My Dear Mufutua, (A Most Robust Response)

1. #LongRead

2.This article contains Pidgin English, Broken English, Street English, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Ibibio and Urhobo.

3. To be read in your best Akpos voice, with your best Waffi accent.

My Dear Mufutua,

How you dey? How body? I know say you don enjoy sotay, hehe. No wahala, I happy for you. Make you dey enjoy beta tins wey dey dat side, in short, carry go!

As tins be, I for no bother to write dis long tori give you. After all, wetin self? Wetin dey for this earth? No be just to come, eat, work, die, go give account? Where me and you from sabi self? Wey I go come wan talk plenty for your matter? Abi na just dis yeye tin wey dem call Twitter? mbok, no be government work.

The tin be say dis tori don dey worry me tay. I don try hide am, try forget am, try sub-tweet am, still, the tori no gree me rest. Na im I say make I write am, at least, even if you no read am,

1. the thing go comot my mind.

2. Me go fit rest.

3. Other pipu dem, wey read fit get one or two tins for inside am, as our fathers talk, person no dey wey sabi every, na share and learn we all dey.

First of all, I wan yarn about the magic wey you do, as you Block and Unblock me so. Tuale. Congrats you hear? Just dey continue, your reward dey. Liver nor gree you make you block am keep am like that. Enjoy, just know say as bird fly for sky, im leg, dey look ground.

Second matter, I wan tell you say you no try. Me. And you. We dey for inside domot dey discuss matter, you talk say you no dey do, before I fit open my eye, you don submit your tori already.

Dat one never still do, as me self dey try tink wetin to write, you don start to campaign. Your babe dem don dey announce am for Facebook, cold and fear don dey catch me gididgba for heart. No be clear eye I take scramble submit. At least, make we see as e go be, na so I tell myself.

Next ting, your babe start to talk wetin me no fit understand. See ehn, dis world we dey, na just waka pass we be o! E no good make you dey take trouble follow people wey take beta mind follow you. Even Bible take am say : Person wey carry bad tin repay who gi’ am good tin, na so-so bad tin go dey follow am. And na true talk, if you carry bad tin pay back person wey do you good tin, na kasala you dey plant.

Finally, I wan make we talk about dis Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize matter. Onto say, the wahala don already reach international community dem. Pikin wey im mama born am for in front of CNN camera, na to open de mama leg well make camera man film am clearly as e dey commot.

Mufu, na me and you dey lament as nobody dey send writers. Airtel own na to dey throw Big Brother Africa party.

MTN own na to dey dash people private jet or do competition for pipu wey dey sing or dance.

Nobody send writers.

If dem mistakenly remember us, na so-so condition go follow the award.

If na Caine prize, you gat to dey published already. And no be all that sme-sme wey you dey do with Ani, na better publishing we dey talk, for obodo oyinbo magazine dem. Magazines like Granta, Guernica, Transitions etcetera.

If na LNG, you know na. First, as you go take find who go publish you na wahala. No be person tell Amu Nandi make she go self publish her poetry. On top say dey the top three for this year’s $100,000 (N16,500,000.00) short list, nobody fit give am book deal. A word is enough for a lagos bus driver. Owa!

if plenty condition no follow, then prize money go dey less than wetin de company dey share as free recharge card, dat kind $60 (N10,000.00), before VAT tins.

Otherwise, na state of origin sure pass. (I think I don tell you say I don see wife? Her name na Chimamara, she from Anambra. We go yarn later).

In short, for we ‘unpublished’ writers? Country no good.

Then Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize come show.

My own be say, make Baba God bless the Etisalat people wey tink about ‘unpublished’ writers.

Like say dem give this marketing job– sorry eh, competition, to another group of artists like ‘undiscovered’ artists, or ‘unrecorded’
Musicians, we for no cough.

No be say the prize dey perfect or wahala no full am. But at least, e don set leg for we side. If we no ki’ de Prize with our bad belle talk and paralogism dem.

First, first , dis go be the roughest £1000 wey the winner don ever make for im entire life, I tell you.

By the time e don comb 157 countries,

Communicate: Speak 1111+ languages,

Campaign : Beg, ask,solicit, bully, coerce pipu make dem vote.

Advertise: tweet, share to Facebbok, Whatsapp,BBM…

Mobilize: host rallies, do readings, do advocacy, do community literacy programs.

Invest: buy recharge card, buy phones for pipu wey wan vote no get phone, sponsor competitions dem to increase awareness, buy shacks for guys make their ear take clear first.

