A final year undergraduate of the Department of Philosophy, University of Abuja, Rachel Agwu, has just authored a book entitled ‘Bleeding Sun’. In this interview with WINIFRED OGBEBO, the young author speaks about the book and how she hopes to sensitise the youth for nation building.
What motivated you into writing a book?
I’ve always loved writing and there is no better way of expressing oneself than writing. If you have a lot to say, it is easier to put it down in writing and express whatever thing you want to say to your readers through a narrative story or any other means.
What is the book all about?
It is a narrative story but written with a different kind of technique, reporting technique. It is meant to show what causes crimes and the consequences of committing crimes. It gives guide to parents and important tips for parenting and opening up to the youth on the importance of skill acquisition. It also suggests ways by which the government can reach out to these youths and the opportunities for youths in skill acquisition which will help reduce crime rate in the society. It promotes tomorrow because the youths are actually the future of tomorrow. Without helping these youths acquire these skills and making them understand the importance of these skills, we would not be able to grow.
What is the general message of the book?
The main character of the book is Martins – relating to the reader why it is important for us as youths to actually put our lives together and to understand where we are going, from our leaders past and using what has happened in the past to make tomorrow better.
The book takes us through the story of a person that we can relate with at one stage of our lives or another. It talks about the period between adolescents and adulthood and what we can use to distract ourselves from juvenile delinquencies.
The reading culture is no more there and the advent of the social media has even compounded the case of the youth, most of whom hardly spend time reading. For effect, how do you intend to get your message across to them?
The book is not written in the manner of the regular book you see every day. It is written with a reporting technique and it is like a unique piece. Even if you only read motivational books or narratives or drama, you could relate to this book and it is one book that you can understand. Just hearing the name, you would like to deep into it.
Some people get bored from reading a book probably because of the name or that they have not understood the story idea. The name of the book is ‘Bleeding Sun’ and the sun depicts Nigeria as Nigeria is a country that cannot hide just like the sun. Now you ask why a country like Nigeria with enormous resources will be suffering alongside its people. There is unemployment and there are a whole lot of things going wrong in our health and political sectors and many others. So what is the root cause of all these and how can we tackle them?
Who are your role models, those one can say inspired you to take to writing?
The first is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because I read her book- Purple Hibiscus- at secondary school. She has mostly inspired me to write. As a Nigerian youth, as a young woman, her movements and the messages she passes across in her books like feminism which tells you that as a woman, you have a whole lot to pass across and you should not be intimidated. Then someone like Chinua Achebe inspires everybody and we have people like Wole Soyinka, but my top of the list is Adichie.
What, in your opinion, is the place of education in nation building?
Education is very important in the building of any nation because without education you cannot widen your horizons. Education makes you a global human being. It inculcates the value for human rights and encourages good moral character. We are not just talking about formal education in schools but also environmental, social and economic education and education in all sectors.
How would you rate the educational system in Nigeria today?
It is still a growing process and we are still developing. Yes, the culture of reading is fading away in Nigeria but we could actually promote it. There is still hope for Nigeria if we start building our youths today, empowering our children and training them to be better adults. We are talking about catching them when they are young and training them because that is what actually destroys the economy in the later future because these people don’t have any principle or moral codes in them.
What’s your passion?
The thing I have passion for and that really inspires me is the human right system in Nigeria and through this book and two other books that I’m still working on I’m trying to pass on the importance of civil rights. I have the “Revelation of a Revolution” and “Dark in the Dawn”. This is me trying to pass across a message on the importance of civil rights in the polity and the importance of proper upbringing. All these things start from our reasoning as individuals and if we can tackle all these things and train children in a world where there is equality and proper respect for human rights, it would actually help in developing the nation as a whole.
The Youths' Digest is a specialized youth magazine geared toward entertaining, educating and informing the youths on various issues of interest that are of paramount importance to them and their wellbeing.