Notable Egba and Egbado

Sons and Daughters

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria,

May 1999 --

Click here to get the full text of His Inaugural Address

Former Head of State 1976 - 1979

Olusegun Obasanjo was born March 6, 1935 in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.  Educated at Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta.   He enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1958, trained at Mons Officer's Cadet School, Aldershot, England; Royal College of Military Engineering, Chatham, England; School of Surey, Newbury, England; Indian Defence Studies, London, 1974.  Served in the 5th Battalion, Nigerian Army, Kaduna and the Cameroons, 1958-59;  Commissioned Second Lieutenant, Nigerian Army, 1959; Promoted lieutenant, 1960; Served in the Nigerian contingent of the United Nations Force in the Congo (now Zaire), 1960; joined the only Engineering Unit of the Nigerian Army then and later became its Commander in 1963; Promoted Captain, Nigerian Army, 1963 was attached to Indian Army Engineering school, Kirekee, 1965; promoted  Major,  Nigerian Army, 1965; Promoted Lieutenant Colonel, Nigerian Army, 1967; Commander, 2nd Area Command, Nigerian army, 1967; Commander, 2nd Division (Rear), Nigerian Army, Ibadan, 1967; Commander, Garrison, Nigerian Army, Ibadan, 1967-69; Promoted colonel, Nigerian Army, 1969; General Officer Commanding 3rd Infantry Division, Nigerian Army, South-Eastern State during the Nigerian Civil war, Led the Division to end the war and accepted surrender of Biafran forces in January 1970; Commander, Engineering Corps, Nigerian Army, 1970-75; promoted Brigadier, Nigerian Army 1972; appointed Federal Commissioner (now Minister) for Works and Housing, January- July, 1975; appointed Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, Nigerian Army, 1975; member and later Chairman defunct Supreme Military Council (SMC), 1975-79; promoted Lieutenant General, Nigerian Army, 1976; appointed Head of State and Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, February 1976 - September 1979; promoted General, Nigerian Army, 1979; Presided over the transition to democratic rule, 1979; retired voluntarily from the Nigerian Army, October 1979; member, Advisory Council of State, since 1979.


Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey

World-Known Juju Musician

BORN 27 AUGUST 1942, Abeokuta, Nigeria. Obey's earliest musical experiences were as a member of the local church choir while a child in Abeokuta - his parents, both devout Christians, were also members. In 1955, he joined the local band Ifelode Mambo, which despite its name was actually a juju outfit, playing guitar and thumb piano. He also played briefly with Fatayi Rolling Dollar and the Federal Rhythm Brothers Orchestra before moving to Lagos in 1963 and forming his own juju band, the International Brothers, in 1964. Under Obey's leadership, the International Brothers forged a highly individual style of juju. Abandoning the percussion and single-guitar style developed by I.K. Dairo , Obey added two more frontline guitars and electric bass, speeded up the tempo and simplified the beat. The formula struck an immediate chord with Nigerian juju fans. Obey enjoyed his first hit, 'Omo Lami', in 1965, followed by even greater success the following year with 'Olo Mi Gbo Temi'.

