The proverbially universal truth remains that it takes one brave act for alligator to cut itself open one day for a targeted daring task.Allergic to the pains of a fruitless journey I must reveal quite early like the persona in Wole Soyinka”s ‘Telephone Conversation’ that I am ‘Chimamandaic’ today. Chimamandaic, I would like to tell you what Adichie heartlessly did to Timiebi, how she dismantled her (Timiebi’s) dignity without a twinge of conscience and became a violator of the question of the danger of a single story. From Adichie the world was alerted to the danger of a single story and from the same Adichie the world has suffered a desecration of the respectable principle of storytelling in which all the diverse sides of the story are ideally recognised.
There is a presumption! This presumption journeys around Adichie. For years I had lived with this presumption. Whether or not I should send this presumption on retirement now that the object around which the presumption is built is no more though the driver of this presumption is alive, I do not know exactly because my mouth now appears to have been infected with a ‘giant’ boil like King Robert Ebizimor.A justifiable presumption it is or not, let the readers critically tell the story after the presentation of the two sides of it as a cautionary guide from the danger of a single story from Adichie.
For years I had presumed Adichie knew who Timiebi was and who Timiebi should be. Adichie knew Timiebi as a hardworking fisherwoman and never bothered about the other components of her. Supposedly, her fishing career and ‘fish-philanthropy’ rang bell in Adichie’s head. In the thinking of Adichie,Timiebi does not merit creative ennoblement from any corner of the world as a fisherwoman.Perhaps it is held by Adichie that whatever Timiebi deserves could be granted her by her fellow fisherwomen in solidarity. Only fellow fisherwomen know how to celebrate their own.How to ennoble and celebrate Timiebi is not supposed to be the business of Adichie!
That Adichie is silent on Timiebi’s death is possibly derived from the conviction that she is merely a struggling fisherwoman – which is a clear demonstration of Adichie’s guilt on the question of a single story and this is her own thesis that has travelled round the world as a worthy thought transforming and changing hitherto held perceptions in storytelling.
Timiebi is the daughter of Ferebo Ezetu and Brafinine Ofiriki of Burutu and Warri South-West Councils of Delta State.She is a remarkable storyteller whose career of storytelling influenced and positively changed lives. Her numerous stories told people are still being told by people in inheritance up till now. In the unpublished chronicles of the people Timiebi is a great storyteller.Now this great storyteller is dead, awaiting final burial rites fixed for 25 November 2022 at Oyangbene in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
It is a known tradition that when a great storyteller dies, quotable literary celebrations in forms of poems, short stories, elegies, essays and tributes flow naturally from fellow storytellers. The storyteller first feels dignified by the celebratory literary ennoblements from fellow storytellers as a mark of literary comradeship and solidarity before any other ancillary ennobling encroachments from those outside the storytelling business. The first ennobling literary celebratory dance should ideally be that of fellow storytellers in the spirit of literary espri de corps.
This woman calledTimiebi actually died in 2020 though her final burial has been fixed for 25 November 2022. From 2020 till now Adichie has not dignified Timiebi with a corresponding literary ennoblement as a fellow storyteller. Literary ennoblements dwelling on the storytelling capacity of Timiebi, the morals in her stories, how the stories have changed the moral perceptions of this generation, how her stories have shaped youths and created a shift in moral decadence and how the stories have influenced the growth of writers in the society ought to have been the emanations from Adichie and her peers. She would not do any of these because her perception of Timiebi is that of only a village fisherwoman and nothing else who should be content with her death as a fisherwoman without being noised everywhere as when a great storyteller dies.A questionable thought it is from great Adichie!
Adichie is yet to say anything about the retirement of Timiebi from this earth because she is only content with her perception of Timiebi as a ‘struggling’ village fisherwoman.That is the danger of a single story coming straight from the apostle/activist of the danger of a single story.Adichie has become one of the casualties of her own question of the danger of a single story though she has always admitted that she too is guilty of it, yet this guilt is more ‘performative’ and ‘fuss-carrying’ because Timiebi is first a fisherwoman and secondly, a storyteller.By this infraction from Adichie, Timiebi’s dignity as a storyteller has suffered indignities from Adichie’s categorisation of her as a struggling village fisherwoman deprived of deserving literary ennoblements at death.Adichie should have considered the other side of Timiebi’s story which maintains that she is also a great storyteller beside being a struggling village fisherwoman.Why have you ignored the storytelling side of Timiebi’s story, dear Adichie?
