In ‘Terrorists in the Cockpit’, Dotun delivers a devastating indictment of the Nigerian leadership class whose greed, avarice, misuse of power, selfishness and much more have dwarfed a potentially giant nation and ‘enslaved’ a free people. “A country could be likened to a plane,”he writes, “and its leaders, to the pilots. When a country elects its chief of state in a democracy; or a military officer forcefully imposes himself over it as the head, for all intents and purposes, the collective fate of the citizens of that country is in the hands of that head who, like a pilot, is in the cockpit, navigating the state plane at the altitude and airspeed that suit him. While the chief of state is the pilot, other senior government functionaries are the flight attendants. When the acts of the leaders of a nation wreak havoc that is synonymous with terrorism on the citizens, or when leaders deliberately employ terrorism against their own citizens; it is reasonable to conclude that in that nation - terrorists are in the cockpit. Recently, in the United Kingdom, a civilised, and well-established democracy, a former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was described as 'the world's worst terrorist' by a relative of one of the 179 British soldiers killed in Iraq during an invasion generally believed to be based on either Blair's error of judgement or his overzealous show of support for American's George Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Apart from the indictment of the leadership class, the author consistently makes a wake-up call to the followers whose breathtaking display of masochism, lethargy, acquiescence, and collaboration have partly facilitated the 'terrorist acts' of the leaders.
The book tells the story of Nigeria in its almost complete form. Is it corruption in its many diverse ways, among the various classes of people that make up the society? Is it vainglory viciousness and undue superciliousness on the part of the leaders and the decision makers, and even the not so high-up? All facets of national life and institutions and the ways in which they have become perverted are discussed; the government: the executive, the legislature, the judiciary, the universities, the religious leaders, the traditional institutions, the military establishment, the Police, the private businessmen; indeed, the list is endless. All of these have been explored through a multi-faceted narrative woven around the author's voyages across, and personal experience as a Nigerian boy and a Nigerian man who has seen all from a ringside seat in the last four decades of his personal, objective and impartial reasoning capability. The author does not just identify the problems of the nation and its people, he provides useful ideas on how to drive Nigeria on the path of social justice, equity, equality, egalitarianism, growth, and development among others.
This book has just over 300 pages and nine chapters:
1.“In my father's house, there are many rooms...”
2.A democracy from hell
3.The land of 'slaves' and 'masters'
4.Blood on the ballot boxes
5.Feeding on the floating corpses
6.A religious but unrighteous nation.
7.A people at 'warre' with itself
8.Fighting an armoured tank with a pistol
9.Towards a people's government
In spite of its big volume, the book is readers friendly as it is woven into a tapestry of interesting narratives that would make readers go until the very last page. The reason for that is aptly captured by Ademola Oyinlola, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Nigeria's Tell Magazine. “Dotun Oyeniyi writes with the felicity and fecundity of a great journalist. His descriptive ability and power of observation remind you of Charles Dickens, one of the greatest English Novelists”, he says.