Yoruba Leaders Hall of Fame
YORUBA LEADERS HALL OF FAME
Generation after generation, Yoruba has always had individuals or group whose contribution to events during the time they live helped shape the course of history. From pre-history there were several of such men and women, and to date, there are still many of such individuals, whose contribution to the growth and development of Yoruba nation cannot be forgotten; while we may not list every individual, at least some will be mentioned and their contributions.
Contributions to Yoruba Nation
He belonged to the early 20th century nationalist, a fire-zeal nationalist who changed his English names to local names to reflect the realities of the era.
The Ifẹ queen and mother of Oluorogbo, a self-sacrificing woman who gave her only son to Ẹsinmirin River, in order to save Ifẹ from its enemies. Edi festival is held yearly in her honor.
The most prominent 20th century Nigerian politician. He was a leader, politician, economist, lawyer, and friend of the poor. Married Hannah Idowu Dideolu in 1937 blessed with two sons (Olusẹgun died in 1963; Ayọdele [daughter] died in 2011; Oluwole died in 2013) and three daughters. To the Yorubas, he was the second Oduduwa- the modernizer. When in London in mid forties, Chief Awolọwọ with other Yorubas formed Ẹgbẹ Ọmọ Odu’a which metamorphosed into a political party-the Action Group (AG).
He became leader of Government business in 1951, and in 1954, he became the first premier. His government was a trail blazer-he introduced free and compulsory primary education in 1955, established farm settlement throughout Western Region, reformed the civil service, built the first Olympic size-stadium, his government established the first Television station in Africa (in Ibadan, 1959). Above all, established one of the African leading light-University of Ifẹ (now Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ University, Ile-Ifẹ).
In 1962, he was detained on political charges, jailed in 1963 for 10 years. Released in August 1966 by General Yakubu Gowon, appointed as Federal Commissioner for Finance, and vice-chairman, federal executive council. Managed the civil war, resigned his appointment in 1970. Formed the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), contested 1979 presidential elections, but lost to Alhaji Shehu Shagari on 12⅔ electoral formula; contested 1983 presidential elections, lost again to Shagari in one of the worst presidential elections in the history of Nigeria. Retired from active politics, died in 1987.
Politician and Deputy Premier of Western Region. Became premier when Chief Awolọwọ went to Federal House of Representative in 1959; soon there was rivalry between the two leaders- which set the entire region on fire from 1962 to 1966, till when military took over. Unfortunately, Akintọla was killed during the military coup of 1966 in Ibadan.
A cabinet Minister in old Western Region government
A cabinet Minister of Education in old Western Region, when free and compulsory primary education was introduced in 1955.
Nationalist, politician, an orator, and a wordsmith. A de-tribalizer and a staunch member National Council of Nigerian and Cameroun (NCNC). Chief Adelabu will be remembered for playing politics without barriers and bitterness. A powerful and a colorful orator, who was very good in the use of English and Yoruba languages; whenever he spoke, people always coined terms or phrases from his messages. For example: “No peculiar Mess” became “no pen-ke-le-me-si.” A treasured term in our political lexicon, use by all and sundry. He died in a car accident in 1958.
Western Region first military governor, a patriot and a nationalist who died with his Commander-in-Chief, General J.T.U Aguiyi-Ironsi on July 29, 1966 in Ibadan, following the counter-coup, when the northern elements within Nigerian Military struck. A reprisal to January 15, 1966 Military coup, which claimed some Northern Nigerian leaders.
The second-in-command to the head of state, who was certain that political climate of mid-sixties and the military politics would work against his ascension to power, went on self exile and died in England in 1971.
Ẹgba prince who studied law in the early part of 20th century. He was the first indigenous chief justice of Nigeria. He played a major role to stabilize Nigeria during the 30 month civil war.