Florence Jadesola Aboderin Unsung Greatness


Book Title: Florence Jadesola Aboderin Unsung Greatness

Author: Four Points Communication Ltd

Publisher: New Africa Book Publishers

Publication year: 2016


Unsung greatness reads into Florence Jadesola Aboderin’s fifty-six years sojourning on earth. Her story leads through her business proficiency, career management and motherly responsibility which all build up into the making of an eventual leader she became after the demise of her husband (Chief Olubunmi Aboderin), the founder and publisher of The Punch Newspaper (Nigeria’s most widely read Newspaper).

Florence Jadesola Aboderin (nee Babajide) takes her leadership capacity in the family so strong, manifesting more as the disciplinarian mother. Her temperament and that of her hubby seems to balance well, complementing each other. One (husband- Olubunmi) is extremely soft-handed where disciplining the children is concerned and Florence Jadesola seems to be the opposite version of her partner, a hard-core disciplinarian. Shalewa (Jadesola’s first daughter) recounts on her mother’s disciplinary act, bringing to light an occasion when she left home alongside her siblings to the Murtala Muhammed Airport which was very close to one of their Lagos residence. Well I think on a personal note, if mum applies her disciplinary act here then, it should be commendable (Pg. 46-47). Telling it from the manly angle, Wale (Jadesola’s first born and eldest son) was also warned not to ride in the busy street of the family’s Ilupeju residence. Of course this wouldn’t go too cool with a youngster about his age who wouldn’t be able to get the real feel of owning a brand new chopper bicycle (Pg.47). Going by the European standard, and citing the status quo where disciplining a child in London is concerned, Jadesola wouldn’t have attempted driving sense into her children with the rod. But the change of geographical location to Africa where correcting a child with the rod is prevalent, Florence Jadesola had to leverage on the tolerance nature of the African society to bring up the kind of children she would be proud she raised.

She sent out word to prayer warriors everywhere to intercede… (Pg 55). Jadesola came to good knowledge of the required parenting trait and value. She thus cleverly dispensed it to her initially naïve children. On account of this biography, the author exemplifies more, giving particular attention on her spirituality and most especially her untamed prayer life. She wasn’t just nominal but had come to understand the efficacy of prayer and even deem it fit to instill it in her children. Her children once pondered on the reason why she’d to lay hands on them whenever she prays. Maybe I know how her kids feel like, then (as I have come to once feel like that too) (Pg. 55).

The unsung Greatness of Florence Jadesola Aboderin

One of Jadesola’s unsung greatness came to being after she counseled that two children on admission then at the University College Hospital in Ibadan (where she served as a nurse) be de-wormed. But since medical practice in Nigeria esteems the medical doctors as the ‘Judge’ (as in, one with the final say) over every other professionals in the medical line, then her advise was turned down and later report had it that, those children died of worm-related causes. This singular incident leads to her pulling out from the nursing profession.

Jadesola resorted to doing odd jobs to maintain her family… (Pg 84).The unsung greatness of every mother is the ability to complement her hubby even while he is away or better still when he is insufficient in financial provision. This also becomes evident in Florence Jadesola who stood in the gap for her career and ambitious husband (while Olubunmi studies Accountancy in London) after she took up three menial jobs to assist with the family’s welfare (Pg 83-84).

Jadesola’s experience in London where she was joggling two or more jobs makes up for her, an accompanying element,  giving rise to her becoming the first female mortgage banker in Africa  (Pg. 89). This achievement raised her above the prejudice which sees the women folk as second class or third class citizens.

One greatness yet unsung is the involvement of Jadesola in the setting up of Lagos Building corporation. The fact that she introduced creative measures that enabled Lagosians own a home was quite commendable alongside testimonies of her humanitarian sacrifice to the will of prospect applying for mortgage loans. Despite her readiness to help those in need she still stand up to basic work ethics and high sense of discipline which is today highly commendable (Pg. 96-100). Worthy to be sung also is Jadesola’s revival of the Epe Plywood industries (Pg. 105-106).

