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‘I am inspired to write books on Nigeria’s problems because I am a concerned citizen’

John Walker Adetunji-Adeoye, who is fondly called Johnny Jam Jam, is a writer, columnist, public relations expert, showbiz personality, and private investigator. He is the author of a two-volume book, ‘How We Destroy Nigeria: Precedence Of Doom’ and ‘Haven For Financial Crimes & Corruption’, which was released last month. In this interview with OBINNA EMELIKE, he spoke on why he wrote the book, dip in reading culture and other issues. Excerpts:

You have just released a book, ‘How We Destroy Nigeria’, what is the book all about?

The title of the book was chosen carefully, ‘How We Destroy Nigeria’. It is very relevant to highlight the word ‘destroy’ as opposed to ‘destroyed’ because some of us are still optimistic that Nigeria can become a better country. So, the activities that we engaged in destroying Nigeria are what the book focuses on. So, it is not that we have destroyed Nigeria.

What inspired the book?

We all know how Nigeria is. When you ask any Nigerian if he or she is satisfied with the situation of the country, I don’t think any reasonable Nigerian would tell you that he or she is satisfied with the situation of things as regards politics, economy, or everything going on in the country. There is a surge of banditry, kidnapping, and Boko Haram in areas of the North while some certain ‘unknown gunmen’ threaten the people of the South East. The country itself is no longer safe for citizens who now live in fear. So, no Nigerian would tell you that they are satisfied with the happenings in and around the country. So, I am inspired to talk about Nigeria’s problems, not just because I am a historian and a private investigator but because I am a concerned citizen. I do also believe that I am in a position to talk about Nigeria’s problems.

What informed the title of the book?

It is a two-volume book. The first book, ‘Precedence of Doom’, talks about the historical activities that led to this current situation. Everything in the first volume of the book talks about the activities and events that led to our present situation. It talks about the anarchy, the violence, the bloodletting, slavery, bondage, and the system the pre-colonial rulers of Nigeria engaged in that has led us to this present mess. Also, the activities of our national founders, by our national founders, I mean, the likes of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the likes of Obafemi Awolowo, the likes of Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, the likes Ahmadu Bello. We respect them for giving us an independent Nigeria, yet their activities led us to this mess. They focused their campaigns on tribalism, and that feature has been carried on by present-day politicians. I also talked about the roles military dictatorship played and how corruption in the judiciary, legislature and executive arms of government has affected the country. I also talked about the negative impact of marginalisation, ethnic prejudice, and the dark side of religion. I talked about those things in the first volume of the book. Like a former American president, Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘A house divided against itself shall not stand’. Elections are around the corner in 2023, and Nigerians have three major candidates – an Igbo candidate, Peter Obi, a Yoruba candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and a Fulani candidate, Atiku Abubakar. I want us to be united in who we vote for. We should not be voting based on ethnicity. I don’t care if you are a Yoruba, Igbo or Fulani person. Vote for the right candidate, vote for competency, vote for honesty, credibility, and integrity. These are the things that we should be looking out for in a candidate. We cannot move forward when we are still divided. We have to be united against the common enemy. And who are the common enemies? These are the politicians who want to steal from us and want to make sure that we do not move forward. Ironically, whenever they gather to steal our commonwealth they are united; they do not care if the other person is Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa or Fulani. However, we citizens fight against ourselves and kill one another for unjustified reasons.

What do you want to achieve with this book?

I want Nigeria to move forward. With the first book, I want to see a progressive Nigeria. I want us to be united by common goals of peace, progress and stability. That is what I want. Of course, I want to sell the book and make money (laughs out loud). However, I am more particular in the peace, stability and progress of Nigeria.

The second volume of the book focuses on Nigeria as “Haven for Financial Crimes & Corruption’, why?

