Home Lives Remembered Life Remembered: Oba Odulana Odugade (1914-2016)

Life Remembered: Oba Odulana Odugade (1914-2016)

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By Adeola Oladele
For the late Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Samuel Odulana, Odugade 1, one fact that cannot beremoved from him was the fact that he was a man of high integrity and that he never based conferment of chieftaincy titles and honour on pecuniary considerations, as customary with other traditional rulers. He was a man who accorded the traditional institution and chieftaincy greater respect and honour as he would never bestow chieftaincy title on someone because money or such vain things.
The late traditional ruler like many of his predecessors was endowed with the grace of longevity while his reign brought about unprecedented achievements and progress as well as aesthetic face-lift to the
city of Ibadan.
Oba Odulana who died last Tuesday evening at the age of 101 years during his life time, earned great respect as a fearless, moral force with his intervention in providing a compass to guide political processes and actions at a time Ibadanland was threatened to be swamped by unscrupulous political order.
He also contributed his quota to national development as a soldier during the Second World War,a seasoned civil servant and former Minister in the First Republic, going through the rigours of life before his ascension to the throne after the demise of his immediate predecessor, the late Oba Yunusa Oladoja Ogundipe, Arapasowu I in 2007.
Born at Igbo Elerin in Lagelu local government area of Oyo State on Thursday, April 14, 1914 to Pa Odulana Ayinla, he began his elementary education at Saint Andrew’s School, Bamigbola, in the present Lagelu local government area in January 1922 and obtained a transfer to Saint Peter’s School, Aremo in 1929.
He thereafter completed his Middle School education at Mapo Central School in December 1936.
Oba Odulana had a brief stint with the United Africa Company (UAC) as a Produce Clerk before taking up teaching at the Church Missionary Society (CMS) Elementary School, Jago in the present Ona-Ara local government in 1938.
As a teacher, he also taught in several schools from 1939 to 1942. Consequently, he willingly relinquished the chalk to pick the more challenging duty of army officer during the 1939 Second World War.
His gallantry in the army earned him an exemplary character award of the Army Fourth Brigade and this climaxed into an immediate appointment with the Colonial Office Education Department in 1946. While in the civil service, where he was until 1959, Oba Odulana actively assisted in the establishment of both primary and secondary schools in various parts of the old Western Region of Nigeria.
He voluntarily retired and embraced politics to represent his people in the 1959 pre-independence federal elections as a member of the House of Representatives. This led to a string of political achievements such that he was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, in the country’s first independent cabinet. In 1963, he attended the epoch making
Commonwealth Conference in London. He also became the country’s Minister of State for Labour.
In 1964, he led the Nigerian Parliamentary delegation to the London Constitutional Conference to restructure the then British Colonies of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, now known as Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Oba Odulana’s political career was truncated by Nigeria’s first military coup in 1966, but he evolved to become a philanthropist, progressive and community icon. Towards the development of his native land, he graced the Ibadan socio-cultural landscape with so much fanfare that gave rise to him being the co-founder of prime organizations mobilizing Ibadan people for grassroots developments such as the Ibadan Economic Foundation and the Ibadan Progressive Union, created to ensure that the high standards of patriotism and self-sacrifice of the Ibadan founding fathers are maintained by the present generation of indigenes. These laudable achievements no doubt contributed to his conferment of a honorary degree of Doctor of Management Technology by the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, in December 2005.
His ascension to the throne kick-started with his appointment as the Mogaji (Head) of his Ladunni family compound, at Oja-Igbo in 1972 and in 1976, he became the Jagun- Olubadan. Thus, with a steady rise, getting 22 steps on the ladder of Ibadan’s unique chieftaincy succession system within a period of 31 years, Oba Odulana became the Olubadan of Ibadanland on Friday, August 17, 2007.
Under his reign, Ibadan undoubtedly witnessed a phenomenal growth which has since continued to draw people into its expansive bosom. Indeed, the city has, particularly, witnessed a phenomenal and dynamic growth, particularly under Oba Odulana’s reign. And the story of the modern city cannot be written without the mention of the Olubadan who just passed on.
With the revered monarch joining his ancestors, it cannot be written of him that he drew accolades for his forthrightness and achievements as a family man, a traditional ruler, nationalist and leader.

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