A couple of days ago, precisely on Tuesday 20th of November, 2018, a former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan launched his highly anticipated memoir on the ‘unnatural’ intrigues that formed the period of his defeat to the then opposition as a sitting president of the most populous black nation of above 190 million citizens.
Naturally you expect that anything coming from such reverend and sublime individual like Jonathan would almost have nothing to spare in perfection, but the case is not the same with the publication of his book, “My Transition Hours”, as series of unfortunate and undermining polemics of ridicules have been trailing the book.
The 194-page book within few days of its birth has been battling with pouring invectives, derogatory and unsavoury comments both within and outside shore of the intended geographical scope of the targeted audience. While some of these scathing comments center on the typo-grammatical and unexpected lexico-semantics oversight in its contents, some focus their arrows on the intelligence behind the conceptualisation of such “elementary book of tales” as a Governor in Nigeria would have it called.
Many of such comments have resultantly found their ways into the public realm like Twitter, Facebook, blogs sites and even the mainstream media. Alreadily on Twitter, a smart Twitter enthusiast trended simply because he was able to find fault in the publication, specifically, in the aspect of embarrassing typographical misdeeds and non-directional contents.
Naturally, a keen observer of things, as expected of anyone that has a great deal of foresight and discernment, would expect things like these to happen. Pointers to the failure or otherwise of the book quite abound in a large supply prior to and after its launching.
A discerning mind would seek to know the virility of purpose and essential rationales behind the publication of such book. What is it intended to achieve – a political point or just response to some burning issues that characterised a certain period; or simply over what, against who and why? Does it (if any at all) even worth it?
Scaling through this phase of intents and purposes should immediately give birth to the question of personalities or figures to be expected at the launching; as their contributions on the day goes a long way in determining the success or otherwise of the book.
In the case of Jonathan’s “My Transition Hours”, the presence of opposition subtly maimed the interests of the targeted audience. Obviously the public expectations were in the areas of, not only the conventional appraisal by the technocrats, but also on the sharp and daring comments and remarks from the political lords that graced the occasion.
But with the presence of the “targeted subjects” of the author at the event, this silently administered lethal doses of condemnation and subtle comment of ineptitudeness as a feature of the book. Who would have even wanted to create a scenes at such event, not even when the focus of interest is cladestinedly
underlining to be for peace building and peace sustenability.
It is on record that opposing figures to the preaching concepts as contain in the book, the likes of the APC chairman, Adams Oshiomole, the secretary to the federation, Boss Mustapha and others Capo di tuti were at the event. These figures are best judged as the arch-enemies or simply the most loud antagonists of anything Jonathan. The question is why were they there?
Meanwhile their absence would have added to the value of the book – the comments from the likes of Obasanjo, Atiku Abubakar, Gbenga Daniel, Nysome Wike, Bukola Saraki and the host of other elements currently dragging power with the APC’s/Buhari led administration would have greatly affected the perception of the book by the public.
Another pointer to the failure of it is in term of pricing. A 194-page book that costs a wooping sum of 10,500 Naira. Obviously it’s not for the Nigerian youths. Those whom have by local and international bureau of statistics, adjudged as being unavoidably wallowing in the oceans of financial exclusion and as such incapacitated to boast of 1 dollar daily; And you expect such teeming populace to have copies? Perhaps it should be taken as a deliberate effort to exclude majority of Nigerians.
Obasanjo’s trilogy, “My Watch” and as voluminous as the individual constitute of the three volume book are, the pricing is reasonable. Isn’t it safe to say that that is why Nigerians are not being fed with the story that touches about its publication, till today.
Jonathan’s “My Transition Hours” may, in a slight contrary to Obasanjo’s, be best discribe as half-done sausage of experience. The timeframe within which the publication took place is a good poser to its failure.
These inbalances are enough to constitute failure and this takes one to the case of the book counterfeiting and infractions by the mafia pirates who hijacked and ensmeared the glories of the book; it appears more like a case of ‘preparation meeting with opportunity’ for them. Perhaps they understand this ineffectual traits in the camp of the former president and hence they tactically set on alart mode to earnestly tap from any arrant opportunity.
Surprisingly and expectedly, the mantle that could have been used to scuttle and uproot the menace of intellectual property theft, the creative works infraction and protection of the right of ownership of literary work was once in the hand of the today’s victim. Isn’t it a case of being paid with same side coins or simply put an effect of scoring own goal?
At least, if the tune of this threnody had not completely shutdown and eradicated, the operation of these unscrupulous elements would have been brought to an handicapped level and of course to a bearable minimum; yes! had it been the issues surrounding it were forensically looked into and dealt with during the days of today’s piracy victim as the commander in chief of anything Nigeria!
Nigerian intellectual property safeguarding and regulatory body otherwise known as Nigerian Copyright Commission has, as part of its main ingredient of operational scope, the protection of any creativity work of art, the right of ownership, safeguarding and securing such against infringement and infraction; and preserving the originality of any form of intellectual property work as long as such work’s proprietorship retains the claim of ownership to the work.
