Bookshelf: You published a children’s novella, ‘During School Hours’, and a book on leadership titled ‘The Epoch-Making Leadership Qualities of President Muhammadu Buhari’. Why did you decide to publish them at the same time?
Nana Hauwa Mohammed: I have been working on the children’s literature for years and shared it on different platforms. Recently, the Association of Nigerian Authors held a critic session for the book. After that, I knew I was going to publish it. For ‘The Epoch-Making Leadership Qualities of President Muhammadu Buhari’, I simply felt that at this time, we need good leadership and any course put on one person’s shoulders is doomed to fail. I wanted to advocate for excellence, and this can only be through cooperation.
Bookshelf: How long did it take you to write ‘During School Hours’?
Nana: I joined ANA’s Niger State chapter in 2009. That was when the idea started budding.
Bookshelf: What triggered the idea for the book?
Nana: I realized that when you ask children involved in delinquency why they did something wrong, they would say they don’t know it was wrong. Others may say they’ve gotten used to it. I felt that if some children have access to the information in this book, it may make an impact. There is a scene where the father of one of the characters advised his daughter that she would find different kinds of people in school, and that she should make good choice of friends. At the end of the day, she remembered her father’s advise only after taking a step in the wrong direction. His happened because she wasn’t assertive.
Bookshelf: What do you want readers to take away from this book?
Nana: There are two central characters. One is a good teacher, Gloria, who is down-to-earth and close to the students. Teaching takes more than impacting knowledge in the classroom. One needs to connect with the pupils or students. Gloria was a selfless teacher.
The other central character is Sofia, who is a good student, but has a bad friend. Sometimes children tend to take certain decisions just to be on the same page with their friends. This was Sofia’s shortcoming. She wasn’t assertive.
I want readers, particularly children and teenagers, to learn to be assertive. There is nothing wrong in saying no, even to a loved one. We should learn to say no firmly.
Bookshelf: Nigeria has had quite a number of leaders, and still does, at different levels of government. Why did you choose to use President Buhari as your focal point on your book on leadership?
Nana: I agree that past leaders have contributed their quota in taking Nigeria to where it is today. But I chose Buhari because of his concern for Nigeria. When is concerned, he tries to build. Some leaders can give a few naira notes to shut people up, and whether they work or not becomes irrelevant. I have always wanted someone who will balance our reserves and protect the future of our children.
Bookshelf: The book is a sought of compilation of what people have said about the president regarding some of his qualities. One is that of the United States ambassador to Nigeria. Why did you take this approach?
Nana: I believe there is a way people react to ideas. Whatever we do, it is important to listen to other people’s opinions, especially when that information can be verified.