Reflections on an altruistic life

Reflections on an altruistic life

The public presentation of ‘Reflections
on the Events of My Life’, the autobiography of Samuel Olatunde
Fadahunsi, took place on May 5 at the Agip Recital Hall, Muson Centre,
Onikan, Lagos.

Since it isn’t everyday that a
91-year-old gets the opportunity to tell his story, family, friends and
associates of the former president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers
came out en masse to listen to him.

Doyen of accounting in Nigeria,
Akintola Williams; former military administrator of the Western Region,
Adeyinka Adebayo; and chartered surveyor Hope Harriman, were among
those who came to celebrate with the retired engineer.

Unique book

As is often the
case with accomplished professionals who value time, there were no
frivolities at the event. The reviewer, Reuben Abati, promptly got down
to business after the chair of the book presentation committee, Dupe
Olatubosun, introduced the guests.

Abati, the chair
of the editorial board of The Guardian, disclosed that he didn’t
hesitate to accept the task because of the uniqueness of the book. He
said that, unlike other autobiographies, ‘Reflections on the Events of
My Life’ doesn’t dwell on the author’s personal life, marriage, family,
chieftaincy titles or philanthropic activities. The reviewer said the
book offers useful insights on “the makings of Nigeria, the Nigeria
that seems to be lost in antiquity.”

Abati, who went
through the book with a fine-toothed comb, added that, “‘Reflections on
the Events of My Life’ is a story of Nigeria through the eyes of Mr
Fadahunsi. This, to me, is humbling. The author, though a family man,
did not dwell much on this; he went to describe Nigeria as it was in
the 30s, 40s and 50s.”

The reviewer
further described the author as a patriot, noting that instead of
remaining in the UK after completing his studies in civil engineering
at London University, he joined a group of others who returned to
develop Nigeria. “Despite the fact that Nigeria was not as developed as
it is now, these patriotic Nigerians saw it a responsibility to come
home and build.” The author’s principles and qualities, including love
for family values, loyalty and a stance against corruption, did not
escape Abati’s attention.

Great family man

But the reviewer
wasn’t the only person who commended Fadahunsi’s effort. The chief
presenter, Folorunsho Awomolo, who was represented by his daughter,
also had great things to say about the man who dedicated much of hisl
ife to the civil service. Other commentators also praised Fadahunsi’s
spirit of contentment.

One of his
children described her father as a “great man, who will do anything to
protect his family. Grandpa, as he is fondly called by his
grandchildren, is a wonderful man.”

Born on March 17, 1920, Fadahunsi studied civil engineering at
London University and returned to Nigeria in 1955. His first
appointment upon his return was as district engineer in Osogbo with the
Western Region government, where he eventually rose to become a chief
water engineer and a chief adviser on water supply. He also worked with
the Lagos Executive Development Board, now the Lagos State Property
Development Corporation, before retiring in 1971 to establish his own
firm, Comprehensive Engineering Consultants. He belongs to several
professional organizations and has a foundation named after him.</

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