In May 2019, a final year trainee of English and Literary Researches, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Chukwuemeka Akachi, died after consuming 2 bottles of insecticide.
Mr Akachi, before the occurrence, had actually embraced a poem written by a Ghanaian poet, Jo Nketiah, and put it on his Facebook page as his suicide note.
” Forgive me. “I have actually selected Jo Nketiah’s poem as my suicide note: “They said you came looking for me.
PREMIUM TIMES’ regional editor, South-South, Cletus Ukpong, spoke with Ms Nketiah about Mr Akachi’s death and the suicide note.
PT: This is probably not the first time you are becoming aware of Mr Akachi’s suicide?
JO NKETIAH: No, this isn’t the first time of hearing the sad occurrence about Akachi. I heard the news the same day it was released online. I was on my way to work early in the morning when a pal sent me a snapshot of the occurrence and I remember shaking in the automobile and sensation ravaged not for the reality that my poem was seen as convenience or solace in death but the fact that a life was lost. I keep in mind leaving to among the rooms at work and weeping because I was broken by the news. And prior to the incident, I had really casual chats with him on my messenger. He never gave a tip of his battles with anxiety.
PT: How do you (or how did you) feel about the late student using your poem for his suicide note?
JO NKETIAH: I felt what I will call a mixture of emotions. I felt broken and afraid at the exact same time because at a point I knew that individuals might tag me in such a way that suggested doom or a dark author, and individuals had actually currently begun entering into my DM to interrogate me, without really understanding who I was or associating the specific poem as a death-inspiring poem where paradoxically that poem concerned me about two years ago before the occurrence as a triumph poem when I was going through some dismaying moments in my life.
And I do keep in mind when I initially posted it on Facebook, a great deal of people resonated with it in the very same method I did, so plainly it was a shock when it became another thing in the hands of a having a hard time individual. I had enormous support from individuals, some called and some left a message to let me know it was never ever my fault and after that, obviously, there were others who felt it was time to preach me how to utilize my present and skill, I keep in mind reading a long essay from one Nigerian author on Facebook whose bottom line message was something that mocked towards the fact that my poem was an inspiration or Akachi’s suicide.
But well, as an author, I started to know that people were starting to take me major and I saw that critique evaluation as a positive notice and not necessarily a threat.
PT: Can you tell us a bit more about this particular poem of yours, when you wrote it, what it’s everything about, and what motivated you to compose it?
JO NKETIAH: So I have actually been composing on Facebook for close to 11 years now, when I signed up in my teen, all I did was constant writing. That was when the poem came to me.
” they said
trying to find me
I didn’t drown
I was the water”
The poem basically speaks about having the faith that I could truly survive even prior to my “rescuers” gotten here and not that I could not do with their help however I just seemed like I can managing that season of my life. All I required to do was to have the exact same property of the difficulties I was dealing with, it was tough therefore I required to be hard, it was difficult therefore I needed to be hard, I didn’t wish to get drowned by the weight of the season, I wished to be the season. And for me, I felt that was the very best method I could ever do at that moment, yeah.
PT: How old are you? What would you say are the greatest obstacles youths are dealing with in West Africa, probably utilizing Ghana as a yardstick?
JO NKETIAH: I am 28 years of ages; in fact I am simply a beginner in the 28 phase (Chuckles). Hmmm, Challenges … That sounds quite broad a point of view if I am to speak about it in relation to West Africa as a whole and so I will focus my lens to Ghana, my country, because that is where I highly think I can state much out of experience. Among the difficulties I can discuss is unemployment concerns, problems about housing. It is crazy that a young adult needs to pay a lot of money to lease a decent apartment or condo especially in my city, Accra. And most of these homeowner prefer two years advance rent which is really difficult for a great deal of us still searching for our feet.
One other thing is that I think, and of course one can disagree, that there are couple of heroes to look up to and I believe the concern isn’t that there are few heroes but there are significantly few of them informing their stories. Because stories make us, they make us dream and hope and believe that if others have actually done it then there is the possibility of us doing it too.
PT: What’s your impression of Nigeria and Nigerians?
JO NKETIAH: I will say this and any other day, that regardless of some of the negative things people state about Nigerians you can not take away the reality that they are self-inspired human beings, go-getters, they are cheerleaders, Nigerians are really supportive, extremely supportive, very diverse in their imagination and coupled with a terrific sense of humour.
PT: Looking through your Facebook page, it appears you have a great number of Nigerians as your fan?
JO NKETIAH: I believe a great deal of them familiarized me through Akachi’s event and when they read about me, they learnt more about most of my works and they resonated with it. They are extremely helpful especially quite an excellent number of the followers I have. I coach a few authors in Nigeria and I am proud of them, most importantly relying on and thinking that I can and they thrive to be the very best too. They are open to find out.
PT: You have an extraordinary dedication to poetry in a century when generations of young people appear to be distancing themselves from poetry and other literary work?
JO NKETIAH: I see poetry as a way of life. It’s all about being responsive to your inner self, as soon as you do that all the rest will come to you, the literary devices you require to find out, the rhythms and rhymes when essential as long as it is a wanted style.
And I believe each of us has the ability to utilize it in any of the stated ways most notably offer ourselves the permission to humbly progress, explore, and most notably learn.