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Chief E.O. Adesoye: The exit of a juggernaut

*As the giant goes home to sleep

From Muideen Ibrahim

It is an established fact that Chief Emmanuel Olatunji Adesoye, came to this sinful world, saw and conquered.

He conquered, hence the magnitude of the people present at this specially organised tribute that was packaged by Offa Descendants’ Union, National Headquarters. Hmmmmm, Ajani Ekun is gone! Gone forever!!

Chief Emmanuel Olatunji Adesoye rose from a humble beginning to the pinnacle of his profession and left an indelible mark in the annals of the history of Offa town in particular and this great Nation at large.

He contributed significantly into the Nation building in all ramifications; hence he was bestowed with two National Honors by the Federal Government of Nigeria, Officer of the Order of Niger (OON) and Commander of the Order of Niger (CON).

His death shook Offa town and everyone felt his demise. Erin wo! (The elephant has fallen) Erin lo!! (The elephant has gone to the great beyond) Otun di ojo igbende ki ato ri won (we can only see him on the day of judgment).

Chief E.O. Adesoye was a man of many parts; a philanthropist, educationalist, industrialist, a community man par excellence, a juggernaut of high standing and what have you?

He left good legacies behind, not only that, he built great institutions and people as well. He turned into gold anything he touched during his life time. Hence, he was able to project very well. This stood him out in all what he did. He was in the world for a purpose and he lived that purpose. To me, he was a visionary and a missionary because he fulfilled his mission based on what he left behind.

As a great industrialist, he built empire that stood the test of time. He founded Okin Biscuits in 1982 and the biscuit was a household name/product. Infact, it was even exported and that contributed positively to the Nation’s Gross Domestic Products in those days. He employed a lot of people in the company and Okin biscuit was the company to be then.

He also manufactured Okin Foam, not only that, he brewed Noble beer at a time, also Okin Malt and he was the founder and the main sponsor of Okin Football Club. That club was able to engage the youths and they all shun social vices in those days. It should be noted that Okin Football Club produced stars for the Nigeria under 17 in the early 80s.

As an Educationist; he founded Adesoye College, an International College of high repute. The College has produced well to do Nigerians and even non-Nigerians as well.

Chief E.O. Adesoye used his wealth to put Offa Town on the world Map! He showcased the town to the outside world through his investments and connections.

Without prejudice, his likes are rare to come by. When will Offa have another Adesoye? No doubt, he left a very big shoe behind and it would be very difficult for anybody to wear. The vacuum he left behind would be very difficult to fill as well!

Chief Emmanuel Adesoye
Chief Emmanuel Adesoye

Chief Emmanuel Olatunji Adesoye was born on 25th April, 1938 to the family of Abraham Adio Adesoye of Ola Isale Compound, Offa; he attended African Bethel School, Ebute-Metta, Lagos from 1948 to 1951; St Marks School, Offa in 1952; Offa Grammar School between 1953 to 1957 where he was well known as a skillful footballer.

He was in Yaba Technical College in 1958 and Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology, Enugu in 1959 before he attended the South East College of Arts, Science, and Technology, UK between 1961 to 1963 in order to sharpen his skills and broaden his knowledge in Quantity Surveying.

After his sojourn in United Kingdom, he joined the then Northern Nigeria Civil Service in 1963 as a Pupil Engineer and rose through the ranks due to his dedication to duties and uncommon sense of purpose.

In May 1967 in Kaduna, he was appointed as committee member saddled with the responsibility to share the regional assets among the Six Northern States that were created in year 1967. He was a Boardroom guru and he had numerous Board experience amongst which are; Chairman, Expert Committee on Machine Tools, Oshogbo in 1985, Chairman, Kwara Industrial Development Fund in 1986, Chairman, Afribank between 1987 to 1989, Chairman Super Steel Limited and Chairman, Adesoye Holdings amongst others.

During his life time, Chief E.O. Adesoye was a Member of the Federal Government Export Promotion Board in 1980 and Vice-chairman, Kwara State Government Think Tank on Industrialization in 1997.

He became a Fellow of the Institute of Quantity Surveyors, London in 1965, the qualification that made him the first Northern Nigerian Quantity Surveyor and the second Nigerian Quantity Surveyor. Infact he was a foremost Quantity Surveyor in Nigeria and West Africa.

Chief E.O. Adesoye was also a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Quantity Surveyors in 1968; Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Chartered Quantity Surveyors in 1985.

He resigned from the Northern Nigeria Civil Service in 1967 and then established his business empire (Adesoye Holdings). His influence cuts across and he was also the Maye of Offa, a titled that was bestowed on him in 1979. Not only that, he was also bestowed the Chieftaincy title of Baba Isale of Odo-Owa in Kwara State in 1995 whilst the Asiwaju of Offa was bestowed on him in year 2001.

It is on record that he served Offa town dutifully and diligently as a real Asiwaju! He was also the Offa Descendants’ Union National President from 1996 to 2010.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Chief Emmanuel Olatunji Adesoye was an enigma and he used his wealth for the betterment of humanity. Some people from humble background went to Adesoye College due to his benevolence.

Some of the people that he trained are now captains of industries and they are all doing very well in their various fields.

He had a Midas touch and he used it very well. Hence he was a very successful man during his life time.

I think we all have one or two things to learn from this great man who departed this sinful world late last year (2017).

Chief E.O. Adesoye had some sterling qualities which I will want the youths to emulate. Some of which are; an enigma personified, humility, dignity, humbleness, perfectionism, sincerity of purpose, hard work, unalloyed love for Offa and Nigeria, patriotism, leadership traits, very good interpersonal relationship skill, good communication skill and above all, a very good Christian.

He has gone to the great beyond but he left goodwill and institutions behind. You will all agree with me that he lived a fulfilled life.

May the gentle soul of Chief Emmanuel Olatunji Adesoye (Ajani Ekun), the Second Asiwaju of Offa rest in perfect peace! Amen!

I pray and hope that his children will sustain his legacies. Amen!

 

Muideen Adebayo Ibrahim is the Secretary General ODU Lagos branch

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