I was Inspired by the Qur’an- Ibraheem Dooba, Author Of Rhymes From Africa.

The Arts-Muse Fair Blog in collaboration with AMAB Books last weekend in Minna, Niger state hosted a book reading and signing of Dr. Ibraheem Dooba’s new book, Rhymes From Africa. Paul Liam, Poet, Essayist, Literary Columnist and Critic who attended the book chat writes about his impression of the event.

By Paul Liam

Minna is gradually reclaiming its former glory as the "Literary capital of Northern Nigeria”, all thanks to the innovative interventions of quality minds like Aminu S. Muhammad, who, with his Art-Muse-Fair News Blog, is bringing a new dynamism to the promotion of creative expressions and Nurdin Busari, whose publishing house and functional bookshop, AMAB Books Ltd, are taking the business of literary propagation to a new dimension in Minna and across the country. Working together, the duo is actively creating a vibrant corporate image for the enterprise of literature and arts administration in Niger state by re-invigorating the literary culture amongst the people. At the rate they are going, we may soon have a Book and Arts Festival in Minna.

Last weekend, on Saturday the 16th of December, 2017, the above mentioned Literary outfits in a joint effort, thrilled literary lovers in the city of Minna to an unforgettable evening of intellectual intercourse. The event was a guest author reading and book chat, staged to introduce to the public the newest book in town, Rhymes From Africa and its author Dr. Ibraheem Dooba, a communication expert, former Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Niger State and a Harvard Alumnus.

The event, which held at the AMAB Bookshop, No 1 Himma Schools road, Minna, witnessed a turn out that surprised even the organisers, who obviously did not anticipate the large turnout of bookworms at the occasion.

The programme was slated to start by 4pm, but could not commence on the exact time even as guests were already seated. The organisers had to wait a little for one of the biggest fishes in the Minna literary river, Mallam Abdullahi Ismaila, the moderator of the book discussion. Ismaila is a lecturer with the Department of English and Literary Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He arrived from Zaria few minutes after the programme had started.
A cross section of guests at the Book chat 
The Moderator opened the programme with a discussion on what informed the author's incursion into children literature given that children literature is relatively a virgin aspect of Nigerian literature yet to be fully explored. Responding, Dooba informed the audience that his love for children literature was chiefly influenced by his childhood encounter with books. He however stressed that one of his most remarkable influences has been the beautiful verses of the Holy Quran. He also said that even as a science student in secondary school he took Literature while his peers took Geography subject, which was the appropriate option for science students.
Abdullahi Ismaila (right), moderating the Book chat
Dooba narrated that as a secondary school student, he was part of a team that participated in literary activities even though his principal had once instructed his teacher not to include him on the team that represented his school at a particular literary event in Minna. According to him, "My teacher disobeyed Father's (the Principal) instructions and took me along with him. I don't know why he did that but it was one of the turning points of my love for literature."
The Author and BM Dzukogi
The book chat session which lasted for about forty minutes, was soon followed by a review of the book by BM Dzukogi. Dzukogi analysed the book, highlighting the different features of the book including what he considered its highs and lows. Dzukogi was overly prescriptive in his analysis. He found the title of the book a bit mundane and critiqued the themes explored in it, saying that African children could hardly reconcile the beauty of Africa portrayed in the book to their actual realities. In his postulation, he asserted, "Abubakar Gimba managed to be a poet," while giving his tribute to other poets in Minna. Of course, Ismaila had earlier posited that Niger state and Minna in particular is a city of poets, and Dooba was the newest addition to the fold.
Dr. Ibraheem Dooba explaining a poem at the Book chat
In his reaction, the guest author rejected Dzukogi's call to change the title of the book, saying that he intends to publish more books under the same title. He also said that indeed Africa is beautiful, "Africa is beautiful to children." He went ahead to describe the beautiful planes and greenery that traverse the African earth at the beginning of rainfall as pointers to the beauty of Africa.
Muhibb Aslu contributing to discussions on the book
Other guests were equally reacted to the book discussion. Muhibb Aslu in his submission commended the author for citing the Quran as his source of inspiration saying that morals in the holy book would definitely be reflected in the book and that children would derive wisdom from reading same. He also commended the author for his concern towards children. Others who spoke also supported the author's decision to retain the title of the book, commending it as being apt. However, BM Nagidi decried some of the poems as not suitable for children. He doubts if he would want his children to read some of them.

The guest author also submitted that the poems are to be produced into audio-visual forms to enable children chant and enjoy them. There were remarks bothering on the language of the work as been a little too advanced in some of the poems for children. The author defended the level of the language used in the book, saying that instances of complex vocabulary does not necessarily obstruct the flow of meaning that the children were expected to discern from reading the book and that such words are meant to also build the vocabulary of the readers.
The author flanked by the organizers of the Book event 
The generous guest author offered to pay for anyone who really wanted to own a copy of the book but could not afford it. His offer was greeted with unanimous applause. Of course considering the 'change complex' many could not afford the book, which was sold for a thousand naira. Gradually the event drew to a beautiful close with a book signing session which culminated into a short break that saw people trooping into the nearby mosque to say the evening prayers.
The author and Nana Sule
The event was anchored by the young, delectable, emerging female MC, Nana Sule, who did a beautiful job. Her boldness stood out like an eagle in the sky. Notable writers and guests who graced the event included Awal Idris Evuti, Bilkisu Abdulaziz, Banma Baba Sulaiman, Awal Gata, Isyaku Bala Ibrahim (Nupe writer), Abubakar Akote, Fodio Ahmed (1pen kawai), Prof. Abiodun Musa Aibinu and late Abubakar Gimba's daughter, Haj. Aisha Gimba.