Titled, “Riding the Storms with God in my sails”, the new autobiography written by a retired Chief of the Naval Staff of the Nigerian Navy and former military Governor, Old Anambra and Old Imo States, Rear Admiral Alison Madueke, was presented to the public recently at the Agip Recital Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan.
The intimidating book was warmly received by a community of naval personnel, both retired and active, many of whom poured encomiums on the author.
The book centres on the travails of the former naval chief who had served Nigeria since the civil war era through to international assignments. Amongst others, he had served at the Embassy of Nigeria Washington DC, USA as a Naval Attache where he received the US Presidential Award of Legion of Merit.
He became the first Igbo man to head an arm of the Nigerian Armed Forces as the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) since General Aguiyi-Ironsi was appointed the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the Nigerian Army in 1965.
The 500-paged book was published by Eminent Biographies in large legible print. In his review of the book, Prof. Paul Egbuna Modum remarked that the author advocates for a decentralised structure of governance in Nigeria.
He said: “Basically, he argues that it is absurd that the Federal government should keep all the resources to itself and determine from Abuja the needs of the federating states. A better approach would be for national funds to be passed onto states which should be in a better position to know their problems and needs and how to use these funds available to address them. An example is the Federal Ministry of Agriculture where the author asks, “Who are the federal farmers?”
The Chairman of the occassion, Vice Admiral Akin Aduwo, who is a former Chief of the Naval Staff, extolled the courage of the author demonstrated in his career as documented in the book.
“As a captain of your ship, you are next to God on the sea,” he said.
Alison Madueke who sat quietly throughout the presentation expressed his gratitude to his friends and colleagues at the event.
In a chat with him after the event, he emphasised some of the issues raised in the book.
“It is necessary for every part of the country to feel a sense of belonging when you are in government. As long as we are running a unitary government, the problems that had dogged the previous administrationswill continue until we restructure the governance of this country,” he said.
The event was a roll call of distinguished Nigerians including the former Governor of Cross River state, Mr. Donald Duke and the Lady of Songs, Onyeka Onwenu who serenaded the guests with a few lines of her song,“Bia Nulu”, a song she described as one meant for difficult times.