Oladimeji Alo: The Audacity Of Brilliance  By Remi Oyeyemi

By Remi Oyeyemi
It was gripping. Spellbinding. Enchanting. Engrossing. Encapsulated in its clutch are clear nebula of bluntness, forthrightness and searing details that are exemplars of a photographic memory. Details that authenticate, elucidate, and validate the stories told.
A self-authored odyssey that edifies the boldness of brilliance accentuated by discipline, which was a product, of sound upbringing founded on faith in God. It was a foundation that was firm. Solid. Sturdy. And strapping. It was a faith that has been adequately rewarded by God with limitless grace, mercy, and blessings.
This one, “Amazing Grace: My Story. My Life” by Dr. Oladimeji Alo, was obviously, the right choice to break into the loop of an old practice of Book Review. The 285-page twelve chaptered Iliad was riveting. It was educating, exciting, and insightful.
It was an expository of the essentials of Yoruba values as an ethnic nationality and Ijesa, as sub-ethnic part of it. It unconsciously glorified the morality, discipline, and the religious freedom that have been ethos of Yoruba daily live. It underscored the stability and merits of a polygamous family. It pinpointed the natural affection embedded in our extended family practice in an unconscious comparison to nuclearized family structure imported from the Western world.
  It underlined the freedom of religion that italicized the ease of moving from one faith practice to the other without the slightest wink from anyone or fuss from the social set up within the family or societal milieu. It was a striation of brilliance applied. A solidus of essence of knowledge in practicality.
The challenges of a child growing up in a traditional Yoruba community that was in the process of embracing modernity was the focus of Chapters 1, 2, and 3. In these Chapters, the innate curiosity, brilliance, intelligence, and talents of the author were deployed to meet the challenges for which he was unprepared.
Inadvertently, he came to discover himself by being himself. His love for music came to the fore as a chorister. He acquired the cognomen of “Alade, the lover boy” by being a convincing actor on the stage. He became an astute financial administrator working in his aunt’s business in Atakumosa market. Learnt the art of trading by selling tomatoes, pepper and okro. He learnt what it entailed to be entrusted with responsibility as the school janitor and timekeeper in Primary 5.
Chapter 4 focused on his fascination with industrial life and a stint with Nigeria Sugar Company Limited, Bacita. How he was in search of a carrier path. How he almost became a police officer and had to jettison that because of parental concerns. He then worked his way to the University of Ife and through his brilliance as well as abiding grace of God, came to be an academician (Chapter 5).
In Chapter 6,7, 8, and 9, a discerning reader would be able to fathom the bullishness of brilliance. Such reader would be able to witness the courage of brilliance. The audacity of brilliance. The dignity afforded by brilliance. The deployment of brilliance. But brilliance embedded with humility. Brilliance moderated by the fear of God. Brilliance propelled by the grace of God.
A brilliance that naturally exerted itself. A brilliance that shown like a comet within the framework of respect for others. Fairness to others. Positive attitude. Believe in the goodness of others. And mentoring. A brilliance that could not be ignored but even attested to by detractors. A brilliance that drawn the envy of others. A brilliance that  shown like the sun which could not be covered with mere palms.
The power of his brilliance as his career progressed, was imbued with strong moral values, discipline, and self-dignity. He demanded of himself as he did of others and would not compromise value, capacity, efficiency, result and timeliness on any ground or for any reason. Consistency of these frameworks progressively catapulted him to the next level always, even when he did not expect, and thought the odds were challenging.
In Chapter 10, as you accompany him in his trajectory of self-employment and boardroom experience, what is palpable is the grace of God. From the boardroom of Coopers and Lybrand Associates Limited, via Financial Institutions Training Center, Chartered Institute of  Personnel Management of Nigeria, West African Bankers’ Association, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, One World Communications Limited, Nigeria Capital Market Institute, School of Banking Honors, Berger Paints Nigeria PLC, ARM Life PLC, Development Bank of Nigeria PLC, Center For Financial Journalism, Initiative For Information Technology Capacity Building to ARM Investment Managers Limited, the abundance of grace of God was very evident.
In Chapter 11, the importance and value of a virtuous, loyal, faithful, loving, caring, affectionate and supportive wife was established. In fact, and indeed, it is this writer’s assessment that his marriage to Lady Olalounpe Abeni Alo is part of the divine grace. Her unalloyed devotion, steadfastness, commitment, and dedication to her husband resulted in the successful children that they have raised and the grandchildren they have been blessed with.
In the last Chapter, 12, the author availed the reader of the lessons that life has taught him. The first and the most important was the acknowledgement that God rules in the affairs of men. When God blesses, no curse by any man could be of any consequence. Then, there is the importance of self- knowledge, self- confidence, and positive thinking. There is also the lesson about the depth of human mind under which he touched on how to handle human betrayal and perfidy.
Added to the above is the value and merits of self-discipline. Self-denial was explained as being important part of this and could be very handy in austere times. He then pinpointed the dangers embedded in fighting corruption, defending ethics and moral values. He concluded that such endeavours could be very costly and dangerous.
In the Epilogue, the author offered advice to his “younger self”. But the advice were the takeaways for the reader. The six-point takeaway underscored the importance of being conscious of the impression one’s approach creates in the minds of other people; learning to pick one’s battles; exercising better control of one’s temperament; being sensitive on the impact of one’s words and actions on others; walking away from individuals and situations that threaten to bring out the worst in you and learn how to forgive others in conjunction with the Lord’s instruction.
There were many illustrations in the book. The pictures pulled the reader into nostalgic moods of the author and served as attestations to God’s favour and blessing on the family.
All in all, the book, written in beautiful prose, was engrossing. There were a few editing errors on pages 19, 21, 34, 41, 88, 178, 207, 225, 238 and 277. The printing paper was qualitative and would have a long shelve life.
Without any doubt, the life of Oladimeji Alo is evidential of the hand of God in the affairs of men. He is a lucky recipient of the Amazing Grace of the almighty. We should praise God on his behalf.
Get a copy. And learn a few lessons.

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