‘Why I Wrote Novel on Ethnic/religious Crises’
Posted: 09/Aug/2016

Edify Yakusak was called to Bar last October. In this interview with JOSEPH JIBUEZE, she speaks on her novel and her dreams.

Why did you study law?

I wanted to be a doctor. I felt the innate need to help people who are hurt or in distress. I felt being a doctor would help me achieve that, so, I worked towards achieving that goal. Later, I realised I was terrible with Math. So, I opted for a professional course I could read that didn’t have Math — Law. Ironically, as it turned out, the joke was on me, because I faced the same math I was running away from in the university and in Law School. But I am glad I am a lawyer because I still get to help people who are hurt or are seeking redress.

What is your novel After They Left about?

My book is fiction. It is centered on the Jos crises and other areas, which chronicles the current hardship faced by millions of Nigerians living in the Middle Belt. It takes the crises from a different angle, a more human angle. The main objective of the novel is to create awareness on the crises and violence spreading all over the country and the psychological and emotional damage it does to the victims and survivors. It brings to bear man’s inhumanity to man. It is a compelling story that coveys a harrowing experience anyone can empathise with. Many people are isolated and insulated from real suffering, the novel tries to reawaken the consciousness of such people to come to reality and take a cursory look at the real world of victims of incessant attacks.

Do you consider yourself an activist?

Yes. I very much consider myself an activist. And we should all be activists, standing up against violence, injustice and inequality. You will never know when you become an activist until you see or hear of women that are raped and abused for just being women. You may not also realise when you become an activist until you see innocent children with brains ripped opened by bullets, or severed hands dangling from their side. The truth is, not all of us can stand on the street with placards. Not all of us may have the courage to openly confront the authorities for one misgiving or the other, but we can all help in the fight for peace and a better country regardless of what you do. We all have a part to play.

Can you describImage result for lawe the idea conception and publication?

The journey between conceiving the idea of writing this novel and its eventual publication was rough and sometimes lonely. I spent so many hours thinking, reading, researching and asking questions on the various crises. Each attack draws me closer to the victims, even without meeting them. Each attack heightened my resolve to write and relay the message that was deep in my spirit.

At a point, I had to interview some of the people that visited victims of the attacks. I saw video footage and pictures that were so unreal,  yet real. As the book progressed I had to leave my family behind in Abuja and went to the village to really concentrate. After completing the manuscripts, the next challenge was where to publish the book. A lot of publishers were giving me terms that were out of this world. Some out rightly rejected the work even without reading a page of the book. Looking back now, I thank God all the efforts paid off.

What area of Law do like most and why?

That would be environmental law.  The environment is the only thing we have. It is the only vehicle in which we share our common humanity. There is therefore need to properly protect the environment. I realized that most of the laws in Nigeria are not very favorable to environmental protection and preservation in Nigeria. In most cases, some of these laws are not properly enforced. So my preference will be environmental law.

Who do you look up in the profession?

There are a lot of people I admire in the legal profession. One of them is Samuel Zibiri (SAN). I like his dexterity and approach to cases. I like his humility despite the height he has attended in the legal profession. There are so many of them that are really dear to my heart.

If you are in such a position, what will you do for female lawyers in Nigeria?

By the way, I need to inform you that the legal profession does not have this strict dichotomy between female and male lawyers. The profession refers to both as gentlemen of the bar. Nevertheless, given the chance, I will ensure that more women are conferred with the prestigious SAN title. I will also ensure that key positions in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) are occupied by women.


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