This month, I've finally finished reading the 2nd and last part of my Grandfather's autobiography A Measure of Grace. This second part, titled "Towards the Emerging Vision" is truly a deep-dive into my Grandfather's life's work as concerns the Nigerian nation. Chapter-by-chapter, Grandpa walks us through each of the projects he has undertaken for the Nigerian government. From "The Challenges of Census Taking" in 1961 and 1971 to "Land Reform" in 2009.
When I said I was blown away by the sheer number of Grandpa's roles while reading part 1, I didn't yet know the half of it! My Grandfather has been involved in so many key initiatives of the Nigerian Government that one can say that his book gives an insight to the development and growth of the Nigerian nation. I say this because, my Grandfather's work has focused on Nation building activities such as Poverty Reduction, Rural Development, Housing and Urban Development, and so on... just to name a few.
From his life's work, one can see how valiant attempts have been made by various administrations to make a difference to the Nigerian story; and how many times (as with the Public Service Review), these attempts have gone awry. It is at once encouraging to know that there are Nigerians like my Grandfather trying to make a difference... and disheartening to see how their efforts have been frustrated.
So, as I close the last chapter of this book, I am left wondering how one can maintain the perpetual optimism that my Grandfather has shown with his faith in Nigeria and his willingness to continue to invest time and energy into a country that gives so little back.
I am not so sure that if I had had the experiences that he has, that I would be able to remain as optimistic as he is. That said, I am glad that through the magic of reading, I've been able to digest his life and appreciate what it means to live an exemplary life, especially in a country like Nigeria.