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Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton and the Unreported Environmentalist

January 26, 2013












Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton and the Unreported Environmentalist

By Tunde Akingbade

Kunle Ajibade, one of the founding Editors of The News magazine and literary critic last Sunday stunned the audience that gathered at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel and Towers to honor Jahman Anikulapo, former Editor, The Guardian on Sunday with the new book written by Salman Rushdie, the author who the late Iranian Leader Ayatollah Khomeni had declared a fatwa (death sentence) for allegedly blaspheming Islam.  The bulky hard cover book is entitled; Joseph Anton.

Before he died many years ago, Ayatollah Khomeni had declared fatwa on Rushdie over the book; Satanic verses. Rushdie went into hiding with heavy security protection for many years in Britain and wrote under the pseudonym, Joseph Anton. The pseudonym became the title of the new book which he used to describe his experiences and life in hiding. The new book was brought to the venue of the celebration of the 50th birthday anniversary of Jahman Anikulapo who relinquished his post as Editor, The Guardian on Sunday two weeks ago.

Ajibade, one of Nigeria’s foremost literary critics and author of Jailed for Life– a book that chronicled the injustice meted on him by the late General Sanni Abacha over a phantom coup when Abacha was in power is known to be in possession of rare literary works.

Ajibade who read a chapter of the new book written to honor Jahman Anikulapo at the event stunned the audience when he went to the microphone with the Joseph Anton, the new book by Salman Rushdie. No one knew what was up his sleeves with Salman Rushdie’s “fat book” until he told the gathering that the only befitting birthday present he could give a literary mind and culture advocate like the celebrant who had seen him reading Rushdie’s new book was Joseph Anton.

Ajibade said that with no newspaper deadline confronting the editor now that he has left The Guardian, he will be able to read the over 600 pages book in few days. He then walked to Jahman Anikulapo on the high table and presented the book to him. It was Kunle Ajibade and Dele Momodu who revealed how a popular Nigerian Editor plagiarized the book; Age of Reason by Thomas Paine about two and a half decades ago.

Many people including; Mr. Martins Oloja, Editor of The Guardian, Mr. J. Dafinone, Deputy Editor, Mr. Benson Idonije, Mr. Legendary Musician, Fatai Rolling Dollars, Mr. Kehinde Bamgbetan, Chairman, Ejigbo, LCDA, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, Media Adviser, Osun State Governor, Mr. Lekan Animashaun aka Baba Ani of Fela Anikulapo’s Egypt 80, Mrs. Taiwo Ajayi-Lycet, Mr. Pascal Ott, French School and Mr.Ben Tomoloju, one-time Arts Editor of The Guardian and Jahman Anikulapo’s teacher were present. They praised the celebrant for his doggedness and cultural activism.

However, Tunde Akingbade who also spoke at the event noted that Jahman Anikulapo should be seen beyond the literary and culture advocacy adding that Anikulapo “is the unreported environmentalist.”

“Many do not know that Jahman Anikulapo is a complete Newsman, a journalist and editor whose interest went beyond Arts Reporting. I am here to reveal the other unknown attributes of the man we are celebrating here today,” said Akingbade.

He went further; “In early 1990’s, Kole Ade-Odutola who with me and Tunde Olanipekun aka Lampex, the artist belonged to the Environment Core Group of Fredrich Ebert foundation. Kole Ade-Odutola and Jahman Anikulapo had an environmental collaboration in which they both produced a book on environmental protection entitled: Thy waste be dumped. The book was the proceedings of a workshop on household waste management.”

Said Akingbade;” Jahman found a correlation between Arts, culture and Environment. He runs a project called Wordslam. Word slam as the name implies brought artists who used words; and slam issues of interest on society. In 2011, Wordslam was used by our own Jahman to preach the problem of environmental protection, climate change, erosion, and desertification.”

“It’s pertinent to mention that besides Mr. Emeka Izeze, MD of The Guardian, I also owe my environmental writing and investigations to the interest, commitment, zeal and editorship of Mr. Anikulapo.’ Said Akingbade.

Akingbade disclosed; “The unreported part of Jahman Anikulapo is the fact that he prompted me into bringing out the story on Eko Atlantic city-Rumbles in the Sea which won CNN/Multichoice’s High Commendation Award in Lusaka, Zambia in 2012, the Lagos State/UNDP award in November 2012, and my United Nation’s Prince Albert II Global Prize on Climate Change Coverage last December in New York. One of the stories that won the UN’s Prince Albert Prize was on Electronic Waste being dumped into West Africa its relationship to Global Warming. That story was judiciously used by Jahman with photographs and it also earned me and The Guardian accolades by UNEP consultants and experts.”

“We owe the several coverage of the flooding of Lagos, Alpha Beach, Goshen Estate, the demolition of Makoko and exposure of environmentally displaced and oppressed people in Nigeria- though The Guardian on Sunday to this great editor with a wide horizon,” he said adding that he and Mr. Armfree Ajanaku and wrote many environment stories which won awards across the globe through the support and interest of Jahman Anikulapo who was mystery man, the unreported one behind the buzzing sound of the “Oro”. (An African cult that women should not see!).





In the pictures are; Kunle Ajibade with Joseph Anton, the celebrant with the  Representative of the Minister for Culture, Pascal Ott and Baba Ani of Egypt 80, Mr. Lawanso, Hon. Kehinde Bamgbetan and Segun Sule, Layiwola Adeniji, Sola Balogun. Edaota and Pascal Ott







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