By the early 70s, Obey was rivalling King Sunny Ade in album output and sales, achieving major local hits with In London, On The Town , Board Members and Aiye Wa A Toro. In 1971, he renamed his band the Inter Reformers and retitled his style miliki system (essentially a shrewd marketing move, for the music continued in the same juju style he had introduced with the International Brothers, heavier and faster than that played by most of his peers). In 1972, he opened his Lagos nightclub, the Miliki Spot, and for the next two or three years reigned as the city's pre-eminent juju bandleader. By the mid-70s, however, Obey was beginning to be threatened by the younger Ade. Juju fans split into two camps: those who followed the Master Guitarist Ade, and those who favoured the sweetness of Obey's vocals and the philosophical nature of his lyrics. It was with their lyrics, above all, that the two men identified themselves. Ade's reflected his belief in traditional Yoruba religion, while Obey, always the perfect Christian gentleman, preached the orthodox values of love, the family and peace in the household. He also took on the role of Government spokesman, explaining the switch to the right-hand side that took place on Nigeria's roads in 1972, and the need to follow more recent campaigns, such as Operation Feed Yourself in 1976 (with Operation Feed The Nation), or the austerity measures that followed the end of Nigeria's oil-based boom in the early 80s. While Obey never achieved the international profile of Ade, he actually preceded the latter in the attempt. In 1980, he licensed six albums to the London-based OTI label (including Current Affairs and What God Has Joined Together). Lacking the promotional and financial muscle of a larger label like Island Records, with whom Ade signed in 1982, OTI were unable to sell Obey outside the expatriate Nigerian market and a small number of white enthusiasts. In 1983 he tried again, signing to Virgin Records, and releasing the adventurous funk and highlife infused Je Ka Jo. Grossly under-promoted, the album failed to convince expatriate Nigerians or make any impact on the growing white audience for juju. A similar fate befell the Virgin follow-up, Greatest Hits. A third attempt, with yet another label, the specialist independent Stern's, produced Solubon. It too failed to reap a sufficient audience. Ever resilient, Obey next set his sights on the US market, touring there to great acclaim - but with little effect on record sales - in 1985 and 1986. He continues, however, to be a major recording and performing artist at home in Nigeria. While Obey never achieved the international profile of Ade, he actually preceded the latter in the attempt. In 1980, he licensed six albums to the London-based OTI label (including Current Affairs and What God Has Joined Together). Lacking the promotional and financial muscle of a larger label like Island Records, with whom Ade signed in 1982, OTI were unable to sell Obey outside the expatriate Nigerian market and a small number of white enthusiasts. In 1983 he tried again, signing to Virgin Records, and releasing the adventurous funk and highlife infused Je Ka Jo. Grossly under-promoted, the album failed to convince expatriate Nigerians or make any impact on the growing white audience for juju. A similar fate befell the Virgin follow-up, Greatest Hits. A third attempt, with yet another label, the specialist independent Stern's, produced Solubon. It too failed to reap a sufficient audience. Ever resilient, Obey next set his sights on the US market, touring there to great acclaim - but with little effect on record sales - in 1985 and 1986. He continues, however, to be a major recording and performing artist at home in Nigeria.


Wole Soyinka


Wole Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 at Abeokuta, in western Nigeria. After preparatory university studies in 1954 at Government College in Ibadan, he continued at the University of Leeds, where, later, in 1973, he took his doctorate. During the six years spent in England, he was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London 1958-1959. In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller bursary and returned to Nigeria to study African drama. At the same time, he taught drama and literature at various universities in Ibadan, Lagos, and Ife, where, since 1975, he has been professor of comparative literature. In 1960, he founded the theatre group, "The 1960 Masks" and in 1964, the "Orisun Theatre Company", in which he has produced his own plays and taken part as actor. He has periodically been visiting professor at the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Yale.

First African writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. Also known for being in exile from the Nigerian government under Abacha. When Abacha was gone, and Abubakar took over, Wole Soyinka finally came home for a visit towards the latter part of October 1998, and many are hoping he will return permanently to help build the nation.


Fela Anikulapo Kuti

World-Known Musician

Fela Anikulapo Kuti, born in Abeokuta, Nigeria in 1938, was a singer-composer, trumpet, sax and keyboard player, bandleader, and politician. Kuti was one of Africa's most controversial musicians and throughout his life he continued to fight for the rights of the common man (and woman) despite vilification, harassment, and even imprisonment by the government of Nigeria. Born to Yoruban parents, Kuti was strongly influenced by both parents, his mother being Funmilayo, a leading figure in the nationalist struggle. Practically all of his records are dominated by political events and discussions from the approach of Pan-Africanism.

