By Kayode Oladeji
There is always a tripodal stand on which authorship stands: the author, the subject matter and the target audience. The author, being the principal leg of the tripod, must, through experience and exposure, research or studiy; or a combination of some or all of those factors, have a thorough grasp of the subject matter. The subject matter must be well espoused and be clearly communicated by the author to a definable target audience who on interacting with the author and the subject matter in a book (or any publication of that sort), must be able to understand and relate with both the author and the subject matter. Other essential ingredients which are adjunct to the three legs of the tripod are the setting and the timing of the writing of a book.
This is perhaps the telescopic backdrop against which the review of Femi Adelegan’s latest books – USEFUL GUIDES FOR IMMIGRATION, BORDER POSTS OPERATIONS & FOREIGN TRAVELS and TECHNICS OF INFORMATION MANAGEMENT IN GOVERNANCE – is premised. It is an indisputable fact that Femi Adelegan, the author of the two books, is a thoroughbred scholar whose fountain of knowledge runs very deep. His gentle and quiet mien merely belies his profoundness. His wealth of experience, combining with his global exposure and his voraciousness at reading, make him versatile. As such, any time Femi, as he is simply and amiably called, decides to speak or write about any subject, it can conveniently be declared ‘a done deal’ right from the outset. And, good enough for we his readers, his simplicity ensures that he writes in a manner that anyone with basic education can read and understand and yet will get even a professorial thinking!
Deploying all those qualities which have been highlighted above, author Femi Adelegan has given to Nigerians, first, a very timely and critically needful book titled, USEFUL GUIDES FOR IMMIGRATION, BORDER POSTS OPERATIONS & FOREIGN TRAVELS in which he, among other things, provides guidance notes, that could assist whoever wishes to transact private or business activities at the ports/border posts to have a clear understanding of the basic issues raised in the book. It is a book which, like Ambassador Joe C. Keshi, a retired Diplomat, notes in his FOREWORD (to the book) “could not have come at a better time than now, when the whole world is united about the need for good governance, and combating terror; issues that have made nations to continue to tighten their immigration policies, and (at a time) when the Federal Government of Nigeria is introducing a new border control and immigration system, while also putting in place, operations to ease doing business at the nation’s border posts; coupled with the introduction of a multi biometric system that is capable of generating a database of travellers and users of the ports in line with best global practices”.
Coming in different Thirteen Chapters, the book begins with a warning through which the author, in his characteristic humaneness and statesmanship, cautions that “this book harbours no definite assurance that readers, and all those who may consult this publication will secure your travel documents, or pass through border posts without completing the due process”, adding that “Largely, it serves to educate intending travellers for business and pleasure; and other lawful intentions and places readers and travellers on higher pedestals, with brighter chances of scaling the hurdles of the procurement of travelling documents, on account of proper understanding of immigration and border post regulations and conducts”. In his Introduction to this book, the author hints on the age in which we live which is one of ever-changing technology and globalization and in which things happen almost instantaneously and are shared almost the same time globally; he then locates Travels and Tours, the subject matter of the book as factors which assist the process of promoting commerce and dissolving international barriers, and rightly observes that these have been on the surge in the past few decades. Getting to the real business of the book, Adelegan approaches his subject from several points (all of which are crucial) in a 13-Chapter volume. The headings of the various chapters are a compass to the various points and perspectives of the author on the subject of the book.
In his opening chapter titled, Preparations, having warned his readers against attempting to travel abroad for the wrong reasons which may make them susceptible to falling victim of fake promises, the author raises a poser: Must You Travel Abroad? Here, he enjoins his reader to sincerely answer this all-important question; he then points out seven IMPORTANT points to CONSIDER once the intending immigrant has advanced a strong reason(s) for travelling abroad. Also in this chapter, the author takes time to explain what a visa is, the immigration policies of various governments, culture shock and the issue of seeking asylum in foreign countries.
Femi Adelegan, being a Nigerian and caring, first and foremost about Nigerians, devotes the second chapter of this book to TRAVELLING OUT OF NIGERIA — WEIGHING THE OPTIONS. Here, he frankly points out the difference between Nigerian travelling out of the country today as compared with those that did so in years gone by, pointing out that surge in migration from developing to developed countries have, over the years, compelled those (developed) countries to tighten their immigration laws. This then makes him to raise the poser: IS TRAVELLING OUT, A VIABLE OPTION? He then goes further to advance POPULAR REASONS WHY FOREIGN NATIONS REJECT VISITORS/FOREIGNERS; after which he expatiates on the PROBLEM OF ILLEGAL MIGRATION & REFUGEES.
