glee at every sentence in Nwaubani’s essay” might be the ones who actually got the piece…the truth sometimes unfortunately can be bitter. After all, most of the harshest critics of the piece are diasporeans who enjoy the pomp of the oyinbo man’s life.
      Not saying Nwaubani didn’t sound kind of uppitish…but it might just be a true reflection of things. I say this because I’ve there…and sadly the slavish mentality of the lower class in Nigeria seems not only inherent but unsheddable, i only wonder at people who say Nigerians don’t have an attitude problem.
      I don’t know a lot, I’m still a young chap but to me it seems this is just one of the symptoms of the mesh that is the Nigerian society…dysfunctional and at times apparently hopeless.

  2. If the objective of the essay is to highlight the plight of the househelps in Nigeria with a view to remedy,then the writer,Adaobi Nwaubani has done a pretty poor job.If however she intended to provide entertainment with the experience of Nigerian househelps, as cruel as this goal certainly is,She is on target.What is more depressing to me as a reader is the arrogant tone with which she narrates with relish her family, friends and personal stories of the demeaning and dehumanising living conditions of the Helps under their(family, friends and personal)roof.For entertainment yes.But pray what manner of persons would cheer at the suffering of another,if not sadistic.To be sure most of Nwaubani’s narration may well be true but the essay would have been more purposeful to society at large if it paid as much attention to condemning the maltreatment and more importantly drawing a remedy road-map.Instead she says”I don’t blame my father” forbidding his househelps from singing.I do agree with Ikhide that perhaps a redeeming effect of the essay is that it may inadvertently prompt us all into debates on how this neo-slavery can be reduced significantly if not stopped.

    1. Victor, Miss Adaobi wrote the piece for an audience that laps up such negative stills on Africa. Her piece is insensitive and in bad taste. If part of the sample on which such a single monochrome tale is based is her own family, then Miss Adaobi also does her family some major disservice by what I suspect to be distortions undertaken to titillate her target readership.

  3. I do not doubt that a lot of families treat their helps the way Adaobi narrates, but that she was very soulless and almost defensive of this inhumane treatment is what I find revolting. Again, from its title, the piece is supposed to be about class divisions and development, but that only got a couple or so of weak paragraphs, completely overshadowed by her treatise on how the vicious cycle continues.

  4. Trecia Nwaubani displays of narrow mindedness only successfully indictes her background and redicles her parents good intension. She shows a careless attitude in her supposedly careful up-bringing, she and her siblings poor relationship with there repeated house helps underscores the exposure and intelligence of her background . This damaging ‘single story’ for a morsel of bread? Very selfish! Her choice of words kills her intension and vision to fight against child labour, it posits her as being overtly ambiouse, she is more intelligent than her piece suggest. I wish her well.

  5. It would have been nice for her to personalize the essay to a point in which she confesses her sins and more, i hope she does a recant,(silly me,who does that). However, in a sense judging by the comments on linda ikeji’s blog, it answers one thing correctly-the downtrodden, the oppressed see everything as a versus, they do not recognize their own power. Their rights if any resides with the rich, the “them”, the very people that pay their salaries and use their kids as helps.

    The middle class have ruined this country with their so called western education, its nasty, they are in a haste to belong to the upper echelons of the society, that they abandon their own duty to correct and serve as examples. They are the real nobodies, they’ll be the next attack of the rich when they run out of servants and feral “smellies”.

  6. Dear Ikhide,
    As Laila Lalami (Moroccan novelist) stated in her essay “Politics of Reading” published in Gods and Soldiers.
    “African novelists are viewed suspiciously by the representation mafia……. It is easier for an African Novel to be published in Europe or America if it trades in clichés rather than complex fictional realities….”
    Somebody or Nobody of Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani for the New York Times is a perfect example. Perhaps, she was requested to write a sensational piece.

    Her essay might be harmful and offensive, she might have appeared to be callous. However, whether we like it or not, there is a grain of truth in her essay. Let us face it, most Nigerians are indeed inconsiderate towards their house maids (house girl, house boy…. However you wish to refer to it). it is something that we need to fix.