In 1954, Kuti joined the Cool Cats as a singer in that highlife band (highlife being the rage of the Lagos music scene at the time). During this period Kuti developed his own unusual sound which he described as highlife-jazz. In 1968 Kuti announced the arrival of Afro-beat, within the year was promoting his sound all over the USA on a 10-month tour where he became influenced by American jazz. When he returned to his homeland he opened a nightclub, the Shrine, and changed the name of his band to Africa 70 (and later to Egypt 80). His bands traditionally included the typical huge line-up consisting of many singers and dancers, numerous saxophonists, trumpeteers, drummers, percussionists, and of course, many guitarists blending African rhythms and jazz horn lines with politicized song lyrics. His music was intricate, rather than calling it Afro-beat you might more arguably consider it Afro-jazz. Entire recordings often consisted of just a few songs and this propensity for jamming set up a roadblock for Fela to attain commercial acceptance in the United States. He also abhored performing a song after recording it, and this led to audience disinterest in the U.S. where the people wanted their music to be recognizable hits.

Kuti continued his outspoken attacks on the Nigerian government. When the people returned to power in 1979, Kuti began his own political party - MOP (Movement of the People). The military returned to power in 1983 and within the year Kuti was sentenced to five years in prison on a spurious currency smuggling charge. He was released in 1986 after yet another change of government.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti died on Saturday, August 2, 1997, at 4pm (local time) in Lagos, Nigeria. It had been rumoured for some time that Fela had a serious illness he was refusing treatment for, many said he was suffering from prostate cancer. But as it turns out, Fela died from complications due to AIDS.


Chief (Dr.) Ernest  Shonekan, GCFR CBE

Former Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the Interim National Government

Chief Shonekan, who hails from Abeokuta was educated at the CMS Grammar School , Lagos and the University of London , graduating in Law in 1962, the year he was also called to the bar. 

Chief Shonekan joined the Legal Department of the United Africa Company (a Unilever Group company) in 1964, rising to become Chairman and Managing Director in 1980. 

In 1992 Chief Shonekan was appointment as Chairman of the Transitional Council and subsequently in 1993 briefly served as
Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the Interim National Government.

Chief Shonekan holds the traditional title of Abese of Egbaland. He was Chairman of the Vision 2010 Committee, which in 1996-97 drew up the blueprint for Nigeria 's economic development.

Currently, he is Economic Adviser to the Head of State; Chairman and Directors of numerous companies in commercial, industrial and financial sectors; Member, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Nigeria-Netherlands Chamber of Commerce; author of The Nigerian Economy (1986); and is the recipient of  the Commander of  the British Empire and French Legion d'Honore

Professor (Senator) Afolabi Olabimtan

B.A. London, Higher Dip in Education (Dublin) M.A. Lagos, PhD Lagos

Professor Afolabi Olabimtan was born on the 11th of June 1932 in Ilaro, Yewa South, Ogun State, Nigeria. He attended Christ Church School, Ilaro between 1939 and 1947 and later proceeded to the famous Methodist Boys High School (MBHS) Lagos where he passed out with flying colours in 1953.

His passion for hard work and creative writings manifested early in his record of achievements; as a secondary school pupil he had started to gain notable recognition in the literary world.

He won silver and Bronze Medals in the Festival of Arts and a Certificate of Merit in 1953 to the credit of his alma mater MBHS. An award he received at Glover Hall, Lagos.

Afolabi gained admission to the premier university in Nigeria, the University College, now University of Ibadan in 1958. He was sponsored by the Methodist Church of Nigeria. There, he studied Classics and English in the Faculty of Arts and graduated with second class honours in 1961.

He returned to MBHS as a graduate teacher in 1961 and later proceeded to the Trinity College, University of Dublin, Republic of Ireland for a Higher Diploma in Education in 1963. He joined the University of Lagos as a lecturer inn the School of African and Asian Studies in 1969. Professor Olabimtan obtained his Masters Degree in 1971 and got his Ph.D in 1974. He became a full professor in 1987.

