The American author of the biography of President Muhammadu Buhari, John Paden, has donated the proceeds of the Book “Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria” to charity efforts in the North East of the country.
The book was launched Monday in Abuja at the International Conference Centre.
Mr. Paden, a Professor of International Studies said “let me say that the proceeds of the launch of this book will all go to some select charities including humanitarian aid to the Internally Displaced People (from Boko Haram activities) in the North East.”
Although the event was well attended by very wealthy individuals, the organisers also announced that no one would be allowed to make huge donations or purchase copies in millions of Naira.
Rather, one of the organisers, Samaila Funtua, announced that the cover price of the book was pegged at N1500 for the soft cover, N2500 for the hard cover and N10,000 for the leather cover.
Therefore, the two presenters of the Book, Abdulsamad Rabiu and Tunde Folawiyo, simply announced they were purchasing two copies for each of the nation’s tertiary institutions.
Before the presentation, chairman of the occasion and former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, said Mr. Buhari “deserves all the praises” being showered on him.
He said Mr. Buhari has always done well both as a soldier and a politician “in all assignments given to him within Nigeria and outside. Hence he catapulted to the top within a short time.”
Mr. Gowon said Mr. Buhari had been told several times that he would not see the inside of the Presidential Villa as a president. He said after four attempts, Mr. Buhari finally succeeded.
“2015 was an affirmation that persistence pays,” Mr. Gowon said.
The former Head of State said Mr. Buhari is doing his best as a president “to restore the economy and alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians.
Shortly after the presentation by the chairman of the occasion, four persons were called upon to review the book.
The first to mount the podium was a former Governor of Lagos state and leader of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu.
Mr. Tinubu praised Mr. Buhari for what he termed his “heroic role” in the formation of the APC which he said led to the “rescue of Nigeria”.
He also recalled the failure of the major opposition parties to form alliance on the eve of the 2011 election. He, however, said efforts made were consolidated after the election which saw the formation of the APC in 2013.
On his part, a former US Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, said even though he has spent an appreciable length of time in Nigeria, he was speaking from an American perspective.
He said the US has always been paying attention to Nigeria, especially in the area of oil and gas as well as peacemaking efforts across Africa. He said Mr. Buhari has always been involved in both projects.
Mr. Campbell said the book should be widely read not just by Nigerians, but “in Washington, New York and London”.
He also commended Mr. Buhari for his “deep concern for female education” and his consistent patriotism both as a military officer and later Head of State.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, who also reviewed the book said Mr. Buhari is one of only two Nigerians to serve both as a Head of State and a President.
Mr. Onu said Mr. Buhari is the first person to defeat an incumbent president and that he is the first one to win an election and have his opponent call to congratulate him and without going to court.
He also said Mr. Buhari is the “first to Command three of the then Four divisions of the Nigerian Army “
A former Nigerian permanent representative to the United Nations, Ibrahim Gambari who also served as Nigeria’s foreign Minister under Mr. Buhari, took time to brief the audience about the humorous nature of the president.
Mr. Gambari also said contrary to perception, Mr. Buhari always succumbed to superior arguments during cabinet meetings.
He said Mr. Buhari as Head of State withdrew memos due to superior arguments from cabinet member who were ” bloody civilians” .
He also said it was erroneous for some to consider the president as a religious bigot. He said if he was one, he would not have chosen Tunde Bakare and Yemi Osinbajo accomplished pastors of some of the largest Christian congregations in Nigeria as running mates.
The Special Guest of Honour at the event, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in his brief remarks also eulogised Mr. Buhari.
He said he has had a lot of “encounters” with the president due to some political differences. He, however, said those differences never affected their personal relationship.
Mr. Obasanjo said he took time to read the book and that it is “is surely intriguing, inspiring and a mix of history and current affairs together”.
On the insistence of the chairman of the occasion, Mr. Buhari was invited to the podium for a remark. The president simply thanked the audience for sparing time to attend the launch.
He said he was surprised by the large turnout given that Monday was a public holiday and many would have taken advantage to be with their loved ones.
He also thanked Mr. Paden “who tolerated me for the stories I tried to tell him”.
He said the ability of Mr. Paden to put everything he was told in the way that he did showed his high level of intellectual capacity.
The presentation was attended by the Presidents of Niger, Chad and Benin Republic.