Unfortunately, these can only be guaranteed and ultimately achieved in a society that works, itself. But in one that parades ineptitude kleptomaniacs and the lords of lies as the overseers of the nation’s social-cultural, economical and political affairs, one can only fear waking up one day to the news that his fatherland has just been sold out just because the country have been on autopilot.
Majority of creative works have suffered a lot in the hand of pirates. According to a novelist, Lola Soneyin, “it is a painful devaluation of a writer’s work”; and talking about such accompanying beamoaning, outcries, condemnation and the shouts for justice by those concerned having as well reeled out too many agitations and protests – all in the bid to put the concern authority on their toes and to implore them to step up their game in order to find a lasting solution to the canckerwarms. All the screaming can well be said fell on the deaf ears of today’s piracy victims.
No doubt, the gravity of the crime of intellectual property theft and infringement has really not got registered in the minds of majority of Nigerians but with effective campaign on the enforcement of the Copyright Act 2004 which has as its purpose the criminalisation of theft and infringement of intellectual property, any writer can be rest assured that someday his/her creativity will yield them fortune. Doing this as well can go a long way in a bid to curbing the menace.
Series of lobbies for a better regime of Intellectual property administration have gone past and are still ongoing in Nigeria yet the thrend remains the same — Nigerians still don’t appreciate intellectual property.
The National Assembly were once blamed by intellectual property practitioners for not passing the new bill which would serve as amended version of the 2004 Copyright Act that does not cover cyberspaces violation. They pleaded to the government to do better in extending the scope of 2004 copyright Act jurisdiction to cyberspace.
But the fear is in the passive way Nigeria government tackles issues. Isn’t it a worrisome fact to live with?
In as much as one might want to succumb to the perception that the blame should be decentralized one, i.e every of the stakeholders has a share of the fault, it’s as well safe to say the buck of it still comes from the authority whose primary and official duties are centred on the protection of intellectual property works in the first place.
No doubt we may have amongst these unscrupulous elements being a member of the regulatory body and still working against the law; a working, functioning and operational government would not even allow such porosity in its system let alone allowing it become a parasite that could eventually bring the whole system down to its knee.
God has a peculiar way of getting back to the erring servants. There are natural ways some judgements do come. Karma, they say is real…and as the saying goes: what goes around comes around. If you fail to prepare, it’s a preparation for failure, it’s just a natural law!
Last year, precisely around May there was an outcry – a “call on the authority” from someone whom anybody would less expected such debasing action from.
Olusegun Adeniyi is the author of a book “Against the Run of Play: How an incumbent president was defeated in Nigeria”, the book that recounts the intriguing events that formed the ingredients of the political and power downfall of the then president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan.
Ordinarily, one would not be surprised as things like that is a commonplace in our society, but this time around the calibre of individuals it is happening to should naturally send some chill to the piles. Olusegun Adeniyi, along side Goodluck Jonathan, was a part of the system that ought to have fought the menace of piracy, counterfeiting, theft of intellectual property and infringement upon the right of ownership of creative works, but perhaps because these administrations were preoccupied with light-fingering ‘national’ assignment and dredging of pit of economic recession that the country eventually fell into. It became hard for any constituted authority to have premonition on what is more lethal to the already limping social-economical stability of the country – the menace of piracy and copyright infringement or simply infraction — the business then was siphoning the yielding commonwealth and not minding what happens to whoever’s intellectual property.
Adeniyi, a former spokesman to late president Yar’adua, after loosing power to succeeding generations of buffoons in power felt it was time to gather the experience in a book format and of course, ostensibly to garner some cool credit in cash and kind. A memoir written narrating how Goodluck Jonathan, a one time president of Nigeria and of course, his one time paymaster conceded to defeat in an unimaginable, unprecedented and most worrisomely embarrassing way.
“Against the Run of Play” fell a prey in the hands of ever daring pirates; and what Mr Adeniyi resulted to was an embarrassing plea for consideration on the efforts expended on the work before it got published.
The idea of screaming blue murder of how intellectual property work of anyone being violated in Nigeria with inpunity would do anybody no good if no concrete actions are deployed at the right time by the concerned authorities.
Alreadily the new Copyright Act, if appropriately and successfully passed and assented by legislature and executive respectively, provides options in rectifying this challenge, but the problem remains nonchalant attitude towards its passage and the ineffective enforcement of the operational Act by the bodies concerned. In the new Copyright Act (as proposed) The victim can approach the commission and demands for a policy of “notice-and-takedown” which involves the copyright owner filing a notice of infringement at the Copyright Commission against the offending websites and their web hosts after which the Commission processes the complaint and goes ahead to have the offending websites taken down if the web hosts do not by themselves take down the offending post or link.
If the above can be achieved, all these outcries by these new set of victims, those that dug their own pit of failure would only serve as points of reference in the future discussion of this subject.
This should serve as lesson to the occupants of government offices now, as early state, karma often is real!
Abdullahi Ridhwan Adetutu (éclat) writes