Akinyemi, Jelili Oyelere is a final year student of The Polytechnic, Ibadan Nigeria, where he serves as a Campus Journalist, Liaison Officer between Press Council and Security Department of the Institution, General Secretary of Sustainable Development Club (SDC), Poetry Students’ Ambassador (PSA) and Vice President of International African Writers’ Association (IAWA), Nigerian Branch etc.
The poems and short stories of the Imia born writer has featured in both national and International Anthologies like African Tales, Insight, Signature of Truth, Florets of Fancy, Legends, Petals of Wisdom, Lullaby of Sillence amongst others. Our correspondent, Kayode Awojobi, had a chat with him, herein below is the excerpts-
NW: What was growing up for Akinyemi Jelili Oyelere?
AJO: I was born in Imia hamlet, Kajola Local Government, Oke-Ogun area, Oyo State Nigeria, about three decades ago into the Akinyemi family. My daddy has four wives; and my mother is the third wife, I am the first child from my mummy and also I am the number 8th child out of 12. Growing up has been tedious for me because my education passed through wilderness of agony.
NW: With your background, how did you come about writing in general and what really inspired you to be a writer?
AJO: Wow! What an interesting question. I am from a poor and uneducated family. I spent two years in SS1, two years in SS2 and three years in SS3. I wrote my WAEC and NECO seven times but through commitment and perseverance, my gold come out in glittering shapes. I was actually motivated by my friend, Majaro Ayodele a student of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in December 2018 when I just finished my Industrial Training (IT) since then I have not for once give up in writer wildly, widely and wisely.
NW: Which aspect of writing do you major on?
AJO: Poetry, short story, article and news reporting.
NW: You’re planning to launch a poetry anthology soon, how long did it take you to put it together?
AJO: The book has been published for the online audience; it is available on okadabooks store for #700. I am hopeful that we will produce and unveil the hard copy soon.
NW: There is a new wave around writers in which they write all sorts of themes bordering around sexuality, what’s your opinion about this?
AJO: Most people write about what they are passing through, what comes to their minds, what they see around themselves or other contemporary issues. Most of writers of today write a lot around the neck of bottle of love but for me reverse is the case because I am a dark poet and activist writer who fight injustice with rod of justice. Hardly can you see me writing bordering on love, relationship and sexuality. It is not like am not romantic but I don’t allow trick of emotion to drive me to a venmous garden. Many sees writing as a true gospel to win the heart for themselves
NW: What are some of the themes included in the anthology that you think will interest the readers of this generation?
AJO: Awakening dreams is a poetic food for all the lovers and haters of poetry. The book centered on corruption, bad leaders in Nigeria and Africa at large and it stands as a wall of hope for all and sundry. The revelation sheets reflects my true life story in the village, on the stage and on the pages.
NW: So far so good, are you making money out of this your writing adventure?
AJO: I am not making morney for now but I am making connections with eminent personalities within and outside the country because connection is a bridge of wealth on earth. But I am indirectly earning little my role as a Campus Journalist.
NW: What are the challenges you’ve faced and still facing since you started exploring the art of writing?
AJO: The one challenge I could vividly recollect was when I started my poetic journey and I sent my poetry to an Indian poet who was among my friends on Facebook; he told me that my poem was not disseminate message. I was about to give up in writing because of his sharp sword of words that pierced my darkest heart. And when I could not face the crowd when I coudn’t speak English. The challenges I am facing now is too much of online activities, too much messages to reply, online meeting etc.
NW: In your thoughts, how has COVID-19 affected the Creative writing industry?
AJO: From my perception and perspective, it has only affect social gathering of writers. But it has never in any way affected creative writing. I can say it is an eyes opener and cloud of inspiration for the poets and writers at large. Without literature, I can’t describe how sign post COVID-19 would been. May be it would have being billboard of death. Literature is the product of movie, writing, reading, joke, comedy which are the tools of happiness in this tedious season. That is what I detected as an affected person,
NW: Who are the poets that you consider as role models?
Every poets and writers are my role models. But I love the poetic flows of Wole Soyinka and Geoffrey Chaucer; he was an English poet and author. Widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, he is best known for The Canterbury Tales. He was called the “father of English literature”, or, alternatively, the “father of English poetry”. He was the first writer buried in Poets’ Corner of Westminster. My poetic mentors are Emmanuel Dada Abiodun and Eriata Oribhabor; Poet President, Nigeria.
NW: As a poet, do you have any award to you yet?
AJO: Yes I do. I have more than 60 e-certificates and Awards from both within and outside the country.
NW: As a student, how do you combine extensive writing and academics together?
AJO: When the school is in session, I don’t write much because of too much activities and enormous responsibility on me. I am committed to various groups.
NW: After this your anthology what should your readers be expecting from you?
AJO: They should expecting mountain of surprises, though Awakening dreams is my first book and have finished the second one title; Mug Of Salvation while working on the third one titled: The Cave of a Thousand Demons. It purely centered on the diabolic leaders and politicians within the African continent. The inspiration is not from this realm. But from the realm of Angelic demons the cave of true muse.
NW: What’s your word of advice to writers/poets who are looking up to you?
AJO: I would like to tell writers that grammarians were once alphabetarians and abecedarians. Heroes was once tyros. The only moon that shines in the noon is a phony moon and beautiful danger. They should annihilate the city of suicide with better thoughts. They should not underrate the man (potential) in them. To be a man is not a day’s work nor the word of mouth but they have to take action in order not to fall into trap of distraction. They should not compare themselves with any other writers, because there is no comparison between the sun and the moon both of them shines when it is their time therefore they should wait for their own time to shine. The only person they must be better than is the man they are yesterday. They should keep reading, keep learning and should learn from those who died and buried on the pages. For pen is the most powerful weapon through which we can change the whole world with our written words.