A Punster’s Style: The Pun Motif in Nkem Okoh’s Critical Essays | Amatare Mozimo

Amatareotubo Mozimo

Media & Public Affairs Department,

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Abstract

This article attempts explicating pun as a functional literary device through which Nkem Okoh conveys meaning in his writings. The puns are simply applied in a very attractive manner which makes his essays, books and teachings a scholar’s delight. Ironically, this style has also turned out to be an unforeseen nightmare to the unserious reader/learner of his works who takes just a passing pleasure in literature. This paper subtly applies the linguistic-stylistic patterns and theoretical framework in analysing some of Okoh’s writings and research titles as contained in his published essays, books and Inaugural Lecture. This research further explores his use of the pun motif at the various levels of linguistic studies which gives prominence and meaning to his works. In this vein, Okoh’s choice of diction; the internal components of the pun usage and its stylistic variants as unveiled in this paper confirms what he succinctly said in one of his books that “this is the how of what Okoh’s writings entail.” (Writing Right 34).

“Puns are the highest form of literature.” – Alfred Hitchcock

Introduction

Any fool can say that!I still remember vividly, the first lecture of the course: Advanced English Composition (EST 300.1) my class had with then Dr. (now Professor) Nkem Okoh in my penultimate year as an undergraduate and course representative in the English Studies Department of the University of Port Harcourt in 1998. Dr. Okoh, the course lecturer, had sauntered into the classroom in the Ofrima Auditorium, just at the dot of the hour. While students were still frantically struggling to settle down, he had thrown a poser with his usual psychedelic gesture as he walked to one end of the classroom to drop his files. I peered sideways with a copious glance at him as I engaged myself, cleaning the chalkboard in front of the class.

“What does it really mean to write in advanced English?” he asked. We – the students – had all looked at him in disgustful wonder. The stares and murmurs were clear on our faces as students whispered in hushed tones, soliloquizing: “This lecturer don come again o. Him just enter class and he has started asking questions without teaching us anything, haba! How does he want us to know the answer to the question when he has not taught us the course? If we know, why are we here in the class? Mtcheeew!” we hissed, disappointedly. Silence….

Though it was an English lecture class but speaking pidgin English was a past time we were yet to overcome especially when we gist amongst ourselves. Without giving us forever to respond, Okoh proceeded with his monologue as he asked another question. We gaped in more amazement staring at one another, still dazed. I really cannot recall the second question anymore, for it has been over two decades and memories fail me in that regard. But I can remember his jaw-dropping classic response when a student attempted in vain to give a futile answer.

“Well, sit down. Any fool can say that!” Okoh retorted. We all burst out laughing at the fellow who broke our creed of silence by daring to play the saint to give answers to Okoh’s question in class. Okoh looked askance at the class and concluded that we take the question as an assignment. “Ahhh!” We all sighed in delightful relief! At least, that will give us time to research and get back to him rather than make us look dumb and stupid here in class. Years later, in a bid to explain this mode of teaching, Okoh, in his essay entitled: “Managing Change in ESP: A Pedagogic Perspective from Port Harcourt” aptly sums up this learner-centred teaching approach thus:

The students’ task here entailed discussing the sentences, with a view to presenting the pair’s answers to the entire class at the end. Quite often, several pairs gave a reaction which could be summarized thus: “why is he asking us to discuss and give our answers: is he not supposed to teach us?” On display here is an attitude which this writer has called the “Teach us syndrome.” (“Managing” 373)

At the end of that course, it became clear to me that to write in an advance manner is not to be verbose or use long, complex and winding sentences loaded with highfalutin and unfamiliar vocabulary but to write, right by being simple, brief and precise with some doses of literary creativity at the fringes to serve as the icing on the cake and the real sauce in the pudding. As Ugoji and Egwuchukwu put it: “Literature plays an important role in teaching (I dare say, learning, too) the four basic language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking” (2018:  423). That was when I first got a sense of Okoh’s use of the literary device of puns to convey his lessons. Not only in his teaching method that had a comical twist to it but also, in his choice of diction and titles of his academic textbooks and other texts used as materials in his courses.

