Yoruba Leaders Hall of Fame

FAQs - 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.

Yoruba Heroes/Heroines

Contributions to Yoruba  Nation

Academia, a scholar, a clergy, and an accomplished professor of  African Religion. His “Olodunmare” doctoral dissertation in mid-fifties opened the way for more research works on African Religion by scholars from Nigeria and outside. In his scholarship, Professor Idowu  corrected many mis-conceptions perpetuated by Europeans (the early writers on African religion), he described the religion from a theological perspective, such as the nature of the “Deity, morality and the ultimate destiny of mankind.” No doubt, his endeavor contributed in a large way to the understanding of African culture through religion. Today, African Religion is taught at university level in Africa and in many prominent institutions in Western hemisphere countries.

An educationist, an administrator, a politician, accomplished professor of Yoruba language. Professor Abimbola made history in 1970, as the first person to receive doctorate from the University of Lagos. He founded the Department of African Languages, University of Ife now (Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife). He has scores of books to his credit.

Needs no introduction in Nigeria Entertainment Industry. He began his career as a Police officer in mid-forties, while music was avocation. Later, Chief Ogunde realized that entertainment was his calling and he left Police. A man of many parts: an actor, a playwright, a musician, he founded the first Nigeria Theatre company in 1945.

A solo singer with baritone  who needed no musical instruments (though his band had) to project his God-given voice through music. Chief Ogunde had over hundred albums to his credit; however “Yoruba Ronu” of mid 1960s will always be a master-work, without equal. Also, his several plays such as: Aye, Ayanmo, Jaiyeosimi, which featured the triumph of good over the evil will always be a reference point in Yoruba drama.

Popularly known as Baba Sala, an  entertainer, an actor, and a film producer. Some of the works include: Aro pin’ teni yan, Arẹ-Agbaye

Actor, director and playwright.

A man of many parts: business mogul, statesman, politician, industrialist, publisher, Africa’s pillar of sports and a devout Muslim. A man of humble beginning, a hard working individual  who conquered all odds on his way to prominence. Abiọla was incredibly intelligent. A de-tribalized politician who built network across Niger.

He became chairman ITT Nigeria as a young man. As politician, he was a member of defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) who through intent challenged NPN in 1983, and when denied platform to realize his presidential ambition resigned his membership from NPN. Although Abiọla was not done with his political ambition, in 1993, he won the presidential primary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

On Saturday, June 12, 1993, Abiọla made history as the first Nigerian elected president overwhelmingly without a recourse to religion, tribe, or language. Unfortunately, the cabal (military and its civilian collaborators) for selfish reasons  annulled the election. For daring military and demanded for the de-annulment of 1993 elections, Abacha detained him,  in 1998 the man died in the hands of his jailers. Although Abiọla  did not rule Nigeria, but  events after June 12, reshaped Nigeria political landscape forever. Abiọla and June 12 demystified Hausa/Fulani hegemony foisted on Nigeria by British on the eve of Independence in 1960. In fact, Nigeria political history will be incomplete without Abiọla and June 12, presidential elections.

A musician, a songwriter, he has over 300 labels to his credit. Sunny Ade re-shaped juju music in Nigeria.

Another Yoruba musician and songwriter from Abeokuta; he has over 300 labels to his credits as juju maestro

A scholar, an educator, administrator, and a  historian. Mrs Bolanle Awe’s  1964 doctoral dissertation on Ibadan made significant contribution to the history of Yoruba. She belong to second generation of Nigerian scholars who moved our past from mere oral history to a proper documentation.

A professor of urban geography. A scholar of exceptional intellectual abilities; his scholarship has been in areas of capacity building and development.  Professor Mabogunjẹ has either been a sole, or lead participant in all social and economic programs with direct benefit to the  masses, examples of his works include, Mass Mobilization for Social and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), Micro-Credit Finance scheme (Community Bank and People’s Bank of Nigeria). Professor Mabogunjẹ will be remembered for community banking in Nigeria.


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