I Am a Workaholic – Mudiaga

Could you introduce yourself to netizens?

I am Blessed Mudiaga Adjekpagbon, a multiple awards winning teacher, poet, playwright and novelist. I live in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. I have both BSc. and MSc. degrees in the field of Mass Communication. I also hold various diplomas and certificates in different fields such as Educational Psychology, TESOL Methodology, Marketing Management, Hotels Operation, Project Management, and Theology, to mention just a few.

What nationality are you?

l am a Nigerian.

What was growing up like?

Although l was actually born in the city of Lagos many years ago, my parents allowed my maternal grandmother to adopt me when l was barely two years old. She was living in my parents home-state known as Bendel in the days of yore, but at present partly known as Edo/Delta states. Since Nigeria has been practicing “statism” in terms of state of origin, l am now a Deltan.
Growing up with my maternal granny was full of fun and traditional experiences in a royal family background she came from, in Ughelli-North kingdom. I had my educational trainings from primary to secondary level in Ughelli – North before returning to Lagos many years later. By and large, both the traditional training in terms of cultural values and western educational norms l underwent, formed the bedrock of who l am today.

You’re a writer, a book publisher and a communicator. How have you been able to combine all these roles?

(Smiles) Some folks have asked me a similar question in the past. Anyways, the fact is that l am a workaholic. Those that are very close to me can attest to that. Inspiration to write can come to me at anytime, anywhere. l usually carry at least one or two pens with me and a jotter whenever l am going out. This is because, l sometimes come across people or see things that could trigger my writings. Sometimes, it could be inspirations or lessons l learnt from my nocturnal rest. I can just wake up from a revealing dream and start writing. As regards communication, my natural talent of writing influences my communication activities a lot. As a trained journalist, l rely on my writing skills a lot to deliver my messages very simple and clearly to my target audience. Effective communication is centered on good writing skills. Therefore, l don’t see it as a challenge in doing both together. The purpose of writing is to communicate as clearly as possible and disseminate your messages to the target audience. There are different channels and tools for disseminating information such as publishing books, tabloids, newspapers, magazine on one hand, and through electronic media such as the internet, radio and television on the other. I have been communicating to heterogenous audiences over the years through print and electronic media. I am able to do the trio (writing, communicating and publishing) simultaneously because they work hand in hand. However, it takes a lot of energy and mental strength to keep practicing them successfully. I also create time to relax despite my very busy schedules. I even also do part time teaching. I teach both public and private secondary and tertiary students to refresh my brain and impact knowledge on younger minds. Everything boils down to the passion l have for contributing to global development with my writing and teaching skills.

What do you write about?

l write about everything under the sun. Is it love, politics, religion, crimes, history, mysticism, gender issues, racism, environment, education? Just name it. All the aforementioned could be found in my various published poems, plays and novels. Hence, some folks say l am a versatile writer, and l know l am, with over ten books published to my credit. I still have volumes of poetry and some prose works that are yet to be published.

Some of your writings are critical of the society you live in. Are you not satisfied with your society?

l am not satisfied at all. We have been waking from one nightmare to another in Nigeria since my childhood era till date. My first ever published book is a poetry collection in 2001. It is full of my anger against the Nigerian leadership system and religious bigots that have been making many of the best brains in the country run abroad to live a better life. Nigeria is a place where a lot of good dreams of the youth are killed in their buds. After reading my maiden poetry book titled “Dynamic Verses,” one of Nigeria’s outstanding literary scholars in the person of Prof. Niyi Osundare said some years ago that he loves the poetry book because it contains anger from the beginning to the end. He also added that he likes when younger writers express their anger against the ills going on in any society. Another of my poetry book that is highly critical of Nigeria and the global community issues, is titled “Nightmares in Paradise.” However, being very critical make some ignorant folks see you as a trouble maker even when you are fighting for their rights too with your writings. Many readers have said that what makes my works interesting are the humorous embellishments l usually use to spice it up. I don’t just write only to criticize. I also write to entertain, inform and educate my readers. A classical example of one of my critical but highly humorous, entertaining, educative and informative books is a novel titled. “Domestic Daddy.”

Don’t you think Nigeria could do with your services?

(Ha ha ha) l am laughing because the majority of those in government consider no nonsense critics like me as their enemies. Nigeria can certainly benefit greatly from my services, but it has not. For instance, in 2017, l published a poetry anthology to support and promote the anti – corruption policy of the current administration of Buhari/Osinbajo, but the book was not adopted by the federal government to enlighten students, civil servants and the general public about different types of corrupt practices going on, and the ways to curb it. The anthology is titled “War On Corruption and Other Poems.” People erroneously think that only under dealings with money is corruption. There are many other damaging types of corruption that do not involve handling of money. They are elaborately well showcased in the book by different poets.
Nonetheless, only Vice President Yemi Osinbajo acknowledged receipt of the two copies of “War On Corruption and Other Poems,” l sent to him whilst he was Acting President in April 2017. l had earlier sent four copies of the same book to President Buhari and his wife on January 16/17, 2017. But l have not received any acknowledgement of their receipt of the book till this hour. What does that tell you about the nonchalant attitude of Nigeria’s so-called leaders towards honest and reliable solvers of societal problems? Even despite its receipt and acknowledgment by the Vice President, what positive result have come out of it?