This paper attempts to show that pun is the medium Okoh uses in conveying meaning in a simple but very attractive manner that makes his essays, books and teachings a scholar’s delight, any time. But, sad to say, this style of his, has also turned out to be an unforeseen nightmare to the unserious reader/learner who takes just a passing pleasure in the academia. This paper does a stylistics analyses of some of Okoh’s writings as contained in his widely published essays and books including his Inaugural Lecture as a professor. It explores Okoh’s use of the pun motif -analyzing same at the various levels of linguistics and language study such as: phonology, morphology, lexis, syntax and semantics. It attempts to unveil Okoh’s choice of diction; the internal components of the pun usage and its stylistic variants as a literary tool to convey meaning in his scholarly writings. As Okoh himself succinctly taught us in our varsity days: this is the how of what his writings entail. (Writing Right 34).

Definition of Concepts

It is expedient that we put the key words in this essay in proper perspectives before delving into the study. This is due to the fact that the core words in the essay title are not every day words. They come with some level of mystery to the lay reader and thus need some form of exposition in their simplest forms. The key words are: punster, pun, and motif. What do they really entail? What is a pun? Who is a punster? What is a motif in literary parlance? These are deciphered in bits and pieces in this part of this article. The Encyclopedic edition of the New International Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary of the English Language defines pun as: “the witty use of two words having the same or similar sounds but different meaning, or of two different, more or less incongruous meanings of same word.” It also defines a punster as: “one who puns; one addicted to punning. Also (called a) punner.” Abrams defines pun as: “a play on words that are either identical in sound (“homonyms”) or similar in sound, but are sharply diverse in meaning. He further states that: “puns have had serious literary uses. …however, the literary uses of puns have been almost exclusively comic” (1981: 149). Abrams explains also that: “a motif is an element – a type of incident, device, or formula – which recurs frequently in literature.” He further cites that: “the term motif, or the German leitmotif (the guiding motif), also applied to the frequent repetition of a significant phrase, or set description, or complex of images… (in a text or set of texts)” (111).

Therefore, from the foregoing definitions, it can be succinctly summarized that The Pun Motif is the deliberate and effective use of words, with literary cadence, in a phrase, sentence, text or context that attracts diverse meanings of comic interest to the writer and reader. This is what Okoh does best not only in his lectures that abound with doses of comic relief, but also in his scholarly writings, especially in his essays and book titles. He consciously chooses titles with comical slants that are strikingly exciting to the reader; titles that create a soothing effect of coherence, cohesion and aestheticism that have now become his signature style of writing – which I can dare term as The Okohian Pun Motif. Morgan attests to this when she posits that:

While titles might seem to just be labels you slap on essays before turning them in, they are crucial to gaining audience interest. Titles catch the attention of readers, reveal the genre and purpose of the assignment given and give a preview of the essay’s main idea. (1)

According to her, one: “can come up with creative essay title using key words and major themes…as well as coming up with unique uses of language, such as alliteration and puns” (1, emphasis mine). Okoh’s books: Writing Right in English and To Use or Abuse Words in English are two classic works of his that introduce Okoh as a punster – a punner, whose titled works are worth an in-depth study of their linguistic and stylistics characteristics that make them stand out any time. And there are many more where those came from. We shall see how this style plays out in the linguistic stylistic analysis of several of his titled works discussed herein.

Theoretical Framework: A Linguistic Stylistics Approach

Every in-depth research and scholarly work should be hinged on a theoretical framework. That is, it should be guided and rooted in a specific theory that is applicable to aid understanding of the precepts and analysis of the study being embarked upon. In this regard, this paper adopts a linguistic stylistic approach to the study of pun in Okoh’s writings.  By this approach, according to Fowler (1998), whereas, stylistics “is a field that attempts to establish principles capable of explaining the particular choices used by individuals and social groups in their use of language.” It also involves “the selection and arrangement of linguistic features which are open to choose” (De Vito 1967). Linguistics-Stylistics as a theoretical framework of this study is anchored on the pillars of what Halliday (1973) enunciates as:

The description of literary texts by methods derived from general linguistic theories and within the framework of description of language in question, and the comparison of such texts with others by the same and different authors in the same and different genres. (218)

Oyelakan (2018) in his article entitled: “Á Stylistics Analysis of the 24th Nigerian University Games (NUGA) Text…” as published in the Festschrift: Essays in Honour of Seyifa Koroye, quotes Adegbite (1994) as defining Linguistics stylistics as a branch of study that: “refers to the linguistic study of the language patterns manifested in the literary text” (578). Oyelakan further quotes Halliday (1976) as stating that: “linguistic stylistics is an application; it is the only way to ensure the theoretical validity of a statement” (qtd. in Ngwoke O.O., et al. eds. 574). According to Oyelakan, “Linguistic stylistics incorporates linguistics and literary criticism in order to combine the objectivity of the former with the intuitive characteristics of the latter” (578). Cf. Short (1982); Fish (1981: 53-57).

