On Friday, January 10 this year, my first collection of poetry and short stories was released. I am so grateful to everyone who showed up from different facets of my life. Many couldn’t attend but sent their love and support (and also bought books!)
I would like to thank my late parents: Elsie Yejide Ayoka and Claudius Olufemi Ekundayo. My mother would have been especially proud. She was my first advisor and ‘Relieved’ is dedicated to her.
I would like to thank my family: My siblings, Christopher During, Juanita ‘Konka’ During, Nana Kazaure and Femi Ogunsona Jr; my cousin Salma; Aunty Augusta a.k.a Mummy; Shukriya, Tariq and Hibba inspired ‘Sentinel’ and the story is dedicated to them; Weng Bot, my champion; and little Isma; Abiola Bankole; and Perry.
My second parents: Dr. Jerry and Mrs. Natalie De-Ganga, you are incredible! My sister from another mother, Ursula Blanc;
And especial thanks to the late great Dr. T.O. Fasawe, I am forever indebted.
To Chinwe Otugo and Ifeoma Atusiubah, you guys are some of my oldest and dearest friends; to my precious godson, Ubachi and Ola;
To my entire clan, I really would need an entire book to list you all – You have all in different ways been my inspiration. Thank you.
To my friends and everyone who has supported my writing, and given me great opportunities over the years: Eno Anyanwu, Rakiya Shuaibu, Nana Bayei Somanya, Josephine Adekola, Reward the Storyteller, Ekene Atusiubah (thank you Ekene for reading ‘Association’ on Friday), Forri Banu, Dr. Oke, Sam and Zainab Nda-Isaiah (who gave me the wonderful opportunity to work at LEADERSHIP Newspapers), Audu Maikori, Sodangi Kasim, Kareem Baba Aminu (a.k.a my manager, actually was the first person to suggest that I become a journalist, so THANK YOU, and for many years was my Vanity Fair supplier!), Ayeesha Asta Hamman Dangote, Kiente Kubour, Kenechi ‘K-Track’ Okoli, Addis Okoli (whose artwork features on the book cover), Joey Ukpong, Grace ‘D’Madame’ Njokwu, Mrs. Ede, Christopher Nnamdi Iroaganachi, Aisha Yolah, Derin Ajao, Dike Chukwumerijie, Pastor Wole, Dr. Emman Shehu, Omenesa Oruma Akomolafe, Isa ‘Jay Vox’ Jibril, Ayuba Tete, Hauwa Momoh (thank you for the camera crew!), Jackie O., Gold Owen, Adora Onyechere, Sephiny Smart; my Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee, Oris and Osang; Waziri Adio (who publishes the amazing Metropole Magazine); Cheta Nwanze (who got me my gig at Daily Times – as short-lived as it was, it was great!); Alkasim Abdulkadir; Sage Hasson; Chuks Ezeilo (hmm, Chuxie’s general contribution to my knowledge bank is immeasurable!); Helon Habila, Uche Ogbonna, and Sally Keith (my poetry tutor during Fidelity Bank’s 2012 Writing Workshop); for taking the time to read and re-read different incarnations of the manuscript, Toni Kan (who also wrote the blurb. I cried when I read it. Toni is the first person to publish my fiction – in his Sunday Sun segment); Terfa Tilley-Gyado.
For always encouraging and helping me along the way as long as we knew each other, the late great Hasanna Baba-Ahmed, I miss you so much.
To everyone who ever gave me a book to read,
To all my teachers and librarians, I thank you.
I am grateful to God for you all.
If I have left anyone’s name out, I am truly amiss.