The Stress Test – excerpt


Here is an excerpt from The Stress Test by Mojisola Aboyade-Cole.



He took a seat beside Taramade and their thighs made contact. He noticed how swiftly Taramade moved hers away. Felix glanced at her and, for a brief moment, fought to control the uncomfortable tightness in his groin.

“You will sign my stuff, Oyinbo, before you take off,” he said.

Taramade sighed. “What do you want me to sign now, Felix?”

“Do you know what happened to your sister-in-law?” Dr. Johnson asked.

Felix listened half-heartedly as Dr. Johnson gleefully repeated the fiasco with the market women, making Taramade feel like a fool. Uninterested, Felix cut in at the first chance.

“Mummie, see what your only son has done for the bank,” he said. “This deal is from Yinusa Ahmed.” He signalled to one of the young interns who had taken a position by the door. She approached with a file and handed it over to Dr. Johnson. She went through it, clapping her hands in delight.

“Oh my son, this is a very good one. We are finally sponsoring a polo tournament. No bank has done this!” she said, signing her approval.

“Yes we are, Mummie,” he said, beaming. “Your son Felix snatched the deal away from that telecoms company. They call themselves giants, when we,the Johnsons, are colossal. I need the draft today. Yinusa will not wait.”

Felix passed the file to Taramade and collected another from his intern.

“How much are we throwing to the wind, Felix?” Taramade asked him with caution.

Felix let out a loud yawn. Taramade had become Miss Righteous. He wanted them both to work together to wrest the bank from Dr. Johnson; it was time for her to hand over the baton.

One of his own contemporaries had just been appointed MD of a bank. That guy was set for a financial transformation! And yet here he was, being queried by his brother’s wife and playing the gigolo to his stepmother for mere handouts from a bank that was rightfully his.

“Oyinbo,” he said to Taramade, “it is not about what we are giving, but what we are getting in return. When will you ever get what banking is all about?”

He had told her many times that her extreme loyalty to Dr. Johnson would backfire. Did she not know that Dr. Johnson had just purchased a private jet for her prophet, and yet he, Felix, did not have one? Dr. Johnson had enough money to create a royal kingdom. Meanwhile, he had to seek her approval to settle his hotel bills.

Felix was loyal only to himself. In his twenties, absorbed in a decadent lifestyle financed by his mother, he’d shuttled from one foreign country to another. He’d never visited Nigeria, not even for his father’s funeral. Guilt and regret were unfamiliar emotions for Felix, but they surfaced when his brother, Frank, became incapacitated.

Only then had he returned to Nigeria. It still hurt to see his brother in his current condition.

Felix had never had that much time for his mother. At first he had ignored his stepmother, not understanding her strong desire for his approval.

When he mismanaged what was left of his father’s estate, he succumbed to her entreaties for a closer relationship and she was eager to pay for it. Only later did he learn that whatever she gave him she took back a hundred times more.

But things were about to change now, leveraging on the current financial crisis was his key. Dr. Johnson had to be removed, and with Yinusa’s help and direct link to Aso Rock it was going to happen soon.

It would not be easy getting rid of his stepmother, but Felix prided himself on being a risk-taker – the bigger the transaction, the more desperate he was to corner it at any cost. Taking ownership of the bank was a transaction that would definitely turn out to be a thrilling ride.

“If only I had more EDs like Felix,” Dr. Johnson said with a proud smile. “He chases whoever money chases.”

Typical, Taramade thought. She was always on his side.

“Yes, Mummie, I do,” Felix said, his tone smug. “Now we have to sign two of these offer letters. I promised Yinusa; one is personal, one is for the company.”

“This man, Yinusa,is owing us so much, it’s as if he owns this bank,” Taramade said. “With the outstanding principal and interest, we are already looking at fifty-nine million dollars from his company. Why are we talking about more money? He should pay what he owes us.”

“What is this about, Felix?” Dr. Johnson asked, now suspicious. She recalled the meeting with the TBN governor accusing her of lacking financial discipline and integrity. All of Felix’s society friends had taken one form of loan or the other, and they were not repaying. It was always billions for gambling on shares, property or for oil and gas transactions with worthless and overvalued assets as collateral.

She had to stop trying to please him all the time.

The obsessive behaviour had to end.


 The author of The Stress Test will be at the FarafinaReads event this March. 



 A Pelican of the Wilderness – excerpt

Here is an excerpt from A Pelican of the Wilderness by Jacqueline U. Agweh.



