There are books and there are books. Many books adorn the booksellers’ shelf and potential readers easily get lost in choosing which to buy. Here, as an author, I want to critically asses the basic ingredients of a meaningful book.
A book is midwifed and born when the author gets the stirring that he has a message, viewpoint or an idea to share with a select group or the rest of the world. He most probably wants everybody concerned to read it not just because he is desirous of a bestseller for commercial gain, but to allow such ideas to germinate and flourish in order to stimulate further discussions. The world would be a more interesting, dynamic and progressive place with better understanding based on shared knowledge of some indisputable truth. The world is work in progress and we should be ready to accept and appreciate this. If this is a truism, then what is better than helping to leave it a better place than we met it? Nothing else really matters.
The conception, gestation and birth of a book that examines current issues in different and hopefully more rational ways help to explore and foster more understanding among the different cultural groups of humanity. It helps to close the gaps and build bridges to one another, ultimately underscoring the imperative of mutual and beneficial co-existence. We are to move steadily from understanding our differences, truly created by one God, the god of all humanity, under the ambit of justice, equity and fair play with a garnishing of mercy.
A serious minded book should seek to provoke thoughts among the different strata of the reading public, and should be different from others, both in content and intent. Content-wise, the author is willing to wager that no matter how erudite, urbane and knowledgeable about Nigeria and the world any reader could be, he or she would pick up at least ONE or TWO original ideas, different and plausible line of thought and deeper understanding – more than was known before. Be you a professor ten times over, this is equally applicable to you. Therefore, you are enjoined to keep your receipt and after scrupulously going through this book, if in truth that was not the case, you would be entitled to ten times the cost of the purchase. Secondly, as far as possible, copyright of this book is hereby relaxed and therefore it can be photocopied, loaned out and quoted freely. Decent, rational and cultured polemics is welcomed so as to extend the frontiers of knowledge and assist us all to make sense of our society and country; our world.
The more the labour-pain of bringing out a book, the more the mothering-author cries out, ‘’enough!” He hopes that this child would do well, possibly be a prodigy in this complex, roly-poly world of vicissitudes and fulfils its destiny of contributing howsoever minutely to human advancement. Little wonder that many mothers these days stay contented with having only one child! A follow-up sibling book therefore is not contemplated since the truth if cogent enough is always the truth…. i.e. monochromatic, with no colouring, or variations whatsoever.
I am a writer and an author. I have a story-line. The skewed manipulation of petroleum products in the country. I have been a player in the industry since my graduation from the University in 1977, when Mobil Oil Marketing employed me as a Sales Representative. I have been writing and commenting on the unimaginable manipulation in the marketing of petroleum products in Nigeria since the year 2008. These various writings started as a side commentary on observed manipulation in the marketing of petroleum products in Nigeria, especially kerosene.
The skewed and fraudulent handling of this product in particular has snowballed into so many socio-economic maladies and destruction of lives, equipment and properties, such that it begs the question whether we are a sensible and humane society at all. There has been so much selfish and thoughtless acquisition of material wealth in Nigeria by people who by virtue of their privileged education should have known better. Such people need a good re-orientation on the philosophy of what should be the purpose of life and then be brought to account and judgment. Nigeria should NOT have been like this at all. We should hold conversations with one another, but first and foremost we need the knowledge of how and why we have ended up this way. That is the starting point.
The needless but palpable poverty foisted on this country by military misrule has deeply affected our psyche and we have become traumatized body and soul, rendering us more pliable and susceptible to manipulation of all manners of predators, especially the so-called man of God. This breed of men have multiplied so rapidly and filled up the airspace so much so that Nigeria has been virtually turned into a huge religion-peddling but thoroughly godless society. These issues form the second focus of this book.
The continuing interaction of these two issues and insights gleaned from the Nigerian society form the core and inform some disconcerting but inescapable conclusions, contained herein. Sampler. There are no anointed men of God anywhere in the world, since as the Bible says “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. The behavior and activities of these so-called “men of God” actually border on the criminal and if not curbed they will continue to do it beyond tomorrow!! By all means we should always wear our thinking caps.
Mr. Olusegun Oyegbami is a Lagos,Nigeria based entrepreneur and author of ‘Reversing the Rot in Nigeria: A Critical Exposé on the Nation’s Economic, Religious and Political Cul-de-sac.’ Available online at Amazon and in all good bookstores.