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Title:                 Beyond Expectations

Author:             Reward Akwu

Publisher:          Ollybell Printing Resources, Port Harcourt

Pages:             136

Reviewer:         Boye Salau

 

Whatever instigated Reward Akwu to engage in literary prose writing cannot, with the extreme form of clarity, be dismissed as inconsequential. Like every other journalists, Akwu is one man whose profession and the hurricane of economic survival in Nigeria would hardly permit to venture into a literary expedition.

What then is the driving force? Could it be his personal childhood experience, or the chequered experience of someone dear to him? Certainly, it could not have been his own memorabilia. The author of Beyond Expectation is still one of millions of Nigerians yearning for better life. Otherwise, he would not have remained in the hollow of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation as a Chief Correspondent till now.

Whatever the reasons are, one is not in doubt that the various chequered experiences of life’s discomfiting paradoxes are the afflatus that make the zephr of history a reality.

In a country where many people are not sure of the next meal, Beyond Expectations clearly captures the reality of hailing from poor background.

The book is somewhat nostalgic about the fate of an average Nigerian man in the village and relieves the heart of the common man with the age long cliché: when there is life, there is hope.

The theme of the book can be located in the fortune of many people who rose from the creek and bottomless pit of life to stardom. The Abiolas, Jonathans, Amaechis fall in this category.

Written in simple narrative form with sublime simplicity, devoid of nebulous words and oratorical fancy, the 136 page novel thematises the pains and hopelessness of a brilliant secondary school boy whose intoxicating puissance and gluttonous appetite for sexual love with his classmate and child of an unforgiving gladiator with huge lubris, became his albatross. It is equivalent of the story of Adam who was sent out of the Garden of Eden for his inability to resist the apple in Eve.

How Chinedu came out of his quandary is what readers of Beyond Expectations should find out themselves.

As expected of a book that has its anthropology in local setting, communal love, family and filial affection are persuasive in this literary enterprise. The author proves that in a society where family bond is in short supply and where the only thing the rich harbours for the poor is hatred, the milk of kindness still flows in some peoples’ vein.

At the same time, the book inveighs the age – long conundrum of ersatz social class and unintentionally illustrates the yawning hiatus that exists between the Teflon rulers and the hoipolloi.

Akwu’s good understanding of the village life and his ability to capture the life and time of the ordinary people in graphic details further enriches the delivery of the book. Though sometimes too elaborate in details, the author succeeds in sending his message to the readers by employing simple diction and local parlance where necessary.

Unlike many books that are often built on hyperbole and far-fetched imagery, Beyond Expectations is convincingly obsessed with imageries that are deeply affecting and the realities of life that are both alluring and perplexing. By my assessment, the book is a fascinating nugget that addresses itself to all classes, age and gender.

Very well as the author tries to make the book flow from page to page, the book could not resist the temptation of unnecessary details, repetition and avoidable typographical errors.

Again, the book is most deficient, or better still not sufficient in suspense. A better application of literary suspense with regards to what befall Chinedu at last would have made the book more intriguing and interesting.

These few ‘slips of the pen’ can, however, be excused being Reward’s first literary expedition in the world of literature.

Without obsessive sense of sheer criticism, Beyond Expectations lives up to its name. It is sufficient for what it is meant to achieve, namely to fortify the forlorn hope, to encourage the poor not to be deterred by their poor background, while at the same time reminding the rich that no condition is permanent in life.

And until one reads the book from page to page, and from chapter to chapter, one may not be able to appreciate well the intrigue and metaphor of this heart-throbbing reality woven as fiction.

 

Boye Salau

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Dean Tasks New Law Students Exco On Service

