They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place, but I can tell you absolutely that lightning has struck twice, because Tolu Akinyemi has done it again! He has wowed me again and has left me impressed again!
You know, after reading Dead Lions Don’t Roar, I thought I had seen all in Tolu’s intellectual and social-ill-critiquing arsenal. Little did I know that he has more left in his tank, which he unleashed in Never Play Games with The Devil. As always, Tolu is an out-of-the-box thinker, social critic, and word master whose perspectives are always interesting and enlightening.
One thing I like about Tolu’s poems is that they are always didactic, which makes them a fantastic read at all times; and the collection of poems in Never Play Games with The Devil are no different. Some of my favourites include “Broken Men”, “Bad Governance”, and “Nothing Lasts Forever”, but of the three, I would like to dwell a bit on “Broken Men”.
“Broken Men” challenges the stereotypical definition of masculinity, especially in this part of the world where it is considered weakness when a man suffers an emotional breakdown, or even panics in the face of a problem. You would hear things like: “Ah-ahn! Why are you crying now? Are you not a man?”, or “stop being fearful like a woman jare”, or “you are too lily-livered” etc; Sentiments like these tend to exaggerate what it means to be a man and make it seem as if men are supposed to be zombies, devoid of emotions and feelings. Which is why, when a man cracks, he no longer qualifies to be a man. True, women are more emotional than men; but God also created men to have and express emotions too. So why should a man be ridiculed or derided when he shows his emotions or expresses his fears? So, there is nothing chicken about a man sometimes being emotionally broken or vulnerable, and I am glad Tolu talked about this common misconception. It is okay to cry and lean on others for support when you are broken and low; It is nothing to be ashamed of, and it doesn’t make you less of a man. I give Tolu special thumbs on that one.
As with other books by Tolu, Never Play Games with The Devil is powerful, motivational and speaks of a mind that thinks very deeply about relevant issues. It is no wonder why he has excelled as a coach and mentor to hundreds of young people. His books are always interesting to read because his language and choice of words are appealing. I would most definitely recommend Never Play Games with The Devil, especially if you are seeking personal development. Well done Tolu Akinyemi for another fantastic literary work.
Never Play Games with The Devil is available to order on Okadabooks App here