Emeka Obasi, publisher, Business Hallmark newspaper, launches a second compilation of his newspaper columns over the years
Louis Odion, managing director and editor in chief, National Life, described it as a “thought-provoking compilation that offers a fresh perspective to the Nigerian narrative of the last decade.” He may just be right. Emeka Obasi’s Letters from Purgatory, Volume 2 presented a kaleidoscopic view of the state of affairs in the country and the roles played by principal actors ranging from presidents to governors and captains of industry, as seen from the author’s perspective in his newspaper columns over the years. The 216-page book was officially presented to the public on June 7, at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, Lagos.
“Transposed to the literary realm, Emeka’s ‘purgatory’ would then mean catharsis, a therapy for emotional release. Indeed, in a haunted milieu like ours, there is surely enough to keep you in a permanent state of bewilderment,” says Odion, who explained the book’s curious title during its review. Purgatory in Roman Catholic belief is a place where souls remain until they have atoned for their sins and can then go to heaven.
Odion also commended Obasi’s courage to hit the nail on the head not minding whose ox is gored and despite being close to the people in power. “In the absence of virile public organs to check the excesses of power, it is to the writer the nation then looks for the moral compass. By telling the stories truthfully, however unpleasant they might sound, the society gets to see its own true picture in the mirror,” noted Odion.
Letters from Purgatory, Volume 2 is a follow-up to an earlier compilation with the same title published in 2004. Although the articles contained in the volume 1 of the book were drawn largely from the era preceding Obasi’s involvement in public service as Abia State commissioner for information, Odion noted that volume 2 was far more circumspect in the author’s interrogation of power and more empathetic of its servants.
In his remarks, Obasi, who is also publisher of Business Hallmark newspaper, said publishing has given him the opportunity to address salient issues in the country. “By publishing these articles in volumes, I’ve ensured they remain alive and are available to a larger audience. My joy is that many would read my opinions as expressed in these pages,” he said.
Tola Adeniyi, a veteran journalist who was chairman of the occasion, also commended Obasi’s courage. “The credibility of an author is important when it comes to writing a book. Emeka is a credible Nigerian, has no ethnic bias, is passionate about the country and very analytical,” Adeniyi said. The well-attended event was graced by prominent personalities such as Hyacinth Ohazulike, Eze Ndigbo of Lagos, Segun Olusola, former Nigeria ambassador to Ethiopia, Professor Laz Ekwueme, Udeme Ufot, CEO, SO & U and Mark Wabara, a businessman.