The Review supplement in Saturday's Guardian is a must-read for anyone interested in the arts. It looks at the arts through the prism of the written word - literature, essays, reviews etc. Nigerians have featured a fair bit in past editions, with people like Helon Habila, Helen Oyeyemi, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie popping up now and again. Imagine my excitement when I picked it up yesterday, and saw that the main article was about writer Jackie Kay's Abuja hotel reunion with her Nigerian father. My excitement was shortlived. As I read through the story, I cringed, and cowered. It was futile to hope that some thunder bolt would strike the paper before my eyes, to stop me reading it. I didn't want to continue reading it, but I had to. After all she was relaying a story about one of my kin, compatriot in nation and companion in spirit. Car crash reading.
Jackie, if you're reading this, I apologise. I'm not sure if I'm apologising for your father's Nigerianness or his Christianity. It seems you met with the very worst of both, and the combination is a very potent mix indeed. It's typically Nigerian to say, "You obviously have my genes. None of my children are dullards. Not one of them." And it is also overzealous self-regarding Christianity to make such a statement, "But if people were to know about you, they would lose their faith in God." What a load of claptrap. Jonathan has a high opinion of himself and the effect of his actions, thinking he's the arbiter of people's faith. I hope your experience hasn't put you off Nigeria forever. It is a (insert jingoistic adjective) country, and there are some sane Nigerians, and some sane Christians living in the country and elsehwhere. Honest. I'll introduce them to you - when I meeet them.