By Japhet Alakam
NIGERIA is blessed with all the human and natural resources that if well managed will be among the best in the world. But, one unfortunate thing is that instead of utilising the resources, she is rated as a poverty capital. The major reason being failure of leadership as Late Chinua Achebe wrote in his book, The trouble with Nigeria. The leaders have failed to manage the abundant human and natural endownments and the masses are paying dearly for it.
The big question on the lips of many is, what is the way out, how will the country regain its lost glory as the giant of Africa, this is the picture Emeka Onwusoro painted in his book titled,Smile my Beloved Country.
In the 26 chapter, 215 page book published by Paresia Publishers Ltd, Emeka after a critical survey of events in the country came out with a verdict that there is hope for better days if only they will do the right thing hence the title Smile my Beloved Country.
Divided into four parts, Smile my Beloved Country, is a book with big dreams when it comes to Nigeria meant to inspire hope as well as paint a different picture about how Nigeria should be as it also notes many of the issues politics in present Nigeria has.
It is about Ayo Musa Okeke, a Nigerian American , who got a scholarship from the government for his undergraduate program in America and unlike others, he used the opportunity to make a name of himself in the agricultural sector.
After twelve years of being away, Ayo finally decides to go home, and on reaching home, he saw the rot in the country, crime, lack of infrastructures and amenities and how the political class has spoiled the country.
When Ayo arrived, he was welcomed by series of events that paint the dangers in Nigeria, that leave him with a bad taste for the country where everyone he has encountered is either corrupt or too scared to voice what’s right and ask for justice.
Poised with the mission to change the system, a path that leads him into the bed of Nigerian politics and puts his life in danger, but, at each time, he was always lucky to escape with other people getting hurt instead of him.
The situation propelled him to look for ways to deal with it, so he begins to fight corruption and the average Nigerian mentality.
How did he do that, the book narrates how Ayo went back to the US with a mission by challenging and provoking people to think and hope for a better society, the only way he can, which was welcomed by the think tanks in America and eventually makes him a presidential candidate and puts him up against a political opponent that is corrupt and dirty to his core. But, through good planning and awareness, Ayo contested and won, bringing an end to the old order.
Apart from the political angle, the author also highlights Ayo’s love for his wife. According to the book, Ayo hasn’t been to Nigeria in the twelve years since he left, but he’s in love with a woman he once admired, who he watched from afar but didn’t contact and immediately asks her to marry him. The woman obliged because they are just right for each other.
This story is a good one, and the coming is timely, especially its coming at this period in the country’s political period when much is expected from the people to change the system. It is that type of message that needs to go round so that the old order in this country will be changed for good.
Written in very simple English for easy reading and understanding, the story line is good and it has a strong message anyone can learn from, as it reminds people to do what’s right, even in the face of adversity. It is an already made script begging for adaptation into a movie.