Title: What Goes Round…
Author: Paul Ugah
Publisher: Editions Ehi Int.
Reviewer: Adjekpagbon Blessed Mudiaga
‘What Goes Round…’ is Paul Ugah’s first book into the foray of the family of authors in Nigeria’s writers circle. Woven with four chapters with different topical themes such as ‘Asetiya Agabi’s Palace,’ ‘The Birth of Edo,’ ‘Edo Goes to School,’ and ‘The Price of Evil,’ the novella is targeted at children of primary school age, to educate and entertain them with moral values.
The first chapter (Asetiya Agabi’s Palace) focuses on the humanitarian attitude of the chief of Abinsi’s palace, whose generosity bring visitors to him worldwide. The plot is omniscient in nature, and enliven with the antics of a jester known as Achi Alubo who likes ridiculing people in the manner of Udu-boy, a character in Adjekpagbon Blessed Mudiaga’s novel (Domestic Daddy). The lesson one can draw from this story is the necessity to be kind to others and the essence of living in peace and cooperation as exemplified by Asetiya Agabi, the chief of Abinsi’s palace.
Chapter Two (The Birth of Edo), talks about the leadership qualities of Asetiya Agabi the king of Kwararafa kingdom. The importance attached to the birth of a male child in a royal family especially in an African patriarchal traditional setting comes to the fore, as the king’s third and youngest wife, Akunase gives birth to a male child after twelve years of marriage, when his first two wives, Awazyo and Ene could not bear him a child. The author says: “The birth of Edo attracted many gifts. People from all walks of life in Kwararafa visited the palace of Asetiya Agabi with one gift or the other…”
Moreover, a drunk known as Awasha-the-drunken-master, who entertains little children by telling stories, form the centre focus of Chapter Three, which underscores the inherent power of prayer to God. This scenario is used to highlight the point that though some people are drunkards, they have high intelligence about certain emulative virtues in human society. It is in this vein that a character known as Agbo Andokari tells Awasha-the-drunken-master that: “Awasha you are drunk but can tell nice stories.”
Nonetheless, “Edo Goes to School,” is the theme of Chapter Three, which dwells on King Asetiya Agabi’s desire to send his son to a good boarding school to acquire better training after his primary education. But his mother opposes the plan, just as Mrs. Ile-Iwe did concerning her son’s education in the novella titled “Mr. Bungalow” also written by Adjekpagbon Blessed Mudiaga. This, show a common thinking pattern among writers and some issues that are happening in their environments, and a pointer to the fact that some mothers ruin their children’s opportunity to have good education, due to petty irrelevant motherly concerns. But unlike Ojo’s father in “Mr. Bungalow’s” plot, Edo’s father stood his grounds that his son must attend a good school, and he (Edo) therefore goes to a boarding school despite his mother’s disagreement.
The last chapter titled “The Price of Evil,” is a very interesting portion, with great moral lessons. It teaches both the young and old to be steadfast in doing good and maintaining the virtues one has been known for, instead of changing and becoming wicked, which could result to disasters.
The plot of the story takes an abrupt twist as one sadly discovers the other side of the King of Kwararafa as he surprisingly becomes self-seeking, and only doing good to receive praises from people. A blind beggar known as Mallam Dogood, tells the king always that: “If you do good to others, you do it to your self,” but the king gets annoyed and tries to kill the beggar through food poisoning. At last, the poison is also eaten unknowingly by the king’s only child as the beggar’s son shares the poisoned groundnut paste with the king’s son without his knowledge. Edo, the king’s child dies. This unfortunate happening leads to the king’s unexpected death. It is from this perspective that one could appreciate why the book is titled “What Goes Round…” in line with a common saying that, “What goes around, comes around.”
The author’s diction is simple and easy for any reasonable pupil that could read, to understand. The bottom line of the entire book is that, one should not expect people to worship or praise him/her every time for doing good. Any good thing one actually does to another person has a reward waiting for one somewhere in the future. Therefore, being good to others simply means being good to oneself.
The author, Paul Ugah, is a journalist, poet, and critic. He studied Law at the Benue State Polytechnic, and has a degree in Mass Communication, from the Benue State University, Nigeria. He was an Associate Editor of ‘The Pavilion Newspaper’ and a former reporter of ‘The Voice Newspaper.’ One of his poems titled “Voice of Africa” won the 2010 Kenanet/ANA Benue Poetry Award.