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Lords Of The Creeks: Book Review (Sponsored)

Lords Of The Creeks

Author: Tony Nwaka
Reviewer: Julius Oweh

Themes

The themes of the novel are many and varied but the outstanding one is that of oil exploration in the bowels of the Niger Delta region. As the title suggests, there are many lords involved in the exploration of the black gold. The multinational oil companies are the lords of the creeks and so are those Nigerian workers who are not from the areas that produce the crude oil. The main protagonist Robert Akinyemi Edward, a Yoruba by tribe, the regional manager of Adilax Petroleum Company is one of the lords as the people of Delta State see him as oppressor when their qualified sons and daughters are not so employed. The politicians are lords of the creek as they use their influence to control the activities of the oil companies and corner royalty there from. The traditional rulers of the areas are also lords and so are the kidnappers that make huge sum of money from kidnapping the oil workers especially those of European descent. Even the military are not spared as they are lords of the creeks as one of their own was arrested for being behind the kidnapping ring. The police are also under suspicion as lord of the creeks as they supply vital information to kidnappers in the Niger Delta region. There is theme of distrust among the communities as one traditional ruler tries to outsmart the others. The theme of neglect is very pervading in the novel as the oil workers live in opulence whereas the owners of the land swim in abject penury and neglect. There is a sub theme of the cosy relationship between the oil companies' executives and the government at the state and national levels.

Storyline

The storyline is Eye of God narrative technique as the writer tells the story and develops the characters. Even though the novel is fiction, the names of the three tribes in the Warri oil triangle: the Itsekiris, the Ijaws and the Urhobos are mentioned. Also mentioned are their traditional rulers and the exact locale in Delta State. The major towns in the state, Asaba, Warri, Ughelli, Orerokpe are mentioned in the novel and one begins to wonder if Tony Nwaka is writing a non-fiction. It is story of Robert, the regional manger of an oil firm and how he was enmeshed in kidnapping saga that led to the abduction of a princess, an American and he eventually traveling to the creeks to meet one of the kingpins. It was also in the process of meeting his boss from America in Port Harcourt that he became a victim of assassination attempt by the kidnappers who believed that his activities in settling the crisis was hindering their own business. He survived the attack and the complimentary card of a naval officer led to the arrest of Larry, an intelligence naval officer and smashed the kidnapping ring. That eventually gave him a national award from the president and implicated a billionaire business man and a top ranking naval officer. It is a moving story that strikes the very heart of the oil establishment, the political class and business elites.

Even though it is a fictional novel, one sees flashes of historical events in the novel and these may pierce the raw nerves of those in the Warri axis. Perhaps, the historian in Nwaka (PhD History) could not be bottled and once in a while takes over the role of the novelist. The characters in the novel are not well developed but this deficiency is made up with the detailed conversations among the leading characters. From their utterances, one could draw a character sketch of the major key players in the novel.

Style

There are lots of indigenous proverbs in the novel affirming that the novelist is very much at home with his roots. Examples : A cricket with one leg begins burrowing a head of time, no person walks around carrying the ground on his head, thieves do not go looking for corpses, no man throws punches at an oak tree, the hare does not stumble over stumps. This is a rehash of oral African literature and is very vital for our youths to learn one or two things about their culture.

Since the novel is set in Warri, the epic centre of Pidgin English, most of the lesser educated characters speak the Pidgin English and gives social reality to the novel. However, the author is highly engrossed in the use of American spellings and this may confuse some young readers. Since Nigerians speak British English, it would be better and proper if that variety of spellings is used in the novel.

Format

The 192-page novel is well packaged as the cover page illustrates a giant bestriding the sea with oil rig in background. It explains in graphic nature the crude oil business and the rig through which the crude oil is explored. The sea is where the crude oil business is carried out. It could also bring to mind the role of unpatriotic oil magnet stealing the crude oil. It is a glossy cover and the back cover gives a little background of the novel and that of the author. The prints are fine and reader friendly.

Relevance

It is a novel worth reading and that recommends itself to those who want to know more about the intricate web of oil prospecting business in the Niger Delta region and the attendant consequences. The language may be too elegant for secondary students but it would surely go a long way in the literature departments of Colleges of Education and the universities. In an era where most youths are involved in Facebook conversation and virtual world of the internet, "Lords of the Creek" is an answer to the dwindling reading culture in the land.

Where to buy
Amazon (Kindle, Paperback, Hardback)
Barnes & Noble 
Alibris
Authorhouse
Goodreads
and other major online bookstores (It will also be available at Sunshine Bookseller and other major Nigerian Bookshops soonest)
 

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