“Tonpre Isaac-Kogbara, the second,” he continued, “lives at Plot 8B, Duncan crescent, Afikpo Quarters, G.R.A., Port Harcourt. Born in 1978, on the 27th day of September at the Healing Cross hospital, Port Harcourt, his parents are Justice Tonpre Isaac Kogbara and Monica Isaac Kogbara who died May 20, 1992. One sibling: a younger sister, Edith Tari Kogbara, a second year accountancy undergraduate of The University of Port Harcourt…”

At that point, Tonpre’s mouth fell open. What was happening here? They were stripping him naked psychologically as their leader’s eyes danced merrily, not for once shifting off his face as he absorbed the shock.

“…Primary education: Hopeday Preparatory School, passed out in 1988. Secondary school: Hopeday College graduated in 1994; nominated to give class valedictory speech. Tertiary education: The University of Lagos, 1995 to 1999; best graduating student in Marine Engineering and vice president of the Rhodes Club. Youth Corp Service in Adamawa State with Barrel Oil and Gas Services Limited…”

Tonpre admired their thoroughness. Spitfire was not even reading from any document; he had memorised it!

“…A Masters degree in Industrial Chemistry from Leeds University, United Kingdom. Tonpre Isaac-Kogbara junior returned to the country in September 2004. He worked for two years with The Southern Hemisphere Corporation as a senior marine engineer.

Thereafter, he incorporated Global Clime Marine Works Limited in partnership with a former colleague, an American named Marlon Richardson who oversees the office in New York. So far, The Global Clime Marine Works Limited has been modestly profitable.”

Tonpre was shaking. He longed to run far away from these dangerous men who were picking his past, his present, and maybe even his future apart.

As though from a distance, he heard Spitfire’s voice droning on. “Girlfriend: Doyin Smith, 26 years old. Upscale events planner, runs the ‘Total Woman’ talk show on HIP TV and is editor of ‘Style and Home’ magazine…”

A smile stole across Tonpre’s lips, Doyin would love this resume.

With that, Spitfire concluded the citation, bowed slightly and took his seat. None of the men were looking at him, but Tonpre still felt uneasy and exposed. It was eerie listening to someone talk about him like he was not there.


His head was reeling in confusion. How had they collected so much information about him? And it was all accurate too. Nobody spoke. The leader was not staring at him anymore; he seemed more interested in the wall to the right. Suddenly it was lit up by a projector. Slowly, it projected photographs, leaving him gasping as his baby photographs zoomed past in slow motion: that was his first birthday; and that one, the trip with his parents to Yankari Games Reserve when he was eleven.

The next one was his convocation ceremony at The University of Lagos auditorium. Reel after reel of family history glided past, each one bringing back mixed feelings of days long gone. Then, Doyin’s smiling face slid by.


Nobody, apart from him, Doyin and Udeme, his housekeeper, knew about this photograph. His head felt light, he cast a quick glance at the hanging door and noticed the two guards were still stationed there.


The leader was watching him closely again and there was no sign of the earlier broad smile on his lips. “We are thorough,” he said, “We can’t afford not to be. Our men have paid with their lives in the past because of carelessness.”


Tonpre swallowed and nodded, his legs were beginning to grow numb from standing for so long.

“Brother, you are worthy of the Signet Brotherhood,” the leader said, getting to his feet. His men did likewise. “You will obey all orders, respect all rules and swear to our oath. Nothing of our activities must ever leak from you to non-brethren.”

He began to reel out the dos and don’ts of the brotherhood until Tonpre lost track.

Finally, Tonpre heard him say, “Tombra Brown found you. Therefore, he will be your guardian brother. We call him The Shark. He will give you a signet ring now. It will be your identity.” Then, looking at Tombra, he barked, “Comrade Shark, welcome your brother!”

Tombra marched briskly up to Tonpre. There was no reassuring expression on his face as he raised Tonpre’s right hand. He folded it into a fist and jabbed his own clenched right fist onto Tonpre’s as he began speaking.

“Tonpre Isaac-Kogbara,” Tombra said slowly, staring right into Tonpre’s eyes, “you will from today be known to us, the Signet Brotherhood, as The Pelican.” No applause followed the declaration. Tombra pulled a small black case from his pocket, opened it, and exposed a signet ring. It had the image of a pelican bird engraved on it.

“Take it and wear it on the little finger of your left hand.” Tonpre obeyed. “A pelican symbolises selfless sacrifice. We expect nothing less from you.” Tombra gave him a stiff embrace and led him to the only unoccupied seat. Thereafter, it would be his permanent seat at Brethren gatherings. Tombra then marched back to his own seat.

“Si ye o fo ri! The bond is unbroken!” the men roared headily in one voice. They were one man stronger. The leader sat down, signalled the men to sit, and only then did he introduce himself.

