Published: 2017 by Paperworth Books Limited in collaboration with Beeta Universal Arts Foundation.
Purchase on Instagram from @paperworthbooks or follow this link to their website Paperworthbooks-Our Son The Minister
Publisher’s Blurb: You see, back there in my room, I was doing some deep thinking. I asked myself ‘Makoji, how best can you serve your people without destroying what you stand for?’ I thought and thought and then the answer came, in a flash, and that is what I am about to share to you, I have decided to turn down the ministerial appointment.
It is a few hours to the swearing in of ministerial nominees and everyone thinks Dr. Makoji Ejembi has lost his mind, as they search for an urgent cure for him.
The Author: Paul Ugbede has a BA in Mass Communication from the University of Jos, Nigeria and is currently the Director, International Centre for Playwriting Development in Africa (ICPDA). He is the author of several published and performed plays to include Dropping Palms, Raping the Land, Trading Places, Two Characters Undefined and Dialing Love. His articles and short stories have appeared on Waza online, Muwado and Jalada online and his play ‘Fire in the Night and other stories’ was included in the 2014 Writivism Anthology edited by Sumayya Lee. Paul Ugbede is the winner of the inaugural Beeta Playwright Competition in 2016. He lives in Lagos.
My Thoughts: With 149 pages, this book is a quick but engaging, entertaining and downright honest satire addressing the current mindset of the Nigerian society. I had watched the play last year and wanted to read the book/play to have a different experience with the story and never got to do it up until now. The story centers around Makoji’s nomination as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his sudden change of heart to take up the appointment. Makoji’s family and friends do not understand why he would even dream of ever turning down such a huge opportunity and are all convinced that he has lost his mind or as his mother puts it, ‘her enemies are at work’.They all set out to find the fastest means to cure Makoji of this sudden madness and ensure that he becomes a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or all their dreams and aspirations will come crashing down and they will be the laughing stock of their community. One of my favorite parts of the play would be….
“Makoji: Stop! [Everyone freezes, Makoji steps out of the situation and walks gently towards the audience] this is who we are! Perverse children of a perverse generation! Each of us! We have become lost to the madness of our greed. With our hands, we have spewed dung upon our own faces! We bring our night quickly upon us! This is who we are! To be insane is sane and to be sane is insane! Not to steal is insanity while stealing of billions is the highest peak of celebrated sanity! To stand up for something is insanity! To stand up for nothing is sanity! Oh, contradiction of contradictions and irony of ironies!”
What I love most about this story was how real and believable it is especially if you are Nigerian although I was saddened by our reality in terms of what we stand for and the people we have become. I would have loved it to be a novel because I felt it was too short a read and the characters would have been more developed in a novel but all books can’t be novels, can they? Paul Ugbede has put together a great play and whether you read this book or watch the play (whenever it is on), you will surely be entertained either way. Get a copy and read!