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Deep Secrets… Combating terrorism, cultism through peace education

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Deep Secrets (Lampstand Books, Lagos) by Nnamdi Agbakoba is an interesting cross-breed between prose and poetry. It has over 10 poems with similar themes alongside the prose narrative on peace education.

The book has a number of key messages on the knotty issues currently plaguing not only Nigeria but the entire world. Deep Secrets focuses on creating a counter-narrative to campus violence and discouraging students and young people from engaging in cultism, examination malpractices and cheating. Police brutality, terrorism, youth restiveness and violence are other key subjects it projects. On the corollary, Deep Secrets encourages such noble virtues as peace, religious tolerance, the benefits of hard work, family unity and bounding and the need to make effective the legal system so it could combat terrorism and student cultism and other vices.

Deep Secrets is based on a true story about what happened in one of Nigeria’s top universities and the author is unsparing in deploying the power of literature to draw attention to such vices and thereby deter students and youths from falling victim of such campus fad as cultism or terrorism.

The ‘Foreword’ also provides an impressive insight Deep Secrets. It is written by the Director, Book Development Centre, Nigeria Education Research and Development Council (NERDC), Dr. Mrs. Benedict Okwudili Ikegulu. It reads in part, “The deplorable activities of university cultists or terrorists have been a crucial social cancer not only in Nigeria but worldwide that can only be controlled and ameliorated with books like Deep Secrets or similar counter-terrorism or counter-cultism literature.”

In addition, Agbakoba’s books has received some complementary reviews and endorsements from the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO), Pope Francis (the Vatican) and former President Olushegun Obasanjo amongst others.

For the most part, the novel is written as a conversation, which amounts to a confession of the lead character to sinister cult-related activities between the protagonist, Okechukwu, and his godfather, George Obanye. It is laced with a good number of inspirational teachings that inspire good behaviour from students and youths. The use of irony and suspense are well deployed in the book to bring out the central theme of abuse of freedom, which university education is often put by students after they leave their parents’ presence believing they can do just about anything and get away with it.

The blurb gives a telling insight into the narrative flow of Agbakoba’s Deep Secrets: “Okechukwu, tall handsome and dashing was a first year law student in one of the premier universities in the western part of Nigeria. Son to a highly decorated and top-ranking police officer, he unfortunately got himself entangled in cult-related anti-social activities through the intimate friendship he cultivated with a second year law student named Justin, who happened to be a long standing cult member. After a horrendous cult-related tragedy befell his best friend Justin, Okechukwu sees his life falling apart at the seams, coupled with his inability to pass university tests and exams for reasons he could not explain, until his loving godfather, George Obanye unravels the mysteries to his exam woes.”


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