By OSA AMADI
No talk can be too much today about the importance of rediscovering the lost culture of voracious reading in an age of the internet and social media. It is therefore a welcome start when this book, Deep Secrets by Nnamdi Agbakoba begins with the universal axiom: Readers are leaders.
“Books like the Bible or the Koran or other spiritual books,” it says, “are food for the soul and spirit, while entertainment programs, books, or comedy shows are food for the heart. We need to read good books that will build the mind, body and soul. We must strive to break away from reading only books to pass exams. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, novels of the James Hadley Chase series, Mills and Boon, the Sidney Sheldon series and a host of other good novels were very popular with the youth and students. We need to revisit those glorious days when youths and students always had a novel in their school bags.”
Next, it gives three inspiring quotes: “Education is the greatest weapon with which we can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela; “A child miss-educated is a child lost.” – John F. Kennedy; and Tai Solarin: “If you are planning for one year, plant rice, if you are planning for five years, plant trees, but if you are planning for the future, educate your children, because education is the ammunition the youths need for their future existence, and also the life wire of every successful society.”
Deep Secrets is written as a conversation which turns out to be a confession to sinister cult-related activities between the protagonist, Okechukwu, and his godfather, George who describes Okechukwu this way: …Okey was a godson I wish I never had. All he had to offer was trouble of all sorts and exams he had to re-take again and again before passing. He was a thorn in everybody’s flesh.
Okechukwu, a level one student of law in one of the premier universities in Nigeria whose father is a top ranking police officer, is influenced into cultism by a level two student, Justin. Both students become close friends. A horrendous cult-related tragedy befalls Justin and Okechukwu’s life starts to fall apart making his poor academic performance a source of worry. His godfather, on noticing that Okechukwu is not doing well in school and knowing what the problem is, unravels to him the reasons for his exam woes.
The novel shows how terrorism, cultism and student restiveness can be combated via peace, education and the literary arts. A cross-breed between prose and poetry, the book talks about family unity and bonding including the effectiveness of the legal system in tackling social menace in Nigeria and the world. The use of irony and suspense is well employed by the author.
Deep Secrets is a book based on a true story that took place in one of Nigeria’s top universities, and the author spared no words in an attempt to use the power of literature to deter students and youths from becoming cultists and terrorists.
The book is fore-worded by the Director, Book Development Center, Nigeria Education Research and Development Council, NERDC, Dr. Benedict Ikegulu. Deep Secrets has received complementary reviews and endorsements from the UNESCO, Pope Francis of the Vatican, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, amongst others.
The eight-chapter book with 115 pages is garnished with over 10 poems related to peace and education. Deep Secrets is available at Konga, Jumia, Shoprite, and other bookshops nationwide.
Other books by Nnamdi Agbakoba include Terror of War, Esther Amina and Harmony of Brotherhood. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in broadcasting from the University of Cincinnati, USA, and later returned to Nigeria where he is currently the Executive Director of a television production studio, Vision Question Production. Agbakoba also runs an NGO called the Society against Terror and War (SAT-WAR). His books are classified as peace education literature by UNESCO.
Nnamdi Agbakoba (2015) Deep Secrets. Lampstand Books: Lagos.