Saddiq Dzukogi, the current president of Ahmadu Bello University’s Creative Writers Club, is the son of Malam B.M. Dzukogi, the scribe of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA.) The junior Dzukogi, like his father, is an adroit ‘literary practitioner’. He has so far published two collections of poems, Images of Life and Canvas, and he is horning other collections. In this interview with AWAAL GATA, the young romanticist poet explains what ABUCWC does. He also talks about his life as a writer
Who is Saddiq Dzukogi?
Saddiq is a man, a black man, a son, a brother and a lover of nature in all its beauties. I am a growing boy whose journey from childhood has been gripped by trials and errors. But, however, I have seen jokes out of the whole turbulence.
I am a lover, and one who would go sleepless for my heart’s little desires. I am what you could compare to classical adventurer not in the literary sense but in the very heartbreakingly practical sense that every day is a gift to be lived full and complete. I live within that fragile border between the real and the subconscious, where all ladies are virgin and life is fair. Where all evil is poetic and all good is ethereal. I see such pure sweetness in altruistic sacrifice and I believe in sharing. I know the world is what we make of it and to love is to be brave. I believe in blood, in sameness, in convergence, in unity. I concur that nature is what a man could emulate to attain heaven. I am a literary epicure and I fall for all things tender. That is me for you.
How have you been faring in writing?
Good question. I am not a very grandiloquent person. I don’t judge my own success, but all the same, I must encourage myself – though not so with conceit – with the little successes that hard work has earned me.
Writing is not as bad as it has been projected. It’s been fun, I must confess. But the fun is not without some glitches. I don’t just allow the glitches pluck me down. Yes, I am here today with books to my name. I won’t complain, do I?
How has your tenure as the president of your university’s literary club been?
First, you must not over emphasise the political tendencies of every human mind and consequently the human society. Being a part of a community of individuals with literary minds as rich as the one I am presiding is naturally laden with ideas and responsibilities. One must accept new ideas while sacrificing yours. One must face competition from formidably daunting people. One must come to term with a variety of ideas, and to lead this sort of variegated convergence is not only interesting but a responsibility and experience that push one’s mind to high limits. It is all about how patient one is. Our witty one is.
What difference have you made?
Since I started my tenure, we have done so much on literary awareness. It is completely amazing how many talents we have got in Nigeria, and we have got an understanding that if we fix things aright, we could recruit more bright minds and help them discover themselves. We just busy ourselves discovering writers, artists that did not know what they have got. Poetry competitions have been organised many time. They came with cash prizes. Poems had been called for and compiled into an anthology. There are many other projects I have proposed to us which could expose us to constructive competitions everywhere in the country. Our weekly meetings have the sole aim of promoting the growth of the ‘man’ by modifying his cultural stance.
Your dad is very popular in the Nigerian literary world, how did that give birth to your parley with writing?
Oh! Is he? Yes, every great thing has its origin in another great thing. Growing up with such a man, you would be a dead man walking if you do not fall for poetry. He has become “great” through hard work and tenacity, and these golden properties are legacies I have imbibed in me. He has put me through when I was getting lost. He has been my guide all my life. I believe the world would be a better place if everyone has a father like him. We have been more like friends than anything. I must confess to you that I admire him a lot as a father and as a fellow writer. All in all, I can call him a guardian angel and a lifting hand in my career… I owe that and everything to God and then him.
Would you agree with me if I say you would not have been a writer if he wasn’t one?
Absolutely no! I will argue with you! You see, writing is not like being a lawyer or a doctor; it’s a venture that a spirit drives. It is not something you can learn. It is something you perfect. It cannot be forced upon you; you can only be forced upon it. It is a recurrence of vision which is cast upon your blindness. It is a sweet transient opening into the beyond. Yes, he has helped me and so many others like me up as a father. But we must not question destiny and push questions beyond the subconscious. We are who we are after all and everyone who must rise must be helped. I am a writer because it is what I love, what I am born to be and my father, a good man, a good judge of talents and one who would go beyond his convenience not to see it waste away… I believe if you know him, you would share the belief.
I learnt that your mom also writes, is it so? What does she write? Are your siblings also into writing? How does it feel to be in a family where everybody has writing running in his/her blood?
