Poetic Wednesdays proudly present Mujahyd; the Teen Wonder

Poetic Wednesdays unveils the kid behind the whiz kid, Mujahyd.

Kindly unveil to the world who is Mujahyd Ameen Lilo?

Mujahid Ameen Lilo is a 17-year-old secondary school Art student in Kano. He’s the third in a family of eight whose parents hail from Zamfara. He is in his last year in Islamiyya. He has a bicycle he cherishes. He recently lost his mum (May her soul rest in Jannah. Amin.) He wishes to study English and Literary Studies. He is trying to see if he will fit in the royal garb of writing.

Do you think writing helped you grieve over the loss of your mom?

I don’t think so. Losing a mother is the saddest thing that can ever happen to a child. The grief is beyond writing. That’s for me because I think it may work for true poets (I don’t think I’m one). You see, for example, this Konya Shamsrumi columnist wrote about how poetry helped him. For me, I was broken down to the point that I can’t just settle down to write or read. If I’m a falcon to writing, I couldn’t hear it-the falconer. I just prayed. And you know, there is this tawakkali – patience that Allah increases for one who loses a dear one.

What purpose does writing serve to you?

I used to write for fun but now I’m more concerned about the things we ignore. Giving voice to the voiceless, you know. That’s why in my poem ‘Borno’, I said to my friend, Adamu: ‘Write me not of the chameleonic nature of Lagos/ Nor of the twin hills of Kano… Write me of Borno… ’

Poetry or prose? Why?

Both. Actually, I have always wanted to write stories, the delight in creating characters, and storylines, the fun in imagination. And that’s what I have been doing, until, by accident, I stumbled upon a piece of prose that I think have a little taste of poetry in them into lines. I found out it’s equally fun writing poetry. Like Oliver Twist, I wanted a little more. I wrote more, enthralled by this magic in rhymes, the dignity in stanzas, the elegance in the breakage of lines, the ability to say so much with so little and most of all this freedom that’s in Poetic License. But mind you, I write more prose still.

What feeds your imagination?

My imagination is a daring one, it believes in itself. What feed it is the assurance it has that no matter how wild it is, I would pen it down without telling it ‘this is impossible or rubbish’

How do you manage your time to read, write and interact with your peers?

Since I found out how much importance reading has in my life and writing, I had given it much time than anything else. I don’t mingle out with friends so I have ample time to do so. And also write.

You’re familiar with PW. What can you say about it?

It’s through efforts like creating and sustaining associations like PW that human beings maintain their position as the greatest of all animals. It’s a large tree that supports a nest where aspiring poets goes to empties their hearts and also gives shade to the listeners, I mean readers. I salute the efforts of the people behind it. Northern Nigerian writing has a good future.

What do you think PW can do to be better?

PW is doing great, has been doing great. I think it can be better if it tries to be more offline.

You recently won the Wole Soyinka Cultural Exchange Program. How does it feel?

It felt great indeed. It means a lot.

How was it meeting the Nobel laureate?

It’s a dream come alive. The Nobel laureate welcomed me into his humble abode with a gentle tap on the back. I stood before him, in his green forest, charmed by the charisma and the comeliness of his white bushy hair, reading him a poem he called a ‘nice poem.’ I presented my gift to him. I had taken in his hand that scribbled Nobel deserving works as he handed me my trophy as winner of the regional Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange Essay Competition.

Mujahyd with Wole Soyinka
Mujahyd, together with Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka during the presentation of the Winners Award for the Wole Soyinka Cultural Exchange Program.

There have been warm reception from people about you winning the essay both online and offline. How has that made you feel?

Indeed the reception is warm. It has gone beyond my expectations. There were so many celebrations and congratulations from people I don’t even know. In fact, ANA Kano hosted me in its last reading. And it will next month. I would like to use this medium and say a big ‘thank you’. It makes me feel encouraged, honored.

Is there a collection in the works?

Yes. There is a collection of short stories.

What are your plans for the future?

Publish my book. Study Creative Writing overseas.

If you could change one thing about Northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large, what would it be?

I will like to reform the Almajiri system.

How do you intend to reform Almajiranci?

What brings mist to my eyes is the abandonment, the separation of a very young child from his parents and taken to far ways cities where he has to crouch in Zaures or lean on closed doors, begging. So, the first thing I will do is to abolish the taking of smaller kids to Almajiranci. Entirely, I will try to mix it up with some western education.

If you could take a 12hr walk with anyone, who would it be & why?

Adamu Usman Garko. He is a great man. I will learn a lot and there is a lot we will discuss when we meet.

Tell us something that people don’t know about you.

I would still won’t want them to know. It’s embarrassing. That I’m afraid of cats.

How has mentorship helped you grow as a writer and a person, in general?

It is helping me become a better writer. I have mentors that take me as a child, a younger brother so the fatherly, motherly and brotherly words go beyond writer, teaching me how to relate with people better.

Any advice for younger writers?

Am I really in the right place to give this advice?

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