In 2017, historyradio.org interviewed Iroakazi Ifeanyi, or “Ify” as he likes to be called. Back then, he was just settling after a life as an internally displaced refugee. He has spent the last two years at a Nigerian university, where he has studied all aspects of drama and writing. He has also written a fantasy novel which is yet to be published. Historyradio.org now republishes the orginal 2017 interview with Ify, along with a short story that he wrote for us this week.
“Nigeria, a divided country, ravaged by separatism, starvation, religion and corruption. People flee from various sources of violence either in the north where the muslims seek independence or in the southeast, where the christian lgbo-population long have struggled for a Biafra state.
Ifeanyichukwu “Ify” Iroakaziis is a 25 year old aspiring writer who fled to Benin City in Edo province, and he shared with us some of his dreams and hopes for the future.
Historyradio.org: Why did you leave your home province?
Ify Iroakazi: I left Eastern Nigeria, Abia State to be precise, because of a constant killing, raping and brutality of unarmed citizens by the Muslim Fulani-herdsmen and the federal military. Federal government of Nigeria has recently staged an undefined military exercise nicknamed “operation Python dance” which till date has continually soaked innocent people in blood and tears.
Historyradio.org: Describe for us a normal day in your life in Benin City?
Ify Iroakazi: I start my normal day with prayer, asking God for a daily bread. I work 7 a.m to 6 p.m any day I am lucky to be hired as a labourer for any menial job at one thousand naira(less than 3 dollars). I sleep for 2 hours after evening meal and my alarm wake me up at exact 8:30 p.m for my self-learning, and chat with social media friends (I do the chat only the days I can afford some megabytes to access internet), then I go back to bed by 1:30 a.m or 2 p.m
Historyradio.org: Why do you want to become a writer? Why not a doctor or an engineer?
Ify Iroakazi: I want to become a writer for several reasons. Firstly, I see writing as an effective medium through which I can fully and successful express myself. I see pen and paper as two super weapons to help fight for the millions of citizens of my country who are too wick, too hungry, and too sick to fight for what is rightfully theirs; a means of asking questions on behalf of the masses who lack voices to ask.
I see writing as the only subject I am completely passionate about in the academic field; a medium through which I can educate and stir a significant social change.
Secondly and finally, I see writing as a means of entertaining myself and others. I think I will find more professional fulfilment and happiness in writing than any other profession-no matter how lucrative.
Historyradio.org: What do you write about? The problems in your country?
Ify Iroakazi: Yes I write about the problems in my country. I do satirical novels and ancient epic plays. My novel, A Crown Of Shame, harps on the perpetual suffering of Nigerian masses amidst abundant wealths mother nature has blessed them with. Nigeria is called “Giant of Africa”, which I see as a crown which Nigeria is unworthy to wear.
Historyradio.org: Are you free to write about any subject you like in Nigeria, or are there certain subjects that are taboo?
Ify Iroakazi: No, Nigeria is heavily religious which makes it a bit dangerous for people to about any subject they like. People are generally very careful when they write anything religious, any writing related to gay rights is a taboo and you can go to jail for that if you are not careful, erotic writing is a taboo also. There is victimization of people criticising government in recent time.
Historyradio.org: What sort of fiction do you read for inspiration?
Ify Iroakazi: Imagination remains my major source of inspiration. I don’t think I have a particular fiction I read for it. I allow myself to gain from every book I read-be it fiction or nonfiction.
Historyradio.org: Do you have any sort of formal education?
Ify Iroakazi: I stopped at secondary school which is second-to-the-last level of formal education in my country. I stopped after my school cert because I could not afford to go further. But thank heaven that nature itself is an institution. I improve myself through self-learning.
Historyradio.org: Where do you publish the things you have written?
Ify Iroakazi: I have not been able to publish any of my works due to a lack of funding.
Historyradio.org: If you could have one thing that you wanted in your life, what would that be?
Ify Iroakazi: GOOD EDUCATION.”