By: Rahaman Onike
The twelve chapter book, ‘Against the Run of Play – How an incumbent President was defeated in Nigeria’- by Olusegun Adeniyi is the latest attempt to chronicle how Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was ousted in the 2015 presidential election.
As a matter of fact, the reactions generated by the book do not only have a significant impact on the the nation’s political space but they have added to the existing literature on Nigeria’s political history.
The author’s history as the former spokesman to late president Umar Musa Ya’radua, the quality of his earlier book titled Power, Politics and Death and the Pedagogical approach adopted in writing the new book give it the necessary credibility.
With the distinctive style of Adeniyi’s writing, he is becoming arguably one of the foremost and most credible chroniclers of Nigeria’s contemporary political history and evolution.
The author approaches the documentary from the perspective of an active journalist/reporter, not that of an academic historian as noted by Chidi Amuta who wrote the foreword of the book. However, he applies footnotes where necessary to give the book the scholastic touch.
Furthermore, the omniscient point of view used in developing the narrative sounds plausible. With the narrative approach, the work passes the test of objectivity and this is supported by the use of the interview technique adopted by the narrator in seeking opinions and identifying the roles of various dramatic persona in events preceding the defeat of an incumbent president in the nation’s history.
The 221 page non-fiction work is in my considered opinion a book that will have enduring value. Through careful allusion to relevant actors that shaped the course of the political history of the period under review, the author’s purpose which is preservation of the nation’s political history and documention of the roles of various actors has been achieved.
The way the narrator used the device of flashback gives the storyline the necessary linkages as reflected in the chapterization of the book.
It is instructive that in developing the contents and coverage of the book, the appropriate themes such as roles of ethnic politics, intervention of international community, PDP crises, formation of the APC, mistakes done by Jonathan’s presidency, Boko Haram insurgency / Chibok girls palava, Obasanjo’s revolt and interference of Governor’s forum were intertwined to make the book a masterpiece.
Of equal importance is the fact that the author gives the prime actor of the narrative enough benefit of doubt to either clarify or air his views for the purpose of balance and prosperity.
In short, the book offers the readers unusual insights into the major human and institutional factors that actually facilitated the defeat of the then ruling party, Peoples’ Democratic Party.
Obviously, the book recapitulates in the best tradition of literary journalism the experiences and events of Jonathan’s era in a chronological order.
The narrative carries one along compellingly due to its deep clarity, brevity and conciseness of diction and expressions. As a narrator, Adeniyi provides the reader with factual accounts of events that culminated into the unprecedented defeat of President Jonathan by capturing the various intrigues that defined the outcome of 2015 presidential election.
In the proscript, the narrative clearly chronicles Buhari’s presidency, the president’s health challenges and the underscoring tides garnished with relevant illustrations.
By way of evaluation, some events that the book captured were condensed in such a way that the quality and aesthetics of the book become minimized. Assuming some of the happenings had been carefully expatiated, the full import of the narration wold have been fully appreciated.
Again, the narrator is too mild in defining the roles the various actors played both positively and negatively in the events leading to the historical defeat of the incumbent president.
One other important development arising from the public presentation of the book is the issue of cyber security. It sounds ridiculous that three days after the book launch, the softcopy of the book had gone viral on social media. This ugly development actually raises the question of copyright piracy in Nigeria. The author invariably would have lost fortunes or would probably have been surcharged by the theft of his intellectual property by the criminal hackers.
Without mincing words, the theft of the copyright of the book has exposed the government’s inability to forestall copyright infractions and theft of intellectual property. The scenario in a way has exposed the defects and inherent lapses in the capacity of Nigerian Copyright Commission and EFCC in handling cyber related copyright piracy of online publications.
Arising from the theft of the softcopy of Adeniyi’s new book is an advocacy and call for a better regime of intellectual property administration in Nigeria.
In the final analysis, the book – Against the Run of Play – by Olusegun Adeniyi is a must read for students, historians, politicians and scholars of contemporary politics. By evaluation, the book succeeds in capturing the blow by blow accounts of how president Jonathan was defeated.
Again, the book by content analysis, examination of choice of diction by the author and style of the narrative, passes the test of readability, exploitability and cannot be written off in terms of suitability of content.
Rahaman Onike writes from Oyo. He is public administrator, policy analyst and author.