Theme Quote

‘A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one would find faults with what he had done.’

  • Cardinal Newman

Title:  Ibom Voices

Editors: Josephine Iniobong and Joseph Ushie

Authors: There are twenty-five contributors as follows: Imoh Emenyi, Chidinma Elem, Sunshine Inyang, Aniekanabasi Monday, Sunday Umanah (Tutsi), Nsikak Roberts (HNYS), Uwem Udoko, Innih Archibong, Godwin Noah, Manson Akaduh, Chris Adaete, Akan Essien, Gabriel Ette Esq, Susanna Udoka, Cosmos Ekiko, Martin Akpan, Iboro Nelson, Utitofon Inyang, Eyoh Etim, Ebony Okon, N.J. Udoeyop, Ini Uko, Luke Eyoh, Joe Ushie, and Josephine Iniobong.

Publishers: Siene Books in collaboration with ANA AKS

Town of Publication: Uyo

Year of Publication: 2011

ISBN: 9978-978-919-306-6

Pagination: viii + 168 = 176 pages

Price: ‘Priceless’ (Not Stated)

Reviewer: Eyoh Etim ( MA English Literature)

                   Department of English and Literary Studies,

                    Akwa Ibom State University,



Ibom Voices is a rich, highly treasured and creative assemblage of seventy-five poems and two short stories by twenty-five mostly eminent poets and other promising and talented writers, all who are either Akwa Ibom-born or are members of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Akwa Ibom  State Branch. These twenty-five varied voices, however, dwell on themes touching on the promotion of human values, an age-long tradition of humane letters. Indeed, as an Egyptian writer puts it recently in a BBC interview, novelists and, by extension, poets and dramatists down the ages, have always been committed to the defence of human values. A close examination of Ibom Voices yields a revelation that the authors are on the side of history, and, of course, in this case, literary history. This is true because though there is a complete ‘falling apart’ in the identity and sound of the writer’s voices, ‘the centre holds’ in terms of thematic concerns. It is based on this that it is possible to group or classify a number of these poems under certain themes and subject matter, even as the analysis of contents reveals.

Contents Analysis

There are autobiographical poems in this anthology. These poems are based on the direct experiences of these authors. Among such poems are Imoh Emenyi’s ‘Across the Artic’ and ‘From the Womb’. Others include Josephine Iniobong’s ‘Dear Daddy’ and, in some ways, Sunday Umanah’s ‘How She Departed’. There are also biographical poems in the collection. These are poems that attempt a reconstruction of the life story of a foremost Akwa Ibom-born literary icon, the late Professor Ime Ikiddeh, who also has the honour of having this anthology dedicated to his living memory. This is, indeed, very thoughtful of the leadership of ANA, Akwa Ibom State Branch as the late Ime Ikiddeh, a celebrated world literary figure, deserves an immortal epitaph from the creative minds of his own people. Among the poems that extol the sterling human qualities of Ime Ikiddeh are Ini Uko’s ‘Ode to a Worthy Mentor’, N. J. Udoeyop’s ‘A Tribute to an Illustrious Peer’ and Joe Ushie’s ‘Tribute to Ime Ikiddeh’. Together, these lines of ornamental threnody confer on the image of Ikiddeh a personality that towers over death, ageless, timeless and eternal.

The equally timeless and universal theme of love has been amply captured, depicted  and expressed in passionate pieces such as Chidinma Elem’s ‘Love’, Aniekanabasi Monday’s ‘Love is Hatred’ and Innih Archibong’s ‘Unconditional Love’. Suffice it to state that love poems in the hands of seasoned poets could be used to make socially-committed statements as it is the case in this anthology. However, there are specially socially-committed poems in this collection. These are poems written against the background of the perceived social inequalities in social relations across classes of people and groups in the poet’s milieu. Among the poems that could be termed socially committed in the anthology are Martin Akpan’s ‘Good Night Africa’, Eyoh Etim’s ‘National Imperatives’, Ebony Okon’s ‘Quick-Quick’, Uwem Udoko’s ‘In the Cold’ and Akan Essien’s ‘Nkoriko Tigers’.

