SWORD OF THE STORYTELLERS: A Celebration of Biographies in Nigeria (Part 3)

Continued from last week……

Ironically, unlike the politicians of the First Republic, subsequent generations of politicians and leaders have produced few compelling books.

Bola Ige wrote The Kaduna Boy and the Politics and Politicians of Nigeria. Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin also wrote his autobiography: Ajasin: Memoirs and Memories.

Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba wrote an excellent work on the former Vice-President titled Atiku: The Story of Atiku Abubakar. Onukaba is also the author of Olusegun Obasanjo in the Eye of Time.

Femi Ogbontiba wrote the biography of Chief Bola Ige, The Portrait of a Giant: Chief James Ajibola Adegoke Ige.

The subject of Adegbenro Adebanjo’s book, Acts of Daniel, is the former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. Bolu John Folayan wrote Olusegun Agagu, A Political Portrait a biography of the late governor of Ondo State.

Journalists, academicians, judges, people in business, artists and other people have also been subjects of biographies. Some of them have gone ahead to write their own biographies.

Walking a Tight Rope, by Babatunde Jose, the former Managing Director of the old Daily Times relates the thrills and danger accompanying the glamour of leading Africa’s largest newspaper congolomerate in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Kunle Ajibade’s Jailed for Life and Chris Anyanwu, The Days of Terror document for posterity their experience during the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha when they were railroaded into prison for alleged coup plotting. Dare Babarinsa’s One Day and A Story is about his experience in the old Newswatch covering the assassination of Dele Giwa and its aftermath.

Born To Run, the biography of Giwa, is authored by Onukaba and Dele Olojede tracing the life and times of Giwa and his impact on journalism.

The Politics of Death by Segun Adeniyi looks at the last days of President Umar Musa Yar’Adua. Inside Aso Rock by Orji Ogbonaya Orji, is another thrilling insight into the power sanctum of Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, during the era of Abacha. The book also narrated the story of Abacha shocking death in 1998.

Many memoirs provide a tableau of narratives about the Nigerian state, the interlocking of national events in affecting the private lives of individuals and communities.

At the epicenter of this genre are the memoirs of Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first winner of the Nobel Prize for literature who has written many books about his experience, from The Man Died, his prison experience during the Nigerian Civil War to Ake: the Years of Childhood, Ishara and the monumental You Must Set Forth At Dawn.

Oladele Olashore’s Joy of Service, is a different kind of narrative about the interaction of an elite and his native environment, in this case, Iloko-Ijesha where Olashore, a former Minister of Finance, was the traditional ruler.

Sir Olaniwun Ajayi’s Isara Afotamodi, My Jerusalem, is also a memoir about an elite and his native environment. Kalemie, Memoirs of UN Military Observer by Navy Commodore Bimbo Ayuba talks about his hair-raising experience as one of the commanders of the Nigerian military contingent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of the UN Peace Keeping Operation.

In Alfa Jeje, Fassy A.O Yusuf presents us a fascinating biography of Honourable Justice Alfa Belgore, former Chief Justice of the Federation. A Life of Sacrifice by Abdulrahaman I. Sade, is about the eminent physician and teacher, Professor Umaru Shehu.

* Dare Babarinsa is a renowned Columnist with the Guardian Newspaper, Nigeria who crafted this piece for the BIOGRAPHICAL LEGACY & RESEARCH FOUNDATION; Publishers of Blerf’s WHO’S WHO IN NIGERIA (ONLINE) edited by nyaknno osso.


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