“I am the Boar,” he said. “Here, we are known and called by the names given to us by our Brothers.”

No one else was introduced.


The author of this novel will be at the FarafinaReads event on Sunday, 18th of March, 2018.

5 Books to Kick Off Your 2018 Reading Resolutions

2018 is the year to read more, isn’t it?

This tweet by Wale Lawal proves this much, with its many retweets and likes.


However, it can also be overwhelming to decide which books to start with. Especially books that will keep you asking for more.

So, here are 4 books to start your New Year book resolutions with, especially if you are looking to read more African literature.

1. Yewande Omotoso: The Woman Next Door

In her novel, Yewande writes about two prickly old women, one black and one white, who discover, after 20 years of exchanging digs and insults, that they might help each other.

Hortensia and Marion are anything but friends and would like it to remain that way. But then a repair project leaves Hortensia with a broken leg and Marion in need of temporary housing.

Published by Kachifo Limited under its Farafina imprint, this is one book to start the new year with. Buy it here.

2. Chimamanda Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun

Olanna is a beautiful London-educated woman who abandons her life of privilege in Lagos for a dusty university town and the charisma of her new lover, Odenigbo.

Soon after their new life begins, the Nigerian Civil War starts. As Nigerian troops advance and they and their loved ones run for their lives, their ideals are severely tested, as are their loyalties to one another.

Get it on Amazon here.

3. Leye Adenle: Easy Motion Tourist

Adenle’s novel entertains from beginning to end.

This compelling crime novel is set in contemporary Lagos and features Guy Collins, a British journalist, who is found close to a mutilated body, discarded by the side of a club in Victoria Island, and is picked up by the police as a potential suspect.

Collins soon finds out there is more to Lagos than just its bustling traffic.

Buy it here.
4. Adewale Maja-Pearce: The House My Father Built

The House My Father Built is a memoir of a ten-year struggle between the author and his “inherited” tenants. After inheriting a house in Surulere from his late father and waiting ten years for the terms of the inheritance to be fulfilled, Maja-Pearce is eager to take possession of his house. So he offers his tenants a one-year rent-free break, after which they are to vacate his property. Little does he know that, when the time comes to leave, his tenants would put him through one of the fiercest, and probably the most ridiculous, battles to stay put.

Get it here.

Photos from #FarafinaReads with Lesley Arimah

The much anticipated #FarafinaReads events with Lesley Nneka Arimah, author of What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky took place in Abuja and Lagos, on 18th and 20th January 2018. Following the excitement many readers expressed on social media after reading the collection, it was a thing for joy for many to finally meet the author and interact with her. Both book reading events were well attended.
Ileri lawal, an attendee described the event on Instagram as a ‘beautiful book reading’. Olaide Wangai Akin, said the reading was one with a ‘lovely atmosphere and lovely people’.
The Q&A session with the author, moderated by Adebola Rayo also proved to be insightful. When asked about her obvious emphasis on mother-daughter relationships in her collection, Arimah replied that she had “wanted to explore all the ways that such relationships could turn out.”
She also spoke on the use of magical realism in her work and its benefits. “[With it,] we are able to take social conventions in our world and put it in another dimension and see them take on another form.” One of her responses at the book reading that made the audience laugh for a while was when she admitted that she found it very easy to write about unlikeable characters.
The book reading in Lagos was held at Herbert Macaulay Library, Yaba and in collaboration with the You Read initiative of GTBank.
See pictures from the Lagos event below.

New Farafina Titles: ‘And After Many Days’ and ‘Under the Udala Trees’

Farafina is excited to announce the release of two spectacular new fiction titles, both debut novels: And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile and Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta.

In And After Many Days, one family’s life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they embark on a painful and moving journey of immense power which changes their lives forever and shatters the fragile ecosystem of their once ordered family. Ajie, the youngest sibling, is burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago. But his search for the truth uncovers hidden family secrets and reawakens old, long forgotten ghosts as rumours of police brutality, oil shortages and frenzied student protests serve as a backdrop to his pursuit.


Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees tells the story of Ijeoma, who comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie.

Copies of And After Many Days and Under the Udala Trees are available in leading bookstores across the country. You can also buy copies from our Konga store, or call us on 0807 736 4217 to order.

Yejide Kilanko’s ‘Daughters Who Walk This Path’ Shortlisted for 2016 NLNG Prize for Literature



We are proud to announce that Yejide Kilanko’s novel, Daughters Who Walk This Path, published by Farafina, has been shortlisted, along with 10 others, for the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature.