    Growing up in Nigeria, I did not know one single person that treated their house help right, except my grandmother, of course. The rest, starting from my aunts and uncles used them as a beating drum. Even, sometimes, made them clean the house from dusk to dawn without food. I, different from Adaobi, sneaked in to lend them a hand and sneaked off when the adults arrived. If not I would be spanked.

    As I said earlier, let’s face the truth and find a solution, period.

    1. @ Mary, I quite agree with you. I have not read Adaobis piece, however I know Nigerians have a penchant to get angry over asides and forget the real issue. What goes on in Nigeria and some friends tell me in some parts of Africa is what will be called slavery in 19th century America. However when someone mentions it we all get hot and puffy.

      My take on this, is while Adaobi might have a poor way of getting her message across, she definitely has opened the door for this conversation to be had in Nigeria, about Child Labour and this issue of ‘helps’. That is what we should be doing and not jumping on the bandwagon of who can write the best rejoinders.

  7. I think Adaobi’s piece inadvertently highlighted something that I have come to see in the Nigerian psyche – a lack of empathy and compassion born out of a profound lack of self-awareness.

    We don’t seem to have an ability to step out of our narrow viewpoints and really look at ourselves. I’m sure she thought she was making an insightful observation about the state of class in our country – and she was – only she wasn’t making the statement she probably thought she was.

    In highlighting the plight of househelps – which speaks to a more profound problem of poverty, class and crass materialism – she revealed the real reason why these problems continue to persist in our country: our inability to empathise with each other. For her, treating her househelps like people does not extend beyond basic politeness – she never actually questions the brutality of the Nigerian class system and why it is so dehumanising, because she CAN’T. She can’t think that far, she can’t step outside of herself that much to really try to understand it.

    And its not a problem with her as an individual, it’s a problem with our society. How we raise our children, what we show them is important and what we ultimately raise them to aspire to. Adaobi isn’t an anomaly. She’s typical of who we really are: even underneath the shiny sheen of the Diaspora. Unfortunately for us, she just happens to have a bigger stage to project herself and not enough self-awareness to pretend otherwise.

    1. “…And its not a problem with her as an individual, it’s a problem with our society. How we raise our children, what we show them is important and what we ultimately raise them to aspire to. Adaobi isn’t an anomaly. She’s typical of who we really are: even underneath the shiny sheen of the Diaspora. Unfortunately for us, she just happens to have a bigger stage to project herself and not enough self-awareness to pretend otherwise.” These lines capture it for me, Chinelo. Well said.

    2. Totally agree with every word, Chinelo. It is our inability to look inwards that is the real problem underlying all social issues in Nigeria including house helps and how we treat them. Our lack of ability as Nigerians to look inwards is also why we choose to expend all energies on criticising Ms Nwaubani and her family instead of lobbying our lawmakers on introducing laws to regulate the employment of domestic help in Nigeria. We really need to look inwards and see the problem for what it is rather than focusing on what image of Nigeria is being projected to the world. We know the problem exists. Lets focus on doing something about it rather than shooting the messenger and distancing ourselves. We can shoot the messenger forever; the problem remains and it will not go away unless we do something about it.

    3. Chinelo, I totally agree with you. Well articulated. Nigeria as a society shies away from discussing our issues. We mostly just cast blame.

