Celebrated journalist and scholar Yemi Ogunbiyi on Friday publicly presented his memoir titled ‘The Road Never Forgets’ in Lagos.
The book launch event was part of the author’s 75th birthday celebrations.
Dignitaries at the event include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Prof. Wole Soyinka; Ogun and Ekiti State Governors: Dapo Abiodun, and Kayode Fayemi; former Ogun and Osun State Governors: Aremo Olusegun Osoba, and Rauf Aregbesola; a former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; and Prof. Femi Osofisan, who reviewed the book, among others.
Vice President Osinbajo spoke on the significance of the book, according to a statement signed by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande.
“Anyone who has had a chance like me to read this book will agree that not only does the road never forget, but the elephant that walked the road has a phenomenal memory,” the Vice President said.
“The elephant as you know forgets nothing, its brain is 5kg in weight. So, The Elephant in this room – if you will pardon the pun – Dr. Ogunbiyi, surely forgets little.
“He speaks of a broad spectrum of issues from his childhood and youth through to events that happened just last year with the same mind-boggling freshness of memory. Yemi Ogunbiyi’s story is at once the life story of a truly remarkable individual and at the same time, the story of a country. And who better to tell the story of Nigeria, the magical possibilities of our ethnic blending, than one born in Kano of a Yoruba father and an Igbo mother and whose first language was Hausa.”
Osinbajo added: ‘“in this contemporary history of Nigeria, it turns out by some quirk of circumstance, that the author is present in critical events that occurred in Nigeria. He had a ringside seat during the ‘wetie period’ in the old Western Region by virtue of the fact that Ibadan Boys High School was located behind the Awolowo home in Ibadan. His first open day at Kings College was the day of the first coup in Nigeria and he was right there when Adekunle Adepeju was fatally shot at UI.
“So, in telling his own compelling story, we are led through the nationalistic idealism of the pre-colonial days, the excitement of civil rule and its tragic denouement, then Military rule, a curious diarchy, other iterations of civil rule, and all manner of contemporary events. He engages every subject honestly, openly and frankly, somehow it almost seems that by his open vulnerable style he disarms and commands empathy and admiration.”
He said the book is a powerful memoir of a life shaped by history as much as great successes and redemption, as the VP noted that Ogunbiyi would go on to “become the brilliant university teacher, newspaper executive, debonair, connoisseur of wine and collector of fine art, equally at home in modern and traditional settings.”