By Japhet Alakam
The current governmentâ€™s policy to launder the image of the country through the re branding efforts of Former Minister of Information and Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili received a boost penultimate week at the Oranmiyan Hall of Airport Hotel, Ikeja with the public presentation of a book, Nigeria: A Harvest of Nature, an illustrative compendium on Nigeria written by Engr. Adamu Ajunam, an engineer who works in Julius Berger PLC.
The book, a well illustrated tourist guide with over 400 pictures x rays the beauty of the nation and showcases the diverse cultures, cities, towns and landscape of Nigeria. It is a comprehensive and narrative work covering the length and breadth of Nigeria.
In her opening remarks, the then Minister of Information and Communication who was represented by Alhaji Garuba Kankarufi; Regitrar of APCON commended the author for finding time to write such a book that showed the countryâ€™s beauty, especially at this period when the country is in die need of such a facelift. He enjoined Nigerians to read the book and take out time to visit the tourist places mentioned in the book so that they will be properly informed about their country.
The chairman of the occasion, Prof. Ibidapo Obe , former VC of University of Lagos, Akoka and the President, Nigeria Academy of Science in his opening remarks said â€œthis book is not about celebrities, not about birthdays but about our country, Nigeria.â€ He praised Engr. Adamu for presenting such a book that captures the beauty of our diversified and common culture as a special gift to Nigerians at the year of her 50th anniversary.
According to him, Adamu placed much emphasis on vegetation, flowers and beautiful gardens that abound in Nigeria which are good for food production. He then wondered why Nigerians with such natural endowments are still importing rice for the Christmas and other seasons and challenged Nigerians to develop a synergy where they can apply to maximise the resources.
He also used the occasion to exonerate Nigerians from some of the negative actions of some individuals, saying it was evident that many Nigerians were doing great things all over the world, pointing out that there is no notable University in the world, where you will not see a Nigerian on the teaching staff and charged Nigerians to talk about people that are doing good and forget about the few that are spoiling the image.
Continuing he said â€œ the knowledge content of the book is superb and it is spiced with good pictures that remind us of our history and geography lessons in the primary school.â€ Adding thatâ€ the book will serve two important functions for Nigerians both for old and young. First it will serve as a photo album of Nigeria to present to visitors, especially foreigners visiting the country for the first time. Secondly, the rich photographs would fill the historical vacuum created among our youths by not teaching them History and Geography in schools.â€
According to him â€œ Iâ€™ m alarmed that we donâ€™t teach children History and Geography in schools any more. There is need to introduce to them History and Geography. We donâ€™t have a collective way of solving our problems; we need plurality of voices…..â€
On his part, Mr. Vincent Oyo, MD of Image Consultants and a class mate of the author described the author as a brilliant and natural artist who art runs in his family. Stating that Adamu started photography as a kid and maintained it up till now, he said he was not surprised that he came out with a book like that.
The reviewer of the book, Prof.Yomi Akinyeye of the Department of Strategic Studies University of Lagos said that the book is a delightful addition to the corpus of knowledge on the great country, Nigeria.
Pointing out that the author was motivated by the patriotic desire to present Nigeria in line with the governmentâ€™s re branding policy of the country, Akinyeye described the book asâ€ a compendium of information and knowledge painstakingly researched and artistically presented by the author.â€
The book was unveiled by the author assisted by his mother, madam Clara Ajunam, Christien Houseman of Julius Berger, Alhaji Garba Kankarufi , Representative of the former Minister of Information and finally, Alhaji Garba Kankarufi on behalf of the former Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akunyili.
In his remarks, Engr. Ajunam who described himself as a die hard optimist who tries in his own way to document the good things and the abundant gifts which God bestowed upon Nigeria said that the book is a tourist and travel guide on Nigeria.
â€œI titled it Nigeria – A Harvest of Nature in the sense that the gift God has given to us particularly, the tourist potentials that we have if we harvest them properly can turn our nation around and also, because the book covers interesting cities in Nigeria, tourist locations, Nigerian cultures by our diverse cultures, some bit of history about our nation and travel suggested destinations.â€
â€œI started this book six years ago well before the much talked about re branding came about, and I think today this book provides us with the tool to carry out the re branding. It is regrettable that 50 years after independence, we are still unable to turn the numerous potentials we are blessed with into jobs and additional sources of income beside oil.â€He said.
Commenting on the book, Mrs Ndidi Osaka.,General Manager, Metro FM Radio Station, one of the representatives of the former Information Minister said â€œit is a thing of joy, it is a way of propagating the Nigerian re branding programme. I am really very happy because this particular book when you look at it, it actually captures the history of Nigeria and I actually recommend it for schools, offices, corporate organisations and foreigners. I congratulate the author.â€