BOOK REVIEW:GREAT BLESSINGS FROM SENATOR DUROJAIYE
Title: Guided by His Hands
Publisher: HEBN Publishers Plc.
Author: Olabiyi Durojaiye
Reviewer: Bright Ewulu
The essence of any autobiography is ultimately to relay the experiences of someone with a meaningful or eventful life to the larger society or a segment of it, so that others can from such a publication learn one or two things on how they can better live their lives. If this is the main aims of autobiographies, then the Book: “Guided by His Hands” is a highly successful piece that is worthy of recommendation.
In fact it’s a piece of work in which the writer’s inclinations shown like wild -fire. Therefore it’s obvious that in these days of political ghost workers, its safe to say with all assurance, that the Senator actually wrote the great work himself. Because most of his inclinations- for those of us who have known him over the years were all too visible. His humour proclivities, story telling capacities and oratorical prowess came out all too clearly. And am sure his classmates and schoolmates at Molusi College, Ijebu-Igbo who come across the book at one bookshop or the other will not fail to notice that it was “G.B. Show” (Durojaiye) that was behind the master piece in question.
The storytelling prowess of the writer was so strong that the impacts of his fore- bearers on his life were well driven home. That one is not left in any doubts of how far his childhood environment and its inhabitants both in his mother’s and father’s side impacted on his out -come and philosophy. In fact he went to the foundations of Ijebu-Igbo itself, its cultures and traditions and past heroes and heroines and orikis etc. He even suggested his suspicion that the Ijebu’s may have been the old Jebusites who migrated from Jerusalem after they where dislodged by King David at about 1000 BC.
Hence it was clear that the Ijebu-Igbo of the 1940s and 50s in which the young Durujaiye grew up was peopled by traditional religious worshipers, Christians and Muslims. But despite that varied beliefs and the fact that his father was a native doctor his in dept belief was in the Christian Faith as practiced by the Anglican Church. And he owned up that the Bible character king David-king of Israel, was a personality that influenced him greatly as he learnt from him to embark on no effort without seeking God’s direction. We saw in various ways and times in his life where he (Durojaiye) had throne a coin, prayed to God or followed the directives of his dream or vision in his decision making process.
The autobiography depicted all too clearly that Durojaiye, although known to be a good person, also a times went off the cuff. Yet still had strong fate in God. The book showed us how he; in anger threw a knife which struck to the back of his beloved younger sister, his angry exchange with the hotel manager while at CBN, how he and a friend nearly burnt down a tree but never owned up to being responsible for that etc. but the boy who went this far was also the one who urged God not to allow him to become one of those who go to London and return home to deny him (God)-perhaps it was that prayer that made God to allow Durojaiye to get his two London degrees in Economics and Law from Nigeria. That without stepping out of our shores. Of course, with the land were he built his country home in Ijebu-Igbo to boot.
The surprising part of the book is that although it was peopled by politically renowned individuals and heroes of all kinds,but ended up being more of a piece proclaiming God as the source of all great things. One would think that such a man who played in the highest levels of Nigerian economics and political life, would produce a political or economic treatise. But even though it did expose some political and economic histories –such as dangerous moves during the battle for June 12 and NADECO heady days, including his imprisonment for 18 long months. But he never failed to hint on the good old advice that truth never fails.And that his destiny so far has turned out well because of God’s guidance.
But then, what do you expect from a man who told you that God gave him the grace to see the faces of his six children even before he chosed to marry their mother. He had prayed to God to show him a wife to marry.
Yet, “Guided By His Hands is a book in which you get to pip into the great lives of people like Tai and Sheila Solari, Olusegun Obasanjo, M.K.O Abiola, Kudirat Abiola, NADECO leaders, Sani Abacha, Anyim Pius Anyim, Col Frank Omenka, Chief Obafemi Awolowo etc. It also did a great expose of the Senate after our return to democracy in 1999. Despite the above suggestions; the author did not fail to make some political statements on the whole Nigerian factor or factors. On the leadership problem he has this to say:
“Look at all the high ways we have, all the aluminum rails have been cut and stolen away. It is not the government that is doing this, it is the people. Now, when we blame the leadership, the followers should not be exempted. If we must put things right, the two must be got right”
“Let me add one statement, it was credited to a director in the central Bank of Korea. He said in Korea, God deposit nothing except human beings. But in Nigeria God deposited everything. What then stands between us and greatness? This is the great question every Nigerian political leader must find answers to. What stands between us when God has bestowed upon us abundant human, material and vegetative resources?”
And if you care for more political education, Durojaiye delved into the heart of Nigeria’s geopolitical scheming to inform that “for the Hausa Fulani, their top most aim is to rule and be in power. They believe and practice their philosophy that Iko yafi kudi ie power is stronger or more important than money” over the years, the Hausa Fulani have mastered the Roman and British administrative style of “Divide et rege”, ie Divide and rule”. They seldom let go of political power.
“For the Igbos, it is economic power, commerce and Industry. They are astute and at the top when it comes to business, for the Yorubas, our ultimate or topmost scale of preference is education and knowledge”
After all said and done, “Guided by God’s Hand”, is a total blessing(s) from Senator Durojaiye. Its his way of giving glory to God and telling you and me that for one to achieve destiny takes more than hard work, professionalism and proficiency: for him it also takes guts, courage, truth, faith, prayers and God’s grace and mercy. And he did it in a very lucid and captiviting prose that almost every one can understand, appreciate, including students of whatever school you can think about.