In debut novel, Nigerian writer tackles illegal migration, get-rich quick syndrome
Peterson Ojieson’s debut novel, Iregular Migrant: A story of Perils, Triumphs and Karma, has a very compelling storyline. Not only does it relieve the author’s perilous sojourn to Europe through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Seas, it also sheds light on the get-rich quick syndrome. He tells PREMIUM TIMES more about the work in this interview
PT: Is your book a fictional account or your true-life experience?
Peter: Yes, my book The Irregular Migrant: A story of perils, triumphs and karma is a true life account of my experience as a 21 year old who had dropped out of from school and decided to migrate to Europe through the deserts and seas, in a bid to help get my family out from the throes of poverty.
PT: Is it your first novel and what is the story or inspiration behind the book?
Peter: It is my first novel. The inspiration behind the book comes from the need to contribute my quota at stemming the tide of irregular migration, the unnecessary sufferings and incessant lost of lives as a result of this dare devil mode of migration. I decided on telling my story, as it is, to pass on a message to the youth on the importance of staying in school, the risks involved in travelling through the desert and how it doesn’t pay in the long run, to take to a life of get-rich-quick.
PT: Tell us a bit about you?
Peter: I am a father, husband, and a budding writer, from Esan Central Local Government Area, of Edo State, Nigeria. My book explains the many perils I came upon along the way in the course of my journey, the triumph after almost two years on the road, of finally making it across the Mediterranean, and into Europe, the karma that came visiting, after I had gotten entangled in the criminal underworld of online scam in a bid to get rich quick.
My story highlights how, as it is with anything illegally acquired, they’d get frittered away because the only shortcut to success remains hard work, honesty and dignity.
PT: What plans do you have for this book?
Peter: My plans for this book is to be able to get it to reach every nook and cranny of Nigeria because of its relevance to our parents, children, the government and our society at large.
PT: Have you considered speaking with some filmmakers about the possibility of turning it into a movie or series?
Peter: Yes, that is certainly one of my dreams. But presently I haven’t spoken to anyone yet, and besides I have no contacts to any producers, hope someone might reach out to me.
PT: What are some of the challenges you faced writing the book?
Peter: It was huge struggle writing the book, because it made me relieve all of the sad experiences I had battled and bottled up in the last 19-20 years. I’d thought of discontinuing on the writing so many times because of the pains and sobs in between. However, the need to tell the story, to teach, direct, motivate someone out there helped me through with the writing. I did it for myself too, to let out all the bottled up emotions and trauma, and start the process of healing. By the way, my siblings have just read about this part of my life through this book and everyone is rightly both shocked and surprised.
PT: There appears to be no end in sight for irregular migration and trafficking in persons. Do you think this menace can be stemmed?
Peter: Migration in itself is as old as civilisation. While the menace cannot be completely eradicated, it sure can be stemmed or made unattractive. This is what prompted my book and story.
PT: Are you a self-published author?
Peter: I am a self-published author still battling with the right channel to publish traditionally; still trying to get the funds to print paperbacks of my book for distribution. Wished the government, corporate organisations and well meaning individuals would see the relevance of this book and sponsor the publication and distribution, as a way of contributing their quota to stemming this ugly tide of irregular migration. I hope to get sponsors who’d help me in mass-producing my book.