‘Long Silence’ Is A Cloud Of Literary Aesthetics: A Review Of After A Long Silence


Author: Zaharaddeen Ibrahim Kallah

Genre: Poetry

Publisher: Adamu Joji Publishers

Pagination: 60

Reviewer: Muttaqa Yusha’u


After a Long Silence’ was a poetry collection authored by Zaharaddeen Ibrahim Kallah, the former Kano Branch State Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). It is a collection of forty four poems published by Adamu Joji Publishers (A.J). I may boast to say that Kallah’s collection is unique of its kind, and a must read for: students, literary critics and teachers. After a long silence, is a collection that burst the bubble of literary imagination, which impregnated the ink of the poet’s decades of literary sojourn.

The collection’s discerning message across various overlapping themes could be expressed using Alhaji Maitama Sule’s famous phrase while bemoaning the state of the Nation in Nigeria, as he decried that the society is embedded by, chaos in politics, corruption in the economy and immorality in the society. Given this problem besetting the Nigerian Society, the poet raises so much questions affecting the way the Nigerian society is derailing to a state of comatose, as a result of poor governance.

Therefore, the book is recommended to those interested in understanding the intricacies, challenges facing our world, and prospective imagination of bettering our society; restoring sanity, and returning our society to its glorious past.

Beneath Kallah’s long silence is a cloud of literary aesthetics, expressed in powerful diction of metaphors and euphemisms that sought to unravel the social ills that beset out society. In his opening poem, The Choice, the poet unpacked the social decadence among our youth who form the bedrock of our society. In fact, the poet’s poignant emotion about the youth of today is elucidated thus:

My heart cries in pain

When I see young ladies

Who choose to lose their vaginal pride

And open their doors and windows

For a little pay


In this life of choices

It is better to sing the best song

That can change life

With much sweeter experience (p. 11)


The poems were unassailably premised by sociological and political underpinnings that defined the context of the writer’s inspiration. The poet seeks to bring a dialogue that aims at changing our world, as contended in Marxist tradition that philosophers have interpreted the world in so many ways, the aim was to change it.

Kallah seeks to change our world through the power of his pen, as bemoans policy choices by the political class; this outcry was captured by a loaded poem titled poverty of ideology, thus:

Sometimes I found myself in confusion

When I hear their cripple reasoning

And blurred foresight

Administering out of calculation

That sails under-unreality


I reduced Kallah’s collection to political-sociology given the recurrent themes of the book, as virtually each poetry is coloured by Nigeria’s socio-political reality, governed by intransigence of political leadership to address the Nigeria’s social question; poverty, un-employment, destitution, election, moral erosion, election rigging, and corruption, all of which rendered the state weak, or predatory. This imagination is captured in the following poem, National Cake:

The atmosphere is full of Luxuries

For the few members

Surviving out of sweat of the majority

Sharing the cake differs

With a gap beyond imagination

Masses cry over this inequality (P 15)


The writer went far to equally evoke more questions about the Nigerian political economy, the Poet being a student of Global sociology, and taking cognizance of Nigeria’s integration into global capitalism, situates elite accumulation within the wider context of the politics of dialectical globalisation and its consequences on our economy.

A story of monster in Nigeria

Brought through neo-colonialism

Re-shaped through globalisation

Regime by regime

Same old song sung

Privatisation, deregulation and concession

Given room for stealing and looting

A due process stealing


Nigeria witnesses bogus policies

Full of deceit and confusion

It is time to put a stop

To this new world of slavery

Thus, the way and manner in which the poet imagined the Nigeria’s social question, revolving around social inequalities, corruption, declining ethical consciousness and abuse of power, for more than a decade, is depicted in the poems –National Cake and Poverty of Ideology, and the poet’s quest for a human agency through a viable political leadership to address the aforesaid challenges, a kin to Martin Luther King famous speech ‘I have a dream’. The poet also dreamt of a better Nigeria in the following verse, encapsulated in the poem, My Dream, and the poem prognosis is stated thus;

A leader who is in for a change,

To do away with all the dead wood,

Hangers on national resources,

Sucking the poor without respite,

A leader who treats pen robbers,

With the calamity of a hurricane,

A leader who makes life better for all (p 32).


This poem is highly revealing and prophetic in the Nigeria’s current anti-corruption crusade, from the dreaded Arms purchase imbroglio (Dasuki Gate), to several probing of the way and manner in which Nigeria’s patrimonies were cornered by a tiny population, that abuse their oath of office and engulfed in self-enrichment. Moreover, the poet has a humanistic vision of how our world should be, in a world governed by hatred, prejudices, sectarianism, phobias, and parochialism. All these have plunged us in wave of crisis as exemplified by the Arab Spring, migrant crisis in Syria, dethronement of Gadhafi, and overthrow of Mursi-led Government in Egypt. The poet implores for a spirit of togetherness that require us to avoid our prejudices, be they ethnic, religious, sectarian and class, for a prospective and egalitarian world that is predicated on the ultimate vision of our creation, of knowing and loving one another, despite our differing creeds. The poet normative claim is contained in the following excerpts from the poem: the Global Age:

In the global age

Life should be good

Leaders must be just and truthful

Masses loyal and obedient

Understanding the essence of living

Humanity is about reason not madness

Global Age is about peace and development

Globalisation shouldn’t be for marginalisation

It shouldn’t be for war and deception

It should be for peace, love and dialogue

It should be the new trade by barter

(p. 36-37)

However, Kallah’s lamentation of the Nigerian state is soothed by beautiful emotional verses on love, care, life, death, sports, determination and tributes to some fallen heroes. The Poet recounts his emotional journeys, romantic imaginations, and the search for a life partner; extolls virtues of some Nigerian Heroes. All these made the collection all encompassing, and appealing to readers of various age, sex, and class.

Muttaqa Yusha’u is a PhD candidate at the University of Malaysia. He can be reached through myushau@gmail.com



3 thoughts on “‘Long Silence’ Is A Cloud Of Literary Aesthetics: A Review Of After A Long Silence

  1. Kudos to Malam Kallah Ibrahim and Malam Muttaqa Yusha’u. Is a pride to have a publication via accessible network for the consumption of the world at large.


  2. I really like the volume most especially the way it depict> the current instant political switch over. and the so called term change that rattled all over the country. more so the way the directly talk to the teaming youth on moral decadence .

    And so I do appreciate Mr Yushau.

    thanks a lot Mal Zaharradeen for the poetic conceive and giving birth of this one in a century volume.

    Tahir Mahmood Saleh.


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