Book review: Kalango (the personified story of Nigeria) Emeka Anyanwu

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imageNow that Nigerians are preparing to elect their new leaders, it will be a fantastic opportunity to reflect on this narrative and draw important lessons. Kalango as a fictional story depicting the socio-political changes that are going on in Nigeria captures my imagination right from the awkward way the author Emeka Anyanwu presented the book cover.

Traditionally, it’s said ‘’you don’t judge a book by its cover.’’ Kalango challenges this convention by featuring an intriguing blank cover that brought to bare vulnerability and lost opportunities. This strengthens the case made by this Nigerian author who says that ‘’Kalango is a campaign for the new generation to  take responsibility if they still want to be in control of their destiny.’’They journey for the future starts today.

One of the protagonists named Kalango belongs to old generation that believed that Nigeria is for them alone, and at liberty to do as it pleases them. He was conducting his bizarre affairs with impunity that shocked his community and the Nation in general. His rival Uzo who saw what was going on took up the challenge to face this formidable force that had brought menace to their community. Uzo’s intervention shows that we should not blind ourselves to the virtues that exist in our world, that everywhere we go life is full of heroism. We still have great citizens who love peace and justice and could intervene in situations like the one Nigerians are undergoing at this moment.

Kalango has a superb fairy tale quality that brings  a kind of nostalgic feeling that connects you with your family and the values. The way two families: Uzo’s and Uddin’s families were juxtaposed for readers make out their views. That gave the kalango an appeal that you rarely find in other books. The message here is: charity begins at home.Strong family values quintessential in people’s culture. Nigerians should go back to the drawing board and sort their problems out amicably.

Just as ‘’ no guts, no glory,’’ things always come at price. Uzo paid dearly when he was attacked by kalango and his gangs. He escaped the attack but like Kalango, he will always leave his footprint on his victim. This is a man that loves to ex-head and in-head his tenants and his enemies. Strives most where there’s no law and order. Loves all forms of abuses. It never ends there, he goes after the people’s wife especially vulnerable women. He will assault them knowing he’s got the wealth and connection, as he is linked to the office of the vice-presidency, the seat of power.

The author brilliantly portrays different families to highlight values, beliefs, images. He moved on to community culture and corporate culture to correlate them with the kind of society that are most likely to emerge at end. He places emphasis on how we work and relate with one another. He believes: if a family values fail, community culture fails and corporate culture fails, there is no future for that nation. You can’t be in control of your destiny by walking back.

Uzo faced with huge challenges after vowing to tackle Kalango launched campaign on social media #kalangoforjail. This took kalango by storm and put him on the collision course with Rumuokoro community. For the first in Kalango’s life he came close to leaving Port Harcourt because public outrage.

Kalango hit back at Uzo but failed to land his usual knockout. Uzo got a tip off and didn’t sleep in house that night. That really signified that kalango was losing his claws. The loss he made when he  failed to murder Uzo in his flat turned to be a gain when he was acquitted in the court. Signifying a temporary measure for Kalango.

This brought enormous pressure on Uzo that he had little or no choice but to escape to lagos where he started his life new life.

While at Lagos, Uzo’s eye was on Kalango whom he saw as the most ruthless and vain person in the country. In his new job at St John’s Uzo came back to life.He rediscovered  himself and began to climb progressively in his career but little did he know that he was destined to face a similar challenges he had with Kalango: corruption and abuse. Security challenges and break down in law and order were the order of the day. There was total loss of confidence on the due process of law. This made it easy for people like kalango and Dr Eke to flourish and go unchallenged. For any country to prosper and make plan for the next generation, it must take law and order seriously. Without security, law and order,Nigeria cannot play its global role of being the most powerful emergent economy. Nigerians have good people, with creative minds. People who have hearts and souls to make Nigeria great.


When Uzo became aware of  the sleaze, corruption  and mistrust that was entrenched at St. John’s he felt aggrieved and outraged. Dr Ekeh who co-founded St. John’s hospital  was recklessly undermining everyone’s activity. He was defrauding the hospital to the tune billions and billions with his cohorts while claiming to be the custodian of the hospital. He was running St John’s in a playboy fashion engaging in serious debauchery and bravado. Leaving Doctors and nurses to go unpaid for months and months.The patients left uncared and untreated for lack of fund. Faced with this challenge, Uzo refused to be cowed. ‘Kalango’ pitches for responsibility and hard work as against self-doubt and despair.It calls on the new generation to approach matters that concern their careers and future with confidence. ‘’You cannot go the promise land without crossing the red sea,’’ says the author of kalango. There’s huge  price to pay if one fails to define their purpose today.

Choice is the most powerful endowment giving to mankind by God. Exercising this choice paves way for success and achievement. Uzo wouldn’t have emerged successful in Kalango had he slacked off or crumbled under the pressure of both men in his life. Nigerians now have this choice to exercise.Voting is their fundamental rights. It is important they choose who will lead them this promise land. They need to make clear and sensible choice giving the long history of disappointment and disenchantment that has brought in apathy and mistrust between the masses and ruling class.  Kalango remains one of the best fictional stories you cannot pigeon-holed.

You can get Kalango at or Waterstone shops.