As a dynamic and astute scholar, Professor Olabimtan held many positions of responsibilities and significantly made his mark. He was Head, Department of Arts, MBHS Lagos; Head, Department of African Languages and Literatures, University of Lagos; Dean, Faculty of Arts, Ogun State University ( now Olabisi Onabanjo University), Director, Correspondence and Open Studies Institute, University of Lagos.

His career as a politician raised his status to an enviable level in Nigeria. He was a commissioner for Local Government and Information in Ogun State. Chairman, Ogun State Local Government Reforms Committee; the first chairman, Governing Council, Ogun State College of Education ( now Tai Solarin College of Education); chairman, Ogun State Council of Arts and Culture; Member, National Library Board, Ogun State. Chairman, N.C.P.N. and a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999-2003)

His socio-cultural orientation reflected his person as a man of many parts. He was the General Secretary and later President, Ilaro Youth Organization; Chairman, Oroona Day Organization; Assistant Secretary, Egbe Ijinle Yoruba, Egbe Ilosiwaju Yoruba; Secretary/Co-ordinator, Afenifere, Ogun West; Memebr, Egbe Omo Egbado (Yewa); Member, Yewa Think Tank.

He was a member of Action Grop led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo (AG); Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN); People's Solidarity Party (PSP); People Consultative Forum(PCF); Social Democratic Party(SDP); True Progressive Grand Alliance (TUPGA), Nation Centre Party of Nigeria (NCPN); Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) and Alliance for Democracy.

The professor had to his credit numerous awards and honours including the Distinguished Old Boys (MBHS) Merit Award; Merit Award, Albert Einstein Academy and was acknowledged in the Who's Who in the World, 5th Edition; Who's Who in the Common Wealth of Nations ; International Register of Profiles; The International Who's Who of Intellectuals; Who's Who in Nigeria.

Professor Olabimtan, an erudite scholar and prolific writer had many books and published works to his credit. He was the author of the following books:

  1. Oluwa Lo Mejo Da
  2. Olaore Afotejoye
  3. Kekere Ekun
  4. Ayanmo
  5. Baba Rere
  6. Ore Meji
  7. Orilawi Adigun
  8. Aadota Arofo
  9. B'o ti Gba
  10. Born to Rule
  11. A Lady of Honour
  12. The Graces, The Grass and the Gains
  13. Ogbon Itopinpin Ewi Yoruba
  14. Ewi Orisirisi
Provided by his Son, Deolu Olabimtan

Chief Jonathan Akinremi Olawole ("JAO") Odebiyi

The late Chief Jonathan Odebiyi was a legendary frontline Nigerian Politician who was a contemporary of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He was a founding member of the famed Action Group and he hailed from Iboro. His achievements are summarized as follows.

  1. Former Chairman Egbado Divisional Council
  2. Founding member of the Action group
  3. Member of the Western Region House of Parliament
  4. Minister of Education in Chief Obafemi Awolowo's Cabinet in 1956
  5. Minister of Finance in Chief Obafemi Awolowo's Cabinet in 1957
  6. Elected member, Western Regional Government Delegation to Nigeria Independence Constitutional Conference in London in 1989
  7. Leader of the Defunct Western House of Assembly in 1960
  8. Leader of the Opposition in the Western House from 1963 - 1966

Chief Bolarinwa Abioro

Born in Ipokia, He bestrode the Nigerian music and business/commercial landscape like a colossus for decades. He was better known in the field of music recording and artistes promotion and at a point in Nigeria's history, at least 80% of the biggest musicians in Nigeria were on contract with his "TYC African Sounds" music company. His impact on the development of the modern Nigerian music scene can be likened to that of Motown Records in the United States

His extensive stable, which was the envy of his competitors and peers, included super-stars like the "Apola King" Idowu Animasaun, "Emperor" Pick Peters aka "Omo-Ode", King Jossy Friday (the Bolojo king), the pioneering female music bandleader "Queen" Oladunni Decency, Uncle Toye Ajagun (composer the monster hit "magbe-magbe") and the biggest name of all Otunba Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye aka "King Sunny Ade".