The third chapter of this book deals with the subject of border posts and border control. In it, the author gives very vital information about RESPONSIBILITIES OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AT THE BORDER POSTS; he lists Nigeria’s major airports and sea ports and supplies comprehensive information about the agencies located at the ports and their functions. Chapter four, treats the important issue of obtaining a Nigerian travelling passport as a the first step to obtaining visas is treated exhaustively with the author being very explicit about such matters as ISSUANCE OF TRAVELLING PASSPORTS; CLASSES OF PASSPORTS; QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE ISSUANCE OF PASSPORT; OTHER TRAVELLING DOCUMENTS EQUIVALENT TO A TRAVELLING PASSPORT; ENTITLEMENTS OF A NIGERIAN PASSPORT HOLDER; WITHDRAWAL OF PASSPORTS; ISSUANCE OF PASSPORTS BY NIGERIA’S MISSIONS ABROAD; ISSUANCE OF STANDARD PASSPORTS TO NATURALIZED NIGERIANS (Including citizens by Registration and Confirmation); OFFICIAL PASSPORTS; DIPLOMATIC PASSPORTS; and PILGRIMS PASSPORT. He also educates his readers on THE NIGERIA IMMIGRATION AMENDMENT ACT 2015: MODERNISATION OF OPERATIONS;as well as IMMIGRATION OFFENCES AND PENALTIES.
In a natural sequence, chapter six of this book focuses on obtaining a visa and the author brilliantly deals with all matters relating to it, not forgetting to point out that having a valid visa does not guarantee automatic entry at foreign border posts. He commendably elucidates on conventions/treaties/regulations that guide visa processing/issuance; and guides his reader on how to satisfy the conditions for issuance of entry visas. One portion of this chapter which most readers would find very interesting is that which deals in details, with PREFERED/CHOICE DESTINATIONS across the world. Of crucial importance and requiring critical attention, is the sixth chapter of this book in which the author deals with the issue of illegal immigration which he rightly describes as a suicide mission. The author regales us with very sad tales associated with this menace which is afflicting citizens of developing nations, particularly Africans. He is kind enough to educate us on TRICKS OF TRAFFICKERS & COMPLICITY OF FOREIGNERS and also highlights Nigeria’s NAPTIP LAWS and PENALTIES FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING. No doubt, the content of chapter six is just like a preparatory ground for what is to come in the next chapter which the author rightly titles, PITFALLS & LANDMINES.
In Chapters Eight and Nine, the author talks about VISITING NIGERIA FOR TOURISM AND BUSINESS and THE ROLES & FUNCTIONS OF NIGERIA’S DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS ABROAD, respectively; while Chapters Ten and Eleven are more like advisory or advocacy chapters in the book. For one, chapter ten deals with PREVENTING YOUTH INVOLVEMENT IN SOCIAL & CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES. Here, he pointedly declares that THE ERA OF WHITE COLLAR JOBS IS GONE, and in his RESCUE MISSION postulation, draws attention to AGRICULTURE and THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY as well as the SOCIAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMMES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA as VIABLE OPTIONS and profitable alternatives. He also does not fail to challenge the Nigerian society on REDISTRIBUTION OF INCOMES & PHILANTHROPY as well as YOUTH INVOLVEMENT IN GOVERNANCE. And, in Chapter Eleven, the author writes on DEVELOPING NIGERIA,
The author also highlights the RESPONSIBILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT & THE GOVERNED, including OBLIGATIONS OF GOVERNMENT as well as OBLIGATIONS OF THE GOVERNED. While Chapter Twelve dwells on VISA ISSUANCE & ENTRY RESTRICTIONS and gives a comprehensive list of VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR NIGERIAN CITIZENS TRAVELLING ABROAD AS AT DECEMBER, 2017, backed by a list of almost 200 countries; Chapter Thirteen (the closing chapter) provides the reader with a comprehensive DIRECTORY OF FOREIGN MISSIONS IN NIGERIA as well as a DIRECTORY OF NIGERIA’S MISSIONS ABROAD in an easily digestible alphabetical order.
It is to the credit of the author that every document from which he sourced information from, is comprehensively referenced in this book. And, given the contemporariness of the subject matter and the all-inclusiveness of the content, Femi Adelegan has, once again, given us, nay, the whole world – with particular emphasis on Nigeria and Africa – a book without borders. The book cannot be restricted to any category of readers – whether we go by demographics, socio-economic classes, governmental arms; or even national geographies. It is a book for all; and it has so been recommended by all contributors, including this reviewer. The book speaks to the subject matter very succinctly; it clearly shows the artist in the author and adds to the general beauty of both the content and the packaging of the book.
