Date: Thursday, 17 July, 2008
Venue: The Jazzhole, 168 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos
What a Country! goes beyond the narrative aesthetics of his prison memoir, Jailed for Life: A reporter’s Prison Notes, published in February 2003, to grapple with questions of justice, popular welfare, human rights and good governance. It is eloquent and poignant. Its vision is broad, both powerfully anchored in local knowledge and robustly cosmopolitan. Its passion for the betterment of Nigeria – indeed, what a country! – is evident and infectious. Kunle Ajibade, never lets go the respect for human value, the shared space that the creativity of writers, human rights activists and pro-democracy workers – especially the leading lights, avatars and exemplars of the cause – have defended across the world at great risks to their own lives.
Kunle Ajibade attended the University of Ife , where he earned a B.A. in English and an M.A in Literature-in-English. Before he became a co-founder/publisher of The News and P.M. News, he had worked in Grant advertising as a copy writer, in Chief Abiola’s African Concord as a senior correspondent and in African Guardian as an assistant editor. In 1995 he was jailed for life because of a story published in The News magazine and was only released in 1998 when his jailer, General Sani Abacha, died. Ajibade won the 1998/1999 Feuchtwanger Fellowship to write his prison memoir, Jailed for Life: A Reporter’s Prison Notes, which was published in February 2003 by Heinemann Educational Books. The book won the first Victor Nwankwo Book of the Year Award instituted by the Nigerian Book Fair Trust.