Sobande: I started writing when I was seven

At the age of seven, Mercy Sobande conceived an idea of writing a book. He started putting his thoughts on pieces of paper in form of stories and showed them to his father, Mr. Olatoye Sobande, who did not take him serious. However, despite the discouragement, the young Sobande persisted.

When he became 10, Mercy gathered all the stories he had written on pieces of paper, approached his father and asked him to assist in publishing them into a book.

On Wednesday, June 27, Mercy’s dream became a reality, as his first book, Princess Sarah And Other Stories, was launched amidst pomp and pageantry in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Mercy, a primary six pupil at the Federal College of Education (FCE) Staff School, Osiele, Abeokuta, told The Guardian, “I started reading story books when I was two years old.“

He added: “When I was in primary three, I got inspiration to write a book, so, I started writing a lot of stories on pieces of paper and later showed them to my parents, who initially didn’t take me serious, but I kept all the stories I wrote.

“In May, this year, I approached my father and told him I want all my stories published into a book. He took me to the office of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), where, after going through the stories and interviewing me, the writers’ body agreed to assist me in publishing them.”

Princess Sarah And Other Stories, according to the author, represents his (Mercy) vision in his understanding of character portrayal “in this world of treachery, deceit, falsehood, inequity and the plight of the common man. The vulture for instance, typifies pride, but as usual in God’s way, she got her reward. The stories summed up the need for love, mutual respect, humility and faith in God.”

On the title, he said, “I just formed the title and wrote about it.”

Mercy hinted that would equally drop three other books, which he had already finished work on. Their titles, he disclosed, are, The Disobedient Child, Bloody liar and Reward of Greed.

On the name Mercy, which is associated with only females? Is he not bothered that his father gave him such a name? He smiled innocently, “I’m not bothered. That is the name my parents gave me and I have no quarrel with it.”

His ambition in life?

“It is to become a world class author in future,” he replied.

Mercy’s father, Olatoye told The Guardian that his son started writing very early in life, but I did not take him serious, though anytime he wrote a story, he showed them to me.

“Earlier this year, he put pressure on me to get the stories published, I got in touch with the chairman of Ogun State chapter of ANA, Mr. Dada Olanipekun, who after going through, approved them for publication.”

At the launching, the Ogun State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs. Module Mujota, who, was a special guest at the ceremony, insisted that reading is fundamental to function in today’s society.

But stated, “regrettably, reading is gradually going into extinction as learners and youths do not consider reading as a leisure activity that should form part of their interactive activities.”

The commissioner called for the culture of reading in the society in order to cultivate an informed and enlightened populace.

She assured that the present administration in the state would not relent in its effort in providing a conducive environment for pupils and students to imbibe reading culture.

To achieve the aim, Mujota said, the government would establish more equipped libraries to complement the existing ones and called on wealthy individuals and organisations to support government’s effort.

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