Just like Motown is to the USA, the history of contemporary Nigerian Music will be incomplete without mention of his extensive contributions.

Chief M.K.O. Abiola

      Winner of the Nigerian Presidential Election, June 12, 1993

He was a businessman/politician who ran for the elections held in 1993 (believed to be the first fair elections held in the country). This election was canceled by the military government at the time (Babangida). A year later, when he claimed himself president, he was jailed by the president at the time (Abacha), and one of his wives (Kudirat) was killed during her fight for democracy. After Abacha died, Nigerians were hopeful for his release, and many were hopeful for his rule, but he died of a "heart attack" on July 7,1998.  He was the Are Ona Kakanfo of the Yoruba.


Beko Ransome-Kuti

Medical Doctor

He was the chairman for the Campaign for Democracy, and a former medical doctor for the government. In 1997 Beko Ransome-Kuti was awarded the human rights award of the city of Weimar. He was inprisoned on July 25 1995 on charges of treason to the Abacha government. After Abacha's death on June 8 1998, president Abubakar released him (along with 8 other political prisoners) on June 15 1998.  Fela Anikolapo-Kuti was his brother.


Olikoye Ransome-Kuti

Medical Doctor

Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a doctor and former Nigerian health minister.  He was once the deputy director-general of the World Health Organization. Fela Anikolapo-Kuti was his brother.


Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti

Political Activist

She was the first Nigerian lady to drive in Nigeria.    First woman politician in Nigeria or probably, in Africa. She was a women's right activist in the early 1900's. Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti in 1944 formed the Abeokuta Women Union (later became a National Women Union).  It was a union of 20,000 financial members. Their achievement includes: Objections against the Sole Native Authority and the King (Alake)who was their drummer boy.  The king had to abdicate the throne. The union's education campaigns and objection to flat tax rate were all successful.

She was the administrator of Rev. Kuti Memorial Grammar School at Abeokuta. Her children include: Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, and Beko Ransome-Kuti.  She fought the military against the unjust arrest of her son (Fela) and sustained an injury to her leg of which the resultant compilations allegedly led to her death.


Sir Adetokunbo Ademola

Chief Justice of the Federation of Nigeria

Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, former Chief Justice of the Federation of Nigeria,was an illustrious son of an illustrious father. His father was the late Alake (Paramount ruler ) of Egbaland (1920-62 ), Sir Ladapo Ademola.  Sir Adetokunbo is among the most distinguished and most respected Nigerians. He had a brilliant career and over the years he built himself an International reputation, being a member of several world bodies.  Born on September 1, 1906, at Abeokuta, capital city of Egbaland, Sir Adetokunbo studied law between 1928-31 at Cambridge University, obtaining a BA degree. He received his MA. later. He was called to the bar (Middle Temple ) in London in 1934, and later became the only African ever appointed a bencher of the Inn. Back in Nigeria, Sir Adetokunbo worked from 1934-35 as crown counsel at the then Attorney- General's Office, then for a year as assistant secretary at the southern secretariat in Enugu, Eastern Nigeria. From 1936, Sir Adetokunbo practiced until 1939, when he was appointed Magistrate of the protectorate Court. In 1949 he became the third Nigerian to be appointed a Pusine Judge. In 1948 he served as a member of the commission for the revision of court legislation. In 1955, a year before western Nigeria became internally self-governing, Sir Adetokunbo was appointed Chief Justice for Western Nigeria, thus becoming the first Nigerian head of the judiciary anywhere in Nigeria. Sir Adetokunbo's string of 'firsts' continued when, three years later, he became the first Nigerian Chief Justice of the entire Federation of Nigeria. He was knighted in January, 1957, and in 1963 was appointed one of Queen Elizabeth's Privy Councilors. Later that year, the Queen awarded him a KBE. He married Miss Kofo Moore, the first West African woman graduate- she took a BA at Oxford- and daughter of the late Eric Moore, first Lagos member of the United Nations committee of experts advising on labor conventions and regulations. He was also a member of the United Nations International Public Service Advisory Board, member of the International commission of Jurists, executive member of World peace through Law, vice president of the world Association Jurists, president of the Nigerian Red Cross Association, chairman of Nigeria Cheshire homes, member of the International Olympic committee, member of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs and president of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity.  Sir Adetokunbo is also one of the founders and chairman of the Metropolitan Club, a founder member of the Island Club and vice patron of the Yoruba Club.  Sir Adetokunbo was in the forefront of several peace moves in Nigeria.


