Former Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar, has charged Nigerian journalists to write more about the nation’s historical trajectories.
The ex-Head of State said this at the launch of ‘Against the Run of Play’, a book written by Olusegun Adeniyi, spokesperson to late President Umaru Yar’adua.
Mr. Abubakar, who chaired the event, held on Friday in Victoria Island, Lagos, enjoined more local journalists to write more about local events, adding that when foreign journalists write about Nigerian political histories, “Their narratives are not often clear and their views biased”.
He commended Mr. Adeniyi for taking the bold step to write about an important part of the nation’s recent history, noting that there is still a dearth of books about the nation’s electoral contests.
“I cannot recollect any book on any of the presidential elections held in the last eighteen years,” he said.
He also lamented that books have not been written about other equally important events in the nation’s socio-political history in recent years, adding that apart from Helon Habila’s book, there was no book written on the case of the abducted Chibok girls.
Similarly, Emeka Anyaoku, former Commonwealth Secretary-General, lamented that there were few books written about important issues in the Nigerian public life.
He, however, recommended the new book to all Nigerians, adding that by reading the book, Nigerians would understand the events leading to the death of Mr. Yar’adua and the defeat of former president Goodluck Jonathan.
Speaking at the occasion, the author of the book, Mr. Adeniyi, disclosed that he never betrayed the confidence of characters interviewed in the book.
Mr. Adeniyi said he spoke with some of them more than twice, adding that none of the characters could claim that he was misquoted.
The former presidential aide said that he was inspired to put the book together after studying the politics of incumbency in African presidential elections in recent years.
He noted that he had identified “fractionised opposition” as one of the reasons for the failure of opposition parties to defeat incumbents in elections, adding that the APC merger that produced the result of the 2015 elections confirmed his thesis.
Reacting to claims in the book, presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, commended the author, noting that he has contributed immensely to public knowledge with the book publication.
Reuben Abati, spokesperson to former president Jonathan, on his part, said Mr. Adeniyi’s effort was commendable, noting that he would respond to sensitive issues raised by the author after reading the
Mr. Abati also gave hints that he would write his own memoir as a spokesperson, detailing his experience at the villa, soon.
Akin Osuntokun, an aide to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who anchored the programme, said the author has blazed the trail and enjoined other journalists to write more books to deepen public understanding of politics and political power in Nigeria.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, represented by his media aide, Tunde Rahman, enjoined readers to carefully decipher his submissions in the book, adding that many have misinterpreted his commentaries by taking it out of context.
The event witnessed the presence of top politicians and the creme de la creme of the Nigerian media, who gathered to honour one of their own.
Among those present are veteran journalist Dan Agbese; TheCable publisher, Simon Kolawole; Ovation publisher, Dele Momodu; Waziri Adio; Chidi Amuta; and Thisday editor Ijeoma Nwaogwugwu.
Others are Soji Omotunde; veteran journalist Kunle Ajibade; Thisday’s Kayode Komolafe and right activist Yinka Odumakin.
The 204-page book, Against The Run of Play, was edited by former Art Editor at the defunct 234NEXT newspaper, Molara Wood; and it was reviewed by Okey Okechukwu, a Thisday columnist.
The book chronicles the event leading to the defeat of then incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the emergence of president Muhammadu Buhari of the APC.
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