Daughters Who Walk This Path tells the coming-of-age story of spirited and intelligent Morayo, who grows up surrounded by school friends and family in Ibadan. Morayo must learn to fiercely protect herself and her sister as young women growing up in a complex and politically charged country.

In this excerpt from the novel, young and idealistic Mr. Tiamiyu faces off with older, richer, more popular politician, Chief Omoniyi, in a local government election. Enjoy.

Two hours after the election was supposed to start, four electoral commission officials arrived with the ballot boxes and their other paraphernalia.

Shortly after their arrival, Chief Omoniyi marched majestically into the voting station surrounded by praise singers. I watched the electoral commission officials prostrate flat on the ground before Chief Omoniyi. Relinquishing their tables and chairs to him, they moved their ballot boxes and sat under a nearby tree. The praise singers accompanying Chief Omoniyi were beating their talking-drums with such intensity that the veins on the side of their heads stood up.

“Omoniyi,” the talking drums called. “He, who says that when you go out you will not come back, is whom you will not meet upon your return.”

Chief Omoniyi sat down while a steady stream of people paid homage to him. Even Mr. Tiamiyu’s elderly father went over and prostrated before Chief Omoniyi. “Shief, I am very grateful for all the business you have sent my way this month. May God continue to prosper you.”

When Chief Omoniyi saw his opponent’s elderly father flat on the sand before him, he turned and sent Mr. Tiamiyu a victorious look. Then he relaxed back in his chair and his wide mouth curved into a smile that did not reach his beady eyes. “Ha! Baba Vulcaniser, please get up. I am just a very young boy. I should be the one prostrating before you ke.” But he made no move to stand up from his chair.

Baba Mufu picked himself up from the ground and dusted the sand off his body. After he replaced his cap, he hobbled back to his son’s side of the compound.

His angry wife hissed at him. “Baba Mufu! Why would you go and prostrate in front of that man? On today of all days! Rubbishing your only son in front of everybody.”

“Must I join your son in biting the hand that fed him?” Baba Mufu snapped back. “When this madness of his is over, are we still not going to eat?”

The angry woman turned her back to her husband.

Mr. Tiamiyu looked at his parents and rubbed his hand over his head. Aunty Morenike placed a hand on his arm. I heard her whisper softly to him, “Your father meant no harm. He is just a product of his time.”

Mr. Tiamiyu stared back at her with eyes that were full of hurt.

Shortly after Chief Omoniyi’s arrival, one of his political thugs brought out a table from a school building and set up a food takeaway station right beside the electoral officials. Those lining up to cast their vote for Chief Omoniyi were each given a small loaf of bread, two akara balls, and a sachet of pure water. After casting their votes, they each received a numbered cardboard from Chief Omoniyi’s men. With the piece of cardboard, the voters were entitled to a hot meal of amala and ewedu soup in front of Chief Omoniyi’s home later in the evening. The political thugs soon ran out of the cardboard and started using ballot paper collected from the willing electoral officers.

As I watched men and women old enough to be my parents stand in line, I wondered if the food was a fair exchange for leaky primary schools, unsafe roads, and dry taps. Even we children knew that the money allocated for these programmes and services went towards maintaining Chief Omoniyi’s harem of women and sending his children to the top schools in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Despite the rising heat, Mr. Tiamiyu continued to smile, walking around to thank the few people who came out to vote for him. But it was obvious to all that it was Chief Omoniyi’s day.

Aunty Morenike had not given up. She continued to whisper to the women as they walked into the school compound. “My sisters and mothers, let us show that we are not children to be bought with food. Whatever we eat today, we will purge tomorrow. But our problems will remain the same. This is our chance to fight for our children’s future.” She put her arm around their shoulders. “Come, let us cast our ballot for a new beginning.”

By late morning, I was growing tired and hungry. Aunty Morenike had brought some food with her, but she was still talking to the women. Then something unexpected happened. An old blind man led by a young child walked into the school compound.

The little boy stopped in front of Chief Omoniyi’s table. “Open your ears and listen!” he said. Instantly, the whole compound fell silent as if it was under a spell.

The blind old man turned his face in Chief Omoniyi’s direction and began to speak.

“Omoniyi is the name your father gave you. Why do you live life as if your name is Shame? If truly your name is Omoniyi, you must know that your life comes with great worth and dreams. Why do you live as if it does not? If the name you were given was Strife, you could continue to live in conflict and blame it on the intense urgings of your name. But your name is Omoniyi. Your mother carried you gingerly on her back, danced around, and sang your name with pride. Why do you live your life as if your name is Greed? Living life recklessly as if you own tomorrow and snatching food from the mouths of innocent children. Feverishly building up wealth that brings no honour and only invites disgrace. Living life like the hunting dog who forgot his master’s call. Living without purpose as if your name is Lost. Will you remember that your name is Omoniyi? A child of great honour and hope. To the promises of your name, you must be true.”

