MR. Remi Ibirogba is the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy. The former journalist has just written a book, Giants of History (The Making of Our World).
The new book which would be launched on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, is a chronicle of the achievements of 150 great men and women, living and dead.
ENCOMIUM Weekly met with the new author on what informed the writing of the 322-page book and more…
What would you say informed the writing of the book, Giants of History?
Giants of History is a baby of inspiration I got from my journalistic mischief. Just that profound thinking of how did the world even come to be as it is really? The Bible says God created every other thing and on the sixth day God created man, meaning that everything that exists naturally predates man. Meaning what man has no hand in their creations. That simple world of Adam and Eve has come to be a big thing now. Is it that man has added to what God created? No. But, man has, through ideas, developed this world. Got the world to interact the more, got to know more about the world, got to put in one or two things that has made the world more interesting. It means that somebody has gone the extra mile to give us the comfort we now enjoy. It means, therefore, that our world has come to be what it is today through the ideas of some people.
Of course, these people didn’t form themselves into a union of people who want to develop the world. But, through their individual brain waves, just thinking beyond the ordinary and immediate needs, came about something new.
Somebody came about electricity. Somebody came about aeroplane. Somebody came about telephone and many things like that. What it means, therefore, by my own conclusion, is that it is ideas that can really move us. So, if we must get to go further even now it is ideas that will propel us to another level.
How long did it take you to write such a voluminous (322-page) book?
My three years in government. Let’s say three years.
With your tight schedule as Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State, how did you get time to write such a book?
In journalism, there is always no time for you and you must produce even without that time. There is always a deadline for you and you must bring out your best even with the deadline. So, really that is not a problem. It will only take you to kill sometime of sleep and sometime of pleasure.
Again, I will like to give this to Babatunde Fashola (SAN). He gave me the opportunity to sail. He gave you the opportunity to be on top of your game. He gave you the freedom to think out the best way to do your things. He never bugged you, he never gagged you, he never felt that he knows more than you. He gave you the opportunity. He knows that he has given you this assignment, get it done through your own professional and interactions with the world. I think that really gave me the opportunity to play.
One, I perform nocturnally. My time is always short, I go to sleep after 11 or 12 midnight. Journalism has trained you that even if you sleep by 12 or 2 a.m, you must wake up by 4 or 5 a.m. What would you be doing at that time? You must write something, because at that time, the brain is settled and one can think of some new things about the new day. So, that created the time for me.
Who is this book meant for?
The book is meant for everybody that believes that we must leave this world better than we met it. Get inspiration from the people who have, through that third eye brought comfort to us and feel that how do I make a mark in this world. The book is about spurring everybody to want to do something. To ignite the will to want to improve on what we are enjoying now. So that generations coming can really have something. So, that makes the book relevant for all generations. It’s meant for students, teachers, people in government, people in the industry, even somebody just starting life. The book cuts across.
Does it not bother you as someone in government that History as a subject is no longer taught in public schools?
We lost it the day we jettisoned History as a subject. I remember in our days there was not even Civics. We cannot keep growing without making reference to the past as a way to put the things together and develop the future. So, I am making a case for the return of History as a subject in schools. Lumping History with others and calling it Social Studies is not doing the best to our education. Let us study History as a subject. Yes, we may modify it. It may then be, Nigerian History but we must know about our past. Oyinbo (Caucasians) never forget about themselves. The world politics is woven around history. The world powers will not discard history.
How much does it cost to get a copy of the book?
The publishers will determine that.
What is going to happen on the day of the book launch? Who and who is coming?
The chairman of MTN Nigeria, Chief Pascal Dozie will be the chairman at the occasion. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, our leader, father and mentor will be the Father of the Day. My own boss and leader, His Excellency, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), will be the Special Guest of Honour. The governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, will be the Keynote Speaker. The governor of Ekiti, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the Governor of Oyo, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and the Governor of Edo, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole will be the co-presenters of the book.
The book will be reviewed by Tade Ipadeola, a lawyer and poet, the winner of the 2013 LNG prize for Literature in Nigeria. Of course, our own Lekan Ogunbanwo will be the MC and Director of Programme of the day.
– TOLANI ABATTI