Recently, the Ethiopian government placed a ban on Nigerians coming into their country. That came on the back of the UAE government, which had diplomatic issues with Nigeria because of the activities of some Nigerians in their country. Earlier this year, Turkey banned some Nigerians, and I think, sometime this year, the Kenyan government also said that they have stopped giving Nigerians visa-on-arrival. Why are all these happening to Nigerians alone out of all the citizens of the world? It is because many Nigerians have decided that they need to peg others back. Some Nigerians have vowed that even though our passport is green in colour, it is seen as red, and red stands for danger; so anywhere we are in the world, we are no longer respected, welcomed or tolerated. Before 1984, Nigerians going to the UK did not need a visa. Today, we do not just need a visa; we are scrutinised in a way that tells us we are not welcome. Two years ago, we all saw what Hushpuppi did to us, and he was not just the only one. There are many of them. Some weeks ago, we heard that a young Nigerian man who threw a lavish wedding in Nigeria was caught in the US on the allegation of being a serial armed robber. Many Nigerians do not know that these issues have a way of affecting the general population. Investors will not come into the country. Nigerians wonder why the country is short of foreign investors and why the rate of unemployment is high. Foreign investors cannot come to a country where there is massive corruption and where people steal. If I were a foreign investor, why should I go to a country where it is easy to steal my money? Why should I go to a country where money kept in the banks is not safe, the judiciary sector is corrupt, the insurance companies cannot be trusted, and the entire financial and commercial system is crooked? I also wrote about the economic cost of dishonesty and how Nigerians manipulated each other. There is also the issue of overpopulation that I addressed. We have situations where unemployed people give birth to several children they have no plan of taking care of. I wrote about the country’s broken educational system and why issues such as the ASUU strike might continue to linger. These are the things that I documented in the second book.

Read also: Concrete Thinking: Demas Nwoko launches new book today

Are you going to write more books after these two?

Yes, I would like to presume. Over the years, I have been able to document so many things about Nigeria as a country. I also have several books on other topics and in other genres. So, more books are coming out. I want to dedicate the next few years to publish the books I have in my author’s bag. I do not want to let the cat out of the bag.

Beyond this, who really is Johnny?

As you know, my name is John Walker Adetunji-Adeoye, aka Johnny Jam Jam, as they call me in the entertainment industry. Throughout my illustrious career, I have been a private investigator, a speech writer, a columnist, public relations expert and a showbiz personality. I am well-known in the public relations department of the entertainment industry. I have worked with so many A-List artistes and record labels. My life and career have put me in a prime position to know and understand most of the country’s challenges.

How did you become a speech writer?

I have always loved writing. It has always been my hobby. But as I grew up, I was advised never to put my eggs in one basket due to the unpredictable nature of the Nigerian economic and job environment. You have to do a whole lot of things to make ends meet. I later created a website called Ascology.com where I started writing on several issues, from entertainment to politics and life issues. Then, something happened that changed my professional life. At that time, there was little monetisation in the online media. So, I started helping entertainment personalities to advertise their music, comedy concerts and movies on my platform and found out that I was making more money from that angle. Since I was making more money from that angle, I left writing on ascology.com, which I owned and started working as a public relations consultant for those in the entertainment industry. Ironically, it was from entertainment that I got connected to those in the political and corporate fields, who were impressed with my works. Hence, life as a speechwriter and full-time writer became alive. Of course, I cannot disclose who I write for, but I can tell you that I wrote speeches for no less than three governors and a lot of company executives.

Did you study speechwriting?

Actually, I studied Business Administration. I did not take any formal course in speechwriting, although I spent 6-months training and learning how to become a professional from some online tutorials, just to polish myself since speechwriting is a bit different from the traditional writing that most writers are used to.

Where are you from?

I am a native of Oyo State, although I consider myself a detribalized Nigerian having spent the majority of my life on earth in the state of Lagos.

What is your opinion about the dip in reading culture in Nigeria today?

I believe the reading culture in Nigeria is a two-way road. Firstly, I cannot state where we got it wrong. The country has failed its citizens, and the citizens have failed the country. Nobody wants to read anymore, and no thanks to the invention of social media, everyone is now a commentator and analyst on issues they have zero ideas on. Our educational systems are failing, and examination results reek of massive failures. There are more insightful books out there being written by brilliant authors, but Nigerians, mostly youths, are uninterested. These are part of the things that are wrong in the country and with the people. Nigerian youths are not interested if it does not involve instant money or quick-rich schemes. These are partly why we no longer excel in sports and areas of invention and creativity. For us to succeed as a nation, we need a complete overhaul of our socio-cultural behaviours. Individuals need to equip themselves with books that help them understand the situations of their socio-political terrain and books that help propel them to become better in areas of material and financial development. Incidentally, the question raised here and a lot more have been addressed in my new books.

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