In an interview with distinguished stockbroker, Tola Mobulorin, the author muses about Nigerians and our seemingly short memory. It is therefore fitting that For Sam: A Collection of Contemporary Thoughts by Jimi Disu, challenges that sense of amnesia because it contains accounts which anyone who desires to know about Nigeria, its peoples, politics and history, must read. This is no doubt due to the calibre and diversity of the Nigerians interviewed in For Sam, ensuring that it is full of nuggets that go far beyond the constraints of Nigerian space and time. The pages of this book provide a vast mine in which to dig up truths about Nigeria, some of them very bitter.
Dedicated to the founder of Vanguard newspaper, Sam Amuka, it is a collection of interviews by the author who regards the older newspaper man as much more than a mentor to him. In his introduction to the book, Disu, who tells the compelling story of his meeting with Amuka, describes him as “a discerning, highly professional man who saw a future in a relatively young man, decided to ‘invest’ in him and here today is the dividend”. This is dividend that will give back to reading generations of Nigerians to come.
Like with Amuka, Disu almost always has a relationship with or is influenced by the ideals of most of the eminent people whose interviews make the cut hence making the rich story that leaps from the pages very much his as it is that of the country Nigeria.
A good example is the very first interview with the legendary Afrobeat founder, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. The author’s now late father may have grown up in the Kuti household and considered family but this interview is not a family matter, it is conducted by someone who is in the quest for knowledge. What he finds will amaze anyone who reads the book. It is not by accident that this succinct two-part and deeply probing interaction with Fela is the first in the book. But to read this and not venture further would be like feeding full on the first course and missing out on the gourmet meal that also includes the main course and dessert. In that sense, this is a book to savour. For, Fela, true radical that he is, also has a retinue of followers, disciples even, perhaps not directly but much of that radical thinking found in his music can be gleaned in the remaining pages of the book.
In other segments, Dubi Imevbore talks about his enduring quest and what he found deep within himself and Festus Keyamo’s corruption fight with particular emphasis on his knowledgeable take on plea bargain is explored. This book should sell thousands of copies on the strength of that explanation alone. But there is much to take away from each interview making For Sam a collector’s item, one that must make it into every gift pack in this season of giving. Is it the interview with Colonel Olumyiwa Bamgbose, which tells the story of the ‘coup’ in 1995 that has hundreds of soldiers and generals stolen away at night to tango with destiny? Is it the tale of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s life in prison told by one who observed him closely or that of the chess game that Nigeria’s rulers have played using its populace as pawns? Or the vision of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Pastor Wale Adefarasin’s take on Pentecostalism and the late MD Yusufu’s love for Nigeria?
Diligently compiled over the past thirty years, this book offers a one-of-a-kind glimpse of contemporary ideas over time. Jimi Disu goes to the very source to get answers and reveal secrets in this very well produced book so that no Nigerian will ever suffer again for lack of knowledge. So that the conversation that this great country which seems to be splintering at its very seams, dearly needs to have, will be had. So that those who really love to read can read a good book.Everything is in this book, the good, the bad and even the ugly. But it also glows with hope, faith and love. You would discover the truth about the Grail Movement devoid of the mystery that it has been associated with over the years. Learn the difference between Tokunbo cars or their accidented cousins and cars generally. Government policy, business and banking are not left out. Entertainment, too, and if the Fela interview is a classic what can best be described as the unveiling of Lagbaja’s mask has the makings of a masterpiece.
For Sam: A Collection of Contemporary Thoughts is available in major stores nationwide. Please visit www.quramo.com for more details.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jimi Disu is a Nigerian journalist whose experience spans his media work as assistant editor of The Punch, Business Editor of The Vanguard and Marketing Director of The Compass and 234Next.
He has a wealth of experience in conducting interviews, which is amply displayed in the interviews published in this book, some of which were culled from columns for This Day and the Vanguard newspapers. He has also done media reviews on both CHANNELS TV (a regular guest on SUNRISE) and TV Continental on Saturday mornings.
He is currently a resident analyst on Front Page News on Classic FM, broadcast weekdays and he anchors ‘Discourse with Jimi Disu’, a discussion program every Sunday on Classic FM.
Reviewer: Terh Agbedeh
Artist: Gbolahan Adams