2019 Reflections (2): Kàwé Ẹ – Readers are Leaders

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I presume the opening line of a second installment in a series is perhaps the right place to offer appreciation for returnee readers, so, if you read 2019 Reflections (1), thank you!

Full disclosure: I did not coin the phrase, “Kàwé Ẹ́ – Readers are Leaders”. The Yoruba phrase “Kàwé Ẹ” translates as “Read (your book)” in English language and formed a musical part of the campaign slogan of Kawe Lucky, who contested (and won) for the position of President of the Law Students Society (LSS) at the Obafemi Awolowo University many years ago.

At least eight years have passed since that election but those words stuck with me and I thought of them as I reflected on the volume of reading I did (or failed to do) in 2019. I set out at the beginning of 2019 to unleash growth in multiple areas of my life and determined that I similarly needed to read more voraciously across divergent interests such as politics, religion, health, finance, investment, oil and gas, power and technology.

Whilst I set my mind on reading more all through the year, I did not set a target for a certain number of books to be read on a periodical basis. I had earlier come to the conclusion that there was a lot to read outside the ribs of books as the Internet had acquired the status of an unending book. The end goal was simply acquiring more knowledge and the journey to that destination could be through articles, journal publications, news reports, magazines and even the potentially distracting social media.

Looking back, it is hard to feel satisfied with the number of books I read in 2019. I possibly did no more than 15 books across various areas. However, I am excited by the number of insightful articles and newsletters I read daily. At a fair estimate of 4 articles a day, I possibly read over 1200 insightful materials in 2019. I also took a course on Financial Modelling at Edubridge Academy and one unfinished course on investment on Coursera. Clearly, there is a lot of room for improvement.

On a related note, I was particularly glad to see my friends publish their books this year. Of great delight was Chidozie Akakuru’s Light Travels Slowly, a collection of essays, published electronically in April 2019. The book probes life and meaning, a thrilling display of Chidozie’s philosophical prowess, a glimpse of which I caught in the course of our brief stay at the NYSC orientation camp in Kaduna some years back.

The launch of Okezi Uwede-Meshack’s Diary of an Ibadan Lawyer in August 2019 was another moment of fulfilment for me. The book was the culmination of a three-year journey that began from a weekly column on Lawyard. Okezi was our most consistent contributor on Lawyard in our first year and I fondly remember staying up a number of times after long hours of Law School lectures so I could edit his captivating stories on living in Ibadan as a new wig serving his fatherland. His essays were spiced with life nuggets and I had to constantly seek for a balance between his didactic voice and his humorous side. Therefore, it was a pleasure to see Okezi take his effort further to publish the Diary of an Ibadan Lawyer under the Kawebooks imprint. You should get a copy for your reading pleasure, if you do not presently have one.

Nafisa Atiku published her captivating book, ‘Girls Just Want to Run’ in October 2019. Nafisa is a consistent crusader for equal opportunity in politics and in her first book, she draws on insight from working with policy advocacy institutions and her political background to identify both the need for and the methods by which Nigeria can benefit from increased participation of women in politics.

Do not ask me why I have not written a book. Earlier today, I glanced through the fiction manuscript I wrote during an ASUU strike in 2009 and chuckled. If you pressure me too much, I might just go Indie and unleash a novel from that manuscript. Whatever you see, may you have the courage to take.

The foregoing notwithstanding, I am convinced I could have read a little more than I did in 2019 and that is just what I will be doing in 2020. You should join me. God airpus help us!

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