Author: Oluwadele Bolutife
Publisher: Bolco Consulting
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
All accomplishments begin with a thought or an idea. Although thoughts or ideas in general are not in short supply, people who can turn them into action are indeed not many. The book tagged “Thoughts of a Village Boy”, which we are reviewing this week, is an aggregation of multiplicity of economic, political, social and moral thoughts. Through action in the form of writing, the author has been able to produce the book.
The book is written by Oluwadele Bolutife, a chartered accountant, certified fraud examiner, public policy scholar, business/general management consultant and founder, Bolco Group.
Bolutife says he joined Facebook in June 2009 when only few Nigerians were active users of the social media platform. He discloses that he saw an opportunity of using Facebook to articulate his views then even though his passion for writing predates the advent of the social media. Bolutife says his observation of life in general in the course of his social media interactions with different groups of people shows that people fall into three main camps. That is, those who have mastered the skill of deep thinking; those who find it a bit of struggle to think and those who do not think at all.
Structurally, this book is segmented into six sections of 44 chapters. Section one, which has the general thematic focus of the economy contains seven chapters. Chapter one is christened “Beyond economic rhetoric”. According to Bolutife here, “Economic disclosure has occupied a centre stage in public debates for a reasonable length of time now. This being so and because of the level of attention drawn to economic activities as a result of the downward trend in the living standard of nearly the entire citizenry, this situation will continue for a while.”
Going down the memory lane, the author recalls that in the early 1980s, the sign of the possibility of an economic plunge in Nigeria in the likely absence of prompt remedial action began to manifest. Bolutife says by the end of the 1980s, the picture of economic crisis became clearer. He adds that through strong determination, we forged ahead with the hope that things would get better. He says but we were later disappointed. According to him, “To my mind, our major mitigating factor towards economic recovery is our persons. An average Nigerian all these years has never come to accept the concept of putting the state above all other interests.”
Chapter two examines the concept of talking about goals in business. Using the analogy of football for analysis here, Bolutife says soccer is played in three major departments, that is, the attack, midfield and defence. “In the same manner, business is run in vital departments of Production, Sales and Accounting. Without proper coordination of these departments, we hardly attain the desired level of achievement for our set goals and objectives,” he educates.
Chapter three is entitled “Between equality and equity”. Bolutife says, “The reality for me now is to focus on fairness, equity and such that can really be achieved, rather than engage in the endless pursuit of equality.”
In chapters four to seven, this author beams his analytical searchlight on the concepts of cash flows as the paradox of a kingdom; stewardship; money versus idea as being a solvable conflict and snippet of jollof rice respectively.
Section two highlights the overall subject matter of politics and covers 16 chapters, that is, chapters eight to 23. Chapters eight is based on the subject matter of representation without a clear agenda. Bolutife says when you send people to represent you politically, it is imperative that you give them a clear agenda of representation. He discloses that in most communities in the Nigerian society, there are a lot of development unions, but they have not thought it wise to set agendas for their political representatives. Bolutife recalls the significant roles of the West African Students’ Union towards the attainment of independence by Ghana and Nigeria respectively.
In chapters nine to 18, he examines the subject matters of revisiting African conspiracy; revisiting Operation Feed the Nation; issue of another next level; a short observation on the server controversy; whether or not the African anthem will be the beginning of realisable dreams; revisiting Tinubu’s poverty management philosophy; whether or not we can survive the gathering storm; white pap and the dark pot; disposably dispensable deputies and whether or not good governance can reduce suicide rates in Nigeria respectively.
Chapter 19 is interrogatively christened “Democracy: For which people?” According to Bolutife, there is something wonderful about democracy that a lot of activists in virtually all climates have paid the supreme price to press for its entrenchment. He says Nigeria, not wanting to be left behind as regards democracy has been involved in the promotion and development of a democratic culture. Bolutife adds that many pro-democracy groups have emerged and are still emerging to push their firm subscription to democracy. In his words, “Sadly, democracy doesn’t thrive on logic and rationality, but on numbers, raw numbers of people.”
In chapters 20 to 23, Bolutife discusses the concepts of whether or not there is any lesson learnt by Nigerian politicians from Bashorun Gaa’s power and politics; the president of the Senate and his burdens; Nigeria 2015 election; the beggarly innovation and random musings on our realities and policy mishaps.
Section three addresses the combined subject matter of policy and privacy and covers two chapters, that is, chapters 24 and 25. Chapter 24 focuses on the subject matter of the cashless policy and chapter 25 on the concept of the sleeping visionaries.
Section four has 16 chapters covering chapters 26 to 41. These chapters border on concepts such as the many ways of our people; the darkest hour; still another way of our people; when the referees also wanted to take free kicks, etc.
Section five contains one chapter, chapter 42, which examines the subject matter of the tale of two disappointments. The last section, section six generally tagged “Tributes” has two chapters, that is, chapters 43 and 44.
By conceptual assessment, this text is rich, especially that it offers a wide assortment of topics covering different areas such as economy, politics, history, sports, finance, business, etc.
Stylistically, this book is unique and creative. The author employs a contextually simple choice of words to aid understanding. He uses anecdotes to sustain readers’ interest. Bolutife employs quotes and creatively blends prose and poetry together to create a blended-genre stylistic effect. By articulating eclecticism of concepts in the book, Bolutife readily assumes the role of an omniscient narrator employing the Eye-of-God narrative technique.
The inclusion of the noun phrase “village boy” in the title of the book sparks off some curiosity and reading interest in readers, especially that noun phrase has elastically of interpretations. At the literal level of meaning, the phrase lends some comic relief to the book. By using the noun phrase “village boy” to refer to himself, Bolutife has successfully employed the technique of defamiliarisation to invite people to read in a bid to uncover the identity of the village boy.
However, some errors are noticed in the book that need to corrected in the next edition. The word “acknowledgement” is used on page vi instead of “acknowledgements”. On page xi, there is “in other to continue to grow” instead of “in order to continue to grow”. On page xx, “apparently phenomena” is used instead of “apparently phenomenal”.
On the whole, this book is a masterpiece. It is a must-have and must-read for those who want to broaden their knowledge about Nigeria’s economy, etc., in particular as well as economy, finance, sports, etc., in general.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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