With the above exposition therefore, we can proceed to conclude that this approach of linguistic-stylistics as applied herein shall be anchored on the levels of language study such as: phonology, morphology, lexis, syntax, and semantics; how these levels interact to exude a comical twist that creatively foregrounds Okoh’s writings; setting it apart with a unique signature that has become his literary taste and prowess in pun usage.

Scope and Limitation of Study

This study is carried out on some of Okoh’s writings with a view to show that pun, as a literary device, has great effect on his choice of titles. This work does not delve into the content of most of the articles and books cited herein but limits its discussion to the choice of titles in Okoh’s s academic essays and books. No doubt, in his over three score years of scholarship, Okoh has myriads of well researched papers to his credit. He has attended several seminars and taught thousands of students both at home here in Nigeria and in the diaspora; and as such, has several academic works that are worthy of discourse. To study all of these works of his, might be illusive.

Therefore, samples of his titled works that have a touch of pun have been highlighted here for study.  So many others not in this purview are omitted as they might not fall within the stylistics use of puns as being analyzed here. While one cannot deny the fact that other perspectives of such title-study can be delved into, this work consciously limits its analysis to the use of puns and the effects such comical play on words have on Okoh’s writings and audience.

Textual Analysis of Okoh’s Titles in his Writings

As one gleans through the titles of Okoh’s articles and books, one cannot but be amazed at the word play and language power being displayed by this wordsmith. Anyone who does not see that semblance of pun and that comical and exciting narrative in the titles of Okoh’s writings has lost their sense of aestheticism. Without trying to be banal and patronizing, it is worth reiterating that we shall embark on this study of these titles at various levels of – phonology, morphology, lexis, syntax and semantics. Some title samples might be repeated in the course of this study should they overlap in having properties of pun in more levels.

Phonological Components of Pun in Okoh’s Writings.

Phonology has been defined as: “the study of sound patterns in a language” (Hawkins 7). Puns come out punchy at the level of sound more than they do at other levels of language. It is the similar sounds of different words with varied meanings that give puns that comic and attractive bite as a literary device. Okoh uses this to his credit, masterfully, to enrich his craft of writing. His use of phonological puns can be classified into three categories: homonyms, alliterations and repetitions.

Okoh’s Writing Right in English is one classic instance of his use of puns with some touch of homonyms.  The words writing and right are deliberately italicized to lay emphasis on their similarity in pronunciation. Both words are homonyms. “Homonyms are words with same sounds/pronunciation but different spellings and different meanings” – Abrams (1981). Both words are pronounced /rait/. But while one means to scribble something down with a pen or other writing material, the other, on the far side, means to be correct. What the phrase implies is that it lays emphasis on how learners should pen down words and texts very well (writing) and very correctly (right) also.

But in communicating this message, Okoh adopts a catchy title that is both exciting and educative. As one picks up the book, the first thing one wonders about is: what does it mean to write right? Such use of pun evokes a sense of attraction to the reader prompting them to want to go through the pages and glean through to learn how to write, right. The play on the sound of the words is an example of such word power that permeates through the fabric of Okoh’s writings.

Another instance of this use of phonological pun is also seen in his use of alliterations in his work titles. Alliteration is the repeated use of similar consonant sounds in a text or phrase to attract attention. A writer affirms in this regard that:

Sometimes you come up with catchy titles by playing with words. Alliteration is the repetition of a prominent sound in a phrase or sentence. Since alliteration is catchy by nature, it is an easy way to grab reader’s attention. (Morgan 2)

Alliterative use of words foregrounds the writing in an inviting way that the reader fancies the text or phrase containing this literary device, even without meaning to so do. Titles of Okoh’s essays that exemplify this style of pun are as follow: “Freedom from Big Brother: Misconceptions, Materials and the Study of African Oral Literature.” Can you notice the repetition of the initial consonant sounds of the voiceless dental fricative phoneme, /f/, in freedom and free; as well as the voiced bilabial plosive phoneme, /b/, in Big Brother, /m/ in Misconception and Materials and /l/ in the last sound and initial sound of the words: oral and literature? 

