Arts and Books

Nigeria at 60: Onyeka Onwenu to Release Memoir

Onyeka Onwenu

Nigerian singer, songwriter, social activist and Politician, Onyeka Onwenu is set to release her memoir; My Father’s Daughter on October 1, 2020. ‘The Elegant Stallion’ has traversed from being a media person, a rave musician in the 1980’s to a politician and Women development worker.

The memoir explores Onwenu’s formative exposure to feminism and how her father’s life heavily influenced her decision to join politics. Onwenu’s political ideology was impressed upon her by the exemplary foundation laid by her father, Dickson Kanu (DK) Onwenu, a politician who represented Port Harcourt at the Federal House of Representatives from 1954 till 1956. Onwenu’s father was a Zikist who carved his political niche as a member of the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons, the first political movement in Pre-independence Nigeria. He was the Secretary of the Ibo State Union, an sociopolitical group which was a precursor to the Ohanneze Ndigbo, with a branch in Port Harcourt. He also served the country as a town councillor and a member of the Port Harcourt Town Council.  He was also doubled as the acting principal of Enitonia High School in Borikiri, Port Harcourt.

Onyeka Onwenu
Senator Dickson Onwenu and Young Onyeka Onwenu. Source: Joliba Cultural Heritage

Onyeka Onwenu became fully aware of the realities of being a Nigerian because of the political and educational endeavors. Onwenu said that she was consumed by his passion for the development of Nigeria, at a time when politics was not a means to amass wealth. Onwenu was able to capture the communal lifestyle of the Igbos, and also expressed how family core values are intricately woven into personal ethics.

Ms. Onwenu’s patriotism and love for Nigeria is quite obvious throughout the book. Little wonder that My Father’s Daughter will be officially released to coincide with the 60th year Independence Day celebration of the country.

Onyeka Onwenu
Before Stardom, Onyeka Onwenu. Source: Alcheteron

She also recollected on how the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 – 1970 created a scar on her teenage experience. The debilitating effects of the Biafran War and how the family remained bound amidst the chaos. Ms. Onwenu serves up in her book the fragmentation, alienation, and displacement that permeated the Igbo community after the war.

The one-ime Television journalist documents in her book, her years in America, the culture clash, and the unavoidable conflicts that are the products of being a migrant. She shares her experience of being sexually harassed in a workplace and how her decision to leave got her a job at the UN. At the UN she crossed paths with a diplomat who encouraged her to drive social change in Nigeria.

Onyeka Onwenu
Golden Years: Onyeka Onwenu. Source: Music in Africa

The memoir captures her media experience. She wrote about going back to post-war Nigeria, and being confronted by the failing political system. Her involvement with politics  became important in order to fulfill her father’s legacy. She equally documents the challenges she faced as a politician. She revealed the challenges and problems in Nigerian politics, and revealed her surprise that the ills prevalent during independence are still prevalent in the current political environs of the country. Ms. Onwenu also discloses that corruption is not only restricted to the political system or political class. She traces the foundational challenges faced by the Nigerian political system from the military era down to democracy.

Read Also: Nigeria at 60: Onyeka Onwenu to Release Memoir

The verteran musician; Onwenu also explores her contribution to the developing Nigerian music industry in the 1980s. The reader is regaled with stories, the backstories in the Nigerian Entertainment industry. She also exposes the exploitation of musicians by industry leaders and practitioners in contemporary Nigeria. Onwenu also bares her mind on the unhealthy rivalry and competition that led to numerous cracks among veteran music artistes in Nigeria. Her transition from a musician to an actor is also chronicled as well.

Onyeka Onwenu discusses her private life. She delves robustly into her private life. For Onwenu, the challenges women face become bloated when she is famous. The book reveals that she refused to shrink herself to fit into a patriarchal mould. Onwenu’s life decisions shows that her ability to transcend society’s playbook serves as a learning curve for young women. For many years Onwenu has refused to discuss her marital experience but her book asserts that a woman’s worth is not predicated on her attachment to a man.

Peace Omenka

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.