Published By: Ana Publicity Committee

29th Nov. 2022





Communications/M&E Specialist

[email protected] 08034299585




There is a popular physically challenged woman roving around  ‘joints’ who was fond of saying ‘dont mind the body, consider only the engine’ which later became her pet name. In similar way I call on the audience to consider my paper notwithstanding its imperfections as I had little time to piece it together due to late notice,




It was Plato who first referred to poets and not novelists or text writers as messengers of the Greek goddess of creativity pontificating that Poets are Prophets of the Muse.The Muse is said to imbue mostly the poets, artists and singers with inspiration. As an ancient myth from the traditional religion of the Greeks, I don’t know how our culture we grew in connects to them.


Also, William Wordsworth believes in prophetic writing but pointed-out that it does not come easily to the writer except if providence uses him as a vessel, noting that such writer-prophets are few and lamented that they thrive best in primitive and barbaric environments of yore.


Coming home, the topic reminds me of Tola Adeniyi’s interrogation of ‘The Journalist as a Writer’ which was anchored on the New Journalism.It appears ANA is in the same boat. There is need for us to agree whether every writer is an author or not, to enable us know the scope and limitation of the discourse and membership of the Association. It is also important to appreciate the two key words- Writer and Prophet.


I intend to approach the discussion from these standpoints: understanding the Prophet and the Writer, how to write prophetic works, typology of prophecies, role of Prophets and Writers, the Writer as Prophet, consequences of the writer becoming a prophet, advocative writing as prophecy and my submission.




Who is a writer or author?

Generally speaking, a writer is someone who uses language in a masterly style to convey his thoughts utilizing the different formats available be it either creative writing or journalism as well as thecorporate literature. This category coves the speech writer, researcher, conference paper presenter, columnist, features writer, reporter, rapporteurs and ensemble. Even if they write books, it stills fall short of the coveted creative work that sprout from the writer’s impulsive tendencies nay prophetic pontifications.


I believe with ANA, the writer-prophet is an author who is a novelist,  playwright, poet, biographer and autobiographer. Poetry is especially regarded so that some believed ‘when all things are passed away, only poetry will remain as even the passage of life and its essence will be recorded in poetic verse.” It is said to be the beginning of all things religious, and even humanizes science from its obscurantism while at same time it is the oracular speech of the initiated.The Poet writes profound works in book form bounded by copy and neighboring rights, and kotow to the laws of defamation and national security.


For those in Christian prophetic ministry, Amos was the first prophet to write down his inspired thoughts in poetic form. Otherprophetic writers are Isaiah who wrote the book of Isaiah; Jeremiah -the book of Jeremiah; Ezekiel -the book of Ezekiel.  According to Wiki, literary prophets are biblical epistle writers and chain of Ahadith/Sunnah narrators who wrote down prophecies and personal histories of the Israeli and Islamic leaders which are often in poetry genre.


From the onset ANA has the problem of defining an author different from the writer as it had this problem in the sixties when it started as Society of Nigerian writers. However, it later on toyed with the idea of defining an author member as one with a completed manuscript or published work in category of fiction, play, poetry, and biography/autography. Those with manuscript were expected to work to achieve utmost linguistic competence, characterization, narrative technique, excellent plotting. They are also expected to attend at least two ANA national conventions.


Who is a prophet or heavenly messenger?

There is problem of recognizing genuine prophecy from the different religious divide. This is so because the prophet is a self-appointed spiritually endowed messenger of a divinity from a particular ethnic group and geographical location with a perceived immutable message from beyond the human comprehension designed to save his people. Prophets therefore emerge periodically in all major religions the world over to put across their messages.


Since there is no qualification to be possessed before one becomes a prophet there is often an admixture  between the fake and the denominationally ordained prophet. However, most of the prophesies are concoctures and conjectures apart from the late Nostradamus whose prophecies are still being validated without any claim of the message coming from the spirit world.


In Sunni Islam it is only the founder of the religion that is regarded as prophet or messenger even though some sect or mystic orders have also appropriated prophethood as Mahdi which is regarded by the mainstream as Bid’ah innovation. It is the same cup of tea with Catholic Christianity which abhors prophecy but recognize sainthoods as equivalent. However, prophecy is recognized by white garments, Pentecostals and charismatic Christian groups and denominations.




Prophecy development and speaking in tongue are actually studied in Bible schools and Madrasa. I was once asked to assist in thesis writing for a graduating lady studying to earn a diploma in prophecy. 


