Life of Noel Aihie In Print
WHEN heads of state and government held their Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit in Accra in 1965, the government of Kwame Nkrumah built a befitting edifice known as Job 600. Reverend Noel Aihie who was then a young consular officer with the Nigerian Mission in Accra came in contact with many African heads of state. He was part of the train that mobilised over 200,000 Nigerians for the great event in a bid to make Africa’s most populous country proud.
The plot in this book is among others, to demonstrate that people who have international exposure do make such count in their exertions and chosen paths as members of the larger society. Indeed, they are always at home with best practices while seeking to play a significant role in the development of their immediate communities and the society at large.
In the book: Noel Aihie, Agent of Progress, the author, Professor E.O. Oyelade espouses the virtues of perseverance, commitment and selflessness. Laid out in plain language, he sought to convince his readers that Aihie, the diplomat, administrator, and respected clergy is also visionary and one of the many unsung role models in the country today.
The book speaks of years of toil as preparation for greatness, that an agent of progress must necessarily pass through the crucible. He must hurl himself above the hurdles of life beginning from travails, the very family that ought to serve as a springboard for success.
The 13 chapters, 216-page book is one huge song profiling the triumph of good over evil, patience over rashness, determination over opportunism and a last laugh that is worth chronicling.
In chapter one, the author looks at the Aihie’s ancestral setting (Benin) from a historical perspective. Prior, in the foreword, four lessons were presented as inevitable conclusions after a perusal of the book.
We take the first and third lessons. The first in the words of professor Osadolor Imasogie is simply that “Irrespective of the circumstances of one’s birth, success requires discipline and dogged determination to succeed” He revealed further that although the subject (Noel Aihie) was born with the fabled silver spoon in his mouth given the economic and social status of his parents, he endured hardship, ill-treatment and strict discipline on the way to success.
Again in simple words, the third lesson says: Conflicts resulting from misunderstanding cannot be avoided in one’s interaction with fellow human beings. These conflicts are intensified in cases of those who are generously endowed with intelligence, sense of morality and a vision that reveals the future which is not within the reach of the average person…”
Chapters two and three x-ray Aihie’s birth and early life as well as family encounters. The book distinctly demonstrates that greatness may very well flow from the genes. Aihie’s father was a lover of education and disciplinarian while his mother was an epitome of graciousness, a great lover of peace. Virtues which today, Noel Aihie seeks to inculcate into people.
Chapters four through seven reveal the place of education in the advancement of a man, selfless service, marital calling and useful life principles.
In chapters 8 to 13, meanings are made of testimonies of kith and kins. Here, the author also looks at Aihie’s philosophies, eulogies and commendations of friends as well as what tomorrow brings.
The author sets forth Aihie’s philosophies which is also recommended to all who want to make a success of life as encapsulated in five basic principles. The first of these is dignity of labour, the second is a mix of western education and what was referred to as environmental education. There is also the Spiritual Guide Light principle and the Complementary Identity philosophy. The last of his personal philosophy is named as the Blessed Non-Violence Philosophy.
A word on the Non-Violence Philosophy suffices here. As recorded by the author “Rev Aihie saw tribalism as the greatest sin on earth if sin is to be classified. According to him, a hater of someone because of his tribe indirectly hates God, because no one has a choice of the race or tribe to which he belongs before birth. If anyone chooses this, he must be God. Rev Noel Aihie calls this type of hatred causeless hatred and a causeless hatred is a sin against the holy spirit and this is unpardonable. He therefore practices non-tribal or non racial way of life. You can find this among people living in his house and the friends he keeps”
The legacy around the life of the subject of the book is egalitarianism, the brotherhood of man and the love for people and country.