Same effect is seen in the title of his article: “Fear of Dying: Culture, Continuity and Discontinuity in Enuani Proverbs.” The voiceless alveolar plosive sound, /k/, is consciously repeated in the three key words of Culture, Continuity and Discontinuity. This is done to achieve the use of alliteration with a taste of pun that makes the title quite outstanding. Need one mention his Inaugural Lecture titled: “Of Synergies: Linking Literature, Language and English in Nigeria;” where the phoneme, /l/, is repeated in the words: linking, literature language and English, to give it that alliterative effect as a literary device that gives the paper title its resounding standing ovation? What about another of his paper entitled: “Reversing the Roles: ESP and wrong expectations amongst Nigerian Students”? Here, the sound, /r/, is repeated in the words reversing and roles.

To cite others in this alliterative category is another instance: “Managing Change in ESP: A Pedagogic Perspective from Port Harcourt.” Here, the voiceless bilabial plosive sound of /p/ is dominant in the words: Pedagogic, Perspective and Port Harcourt. In another of his essay: “Managing and Marketing ESP in Nigeria.” The phoneme /m/ is duplicated in the words: Managing and Marketing to exude the use of alliteration, also.

At the level of repetition as a pun motif, we see Okoh using a few phrases constantly such as the abridged form U of E for Use of English; ESP for English for Specific Purposes; ELT for English for Language Teaching and others to re-emphasis the need for these studies to be looked into by the authorities in charge of education with a view to re-orient the teachers and students on the need for a more focused English language and literature teaching method. This underscores the need for learners and readers to assimilate the right use of these abbreviations or acronyms. Such repetitions not only harp on the phrases, but sink the topic into the ears of the readers, laying emphasis, albeit, in a cyclical manner, in a bid to drive home the point succinctly.

Morphological Components of Pun in Okoh’s Writings

Morphology is the internal composition of words. It studies the makeup of words. Abrams defines morphology as “the study of the elementary speech sounds into the smallest meaningful groups (morphemes and words)” (94). At this level of analysis, we shall be studying the internal components of lexical choices used to achieve that pun effects in Okoh’s titles. The italicized words in the titles of the foregoing articles: “Literature in Nigerian School Curriculum: To Teach or to Cheat”; and “To Use or Abuse Words in English” are instances of how Okoh’s morphological structural choice of lexicon has pun therein. There is a juxtaposing of letters to contrast another word with similar letters to evoke a contradictory inference.  The words use and abuse are similar in sound and also similar in internal structural compositions. While use is contained in the word abuse; use stands as the root word and ab- stands as the prefix used to negate the root word use. The addition of a negative prefix, ab- therefore changes the formation of the word to mean its opposite. As a prefix, ab- means a negation. When joined together ab- and use become abuse and produce a contrasting effect to show the difference of either rightly adopting or wrongly applying words in English. The choice is that of the leaner.

Same effect is seen in the words teach and cheat. Both are made up of five letters. The letters are rearranged and juxtaposed to interrelate to mean something different. Both contain the letters a, e, c, h, and t. when these are woven and jumbled in other ways, they produce the words teach or cheat. So, Okoh, plays on the reader’s sense of humour to choose such lexical choices as teach and cheat with varying morphological compositions that tend to excite the readers, thus making reading and learning fascinating.

The use of anagrams come handy hear. The words cheat and teach are closely similar to anagrams of some sort. Anagrams are words that can be spelt backwards and forwards to get the same word. Such words as madam, boob, pop, et cetera are anagrams. When spelt backwards they still turn out to produce the same words either way. Close to this effect is what the use of teach and cheat evoke. The c and h that end the word teach are reversed to the beginning to get the word cheat. This is followed by the alternation of the letters e and a and lastly; while the letter t starts the word teach, the same letter t ends the word cheat. The alphabet-letter clusters are of utmost interest as they interplay to give a semblance of similar pronunciation and spelling that get the reader dazed in awe, in admiration of the skilled word play adopted by Okoh.

