Title: My Mind Is No Longer Here
Author: Ifedigbo Nze Sylva
Publisher: Paressia Publishers Ltd
Genre: Fiction (Crime)
Format : Paperbook
4 different young men have their chance to leave Nigeria for a greener pasture (Germany) tied to a man- Yinka. A corrupt, sexist and vain man who wanted to be richer and more powerful at all cost, including using desperate young men for his dirty works.
The four guys. Donatus- a human anatomy graduate working as a photojournalist had just tendered his resignation letter to the company he worked after being owed many months salary.
Haruna- a medical doctor frustrated by the medical practices problems in Nigeria-incessant strike, inadequate facilities and the blind eye of the Government to it all.
Chidi- A final year student in a Nigeria University dreaming of a greener pasture.
Osahon-Wanted for alleged murder in Benin, fled to Lagos for refuge.
These four Boys randomly met Yinka who promised to help them. At no cost.
Like I told you already, everything is this life is give and take. Call it a trade by barter. You give something to get something
The papers, the registration, the travelling expenses are all on him. Well, they’d pay him on his own terms after they left the country.
You know my worry was that he was not even asking us for money. When I met him, he only said I will work for them after crossing over, I was not sure what kind of work, you know.
Guys, forget. Even if it is a criminal job, I dont mind. Wetin sef? Are our leaders not criminals? Important thing is to get out of this country.
What sort of payment? Who makes you travel to Germany without paying?
These questions throbbed their minds, but their desperation was greater than the fear of what to come.
A tale of desperate and frustrated Nigerian youths seeking greener pasture from the devil’s hands. A tale of Desperation, Frustration, Corruption, Love, Betrayal. Theme included, Politics, human trafficking, drugs, illegal emigration, and how we should be careful what we wish for or whom we wish from.
Honestly, I’ve been waiting for more book that discuss illegal emigration especially after the many Nigerians found slaving in Libya, in attempt to cross the border.
This isn’t about Libya Slavery. It’s about the conditions that led 4 men to desperately want to leave Nigeria.
This story is well told, set in Postcolonial Nigeria, 2008. The story spanned two months with enough details to know what happened before the two months.
I love the story. I love that we got to know what was driving their desperation.
Donatus, the need to be rich so he wouldn’t end up like his father who had lost his mother because he wasn’t rich enough.
Haruna, the death of many people including his mother, due to lack of adequate medical care.
Chidi, the epiphany that several people with a degree from tertiary institutions in Nigeria remain jobless, that a degree can be a waste in Nigeria.
Osahon, the need to start a new leaf, to fulfil his dreams that have always been for greater things. Greater things he felt couldn’t happen in Nigeria.
The author is well informed, diffusing several themes in the book. Diversity in culture. From Katsina, to Benin, to Igbo, to Yoruba.
Music. From Fela to Tetula to Olu Maintain to Osadebe.
Football. Sex slavery, Internet fraud, human trafficking, drug exportation, life in Nigeria.
Sylva subtly highlighted several everyday life in Nigeria, without congesting the book but with enough details to get a glimpse of the corrupt system.
There’s this scene about how police men pick up random boys on the road and pin them for crime they didn’t commit.
“… the robbers had escaped in the direction of Tapa Street, to connect with Third Mainland Bridge through Okolaba. The police as usual, turned up after the criminals left and in need of scapegoats to make up for their incompetence, began to arrest every young man in sight.
There’s a realization that fell upon me after I closed the book. The main culprit Otunba, a powerful man, who directed and headed all corruption in this book wasn’t caught or punished. I wanted to be angry, why didn’t Slyva make him face judgment, is he going scott free? Even Yinka -apart from his broken bond with Otunba- would go scott free too. But isn’t that how it really is? The corrupt powerful people ruin things, they own the law, they get the law to wipe their mess instead of paying for their mess, and they entangle less powerful people to get stained by this mess. When is it going to end? Sylva didn’t tell, neither did he try to paint reality with another colour in the name of fiction. I love that.
They think hunger is a bad thing. No. Hunger is a blessing, I tell you. there’s is no motivator like hunger. It is only hunger that can make you do anything without fear.
I however feel the characters were not developed adequately. Yinka was the only character who was developed very well. The end was loose, like the author after a writing good story got tired of going on and on then settled for an end, (A befitting end for the readers). 0The end feels unplanned. Like ‘Okay, let’s just give it an end. I love happy endings, I just felt the author could have made the end a little twisted
Nontheless, Ifedigbo Sylva’s debut novel is a necessary addition to the conversation of illegally leaving the country. He wrote accurately about the Nigeria Conditions, and made this fiction as realistic and relatable as possible.
My Mind is no longer here, is rich, relatable, funny, suspenseful. A story necessary for this generation obsessed with greener pasture. Not to discourage greener pasture, but to discourage seeking greener pasture through dangerous route.
Recommended, enjoyed it. Written in simple short sentences and chapters that are easy to digest. I couldn’t help but think the guys were too too clueless, then I tried to put myself in that position. Would I go? Would I be that stupid? Would I let my desperation win? Would I not go? I honestly don’t know, but I know just the right amount of desperation is a type of hunger that can make you do the unthinkable.
I received this book from Paressia Publishers Ltd in exchange for an honest review.
Where can I get this?
Available on PageBookConnoisseurs