The blind old man turned to the little boy. “Child, take me to Mufutau’s table.” Everybody in the compound watched in shock as the blind man pressed a shaking thumb into purple ink to cast his ballot for Mr. Tiamiyu. When he was done, the child quietly led him by the hand out of the compound.

The crowd continued to stare at Chief Omoniyi with their mouths wide open. What was he going to do? Who could have brought about this great insult to their benefactor?

Chief Omoniyi looked around like a cornered rat staring at the metallic gleam of a cutlass. Then he turned, looking in Mr. Tiamiyu’s direction with smouldering eyes. Everybody in the compound followed his gaze. But of course! This had to be the handiwork of that defiant boy Mufutau.

An angry murmur swelled up from the crowd. Some men from Chief Omoniyi’s camp moved purposefully towards Mr. Tiamiyu. Frightened, our little group moved back, huddling together. The crowd was grumbling: Did this young scallywag not go around shouting that he will bring running water to every household? Is that not foolish talk? How do you bring running water to streets with no water pipes?

To Chief Omoniyi’s credit, it was not as if he did not try to bring water to his people. Did everybody not see the shiny new water pipes dropped off at the local government headquarters? Who could have known that armed robbers would raid the warehouse just two weeks later? That poor night watchman—both his legs were broken.

But even babies knew that this was the handiwork of Chief Omoniyi’s political enemies. It was also mere coincidence that two months later, Chief Omoniyi’s brother-in-law, Agbabiaka, opened a shop where he sold brand-new water pipes at Ekotedo Market.

No one said he was a saint. Who was?

But who could send this young man, Tiamiyu, with such tender bones, to the pack of jackals at the state house? Tiamiyu would be torn to pieces in just a matter of months. Chief Omoniyi—despite all his flaws—was the man with the wisdom and stamina for the hard job of ruling the people.

Hearing the snarls, I looked around with concern. The only exit out was blocked by Chief Omoniyi’s thugs, who patted down the men walking into the compound.

Chief Omoniyi sat back in his chair. The smug look on his face told me he knew that the people whose stomachs were still full with akara and pure water would fight his battle for him.

As the Chief’s men moved closer, the men in our little group asked the women and young children to move to the back. My heart began beating very fast. The crowd was growing irate, calling out for Mr. Tiamiyu’s head.

Then Chief Omoniyi stood. “My people! Listen to me. This is not the time for violence. You all know that I am a man of peace.”

The crowd stopped.

“It is true that the house mouse that spares the sheath but eats the knife is bent on provoking one.” He laughed mirthlessly to himself. “But it is impossible for anyone to carry the wind. Mufutau is like all my other enemies—he cannot succeed.”

Flapping the arms of his stiff damask agbada as if he might take flight, Chief Omoniyi’s voice shook as he sprayed those standing around him with a shower of saliva. From the looks of adoration on their faces, it could have been sprinkles of holy water.

“My faithful followers, instead of fighting with our fists and clubs, we will destroy our enemies with our ballots.” He punched the air with a raised fist. “We will boldly stare down our enemies and we will WIN.”

The people began clapping their hands, thumping their feet on the ground, raising clouds of dust into the air.

Chief Omoniyi’s voice continued to rise. “We the great people of this local government will be a shining example to all others! We will show that right here in our great community, the dream of democracy that has eluded so many others is alive and thriving!”

The praise singers increased the tempo of their drumbeats, driving the crowd into a frenzied dance of victory.


Daughters Who Walk This Path is sold in major bookstores across Nigeria, and at our Lagos office at 253 Herbert Macaulay Road, Yaba. You can also buy copies online or call +234(0)807 736 4217.  



‘The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician’ to launch in Edinburgh

Covers_03-03-15.cdrTendai Huchu is set to launch his new novel, The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician, in Edinburgh on October 30, 2015, as part of the Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair. Huchu’s outstanding novel is published in Nigeria by Kachifo Limited (under its Farafina imprint), and will be released in November 2015.

Tendai Huchu

Tendai Huchu

Also, Jeanne-Marie Jackson will be interviewing Huchu (on The Good Book Appreciation Society’s Facebook page) on his novel, in which she describes the author as crafting ‘moments of real human poignancy […], but never veers into cheap valorization of either hope or despair.’ The interview is set for November 1, 2015, and you can find more information on it here.