I’m currently re-reading Chief Anthony Enahoro’s Fugitive Offender for the second time. More than three decades ago, I came across it and found it to be quite interesting, despite the fact that many of the issues and references were not as clear to me as they are now.
The value of the item in my hand right now and as a companion on an airplane flight is greater than gold.
‘It tells the story of his erratic and troubled life up to the point when he was deported to Nigeria and put on trial for a crime against humanity,’ says the author of the book.
If you want to enjoy or learn how to write effectively and effortlessly, and tell stories with clarity and panache, pick up this book and read it. The stories are historical, informative, enlightening and educative, and in many parts, they are hilarious. It is a breath of fresh air in terms of prose. Writing students will find this book to be extremely beneficial.
His writing style and manner are one-of-a-kind and extremely rare. I’ve only come across penmanship like this in Chinua Achebe’s books and in the writings of Lord Denning, a famous British jurist, who is also a writer.
Despite this, this man, who moved a motion for Nigeria’s independence at the age of 27 and became the editor of a national newspaper at the age of 21, has never set foot inside a university campus. He only had the opportunity to go to secondary school at the Kings College in Lagos, Nigeria.
Some of those who have gone through the academic rigor of Oxford University have compared his mind, his understanding of issues, and his world view to that of those who have not.
On numerous occasions, I have pondered what educational model was in place during his generation to provide them with this level of knowledge and confidence, as well as this level of style and dexterity, and the ability to reach such dizzying heights and horizons despite their humble beginnings. My uncle only made it as far as Standard Four, and I have yet to catch up to him in terms of my ability to write in the English language until this day. His handwriting is beautiful enough to be considered art.
Take for example the fact that we have maintained and improved on that mode of education. Consider what would have happened if that level of quality had been maintained. Nigeria’s story, our story, would be very different if we had lived in a different time. Knowledge, and thus the development and growth of society, springs from a high level of education. Instead, a large number of shallow, characterless, and unworthy citizens is produced in large numbers. So much for fond memories.
It would have been wonderful if Chief Enahoro had given us some insight into the second half of his life. It would have made a significant contribution to the history of Nigeria and to the writing of an immortal ranking.
He flatly refused to listen to any of the pleadings that he should put pen to paper in the twilight of his career.
When I was on a fellowship at Howard University in Washington DC in 1996, I had the opportunity to visit him several times at his base in Virginia. He was in exile in the United States at the time.
He became visibly uncomfortable every time our conversation turned to my request that he write the second volume of his story. He had to tell me once and for all that he was not going to do it. It came down to a simple request: “Please stop bothering me about this.” “I will die with everything I know and everything I participated in during the periods you are referring to. ” After all, most of the dramatis personae are dead, and they will not be able to affirm or refute anything I write about them,” he once stated matter-of-factly about the subject of his writing.
Despite this, he was a compulsive story teller in his spare time. Awolowo regaled me with a number of stories about his political engagement, disagreement, and eventual parting with his leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo; his joining the NPN; his participation in the NADECO struggle; and his escape from the terror of General Sani Abacha.
The couple, who had taken refuge in a two-room apartment in Virginia during that difficult time, were extraordinarily generous and entertaining in their confined quarters.
The souls of Papa and Mama Enahoro are at rest in peace, may they continue to be so.
*Senator Babafemi Ojudu serves as Special Adviser on Political Matters to the President of the United States.