Ahhh! This is hard news. So, Izzia or Carlos is gone. He was a soft-spoken, but self-assured individual, a dreamer per excellence. This showed not only in the rarefied quality of his poetry, but also in his grandiose but achievable dreams. And I remember Izzia approaching me with a scheme to start a publishing house. He had intimated me first at an Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) conference I think - 1991. I know it was during his time as ANA secretary, when his was trapped between the rumbles between Femi Osofisan and Bode Sowande.
Next time I saw him the dreamer - had taken his "dream to the end of the street" and quit a lucrative job in an advertising company on Bode Thomas in Surulere. He had an office with Toni Akika on broad street. More likely it was Tony's chambers, which he was using as office address - as it appeared on the business card he had already printed! I was to handle the technical side of publishing. I was the expert. He would be the financial manager and business executive. I was to be a 5 % partner, more or less a sleeping partner. He knew I had no money, but he was in his over-generous way willing to give me a 5 % partnership even though I was not going to be able to raise any funds. I knew, even though I am as much a dreamer as he was, that publishing is cost intensive. I had worked with spectrum books and Bookkraft. I asked him what 'capital he had already. He answered me that he had one and a half computers! And laughed at the idea. He was not joking but dead serious on the contrary. In his relaxed, conciliatory tone he explained the mad logic of the whole thing to me. I was convinced, willing to believe in this dream and share in it but I knew at the same time there was no way we could start anything on hundred couple of red looking business cards, bearing "Arrowhead publishers"!, one and a half computers!, - the other half was still somewhere in Jos while he was in Lagos and I was in Ibadan; I knew we could not function on these lack. But I believed in him.
He was the Christian poet, the man of God, the sane one amongst so many mad people, and all the tortured souls in Ibadan, where we drowned our tears in beer. I wanted to believe Izzia; he was saner that most. But alas the scheme exposed that he was as much filled with wild desperate visions, desperate in a Nigeria that devoured her young. We left it at talking and waited for things to ripen on the tree of hope. But like his life, full of promise, that dream was suspended. We simply stopped talking about it or life drove a wedge of communication between us. I left the country.
Izzia took his dreams to the end of the streets
and took the street to the end of his dreams.
But the tarmac did not hold for the long walk.
May his soul rest in peace.
Amatoritsero (Godwin) Ede