Adeolu Akisanya (Baba Eto)

One of the Pioneers of Yoruba Juju Music


George Sodeide Sowemimo

Chief Justice of the federation from 1983 to 1985

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Justice George Sodeide Sowemimo was the Chief Justice of the federation from 1983 to 1985. 

Admitted into the British Bristol university in 1944, the late Nigerian chief justice graduated in 1948 and was called to the Middle Temple bar in 1949. He later returned to nigeria to set up a private legal practice.

A landmark case in Sowemimo's 32 years on the bench, was the controversial 1962-63 treason trial of late Nigeria's prominent opposition politician, Obafemi Awolowo and 26 others.

In his celebrated 900-page judgment with the famous quotation "my hands are tied", Sowemimo, then judge of the Lagos High Court, sentenced Awolowo and 17 others to 10 years in prison for attempting to overthrow the federal government of Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa.  However, Awolowo and the other prisoners were released three years later following nigeria's second military coup that brought former military ruler Gen. Yakubu Gowon to power in july 1967.

Sowemimo, who retired as Chief Justice in 1985 at the mandatory age of 65, had defended that controversial verdict, which has remained a reference point in Nigeria's judicial history.  He was honoured as a Commander of the Order of the Niger, one of Nigeria's highest awards.


Mrs. Bisoye Tejuosho


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She was the Iyalode of Egba / Abeokuta and the mother of Dapo Tejuosho, The Osile of Okeona.

She's was a very industrious woman in the manufacturing industry. She established 'Teju foam and other companies.


Madam Tinunbu


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She was the first Iyalode of Egbaland.  She became filthy rich as a slave trader having her headquarters at Abeokuta. When she visited Badagry and realized the inhumane condition slaves are subjected to by the White man, she became an abolitionist. She spent a great deal of her wealth on the abolition of slavery. Tinunbu Square in Victoria Island was named after her for her gallantry.


Brig-Gen. Olurin was born at Ilaro to the late Chief M.A.O. Olurin the Agoro of Ilaro and Madam Abigail Fola Olurin.

He started his early education at Ilaro at Christ Church Primary School and Secondary School at Egbado College (now Yewa College) where he obtained his West African School Certificate in 1964. He was briefly at Technical College, Ibadan now (Ibadan Polytechnic) in 1966 and a Technical Trainee at the Times Press, Apapa. He subsequently entered the Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna in 1967 where he obtained his NDACE (Nigerian Defence Academy Certificate of Education) and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant into the Nigerian Army in March, 1970.

In the course of his career, he attended many professional courses. He is a graduate of the School of Infantry, Quetta, Pakistan, Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna where he obtained his psc, and National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos where he obtained his mni.

In his career at various times he held many important posts in the Nigerian Army which include Battalion Commander, Brigade Major, Deputy Commandant in the Nigerian Army School of Infantry and Brigade Commander.