For almost a year, the UBS MD ran the office from home… (Pg 110)  Florence Jadesola pioneered as the Managing Director of Universal Building society which sacrificially cost her running the office from home. That she never had an office space wasn’t enough reason not to start or stop her from making her mark in life.

Florence involvement in partisan politics didn’t go well with her children (Pg 94). The usual discourse which eventually results into pandemonium seems to be the order of the day at every political meetings. Some ill operations of UPN leadership (the case of thuggery. With reference to Bayo Success who was hired to terrorize rival political factions) which Jadesola belongs led to her fear of the unknown, leading to her protectively cautioning her family members against the strolling trouble which might be encountered on the streets (Pg. 95-96).

Reading Florence Jadesola Aboderin’s Unsung greatness, I see a Florence who was studious, committed and stood up to what she believes is morally upright all through her fifty-six years of sojourn on earth, and up to a point when her husband died. While it is important for people to make-up their physical look, it is also important to ‘make-up’ the innermost part of one’s personality (see last paragraph Pg 110) into that individual of one’s dream.


Wizard of the Crow

Title: Wizard of the Crow

Author:  Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Published by: Harvill Secker

Publication year: 2006


Written in Kikuyu and translated into English by the author, Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong’o will not disappoint anyone familiar with the author’s prolific body of work. This work of fiction sears with truth and lays bare the international foibles of postcolonial African politics. Pregnant with humour and irony, this allegory leaves nothing sacred as when one of the characters is cured of the disease of white-ache. It is a most human story examining both the character of leadership and the desires of the common citizen. Farcical characters become believable, while women, especially, are portrayed with complexity. The story challenges many stereotypes. For example, the main character, the Wizard of the Crow, is a witchdoctor or traditional healer or (~frochiatrist)(p. 622), and proves to be the voice of reason and sanity. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves storytelling or is interested in international relations and African culture and society.

The story tells of a megalomaniacal African ruler with a grandiose development scheme surrounded by conniving sycophants obsessed with greed who try to control the masses and outmanoeuvre each other. The trials of these politicos are interwoven with a love story involving the Wizard of the Crow and an underground activist posing as a secretary. The roles of thinly disguised entities such as the Global Bank also figure into this brazen expose of the (politics of poverty) (p. 87), while many other novel characters populate the landscape such as the (professors of parrotology) (p. 572).

The work is cynical, critical, insightful, and inspiring. Describing the fictional place, Ngugi writes, (If there were no beggars in the streets, tourists might start doubting whether Aburiria was an authentic African country) (p. 35). Contrast this with the line, (The world has no soul) (p. 62). The calcu180 Journal for Global Initiatives (Many a government in the world has been brought to ruin because it has been lax and allowed students, youth, and women to say and do whatever without proper guidance and supervision” (p. 557). And Ngugi observes, (Disorder reigned supreme, for any attempt on the part of the people to organise themselves was deemed by the Ruler’s government as a challenge to its authority” (p. 576). Describing the actions of one of the rich and successful political appointees, he writes, (How does one find humor in humiliating the already humiliated?” (p. 383). He also asks, (Why does needy Africa continue to let its wealth meet the needs of those outside its borders and then follow behind with hands outstretched for a loan of the very wealth it let go?” (p. 681). He also states, (It will not do for any region or community to keep silent when the people of another region and community are being slaughtered” (p. 726).

There is so much to highlight in this wide-ranging engaging story that no review could possibly do it justice. Don’t let the book’s size or the author’s reputation intimidate you. It’s a fun, easy read, and you may learn a lot. As always, Ngugi places the primary burden of resolving Africa’s maladies solely on Africa without shying away from the complex, detrimental influence of the colonial past. The question of whether Africa will experience globalisation as the latest reincarnation of an oppressive colonial past or participate actively as a contributing voice of reason may in some small part be presaged through the reception of this telling book. Thank you for this gift of a book and for holding up a mirror in which to exorcise so many daemons.

Credit: Daniel Paracka, Journal of Global Initiative.