My people perish for lack of knowledge” is a Biblical injunction. And ever since the statement was made some two thousand years ago, many families, towns and even nations have not fully realised the importance of education, hence they still perish.
It was in realisation of this that U.D. Abdulkareem, a young naval officer who grew up in the north came up with this new book titled African Cowboy.
The 156 pages book from the stables of Eloquent Books, Durham , 2010 is a fictional narrative, which revisits some of the ugly practices of the Fulani herds in the upbringing of their family. It is gripping story of a rich Fulani herdsmen who believes even in this 21st century that a man’s wealth should be measured only by the number of cows he possesses.
In the book, the young naval officer turned author who subscribes to the view that education is the only solution to some of the terrible ills in the society, explores the age old problems of illiteracy and dreams now compounded by child abuse and gender discrimination with its terrible effects on the country and how they can be overcome with education.
Using his narrative power Abdulkareem is able to bring afresh to the mind of the readers some important issues that need to be tackled in order to have peace and development in the country.
The story revolves around Bappa, a core Muslim man and one of the richest man in his community and his polygamous life. Bappa is a rich man who is only satisfied with the health of his cows even at the expense of the peace of his family.
He was very autocratic and did not believe in western education, an action that later destroyed his family . Bappa in his polygamous way abandoned his first wife, Demmo and her two children, Ribadu and Halimah leaving them to suffer in abject poverty, an action that led to the death of the woman.
However, Ribadu and Halimah embraced western education and studied up till the University and were later established. On the other side,things fell apart for Bappa, he lost his fortunes as his cows died, his wife abandoned him and he became wretched.
With his new state of life, Bappa realised that life does not begin and end with the possesion of cows, he decided to look for a job at all cost, but he could not even get the least job because he was not educated. It was on the course of looking for way to survive that he finally met his two educated children who are now wealthy and are out to rehabilitate him but still his greed occasioned by illiteracy again caused him to commit murder and instead of enjoying the new wealth of his children, he ended up in the prison.
The imperativeness of Abdulkareem narrative power can not be felt better any other time than now when the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram is threatening the security of the country. The author views some of the societal ills that are ravaging the country today can be traced to illiteracy.
African Cowboy is a thriller novel, full of suspence which captures the intrigue of religion and the dishearthening lives of the Fulani herds in the country.
Set in a typical muslim north, the novel exposes the lives of some muslims who do not want Western education and would go to any length to actualise that as seen in the way Bappa disowned his two children who enrolled in the school.
Written in very simple language for reading, the book is a valuable work which all ages especially the muslim north would find interesting. However, the editing is not too good, there are some errors and wrong use of words which can be easily corrected in subsguent editions.
Having read through the book, I commend the author for a good attempt at bringing such interesting and educative work to the doorstep of Nigerians at this time when the country is in dire need for such. I therefore recommend it all.