What is business like from the angle of a publisher?

Publishing in Nigeria ain’t an easy business at all. If you are not a brave and patient investor that is ready to tie your capital down for a long time in books production, do not venture into it. It is a highly capital intensive business with a long time of getting positive returns. The majority of Nigerians don’t read for leisure since things have been falling apart in the country for over thirty years. Even when your books are recommended for students to use in schools, from primary to tertiary level, you have an enormous problem to contend with in terms of piracy. When “War On Corruption & Other Poems” was recommended for JSS -3 Junior WAEC students in Lagos State between 2019 and 2020, that was when l discovered that even some public school teachers connive with pirates to print substandard books to sell to students at cheaper prices. You can’t even read some pages in the pirated copies because the text is not visible. A lot of the pages are usually full of mechanical noise due to bad handling of the printing machine used to print them and the very low quality of the paper grammage used. I have a lot of printed books worth over ten million naira yet to be sold due to poor reading culture among Nigerians. Another challenge is that, some bookshops sell and embezzle your money. A very good case in point is the University of Lagos Bookshop that l supplied various titles of my books between 2014 and 2016. The management sold all the books within three months, but embezzled the money till date. I was anonymously informed that the bookshop is owing many publishers about N70 million (naira) as at 2017. Due to the nonpayment for my sold books, l stopped supplying Unilag Bookshop since then. At a time, the bookshop manager begged me to supply my newly published book concerning two courses in Mass Communication titled “Literary Communication ln Mass Communication – (Critical Writing / Reviewing & Drama / Documentary Production). I insisted that my outstanding money for previous supplies should be paid before l can release any quantity again. As l speak, l have not received a dime till now. So, you can see how frustrating the business of book publishing is in Nigeria. I also sell online at www.gumroad.com/bulkybonbooks platform, but sales have been zero since the outbreak of Covid-19 that caused the closure of schools worldwide especially in Europe and America where a lot of folks usually buy digital books.

Let’s imagine you become the President of Nigeria, what are the first three things you’ll do?

(Ha ha ha). Interesting. First of all, l will get all the crooks that have been holding the country hostage for over forty years arrested and made to return all the money they stole from both public and private coffers. The second is to revamp the dead oil refineries to make sure Nigerians buy fuel and other byproducts of crude oil at very cheap prices as part of their benefits for being the citizens of an oil producing country. The third is, l will reorganize the armed forces to its former status as a highly disciplined profession with modern equipment for the defense of the territorial boundaries of Nigeria in the tripod of air, land and sea.

Do you have any advice for politicians?

Politicians should stop corrupting the military. The pitiable level of Nigeria’s security situation over the past ten years till date can be traced to the handiwork of some extremely religiously inclined and hypocritically ethnic oriented politicians. If Nigeria should blow up into another civil war today, nearly all the politicians will not enjoy the freedom they are enjoying in Nigeria when they run abroad for safety. Only a fool sets his own house on fire and flea to another man’s house for refuge.

What about the youths?

l am so sorry for today’s youth in Nigeria. They are seriously frustrated due to the bad examples being set for them by the so-called leaders still embezzling public funds even at the point of falling into their graves. The youth should stop acting as thugs and bandits for politicians. They should engage in showcasing their talents in bringing honour to themselves rather than wasting their precious life in singing the praises of some devils in saintly garments known as politicians. They should also abstain from belonging to evil cults that promotes violence in any community. Violence has no reward but full of pains, sorrows and regrets.

Tell us your happiest day, so far.

I have a lot of days l can categorize as my happiest days. However, one of such days was the day l got some copies of my first published book (Dynamic Verses) from the publisher that published it. I had searched worldwide for five years looking for sponsors to get the book published, until my maternal uncle (now late) assisted me with funds to get it published. It marked the beginning of my higher desire to write and publish more books for global readers.

What about your most embarrassing moment?

Hmmmmm. There are various embarrassing situations l have faced but the most embarrassing one was during my undergraduate days at the Mass Communication Department, University of Lagos, Nigeria. One of my female course-mates physically attacked me in broad day light in the lecture hall while l was standing near the lecturers’ podium with two other of my male course-mates whom l was discussing with. Everyone present was surprised at the unwarranted and unexpected attack by her. My athletic fitness was what helped me not to fall dangerously on some desks that could have injured me. I staggered about seven times in my attempt to gain balance as l went crashing into more than thirty individual empty seats, until l regained my feet without falling down. The young lady that committed that assault was asked what l did wrong to her that prompted her action. She said she had been making sexual advances at me several times but l neither noticed her nor showed interest. In fact, l was horribly shocked. Many of my course-mates laughed volcanically but l was seriously angry because l did not know that all her previous unnecessary cat walking to and fro the front row of seats l usually sat for lectures, was to pass a nonverbal message of “I want you in my bed” to me. Hmnmm.

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