Book Title: 101 Secrets Towards Achieving RID Nigeria Dream
Author: James Alex Adekunle
Publisher: WICECOM Publishers Limited
Year of Publication: 2015
No. of Pages: 130
Genre: Religion/Activism/Socio-politics/Motivational/Citizenship
Date of Review: September, 2016
Reviewer: Richard Imhoagene

A society infested by a mental disease often cowers to the wall; pushed, bruised, dehumanized, and broken. She often speaks, grumbles and shudders, soaked in her own tears, gripped in her misery, and bedeviled by her inaction- unable to fight back like the "choiceless" goat- and defeated. A writer, Chika Okafor, once said that Nigeria's biggest dilemma is the irony of prejudice and ignorance. I agree.

The state is edging towards an abyss. The people are dancing on a precipice. The rich rub shoulders and the poor kill each other. Often, we have sought for redemption. We call on people to not just change themselves but to change us as well. Will there be words? Will there be an outcry? Not mere words but letters soiled in passion and zeal- a zeal so strong it starts a fire that burns through the heart of a stone.

Away from the mundane, pseudo, recycled and quasi-kosher non-fiction works and book titles that flood our shelves daily, effortlessly but articulately detailing the myriad of problems plaguing societies- because they are not hard to find- but providing little or no solution, James Alex Adekunle doesn't just "write" out of the box; he discards the box and threads on paths many have not dared.

The Book 101 Secrets towards achieving RID Nigeria Dream is a forceful statement committed to engendering a transformation that begins with the individual. It provides a roadmap for the author's own development-based movement "Rivers in the Desert"- an organization that seeks to see Nigeria become a world power and the greatest nation in the world. At first glance, one would laugh at this vision. It is like several others held by many Nigerians of a perceived utopia that may never come to be.

James Alex has proven to be different. He doesn't desire change by listing out the problems. He doesn't just believe that his vision is possible; he acknowledges the challenges, but provides easy, individualistic, and practical steps to achieving the RID dream. The book is simply a documentation of such steps. Surmounting Nigeria's problems seems like an impossible task, but Alex simplifies both the problem and the solutions.

The book opens by briefly highlighting some of the straight-to-the-point problems that Nigerians face daily- from the poor sense of patriotism shown by Nigerians, to the obvious dearth of good leadership- before painting a picture of what RID's Nigeria would look like. It doesn't just call you to read the steps; but to believe, inhibit and pledge to live by them. It is this practical nature that has forced me to term it one of the simplest but practical books I've read in a while.

To tackle the lack of patriotism, the author provides a Patriotism Assessment Test that can help ascertain one's level of patriotism. Once ascertained, the reader can then go on to read the steps and imbibe them to become a much better Nigerian. The truth is, once the people are good, the country is good. However, the reader must have made up his mind to become better and be the change he wants to see.

The first step towards transforming Nigeria, according to the author, is to choose to become abnormal. It's amazing how the author quickly identifies mental corruption (in my own words) as the primary problem of Nigeria. The irony is that being abnormal in Nigeria is the new normal by ideal standards. So while it is normal to applaud riches and amass public funds, being abnormal would mean applauding values, excellence, and accountability instead.

Much of the other points raised in the book seek to address individual attitudinal change. The author implies that personal discipline, character and decency are pivotal to the overall transformation of the country. Fundamentally, Step Seven (7) urges every Nigerian to imbibe the attitude of whistle blowing as a necessary tool in the fight against corruption. As against popular belief, whistle blowing, according to the author, is a noble and patriotic act when it is the product of an objective, honest and thorough investigation, as against a mere speculation or vendetta.

The famous dictum of John F. Kennedy is re echoed in the book; do not ask what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country. Alex James calls out to Nigerians, especially the youth, on whose shoulders the responsibility now lies. In his words, "it is a call to bear the burden of a long struggle...hoping against hope...a struggle against the common enemies of the world; corruption, tyranny, poverty, diseases, terrorism and wars".

James Alex Adekunle adopts a simple style of writing, seeing that he addresses Nigerians of different educational and socio-economic backgrounds. His tone is more of instructive than persuasive- a good technique considering the urgency of his message. However, one would've preferred the thoughts flowed progressively- in ascending or descending order- from the most important to the least important step, or vice versa.

Furthermore and quite disappointingly too, this beautiful piece of instructional writing would have been marred by a lazy and lackluster editorial input, but for clarity of thought. This flaw would've been compounded if the writer had attempted to adopt a more complex language as that would've required even more editorial prowess. I guess that bit of author's brilliance rendered the bad editing inconsequential.

Every step of the way, the author reveals secrets in a prayer-pledge-motivation-instruction format that requires the reader's commitment by way of a signature after every secret. This little book, in my estimation, is one of the most outspoken, result-oriented and practical works of non-fiction I have read in a long time. It's a must read for anyone who's truly passionate about Nigeria.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am a passionate writer from Nigeria and this is simply as expression.