Uncovering Adamolekun’s Autobiography


Yinka Olatunbosun

The white and blue carriers bags labelled, “I Remember” were distributed freely amongst the guests milling around the auditorium at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) at Victoria Island recently as the notable scholar in the field of public administration, Professor Ladipo Adamolekun made a public presentation of his autobiography, “I Remember’’.

The memories of his days as a student at the University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University and Oxford University were recalled in this literary effort by the author who was surrounded by friends, colleagues and loved ones. It’s been a long wait for this book and that is not to subtly complain about the queues for the author’s autograph. Prof Adamolekun has been honoured with many awards within and beyond the Nigerian borders, one of which is the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) award which is considered as the highest national prize for academic and intellectual attainment.

In this fresh piece split into six parts, he recounted his steady strides towards a career in teaching, research and academic administration. Published by Safari Books Limited, I Remember is an inspiration to all especially young children raised in a large family setting. The author is the 14th child in a family of 19 children and had the good fortune of being raised by parents who placed a premium on education. And since the age of 19, the author had kept a diary-a trait inherited from his parents- which has now resulted in what the reviewer, Professor Anthony Akinola referred to as “a most authentically-documented personal history.’’ The reviewer also read keenly and discovered that the author’s relationships with family and friends had been the fulcrum of his intellectual development.

“I Remember shows me clearly how central family values, religion, life-long bonding of family and friendship, and the passion for truth and commitment to searching for it, scarce commodities in our current predicament, characterised by the search for crass materialism, have combined to define and shape his development and maturity. But what also makes reading I Remember refreshing and worthwhile is that, contrary to the conclusion in the epigram above, it provides evidence, in the form of the life of Ladi, that even in such an inclement climate, the intellectual vocation, like missionary work, need not be frustrating but has its satisfying reward. For what has emerged from, indeed the subtheme running through I Remember is the reasoned narrative of a supremely fulfilled life, dedicated to the service of state and society, and intended to serve as a model, in the form of “A Note for the Millennials”, its closing chapter,’’ the reviewer remarked.

He proceeded to describe the book as a work of solid scholarship and one, which, in line with the author’s characteristic simplicity and attention to details, is clear, well-written in simple language, well-edited, well-proof read and witty in several places, making for easy reading . He added that I Remember stands different from several self-serving and ghost-written autobiographies, which have surfaced in Nigeria in recent years.