Pitch: explain the matter give Mama and Papa, say all this 24 hour waka na on top money wey no fit buy keke.

Connect: re-establish all the broken friendship and membership links with long lost cousins, exes, alumni, phone book contacts, unfriendly neighbours, snobbish cousins etcetera.

All, to find votes.

No be person go tell am, e go sabi for body.

Except if im hack am. For which I gats to pause say — Holy Ghost Fire!

Ehn-he, so no be say na pure water, indomie noodles or moi-moi to win this thing.

The competition no dey perfect. We no dey perfect. Life self no dey perfect.

Important tin be say, make we dey chop sugarcane, comot sugar, throwaway cane. Make we dey try look the beta tins wey we fit accomplish with the competition…

For where? You no gree.

You dey follow people wey no get literary destiny play with your life. You dey form elitist give people wey no sabi the difference between Munro and Morrison. You dey form hard man come dey carry last.

Mufu, I shame for you.

No be de tin wey me expect say you go do be dis o! I talk true. You wey at least you don win voting competition before, no be now wey you gon get followers small, dat time your followers no reach 200, yet you still win abi na hack you hack am?

Small pipu like us just dey warm up say we go dey dey dub your maps, at least at-all-at-all na im be winch. Na im you cross your entire answer sheet for the middle of exam, squeeze your paper, throway. Na wa! Mufu, why?


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14 thoughts on “My Dear Mufutua, (A Most Robust Response)

  1. I got your message, and resorting to insults and veiled curses is not really necessary. I read the first, and was guilty. Reading this, all I feel is disappointment and revulsion. You didn’t have to stoop this low.

  2. Ko easy!!! Na wetin high illiteracy rate dey cause for naija. Pipu prefer to pursue moni than to read. Nne the struggle continues, we just thank God for the opportunity to write. Like Van Gogh posterity would judge our writings, and one day your essay(s) might sell for 1million dollars, the only bad tin be say na another person go enjoy the money.

  3. The debate about the propriety or otherwise of the ongoing Etisalat Prize for Fiction is one I have been tempted to lend my voice to, I guess there’s no need for that any longer.

    • Ah! Oga there is oh! The mudslingers are overshadowing those trying to find redemption for the prize. People seem to be sponsored to write about ‘Tragedies of desperation’ while the same sponsors go looking for Linda Ikeji’s contacts.

      Moreso, there are so many real issues that aren’t being addressed.
      1. What about hacking?

      2. Why not mobilize the 480 with tools to promote reading?

      3. Why is a prize that involves so MUCH HARD WORK just N250,000.00?
      4. How much do votes count? As a percentage of judging? Or just to get into the round of 20?

      But Oga, God bless you for stopping by. We hope for more people to speak/write about this. There is enough room in Africa’s neglected literary space for every sort of writing contest.

      Thank you

  4. I have read about genuine concerns from some unbiased literary enthusiasts, but mostly what I have seen are drivels from people who cant compass their way around an acre of words. I think the organizers of the Etisalat Prize are just seeking to exploit the exposure inherent in making the competition “social media compliant”, for their brand, in exchange for instituting the prize. Usually, voting in the pattern in which its being done is not for the purpose of picking a winner, but for the sake of elimination. And this approach by all means is logical, even if it isnt the best. The advent of social media dictates that writing competitions such as this can no longer stick to traditional rules of the game. If writers use social media to project their everyday writings, why cant they use the same medium to project their entries for a competition? I have participated in, and won a few, writing competitions which used the same format Etisalat is using, and I can testify I enjoyed the ride. It pushed me into projecting myself, something I have absolutely no regrets about. I was forced to reach out, made friends, met admirers and critics along the way, all who have helped me grow as a writer. I am sure Etisalat has a panel of judges who would grade the entries that make it through the voting phase. I agree N250,000 is too little, the prize shouldnt be less than N1,000,000 in cash prize and a publishing contract, but I can only see this get better. At least for once in this country, we have a brand willing to support unpublished writers. I see only positives.

    • Hmm. Thanks for reading. It is a sub, maybe, but not directed at a person but at the attitudes of unpublished writers to the Etisalat Prize.

      At persons that sent entries in for the Etisalat prize and then cried wolf.

      At persons who have participated in voting contests and won and now call them popularity contests.

      At persons who abuse trust and friendship.

      Many writers have shocked me with their response to the Etisalat Prize, I wrote this generally. I am surprised that Bunmi thinks it is his letter….

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