Now that it has quite been confirmed that Timiebi is a remarkable storyteller like Adichie, from Adichie let the delayed literary ennoblements for Timiebi pour, carrying in anedoctal dishes the echoes of Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah.Timiebi deserves immortal ennobling lines from Adichie and these lines will have to come before 25 November 2022.
Definitely, Timiebi must be lullabied to the ultimate sleep by Adichie’s immortal lines. And not until ennobling immortal lines flow like a river from Adichie upon the soul of Timiebi, Adichie remains guilty of the danger of a single story. However, Adichie remains discharged and acquitted in this court of intellectual opinion the moment the ennobling immortal lines flow strikingly upon the soul of Timiebi Maika Ekanpou from the great Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Now condemned and confined in the world of Adichie, Timiebi’s undeniable stereotype becomes perpetually that of a fisherwoman cut off from one of her celebrated worlds and silhouetted against her storytelling background.
Even with the knowledge of the pendency of Adichie’s discharge and acquittal, subject to doing the needful in the intellectual court of opinion, I ‘must quickly add’ too like you that it appears, except for Fide’s story and a few others, it is about Timiebi you were futurologically struck when you admittedly said: ‘But I must add quickly that I too am just as guilty in the question of the single story’.
I do know that in this expressive pathology displayed here where your own words are commandeered and ‘panel-beaten’ into bizarre shapes and the bizarre words further forced to maintain their bizarre companies to accommodate and suit my purpose of communicating to you your deviant fluid two-legged dance on the question of the danger of a single story could label me as a bizarre case of a disguised but pardonable plagiarism – though an expressive pathology weighted to reawaken you to see how disastrous you have ‘broken the dignity’ of Timiebi’s story supposed to be heard from different sides.
It is a classic case of the iguana in Akparemobou Forest predatorily consuming its own eggs from which its own children will be hatched into the unpredictable world of habitation.Some serious ‘Chimamandaic’ thoughts should be shed here to arrest this backward stirring on the question of the danger of a single story.
The timokoko bird (dove) is known to noise wildly and dance characteristically backward when a catastrophic flood gradually invades its territory.It is not for nothing that the dove does this frantically and wildly, sending the resultant reverberations to every part of the forest where the threatening ferocity of the flood is felt. If all these breathless accusations frantically deposited at the doorstep of Adichie turn out to be a storm in a tea cup, much ado about nothing, a futile anaerobic intellectual exercise, Adichie must know that some of her numerous believers and fans occasionally walk on the irrational and importunate lane out of undiluted jealousy and undying love when her valued immortal lines go awol or hibernate on the death of a person – especially when the dead person is a remarkable storyteller called Timiebi Maika Ekanpou whose final burial rite is on 25 November 2022.Dear
Adichie, when you are through with your reading of this piece that delivers guilty-verdict on you, you may be tempted to Google the works of Timiebi and be updated through careful reading.Please don’t!Timiebi is the contextual equivalent of the philosopher called Pythagoras whose thinking reveals that ‘In the beginning God geometrised’ – that Pythagoras the great ancient philosopher who was not only among the first ‘to formulate the science of numbers in a systematic way’, but also had a very special interest in the Decad(formed by the first ten natural numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10) and the Tetrad(the first four numbers of the Decad 1,2,3,4).In the philosophical thoughts of Pythagoras, number is the governing operational principle of creation deployed by God in His order of creation.This great Pythagoras left no writings for the world at the time of his transition but the echoes of his erudition,learnedness, his admirable intellectual thrusts and achievemements were brought to the fore by his disciples.Like Pythagoras the great philosopher, Timiebi the great storyteller did not leave any writings to this generation to read and cherish;only Timiebi’s students, proteges, believers, tell the story of her numerous morally edifying stories.
Finally, after all the presumptions, declamations, philosophical musings, the expressive pathology, the fuss, the hullaballoo and the unconfirmed verbal crucifixion of Adichie turn out to be a lie when she writes back that Adichie does not know that Timiebi had once lived on this earth and died as a fisherwoman and a great storyteller, her discharge and acquittal in the intellectual court of opinion becomes automatic. Punitively, the writer here becomes the substitution for Adichie in the violation of the question of the danger of a single story. Meanwhile we must wait for Adichie’s response and know exactly where the pendulum swings in the correctional castigation of who has actually erred, even if fractionally, between Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ekanpou Enewaridideke.
By EKANPOU ENEWARIDIDEKE
Writes from Akparemogbene, Delta State