'Telling It As It Is' by Chief Ayo Adebanjo: A Review

The writer writes from his first-hand experience of the early political struggles in colonial and postcolonial

Nigeria. This autobiography is a documentation of his mistakes, growth, political consciousness, idealogy, convictions and life lessons. In the book, he shares his experience growing up as an only child of an illiterate mother in the late 1920s/early 1930s in Lagos. He talks about his education at the CMS Grammar School, the early stages of his political consciousness and his quest for higher education. He spotlights the struggle for power and development in a country with so much promise, the programmes and ideology of his political party - Action Group (AG) under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

As a budding politician and organizer, he shares the experiences during his appointment as Organizing Secretary of the Action Group (Remo Division) from 1951. One very prominent noting in the book is his relationship with Chief Awolowo and his family. In the heat of the political trials of the 1960s, he tells the story of the separation from his family, time in exile in Ghana, time in jail (after extradition when the 1966 Ghana coup happened), eventual release and the continued struggle against military rule.

As a family man, Pa Adebanjo also talks about marriage - his failed attempts and his union with Mrs. Christiana Adebanjo to whom he has been married since May 1960. In this book, the reader will get the opportunity of interacting with a man who has been through the various crests and troughs of the Nigerian story and from whose experiences the younger generation of Nigerians can draw invaluable insights and inspiration.


I met with the author for the first time on the night of April 9, 2019, when I got my copy of the book. We had a great chat and discussed some highlights of his life. He graciously signed on my copy.

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© 2020 Samuel Akinnuga.