Brief Biography of Oba Asiru Olatunbosun Tadese Ariwajoye I

Brief Biography of Oba Asiru Olatunbosun Tadese Ariwajoye I

When one fateful day in 1936, during the reign of the eleventh Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Amida Abanikanda Lamuye, a little boy was born in a little village called Abimbola Oke Osun in Iwo, little did the people of that settlement know that a historic event had just taken place.

Abimbola Oke Osun was an obscure, inconsequential settlement in Iwo, but the birth of that little boy would soon catapult it into history. It soon became famous as the birthplace of the most popular ruler that would ever ascend the throne of the Oluwo of Iwo. (Odidere, 2006).

Oba Asiru Tadese was born into an Islamic polygamous home of late Prince Olatunbosun Alade Tadese and late Mrs. Asiyawu Adunni. He lost his father to the cold hand of death in 1956 when he was still tender in age and his mother in 1978.

Brief Biography of Oba Asiru Olatunbosun Tadese Ariwajoye I

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He started primary school at about 15years of age due to a lack of interest in western education by his parents and a common phenomenon those days at African Church school, Ileogbo railway station and spent about two years there.

He then came back to town and was enrolled at Aipate Baptist Day School, Iwo. There, he excelled in sports as school captain and as a strong member of the drama group. On completion of his primary education and obtaining his standard six certificates, he secured employment with Baptist mission as a probationary teacher.

It was a thing of pride to him and members of his family because teaching was then a very noble profession. A teacher in those days was a highly respected member of society. His salary might not be much but the respect he commanded in the society was unequalled.

He was posted to D.C. School, Morinu, Oke Adan. He taught for one year after which he decided to further his educational and professional career. He decided to go to teacher training college to obtain the Grade Three teacher’s Certificate.

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Brief Biography of Oba Asiru Olatunbosun Tadese Ariwajoye I

So he entered Local Authority Teacher Training College, Iwo Road, Ibadan. The college was at a site that was later used for the Army Barrack while the college itself was moved to Iyana Ofa on Ibadan-Iwo road.

After obtaining it, he taught at four different schools, D.C. School, Idi Iroko, Oyo, DC School, Adenrele, Iwo, Ansar-ur-deen School, Akinfenwa, Iwo and DC School, Oke Ola, Iwo where he left a legacy of hard work, industry, and dedication. He obtained his Grade Two Teachers certificate and continued to teach until 1976 when he retired from the profession to seek fulfilment in other areas of human endeavour.

The exposure which the teaching profession had given Kabiyesi was a tremendous one that would later help him in his future endeavours of life. The profession had inculcated in him a very standard of discipline with which he conducted both his private and public life.

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He was seen and regarded by many as a responsible member of society, who could be heavily relied on because of his integrity and honesty. He was loved and respected both within and outside the schools he had taught before. And to the many youths and teeming populace of his hood and in general the town, he was seen as a quintessential leader.

So it was not so surprising when his people unanimously called on him to come and serve them in his ward as a councilor in 1976. In this very same 1976, the Federal Government of Nigeria carried out massive reforms at the local government level as part of the program to return the country to civil rule in 1979.

Oba Asiru

Kabiyesi had never seen himself as a politician or that he could ever become one. He had had a very successful teaching career and was contented with what he has. Though he was not very rich, he has comfort. It must be said that he is very popular and enjoys tremendous goodwill amongst his people, but when the time for elections of councilor came, it was in his direction that they turned.

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As mentioned earlier, Kabiyesi did not have any concrete interest in politics but when the pressure from his people began to pile, he knew he could not turn them down. In those days before they can ask someone to contest an elective post, they must have reposed a lot of confidence in his ability. He was called to serve his people and one of his guiding principles is to always render selfless service to humanity. If he were to reject his people’s call, then he had disappointed them.

Eventually, he heeds their call and won the election and became a Councilor in Iwo Local Government in 1976. He and other councilors were sworn into office in 1977. Thus, Kabiyesi continued his public service career as a local government councilor.

In the years before 1977, the councilors at the Local Government were not reporting in the office on daily basis. They were meeting only about once a month and all they received was a sitting allowance. But with the reforms that the Federal Government had carried out at that tier of government, things changed.

