So I've just finished reading the first part of my grandfather's 2-part autobiography A Measure of Grace, and I'm kicking myself for not having read it sooner. When such an illustrious man as he, decides to document all of his life's work and life lessons, you can be sure that it is a work deserving of attention. Perhaps it is because my grandfather himself is such a humble and unassuming man, that this book went unattended on my bookshelf for so many years. But now that I have a better idea of just how much of a treasure trove the man is, I have vowed to consult him more frequently.
Many years ago, I wrote a piece called The Mabogunje Brand which was a tribute to my grandfather, and the legacy he has created for we, his grandchildren. Believe it or not, I had not yet read his book then. I was merely speaking from the perspective of the "felt impact" and associated pride of having such a world famous grandfather. Needless to say, now that I am reading all about his life and accomplishments, that old tribute seems so shallow... Anyway, enough about that, let's get on to talking about Part 1 of A Measure of Grace - "On Wings of Love."
In this first part of the Autobiography, Professor Akinlawon Ladipo Mabogunje or "Grandpa" as I prefer to call him, walks us through his life's journey:- from his early childhood in Kano, through to his university days as a student in UI, then lecturer, husband, and father, and finally his life post retirement. At each stage of this journey, he takes special care to acknowledge the circumstances, people, and organisations, that contributed to his growth as a human being, geographer, and international figure. This is exactly why he titled this part of the book "On Wings of Love:" acknowledging the fact that his rise to international renown has "been undertaken on the wings of love and affection by so many people."
The anecdotes my grandfather tells about his childhood and parenthood are especially humorous, while other stories about his upbringing and choices, give insight into the type of man that he is. It is funny to me to note, that my entire life and knowledge of Grandpa's work has been in his retirement! Even though he retired from the University of Ibadan at 50, he continued to work and fly around the country and around the world well into his 70s. So for most of my life, the "working Grandpa" that I knew was supposed to be a retiree!
Reading the story of my grandfather's life, I was blown away by the sheer number of roles he has undertaken in his lifetime. Whereas, I had always thought of him as a World Famous Geographer (which he is), he has also been a researcher, a writer, an entrepreneur, a banker, a founder, a chancellor, a leader of international bodies... and so much more! Whereas I had always thought of him an academic (which he is), he is also a consummate leader! Chairman of this board, President of that group, Director of this other group... the sheer number of appointments is staggering!
...and I haven't even read part 2 yet...
Part 2, promises to be a deep dive into his various undertakings at the regional, state, and federal levels within Nigeria. When I finish that, I'll be sure to let y'all know.