Heroism: Reinforcing the need for Privileged Service and Responsibility

Book Title: Nigerian Superheroes

Author: Dickson Ekhaguere

Publisher: Tryspect Solutions

Year of Publication: 2019

Reviewer: Olutayo Irantiola

The Nigerian military in 1979 before the inauguration of the Second Republic declared four eminent dead citizens as national heroes, these are Herbert Heelas Macaulay; Alvan Ikoku; Sir Tafawa Balewa and General Muritala Muhammed. Interestingly, this part of our history is unknown because we do not recall the past in order to guide our future. Is there any democratically elected government that has declared a national hero in recent years? Nigerians wake up daily to call those endeared to them as heroes and that ends it.

In order to revive this forgotten part of our history and to raise another generation of children who are willing to become heroes even in their lifetime, Dickson Ekhaguere, one of the longlisted writers for the 2018 NLNG Prize for Literature and multiple award winner, has come up with a children’s text where he is speaking to the new generation of Nigerians on the need to become heroes.

The fiction which cuts across the three major tribes in Nigeria has young boys namely Nedu, Sadiq and Kola who were facing individual challenges based on the vicissitudes of life and met per chance. They were all looking for solutions to get their lives moving. There is a guiding woman called the “Spirit of Naija” who helps people. They met her and she empowered them for exploits.

Every empowered chap seeks to avenge some of the past deeds done to them but they were chastised for this, they became different and they always wanted to help at the expense of their own lives. They did this because “they knew that with more privileges came more responsibilities so they were open to taking up any challenge that came their way.”

For anyone who had come across the stories of the four declared national heroes, what stood them all out was that they believed in certain causes at various points in time and they stood by it till they made success of it. They showed these acts of bravery at the time when people were timid and dreaded the colonial masters and their bosses. Being brave might come up with a lot of backlash but it will set one apart.

The text by Ekhaguere will inspire today’s youngsters to aim for true and not cheap heroism. The final release of the book towards the end of the year will spur Nigerians to prepare for heroism in humanity, science and technology and all the other walks of life starting from the year 2020. We cannot keep shifting the timelines of achieving great feats as a country if we do not adequately prepare our next set of heroes. We need global renowned heroes in our nation and Africa.

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