Other society-conscious poems in the collection are: Godwin Noah’s ‘Lamentations of a Patriot’, Manson Akaduh’s ‘Ware House of Naked Bones’, Susanna Udoka’s ‘Second Coming’, Comas Ekiko’s ‘Praise with Pains’ and Utitofon Inyang’s ‘Billboard’. Ebony Okon’s ‘Quick-Quick’, for instance, decries the snail-pace development of the oil-rich Niger Delta, and demands that the region be given the urgent attention that it requires: ‘Quick say the Deltans/ What is due to the Deltans/ Bring it quick!’ In the same vein, Eyoh Etim’s ‘National Imperatives’ urges the powers that be to: ‘Bury Boko-Haramism/ Ban laboured Education/ Eradicate poverty of ideas/ (and) stop trafficking in cash’.

There is a gender-friendly poem in Iboro Nelson’s ‘She’s the Woman, the Spice of Life’. Nsikak Robert’s poem eulogises Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a major sponsor of this publication. Gabriel Ette’s ‘Pleasurable Pain’ has a romantic texture while Chris Adaete’s ‘A Dance of the Saints’ is a story in verse. The only two short stories in Ibom Voices are authored by Akan Essien entitled Dialogue of Angels and The Strange Journey. These short stories make major statements on human social relations and conditions in society.


Though Ibom Voices is a song of different tunes, the harmony in it is unmistakable. Hence, the title of the book is quite apt. The cover is done through direct imaging, with both the jacket and the cover being mat laminated. There is a logo of ANA on the left and that of the publishers on the right. The dominant colour is green, signifying the fertility and creative talents in the Association. The word ‘Ibom’ is boldly written in white, which symbolises peace, purity and love, which ANA stands for. The word ‘Voices’ is written in foliage fonts to depict the variation in the themes and style of all the writers, while the red captures the seriousness of the message contained in the work. Then there is a sketched map of Akwa Abasi Ibom State. The synchronisation of the symbols is perfect. The printing is done on a 100 gramms cream bond paper (a rarity in recently published books in Nigeria) and is manually bound to ensure that the leaves stick together for a very long time. The print is quite clear and the font is readable to the average vision.

The organisation of the book is creative and laudable. Each contributor has a whole page for his or her bio-data shortly before the work is presented, still with the author’s name coming first at the top of the page. The pagination is bold and unmistakable.

The fact that the authors were not restricted to a particular subject matter allows for the democracy noted in the text as well as all kinds of creative ingenuity finding expression in Ibom Voices. However, given that no libelous piece is found in the text, and given that the entire message is put across with utmost restraint and maturity only portray the executive editing team of Joseph Ushie and Josephine Iniobong in positive light. Nevertheless, a grievous case of omission and a number of typographical issues have been recorded, but these, to the best of the reviewer’s knowledge, do not subtract from the huge success of this glorious outing. It is, however, hoped that subsequent editions will handle these issues as it is usually the case in book publishing. On the whole, Ibom Voices can be described as a lucky but brave baby who survived all prenatal odds just to be born to the joy of its parents.


Thisreview entitled ‘In Defence of Literary History’ has been based on Ibom Voices, a publication of ANA Akwa Ibom State Branch. The review has taken a thematic approach given the nature of its contents. In the course of the review, it is noted, as the various contributions in the anthology reveals, that the voices heard in the poems and short stories are committed to defending those values that are benign to human society. This is in keeping with the now debatable classical literary ideas of Aristotle, which states that all serious poets write tragedy and lesser poets write comedy. Against the background of poverty, social inequalities and social injustice occasioned by poor governance, man’s inhumanity to another man, the forces of nature and other life realities, the works in this collection are nothing but a representation of human experiences, their despairing cries, hopes and aspirations of the society in which their writers live—a mirror of society, which literature is.


 Having highlighted the characteristic traits that mark Ibom Voices as an exemplar of literary ingenuity and fine artistic workmanship, and having extolled the qualities of its rich and variegated contents, I wish to most earnestly recommend the ANA AKS anthology, Ibom Voices, to all lovers of literature, educational institutions and other related bodies such as government ministries, agencies and parastatals, and especially those leaders who desire fresh insight into the problems of this country and who are in need of inspiration to chart a different course. In this book are lines that can lift the spirit, educate the mind and refresh the soul. Teachers and students alike in the secondary schools and universities will find it very useful in teaching and learning contemporary realities, especially in English and Literature departments. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you the latest book in town, the latest to be admitted into the Nigerian literary Hall of Fame, a fine song of many singers— Ibom Voices, a publication of ANA AKS Branch. I thank you all.  

Ibom Voices

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