Book Title: A Compendium of Seclected Lectures and Papers (Volume 1)
Author: Fọlakẹ Ṣolankẹ, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN)
Publishers: BookBuilders.Editions Africa
Even though I’ve done many book reviews in my writing endeavors, including those in my weekly newspaper essay days, I have done only a few on this blog.
Re-reading some of my reviews, especially on this blog, it does occur to me that those in my primary area of interest: literature, which would encompass autobiographies, fictions and non-fictions, lectures, and other such proceedings are the ones I prefer.
Even if I have wandered far afield and dabbled into “reviewing” – in my own way – books in fields and subjects far removed from my educational background and competence, it is time to realize that I could not really review – in the proper sense of the word, books on Law despite two college-level courses in Business Law as a Business major over four decades ago.
Enough is definitely then enough!
News about books I would have read plus real reviews of those to which I think I should be able to do justice, from now, would be my focus whenever I want to share with blog visitors books I think you should know about, and a few points on why I think you may enjoy such.
A Compendium of Selected Lectures and Papers (Volume 1) is as the title describes it.
As a woman of great achievements and in the forefront of fighting for women’s rights in the workplace and everywhere, Solanke’s Compedium includes many lectures and papers that deal – among many subjects – with the issue and status of women, some of which are listed here.
The book opens with “Abortion: Legal Aspects and Women’s Rights, a paper she presented on a panel on Law and Status of Women at the International Women’s Year Tribune in Mexico City in 1975.
In 1976, she would deliver a paper on a very important subject concerning African women, Property Rights of Women in African Society at the 2nd Judicial Conference in Monrovia, Liberia. The paper points out the displacement of traditional land tenure by imported land tenure through colonialism in Nigeria, for example even though the old communal land ownership before the advent of foreign law put the Nigerian woman “in a superior position in relation to landed property rights compared with her European sister.”
Other topical subjects on the issue and status of women from Solanke’s Compendium include: ‘The Role of Women in Developing Nations’, always a recurring subject in Nigeria, Women and Development: The Need for a Clear Perspective, a paper delivered to the Reginnal Conference of Women’s Lawyer in Accra in 1976.
Two more lectures on the issue and status of women are Solanke’s Women and Legal Rights presented as the Zonta District XVIII Governor for Africa at the 47th Biennial Convention of the service club at Sydney, Australia in 1984, and her Challenges of the 1990s: Women in Focus, The First Helvi Sipila Annual Lecture at Helsinki, Finland in 1991.
The lecture in honor of Sipila was of great interest to Solanke because her career and social interests seem to always be along the same trajectory as Ms. Sipila’s: both were lawyers through which both played active roles in the International Federation of Women lawyers, both pursued and promoted women’s rights and both played active roles in civic organizations in their countries. I remember that in in the run-up to Nigeria’s return to civil rule, Solanke would be on television nightly “calling all women …” on behalf of Zonta International, to become participants in the political process. It was a group I had not received an invitation to join but to which I would later be public relations officer in the 1980s.
Sipila, who was the first female Assistant Secretary-General of the UN among many pioneering roles was the 1968-70 International President of Zonta International, a position that Solanke would occupy as Zonta’s First African to be elected as International President of the worldwide service club.
Attendees at the 1st Annual Lecture which took pace at the University of Helsinki must have been surprised at the breadth and depth of Solanke’s “… Women in Focus” as she seemed to barely give her stated subject a deep look before moving to what would be considered outside the scope of her lecture but that was Solanke’s main aim: “that all the dramatis personae”, for example, in the Gulf War as “political manouvres and diplomatic shuttling across the world” were men. She continues: “… in trying to avoid war, only male voices were making war noises …” and quotes Edith Ballantyne, the secretary-general of Geneva-based Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – “men never talk about peace, only arms …” but Solanke was quick to acknowledge that “female heads of government … have also waged wars.”
By these words, Solanke shows her belief – with which I agree – that all issues are women’s issues, women’s focus: War and Peace; The Environment, Population, a section that gets a lot of her attention (especially China, Africa and the developing nations of the world) in a paper that was subtitled “Focus on Women”.
All issues are women issues as, to quote her, “women are closely connected with survival issues of mankind.
I end this Book News with a pointer to Auntie Lady San’s – that’s how many like me in Nigeria address her – versatility and erudition, and how in a simple eulogy delivered at the Wake-Keep of a fellow legal luminary and women’s rights advocate, Professor Jadésola Akande who passed on in 2008, she must have brought fellow mourners, especially the older ones, to solemn head-nodding.
Employing the style of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How do I Love Thee (Sonnet 43), Eulogy to ‘My Jade’ … is a tribute in prose that though may not fit the comparison to a sonnet as there is really no poetic form, it is a very expressive narration of admiration and love. You know the Yoruba name, Jadé, was not on Auntie’s mind but the gemstone that “My Jade” was.
The eulogy opens in italics and moves on to the answers, beginning with all caps for the first few words as if a legal document –
Again, what shall I say?
WE SHAL SAY THAT she was a product of an impeccable pedigree – the brilliant and accomplished daughter of … Esan.
We shall say that her mother – Mama Wuraola Esan – was the first female Senator in Nigeria … and having made the point about Auntie Jadé’s antecedents, she moves on to her achievements, among which were:
We shall say the she was the first female professor of law in Nigeria … a professional with formidable credentials, left an imperishable legacy having helped others to climb the steep ladder of success …
She used the occasion to chide parents, borrowing “Jade’s” words from a paper the deceased had once delivered at high-brow Lagos (Nigeria) Girls’ School – Vivian Fowler – words to show that many parents no longer raise their children with Yoruba – nay – African culture as their guide posts:
“… A child will tell his father “Don’t be silly and the father will see nothing wrong in it …”
Before ending her Wake-Keep very unusual address, Lady San directed her attention to the children of the deceased:
Now, what shall we say to the family …?
We shall say to them: Weep no more …
The other subjects, as pointed out earlier, are quite a few.
To get copies of the book, the publishers, BookBuilders.Editions Africa, 2 Awosika Avenue, Old Bodija, Ibadan, Nigeria. Phone Numbers: (+234) 805, 662-9266 & (+234) 809, 920-9106.
I should get to the Book News of another title Law jointly authored by Chief Folake Solanke & Fabian Ajogwu, another Senior Advocate of Nigeria in the next two months. Meanwhile, here is the cover.
Folake Solanke, 1st Class Degree in Mathematics, Attorney-At-Law (Senior Advocate of Nigeria), member of the Service Club, Zonta International of which she has served as president at local level, District Governor for the West Africa Region and International President, the first African to hold the position; she holds many chieftaincy titles across her Nigeria’s Southwest Yorubaland homeland.
It should not be out of place in this not-really-a-review post to mention that one of the author’s kids – a lady – first qualified as a medical doctor before studying Law.
MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2016. 6:12 p.m. [GMT