Title: From Best Dad to Dearest Daughter
Author: Chika Abanobi
Reviewer: Henry Akubuiro
Being a dad isn’t just about working round the clock and providing for your family. A good dad is a good mentor; he is a character molder, even the daughter’s best friend, as we find in Chika Abanobi’s whatsapp exchanges with his daughter in From Best Dad to Dearest Daughter: Secret Worries of a Doting Dad.
Abanobi’s offering goes beyond whatsapp messages shared with his daughter. Those messages only serve as a springboard by a paterfamilias to encourage dads and daughters out there on fostering a healthy relationship, especially one geared towards impacting their academic and moral developments. Abanobi draws from the confessions and experiences of Nigerian and international celebrities to show how a father-daughter relationship can lead, ultimately, to the fertilisation of ambitions. This book, thus, serves as a veritable lesson in child training and a testament to obedience and its long term rewards.
An award-winning journalist and associate editor with The Sun newspaper, Abanobi has been recognised for his innovative reporting of education news. This experience manifests in the sublime manner he inculcates knowledge to both children and parents, using the experiences of legendary writers like Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Adichie; international figures like Michell Obama and Malala Yousafazai; Nollywood stars like Omoni Oboli, Uche Jombo, Belinda, to mention a few of distinguished personalities with inspirational stories to share.
The 10 chapter-book begins with a whatsapp message —Dearest Daughter, when, in response to my Whatsapp messages you called me ‘best dad’, I wondered whether I really am…. ” Abanobi uses this gambit to attract youths before passing across the messages he has by juxtaposing the experiences of a number of highflyers as a guide to young people, especially females, who, in our African society, do not get enough encouragement to excel like their male counterparts.
Abanobi uses, first, the example of 24-year old Alex Iyaji, a former student of Benue State University, who graduated with CGPA of 4.53 in the 2014/2015 academic session to prepare the minds of his readers how dads spurred their children to academic excellence, going by his admission. Taking it up from there, he tells his daughter that, from Iyaji’s experience, parents share in the glory or shame of their children.
Like Iyaji, who graduated in flying colours, Abanobi recounts the sterling qualities of Oluwamayowa Daudo, a law graduate of Ekiti State University, who graduated with a first class degree in the 2017/2018 set of the Nigerian Law School. He is quoted as saying: “My parents, especially my dad, are strict disciplinarians who always encourage us to study hard. My dad believes that every child has great potential which can only be revealed through hard work and discipline”) p. 5).
Omoni Oboli, recounts Abanobi, also acknowledges the support of his father in her tribute when he died: “As I lay you down to rest, daddy, you were my biggest fan. Ever since I was a little girl, my dad always made me feel special… ” That’s the marvel of encouragement. Abanobi reminds his daughter thus: “My dear daughter, as I read those touching words from Omoni, I could not help wondering if I occupy such a place in your heart…” (p. 15).
Best Dad to Dearest Daughter tells us about the impacts of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton’s parents on them while growing up. Abanobi’s daughter concedes that his father contributed to her academic prowess by bribing her to read as a child until she became a bookworm. Little wonder, she emerged a campus champion herself at the end of her university education.
Abanobi’s book is full of inspirational stories about academic triumphs by youngsters. Another that catches the eye is that of one Ngozichukwu, a 2018 graduate of the Department of Accounting, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, who made a first class degree at 18. She attributed that drive to her parents, who, from the beginning, ingrained in her the benefits of making a first-class result.
Ngozi Chimamanda Adichie’s revelation on how her parents influenced her is another dollop for young minds. Adichie told Abanobi in an interview that they —his father’s children —learned mathematics from him, and, though he was a mathematician, he didn’t look down on literature, her favourite. The author preaches that having understanding and accommodating parents is important.
This book, which contains all the ingredients of success (why students pass or fail; rules of parenting; how to excel despite challenges, etc) is an offering for students, youths and parents and how to get the best out of their children. It is urgently recommended.