My mom writes. She writes poetry. We are all poets in my house, except my immediate younger sister, Ummi. Every one of us has a thing to do with the pen and microphone, we are all talkers also. My parents are great philosophers and it is often easy for us to fetch from their wisdom and pour them on papers. Not just in the house only. In where I came from, everybody is a writer and it is nothing special, it is what we do in Niger State. And since some things are inherited, yes, we have it running in our veins.
Unlike your daddy’s poems that are stewed in activism against societal misdeeds, your poems, from your first collection, Images of Life, to the second one, Canvas, love seems to be the cardinal. Why love? What are you seeking in love?
Love as my dad will say, “it is only love that can save the world.” Even he acknowledges the importance of love in human society. Societal misdeeds spring from lack of it. Wherever you find love, you will find peace. And the best way to tackle a problem is first, to recognise the problem. Over the years I have realised that we live in a society of suspicion, we do not trust ourselves and consequently, fault lines have been triggered. It is hard to see love; for example, I will boldly say Nigerians do not love Nigeria, maybe because sometimes we learn to hate what hates us in return. We are not patriotic enough; we don’t ask questions, we do what we are told. We sheepishly follow our visionless leaders who are driving us to the brink of disintegration. I am a preacher of love, and I want to spread love’s gospel across my land and even beyond. Images of Life is dominated by love, so is Canvas. I live in a happy home, where I see how daddy loves Nma, my mom, and how she too bathes him with so much love, it is easy to get inspired by it. A man’s mind is always agitated; the touch of love is the ingredient that settles it.
Your first collection, Images of Life, was published when you were very young. You were in Junior Secondary School then? How does it feel to be published at such tender age?
That was luck. I was lucky. It was a very emotional period in my life. I sleep and awake each morning with it lying next to me.
Describe the difference that exists between Images of Life and Canvas
Well, there is no clear difference as far as I am concern. Images of Life was written by a boy, saddiq, and Canvas was written by a growing man also called saddiq. They are two diaries of one sojourner. They are two phases of the same life; the constituents of the simple life of a growing boy who farther from the sun must ride, putting into account the rains, the shines, the cold nights and the starry sky, painting his vanities with innocence and then with blatant realization of naked practicalities. They are mild transitions that grow with my breath and which, in another part, stretch into the future of ‘me’.
You have authored two volumes of poetry. You don’t talk of prose. Are you not prosaic at all?
Of course every poet is. You see, poetry tends to paint a whole story in few strokes, and the literary beauty and rhymes and rhythms are his colours, varied and combined in the best images to fit what he sees either in his lofty mind or in his immediate “house”… I am in deed prosaic and in the future you shouldn’t be surprised to get into a bookshop and see a block-buster prose by Saddiq.
On what spell do you write?!
Not in total melancholy and not in drowning bliss, but in the innards of this two. Let’s say that the wind is not rough yet. I find inspiration in simple joys and trivial miseries, I find inspiration in the insane vanity of man as a fleeting breath. I see inspiration in the sweet irony of truth, in the the wily complacence of lust and the drunken complaisance of love. Again, in the mountainous orgasm of nature attained when the morning sun shines hot upon the dew wet rose… I love roses!
Which poets have been influencing you?
Williams wordsworth who doe not drown in the excesses of literature, but gather them and build a mosaic of pure satisfaction’ at least to me. He ‘joins’ them in heavenly matrimony… I love his ODE (intimacy to immortality) and many other of his works. His rhythms are impeccable.
What are you reading at the present?
The Lost Symbol. It is written by Dan Brown
Where and how do you expect to see yourself five years from now?
With much hard work and the help of God, I should have more books to my name, and of course more name to my books, much of which will be in prose and yes indeed, poetry. I have chosen writing as my career and having come this far, I believe the sky is the limit!
Any thought of marriage yet?
Yes, I will marry early… but of course you shall be the first to know as soon as anything comes up…
What is presently stopping the launching of the anthology published by ABU’s literary club?
Funds. It has always been the problem of such clubs. Only few people will want to put their money into things like this. However, preparations are under way.
What should the world expect from you soon?
Plenty poems and my first novel, Buried Alive.
Why do you write?
Writing gives me joy, and I think I write because it makes me happy, it is my first love. There is this strong rivalry between writing and the one I love. Each time I am possessed by that sweet spirit that unleashes living words on a paper, I just feel happy as my eyes go round and round the life I have created therein.
Well, it sounds to me like why do you breathe or eat. Writing is all I have, and I will continue to do it until my soul ceases to be mine
Filed Under: Writing