E O EkeFriday, July 27, 2012



felt I should comment on this book written by a Tiv born Nigerian who was already a policeman in the early 60s. He is now an accountant in the United States. He attended government school Kastina –Ala, and counts Theophilus Danjuma, Aper Aku, and Agbamuche, one time Attorney general of Nigeria and many prominent players in Nigerian politics and history; as his contemporaries and acquaintances.

My Odyssey, my Country by Cephas Sallem Kan Tardzer

The book, ‘My odyssey, my country’, a personal autobiography; chronicled his life’s journey from asmall village in Tiv Land in 1950 to his current abode in Florida United States of America with his fourth wife and 10 year old son. It is a book of faith, persistence and integrity. Mr Tardzer described his struggled to obtain education in colonial Nigeria and his encounter with institutionalised corruption in the independent Nigeria police force in the early days. With remarkable candour, he told a very personal story, and offered some insights which would be very valuable to anybody who would be in a position, or be minded to take up the herculean challenge of dragging Nigeria to the path of good government and civil society. Moreover, his story shows that being good and honest, do not necessarily protect from the machinations of evil men and people who grow rich from the corruption one isagainst.

The book is also a cautionary tale to all who would confront corruption, bad government and injustice in Nigeria that these evil forces are not passive; that they are cultivated and of benefit to some people who will stop at nothing to preserve them in Nigeria. His contrast of Islam and Christianity is very illuminating and a must read for all would understand why some people do evil in the name of a loving God.

Mr Tardzer’s experience in a way, mirrors that of many Nigerians who were forced out of Nigeria because of their honesty and integrity, and showed the cost in human relationship of immigration. In his quest for the Golden Fleece and success, he literary did not know his parents, went through four marriages and did not develop relationship with two of his children and they would not have anything to do with him today. It is a story that shows that success sometimes exacts a high price from us, and that often we succeed at the cost of what is most important in life; that our success can become great loss in real scheme of things. In his life, he was constantly forced to make choices that had great impact on his family, and each time he advanced his career and came closer to his dream, he lost his wife and became more alienated from his children. In a way, his family paid the real price of his success. His parents died while he was away and he came to bury them

Mr Tardzer’ story also shows that gratitude and love; especially from those closest to one, do not often come naturally. In fact, that no matter how much good one does to another individual, even one’s children; that people can always find reason to be ungrateful to those who have done great good to then. His persistence in looking for the right partner for him confirms the truism of the saying ‘if at first you try and fail, try, try, try again’.

The book was written in very simple and readable English that is a pleasure to read. However, for a book of 249 pages, dividing it into 70 chapters would seem too much as it could put people off. Nonetheless, some of the chapters are no more than two pages. I recommend it to all who are honest in their quest for the reasons for the Nigerian debacle, and sincerely looking for solution to the quagmire.

The book is published by Xilibris and available at Amazon.

E O Eke is qualified in medicine. At various times he has been a General medical practitioner, Medical missionary, Medical Director and senior medical officer of health in Nigeria. He specializes in child, Adolescent and adult psychiatry and lives in England with his family. His interest is in health, religion philosophy and politics. He cares for body and mind.