“They will ask me when I first knew I was in love with you. I will sign and say I don’t know. It happened in fragments, piece by piece, separate moments over the years. Moments – that’s how I remember it. They will be surprised when I say you are the only man I have ever loved;” read an excerpt from Chimeka Garricks’, A Broken People’s Playlist.
This heartfelt excerpt captures the gradual blossoming of love between two characters, Kaodini and Sira in Garricks’ novel. The author, inspired by Adam Levine’s song, “Lost Stars”, tells the story of how Kaodini, an entrepreneur with a painful past, and Sira, a lawyer who faced betrayal first connected as family friends and later as lovers. Their journey involves shared experiences, music, and challenges.
Despite breaking up and moving to different cities, their strong connection persists. Kaodini’s compromise and a proposal lead to a plan for marriage, yet the story takes unexpected turns. The book delves into the intricacies of their relationship, reflecting how personal playlists can inspire and shape creative writing.
Chimeka Garricks, an Irish-born Nigerian writer, weaves a collection of 12 interconnected stories in “A Broken People’s Playlist.” Set in Port Harcourt, these stories explore themes of trauma, joy, desire, and redemption, all intertwined by the power of music.
Inspired by his own struggle with writer’s block, Garricks found solace in music, his playlist. This reignited his creativity and led to the creation of this collection. Cambridge dictionary defined Playlsit as a list of pieces of music chosen by someone to listen to on their computer or phone.
In the author’s note, Garricks wrote that “this is a story of an unforeseen detour, and how music saved my writing. My first published novel, “Tomorrow Died Yesterday’, came out in December 2010. In mid-2012, I started work on a proposed second novel… but I haven’t written another word of that novel since. I tried, many times, to write. And every time, I met a blank wall, screen, paper, and mind. I didn’t write for years and it messed with my mind. It got dark enough in my head for me to believe that “Tomorrow Died Yesterday’ was a one-off, and I could no longer write fiction. I almost accepted it as fate, mourned, turned, and started listening to music.”
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By reading the book and listening to the songs that influenced each chapter, readers can immerse themselves in this world, discovering how melodies breathe life into narratives. Just as a playlist brings together songs, “A Broken People’s Playlist” brings together stories, making it a unique and captivating literary experience.
Notably, Chimeka Garricks’ experience with music-driven creativity is mirrored by others, such as Nasir El-Rufai, the former governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria, who found solace in music amid political challenges.
Nasir El-Rufai and Nigeria’s “love-a-thon”: From courtship contracts to political marriage and ministerial mirage
Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai’s romance with Nigeria traces back to the 1980s when he started building connections with the nation’s largest economy.
Born on February 16, 1960, El-Rufai hails from Daudawa, Nigeria. Despite losing his father at a young age, he pursued education with the support of his uncle and went on to excel at Barewa College. Graduating top of his class, he earned a bachelor’s degree in quantity surveying from Ahmadu Bello University. His journey continued with a Master of Business Administration from the same institution in 1984.
At 23 years old, the love affair made hiim a young millionaire during Abacha’s regime as the military head of state. How? In 1982, he founded El-Rufai & Partners, a quantity surveying consulting firm with three partners which he managed until 1998. During the military juntas of 1983–1998, the firm received building and civil engineering contracts including during the construction of Abuja, making the partners “young millionaires”
Political career (The Marriage)
In 1998, following the death of military head of state General Sani Abacha, his successor General Abdulsalami Abubakar appointed El-Rufai as an economic advisor. In this role he worked with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Afterwards, he was appointed the director of the Bureau of Public Enterprises in 1999, and secretary of the National Council of Privatisation where he spear-headed the privatisation of several government owned corporations alongside Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
El-Rufai’s political journey took shape when he became the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory from 2003 to 2007, where he oversaw a transformation of the capital city, Abuja. He played an instrumental role in reforming the Nigerian public service and chaired committees for various high-profile initiatives.
Despite facing controversies and periods of self-imposed exile, El-Rufai’s political impact remained strong. He joined the Congress for Progressive Change in 2011, supported Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential campaign, and later became a key member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
His persistence bore fruit when he won the governorship election in Kaduna State firstly in 2015, and securing a re-election in 2019 with a substantial victory margin.
The Ministerial mirage (Heartbreak)
Like Garrick’s attempt at a second novel, Nasir El-Rufai’s nomination for a second ministerial term in Nigeria, hit a blank wall. After the Nigerian Senate withheld his confirmation due to pending security clearance, the former governor reportedly declined the nomination.
He turned to music – his playlist – to express his thoughts during this turn of events. Among the songs that resonated with El-Rufai were “Who The Cap Fit” by Bob Marley & The Wailers and “One Moment in Time” by Whitney Houston. These musical choices reflect the therapeutic power of music, providing solace amid Nigeria’s political twists and turns. This highlights the role of music in creative expression and as a means of finding comfort during uncertain times.
El-Rufai is one of many political leaders who turned to tunes (music) for relief. From Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State to former US President Barack Obama, music offers a way to convey emotions and messages. Adeleke’s joyful expression through gospel music after political setbacks and Obama’s diverse playlists demonstrate how music can transcend political borders, influencing leaders’ experiences and decisions.
These instances highlight how music can serve as a powerful force, influencing creative expression and providing a therapeutic outlet for various experiences.