Garrick’s book, Tomorrow Died Yesterday (published in 2011 by Paperworth Books), is set in Nigeria’s riverine area of Port Harcourt, usually referred to as the Niger-Delta region. The region produces most of the Nigeria’s oil, and in recent years has suffered a lot of violence at the hands of the militants opposed to foreign oil corporations operating in the area.
The story is about four boys born in the same year, who grow up in the same village and become friends from a young age. The four – Kaniye, Doye, Tubo, and Amaibi, attend the same schools right up to university, where they eventually go their separate ways.
Kaniye is the bastard son of a lawyer father that he resents. Despite studying law at the University, Kaniye decides to open a restaurant in open defiance of his father’s wishes.
Tubo is an orphan, whose mother dropped him on the steps of a church when he was still a baby. Educated by the church, he eventually lands a job at Imperial Oil, a foremost oil company in Port Harcourt but he turns out to be a selfish and self-serving man who is more concerned with saving his neck than speaking the truth.
The third boy, Doye, is the son of a fisherman father who spent more time being drunk than working. He graduates from university after studying petroleum engineering, and
applies for work at Imperial Oil but is turned down repeatedly. As if this is not enough, his father gets killed by security forces working for the company where he’s unsuccessfully tried to find a job. In anger, Doye founds a militant group and starts to kidnap expatriates working for Imperial Oil. He sees himself as a hero of some sort who, despite using the wrong means, is fighting for the rights of his people.
Amaibi, who is the gentlest of the four friends goes abroad for his university education. He returns home after graduating, and becomes an activist speaking out against the indiscriminate exploration practices of Imperial Oil.
A chain of events, sparked off by a kidnapping that goes terribly wrong for Doye, brings the four friends full circle.
Tomorrow Died Yesterday deals with one of the major challenges facing Nigeria. Chimeka Garricks explores the origin of the oil militancy issue and the role of self-serving politicians and rulers who sell out their people for money. He describes how for many Nigerians living in the Niger-Delta, the tomorrow indeed, died yesterday due to the action of these greedy elders. This is a thought provoking book – one that, however, makes clear that violence is not the solution to the problems faced by the Niger-Deltans.