  8. I didn’t like the article. I have lived the life she is talking from. And what she wrote didn’t feel true to me. Can what she describes happen? I am sure. Is it representative of what normally happens? Well I have a sample of two opinions, hers and mine, so I say no. If there is a possibility of even one child being subject to kind of abuse that she describes, should this domestic under-aged-househelp tradition stop? Yes it should. Is it stopping, however imperceptibly, as the moral zeitgeist moves on? Yes it is.
    But she was trying to speak to something bigger, wasn’t she? Something about why Nigeria could not progress because it didn’t have equality enshrined in its founding document? Trying to find what she was trying to say is difficult, mired as my reading became in wading through what she described as personal. Personal experience in this essay was supposed to be a vaulting point wheretofore she would make her point. I didn’t believe her, I didn’t get her point. And I cannot believe that any writer would have such a large blindspot for how awkward her own argument was. But I don’t suspect pandering. I think it is genuinely “not knowing.” This isn’t the first time she has “written.”
    See, these are old conversations, that have been resolved and settled, and brought up again, and resolved and settled. Things are complicated, the world, and experience of it, isn’t black and white. To see a writer take to the pages of that big western paper to make that argument from such a naive POV turned my stomach
    And this section really really upset me, because it said more about the writer of the essay than anything else. “Some years ago, I made a decision to start treating domestic workers as “somebodys.” I said “please” and “thank you” and “if you don’t mind.” I smiled for no reason. But I was only confusing them; they knew how society worked. They knew that somebodys gave orders and kicked them around. Anyone who related to them as an equal was no longer deserving of respect”
    Ascribing intent and motivation to the other? So you tried being nicer, and then the domestic workers thought you underserving of respect? What, say, are the signs of respect? Did the help try to treat you as she would her friend? Did she forget her place?
    Haba, this isn’t honesty. This is . . . this is blindness.

  9. Poor Adaobi. Most valuable lesson of all might be that a writer no matter how proficient needs a good sounding board. One can’t doubt her intelligence nor her ability to understand that there is a proud perceptive Nigerian audience paying attention to what she says…reading The New York Times. Why on earth would she antagonise it by writing for the West. I can’t be convinced that her reasoning was that simple. I have a strong feeling that in using her family, she was admitting ‘…I am not talking about other people’s prejudices. These are mine and my family’s and we are still finding our way out of them”. She has a point when she says that some people are so used to the whip that when you are kind, they understand and interpret the kindness as weakness: “You cannot possibly be the madam if you are nice. Madams are not nice.” The damage is so deep that we might have to forgive Ms. Nwaubani’s “presentation”. A few more drafts, a few discerning “Nigerian” sounding boards and the rough edges would have been smoothed out. We might have been no wiser to the ironing out of the creases.

  10. Frankly, I am surprised at what Adaobi’s article seem to suggest about the treatment of househelps in Nigeria. At best, that treatment is babraric and shallow minded,. I say this because in Ghana, lots of NGOs like the Ark Foundation have done so much work in educating the public about ill treatment of househelps. Not wanting to generalise, I will wager that Ghanaians treat their househelps better. Fact is that you will not even get anyone to stay with you these days. Everyone is going to school or selling or learning a trade. Your own poorer relative will pack bag and baggage at the leastt sign of condescension. Ghanaians have wised up on human rights and its implications and such things will not just wash.

    Maybe, Adoabi’s article is the wake-up call for Nigerians to find a lasting solution to this canker.

  11. I read Adaobi’s article twice and dropped two comments. I wonder if the Uncle Tom will be gracious enough to approve them. Here are the feedbacks I gave:

    “Adaobi’s piece, while very articulate, and a masterfully crafted entertaining write, leaves one with a sour after-taste. I can’t share this. I love the art of it, but it is a no from me.

    Nigeria is not America. She will never be America, but it is home to more than 200 million Human beings who are daily working the system, making meanings of their existence. Nigeria is the only place these people can be truly Brave, and really Free.”

  12. My attention was drawn to Adoabi’s article on a friend’s Facebook page, and I decided to read it for myself. What saddened me about that article, and I use the word, ‘saddened’ carefully, is the fact that, she clearly grew up in a home where domestic helps were mistreated, and grew up to accept it as normal. So, in a way, I do not really blame her, because this orientation is one that was embedded in the core of her foundation and once the foundation is faulty, the building itself is bound to be shaky. I do not believe in hasty generalizations because our realities are different. I grew up in a home where we had domestic helps, who were mature adults, and were treated like integral members of our household, and as a grown woman, I treat my maids like family, and I prefer mature people of employable age, not children. I am also certain, that no child of mine would grow up, despising their domestic service providers because we have not modeled that for them. Having domestic help is not a crime, but abusing/mistreating them, is. I have several friends, and know several people, who treat their domestic workers really well. One of my friends, her maid of 15 years recently got married, and I am privy to how good she used to treat her. Another friend has a maid in the University of Abuja. If she is traveling out of the country with her family, the maid goes with her as well, and is like an older daughter. The fact that we see a few bad examples, does not erase the fact that several positive ones abound- all it takes, is to look a little closer.

