Feature- The Unintimidated Career Woman despite Prevalent Male Chauvinism: A Review of Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis of Life

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Title: Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis of Life

Author: Deaconness Joan Olatoyosi Ayo, OON

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Publisher: Kraft Books Limited

Year of Publication: 2021

Pagination: 374

Reviewer: Pastor Olamitayo Irantiola

The life of a woman is usually filled with many details and they are abundantly endowed with words. However, not many of them are willing to painstakingly document every part of their lives and bless the world with memories and lessons that transcend generations.

Deaconess Joan Olatoyosi Ayo, an octogenarian, registered her life in the annals of autobiographers in Nigeria and the world at large with her book titled, Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis. As a graduate of English from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and a Master’s degree from the University of Ibadan, she has her ways with words and in-depth descriptive skills that set her apart as a writer.

In the book, the Saki-born Princess gave a detailed account of her hometown, Saki, her parentage with comprehensive information amongst others. This is one of the attributes of someone who is interested in history and also has a great pedigree. She further introduced us to her developmental years and relationship with siblings and the schools which she attended and all these was part of all that culminated into achievements and various successes in career and life.

Another very detailed part of the book was the analytical stories of her Baptist origin and heritage. This helped her to be poise, eloquent and hardworking. This background with the highest level of morality continued as a teacher till she moved on to the Federal Civil Service. She role steadily and eventually broke the glass ceiling as the first female Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission. She did not just excel in the role but she was able to refine the appointment, the promotion, and the disciplinary processes.

Mama worked under both military and democratic governments. In fact, she was privileged to work with three democratically-elected Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. From her own view as an insider, she revealed some shocking truth on how the military government exchanged crude oil with consumables from Brazil in a lopsided trade by barter because there was no proper mechanism to measure the amount of crude oil given in exchange for the consumables. She also made reference to the various “sharp practices” both physical and spiritual which are practiced in the civil service.

As a woman of high repute, she mentioned her role towards the creation of Oke-Ogun State, a part of today’s Oyo State, but another dissident group within the zone thwarted her effort. Also worthy of note are her roles in the building of monuments such as the building of Aso Rock Villa Chapel and the National Ecumenical Centre amongst others.

She did not leave out her religious life in the book. As mentioned earlier, she is a Baptist from birth to date. In the book, she wrote about her Baptist heritage, church planting efforts, her knowledge of MMU, WMU, and Convention in sessions, etc. She advocated that technocrats should champion and lead projects in the Baptist other than Pastors so that the denomination can advance at a faster pace.

The book also contains her Christian sojourn and relationship with churches such as First Baptist Church, Broad Street, Lagos; Yaba Baptist Church, Lagos; Good News Baptist Church, Surulere; Ikoyi Baptist Church, Lagos; New Estate Baptist Church, Surulere; Akoka Baptist Church and her involvement with First Baptist Church, Garki Abuja. At some point, she had to play a motherly role resolving a brewing crisis of a group of Pastors called “Stand up for Jesus”. This issue nearly shook the foundation of the Nigerian Baptist Convention.

The well-travelled administrator, who had lived on four continents out of seven, is an amazing and prayerful mother of five. One needs special tutelage to have an understanding of how she was able to manage her home coupled with her service to God and the nation; as a young woman, I am still brooding on how she was able to play all these roles. She is a man in woman figure and her achievement is a pointer to the adage that “there is nothing a man can do that a woman cannot do”.

It is good to note that Saki-Princesses are making remarkable feats in the annals of our national history. The late Prof (Dns) Felicia Adebola Adedoyin, who wrote the wordings of the National Anthem is equally a Princess from Saki.

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