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The life and times of Saro-Wiwa as chronicled in this play serve as a metaphor for all minority struggles against the backdrop of oppression and genocide, anywhere and anytime, and I want to believe that even if the Niger Delta crisis is over today, this play cannot cease to be relevant or become dated because the emotion encapsulated therein is universal, timeless and borderless. Is there any particular message you wish to send out with this play? The heart of darkness that is inherent in man despite our highfalutin level of civilization is quite alarming.

I expect a lot from this play; I think a lot of people do. I certainly think the whole of the Ogoni people would expect a lot from this play, seeing as Ken Saro-Wiwa was their hero and martyr. Have you, in your own opinion, done this man and this subject justice? Moreover, for a lot of people this might be the only glimpse of the man, back to life, as it were.

The series uses the following tropes:

How close to truth is this work? How much is fact, and how much fiction? OGEZI: In my brief introduction to the play, I did forewarn the reader not to expect a strict constructionist approach to the subject which would have been stale, stilted and jejune. Facts in real life when not skillfully handled in art can be stranger than fiction, and vice versa. Be that as it may, I want to assure my reader or viewer that this play is very close to truth based on my painstaking research, and to prove this, over ninety percent of the characters are real life characters with their real names and most of them are still alive and kicking.

I had only utilized the dramatic licence to abridge time and space; to put my words into their mouths in line with their psychological make-up as exhumed by my research. I feel confident to say that the play is over ninety-five percent fact and the other five percent mere literary embellishments on fact to make up for any missing gaps. Merging fact and fiction, how difficult or easy was this for you? OGEZI: It was easy for me because of my free, self-confident spirit as a playwright and also coupled with the fact that I pride myself with knowing the nitty-gritty of the theatre.

I was not under the bondage of ensuring that every episode was historically correct as many uninitiated playwrights are wont to be. One of the things I find endearing about drama is the immediacy of the medium and how it brokers no romanticising. Still, it is easy to glamorize a character beyond reality. If I say yes, I convict myself and the same thing goes if my answer is in the negative. It is an unpalatable choice between the devil and the deep blue sea! Suffice it to say here that any objective reader who has gone through the gamut of historical materials on the Saro-Wiwa saga like I have done cannot help but feel deeply for the man and the other eight Ogonis who were judicially murdered.

Admitted that the killing of the four Ogoni chiefs by the mob was unwarranted, unholy, ghoulish and unjustified, but to then kill nine people in their place before it was properly proved beyond reasonable doubt that they aided and abetted the killings was ear-wrenching.

Under a Darkling Sky by Isaac Attah Ogezi

The rest is left for the critics to do their work. And the other eight who were hanged along with Ken Saro-Wiwa, is there room for their veneration in Under a Darkling Sky? They only feature somewhat prominently during the trial scene. Even in the historical materials and sources I was privileged to study, they were unknown until their execution along with Ken Saro-Wiwa shot them into limelight. I leave that judgment for my readers and critics to determine whether I have venerated them in this play or not.

I would have imagined that you would have courted a closer association with the historical subject of this work in your title, for instance, or by the use of a sub-title. Was this something you considered and then decided not to pursue?


I abhor with every ounce of passion in me any air of condescension and patronage from any author of a work of art to his reader. In as much as I hold my reader in very high regard as an intelligent being, I also feel that titles that court a closer association with the historical figure-character or subject of the work like the use of sub-title would only belittle the artistry of the work. Writing about Sir Thomas More in , Robert Bolt did not need to use an associative title but simply A Man for All Seasons, and it is still a timeless dramatic piece till date.

Can you imagine Ken Saro-Wiwa in the year , what do you think would have been different in Niger Delta and Nigeria? His fight for his Ogoni people was the microcosm for all the minorities in the contraption called Nigeria and beyond. What skills are the most useful in that kind of scenario, and what skills do you have that you could use in an emergency?

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Tim Shull, the amateur synthetic biologist who discovered dual expression in the novel, is shocked and angered by the way his discovery is used to create the H7 virus. Do you think the government should regulate something like that, and if so, how? Tom and his security team have to extract the virus from infected primates in order to create the vaccine, and the only infected primates are humans—and one infected human spine and brain can create eight vaccines.

Is the sacrifice of countless infected human lives is worth the outcome? What are some ways the general public can combat this? Are there any circumstances where you, or someone you know has demonstrated that kind of courage? Mr Ogezi did. And he wrote a mouth-watering review of the book. I read the review before the book. I smiled.

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I love reviews; they either save me or kill me. Some reviews push me to buy the books against the plea of my pocket. Mr Maidawa is not a boring person. I sat with him once in his Abuja office on one informal afternoon and we discussed writing. I am sure Mr Maiwada did not lead Mr Ogezi into boredom, for in the review there was so much to look forward to in the novel, Musdoki. I could be the opposite. If I hate a book I spend my life cursing the author, invoking the gods to distract the mind which had distracted me from doing something more useful than reading the particular book.

I received the packed book and tore it open like a hungry man who needed to be fed. I read of the author and about his career as a lawyer and writer.

My Booknotes on John Ringo

Mr Ogezi wrote the said play on Ken Saro-Wiwa; his death and others. He pictured the few last moments before the death and the actual death of the environmentalist. No one had really done such on Mr Wiwa.

I spent my time and read the work carefully. While reading the book a lot of questions arose.