At this morphological level, also, is the example of such titles as: “Writing Oral African Literature: A Re-reading of Okot P’bitek’s Song of Lawino.”; “The Direction of Indirection in Chinua Achebe’s Trilogy”; and “Fear of Dying: Culture, Continuity and Discontinuity in Enuani Proverbs” (emphasis mine). We see here that prefixes are used to contrast meanings in the titles. The prefix re-, in the first title, is used to emphasize the root word read suggestive of a repetitive strain of action to denote a demand to do the exercise again – re-reading. In the next title, the prefix in- is added to the root word direction to achieve a similar effect but this time, in- is a prefix that denotes negativity or an opposite action of the root word, direction. It becomes direction in Indirection. And in the third title, the morphological structure in the key word breaks down the word Discontinuity to a prefix, dis- and its root counterpart, continuity.

Again, in the sub-title: “Re-defining (re-reading and un-teaching) literature” Okoh takes the use of prefixes as a morphological component of language, a notch higher. The prefixes: re- and un- are used alongside the root words: define, read and teach, to stress the need to do a repeat of the exercise as exemplified by the prefix (re-) as well as discard (un-) the errors in the prevailing teaching approach to literature in schools. The choice of such prefixes goes to enforce the need for morphemes as agents of change and contrast by the mode of usage. Such use of morphemes has a pun effect upon closer scrutiny.

Thus, one can deduce that Okoh’s choice of titles are consciously constructed to evoke ones tactile imaginative acumen to the use of such flexible lexicon that makes use of a combination of root words and contrast same with the addition of a negative prefix (such as ab-, in- and dis-) to change the meaning of the root words; or re-, used to stress the need to repeat the action in the instances cited above. These instances achieve a desired effect that foregrounds such words in select titles.

Lexical and Syntactic Components of Pun in Okoh’s Writings

Lexis in language parlance refers to word choices. This refers to the choice of diction used in a study. Here, the lexical composition of words intertwines with others at the phonological and morphological levels discussed above. Lexis cuts across all the other levels of language analysis used in this study of pun in Okoh’s works. Because at one level or another, words are the building blocks and guiding pillars of the analysis and by so doing, lexis has been discussed in these areas. Any more, shall be a repetition of such discourse.

Syntax refers to the sequence of words in a sentence. It is more concerned with the placement of words in a sentence that gives it grammatical meaning. Abrams defines syntax as “the study of the ordering of sequence of words into phrases, clauses, and sentences. In Okoh’s titled works, at the syntactic level, we shall cite some more new titles that best exemplify this level of pun usage – “to teach or not to teach” and “to teach or to cheat.”

At the syntactic level, Okoh’s titles create a balance of sentence sequence. His titles are usually divided into two balanced clauses separated by a colon. Such are usually made up of independent clauses that are conjoined by a conjunction to contrast or show other possibilities and options. The conjunctional phrase or not is used to achieve this optional possibility. Let us take the first title:” To Teach or no To Teach.” Here, we see too independent phrases of to infinitive: ‘To Teach’ being joined by a conjunctional phrase, or not. This syntactic style creates a balance of the sentence structure and thus reinforces the need for a cohesive flow of thought and a coherent syntactic structure in the sentence title.

In similar vein, the sub-title: “To Change or not To Change” as contained in his essay: “Managing and Marketing ESP…” this portrays this same tilt towards achieving a balanced structural clause where the conjunctional phrase, ‘or not’ is used as a coordinating conjunction to link the two independent parts of the clauses. The repetition of the to infinitive clause: to change on both sides of the sentence goes to emphasis the need for change of the teaching methods being adopted to teach the English Language and the subject of Literature-in-English in our varsities and secondary schools. In other words, Okoh uses the syntactic mode of his titles and sub-titles in his essays to reinforce the thematic preoccupation of his write-ups. He does this through the repetitions of balanced clauses linked by a conjunction to show contrasting possibilities that connect both sides of the parallel components of his titles.

Same effect is seen in the title, “To teach or to cheat.” While the first part of the phrase begins with the infinitive phrase, to teach, this is also linked to the latter part of the clause, to cheat, by a lone conjunction, or. This gives it a solid balanced structure that ensures an equilibrium on both sides of the title While the effect of the pun is felt on the phonological semblance of the words teach and cheat, the use of the to infinitive to bridge the phrases creates a kind of parallelism that stabilizes the syntactic structure of the title in a profound manner.

This parallel sentence composition wherein two independent clauses are separated cohesively to create a balance in the sentence structure is novel and quite innovative. The titles usually have independent clauses that can stand on their own. They create the desired equanimity in the sentence titles. The parallelism adopted re-enforces the creative variety of the pun motif contained therein. Titles are meant to be attractive and striking. Through the syntactic balance adopted this is achieved without much ado.