    That being said, we do have our problems as a nation, which in my own estimation, is as a result of problems at the family level, which is the bedrock of the society because anyone in a position of leadership today, came from a family and had certain principles, values, and morals imparted into their lives by their parents. These affect how they turn out as adults. One thing is sure, no matter how long we live abroad, no matter how much we want to, we cannot change the fact that we are Nigerians, and we should highlight our problems with a view to proffering positive/workable solutions.

  13. Thank you, Pa, for this response to Nwaubani’s very offensive article. Granted she is entitled to her opinion, whatever that may be. What I find particularly shocking, among other things, is that she attempts to justify her continued maltreatment of her ‘helps’ simply because her attempts to treat them humanely only confounds them ‘Thus, the vicious cycle of oppression goes on and on.’
    The fact that she was born into a privileged family as opposed to her ‘feral’ smelling relatives who end up becoming ‘helps’ does not necessarily, give her the right to treat them as sub-humans and try to offend our sensibilities by this lame attempt to justify these horrendous acts.
    Yes, we are sensitive to our image, as a people, as individuals, as a country, we take exceptions to these cruelties being passed off as norms. The perpetuation of a single story of Africa, even by misguided Africans seeking Western endorsements, must be confronted and addressed.
    But Adaobi has sold herself off cheap and her family even cheaper. And all for what?

  14. Pa Ikhide opened the debate without showering abuses. Gbam! As for Adaobi, people were looking at her uneven article because they expected too much from her as a writer and author. Adaobi may need to balance the equilibrium in order to escape ‘pen attackers’ in future.

  15. I wonder who told miss nwaubani that Americans have equal rights! The only thing this her write up passed is grammar. She really knows how to combine words to make emotion laden sentences. The aim of the write up is clear and unfair generally to nigeria and Nigerians and particularly to Nwaubani’s family and adaobi nwaubani herself. How could she had supported this evil and made only a very weak attempt to make them feel like “somebodys” some other Nigerians made and r still making better attempts so that those ‘nobodys’ become somebodys. Adaobi only made a clear attempt to paint her nigerian family and neighbours as black as she could and made the whites look even whiter. Adaobi, what about the slave trade?? Is that a sign of equality?… Nigeria has not reached certain level of but it is not as bad as she painted. Please rights activists should take adaobi and her father to court so that from them others will learn lesson….because adaobi failed to offer us solution to this mess in her fathers and her neighbours houses, I only understand guilt is weighing her down and she is sort of making public confessions! Truly Nwaubani knows the interest she represents. I hate child labor and abuse in all its ramifications including in the manner nwaubanis father did it, and will support individuals sincerely working to eradicate it be it in Europe, africa, America, asia…(-for this problem exists in all nations) But not someone who is emotionally raising smokes where she lighted fire….

  16. Pa Ikhide as you are fondly called by your numerous children, What is literature- are there boundaries for what is good or bad literature? Does literature not serve as a voice- ( a voice can be anything from husky to sonorous). Without works like this how do we get into intelligent debates on what we need to dicuss, what we need to focus and not focus on. Her article has sparked up a debate, she has only pointed out the obvious – the rest lies with us. She has resonated the recurring… Where do we go from here.

    Even though i may like to bash her but that’s not the point. The point is how we as a people move from this low point.

  17. Once upon a time, a certain gentleman (and a politician) said:
    ” Send ALL the children to school-tution free”
    He was laughed and howled at.
    He was called all sorts of unprintable and unpalatable names.
    A communist, a hypocrite and a frustrated old man.

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