Title: Aworinde, Triumph of Vision,
Author: Esther Aworinde
Publisher: Refiner’s Touch, Bariga, Lagos, 2012.
Reviewer: Bayo Ogunmupe
AWORINDE, Triumph of Vision is a wife’s recollection of her husband’s quintessential life of purpose and vision. Plato said: The life which is unexamined is not worth living, which is why Esther examined the life of her husband: Paul Iseoluwa Aworinde in this volume. This book is a romance recalled by a partner.
It is told by a widow whose romance spanned 33 years of very eventful marriage. Author Esther’s biography of her late husband Iseoluwa Aworinde, physician, entrepreneur and philanthropist partly makes the book an autobiography. And in telling her story, Esther regales us with invocative recall of her life with Paul in a day-to-day love affair infused with high voltage drama.
In telling her story, Esther draws from the dictum of critics, that an Autobiography is best without self pity, self justification or boastfulness. An autobiography should be clear, fresh and direct.
Accordingly, Esther kept her promise that the book isn’t just about herself, that there are many things unique about Paul, which are worth telling the world.
The author shares the fun of living with her Paul explicitly and bluntly. She warns of the prospect of strong emotions from you if you knew the shock of Iseoluwa’s sudden death in 2007.
Aworinde, triumph of Vision is a medium sized book with 398 pages, 15 chapters, two postscripts and endearing tributes. Also, it contains 20 pages of photographs showing the weddings of the Aworindes. Aworinde was born on 9 September 1943 at Ilare, Osun State in a period characterized by harvest of farm produce, with ample food and cash to spend for the popular Christian Harvest celebrations at a time of the year, which is approaching Christmas.
According to their family tradition, after six days, he was named Paul Iseoluwa Ojo Aworinde. He was baptized Paul in the Methodist Church his parents attended.
However, he lived an eventful life dying on 28 November 2007 at the age of 64 years. But in the intervening years, he had studied medicine at the University of Ibadan. He first had a bachelor’s second class upper division degree of the University of Ibadan before proceeding to the University College Hospital for medical training.
Duro Oyekanle, Paul’s cousin made an interesting observation about Paul’s time at the University College, Ibadan as it then was because it operated as a college of the University of London.
Duro and Paul had both secured admission into UI at the preliminary (Prelim) level in September 1966. The more popular admission to the University then was through the Advanced Level passes from the Higher School Certificate. The prelim programme was an experiment started by UI to catch bright students from secondary schools. As Duro Oyekanle reported, his first year at UI would have been financially horrendous for him but for the benevolence of Paul who had good financial backing from his rich elder brother, Israel Ilesanmi Aworinde.
Eventually, Paul got his medical degrees in Ibadan, returning after his youth service to pursue a post-graduate course in obstetrics and Gynaecology. Then commenced the courtship between Esther Olamide and Paul Iseoluwa. After a chance meeting five years earlier, Paul and Esther met again at Ilesha Grammar School. Esther was in Higher School Certificate (HSC) year one and Paul Iseoluwa Aworinde taught Biology there while on break form his medical studies at the University of Ibadan. Thus, he was her Biology teacher.
But it cost Paul 33 prostrations to gain Esther from her guardian, Mama, her father’s elder sister. They were finally married in Ikoyi Registry, Lagos on 26 October 1974, during his youth service year. Paul was serving at Abriba, Abia State and off the newly married went to take residence at a bungalow allocated to Iseoluwa the youth corper there. They had Olubunmi, their first baby there.
Aworinde entered into full private practice in 1976 when he was employed by Lafia Clinics, Lagos owned by Dr. Olusegun Ajayi and his partner, Dr. Akintunde Akindiji. He decided to establish his own practice from there.
Listing in his notebook he decided to buy furniture and equipment towards self-employment. This system of saving on equipment prevented spending the whole salary on emergencies if saved in the bank. Aworinde believed in planning for whatever he needed, so he planned his own hospital, the May Clinics Limited.
He decided to name his hospital May because Maria is the name of his mother. Mary Hospital and Mariam Hospital had been registered by others, so the nearest to Maria was May. That was how he started May Clinics Limited, Ilasamaja.
From the day he decided to build a private hospital, he opened a notebook and started writing all that he would need to accomplish his desires. Aworinde believed you can never be a great success without adequate planning.
Furthermore, he crafted a mission statement because he believed in the Bible book of Habakkuk 2: 2-3. He said his vision must be guided by his mission statement for accomplishment. Name: May Clinics Limited. Logo: In God we trust. Mission: To be a foremost, highly friendly healthcare provider whose workforce have in their hearts the fear of God, providing services with love for God and humanity. Vision: To be a leading healthcare provider in Nigeria. To ensure fast services and adequate return on investments to the stakeholders.
The strategy he employed was the fear of God embedded in the workforce which in turn makes them loving and friendly both with the patients and co-workers.
The values he sought to achieve are excellence, hardwork and integrity. Aworinde made sure that every May Clinic employee imbibed the values embedded in the mission statement. Thereafter, he found a suitable location in Ilasamaja, by the expressway and close to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). Finally, he was able to secure a bank loan through Alhaji Adepoju, his senior colleague at Imesi-Ile High School. By the third birthday of his second daughter, Funlola on 1 March 1978, Aworinde had completed the establishment of May Clinics.
By 1980, May Clinics had become one of the well equipped hospitals when healthcare was just developing. It boasted of its own operating theatre, x-ray facilities, medical laboratories, ultrasound scan and a wide variety of specialist consultancy clinics and services. Aworinde was a rare product of a generation of doctors whose foresight and innovation and incredible insight and business skill enhanced medical practice of the time.
Meanwhile, the Aworindes lived together as husband and wife for 33 years. The joy and fullness of life was dimmed on 28 November 2007 when Iseoluwa died. He left his wife Esther Olamide Aworinde, two daughters and two sons. His wife of 33 years, which he secured with 33 prostrations wrote this memoir. She had her B.Ed in Biology from the University of Ibadan and a masters in educational planning from the University of Lagos. She had been a teacher and school administrator in Osun, Ogun and Lagos States.
Apart from being a book publisher, she is a deaconess of the Winners Chapel Bible Church and chairperson of May Clinics Limited, Lagos.