In like manner, Femi’s second book, which by its title, TECHNIQUES OF INFORMATION MANAGEMENT IN GOVERNANCE, leaves no one in doubt of what its focus is all about, also comes in Thirteen Chapters. This would naturally make any critical reader to wonder whether this is by mere happenstance or is deliberate on the part of the author. In any case, this would not have been an issue if the two books were not coming out at the same time. The book contains such important topics like: Information – An Indispensable Tool for Human Survival; Responsibilities of Image Managers; Information, Accountability & Transparency; Addressing Administrative Challenges; and The Future of Information Management.’’. This book treats very profoundly, patterns and techniques of managing information in both the private and public sectors, as a sine-qua-non, for human survival. The author did not stop at making assertions; he matches his postulations with appropriate suggestions of policies and actions that could enable organizations function well in information management. His theoretical and practical postulations, also enable readers understand better, the importance of a well-managed and coordinated information flow to the success of those engaged in governance, in both the public and private sectors.
The author patriotically encourages Nigerians to abandon sycophancy and other ills that have plagued the nation and resolve to make the people the key components of governance, who could take the political class to task,and do this by empowering themselves democratically to choose/elect their representatives freely and democratically. The author states that: ’Nigerians must show that they are the masters of people in government and demand for good governance as of right. ‘’People must discontinue the practice of taking several pages of advertisements in newspapers and airtime on electronic media to thank political functionaries who commission projects in their areas; for what politicians promised to do while campaigning for votes; and for duties they are paid to do.’’
Without any doubt, the author’s exposure and aptitudes as a multi-talented personality has aided the richness of the two books, having served first as Chief Press Secretary to four governors of Osun State from 1994 to 2000; and later as Chief Private Secretary/Special Adviser (Policies, Programmes and Plans Implementation) to the governor of Osun State from 2003-2010. In this capacity, Adelegan functioned as the head of the Governor’s Secretariat and had responsibility for supervising investment promotion and contacts with The Nigerian Diaspora; Nigeria’s Missions abroad, and Foreign Embassies/High Commissions in Nigeria. At various times, (2008-2012), Femi Adelegan served as a Member of Nigerian Government’s Official Delegations to the General Conference and Executive Board Sessions of UNESCO in France; and Nigeria’s Presidential Delegations to the United States, Peoples Republic of China, Vietnam (2006) and the G-20 Summit in Canada (2010). He also attended the 41st Session of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York, United States. His other publications include: AFRICA: The Game Changers & Dynamics of Power; GOVERNANCE: An Insider’s Reflections on the Nigerian Polity; Nigeria’s Leading Lights of the Gospel: Revolutionaries in Worldwide Christianity; and Techniques of Information Management in Governance.
I must not conclude without stating that however, the books contain negligible typographical errors, that are compensated for by the fact that they are five-star books written at an auspicious time when the contents pertain to contemporary developments. The covers of the two books are very well professionally designed; and the neat printing and packaging make the books very inviting to readers. On the whole, one could safely assert that these books, written in simple flowing prose, are products of a fertile mind enriched by a long valuable trek in the corridor of power. Readers would certainly find the compilations very useful, as the target audience is relatively wide; covering both the public and private sectors, as well as educational institutions and organizations involved in training activities. It particularly seems to me, that the book on Foreign Trips and Illegal Migration is a good resource material for various segments of the society, as it preaches issues that could be jointly tackled by Government and the citizenry. It would be a commendable move, if organizations with Corporate Social Responsibility packages could study this particular book on illegal migration, social and criminal ills, as well as sensitizing the electorate and the Nigerian Diaspora on the need to elect their preferences democratically and without financial inducements.
Finally, it is simply tempting to conclude this review with one of the comments with which it was opened: the comments of the immediate past Senate President of Nigeria, David A.B. Mark, GCON that: ‘’It is evident that the author has been able to write very authoritatively on this important subject as he does, given his background, as well as the author’s acquisition of a rich blend of knowledge and maturity in top sensitive positions in which he has served over the last three decades”. He then recommended the ‘Techniques of Information Management in Governance’ for reading by all who wish to know more about the intricate and sensitive art of information-sharing and management, and particularly to all media practitioners, students of various courses in Communications, Public Policy, Management and International Relations, for the understanding of the highly critical issues pertaining to the salient issues treated in this book. And in the words of Dr. Yemi Farounbi, the books are worthy additions to the corpus of knowledge. I cannot agree less.