AWAAL GATA hurls seven questions at Abdullahi Ojoanyonu Haruna, the author of one of the most popular (political) books in Nigeria in 2021, “The Buhari In Us,” about the book and his literary life in general.
What inspired you to write “The Buhari In Us”?
The desire to write the book, The Buhari In Us stemmed from an innate burning desire to document the rare lifestyle of a man obviously baked in different blood from the real us. A man who has proven that with just a quality, you can become a reference. The persona of President Muhammadu Buhari intrigues me so much that I have spent almost 20 years battling in awes and wonders. What would make a man so unblemished, so unstained, so consistent and unbending? It was in response to these nagging questions that birth the idea of the book. I wanted to also add to the body of knowledge.
I wrote the book in challenge of alternative viewpoints; I want to draw interest to the personalities of our leaders – beyond their documented official milestones to more personal interpretations of their decisions. Our leaders are never without followers, my book on Buhari is a challenge to followers of other leaders to take a literary dissection of their heroes. I want to see books written unsolicited for Obasanjo, IBB, Goodluck Jonathan. This way, citizens are given the privilege of reading from the streets what ordinary Nigerians think of their leaders.
My book on Buhari is not financially motivated but in response to a nagging desire to document the rare existence of a man defined differently from us. If the life of Muhammadu Buhari does not intrigue you, then nothing else would. He is a mystery and an enigma; you rarely find his ilk around.
Virtually all the chapters are a compilation of your Facebook posts over a period of time. At what point did you consider turning the posts into a book?
Like I said earlier, I have been stuck to the ideology of the man Buhari, every day; I saw myself articulating the awesomeness of the man in my social media engagements. With the plenty of interests that always greet my posts, I decided to collate all related writings on President Muhammadu Buhari into a publishable template that would be later referred to as “The Buhari In Us”. The collection dates back to his days before he became the President, to his time as President and the circumstances that have come to define who he is outside and in power. Using my social media platform, I discovered I was unconsciously assembling millions of people who share same sentiments with me about Buhari. They yearned every day for my opinion on Buhari, so did my writing increase, when I realized I have written a lot on this man, then came the idea to make the collection into a book. And I am glad I did.
What is the ‘us’ in the title about?
It is the sum total of those Nigerians who believe in integrity, those who crave for change and desire a better Nigeria, those who are defined on patriotic sustenance and frown at the trinity of offensive religion, ethnicity and politics.
This book is for all the believers of one Nigeria, those defined in the colours of honesty, integrity, hard work and patriotism. It is for the 15 million Nigerians who have consistently stood by Muhammadu Buhari.
President Muhammadu Buhari means different things to different people, but for us, he is a phenomenon, a movement and an ideology. The ‘us’ in the title are his ideologies, philosophies and creeds. The ‘us’ here represents the ‘Buharists, Buhariya, Buharideen etc.
The ‘us’ in the book title does not only represent my sentiments, it captures the minds of millions of Nigerians who see integrity as a compass. The ‘us’ in the book, therefore, represents the sum total of the ethos of the average Nigerian – whether good or bad, there is a Buhari in us.
Did you ever envisage writing the book, publishing and launching it would gain this wide acceptance among the chieftains of the APC and supporters of the President?
This isn’t my first time of writing and publishing a book. My first published work happened when I was in the university. Remember I am also a publisher of the World entourage Magazine, so I can modestly say, I have been in the circle of writing and publishing.
Fast forward to 2021; through sheer consistency and irrepressible vigour, I wrote myself into Aso Rock. This time, to author a book in honour of Africa’s most popular President, Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president. It is not the writing of the book that even awed me but the person that ‘foreworded’ the book. I got Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice-President, to write the foreword.
What would you be working on next?
Writing is one of the most difficult endeavours. It saps you of all energy and leaves you mentally saturated. But having given my life to the gods of words, I have dedicated my time to churning out words patterned into books. I have books lined up and at the right time, they shall birth the earth in embracing ray. A book, written in honour of my late friend and mentor, Professor Femi Odekunle would be on the shelf soon, and others too.
What books are currently on your reading stand?
I have a couple of books splashed on my bed. I read through books at random, so it’s difficult to say which one. But I read every day.
Where do you want to see yourself as a writer few years from now?
I want to be seen as that writer that inspires hope, that gives people the desire to be happy. I want to be read all over the world. I want to change the world with my dotted lines.