FeaturesFEATURES: Onyibe Unveils New Book

FEATURES: Onyibe Unveils New Book


January 21, (THEWILL) – Magnus Onyibe, a former commissioner in Delta State (2003-2007), media columnist and democracy advocate, has released a book titled, “LEADING FROM THE STREETS. MEDIA INTERVENTIONS BY A PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL (1999-2019)”. The book is a compilation of compelling articles written and published in the mass media by the author, spanning the entire range of Nigeria’s socio-economic and political life. The foreword to the book is written by former military Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon (retd).

As General Gowon, Nigeria’s war-time head of state, noted in the foreword, the book is more than just a collection of past articles but rather a compilation as well as an expression of passionate intellectual effort aimed at getting leadership in Nigeria to be more considerate and inclusive of the views, opinions and concerns of those outside the corridors of power. This is “in order to help guide policy makers in their work of policy formulation for the good of Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.”

Continuing, the former leader of Nigeria stressed: “In this book, Onyibe has made compelling contributions and given sound ideas and possible solutions to many burning national and global issues.

Reading through the articles, it is obvious that Onyibe, as someone with composite work experience as a broadcaster, insurance man and banker, as well as in the public sector as a commissioner in the government of Delta State, Onyibe is very familiar with the various issues that our country has had to deal with since independence 1960. As a way of proffering solutions to these seemingly intractable challenges, he wrote these articles as interventions from someone who does not function from the official government circle. Nonetheless, he has deep insight about the challenges that we face as a nation and how we could possibly successfully resolve them.

Typical with the opinion pieces and editorials in these essays, they go to the heart of many of the issues over a span of 20 years since the return of the country to democratic governance in 1999.”

Thereafter, the war-time leader of Nigeria reached the following conclusion: “The issues were usually incisively analysed, and possible solutions proffered. If only the successive leaders, since 1999, had leveraged the good pieces of advice given in those presentations, one wonders how better off the country would have been.”

One of the unique features of the book is that each of the seven (7) chapters contained have an afterword writer who is an authority in the topic focused.

Invariably, owing to the insightful and invaluable perspectives brought to bear by the eight (8) afterwords writers, the book can be said to have eight co- authors because the chapter with the theme: “Ethnic Nationalism, Separatism and Religious Insurgency” had both Christian and Muslim clergymen as co-writers, which was done in order to strike a balance in our country that is very religion sensitive.

By and large, the collection of 77 articles in the book is very profound because it features essays that dwell on the core and relevant issues concerning the existence of Nigeria as a country and what needs to be done to make her flourish. Some of the topics focused on in the 7 chapters are: democracy and governance, politics and practice of politics, business and economy, leaders and leadership, and ethnic nationalism, separatism and religious insurgency, corruption and graft – the unending fight against it, and our country’s relations with other African countries and the rest of the world.

As the afterword writer, on the chapter: “Business, Economy and Development,” the renowned accountant Mr J.K. Randle pointed out: “He (Magnus) has adopted a prose style that is both elegant and incisive to the point that we are entitled to ask: what else is to be done to bend the ears of those whose responsibility it is to make crucial decisions on our behalf? ”

In essence, the book serves as a vital lesson in civic engagement and history. It provides an in-depth exploration of how power has been wielded and sometimes misused in Nigeria between 1999-2019 which is during the reign of presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari; and the consequent impact of their leadership on the masses who depend on them for direction.

Finally, the book is both prophecy and an explanation in the same breath. That is because some of the fears that Onyibes had been expressing in the media interventions about looming policy disasters that the actions and inactions of leaders in government could trigger or elicit way back in the days, have come to pass.

Although it is a whopping over 600 pages tome, it is worth the reading effort.

Finally, the title: ‘‘Leading From the Streets……’’ accurately captures the book’s essence because, in our little ways, all of us human beings are leaders. Whether we are public office holders in the executive, legislative or judicial arm who influence public policy or we are regular citizens such as teachers in our schools, pastors and elders in churches, imams or alfas in our mosques, sports coaches in our schools or communities, career professionals or corporate executives, we are leaders as long as we exert influence on other people.

To that extent, when formulating public policies, public office holders ought to take into account the opinions of all-particularly the advocacy of media columnists and other opinion leaders who are purveyors of the voice of the people, which is the voice of God-vox populi vox dei.

Coming at this point in the life of the new administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the book serves as an appraisal of the leadership strength of past leaders since the return of multi-party democracy in Nigeria in 1999 and a guide for the incumbent leadership to improve upon for the greater good of Nigerians.

The book has been published on Amazon for both the paperback and Kindle versions. It would soon be in leading bookshops nationwide.

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