According to A. Z Birule, prophecy can be fictionalize to look real just as our clergy men have been deceiving Nigeria without the prophecy coming true. She listed the following steps in creative writing:

  1. Commit your prognosis to writing in a free flowing narrative style;
  2. Kit the characters, situations and location in imagery;
  3. Render the thrust of the prophetic message in obscurantism; 
  4. Add some misleading elements to the prophecy;
  5. Create a secrecy in plotting and narration to create cliff hanger; and
  6. Allow the theme of the work create an immediacy that resonate as at the time with people

It can then be seen how prophesy is not different from creative works as they both depend on high level of imagination.




It has been seen how one can become an uncanny analyst writer from writing project reports, research works, thesis, dissertation, features and the like. Whereas, from the stand point of ANA it requires the prophet to showcase his heavily message through the creative process involving only those infiction writing namely poets, novelist, playwright, novellas, biographers, auto-biographers, literary critics.


An example is the prophecy in “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats which describes the future Europe with its complexities of colonialism run against African, Asian and American natives and its eventual collapse. He also projected the division of Europe and the German aggression that would ultimately lead to world war.


Our Prof Chinua Achebe in most of his works had also written of ‘Things for Apart’ to make prognosis of the collapse of African tribal system threatened by imperialism, reverse culture change and the imminent disintegration of the colonialism itself as well as the contraption of a nation they would amalgamate without the peoples’  consent. Other creative writers have also made predictions or prophecy.


Another type of prophecy come from the revealed foreign religion- Islam, Christianity Pentecostalism and charismatic movements who believe in continued production of prophets to guide very period in human existence especially if they domesticate the foreign religion and wishes to have an indigenous  prophet of ‘our own’.


Prophecy from the unorthodox religious viewpoints involve traditional religion, shamanism, divination and fortune-telling which are all appropriated by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage of the world. This includes, Ifa, Bori and Magirothe last two which are prevalent beliefs and practices among various Africa ethnic groups in Nigeria popularized by the Habe Hausa.


This Bori religion is mostly practised and headed by inna King’s sister and perform roles in  social set up and make prognosis for the protection of the leaders through trance where they receive heavenly messages. They engage in open ecstatic dances and exorcisms to enable them see the future which they render in poetic terms. This can later be written down.  There are other traditional prophetic media such as griots, speaking palace clowns, and Masters of Ceremonies (Dankama, Sankiras) who dare the king to hear his weakness..

Inworld-wide Shamanismas a traditional spiritualism, adherents interact with the spirit world just like the Gipsy or Roma(ny) of Punjab region in northern India. The Sharman does this through altered state of consciousness like trance, ecstasy, dance, invocation etc to direct the invisible spirit or spiritual energies from inter-dimensional world into the physical world to pass message and  perform feats like healing, forecast etc in order to assist human beings.Bori is part of world-wide shamanic practice.




Suffice it to say that prophets play roles in their communities by speaking to the people from beyond in corrective manner and assist them solve complex problems beyond the physical medical science. They in this way serve as intermediary to the people in birth, progress and death by fortune-telling. The prophet is supernaturally endowed and can hail from any religious divide.


On the other hand, the roles of a creative writer also involve sending message to the people in polished language. He informs entertains, educate and develop the multi communication media of his people. Also his dabbling into the affairs of the Muse only enables him to escape from his realities – a means of catharsis. He gets world-wide recognition through awards and prizes without manipulating the people’s conscience. If the creative writer is shamanic, the better as a prophet-writer.


More often, there are issues of veracity pervading prophecy as it can be taken with a pinch of salt where it turns out incorrect. And most times, the prophet is an accessory to confidential information who may be used to fly the kite. He may also be directly or remotely connected to the subject matters.  Moreover, in these days of prosperity worship some prophets can become dubious.


For instance, Achibe’s prophesy in ‘There was a Country’ is nothing new for those who have been around for more than six decades and ponder over the National Question, so also many of the lionized and garlanded  literary works from other authors.




It is possible to be an extra-ordinary creative writer and become a prophet through any of the following methods:


-The Musewhich I take to refer to one of the triple helix platform by accessingthe magnetic forces of your local community be it a tree, pond, stone, grave, dibia, babalawo etc


-From spirit world endowing the creative writer with dreams, thoughts, recollected experiences, visual images, reveries as we see in dada, abiku, ogbanges, twins, boriperson etc


-The creative writer can also inherit family spirit trait eg sharman, babalawos, dibias,bori, dankamas, and got passed to him the spiritual family praxis and nuances (think of parents about to die asking of their beloved son to anoint by vomiting and passing the sacred seed to him).


