By Modupe Gbadeyanka
More important personalities in the country are throwing their weights behind a book being put together by a celebrity journalist, Mr Lanre Alfred, titled Nigeria @60: Foremost Nigerians of the Last 60years.
Mr Alfred is the former Society Editor of ThisDay newspaper and his book is aimed at recounting the national history and put on display the roles of the selected players in national development over the years.
It also presents a challenge for those key players, who are alive to strive to improve on their roles while also giving the rest of the citizenry the opportunity to honestly and genuinely assess the account and the roles it ascribes to these individuals.
Impressed by the idea behind the initiative, the book, which is expected to hit the book shelves soon, has now received the endorsements of the former Senate President, Mr Bukola Saraki; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.
In his prologue entitled Enriching the History of a Giant, Mr Saraki espoused Nigeria’s greatness which he agrees had been tested in several ways.
Interestingly, Mr Saraki said Nigeria has been the country whose huge resources and dynamic, resourceful, creative, ebullient, and hard-working people represent the hope of the black man to stand on an even dais with the most developed part of the world.
“She is the country that has carried the burden of the rest of Africa during difficult times as she did during the period of the apartheid the system in South Africa and the liberation struggles in other parts of Southern Africa,” he stated.
In the foreword, Governor Fayemi of Ekiti State said Nigeria is an amazing story and an evolving power whose destiny is far beyond a convulsive spasm that often diminishes the narrative of her undeniable glory.
“This lesson is what has attracted the intellectual lens of Lanre Alfred in this insightful book. He takes us through an undulating labyrinth of the Nigerian story and points our attention to the mesh of our socio-cultural plurality, which ultimately makes ours a complex political experiment.
“He depicts the nation’s foundational challenge as that of a sailing mission without a rudder and a flying expedition without a compass. For it was clear that, at independence, there was no consensus around vision, purpose and strategy for the actualization of the nation’s dream,” he said.
“This approach is not only a commendable reward system; it is also an effective story-telling strategy that properly situates the nation’s milestones around the exploits of her heroes and heroines. To suggest that Nigeria has not made progress is to declare that the works of her heroes and heroines are in vain. It is to assume that, generally, nonentities had led the nation in politics, business, culture, religion, and leadership!” he added.
In correspondence with the author, Governor Abiodun of Ogun State lauded the ingenuity of the book while praising the writing proficiency of Mr Alfred who he said has evolved as not just a reporter but a redoubtable historian.
Mr Abiodun stated that he would gladly recommend the book for reading across a broad spectrum of the society because “of its depth and richness and the fact that it makes for easy and compelling reading.”
He continued, “This book is a storehouse of information about the people that made and are making Nigeria great. History well told is beautiful. Many of the historians who most appeal to the general reading public know the importance of dramatic and skillful writing as well as of accuracy and this is where Alfred has excelled with this book.”
However, the book is dedicated to Globacom chairman, Mr Mike Adenuga Jnr, as a homage to his humanity and relentless strides at rewriting the African business narrative; for standing tall and wading through odds with the courage of a knight and confidence of a champion. Interestingly, in the midst of the doom and gloom, the pervasive fear of the Coronavirus pandemic, and the flagging the faith of Nigerians per their survival, the chairman of Globacom Limited, raised hopes and planted joy in the bosoms of Nigerians.
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