There is a Yoruba adage that says “When a child falls down he looks forward, but when an adult falls down he looks backwards“. Truth and consequences is Colonel Babatunde Soluade’s sober reflection of his life that takes him close to the corridors of power and political power play in Nigeria to his tortured conclusion of a nation wholesomely betrayed by her elites.
Without any doubt, Colonel Soluade, former aide-de-camp to Late General Muritala Muhammed was born into privileged background and enjoyed the trappings of the high class. His upbringing was unique for being raised a Nigerian devoid of tribal sentiments. It is even more refreshing to know that he learned to speak Hausa and Ibo languages before his parents’ tribal, Yoruba language. So naturally, a national and disciplined institution like the Army should not be a surprise port of call to someone like Babatunde Soluade. But the officer would later find out tribal sentiments, religious bigotry and insatiable greed does characterized men in uniform too. His rapid rise and untimely retirement is a revelation of underline dynamics within espirit de corps. As a biography, Colonel Soluade was generous to write not just about life in the army alone but even his contacts and fraternization with bloody civilians.
Socio/ Historical Context
The book helps to unravel the mysteries of the inner workings of Nigerian military establishments with the direct and indirect consequences military politics have unleashed on Nigeria. While Nigeria is gallivanting from one problem to another, the book opens public eyes to the fact that all the dramatis personae, civilians and soldiers somehow enjoy some form of camaradie with one another. While the problem of Nigeria masses is to be lifted out of poverty, it seems the elites concern only borders on how to perpetuate selves in power.
The book is written in very simple English language devoid of unnecessary and complicated military jargons. Apart from the section of the book that describes coupe de tat that brought General Babangida to power, most parts of the book provides insights into power play among the top echelon of the military and civilian patrons. But the good thing is that the book comes across like Colonel Soluade sitting and having a conversation with the readers.
Truth and Consequences is a biographical account of Colonel Soluade in his own words, so definitely, it is a one sided account. But if truth be told, who could question or disagree with most of the revelations in the book result of which consequential manifestations we are witnessing in Nigeria of today. The import of the book is to redirect Nigerians focus from the symptoms but to look at the cause of the disease traumatizing the nation. I strongly believe for students of history and political commentators, this would be a welcome addition. Surely this is a book for posterity. Knowing the truth can set the nation free.
Book: Truth and Consequences
Author: Colonel Babatunde Soluade
Reviewed by: Michael Oloyade
Radio Host, Voice of Africa
Canadian Multicultural Radio, CMR 101.3 FM
CORRECTION : Author wishes to correct that he was never ADC to form military head of state, general Muritala Mohammed.