In 1975 at the rank of a major, he became the Deputy Defence Adviser to the Nigerian High Commission in India for three years. After his Staff College Course in 1978, he was deployed to the United Nations Peace Keeping Operation in Lebanon. He became the commander of the Nigerian battalion in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). His troops were deployed in between the Palestine and Israeli supported forces. The task was to separate the combatants in the approaches to the Golan Heights and the north of Galilee. The task was accomplished which received commendations from the United Nations. As the General Staff Officer 1 Operations at the Army Headquarters in 1981, he mobilized the OAU peacekeeping force to Chad comprising of Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya and Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo). In the same year, he conducted the first Maitasine Operations in Kano to effectively put paid to the ignoble role of a religious fundamentalist.

In 1985, he became the military Governor of Old Oyo State where he was for three years. In 1990, he became the General officer commanding an elite division of the Nigerian Army, the 3rd Armoured Division in Jos and a member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council. In 1992, he was appointed the Field Commander of ECOMOG Peacekeeping Force in Liberia. At the head of a seven nation peacekeeping force, he was mandated to compel a rebel faction, National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) headed by Mr. Charles Taylor to obey the ECOWAS mandate. The enforcement brought about a ten-month war in which many battles were fought until Charles Taylor surrendered to an unconditional ceasefire at a peace conference in Geneva in 1993 and that paved way for the resolution of the crisis through ballot other than gun

Dr Jeremiah Olatunji Otegbeye

Dr Jeremiah, Olatunji Otegbeye was born on July 14th 1925 in Ilaro. He attended Christ Church Primary School, Ilaro and attended the prestigious Government College Ibadan from 1942 to 1947. In GCI, he was brilliant as are many that attend the great school; he was also a rascal and a truant. For some reason, he was proud of those traits.

He proceeded to University College Ibadan as one of the pioneer students in 1948 and completed his medical education at Middlesex Hospital in London where he graduated in 1956. He married Bolajoko Otegbeye -nee Solanke in London in 1955.

Whilst in London, he was a frequent speaker in Hyde Park corner which is known for its antigovernment speakers. He was very active in the Nigerian Union and West African Students Union.

His childhood experiences under the colonial system built his character and molded him into a revolutionary. He played a major role in helping to forge the identity of the Nigerian Union in the UK which became a formidable organization that achieved better welfare scheme for the students and put forth the struggle for Nigerian independence.

He returned to Nigeria in 1957, spent a short time at UCH, Ibadan and the public health department at the Lagos Town Council. He soon figured out that he could not fit into the straight jacket of civil service bureaucracy nor could he survive in any institution that hindered freedom of expression. Both features exemplified the Town Council back in his days.

He ventured into private practice and started Ireti Hospital at 60, Patey Street in 1960. This became the bedrock of his medical and political career.

He grew lreti Hospital Group into one of the largest, best and well known hospital groups in Lagos in the 1960s to 80s. He took care of the rich and the poor with special emphasis on the needy. He never discriminated and would treat many who could not pay. His motto was always to "love your neighbor as yourself". Whilst the hospital provided him opportunities to expand his empire, he stood firm and traded his personal comfort and opportunities for the emancipation of the masses. His story was well summarized in an article by Joy Chinwokwu captioned "Tribute to Otegbeye at 80" and published in the Daily Sun on July 14, 2005.

He is most known for his political career and rightfully so. He emerged from England as a full blown Pan- Africanist, an internationalist and a revolutionary. He was instrumental in the formation of the Nigerian Youth Congress (NYC) in the early 60s. He was the prime mover and indomitable leader of the NYC. He and his NYC colleagues used the organization to develop youths intellectually and teach ideologies that they believed will be needed to revamp the government. The NYC played an active role in the protest against "the Anglo Nigerian Defense Pact" and its ultimate abrogation. He and some of his colleagues formed the Nigerian Youth Thinkers' Club. Many of the products of the club are now or have been in eminent political positions in Nigeria in the last couple of decades.

