Mamman Jiya Vatsa: Against All Odds…

See, I have few friends who have interest in the Nigerian force. Some have taken their interest to the next level by being in one force or the other. Some others have not done anything due to one reason or the other. (Maybe you would like to know that most of these friends are creative people like me). At a point I remembered one who decided not to join the force anymore because he felt the exit permits and other kinds of conditions there will prevent him from fulfilling his creative goal.

I was going through a list of Nigerian authors (I mean those recognized on line) lately and something struck me about one man: Mamman Jiya Vatsa (Dec 3, 1940 - March 5, 1986).

Hey! This was a Nigerian soldier and writer (who told you any job at all can prevent you from fulfilling your dream? If you have a writing Talent you better write!). He was a Major-General in the Nigerian army, Minister of the Federal Capital Abuja, and a member of the Supreme Military Council. He was executed by the Nigerian Government on March 5 1986 following accusations of his involvement in an abortive coup. (I was still so young then, but who says I can’t learn from this man?)

He was an accomplished poet and writer. He published eight poetry collections for adults and eleven for children. His books are about ordinary people's lives and simple creatures. He even did Pidgin, otherwise known as Naija Langweg, collection in 1981.

He was a facilitator and patron of the arts in Nigeria. He organized writing workshops for his fellow soldiers and their children and got their works published. He helped the Children's Literature Association of Nigeria with funds, built a Writers' Village for the Association of Nigerian Authors, and hosted their annual conferences.

Though he was killed even before I realized those things I used to do at that time was as a result of my writing gift, I could not but read few things about him and marvel. Once again, who says your job or situation can stand in your way to achieve that writing dream?

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