I caught this book flying around the streets of bookstagram sometime in 2020. I did not pay attention to the reviews and bought it later just because I found the title personified and beautiful. I started reading it last month and dumped it because of school. I picked it up again this month and was hooked till the end.
Tomorrow Died Yesterday is set in Asiama village and Port Harcourt, both in Rivers State, between the years of 1970 to 2005. Around the time I was reading it, I visited Bayelsa state and its heritage museum, and I learned and understood a lot why Chimeka Garricks had to write this story. Back there at my sister’s place, we always had to deal with oil contamination in our water. But before I give away more than you can grab, let’s look at the book synopsis.
“It’s 2004 Port Harcourt, Nigeria at the height of the kidnap of oil workers in the Niger delta, a kidnapping goes awry and four lives are reconnected. Doye aka Doughboy the career militant responsible for the crime. Amaibi the gentle university professor/eco-warrior accused. Kaniye the lawyer turned restaurateur who tries to get him off and Tubo an amoral oil company executive. Against a backdrop of corrupt practices, failed systems, and injustice, these four friends tell the story of oil in a region and its effects on local communities and the Nigerian larger society.”
Mr. Garricks did not just write a good story, he wrote it excellently, painting a vivid picture of what life was like back then in the Niger Delta region before and after oil was discovered. Following the lives and points of view of his four main characters, I got so emotionally attached and broken in places where the characters had to go through so much.
Starting with Tubo, the selfish Oil company executive, who annoyed me in so many places. Then, Doye, the militant/antihero who I did not like at all but got to identify with after I read about all he went through. Amaibi had me in all my feelings. He is one of the reasons this story became heartbreaking and painful to read. Then there is Kaniye, the charmer, who undoubtedly was everyone’s favorite.
Through the lives of these main characters, Chimeka told the story of Oil Bunkering, Kidnapping, Friendship, Oil spillage, Religion, Failed Marriage, Corruption in Nigeria, Politics, and a lot more. Describing explicitly, triggering topics like Murder, Rape, and Death. I would not recommend this book to everyone.
The book is divided into five parts, across different years, and alternating between the four main characters with Deola, a medical doctor and corp member who came into their lives years later.
Doye, Amaibi, Tubo, and Kaniye are childhood friends who grew up together in Asiama, Rivers State. The story started in 2004 with one of Doye’s kidnaps which landed Amaibi in trouble. Now Kaniye would have to defend Amaibi in court from all false accusations that were leveled against him. The fact that the Nigerian government was all on his case is enough to have Amaibi utterly hopeless and discouraged, but he trusted so much in Kaniye, a chef who had not practiced law in years, to defend him in court. From this part, the author journeyed the readers through the childhood days of his characters, with each flashback as a different part of the story.
While different people would draw from the multiple themes in this book, I was deeply interested in the characters’ relationships. I am a sucker for friendships and with that, I open-mindedly followed each of these characters’ stories to better relate and identify with them. At the end of the book, I harbored no hard feelings for anyone. Should it be me or anyone else in this story, we may likely do or even become worse.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in political issues and corruption practices in Nigeria, Oil spillage and its effect on the locals, military invasion, law, court cases, etc.
I have listed the triggering topics, and believe me, the author described those scenes unreservedly. If you think you cannot stay strong, you may not want to read this book.