The use of parallelism is also evident in “Of the Chicken and the Egg: Chinua Achebe and African Literature” and “Father and Son: Pursuing an Unequal Relationship in African Literature.” These two titles are replete with a kind of structural balance achieved through the use of parallelism. First, the clause, of the chicken and the egg. You see in the clause that the two noun phrases of the chicken, the egg are joined by the coordinating conjunction and that usually connects two independent clauses. Note the inclusion of the definite article the on both sides of the divide. This creates a balance that achieves a continuous flow of coherence and cohesion that only parallelism can effectively achieve. You will notice, again, that, in the phrase: father and son, the same coordinating conjunction and is used to link both nouns of father and son together in one knitted whole. Thereby, he exhibits a consistent flow and use of balanced syntactic structural components in his title to achieve a striking effect of candour.

Semantic Components of Pun in Okoh’s Writings

At the plain of semantics which deals with meanings of words, Okoh does not leave much to chance either. His selective choices are pristine and apt to convey meanings that are suggestive of a master crafts man at work. Articles like: “Of the Chicken and the Egg: Chinua Achebe and African Literature” and “Father and Son: Pursuing an Unequal Relationship in African Literature.” come handy in this aspect of semantics.

Okoh adopts the contrastive use of opposing words to show the differences in such terms that are collocates. Chicken and egg, father and son are viewed in the aforementioned titles as collocates.  More to this is the device of metonymy. Metonymy is similar to the use of synecdoche as a literary device. The latter denotes the use of words in a way that one uses a part or something associated with it to stand for the whole thing. For instance, the use of the word crown to stand for a king and head to stand for a human being. Metonymies, in similar vein, are wordings whose meanings connote what they are associated with. In this regard, making inferences from the titles above, while egg can also stand for chicken, as the chicken gives birth to offspring by laying of eggs, son and father have some form of similarities in meaning in the sense of both being human male offspring. Whereas, the son is also a symbol of the father and future generation, the father also symbolizes the past while the son typifies the future.

In this regard, father symbolizes the originator, the progenitor while son represents the offspring or those who follow suit – proteges. So, in essence, Okoh adopts worded titles that decipher meaning in varying symbolic gestures and diction choices connotative of the fact that words with contrastive meanings are juxtaposed to create an ambience of difference in a manner that is suggestive of the need for tolerance and mentorship. This is achieved with the use of collocate metonyms such as egg and chicken; father and son in some of his titled essays.

Conclusion

The clever use of pun in Okoh’s writings, has carved a niche for him as a punster worth studying the depth of his craft. His mentees have a lot to learn from his creative skills. It is an art worth emulating as he does not just scribble down titles for his essays and other scholarly works, but does so with such dexterity that takes it a notch higher than what most other writers put into their titled works. At various levels of language study, Okoh’s puns play crucial roles to give bite to his essays. They are punchy, crunchy and downright attractive and inviting. Not forgetting that they stand as his quintessential signature tune that sets his essays apart in ways that entrench his style of writing to a new crop of emerging literary writers and essayists. Okoh’s pun titles are deftly crafted, embellished with alliterations, homonyms, metonymies, and morphemes that contrast the possible semantic contractions and possibilities in them.

It can then be summed up, matter-of-factly, that Professor Nkem Okoh is like the proverbial elephant described by numerous blind men from their feel of its gargantuan trunk. Each one describing it from the part of the elephant it feels – the trunk, the legs, the tusk, the tail or the flapping ear lobes. With his successful use of puns in his writings, Okoh can best be described as a punster whose lullabies are soothing and calm; evoking a sense of cadence and a water shed of priced craftsmanship. This textual analysis of Okoh’s writings serves as my wishful words wrapped in woven waves of wordings; with webs of wonder for a wonderful man of letters.

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Short Bio:

Amatare Mozimo was born in the early seventies in Lagos and hails from Bayelsa State. He is seasoned critic and broadcasting journalist whose works have been published in reputable journals and news magazines. He is a graduate of English Studies from the University of Port Harcourt whose knack for writing has put him on the global literary space as an emerging voice in literary criticism. He is currently the Vice Chairman of ANA Bayelsa State and has published three books: The Unending Day (Prose); The Running Mace (Poetry) and a book on Broadcast Journalism for rookies.