Joseph Olaoluwa and Emmanuel Monyei
Writing is art; publishing is business. But getting a title for a book that is 18 years old is the real stress. In the heat of the inspiration that led to this engrossing book, Olukorede Sadiq Yishau had first gone with ‘The Prophet’.
“It was too direct,” he says, so he renamed it ‘Angels Live in Heaven’. Not still satisfied, he came up with another title, ‘In the Name of the Father’. But a month to the publication of the book in 2018, a Google search revealed that ‘In the Name of the Father’ had already been taken. It is the title of a 1993 American movie.
So, Yishau had to tweak the title by replacing the definite article before ‘father’ with a pronoun, ‘our’. But it is almost the same as the title of a Somali novel, ‘In the Name of Our Fathers’, although this has no copyright implication.
So far, the book has sold over 6,000 copies. “How to do that was no mean feat,” Yishau responds. “It was a matter of leveraging your networks. Besides, not many authors count copies sold by the ones being sold off the shelves.”
The book is quite gripping. The inspiration was from one of the night diaries of the Source magazine back in the day. It used to be for reporters until the audience got a chance to tell their own tales. That was where the character of T.C Jeremiah, the prophet, was unveiled.
It tells the tale of three men. Two are con men while one is a narrator-journalist, the umpire. The two con men are driven by greed. One of them is a pastor who performs miracles by fetish means, and the other is a dictator who consults a million marabouts to hold on to power.
Yishau says the book is meant for people aged 17 and above. The author is fascinated with the military regime and uncomfortable with people who sublet their lives to men of God. It is also an attack on people who are giving Christianity a bad name. The book reprimands both Christian and Muslim faithfuls who profess the name of God in public but bow down to lesser gods in private like the prophet in the book who sacrificed an eight-day-old baby to his gods.
The book is available on Amazon Kindle and Okada Books, according to Yishau. He is concerned about the 17-year-olds who would love to read the book but cannot afford it. That is why he has been looking for more avenues for donors to buy copies of the book and distribute them to young people.
“Not many people can cough out N3,000 or N5,000 to buy one book. Give 10 people free and check thereafter; at least five would have read it,” he says.
‘In the name of our Father’ is a reflection of everything gone wrong on the Nigerian scene over the years. A country is in turmoil, yet the dictator is unperturbed – his major concern is how to hold on to power eternally. Spate of crises and fresh attacks continue to rip the country apart but the General has no time for meeting his service chiefs. He dismisses his Inspector General of Police for a “fake” prophet and when that doesn’t work, he tortures a dutiful reporter who metaphorically predicts doomsday.
Yishau’s motive for writing the book is to arouse the society to think about its ills and heal itself. “At this stage for me, it is not about the money. I haven’t really bothered about knowing how much has been made. But whatever we have invested in this book, we must have recouped.”