Members were just beginning to worry when AWF would start off the year’s series of the monthly Guest Writer’s Session which features a published author the Pen and Pages Bookstore. Then it came with a bang: two authors writing facts, not fiction as usual were featured. And what an evening it turned out to be!
Jim Pressman, Abuja-based freelance and literary enthusiast, was there…
Take one: AN ANGRY BOOK BY AN ANGRY MAN
He calls his book on Nigerian universities today “Ivory Towers with neither the shine of ivory nor the lofty heights of towers.” The author, Steve Agwo Okecha is a distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Consultant with the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja. Educated at the famous Government College, Ughelli, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and at the Uppsala University, Sweden. He was born in Obiaruku, Delta State and is a scholar of international repute and of multiple competencies.
A versatile chemist, environmentalist, university administrator, poet and orator, Professor Okecha is widely published in international scientific and literary journals.
His most recent book, The Nigerian University: an Ivory Tower with Neither Ivory or Tower, is not only a scathing indictment of the rot in Nigerian universities but offers worthwhile solutions to the menace. Newswatch Magazine co-founder and Deputy-Editor-in-Chief, Dan Agbese, wrote this of the book: “This 144-page book is dynamite. Anyone who reads it will have tears in his eyes. It is, perhaps, the most informative little book on the decay and the rot in Nigerian universities so far. Every page is an indictment of the nation and its leaders. Every chapter is packed with disturbing facts on the progressive ruination of the university system. It is an angry book written by an angry scholar who has devoted his entire life to teaching and research in Nigerian universities and has come to the fork on the road in his personal academic journey, and now begins to wonder why the dusk has not kept the promise of the dawn….”
Prof. Okecha tells the sorry tale of our education system today with justifiable angst: 222 universities with 19 other, degree – awarding tertiary institutions add up to 241, yet the Federal Government has just given approval for the take off 5 new universities! Our best university does not figure on the list of the best 40 in Africa! Listening to the veteran teacher talk about the book is not as detailed as a thorough reading, but was certainly most effective in getting the audience and all those they come in contact with to think more seriously about how to arrest this drift of our education as the so – called Giant of Africa. In this sector for now, this Giant has feet of clay!
Take Two: A BLUNT BOOK ABOUT A BLUNT MAN BY BLUNT AUTHOR
Controversial columnist [‘Capital Matters’ in The Sun newspapers] Uche Ezechukwu, author of Biafra, Land of the Risen Sun has also authored four books of biographical, historical and sociological genres, including: Abacha: The Myth, the Man (1977); In God’s Hands (1999, the amazing story of the Biafran Air Force); Land of the Risen Sun and Ojukwu: The ‘Rebel’ I Served. Another book, A Bridge across Time (a depiction of the Sokoto Caliphate) is coming off the press and will soon be presented to the public this year.
Trained at Nigerian and East European institutions in Political Studies, Mass Communications and Political Economy and practices in English, French and German, with equal fluency besides his working knowledge of Hausa language who has an uncanny knack for marketing difficult products as an image – maker (imagine being Media Aide to Generals Sani Abacha, Muhammadu Buhari and Eze Gburu Gburu Dim Odumegwu –Ojukwu?) has dropped another book: Ojukwu, the Rebel I served.
Everything about the book is out of the ordinary: the subject – matter was an extraordinary man in life and in death as the unusual spate of burial ceremonies at every across the nation shows; Ezechukwu did the 222-page book in 17 days from Dec 5 to Christmas day 2011and takes full responsibility for little irritating errors therein, even as he thanks his editor-publisher for all the good things about the product. The book also contains many things you will be finding out for the first time about perhaps the most misunderstood Nigerian of all times. Only available to an equally stubborn man egged to work for his enigmatic cousin, Prof. ABC Nwosu, former Minister of Federal Republic.
Ezechukwu was Ojukwu’s Media Assistant for two action – packed years of close study of the enigma, and had not been in touch with the man for 20 years except for one phone call, before the former Biafran leader’s recent demise.
“On Aburi We Stand” is a slogan many do not fully understand. General Gowon is still alive. Want to know what Ojukwu thinks of the likes of General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma? Chief Awolowo beside Dim’s famous quote of ‘the best President Nigeria never had’ which makes Uche Ezechukwu feel Ojukwu himself was perhaps the best Senator his constituency voted against in error? For all this and more you must read Ojukwu, the Rebel I served, and if you are interested in education, the best legacy we can bequeath to tomorrow’s generation here today, get a copy of The Nigerian University: an Ivory Tower with Neither Ivory or Tower. Only snag is had you been at the AWF that last Saturday of February, you would have bought copies at a big reduction…
See you at next AWF Guest Writer’s Session?