To introduce my readers to my book, “Views from America: A Sojourner’s Memoirs- A Repertoire of Action for Nigeria’s Development,” I made a conscious decision to work backward by sharing the reviewers’ remarks first before I talk about it. It is fair to say that the book has so far attracted a diverse cast of reviewers. Here are some of the reviews:
“Views from America: A Sojourner’s Memoirs by Dr. Acho Orabuchi methodically and painstakingly leads the reader through an amazing journey; a journey that many Nigerians living in the Diaspora can easily relate to. In the book, Dr. Orabuchi unabashedly reminds the reader – especially his fellow “Sojourners” – of Nigeria’s chronic socio-economic problems; and then backs up his argument with examples of what some Nigerians are doing to either encourage or discourage others from playing their part to solve these problems. I have known Dr. Orabuchi for more than ten years and appreciate the opportunity to participate in the discourse.
A major economic development driver of the American system of governance is taxation. Taxation is a public policy instrument used by governments to finance their budgets; it is a system that encourages – and sometimes forces citizens to pool their financial resources together for the public/common good. A public good or service is something that the government provides to everyone and that cannot be withheld from those who are unable or willing to pay for it (taxes). In Chapter 7, Dr. Orabuchi narrates the experience of a Nigerian couple – Ejike and Taiwo – who enjoyed public goods during their visit to the United States. In advanced economies, there is clear evidence of how nations, states, counties, and municipalities appropriate the taxes citizens and corporations pay because it is a transactional relationship that demands results and accountability.
In Nigeria, we practice what I may refer to as “Representation without Taxation” because majority of citizens and corporations do not pay taxes, yet expect governments to meet their wants and needs. They want good roads, affordable or free healthcare, and constant power supply but are not prepared to contribute their fair share of the burden by paying taxes. As a result, our representatives – especially state governors and assembly members – feel no obligation to be accountable for their actions as public servants.
However, if citizens understand that governance requires the full participation of both the “leader” and the “led”; and are assured that the taxes they pay would be judiciously applied, monitored, and accounted for, they may be more inclined to contribute to Nigeria’s development through taxation. When this happens, governments would be forced to provide quality roads that are built to last, constant power supply, and affordable healthcare. Dr. Orabuchi, thank you very much for a job well done!” –Dr. Chuks Ibekwe, Southern Atlantic Polytechnic, Uyo, Nigeria
The book, “Views from America: A Sojourner’s Memoirs- A Repertoire of Action for Nigeria’s Development” is an un-put-down-able for any Nigerian, especially those in the Diaspora, grappling with the clash of cultures: The culture of anarchy in a man’s world prevalent in Nigeria and the culture of structured norms and emancipation prevalent in the US. The author, like most Nigerians in his generation, started in the former but ended up in the latter, thereby setting up a vortex and an admixture of a feeling of “loss” and “success” all in one person. The book captures it all and provides panaceas for the alleviation of the individual quagmire and Nigeria’s corporate and perpetually unguided plodding in a most exhilarating intellectual manner in consonance with the proficiency of the writer, Dr. Acho Orabuchi, a time-tested writer and experienced educational researcher. I did not expect anything less and I recommend this book to all Diaspora Nigerians and indeed to all Nigerians. Professor Anthony O. Ejiofor, Professor of Microbiology, Department of Biological Sciences, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN, USA.
“Documentation of the views from America has long been a reference point for good governance in African in general and Nigeria in particular. Early African immigrants to United States of America like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria and Kwame Nkuruma of Ghana to mention but a few developed their ideas of nation building from experiences gained while living and studying in America.
When Dr. Acho Orabuchi, Sr. asked me to review his book “Views from America: A Sojourner’s Memoirs”, I knew I was in for a treat as Dr. Orabuchi has written several articles and correspondences about the views from America to Nigerian Newspapers such as the Sun and Champion Newspapers. After reading this book, I came to the conclusion as his readers will, that Dr. Orabuchi did not disappoint.
As a distinguished educator in America and a writer on the views of Nigerians in America, Dr Orabuchi demonstrated a deep knowledge and understanding of the line of thoughts of Nigerians in America and the qualification to write this book. His work is ambitious in that it seeks to explain some of the daunting issues and challenges in nation building yet met his objectives of sensitizing Nigerians on their roles and responsibilities in bringing about the Nigeria of their dreams.
The book covers three critical areas namely: Governance in Nigeria, Issues of Igbo Concerns and American experience.
The book attributes the lack of good governance and accountability in Nigeria mainly to lack of ideological bond among politicians as such election campaigns are not issue-driven and politicians have no obligation or inclination to fulfill campaign promises. As a result, governance and public funds become personalized by political leaders without regard for the suffering of their people. Other problems hindering good government include ethnic loyalty, absence of residency rights could be possibly fueling ethnic and sectarian violence in Nigeria, lack of power supply which hinders economic progress and currency value fluctuations. The author believes institutionalizing Diaspora voting rights will boost the image of Nigeria and add credibility to Nigeria’s elections. He suggested a State of the nation address in Nigeria which will serve to keep the leaders accountable and responsive to the citizens to inform the nation of its condition with an outline of initiatives to strengthen every aspect of the nation.
The book also reveals with demonstrated evidence how conventions held in America such as the World Igbo Congress (WIC) and Pan Ndi-Igbo Foundation (PNF) have presented unique opportunities for Igbo people living in America to easily sit down with political leaders from Nigeria to exchange views that influence policies back home as a way of contributing to national development. The issue of Igbo marginalization in Nigeria was discussed including the absence of Federal presence in the Southeast zone, lack of infrastructure, the second Niger Bridge, deliberate exclusion from key positions and the need for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. To drive home his point, Dr. Orabuchi emphatically stated that “Igbo must fight for their presence in Nigeria”
The book also detailed the difficulties involved in the integration of Nigeria immigrants into the American society and ways to overcome the obvious cultural and legal differences in their new communities. Towards the end of the book Dr. Orabuchi painstakingly contrasted the generational difference between early Nigeria immigrant to the United States who now see themselves stranded here in this foreign land against their Nigerian children and grandchildren who have whole-heartedly embraced the American culture and see themselves as Americans or as some will say Nigeria-Americans
Dr. Orabuchi’s book “Views from America: A Sojourner’s Memoirs” is very interesting and a must read for all including intending Nigeria immigrants (Young and old) to the United States as it introduces them to their new community and the dos and don’ts that will make their relocation and living in America comfortable and seamless.
Dr. Acho Orabuchi’s writing is eloquent yet understandable. He uses translations of real life discussions and best practices to illustrate his contentions, thereby providing a balanced, well-documented work which should serve as a repertoire of actions for Nigeria’ growth.” –Prof. Kalu Kalu Diogu, PhD., Professor of Engineering and Chairman, World Igbo Congress, (2001-2005)