FROM WRITING TO PUBLISHING: THE MAKING OF THOUGHTS OF A VILLAGE BOY.

Bolutife Oluwadele
4 min readMar 12, 2021

I am grateful to God for divine enablement and guidance.

It was the last year in Secondary school (call High School); in fact, it was just three days to register for WASCE that I changed from commercial student to Art student. I dropped accounting, business method, commerce, and typing and picked up Literature in English, Government, and CRK. I was almost frightened by colleagues in the literature class as they doubt how I will be able to cope. I took up the challenge. Today, my writing is influenced by what I learned in Literature and, more importantly, in Government class. It was my uncle and classmate Peter Ogundele that triggered my interest through his fluid newspaper analysis. I took that further by extracting quotations from books that I read back then. It was not until 1986 that I started the idea of forming my own quotes. Quote’s formulation found expression in the Yoruba adage that says, “bi owe, bi owe lanlu ilu agidigbo, ologbon lo n jo, awon omoran lo n mo,” meaning the drumbeat of agidigbo is embedded in proverbs, only the wise dance to its rhythm, and the knowledgeable can decode its meaning.

Nevertheless, I did not start writing until one evening in November 1983. I was inspired by the prolific writings of Dr. Segun Ogidan, who was two years ahead of me in the Federal College of Education, Katsina. After struggling for weeks, during which I have written many articles in my head, but with no courage to pen down anything, I finally summoned courage and wrote about six pages foolscap sheet and took it to him to assess. I met him observing siesta, he beckoned me to drop it, and he will revert later. He has not stopped using the word “I will revert” for me up till now.

I stood on the shoulders of many giants in the journey. The Right Honorable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe political lexicon and flowery linguistics erudition were impactful. The political writings of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his policies articulation are a great bedrock to me. Zambia shall be free by Kenneth Kaunda was an incredible eye-opener for me, as much as Nelson Mandela’s “The struggle is my life.” Peter Enahoro, “How to be A Nigerian,” and Mine Boy by Peter Abrahams remains my all-seasons book, second only to the Holy Bible. To my mother, whom I wrote my first letter for. To the other women who engaged me in letter writing and taught me the art of storytelling. My late father stood against injustices at all times and whose integrity I still struggle to match.

In 1985 in Jos, I had my attempt at something close to publishing with the first compilation of some of my articles, aptly titled “Delaw Echoes,” into a project like binding. Unfortunately, I can no longer lay my hand on any copy again. That process was made possible by Anthony Dada, a Pastor friend, and my cousin, Ibiladun Adeyiola.

The journey was not always smooth. For instance, in 1994, after writing the “Talking Finance with Lawrence” (as I was then known) column for thirteen weeks, the power ‘that be’ axed it and told me in no unmistaken language that I should concentrate on balancing accounts and leave the writing to Journalists. It was a devastating moment for me and almost killed my writing appetite. Another painful experience was my love poem (the best I have ever written) stolen by my trusted cousin, and for which he denied it for a long time. That experience nearly destroyed my ability to construct a poem of any sort. Though I have put all these behind me, they were painful landmarks on the literary journey for me.

Social media’s coming created a unique opportunity for many whom the organized media and shylock publishers have silenced. It was the platform that enables me to ‘resurrect’ my writing mojo. I thank the numerous readers, especially those that give me constructive feedback and who challenge me to constant improvement.

After a while, some readers started urging me to compile my articles in one place for ease of understanding me and for prosperity. At the same time, Tope Fasua said that most of what I was writing on Facebook should ideally be on the popular media. I told him my experience when my column was abruptly stopped. Though Punch, Guardian, and Champions newspapers at various times have published my articles, I was no longer bothered about that prospect. He took it upon himself to link me up with the editor at Premium Times. During our conversation, I muted the idea of compiling some of my writings into a book. He not only encouraged me, but he also let me know that I can self-published. What he did not, however, tell me is the rigors involved in the process.

Eventually, he told me he could facilitate that process.

However, one thing that made self-publishing appeals to me is the possibility of doing it my way. As you will see, if you have read the book, or when you read the book, the book is written in freestyles.

Tope Adigun did the main compilation, and of which I am grateful to him for such diligence he exhibited. God bless you.

Again, I had to reach out to my mentor, Dr. Ogidan, who did the initial edit and offered useful suggestions for the title. We debated the title for nearly three weeks before I was convinced to accept his argument. Thank you, Doc., for always being there.

So, after several months of the manuscript going from so many hands such as our former President of ICAN, Alhaji Jaiyeola of AJSilicon, Mrs. Moji Taiwo in Calgary here, my friend, Dr. Iroh, Tope Adigun, Rev. Omoleye, one of my aburos, and many others who politely declined participation, the book was finally birthed in December 2019.

Check www.thevillageboi.com

©TheVillageBoy.

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Bolutife Oluwadele

Author of “Thoughts Of A Village Boy”|| Chartered Accountant|| Public Policy Enthusiast & Scholar || Business Consultant|| Columnist @premiumtimes ||MAN U FAN