Brief Biography of Oba Asiru Olatunbosun Tadese Ariwajoye I

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A letter came from the Government of Oyo State demanding that among the fifteen councilors, three supervisory councilors should be appointed. That was soon after the new councilors assumed office in January 1977. The letter also demanded the appointment of a council chairman amongst the three, and two supervisory councilors, one for education and the other for health.

At that time, among them was a man who was more experienced in public administration, he was a lawyer and of blessed memory in the person of Barrister Eniola Atanda, hence he was chosen as chairman. It also happened that Kabiyesi was the only teacher. He was the only one whose discipline had to do with education. Therefore, common sense dictated to them that if anybody were to be appointed as super for education, he has to be a trained and seasoned teacher.

As such, Kabiyesi was unanimously chosen as the supervisory councilor for Education. His other colleague as super was Mr. Isaac Durofola Olosunde, an indigene of Asa. He was appointed a supervisory councilor for works and health. It also happened that with the new reforms, the supervisory councilor for education was rated next in rank to the chairman of the council in terms of hierarchy.

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Thus, Olatunbosun Tadese was the vice chairman and he acted in that capacity until the chairman was suspended from office by the Oyo State Government. An incident occurred in 1978 which lead to the suspension of Barrister Eniola Atanda as the council chairman. This incident saw the emergence of Kabiyesi as acting chairman of the council. (Odidere, 2006).

His tenure ended in 1979. But in January 1980, during the tenure of Chief Bola Ige as Governor of Oyo State, he was re-appointed as council chairman. It was said that he used the public funds judiciously for the development of the town and was very serious with work etiquette and sound contractorship.

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A perfect example is a story concerning the construction of the local government dispensary at Osunwoyin, now in Ayedire Local Government Area. The construction was contracted out and it was in terms of an agreement that the structure would be built with concrete blocks. The contractor, with obvious intent to defraud used bricks instead of concrete blocks. In his usual character, Kabiyesi decided to pay an unscheduled visit to the sites of the projects being embarked on by the council.

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He visited the dispensary site at Osunwoyin and was surprised to find that the contractor had violated the terms of agreement of using concrete bricks, Kabiyesi ordered the structure to be pulled down even as it was at lintel level. He rebuked the contractor and his order was instantly complied with. Many people reasoned that if Kabiyesi had received any form of gratification from the contractor, he would not have had the moral clout to order the demolition and re-construction of the dispensary.

His tenure as council chairman was a golden era as he accomplished many remarkable feats which include construction of not less than fifty-eight two-bedroom flats with a garage attached to each for low-income earners. He also constructed eight 3-bedroom flats with boys’ quarters and garages on the state hospital road for other categories of civil and public servants. His administration also fared in road construction as many roads leading to rural areas were opened. This in turn enhanced greatly agriculture, industrial and commercial activities.

Health, people say is wealth. His administration was also credited with the construction of nine maternity centres and six dispensaries to curb the incessant infant mortality rate. Some of these are located in Asa, Osunwoyin, and so on. During this era, he assisted any community that intends to establish a school, an example of this is Irepodun Community Grammar School, Asa established in 1978.

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Several markets were established to boost internally generated revenue (IGR), they include; Kajola, Jankara and Araromi markets. He also established the popular Odo-Ori market, which today is one of the largest in South West Nigeria. However, when Oba Samuel Omotosho Abimbola II died in 1982 Kabiyesi throw in the towel to contest the vacant stool as a bonafide Prince by all standards.

His ascension to the throne took many battles; financial, spiritual, and legal. He was unanimously chosen by the kingmakers and crowned the Oluwo of Iwo on Sunday, 20th of July, 1992. He reigned for 21 glorious years in which many great things happened in the Iwo kingdom among which are the establishment of the first private University in Osun state, Bowen university of Nigeria, Iwo, the upgrading of the moribund Reality Radio Vision Service (RTS) station, re-establishment of Oluwo market, and many more.

Oba Asiru Olatunbosun Tadese joined his ancestors on February 19th, 2013 and was buried on February 20th, 2013 in accordance with Islamic rites.

***** This piece was compiled by Com. Goke Oyeleke (with great help by Princess Foluke Tadese-Kareem and com Adewale Abiola ) *****

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