Name of character: Wilson Tagbo
Title of book: One Week One Trouble
Author: Anezi Okoro (published 1972)
No character in the numerous juvenilia I read as a boy occupied my heart like Wilson Tagbo, the protagonist of ‘One Week One Trouble.’ Wilson goes off to secondary school during the colonial period and embarks on a journey of self-discovery that involves a run-in with virtually all the school’s authority figures almost every week. His adventures range from the hilarious to the outrageous. Where does one start? Is it his initiation into the world of science by inhaling the almighty laughing-gas? Or his sneaky roasting of yams with a refuse heap fire? I laughed my ribs sore when I saw Wilson slinking out of sight in the Bible Knowledge class to read ‘How to Jump Six Feet.’ The lad was desperate to make the cut in his house selection for the Inter-house games so befriending the manual was the only way out. Not only did Wilson make the team, he spiced the games with his crazy ride on the back of the prize bull presented to the school!
Wilson is my ultimate boy hero. I had grown up believing that good boys did not upset the status quo. But here was an intelligent chap who was not afraid of taking his destiny into his hands, though at times his impulsiveness turned him into an equivalent of the famous British comic character, Mr. Bean. But Wilson could be a model of rectitude till the urge to see what lay beneath the stone in every circumstance seized him. His good nature was stoutly defended by his father at a time Wilson’s mischief nearly earned him expulsion.
Wilson is a character that remains with the reader forever. He is well rounded and as sassy as samba (apologies to Sefi Atta). I concluded that it was an account of the author’s teenage days. If the thought is true, then Wilson Tagbo the man deserves a warm handshake from his devoted fan.
Writer’s real name: Henry C. Onyema
Location: Lagos, Nigeria