-Education can imbue the creative writer with technical information and hone his crude talent to forecast the future and develop advanced literary method of presenting his messages. Any field of human endevour can be studied by anybody just as church pastors attend prophesy classes.


-Experienceis the best teacher and as no one experience is the same, it can arm the creative writer with unique information without engaging in secondary sources of information. In my review of Chimamanda’s ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ I had averred that it was a story by one who had not seen the theater, unlike similar works of Generals who tasted action.


-Through reverse engineering practice a good work can still be produced skillfully like  Achebe did with Yeats’ Things Fall Apart poetic stanza and vision as well as Chimamanda’s yellow sun. However, imitation, they say, is dangerous for the acolyte. 


-Meditation is another sure way to gain insight into matters of transcendental consideration as we see in Dervish orders, Sufi cult, prayers warfare groups


I totally agree with Toni Morrison that Literature as prophecy still needs thorough examination of the meaning of prophecy before attributing the quality to creative writers who may merely be participant and non-participant observers of an emerging issue.


Also, I concur withTheresa Havard Johnson, in Nwamaka Anyekachi blog who noted that the truth about prophetic writers is that their thematic prognosis are based on their perception and presuppositions and not from any heavenly voice and revelation.


However, I have witnessed Abuja authors who forecasted their death or illness in poems submitted to me when I was compiling ‘The Abuja Acolyte’ poetry anthology. They were Ademola Babajide, Mohammed Tukur Garba, Shehu Buddaraini, Mark Amogu, Dr Davidson Aniakor, Perry Molanga etc.




I have once been asked in an interview by Gotname Literary blog if writing affectone’s life. I had noted that the re-play of characters and scenes in the writers’ life is feared so much that revealed religion does not even encourage its adherent to develop and imbue a living character where the creator cannot breathe life into the creations. Somebody even told me that award plaques and certificates hung in offices and sitting rooms are also objectionable as the holders and admirers venerated them to a pride of place leading to fetishness and later become vessels of evil spirits.


Dr Wale Okediran once told me that in the course of his novel writing, his mother would insist he does not develop critical conflicts that would end in tragedy leading to death and ghastly accidents. And for those writers who claim a helping hand of the spirits in their creativity and inventivity and display weird nuances leading to maladjustment they need to visit their medical doctors for compulsive disorder evaluation.


There is no need to descend into the abyss of our local musicians like it is being bandied about that the late Shata especially his Bakandamiya had its chorus from the jinns and the Victor Victor Uwaifo got the helping hands of other worldly beings. But even then it is not everybody that attracts such benevolence and you have to display a modicum of productivity.


Shakespeare says that our inability to rise to stardom is not in our star but in us to choose to succeed or fail? This means a writer can be a prophet if he likes to be one. I have heard that autism imbues one with artistic creative powers and prophecy but who wants to be one to be a Nobel Laureate? However, if one decides to tap into the triple helix consciousness that is a choice for him or her as in everything in life.





As I noted somewhere before, an entity could easily resort to literary approach to policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation in choice of communication channels where it reaches its target publics utilizing the novels, novella, poems and plays. In fact, playwrights like Professor Iorwuese Hagher, Denja Abdullahi  and Malam Yahaya Dangana have produced and staged Community Theater propagating government causes to the grassroots dwellers. Writings can inspire the people to respond to stimuli identified in a work.


Writing could impact positively or negatively as conversations and interrogations flow around the novel or poem. For example, Ngozi Chimamanda commissioned speeches which are reflective of her writing thrusts re-set positively blackism agenda globally while other novelists write to denigrade the cultures of other clime which is received with disdain and negative fatwa as seen in the case of Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel. This is because the novel unveils the antecedent and precepts of the people through the identity of the characters to a broad framework within which to explore their socio-historical development. 




My finishing touches and take-away here is that ANA should promote indigenous shamanic religious culture as hospital platform. It should institute awards for magical works like Nollywood magic films in surrealistic depictions as popularized by Ben Okri.


ANA should also promote the prophetic authors amongst its ranks through reading tours like British Council does and come up with define criteria for membership while clarifying the mid-point between the writer and author.




In this paper, I identified the Prophet distinct from the Writer, the process of learning to write prophetic novel, the different types of prophecies, the activities  of Prophets and Writers in their communities, whether the Writer is a Prophet or not and the reasons were adduced, the negative implication of the writer becoming a prophet, writing as a commitment to narrate and change existing order and proffered a host of recommendations.