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Written by Olusina Bode-Adeoye   
Nov 01, 2013 at 12:14 AM

Chief Isaiah Aremu Akinwale Oyebode Adeoye (Odakunrin-Pongba) was born on the 13th of October, 1933 at Okemesi  Ekiti to late Chief Iyanda Omigbenle aka Odakunrin, the Lo’ogun Oisa-Oyin and late Mrs. Fibiani Melesan-eje Egberongbe of Iro street and Ile Osolo, Odobi Street, Okemesi Ekiti respectively.

He left the shores of Okemesi to Iye Ekiti under the parental guidance and tutelage of his brother, late Chief Emmanuel Adeoye of Ile-Obalara who later put him in the line to his educational pursuit at St. John’s Primary School, Iye Ekiti in 1945. In 1948, he proceeded to St. Andrew’s Primary School, Usi Ekiti, where he obtained the Standard Six School Leaving Certificate.


In furtherance of his educational career, he enrolled at Preliminary Teachers’ College, Ondo, in 1951. Between 1952 and 1953, he was at St Mathias’ College, Akure, where he obtained the Teachers’ Grade III Certificate. He proceeded to St John’s College, Owo in 1956 where he obtained the Teachers’ Grade II certificate.


Between 1958 and 1962, he studied assiduously to obtain his GCE (Ordinary and Advanced Level) certificates with which he gained admission into the University of Nigeria, Nssuka, where he read Physical Education between 1964 and 1966.

He thereafter proceeded to Ohio State University, Columbus, to complete his first degree and later Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, in the United States of America, where he bagged his Masters degree between 1968 and 1970.


He got married to his first wife, Chief (Mrs) Beatrice Adelodun, the Iyalode of Okemesi Ekiti on 27th of December, 1958.


Between 1954 and 1970, Baba had at different times worked as a class teacher, where he brought his educational experience to bear. He later switched service to the Civil Service Comission as an Educational Officer Grade II. He rose through the cadre to the post of Educational Officer I, Senior Education Officer, Principal Education Officer, Assistant  Chief Education and finally to the post of Chief Education Officer, a position he held till he retired in September 1986.


His love for his community made him to relocate immediately from Akure, upon retirement, to settle permanently at Okemesi, his home town, where he actively engaged in both community development and church activities. In recognition of his meritorious services, he was honoured by the community with the chieftaincy title of the Maiyegun of Okemesi Ekiti and the iwuye coronation performed on the 5th day of August, 1989 by the then Oowa Ooye of Okemesi Land, Oba Edward Adedoja Oni JP, Aroyinkeye (Fadumila I).


He served enthusiastically in all church activities including the Parochial Committee, PCC, of St. Michaels’ Anglican Church and actively participated in the struggle for the creation of the Ekiti West Diocese of Anglican Communion from the old Ekiti Diocese. He was the Okemesi Archdeaconry delegate to the Diocesan Board and in December 10, 1990, he was elevated from the position of Baba Isale Ijo and installed the Baba Egbe Ijo of the St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Okemesi-Ekiti, by the then Bishop Samuel Abe, a position he held till he was called home to be with the Lord. He was also a prominent member of the Egbe Afurugbin, one of the societies in the church.


Baba enjoyed farm work a lot. He engaged himself in subsistence farming for over a period of time and the yield from his farm produce at harvest time stood out to the admiration of many; a feat that earned him the alias, “Oba Lagbe”, (meaning, the farmer is king).


In the late 1987/1988, the military government of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida GCFR, conducted elections into the local government areas in Nigeria. Baba contested and won overwhelmingly with a landslide victory as an independent candidate, thereby becoming the First Executive Chairman of the Old Ekiti West Local Government Council, headquartered at Ilure, Aramoko Ekiti.


He was the first Treasurer of the Ondo State chapter of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) party that was floated alongside the Social Democratic Party (SDP), in the botched third republic. Baba, a progressive to the core, was a member of the then Alliance for Democracy (AD) that has finally transformed into the now All Progressive Congress (APC), before he finally quit politics. He was an ardent follower and believer in the struggles of AFENIFERE, the pan-Yoruba Socio-Cultural group.


Baba had so many publications and papers to his credit, mostly on Physical Education, a profession he dearly loved with passion. Some of them include the following:


(a)  Question and Answers on Physical and Health Education, 1978.

(b) Primary School Physical Education, 1979.

(c)  Physical Education Revisional Notes for Teacher’ Colleges, 1981

(d) Health Education Revisional Notes for Teachers’ Colleges, 1981.

(e)  A Handbook of Physical Education for Junior Secondary Schools.


In his life time, he belonged to several professional associations and bodies both within and international. Amongst them are:


(a)  American Association of School Administrators.

(b) American Association of School Health Educators

(c)  American Association of Physical, Health Education and Recreation

(d) Nigerian Association of Physical, Health Education and Recreation

(e)  Nigerian Association of School Health Educators.


As a lover of sports and an accomplished administrator, he served on different committees and boards of various associations in the defunct Western State and in the old Ondo State. Some of them include:


(a)  Member, defunct Western State Sports Council, 1974 – 1976

(b) Secretary and Initiator, Western State School Sports Committee, 1974 – 1976

(c)  Vice Chairman, defunct Western State Athletics Association, 1974 – 1976.

(d) Member, defunct Western State Football Association, 1974 – 1976

(e)  2ND Vice President, Nigeria Schools Sports Federation, 1976 – 1980

(f)   Secretary, defunct Ondo State Schools Sports Committee, 1976 – 1980.

(g)  Member, Ondo State Sports Council, 1976 – 1980.


Baba’s life was total and selfless. He lived a devoted Christian life until death. He gave all he had to his children, and never at any time withheld anything from them.


He was a great encouragement to so many, particularly the friends and associates of his children, many who saw him as a “father to all”. Little wonder he was always seen amongst them discussing burning issues and at the same time, offering advices and suggestions where necessary. He exuded high intellectual confidence and strength of character, which contributed in the shaping of the lives of many that came in contact with him.


He was a disciplinarian. A very principled and strong-willed man who was very forthright and always stood on the side of truth. He was a man of astonishing insight in the course he believed in.


Baba, who was called home to be with the Lord on Thursday, 22nd day of August, 2013 in his Akure residence is survived by five wives, many children, grand children, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews and in-laws.

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