Title: Radio Sunrise

Author: Anietie Isong

Editor: Narrative Landscape, Lagos

year: 2021

Paging: 2021

REVALUATOR: Henri Akubuiro

Legendary British journalist Anthony Terrell Sampson once said, “In America, journalism is likely to be seen as an extension of history; in Britain, as an extension of conversation. In Nigeria, however, journalism works on both wings of the game.

Anietie Isong’s novel, Radio Sunrisehas as its central character a radio journalist, Ifiok, caught in the cesspool of Nigerian socio-political filth where he discovers, to his chagrin, that the rot of the system is tainted on multiple surfaces, even from within.

The fiction offers insight into militancy in the Niger Delta and its debilitating politics. It also makes us realize that in a capitalist society in a developing country like ours, arts programs that touch the hearts of many can easily be sacrificed when a big envelope is placed on the table from the pulpit.

Here, the main character serves as a periscope with which to view contemporary Nigerian society and its perilous alleyways. The author reviews the social contract between the individual and society in postcolonial Africa and how it has deteriorated.

Aniete’s tale goes beyond recounting the daily life of a traveling journalist in the metropolis of Lagos, his chronicles and his threatened radio dramas. There is an angle of love that throbs and stirs passion at one end and sparkles and shimmers at another end.

The plot begins near The Lord Is My Shepherd Foods canteen in Lagos with a case of a missing penis being reported: a man has just accused another of mysteriously taking away his manhood. But when the accuser is forced to undress, his Jean Thomas is found intact. Talk about false alarm! The news is later reported by Ifiok on Radio Sunrise Where he works.

The narrator recounts the theatrics of a traveling salesman whose “natural key to good health” medicine sold on a city bus can cure anything from malaria to cholera. The author invites us to look into this survival strategy which poses a question mark on the country’s health regulatory agency.

A sudden veil is thrown over the narrator’s popular radio show, River, on Sunrise Radio. When the pro-government chief executive, aka Apollo Man, announces that River will be canceled because the radio does not have the means to finance the show, Ifiok is crestfallen. It’s more heartbreaking when replaced by Holy Anointing Fire Hour, a church program.

“Shame on our leaders…for ignoring the arts. Let our ancestors judge them,” cursed Chief Ojo, an old fan of the drama program, upon hearing about the development. Two sponsorship attempts for the radio show fail. Also, Ifiok is disappointed that the media, which is the fourth estate of the kingdom, is not completely innocent of societal putrefaction. To Radio Sunrise, he and his colleagues learn to regularly plagiarize stories from other media sources, which is an indictment of ethical journalism. “We are a nation of thieves,” admits Ifiok.

There are Dalilas everywhere. Having failed to attract Ifiok during his first unannounced visit to his home, Sarah, the romantic bait of a new intern, ends up paying in the radio studio and continues home before Yetunde, Ifiok’s lover, rushes at them dancing naked, momentarily stepping out of his life. . The dismissal of Boniface, his best friend in Radio Sunrisefor allowing a caller on a call-in program to abuse the president on air, doesn’t sit well with Ifiok.

Ifiok’s journey to his hometown, Ibok, “the land of yellow earth and abundant palms”, in his native Niger Delta halfway through the narrative, brings us to different social issues different from what is happening. passes as part of Lagos. He is greeted by a horrible gas torch. His mission here is to make a documentary about ex-militants. A visit to Ubong, the vice president of the local Ibok council, reveals his hypocritical nature. His documentary mission leads him to a training program organized by the government for ex-militants.

Ifiok is also on hand to witness the revolt of ex-militants who resumed their attacks, after concluding that the government was not serious about the amnesty program, kidnapping the local government chairman, thus forcing Ubong to to hide.

Unfortunately, upon his return to Lagos, Ifiok learns from Apollo Man that his documentary script will not be aired, as he is not favorable to the government. When he protests, he is immediately suspended. The continued turmoil and threat of young people in the Niger Delta weakens Ifiok’s hope for a better future, but it sums up the sad postcolonial condition described by the author that every reader should read and ponder.