*Six top candidates lead the list
From Lukman Afolabi and Abdulfatai Tomori
The Asiwaju honour in Offa, like any other Yoruba town, is usually bestowed on a worthy personality who is capable of giving political, economic and social direction to a particular town as exemplified by their contributions to the development of such town. Thus, the sudden demise of the Asiwaju of Offa, Chief Emmanuel Olatunji Adesoye has left the town without Asiwaju.
Chief E. O. Adesoye, who became the second Asiwaju of Offa in the year 2001 after the passage of Chief Josiah Sunday Olawoyin, the first Asiwaju of Offa, who by dint of hard work did put Offa on the educational and economic map of Nigeria.
Asiwaju Emmanuel Olatunji Adesoye (OON) was born on 25th April 1938 to the family Abraham Adio Adesoye of Ola Isale Compound, Offa; he attended African Bethel School, Ebute-Metta, Lagos between 1948 and 1951; St Marks School 1952; Offa Grammar School between 1953 and 1957 where he was well known as a skilful footballer. He proceeded to Yaba Technical College in 1958 and Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology, Enugu in 1959 before attended the South East College of Arts, Science, and Technology, UK between 1961 and 1963 to sharpen his skills and broader his knowledge in Quantity Surveying.
On his returned to Nigeria, the late Asiwaju joined the then Northern Nigeria Civil Service in 1963 as Pupil Engineer and rose through the rank. He was later appointed as committee member saddled to share regional assets among the six Northern State created in May 1967 in Kaduna. He was appointed as Chairman, Expert Committee on Machine Tools, Oshogbo in 1985 and Chairman, Kwara Industrial Development Fund in 1986.
During his life time, Asiwaju Adesoye was a Member, Federal Government Export Promotion Board in 1980 and Vice-chairman, Kwara State Government Think Tank on Industrialisation in 1997. He was a Fellow, Institute of Quantity Surveyors London in 1965, a qualification that made him the first Northern Nigerian Quantity Surveyor and the second Nigerian Quantity Surveyor.
The late Adesoye was a Fellow, Royal Institute of Chartered Quantity Surveyors in 1968; Fellow Nigerian Institute of Chartered Quantity Surveyors in 1985. After his resignation from Northern Nigeria Civil Service in 1967, he established his business and professional concerns among which were Okin Group of Companies. He was the Chairman, Afribank between 1987 and 1989. Some of the traditional titles he previously holds include the Maye of Offa in 1979; Baba Isale of Odo-Owa, Kwara State in 1995.
He was the National President of Offa Descendants Union between 1996 and 2011. He was the founder and promoter of Abraham Adio Adesoye Foundation founded in 2001.
Likely Successors: Meanwhile following his death, no fewer than six names have been thrown up as the likely successor. Among eminent personalities already tipped to succeed Asiwaju are:
Dr. (Ambassador) Tunji Olagunju, former lecturer, Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria before moved to the Nigerian Paper Mill Ltd, Jebba where he rose to become Deputy General Manager. He was also at various times between 1985 and 1993, political adviser to the Military President, Minister for Special Duties and Minister for Internal Affairs. He was also Nigeria Ambassador to South African with concurrent accreditation to Zimbabwe and Lesotho from 2000 to 2006. He was also a presidential adviser, NEPAD, from 2007 to 2010.
In 1998, he served as member, Justice Niki Tobi Constitutional Debating Committee that introduced the 1999 Constitution. He has been credited to singularly attract many Federal presences to Offa which include the Federal Polytechnic Offa, creation of Offa Local Government Area, siting of step down transformer among others. He has also influence the appointment of prominent sons and daughters to various appointments. He established a private Radio station in Offa, Okin Radio, under the auspices of Okin Communications which is also planning to start a television station later. He is currently Aare Alasa of Offa.
Group Captain Salaudeen Adebola Olatinwo (Rtd), a 1961 set of Offa Grammar School is another prominent Offa that is likely to succeed Adesoye as Asiwaju of Offa. Olatinwo was enlisted in the Nigeria Air force in 1963. He later became Military Administrator of old Kwara State in 1984. Among his achievement in the community is the extension of General Hospital, Offa with building of a new ultra-modern hospital to compliment the old one. The new wing is popular called Olatinwo Hospital.
He also established an alternative market to the popular Owode Market in Offa, Ajegunle market. He also chaired the Kwara State burial Committee for the burial of the first Asiwaju of Offa. He is the Akogun of Offa.
Another illustrious son is Vice Admiral Abdulganiyu Tunde Adegboyega Adekeye (Rtd), a 1971 set of Offa Grammar School. He rose through the rank in the Nigerian Navy to become Chief of Naval Staff in October 2005. Among his achievements was his attraction of Nigerian Navy School of Health Science and Nigerian Navy Medical Center to Offa town. He also hosted the Chief of Naval Staff Annual Conference in Offa in 2006. He has mobilized funds for many developmental projects in Offa. The presences of naval officers and ratings have improved the security and health of Offa community. He is currently Olu Omo of Offa.
Alhaji (Dr.) Najeem Usman Yasin is another prominent Offa entitle to the position of Asiwaju in the town. Born in 1957, Alhaji Najeem Yasin attended Oyo State Cooperative College, Ibadan. In 1979, he became the Chairman, NURTW Taxi Unit, Gusau (in the old Sokoto State). Treasurer, Zamfara State NURTW, Deputy National President and now the National President of the union, he is also the Deputy National President of NLC. He was formally National Vice President II then later, Vice President I of the ODU and subsequently became the substantive National President of the exalt union. He is also an active member and executive of many international transport unions.
Among his achievement is being instrumental to final approval of Summit University owned by Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria where he is the Chairman, Northern State Council of the Society, the approval of Offa community site of National Open University of Nigeria, the opening of FRSC licensing office in Offa and the planning of proposed International Motor Park fashioned after that of Sokoto. He is Makama Gusau in Zamfara State.
Another eminent person is Dr. Abdulwahab Akewusola Ibraheem, born in 18th June, 1952 to the Akewusola family. He had first class honors from University of Lagos, MBA (Finance) and Ph.D in Management Science. He had a brief stint at the University of Ilorin as assistant lecturer before moved to the New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC), Kaduna where he rose to the position of the Assistant General Manager (Finance and Account). He was formerly the Deputy Managing Director (Services) at Adekanola and Co. He is currently the Chairman and CEO ICMA, an Accounting and Tax Firm.
Dr. Ibraheem is currently Director of the following companies, Express Portfolio Services, Prime Metro Properties, Afro Commerce (WA) Ltd, and HF Shroeder (WA) Ltd. He is a Fellow Chartered Institute of Management, Fellow Chattered Institute of Management Accountant, Fellow Chartered Institute of Tax Administration, and Associate, Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers.
He has been a generous donor to many developmental projects in Offa including the donating about ten (10) transformers distributed to various areas in Offa to ameliorate the problems of incessant breakdown of transformers due to overloading. He was said to be the promoter of Islamic Medical Aid Foundation, a foundation mainly for the less privileged in the society.
By and large, there is no well-defined antecedent for the candidate to bestow with Asiwaju honour in Offa; however, the choice remains that of Olofa-in-Council led by His Royal Highness, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye II.