The early influences that sparked my passion for writing
The early influences that ignited my passion for writing trace back to the city of Ibadan in Nigeria, where I spent my formative years. In this city, I encountered a lady named Dolores Viola, an American Peace Corps member during that period. Dolores took me under her wing when I was in primary school. She visited our school to identify students who could articulate English fluently and quickly memorize various texts. There was a test—an essay, and I was the only pupil who passed it. While the others faltered, I succeeded. This achievement led to my admission into the Young People’s Arts Theatre at the University of Ibadan, where Dolores Viola became my English teacher. Inspired by her, I began avidly reading anything that crossed my way. In the 1960s, she held the position of a professor of Drama and English literature at the University of Ibadan.
Transitioning to the seminary at the Holy Ghost Juniorate in Ihiala, Eastern Nigeria, where I aspired to become a priest, French, and literature became my favourite subjects. Reflecting on my childhood, I believe my passion for writing originated during that period. What many people may not know is that, during that time, I established my own small troupe where we performed plays written by me. Looking back at this period, I can’t help but smile, recognizing that it laid the foundation for what I am today.