As a revolutionary and internationalist, he was involved in organizing protests when Practice Lumumba was murdered in Congo in 1961 by the imperialists. He had one of his many trips to detention after the riot. One of his Children Babajide, Lumunnba Otegbeye was born whilst he was in detention hence his middle name. This virtue afforded him the opportunity to become close friends with the likes of Julius Nyerere who was the President of Tanzania (then Tangayika) and Sam Nujoma who became President of Namibia.

He utilized his international contacts and the clout of NYC to secure international scholarships for youth. The process involved risky journeys across the Nigerian border due to government opposition. NYC later became the foundation for Socialist Workers and Farmers Party (SWAFP) where he also served as general secretary. He spent this period of his life writing such books as "Ideological conflict in Nigerian Politics", "The case for Socialism in Nigeria" and "Nigeria- Road to Progress"

At a local level, he had great love for the Yewa people and used his resources for the development of human capital among our Yewa indigenes. Just as he advocated for the masses, he felt that Yewa people were marginalized in Ogun State. He was a strong advocate for the next governor of Ogun State to be a Yewa indigene.

His interest in his people was not without consequences and personal scars which he bore with pride as a price he had to pay for the emancipation of his people. We recollect numerous house searches and interrogations by the guys from Alagbon (Police) and many journeys to detention including but not limited to Ikoyi prisons in 1963 for reported possession of secret documents, Ikoyi prison in 1965 for reported treasonable felony and a 13 month stretch in Maiduguri prison in 1971.

His first Wife who is the mother of all his 7 children left when he was adamant about continuing the struggle after a 13 month stint in detention. He had a second marriage which was a period in the wilderness but he never deviated from his ideals. His third marriage was to Bolaji Otegbeye who was his dear wife till he passed away. For some reason, the ladies with the name Bola were good for him. His personal life remained private but this statement is being made for posterity as we are sure many rumors will be thrown around by his detractors even in his death.

He spent his later years as an avid Awoist and a member of Unity Party of Nigeria and Alliance for Democracy. In the twilight of his political career, he served in the Constitutional review committee under Abacha regime. This was to the chagrin of many of his old comrades. As an independent thinker, it was his opinion that this service will serve two purposes; namely allow him to impact the process if the regime was serious or understand how they function so as to craft a pragmatic way to tackle the problem if they were kidding. He accepted the fact that his action may look foolish to many who do not think like him.

He ultimately retired from partisan politics as he felt that all the parties had become a mish mash of people with highly variable identities and intellectual capacity. He spent his twilight years as a non-partisan politician, doing his best to nurture and advice the younger ones. Contrary to many assertions that have been published, he remained non-partisan but he was particularly fond of His Excellency, Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD) who was like a son to him. OGD's attributes such as love for his people, vision and courage endeared him to Papa.

He spent the rest of his time working for the Yoruba council of elders, farming in Ilaro, writing his memoirs and rededicating himself to the Lord.

H is autobiography is captioned in a series of books titled "The Humble Beginning -1995", The Turbulent Decade - 2000 and The Tempest- 2005. He was in the process of writing the conclusion of his autobiography titled "The Restoration and the Crown".

His activities consistently cut across tribal boundaries. He always preferred to be general secretary of the groups he was involved with because he believed that the real work gets done in that position. He was strong willed, demonstrated independent judgment and was always propelled by the desire to change the society. The allure of public office or chieftaincy titles was not attractive to him fundamentally, although he was willing to take the helm as a means to an end.

He is larger in death because he has left an enviable track record of service to his people. He worked sacrificially and in so doing has been able to give many a chance, to reach their potential. He was a role model and inspiration.

By Barrister Bola Ajala, with help from Dr Otegbeye's Son, Segun.


Some Other Notable Sons and Daughters (pictures not available yet -- if you have any information about these notable people or their pictures, please forward them to us. thanks.)

Alhaji Dauda Soroye AdegbenroPremier of the Western Region, 1965

Dr. M.A. Majekodunmi, Administrator, Western Region, 1965

Dr. Adeoye Lambo