Segun Adeniyi’s cross By Louis Odion, FNGE

Nigeria’s most popular political Author, Olusegun Adeniyi

Nothing has animated the nation so
intensely in recent memory as Segun
new book, “Against the
run of play”.
Even days before its presentation last Friday in Lagos, the national circuits were
already saturated with teasers excerpted by the media.
Coming when more and more Nigerians
appear to be getting disillusioned over the ability of the ruling party to
redeem the promise of 2015, Segun’s offering could not be better timed.

(Well, I got my own auto-graphed
copy a day before the presentation, just before I could finally yield to
temptation to “blow the whistle” against Segun for possibly plotting to scheme his “old
countryman” out of his expected jackpot.)

The book of Segun Adeniyi….Chapter 1 verse 1

Critically examined, what makes the
book refreshing is the depth Segun
brings to the narrative, lending some of the key actors ample space to be part
of the story-telling. The old reporter not only offers an informed commentary,
but also gives his subjects enough voice.

The Author, Louis Odion FNGE….He bothers so much on the ‘missing royalty’


Ultimately, the influence of a book
will be measured not just by its seismic impact on public thought but also the
number of counter narratives it inspires. Here, Segun again scores the bull’s eye. At the last count, two of the
key gladiators in the 2015 saga (ex President Goodluck Jonathan and Asiwaju
Bola Tinubu) had “threatened” to write their own accounts.

Goodluck Jonathan inspired by Segun Adeniyi’s book


Speaking at the event, Jonathan’s spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, also
“threatened” to write his own memoir, with reference to what
transpired during those giddy moments between 2014 and 2015.
Ironically, both Jonathan and Tinubu are quoted copiously by Segun
in the book.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu inspired by Segun Adeniyi’s book

But after what could only be a
moment of epiphany, both the chief protagonist and chief antagonist appear
resolved to open up further and leave the verdict to the public. 
Of course, it would have been
impossible to view and appreciate the monumentality of an elephant from a
single aperture. Well, as often said in literary circles, anyone uncomfortable
with Segun’s account is free to write
his/her own. It is  from the maze of tales – some seemingly contradictory
– that we are able to distill the truth. 
Ultimately, public knowledge is

Olusegun Obasanjo wrote books

 For instance, beside OBJ and
Shagari, how many of our former
leaders have bothered to commit their unique experiences to writing?

The result is
that, often, key actors in the Nigeria’s narrative ended up taking
all the secrets to their graves, thus robbing posterity the chance to learn
from their insights and experiences. 

Shehu Shagari wrote a book…

But while the illumination Segun brings is undoubtedly desirable,
the bitter part is the financial deprivation the author is now left to endure.
The book’s unveiling had barely ended last Friday when news broke that hackers
had compromised the encryption to the online copy, virtually shredding whatever
expectation Segun and his publishers
might have to reap from their sweat and investment. 
No blow could be more cruel. The
kind of work Segun undertook is
mentally taxing in terms of research and travel, to say nothing about time
spent chasing after and waiting endlessly on respondents for interviews.
featured in the book.

Segun Adeniyi…Will he ever make fortune from his book?

I think the print media started it.
Long before the book’s presentation last Friday, most newspapers Segun was generous enough to provide “complimentary copy” had
already cannibalized the work by generating front-page stories from it almost
on a daily basis, smiling to the bank. So much that one began to wonder what
meat was left for any potential buyer of the book.
Pa Moses Olaiya aka Baba Sala…Lost fortune to Orun Mooru
It reminds me of the ambushing of Baba Sala (Moses Olaiya) at the
completion of his epic Yoruba comic movie, Orun
(Heaven is Hot), in the 80s. He had barely started taking the movie
around the cinemas when pirated copies in VHS flooded the market. If the old
comic with trademark oversize goggle ever imagined only “Heaven is
Hot”, it soon dawned on him that “Earth is Hell” when bankers
who gave him overdrafts started knocking at the door. 
Moved to pity, some well-wishers few
days ago launched an online appeal for donations from members of the public to
support Segun and his publisher to
mitigate their loss. That may not be a bad idea – though the Segun I know writes more out of passion
than the love of money.

The Most Controversial Nigerian book of 2017

Against this backdrop, it then
becomes easier to see why no one is sufficiently incentivized in today’s
Nigeria to engage in any serious literary enterprise, except for those drawn to
pay-as-go writing. Serious writing is a solitary venture, excessively absorbing,
occluding you from the existential pleasures others take for granted. The
readers would wish they don’t have to pay a kobo. Yet, the writer is hardly
ever exempted from paying bills or putting food on the table for their family,
like everybody. 
In the final analysis, this should
serve as another wake-up call to relevant authorities to do more by plugging
the legal vacuum. Also plagued is the music sub-sector and Nollywood. Existing
copyright laws need total overhaul and the enforcing agencies more power to
hack down pirates so that writers, singers and artistes could survive.  


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