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The Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Rivers State University, Prof. Ovunda Vincent Okene, has urged the new executive members of the Law Students Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN), RSU Chapter, to live up to expectation and give academic and social welfare of members top priority, as well as discharge their duties with a sense of responsibility, to justify their choice.
Okene, who gave the charge during the inauguration ceremony of the new executive at the university campus in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, said the faculty has existed for over 40 years, describing it as the pride of the university and even one of the best in West Africa, having the best learning facility, and challenged the new executive to add value to the faculty.
The university teacher also stressed the need for the law students to imbibe the spirit of cleanliness and dress code compliance, for which the faculty is known, contending that it is incumbent upon them to comport themselves on campus in such a way that portrays the Law profession as a noble profession.
In his response, the new President of the Law Students Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN), Rivers State University Chapter, Mr Ken-Saro Chukwu assured that the new executive would put the association first in all it does, saying, the new normal has begun.
While thanking God, the Dean, the Eleco and the members for the opportunity to serve and for ensuring a hitch-free election, Chukwu said the members of the association should “expect value and utility in everything we do”.
Other members of the executive include Victoria Isikinma, Vice President; Juliet Francis, Financial Secretary; Nimi Amachree, Secretary General; Kendrick Iyalla, Director of Socials; and Princess Amadi, Auditor General.
Others are Treasure Sam-George, Treasurer; Eze Chinedu, Public Relations Officer; Nsinem Bob Essiet, Assistant Secretary General; and Henry Howells, Provost.
The occasion was also graced by the Associate Dean, Faculty of Law/Head of Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, Prof. C.C. Wigwe, Head of Department, Business Law, Dr. Nwuzi, Head of Department, Private and Property Law, Dr. Felix Amadi, and Prof. S.I. Orji, among other dignitaries.

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Don’t Say Something You Regret Out Of Anger

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There once was a little boy who had a very bad temper. His father decided to hand him a bag of nails and said that every time the boy lost his temper, he had to hammer a nail into the fence.
On the first day, the boy hammered 37 nails into that fence.
The boy gradually began to control his temper over the next few weeks, and the number of nails he was hammering into the fence slowly decreased. He discovered it was easier to control his temper than to hammer those nails into the fence.
Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father the news and the father suggested that the boy should now pull out a nail every day he kept his temper under control.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.
‘You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.’”
Culledfrom thoughtcatalogue.com

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Celebrating Day Of The African Child

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On June 16th, 1976, thousands of black students from Soweto, South Africa, took to the streets to protest the disparity in the education system that preferred quality education for the whites over the black population in Africa. Today, millions of children in Africa do not receive proper education and the onus just doesn’t fall on the world leaders but on every privileged member of the society to acknowledge that they deserve quality education to eradicate poverty in the country.
In commemoration of the Day of the African Child  (DAC) 2021, the AUC Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security and Save the Children International, join Africans throughout the continent in celebrating this special day.
 This presents a unique opportunity to reflect on the advances made towards realizing children rights as well as remaining challenges.
Today, under the theme: “30 years after the adoption of the Charter: Accelerate implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”, we recommit to scale up the promotion of the rights and welfare of children of Africa.
Despite important strides made by AU Member States in realizing children rights, grave violations continue to be committed against children in conflict settings. A study conducted by Save the Children in 2020 revealed that the number of children living in conflict zones is highest in Africa.
Among the six major violations committed against children is the attack on education, which continue to have devastating impact on students and teachers, with particularly debilitating long-term consequences for girls and women. In addition, female students and educators suffer horrific acts of violence within their schools and universities.
To remedy attacks on education, the Safe Schools Declaration is a key policy tool towards ensuring safe education for All. The COVID-19 pandemic and the consistent attacks on schools have had terrible impact on children across Africa, but it’s been worse for girls whose risk for gender-based violence or child marriage has been exacerbated. Hence, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure access to education and all children continue to learn while schools are closed through inclusive distance learning, that every child is supported to return to school when it’s safe to do so, and no child is left behind.
Governments and partners should also invest more in education to build back better education systems for all children.
The AUC Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security will continue to offer commendable support for the safe school’s agenda as evidenced by AU Organs’ commitment to implement the Safe Schools Guidelines.
In addition, the AUC PAPS Department will soon launch the Africa Platform for Children Affected by Armed Conflict (AP-CAAC) to drive action within at all levels.
The advocacy efforts made towards the implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration and Guidelines at the national level has created the momentum. The upcoming Fourth International Conference on Safe Schools to be held in Abuja on October 25-27, 2021, with the AU as a co-host with Norway, Argentina, Spain, and Global Coalition for Protection of Education from Attack, is another opportunity to concretize action in support of safeguarding the future of African Children.
International Day of the African Child was set aside to raise awareness of the importance of education for children in Africa. The day not only honours the participants of the Soweto Uprising in 1976 but also raises awareness of the imperative need for improvement of the education of African children. International Day of the African Child is celebrated on the 16th of June every year to highlight the economic strifes suffered by these children and the adverse effects it has on their right to good education in the country.

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